Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray secure wins at Wimbledon
(Tennis news) Defending champion Novak Djokovic made a winning start at Wimbledon after defeating Kwon Soon-woo in four sets 6-3 3-6 6-3 6-4. The Serbian will hope to become only the fourth player to win the prestigious grass court event for the fourth consecutive time along with Roger Federer (2003-2006), Pete Sampras (1997-2000) and Bjorn Borg (1976-80). Djokovic has won the Wimbledon title six times in his career so far and will face either Thanasi Kokkinakis or Kamil Majchrzak in the second round.
The 35 year old secured his 80th Wimbledon match in under two and a half hours and despite dropping the second set, Djokovic looked firmly in control of the proceedings. The win makes him the first tennis player to have won at least that many singles matches in each of the four Grand Slams. Speaking after the match from the Centre Court, the Serbian said “I've said this a few times before, but this court is truly special for me. It's always been the court I dreamed of playing and winning on. All of my childhood dreams came true here on this court at this tournament, so of course, it's an absolute honour and pleasure to come back."
Djokovic hadn’t played on grass since winning the Wimbledon final in 2021 against Matteo Berrettini and gave credit to his opponent Kwon Soon-woo. Djokovic said “Credit to Kwon for playing some really high-quality tennis. I didn't have any lead-up, preparation tournaments or matches prior so you're always going to feel a little bit less comfortable than you would like to, particularly playing against someone as talented as him who stays close to the line and hits very cleanly on both sides. It was really difficult to hit through him, so I had to figure out a way tactically to get in control of the point. It wasn't easy."
Meanwhile, Andy Murray fought back to defeat James Duckworth 4-6 6-3 6-2 6-4 in two hours and 43 minutes to progress into the second round of Wimbledon. The Scottish player was playing for the first time since he suffered an abdominal injury at the Stuttgart Open finals and will now face John Isner, who defeated Enzo Couacaud in five sets. Murray would be fairly confident heading into his next match, having an 8-0 record against the former semi-finalist. In the on-court interview, Murray said “It's amazing to be back out here with a full crowd. I am getting on a bit now so I don't know how many more opportunities I will get to play on this court so I want to make the most of every time. Glad I managed to get through and hopefully get another match on here in a couple of days.
"I did well to rebound after the first set, he likes playing on grass, he was playing very well, once I started playing my returns a bit more as the match went on I felt a bit more comfortable and did well to get through it.” Speaking about his fitness, Murray said “The last few days when I've been serving was fine. I went to get a scan, an ultrasound scan on it on Saturday after my practice just to see how it was progressing. It was all clear for the first time on the scans, which is really positive. I wanted that kind of peace of mind to know that the injury has healed. Obviously I still need to take precautions and still do some rehab and protect it when I can. In the match today it was absolutely fine."
Also read: Wimbledon: Ramanathan, Bhambri knocked out in first round qualifying matches
Rafael Nadal wins 14th Roland Garros and 22nd Grand Slam title
(Tennis news) Rafael Nadal claimed his 22nd Grand Slam title by winning the Roland Garros, which meant that he is level with Steffi Graf for second-most major singles titles in the Open Era with Serena Williams in first place with 23 titles. The Spaniard secured a straight set 6-3 6-3 6-0 victory over Norwegian tennis player Casper Ruud on Court Philippe Chatrier, which means he now has two Grand Slams more than his closest rivals Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer.
In his acceptance speech, Nadal said “For me personally, it is very difficult to describe the feelings that I have. It's something that I never believed, that I would be here at 36, being competitive again, playing on the most important court of my career one more time in a final. It means everything to me. It means a lot of energy to try to keep going. I just want to say 'merci, merci beaucoup'. I don't know what can happen in the future but I am going to keep fighting to try to keep going."
Approaching the match, Ruud knew that he was against a seasoned veteran on his favourite court but the Norwegian could not have predicted just how quickly Nadal would begin to dominate as the opening set was quickly wrapped up. Ruud got a break to love for a 3-1 lead in the second set due to a double fault but Nadal fought back immediately with a forehand winner bringing up the set point for the Spaniard after which the Norwegian double-faulted to give his opponent a 2-0 lead.
Nadal may be 36 and a chronic foot injury means that the time is ticking for the Spaniard to call it a day on his illustrious career, however, the Spaniard is already halfway through the calendar Grand Slam for the first time in his career. His record at the Roland Garros is impeccable, having lost only three times at the tournament since his debut in 2005. In his post game interview, Casper Ruud said “This is a first time for me so let's see how I do. The first and most important thing is to congratulate Rafa. It's your 14th time, 22nd all round in Grand Slams. We all know what a champion you are. Today I got to feel how it is to play against you in a final. It's not easy and I'm not the first victim. I know there have been many before."
Nadal to aim for 14th French Open title with win over Alexander Zverev
(Tennis news) Rafael Nadal will hope to give himself the perfect birthday present by reaching the finals of the French Open by defeating Alexander Zverev in the semi-finals. The 21 time Grand Slam winner turns 36 today and it may very well be the last time he plays at the Roland Garros, a tournament that he has been extremely successful in throughout his career. The Spaniard is suffering from a chronic “foot” injury and is yet to find a solution to the longstanding problem, but it didn’t stop him from defeating rival Djokovic in a four set encounter that lasted four hours.
Speaking about his foot injury, Nadal said “The last three months and a half, for me, the only thing that I can say is they haven't been easy. If we are not able to find an improvement or a small solution, then it's becoming super difficult for me. So that's it. It's not the moment to talk about [what happens after the French Open]. We are going to talk about that when my tournament finishes. I am just enjoying every day that I have the chance to be here, and without thinking much about what can happen in the future. Of course I'm going to keep fighting to find a solution, but for the moment, we haven't. I don't know what's going to happen after this."
Victory in France would mean Nadal could move another title clear of both Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic and his chances of reaching the finals is quite likely, especially considering that Nadal has defeated Zverev in six of their last nine encounters and four out of five meetings on clay. The wait continues for the 25 year old’s maiden Grand Slam but the German defeated in-form Carlos Alcaraz to reach the semi-finals and underestimating the World Number 3 could have disastrous consequences for Nadal. The winner of this match will face either Norwegian eighth seed Casper Ruud or Croatia's Marin Cilic in the finals.
Speaking ahead of the match, Zverev said “I'm not 20 or 21 years old anymore. I'm 25. I am at the stage where I want to win, I'm at the stage where I'm supposed to win. Yes, I have not beaten [Djokovic or Nadal] in majors, but I feel like I was very close. "I feel like I have had very difficult and tough matches against them. But there is a big difference between having a tough match and beating them. Still a major difference."
In the other semi-final, World Number 23 Marin Cilic, who defeated Russian seventh seed Andrey Rublev in a fifth-set tie-break, will take on Norway’s Casper Ruud. The 33 year old Croatian became the fifth active men's player apart from Djokovic, Nadal, Federer and Andy Murray to reach the semi-finals of all four Grand Slams. As for Casper Ruud, he is the first Norwegian player to reach the semi-finals of a Grand Slam, recording the most ATP clay-court wins since the start of 2020 with an impressive 65. Speaking ahead of the match, Ruud said “These are the matches that you dream about playing, and hopefully of course even the final if it's possible. "I have to be really focused and bring my A-game to the semi-final. Marin has played great all week, and it's going to be another tough match."
Nadal and Djokovic win at the French Open while Osaka crashes out
(Tennis news) Rafael Nadal comfortably defeated Jordan Thompson 6-2 6-2 6-2 in the opening round of the French Open. The Spaniard has suffered from a chronic foot injury in the season so far but will hope to secure the Roland Garros title at a venue he has traditionally excelled in throughout his career. The victory against Thompson was his 106th at the French Open, the most wins at a single Grand Slam (Roger Federer is in 2nd place with 105 wins at Wimbledon).
Speaking after the match, Nadal said “Of course the confidence is higher when you win in Monte Carlo, Barcelona, Madrid, or Rome. Without a doubt, things are easy in this world to understand, no? When you are winning more matches and more tournaments you have better confidence. When this is not the case, things are different. But I never expected to be winning 15 Monte Carlos and Romes, so that's the situation today.
“I got injured, and that's it. What happened is past and here we are. We are in Roland Garros. I am here to try my best. And how is my level of confidence? How the things would be or if I didn't get injured, I don't know. We never know. So I'm not a big fan of thinking about the things that could happen if... 'if' is a dangerous word. And then it's the moment to accept the situation and to have the confidence to put all my effort into every single day, to get better and better. Let's see how far I can keep going."
Speaking about Wimbledon, Nadal said “In the end, I understand both sides. I respect and I understand Wimbledon's position, without a doubt, but on the other hand, I understand and I respect too that the ATP is protecting its members. That's it. Is not that one is doing a negative thing and the other one is doing the good thing. Everyone is half. In my personal opinion, (they) have good reasons to make the decisions that they make today. Hopefully ATP and Wimbledon can be together and sit together and negotiate a better future for both sides."
In other results, World Number 1 Novak Djokovic defeated Japan's Yoshihito Nishioka 6-3 6-1 6-0. The in-form Serbian, who recently won in Rome, dropped just four games against Nishioka to seal his passage into the second round by wrapping up the match in just under two hours. Speaking after the match, Djokovic shared his thoughts about Wimbledon as the Grand Slam will not be a ranked event due to the actions taken by the ATP, WTA and ITF. He said “I think collectively I'm glad that players got together with ATP, the governing body of the men's tennis, and showed to the Grand Slam that when there is a mistake happening, and there was from the Wimbledon side, then we have to show that there is going to be some consequences."
Meanwhile, Naomi Osaka crashed out of the first round of the French Open after losing to Amanda Anisimova 7-5 6-4. The Japanese tennis player had withdrawn from the 2021 French Open due to her mental health and raised her doubts about playing in Wimbledon next month. She said “I would say like the decision is kind of affecting, like, my mentality going into grass, like I'm not 100 percent sure if I'm going to go there. I would love to go just to get some experience on the grass court, but at the same time, for me, it's kind of like - I don't want to say pointless, no pun intended, but I'm the type of player that gets motivated by... seeing my ranking go up.”
In other results, defending champion Barbora Krejcikova lost to French teenager Diane Parry 1-6 6-2 6-3 while Iga Swiatek extended her unbeaten run to 29 with a win against Ukrainian qualifier Lesia Tsurenko 6-2 6-0. Britain's Harriet Dart narrowly lost to Italy's Martina Trevisan 6-0 6-2 while Emma Raducanu overcame Czech qualifier Linda Noskova 6-7 (4-7) 7-5 6-1. The British number 1 said after the match “I mean it was an absolute battle. I have to say Linda is playing some amazing tennis and she really came out there firing.
“As soon as I dropped my ball speed, she was all over me and killing me from the end of the first set. So, it was definitely really challenging in the second set to hold on and keep holding my serve and break back a couple of times. I am really proud of the way I fought but all props to Linda as she played an amazing match. Honestly, I have no expectations of myself. You know I am really happy to be able to compete here after Rome. I really fought hard to be here in this second round and I am looking forward to trying to stay as long as possible."
Djokovic wins Italian Open after defeating Tsitsipas in the finals
(Tennis news) Novak Djokovic secured his first title in over six months after defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-0 7-6 (7-5) in the Italian Open finals on Sunday. The Serbian had not won a title since the Paris Masters in November but his performance in Rome was so sublime that he didn’t drop a single set to secure the Italian Open title. Djokovic produced 24 winners to Tsitsipas’ eight and had only 14 unforced errors to Tsitsipas' 20.
Speaking after his match, Djokovic said “I've been building my form the last few weeks. It couldn't be better timing coming into Roland Garros. Perfect scenario for me. This year it was a particular situation. With everything that happened in Australia, it took some time. I found my best shape here. I'm going to Paris with a lot of confidence."
It was his sixth successive win over the Greek tennis player as Djokovic stormed through the first set. In the fourth game of the second set, an unforced error by Djokovic gave Tsitsipas two break points which led to him taking a 3-1 lead. However, the Serbian then gained momentum to win five of his next seven games to take it to a tie-break before winning his sixth Italian Open title in his illustrious career.
The 34 year old became only the fifth player in the Open era to reach the 1,000 wins milestone, joining the exclusive club of Jimmy Connors, Roger Federer, Ivan Lendl and Rafa Nadal. During the trophy ceremony, Djokovic dedicated his title to his son Stefan. He said “Today at 4pm, when we started this match, my son Stefan, who is seven-years-old, was playing his first tennis match. I hope he won. This is for him."
I'd scan my brain if I wake up as Ronaldo: Kohli
Mumbai, Apr 4 (Cricket News) A huge fan of Cristiano Ronaldo, star India batter Virat Kohli says he would do a scan of his brain if he wakes up one day as the Portuguese football icon.
A big fan of Ronaldo's work ethics and fitness regime, Kohli expressed his admiration for the star footballer during a photoshoot for his IPL franchise Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Asked about his favourite athlete and what he would do if he woke up like him one day, Kohli said: "Cristiano Ronaldo!" "I would do a scan of my brain (if I woke up as Ronaldo) and see where all that mental strength comes from," Kohli said in the 'Behind The Scenes' series by RCB.
Kohli also spoke about his heartbreaking and most memorable moments of his life at RCB.
"IPL final 2016 and that same year, 2016 T20 World Cup semifinal at Wankhede against West Indies," Kohli said recalling the heartbreaking moments.
Kohli was in the form of his life in the 2016 season when he smashed 973 runs from 16 matches at an average of 81.08 -- most runs in a single season ever.
On the most memorable moment, he picked their win against Gujarat Lions in the IPL 2016 qualifier 1.
"The last game that we played in 2016 was against Delhi in Raipur. And then the very next qualifier, when AB (de Villiers) played a gun knock and Iqbal was with him at the other end.
"The celebration after that game was the most special that I have ever experienced," Kohli signed off.
The video also featured India pacer Mohammed Siraj and skipper Faf du Plessis who picked Roger Federer as his favourite athlete.
RCB take on Rajasthan Royals in their third match of the season on Tuesday.
Also Read : Sunrisers opt to bowl, Lucknow replace Chameera with Holder
News Source : PTI
Casper Ruud defeats Francisco Cerundolo to reach Miami Open finals
(Tennis news) Norwegian tennis player Casper Ruud secured his place in his first Masters 1000 final with a 6-4 6-1 win over Francisco Cerundolo in the semi finals of the Miami Open. The World Number 8 took one hour and 34 minutes to secure the win and got the decisive break of serve in the 10th game of the opening set. Argentinian player Cerundolo, currently ranked 103rd was then outclassed in the second set.
The 23 year old Casper Ruud progressed to the semi finals of the Miami Open after a three-set win over Alexander Zverev while Cerundolo reached the last four in his Masters 1000 debut after Reilly Opelka and Jannik Sinner were forced to retire due to injury. "It was a tough match, even though the scoreline said two straight sets," Ruud said. "It was tough."
Meanwhile, Carlos Alcaraz became the second youngest Miami Open finalist in history after defeating Hubert Hurkacz 7-6 (5), 7-6 (2) on Friday. The youngest finalist was Rafael Nadal, a month younger than his compatriot Carlos Alcaraz, the tournament was called NASDAQ-100 Open and Nadal lost that five setter match to Roger Federer. Alcaraz will be hoping to win his second title of the season so far, having already secured the 2022 Rio Open in February where he only lost a single set in the whole tournament.
Novak Djokovic set to play French Open after change in vaccine rules
(Tennis news) Novak Djokovic is most likely to play at Roland Garros this season after the new vaccine rules were imposed. France will be announcing new rules later this month which can provide a safe passage to the Serbian after a controversial Australian affair. Djokovic has only played 3 matches this year all at Dubai, he reached the quarterfinals and lost to Jiri Vesely.
With the decline in cases, Djokovic is expected to have a smooth run to the rest of the season after a tough opening month. By missing the Australian Open and losing his no 1 status, the 20 time Grand Slam winner will have positive results as places around the globe will go easy on the current restrictions. Djokovic had earlier said in an interview with BBC that he is willing to miss Wimbledon or Roland Garros because of his stance because of his principles but his rankings will be affected as he continues to miss events.
The 34 year old has now won 991 matches in his career, he needs 9 more matches to become the 5th player in history to have won 1000 or more matches. Rafael Nadal is in 4th place with 1043 wins, Roger Federer is in 2nd place with 1251 wins but the Spaniard has the highest win percentage of 83.31 and Djokovic comes in second with 83.21 percent.
Djokovic is also into his 19th year as a professional and hasn’t missed the French Open since making his debut at the event in 2005. He missed the Australian Open for the first time in 17 years as he had been playing at the event from 2005. This year’s clay major will witness Nadal coming back for revenge and Djokovic aiming for a 21st Slam to tie with Nadal. The 13 time French Open winner was beaten for the 2nd time by Djokovic in the semi final last year and this time, Nadal has the edge since he started the year with a 15 match win streak.
The world number 2 has been inviting criticisms about his stance on vaccination but has also received praises from former players for his bold and courageous decision. Roland Garros will be held in May and from March 14, spectators will not have to show their vaccination certificates to get access to stadiums in France. If there won’t be any change of rules by May then it is guaranteed that Djokovic will be able to defend his title.
Barty to miss Miami and Indian wells, Murray receives wildcard
(Tennis news) Ashleigh Barty has announced her withdrawal from Indian Wells and Miami events this month. Both the WTA 1000 events will be held back to back, Barty is the double defending champion in Miami. She has only played twice at Indian Wells and has not progressed beyond the fourth round. The world number 1 has won 11 matches this season along with two titles, she has only lost a single set so far against Cori Gauff in her opening match of the season at Sydney.
"I wanted to share an update on my schedule for the coming months," Barty said in a statement. "Unfortunately my body has not recovered the way I’d hoped after the Australian Open and I have not been able to adequately prepare for Indian Wells and Miami. I don’t believe I am at the level necessary to win these events and as a result I have decided to withdraw from both tournaments. I love these events and am sad not to be there competing but getting my body right must be my focus”.
The Australian has a healthy lead in the rankings as second place Barbora Krejcikova is almost 3000 points below her. Barty had won her third major at Australia a month back, she became the first from her country to win the title in 4 decades. Australian Open runner up Danielle Collins will also be missing the Indian Wells event due to an injury. Sofia Kenin will be seen in action in Indian Wells for the third time as she received a wildcard entry and will be looking to go beyond the second round for the first time.
In the ATP tour, Andy Murray will be playing at Indian Wells for the 14th time as he will play as a wildcard entry this season. Murray had first played at the tournament in 2006 where he reached the second round and lost to Nikolay Davydenko. The former world number 1 has already played 14 matches this year, he won 8 of them and reached the finals in Sydney.
The Indian Wells continues to remain the only hardcourt Masters 1000 title the right hander has not won. He had reached the finals in 2009 after beating Roger Federer but lost to Rafael Nadal in straight sets to take the runner up trophy. Murray also reached the semifinals in 2007, 2015 and both times it was Novak Djokovic who emerged on the winning side. The 3 time Grand Slam winner hasn’t won a title in 3 years and hasn’t reached a Masters 1000 final in 6 years.
There is a gap in Indian tennis but structured plan in place for future: Rohit Rajpal
New Delhi, Mar 2 (Tennis News) India's Davis Cup captain Rohit Rajpal acknowledged that there is a "gap" in Indian tennis at the moment with the next line not quite visible but asserted that a "structured plan" is in place to ensure that the fresh pool of talent emerges soon.
Speaking to the media ahead of the Davis Cup World Group 1 play-off tie against Denmark on Friday and Saturday, Rajpal was asked about the plan for the future in Indian tennis given that the squad still features a 41-year-old doubles specialist in Rohan Bopanna.
"We have a decent line-up for singles, we have a good line-up for doubles but we do have an issue that some of the players are getting older for example, Rohan is getting on the other side of 40, and that is worrying for me," Rajpal said in a press conference here.
"There is a gap in Indian tennis at this moment. We are also opening centre of excellence and sports science centre. Overall, we are trying to create a pipeline. (Davis Cup coach) Zeeshan Ali has moved to Delhi, we have picked up some kids, some more will be picked. We have a structured plan. We are trying to cover the gap. That's the effort," he added.
About the tie, Rajpal reiterated that the grass court would work to India's advantage and was especially pleased to have Yuki Bhambri back in the mix. Bhambri (863) along with Ramkumar Ramanathan (182) and Prajnesh Gunneswaran (228) make up the singles line-up.
"Ram has been playing well, he won a Challenger in the Middle East. I am very happy to have Yuki Bhambri in the team. We have been working on his fitness to make sure he is ready for the tie," Rajpal said.
Asked about the home advantage against the Danes, Rajpal said the surface certainly gives India the edge.
"It all depends who you are playing against, if you have a Federer and Nadal then you haven't won half the battle. Otherwise, the home side has advantage because you get to choose the surface," he pointed out.
Denmark Captain Frederik Nielsen agreed with that assessment.
"I trust my boys, playing on the grass court will not be the biggest upset in the history of Davis Cup but it's needless to say that it may cause some upsets to win this tie," said Nielsen.
The two captains also touched on the dying art of serve and volley in an increasingly power-driven game.
"The art of serve and volley is dying. The players are strong, athletic, stroking machines, they run down and hit back, and they hit very hard. The touch is gone, the craft is dying, which is quite sad. (But) over here you will see lot of serve volley," said Rajpal.
Nielsen was not particularly sad about the craft's fading relevance and listed the practical reasons why players are looking for big, powerful shots.
"Conditions don't suit serve and volley anymore. The players are big, the conditions are slow. The equipment is too good. It's too easy to hit and hit harder shots.
"In order to change that you have to change the surface, play on faster surfaces. There is really no benefit in encouraging serve and volley anymore. The surface encourages baseline rallies," he said.
Also Read : Novak Djokovic parts ways with long term coach Marian Vajda
News Source : PTI
Daniil Medvedev ends Novak Djokovic’s reign in ATP rankings
(Tennis news) Daniil Medvedev will create history on 28th February when he captures the no 1 ranking on the ATP tour. Medvedev will become the first player outside the big four to take the top spot, the last time it happened was in 2004 when Andy Roddick was the world number one. Since then Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray have never surrendered the top position in almost 18 years.
The 26 year old will become the third Russian after Yevgeny Kafelnikov in 1999 and Marat Safin 2000-01 to ascend to the top of the rankings. Medvedev will also become the 27th player in history to achieve the number 1 ranking on the ATP the tour, Djokovic had been holding the spot for over a year and Medvedev had his chances last year during Wimbledon but could not capture it back then.
Djokovic was trying to win the title in Dubai as he had to do well in order to delay the takeover. Djokovic's loss to Jiri Vesely in the quarterfinals confirmed the news for Medvedev who will take on Nadal in the semi final at Acapulco. An early loss for Medvedev and a deep run for Djokovic would have meant more time for the 20 time Grand Slam winner; while the current number 2 had to reach the final at Acapulco to confirm the ranking no matter what happened in Dubai.
The 2021 US Open winner first became number 2 in March 2021 but was floating around no 2 and 3 for a month, he has been sticking to number 2 since May. On Monday when the rankings will be released it will be a major change as the Serbian’s run will finally come to an end, the next gen has finally completed a key part of the mission.
Dominic Thiem’s US Open victory two years later opened the gates for the younger players as Medvedev made it bigger while beating Djokovic in a historic US Open final a few months ago. The last 2 years has seen the emergence of the next gen as they have won Grand Slams and now taken the rankings. Rafael Nadal won the Australian Open a month back, the next mission of the youngsters would be to win as many major titles as that will take care of the rankings and with time in their hands it will be a start of a new era.While there are still a lot of tournaments left in this season, it will be a positive change to the tennis community next week.
Fognini covers ground after 2 year absence at Rio
(Tennis news) Fabio Fognini made a comeback at the Rio Open after 2 years and is a match away from making his first semi finals since 2019. He has now beaten Pablo Carreno Busta twice in 9 meetings, the Spaniard was down a break in the opening set and saved two set points in the 10th game to break serve. Fognini had four chances in the 12th game to take it to the tiebreak but a speedy backhand by Pablo put an end to the set.
In the second set, a double fault by the 30 year old helped the Italian to level the match and take it to the decider. In the third set, both players started with a break of serve but it was the 34 year old who started hitting winners left and right to break serve for the 5th time in 3 hours. Fognini defeated Pablo 5-7, 6-4, 6-3.
Federico Coria also had to play a three hour match to get to the quarterfinals as he was up against Fernando Verdasco. Coria broke serve in the second game of the match and in the next two sets won the breakpoints in the third game. There were a total of 30 breakpoints and both players saved 4 each although the youngster had to face 17 of them but managed to get out of the situation. The Argentine was chasing the ball well even in the final set of the match, in the 9th game the 38 year old missed an overhead lob which gave the break and Coria served out the match. Coria defeated Verdasco 7-6 (7-2), 4-6, 6-4.
It was a rough day for Spain as four of their players were knocked out of the event. Pablo Andujar was the only one to survive the day at the expense of fellow countrymen Albert Ramos- Vinolas. Andujar had last reached the quarter final stage at Geneva in 2021 where he beat Roger Federer in the fourth round. The 36 year old had reached the semifinal in his first appearance at the event in 2014 where he lost to Rafael Nadal in a deciding set tiebreak which lasted 22 points.
Andujar was facing Albert for the 10th time and was leading with 6 victories. The pair had first met in 2005 at a challenger event in 2005 and 6 years later on the tour. The 34 year old took the 10th game under pressure due to two double faults as Andujar was 2 points away from taking the set. Unfortunately, the world number 74 after an hour and 6 minutes did win the set and took an early lead in the second.
The world number 33 was down 4-1 and 5-3 in the set but was yet to give in the quarterfinal pass to his friend. Four games in a row from 5-3 down as the match went past the two hour mark, Albert was serving at 30 all 3-2 when a double fault gifted a chance to break but it was saved thrice and he had a chance to hold serve but it drifted away quickly. All the three sets took an hour each as it was the longest match of the day. Andujar defeated Albert 7-5, 5-7, 6-3.
Roger Federer to decide on tour return during April - May
(Tennis news) There are still doubts about Roger Federer returning on tour with many seeing this as a sign of possible retirement. The 20 time Grand Slam winner last played 8 months ago at Wimbledon, he lost in the quarterfinals to Hubert Hurkacz and was even bageled in the third set. Federer will turn 41 this year in August and will complete 24 years on tour if he is able to make a comeback this season.
Federer has been struggling with knee injuries and has only played 19 matches over the past two years. The Swiss legend has had multiple surgeries which still has not brought him to full shape, he was expected to make a comeback in the second half of the season and now has said that it will be decided in April or May about the time of his comeback.
"I want to come back strong and give it everything that I have, the drive is there, I'm really motivated to do my work when I'm allowed to do.. it's still good times even though it's a little bit slow,” said Roger.
The former world number one also might return at the Laver Cup to pair with Rafael Nadal. The pair had been in the same team twice and also played doubles five years back for team Europe. The event will be held from September 23-25 at London, it will be the fifth edition of the event as team Europe has won all the titles so far.
There are records that he can break if makes a comeback as winning a Grand Slam title looks a little beyond achievable but maybe Rafael Nadal’s 21st trophy might inspire him to try harder but Federer making a comeback is more important than seeing him in a major final and can make up for the chances which were missed earlier as he has a proven track record of returning the favour.
While the next gen are moving onto winning majors, climbing up in the rankings but at the same time the big three is trying hard to maintain their winning streak. When Nadal alongside Federer were not at the US Open, Djokovic came close to winning the title and this year when Djokovic was not there; it was Nadal who took the trophy. The winning streak of the big three has not been broken completely but has weakened as the injuries have taken over trophies.
Matteo Berrettini moves to career best number 6 in ATP rankings
(Tennis news) The 2022 Australian Open has given the boost in rankings in the WTA and the ATP tour. Matteo Berrettini moved closer to the top 5 as he is now one place below Rafael Nadal in the rankings. Berrettini has 5,278 points as of now and was number before the semi final run at Australia.
Berrettini had cracked the top 100 for the first time in 2018 and entered the top 50 next year since then it has been a steady rise. The 25 year old then cracked the top 10 in a gap of eight months after the top 50 climb, the only route he has taken for the past 4 years is upwards. The Italian has his country mate in the top 10 as Jannik Sinner is ranked at 10. While Berrettini has made his move in the Grand Slams, Sinner has been going through the Masters and also progressing in the majors.
Berrettini has reached quarter finals or more in the last four Grand Slams and lost to Novak Djokovic in three of them while it was Rafael Nadal at Australia. The 2021 season was the best for Berrettini as he finished the year with 41 wins and 12 losses of which 8 was by a player in the top ten.
There has not been major changes at the top in the men’s ranking as Novak Djokovic held his top spot even after missing the Australian Open. Daniil Medvedev will again try to get on top of the rankings which has been at the control of the big four for a long time. Medvedev had his chances last year at Wimbledon and at Roland Garros but Djokovic winning the titles in both the places did not help the Russian’s cause.
Gael Monfils will have a crack at the top ten after a 2 year gap as he rose four places to be in the 16th position now. Monfils was ranked as high as 6 in 2016 after which there was not much consistency from the player. Denis Shapovalov also jumped two places to be ranked 12 as he lost the top ten status in August after a string of losses, the Canadian was close to recording an upset over Nadal at Australia. Canada has Felix Auger-Aliassime who has been in number 9 for over 3 weeks now, the 21 year old was number 10 for a week in December last year and now has been maintaining the position. Roger Federer is ranked at 30, he is out of the top 25 after 20 years as he was last ranked 30 in 2001.
Daniil Medvedev taking lessons from the 2022 Australian Open
(Tennis news) The 2022 Australian Open had its own troubles and controversies even before the players stepped on the court. The opening Grand Slam of the year navigated the focus into the players as the past three weeks were proof of the whole journey.
Daniil Medvedev too in his press conference talked about his journey and his entry to the top as a professional. The 25 year old was the strong favourite to take the title, his first Grand Slam came a few months back and he fought his way to a huge win. This time the pressure seemed to settle on the Russian’s territory.
Medvedev was quick and brutal in the first two sets of the match as it seemed like he would stop Rafael Nadal from making history. Even in the second set, Medvedev came back from 3-5 and saved a set point in the same game to settle in the tie breaker. Even in the tiebreaker the Spaniard had a 5-3 lead and then four consecutive points by the 2021 US Open winner saw him take a 2-0 set lead. Medvedev was almost there and was just a set away from winning his 2nd major.
In the third set, Medvedev squandered a 2-3 (0-40) lead as he had no answers to Nadal’s attacking winners. There are always setbacks in the game but one needs to motivate themselves to take clutch and do the deed. Medvedev has always had trouble with the audience, he has never held back from getting back at the crowd. Nadal and Roger Federer are known to be crowd pullers; their attitude on court is way better than the most of the next gen players.
The crowd seemed to have got behind Nadal as it was even pointed out by Medvedev. The next gen player needs to believe that there will always be the boos alongside fans who will cheer for him. One more important aspect of the match was after the second set the rallies became shorter as it was Nadal who did not wait for an unforced error but took the risk by forcing the opponent to move and struggle.
Medvedev also did not attack when needed, especially after the 5 hour mark when he failed to hold serve. He took the big guns whenever Nadal had the lead but could not do the same when the scorers were level. After the third set, the 21st Grand Slam pressure seemed less than the 2nd Grand Slam and the mental game seemed to fall apart for Medvedev. It affected his game, he did bring himself back in the final set from 3-5 to 5 all but again could not counter attack Nadal.
There was a 10 year gap between the two players and usually in a match that lasts for 5 and half hours the senior player is expected to exit first. Medvedev also had less variety of shots as compared to Nadal who at times used full advantage of Medvedev standing back at the court. While Medvedev started to become a bit more predictable, most of his second serves were towards Nadal’s backhand and the 20 time title winner started attacking from that side too. The next gen is still having trouble with the veterans and the youngsters need to start their journey by battling high tides of history.
Medvedev has no reason to lose hope in Australia, Nadal has lost 4 finals prior to this victory and had last won in 2009. There will be surfaces or crowds where a player has certain issues but with time those issues can be resolved. The two time runner up at Australia will be needing a lot of self motivation and a little push from others in the coming months as there are more crucial matches to catch up on.
Medvedev has indicated that he is not sure if he wants to play after turning 30 but can take inspiration from what has happened in Australia over the past few days. He has to focus on what's more important, a setback or what he can learn from the loss. He also has time in his hands, something which Nadal will most certainly cherish with his record 21st trophy.
Also read: I will try to go as far as I can and get confidence back: Musetti
I will try to go as far as I can and get confidence back: Musetti
Pune, Jan 30 (Tennis News) Emerging Italian star Lorenzo Musetti on Sunday said he is keen to make his mark in his debut appearance at the Tata Open Maharashtra tennis tournament, which begins here on Monday.
The 19-year-old second seed will start as one of the title contenders in the men's singles event in the fourth edition of South Asia’s only ATP 250 event at the Balewadi Stadium here.
“I’m here to win matches. I will try to go as far as I can and get the confidence that I used to have,” Musetti said during a virtual press conference on Sunday.
He is likely to face strong competition from top players like World No. 15 Aslan Karatsev and defending champion Jiri Vesely.
Musetti suffered first-round defeats at the season opener Adelaide 1 event and Australian Open.
“I played two good matches with two really great opponents. They showed they were playing best tennis and both the matches were close,” he said.
A Roger Federer fan, Musetti is one of the few players in the world with a strong single-handed backhand and he said it came naturally. Musetti had an impressive 2021 wherein he broke into the top-100, made Grand Slam debut and had two sets lead against the World No. 1 Novak Djokovic in a match at the French Open but retired in the fifth set. He rated that match as one of the best of his career.
“It helped me to understand a lot of things like I can be on that level and can reach there with my game. It was helpful especially for a young player who is coming on the tour. I hope to reach that level again and to play a lot of matches like that one,” Musetti concluded.
The tournament will continue till February 6.
Also Read : No change in playing style for Yuki but definitely more doubles tournament from now
News Source : PTI
Daniil Medvedev once again in middle of Grand Slam history
(Tennis news) Daniil Medvedev is once again a barricade on the way to history only this time Rafael Nadal is on the other end. A few months back it was Novak Djokovic whose attempt to win a calendar slam at the US Open was thwarted by Medvedev right at the final turn. This time it's the 2022 Australian Open, both are hardcourts and the odds are stacked evenly. Both players have so far spent 17 hours on court and have got a day’s rest to let it all out in the final.
Daniil Medvedev has lost 5 sets on his way to the final, his first major hurdle was a 3 hour battle with Nick Kyrgios in the second round then Felix Auger- Aliassime in the quarterfinals where Medevdev even saved a matchpoint. In the semifinal, the Russian was fined $12000 for his behaviour with the chair umpire and was in a hot streak after that against Stefanos Tsitsipas. He has had a simpler route than Nadal in the draw and needs to bring in the game that gave him first his major at the 2021 US Open.
Medvedev had lost to Djokovic at last year’s final but since then he has taken on bigger challenges and succeeded. He needs to extend the match and put Nadal on the backfoot as the Spaniard has already played a couple of long enduring matches. He also needs to serve the same way like he did in the semifinal as serve and volleys might actually help combat the world number five’s groundstrokes. The world number two also stands way behind the court but can choose to come in especially during the serve as the left hander is not among the top servers on the tour.
The 25 year old will need to let pressure get to Nadal as all the expectations must put down the veteran. Medvedev can bring home his 2nd Grand Slam title and once again stop one among the big three in creating history. Rafael Nadal has not broken a racquet yet in his career which shows how hard it is to break the man’s spirit. The 21st Grand Slam is on the line as he aims to become the first player to win more than 20 majors, an effort which Roger Federer and Djokovic have failed to do. The 20 time major winner has dropped 4 sets so far and has had tougher opponents than Medvedev.
Nadal is into his 29th Grand Slam final so it will be all the usual for him as he will know what to expect. This will be the first time both players meet at the Australian Open but played a 5 hour match in the final of the 2019 US Open which was Nadal’s 19th title. The 35 year old is playing his first Grand Slam since losing to Djokovic at Roland Garros last year but has a patent in making comebacks as injuries have also failed to halt his speed and strength.
In terms of court coverage, although Nadal has been around since 2001 his speed has also kept him company even after so many years. His stamina might not be the same as an opponent 10 years younger can certainly outrun him in the longer race. Nadal is into the final at Melbourne for the 6th time and has only won one of them. In 2009 he won the title beating Federer in the final, he lost to the Swiss maestro in 2017. In 2014 he lost to Stan Wawrinka and lost twice to Djokovic 10 years ago in a match that lasted 6 hours then again in 2019.
Nadal has won three matches against Medevdev but the last time they faced it was Medvedev who got ahead. Predictions are Medvedev in four or five sets but Nadal will be longing to lift the trophy after more than a decade and has chances of taking down the next gen.
Also read: Ashleigh Barty wins singles title at 2022 Australian Open
Is Serve and Volley losing its significance in the current era of Tennis?
(Tennis news) Serve and Volley was as common as the now seen tweener on the ATP tour many years ago. Over the years, the court has become slower and the rallies have become longer. Now it's about who can hold the longest not finish the quickest, serve and volley has failed to survive in today’s game. The technique is indeed tough to learn and is even harder to execute in present conditions.
The Serve and Volley is one of the toughest plays in the sport. It requires the player to immediately advance towards the net after the serve and the rallies would be shorter. Now due to the slower courts, there are more rallies as the players are at the back of the court and there is time to get to the ball. At the net, there is little time and it is more difficult to get some angles as without ball control it would make an unforced error. For a Serve and Volley, the player has to have a good serve whether it is fast or has a great angle and then has to finish it on the volley by a drop shot or sending the ball to the other side of the court.
A dying strategy which was used by every player 20 years ago is now almost extinct. Now players finish points from the baseline as the netplay has come down to a great extent, players like Feliciano Lopez and Ivo Karlovic are still heavily relying on the serve and volley. Roger Federer also used to employ the tactic in his earlier days against Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras, Goran Ivanišević and many others but he too did not use it much. Boris Becker’s diving volley in Wimbledon and Pete’s slam dunk smash at the net has been one of the end products of the serve and volley.
The racket change from the 1970’s saw it becoming lighter and the wooden ones became out of fashion. The strings have also kept changing and with the polyester strings coming into the market in the 90’s replacing the synthetic gut it has not changed ever since. The lighter rackets and better string control can give a chance to players for more control and faster movements but so far no player has been able to prove it.
The longer the player is at the net the more vulnerable he is to losing the point. The reflexes cannot work for long as it is bound to get missed or hit out. That is why the doubles game has fewer rallies as compared to the singles. The next gen players rarely use the technique as now it's more about power and the match duration has also increased. Although it has given many Grand Slams to the past players now it will be tough to come out on top.
Felicano Lopez extends Grand Slam record at 2022 Australian Open
(Tennis news) Spain has been producing resilient warriors on the ATP tour since the past two decades. The players have been standing strong on clay, grass and hardcourts with their longevity. The Spaniards have been known for playing it rough and from the baseline such as David Ferrer, Rafael Nadal, Carlos Moya, Juan Carlos Ferrero and the latest sensation Carlos Alcaraz.
The most common trait in all these players is that they have been lifting trophies playing from the baseline and their sheer power is one of the abilities. These players slid through the clay courts with dirt on their sleeves. One of the players who slides but at the net has been Feliciano Lopez, he is one of the last remaining players on tour to still practice the serve and volley.
In a time where everyone is a baseliner, Lopez has continued to use the serve and volley. The 40 year old has the record for most Masters 1000 event appearances, he played his 139th event in Indian Wells last year. Now at the 2022 Australian Open, he played his 79th consecutive Grand Slam event which dates back to the 2002 Roland Garros.
Lopez has played 178 Grand Slam singles matches and has won 98 of them. He lost in the first round of the ongoing Australian Open and his last victory at a major came here a year ago. The left hander also passed 500 wins last year on tour and became the 55th player in the history to achieve this feat. Unlike his country mates who have been struggling at grass, he has won 4 titles and two runner up trophies in singles on grass.
Lopez has also found success in doubles where he won the Roland Garros title in 2016 with Marc Lopez and also reached the finals of the US Open with him the next year. In 2019, Lopez went on to win the singles and doubles title at Queen’s club as it showed how much the sport meant to him.
In the Davis Cup held last year, the veteran was up against Andrey Rublev in the match against Russia. Lopez did not back down to the Russian’s blasting groundstrokes and won him over with a classic display of serve and volley. The world number 5 could not get through Lopez’s volley as the senior kept stretching on court to take the points and win the match.
Lopez has been playing on tour since 1997 which is the year before Roger Federer turned professional. A handful of players are left on tour who were born in the 80’s and still in the top 100 as the tour calendar contains a lot of traveling and grueling matches but players like these make the game special as they have seen how the style has changed over the years, Lopez has managed to keep his style and has kept the art alive.
Novak Djokovic has long divided opinion. Now, his legacy will be complicated even further
Melbourne, Jan 15 (Tennis News) After a convoluted and shambolic visa approval process, followed by questions about his movements over the past month and the information provided to Australian border officials, Immigration Minister Alex Hawke has cancelled Novak Djokovic’s visa.
The decision is a major blow to Djokovic, who is tied with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal at 20 Grand Slam singles titles, the most ever by a male player. While his lawyers will attempt to challenge the latest visa cancellation, Djokovic is unlikely to chase history at his most successful Grand Slam tournament.
The decision is also a blow to the Australian Open. With Federer out with injury, Djokovic and Nadal were the prime draw cards in this year’s men’s tournament. If the top-ranked Serbian player and nine-time Australian Open champion is deported, some have feared serious repercussions for the longevity of the event.
Critics have gone so far as to theorise global tennis powerbrokers might look elsewhere to host the “grand slam of the Asia-Pacific”, so as: […] to be confident the tournament can proceed smoothly with strong levels of public and government support.
In that sense, the conservative MP and former professional tennis player John Alexander had urged allowing Djokovic to stay in the country, arguing: Retaining the Australian Open as a grand slam event […] is in our national interest.
While the Australian Open’s reputation certainly has taken a hit, its status as one of the four Grand Slam tournaments has plenty of support. The longer-term damage might be to Djokovic’s legacy.
Given the extraordinary backstory to his medical exemption from COVID vaccination to enter Australia – along with the many questions that have arisen about his COVID infection in December – public opinion about him has swayed back and forth on a daily basis.
Djokovic has long been a polarising figure in tennis. Despite his athleticism, endurance and mental toughness, he has sometimes been accused of gamesmanship, “exaggerating” injuries to allow for medical pauses when an opponent has the momentum.
Like other players, Djokovic has also exhibited unruly behaviour on court, with occasional racket smashes, as well as disqualification from the 2020 US Open after recklessly – albeit accidentally – smashing a ball into a line judge.
Compared with the much-loved Federer and Nadal, Djokovic has a narrower fan base. At the Australian Open, he’s always had the effervescent support of Melbourne’s large Serbian diaspora, with their patriotic singing and flag-waving. But the mood of the rest of the crowd this year would likely have been mixed, with some undoubtedly voicing their hostility.
Indeed, local tennis fans would have good reason to chafe at Djokovic’s medical exemption from immunisation given the stringent COVID protocols they must follow to attend the Australian Open.
The tournament requires fans to be double-vaccinated or provide evidence of a medical exemption. However, unlike Djokovic’s peculiar defence, prior COVID status does not absolve local residents from the need to be double-vaccinated, with “previous infection” no basis for an exemption.
Grand slammed? Further complicating Djokovic’s legacy is the question of whether he’ll now face visa difficulties at the other tennis majors. The rapid spread of the Omicron variant may alter the rules for unvaccinated players in different countries and tournaments.
As things stand, Djokovic appears to face no vaccine-related impediment to competing at the French Open in a few months. The French sports minister has said Djokovic “would be able to take part”, although unlike vaccinated players he would need to follow “health bubble” protocols.
French President Emmanuel Macron, however, has made headlines by declaring he wants to “piss off” the unvaccinated – in part by mandating a “health pass” for public venues, a requirement for which is to be vaccinated. Whether Macron insists on changes for competitors at Roland-Garros remains to be seen.
As far as Wimbledon is concerned, unvaccinated international arrivals to the United Kingdom are currently required to take repeat COVID tests over several days, plus quarantine for ten days at a residence of their choice.
Djokovic would, presumably, look to a rent a house with a lawn tennis court attached.
The US Open seems less certain. The unvaccinated are not permitted in specific indoor venues in New York without a medical exemption.
So, if one of Djokovic’s matches on the showcourts at the US Open was affected by rain and the roof needed to be closed, it is not clear what organisers would do. He might be forced to forfeit the match.
Given Djokovic has been less prone to injury than Federer or Nadal and is coming off one of his best years on tour, he is still likely to retire with the most men’s grand slam titles. If so, he can rightfully be feted as the greatest male tennis star of all time.
But how he will be remembered is a more complicated question. In one sense, Djokovic appears to revel in being depicted as the “arch-nemesis” of Federer and Nadal – it has fuelled his desire to surpass their grand slam title hauls.
Yet, for all his tennis greatness, Djokovic often attracts eye-rolling outside the court – not simply in relation to his views on vaccines, but the wider pseudo-scientific ruminations that underpin his public pronouncements.
As the Australian tennis player Nick Kyrgios has put it, Djokovic seems “a very strange cat”.
The drama from the past week will have an effect on the way others view him, too. It will inflame his supporters, infuriate his detractors, and prompt even neutral observers to take a stand in respect to his entry to Australia. When it comes to Novak Djokovic, everyone will now surely have an opinion. (The Conversation) MRJ
Also Read : Krejcikova wins epic semi final against Kontaveit at Sydney.
News Sources : PTI
Novak Djokovic moved to quarantine hotel after being denied entry into Australia
(Tennis news) Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic has been moved to a quarantine hotel in Melbourne after being denied entry into the country when his visa was cancelled by border force officials at Melbourne airport. The 20 time Grand Slam winner was forced to stay at the airport overnight and was told he would be removed from the country later on Thursday. Djokovic’s injunction request against the visa cancellation was listed for hearing at 4pm (0500 GMT) in the Federal Circuit and Family Court.
In a televised media briefing, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said “There are no special cases, rules are rules. We will continue to make the right decisions when it comes to securing Australian borders in relation to this pandemic. Our strong border policies have been critical to Australia having one of the lowest death rates in the world from COVID, we are continuing to be vigilant.” On Wednesday, Prime Minister Morrison had reiterated that Djokovic would be “on the next plane home” if his evidence for a COVID-19 exemption proved to be unsatisfactory.
The saga has gained international and political interest with the Serbian president Aleksandar Vucic claiming harassment of its star player. Vucic said “I just finished a phone conversation with Novak Djokovic. I told our Novak that the whole of Serbia is with him, and that our authorities are taking all measures to stop the harassment of the best tennis player in the world in the shortest possible period. In accordance with all norms of international public law, Serbia will fight for Novak Djokovic, for justice and truth."
The 34 year old announced on Tuesday that he would be travelling to Australia on an "exemption permission" but was held in isolation upon arrival after attempting to enter the country on a visa that did not allow medical exemptions for those unvaccinated against COVID-19. An Australian Border Force statement read: "The ABF can confirm that Mr Djokovic failed to provide appropriate evidence to meet the entry requirements to Australia, and his visa has been subsequently cancelled. Non-citizens who do not hold a valid visa on entry or who have had their visa cancelled will be detained and removed from Australia. The ABF can confirm Mr Djokovic had access to his phone."
Djokovic has won the Australian Open nine times, including the last three years. The 34 year old was hoping to surpass Roger Federar and Rafael Nadal by winning his 21st career Grand Slam title at the start of the tennis calendar but as things stand, the prospect looks unlikely.
Novak Djokovic looking to keep next gen waiting in 2022 season
(Tennis news) Novak Djokovic is on the edge of breaking more records in the 2022 season. Djokovic will not be playing at the ATP Cup and will be eager to make his return at the 2022 Australian Open. He has played 62 matches this year and only lost 7 of them including a 27-1 record at the Grand Slams.
Djokovic’s 2021 season was a constant reminder that the next gen will have to pull off a near impossible stunt to take the Grand Slam titles away from the big three. The Serbian won his record 9th Australian Open for a hat trick of victories at Melbourne. Djokovic had an early exit at Monte Carlo as Daniel Evans handed him the first defeat of the season, at Belgrade it was a semifinal exit and Aslan Karatsev did not hesitate in a three setter match.
The world number 1 then met his arch rival Rafael Nadal at Rome in the final as it took almost 3 hours when Nadal finally lifted the trophy. It was the Spaniard’s 28th victory over Djokovic and was trailing by one in their career head to head meetings. Djokovic then got a second chance at home as he won his second title of the season, at Roland Garros the 34 year old became the first man to defeat Nadal twice at the event. Djokovic recorded his 30th victory over the king of clay and went on to win the title after losing the first two sets against Stefanos Tstisipas.
Djokovic then moved on to grass as he was one Grand Slam away from equalling Roger Federer and Nadal’s record of 20 titles. Although he looked a bit hungover from clay madness as he dropped the first set in the opening round against world number 253 Jack Draper but did not drop a set after that until the final. The record books had to be edited as Djokovic won his 20th major.
Djokovic was aiming to repeat Steffi Graf’s Golden Slam in 1988, his hopes took a huge hit when Alexander Zverev defeated him in the semifinals of the Tokyo Olympics. The 20 time major winner was visibly upset in his bronze medal match, even throwing the racquet at one point as the pressure took a toll on the champion. His next stop was at US Open, he got the Tokyo revenge over Zverev in the semifinals but Daniil Medvedev got his for the Australian Open loss. Medvedev played so well that even Djokovic’s cheeky smile disappeared and he lost the opportunity to be in the likes of Rod Laver who was the last one to win a calendar slam four decades back.
Djokovic got the final laugh over Medvedev at Paris Masters but his all year charm was turned to dust at the US Open. Although he was on top this year, the pressure has affected him to the extent that he was in tears in the middle of the match against Medvedev in the final at US Open. The record breaking run came to an end which clearly devastated Djokovic, a similar picture was painted earlier when Federer lost the Melbourne final to Nadal in 2009 as it moved the Swiss player to tears.
The 2022 season has mainly two targets. The first one is to stop the big three from winning any more Grand Slams and the second is for the big three to win a few more until they bid farewell from the game. A few more heartbreaking victories can hurt the big three more than any physical injury as the next gen will be focused on starting a new era and the time has come.
Dominic Thiem adds more woes with withdrawal from 2022 Australian Open
(Tennis news) Dominic Thiem has announced that he won't be taking part in the 2022 Australian Open. Thiem has been battling with a wrist injury since June this year, he had last played at Mallorca where retiring midway in the opening match against Adrian Mannarino. He has only played 18 matches this season and will see his ranking drop once he comes back in action at the end of next month.
"As you all know, I came back home to Austria to recover after the hard practice sessions I had in Dubai and the slight setback in my preparation. I am now feeling well again, my wrist is in optimal conditions and I am practicing normally with a very good intensity", said Thiem.
"After the short holidays, my team and I have assessed all matters and we have decided to make some changes to my initial tournament schedule: I will start the season in South America at the Cordoba Open in Argentina, end of January, and therefore I will not play this year at the Australian Open in Melbourne, a city that I love and where I have great memories of unforgettable matches in front of amazing crowds. I will miss the Australian fans but I will be back in 2023.”
The 2020 US Open champion will miss the Australian Open for the first time since making his debut in 2014. He had reached the finals last year by defeating Alexander Zverev and Rafael Nadal on the way, Novak Djokovic defeated Thiem in the final as the Serbian came back from a 2-1 set deficit in a four hour match. Thiem’s absence will also mean Austria taking a backseat at the ATP Cup as World number 119 Dennis Novak will be leading the team.
The 28 year old also won his first Grand Slam last year at the US Open and at Roland Garros he reached the quarterfinals to cap off the year as the world number 3. His current rank is 15 which will see a further fall after the first three three weeks in January. He was playing his 10th year on tour this season and failed to reach a final including a shock first round exit at Roland Garros.
Thiem has now joined Roger Federer, Milos Raonic, Stan Wawrinka as the list continues to grow for the 2022 Australian Open. Nadal so far has not given statements about missing the Slam although he tested positive a few days back. There are also questions looming about Novak Djokovic’s participation especially regarding the vaccination rules for the players entering the event. The 2022 Australian Open is set to start from 17th January as the next gen players will again play in a similar situation like the 2021 US Open.
Andy Murray receives wildcard for 2022 Australian Open
(Tennis news) Andy Murray is back in the Australian Open after two years, he last played in 2019 where he lost the opening round to Roberto Bautista Agut in a four hour marathon. Murray will be playing the Australian Open for the 14th time next year and is 2 victories away from 50 career wins at the first Grand Slam of the year.
“I’m really excited to be back playing at the Australian Open and grateful to Craig and the team for the opportunity," Murray said in a statement. "I’ve had some great times in Australia playing in front of the amazing crowds and I can’t wait to step back out on court at Melbourne Park.”
The 34 year old had one of his best streaks here a decade ago as from 2010 to 2016 he reached the finals 5 times and reached the quarterfinal and semifinal once. The Scot reached two consecutive finals twice in 2010,11 and in 2015,16; Novak Djokovic defeated him in four of the five finals while Roger Federer defeated him in the 2010 final.
Murray has been making a comeback since his hip surgery which almost brought down the curtains in his career after the 2019 event. The three time Grand Slam winner has shown strength in the toughest phase of his career as currently only Djokovic out of the big four has not suffered major injuries so far. Murray, Nadal and Federer are recovering from injuries as Federer won’t be seen in action this time.
More wildcards will be announced soon by the organizers as the five time finalist did have some convincing victories this year. He defeated Jannik Sinner, Hubert Hurkacz, Carlos Alcaraz and the list will grow next year. Murray played 29 matches this year same as Rafael Nadal and won 15 of them as Nadal had 24 wins. Nine more victories will give Murray 700 career wins which is the fourth most amongst active players after the big three.
The former world number one has never defeated Djokovic in five of their meetings at Australia, but has defeated Federer once and Nadal twice in which the Spaniard retired hurt in the second meeting. He has not faced Nadal for over 5 years, Federer for 6 years and Djokovic in 4 years and maybe the 2022 Australian Open can bring the old days back which can inspire the new gen even more.
Jurgen Melzer, Viktor Troicki bid farewell to the sport this year
(Tennis news) The 2021 season saw many players saying goodbye to the sport and they won’t be seen once the 2022 season begins. Although only few players are left who have been playing since the early 2000’s, most of them have been affected with injuries and exited the top 100 while some of them are still in the top 50. Let's look at some players who have retired this year.
Melzer has been playing on the tour since 1999 and turned 40 this year. The left hander had 350 wins in his singles and doubles career although he last played a singles match in 2018 at Vienna. His last Grand Slam match was in the 2017 Australian Open against Roger Federer in the first round, Melzer will be remembered for his two set comeback win against Novak Djokovic in the quarterfinals of the 2010 Roland Garros. That was the only instance a player beat the Serbian from two sets down, Melzer had also beaten Rafael Nadal at the Shanghai Masters 1000 that year. Melzer reached the fourth round in all the slams and the 2010 Roland Garros Semifinal was his best result.
In the doubles event, Melzer won the Wimbledon and US Open title with Philipp Petzschner. The former world number 8 also has five singles titles and retired from the singles tour in 2018.
Dolgopolov last played a match in 2018 at Rome when he suffered a wrist injury. The Ukrainian last won a title in 2017 at Buenos Aires defeating the then world number 5 Kei Nishikori in the final. Dolgopolov was known for his unconventional strokes as his forehand and backhand were unorthodox but quite effective as it was not predictable. The 6 time tour finalist had a rock solid backhand drop shot which had a huge amount of spin that made even players like Rafael Nadal and Grigor Dimitrov give up the chase.
Dolgopolov’s biggest moment came at the 2011 Australian Open where he reached the quarterfinals defeating Robin Soderling in the fourth round in a five setter match. 3 years later at Indian Wells he took out World number one Nadal in the opening round and went on to reach the semifinals where he lost to Roger Federer. In 2015, the former world number 13 reached the semifinals at Cincinnati as a qualifier.
Troicki was last seen playing a few months in the grass courts at the Cinch Championships where he reached the fourth round. The 35 year old had won three titles in the singles tour and last won a title at Sydney five years back. Troicki, Janko Tipsarevic and Djokovic were Serbia’s leasing singles players on tour until Tipsarevic retired two years back and now Troicki joined his fellow countryman. The 2020 ATP Cup saw Serbia winning the title as Troicki teamed up with Djokovic in the final doubles rubber against Spain and in the doubles he only lost one match against Chile. Troicki was the world number 11 a decade ago and is hanging up the racquets after being on the tour for 15 years.
Paolo has been on tour since 2003 although his first and only title came in 2016 making him the oldest first time singles champion since 1990. The Italian played two main tour matches this year and was one of the most hard working professionals on tour. The 40 year old cracked the top 35 in 2017 after two runner up finishes and a fourth round appearance at the US Open.
“I would like them to remember me as a player who was trying his best every time on court and was fighting until the end,” Lorenzi said. “This was the best journey of my life. I really enjoyed every moment. Every time I was on court, it was a dream that came true.”
Stefanos Tsitsipas to comeback strong for 2022 season after injury recovery
(Tennis news) Stefanos Tsitsipas is amongst the next big four in tennis along with Daniil Medvedev, Alexander Zverev and Dominic Thiem. Tsitsipas enjoyed a career best of 55 wins in a season which was one more than his 2019 season although he won 3 titles that year compared to 2 this year.
Tsitsipas started with the year with two victories at the ATP Cup and had one of the best starts to the season by reaching the last four in 7 of the next 11 events. He reached the semifinals of the Australian Open after a 4 hour quarter final battle against Rafael Nadal in one of the best matches at the tournament and had lost to him two years ago in the semifinal. Tsitsipas was a two time defending champion at Marseille but this time made a quarterfinal exit as he was beaten by Pierre-Hugues Herbert. Tsitsipas won his first title of the season at Monte Carlo which was his second biggest title after the Nitto ATP Finals win in 2019.
Tsitsipas reached the final at Barcelona to make it two consecutive finals after his win at Monte Carlo, this time he was beaten by Nadal in three sets as the final went on for 3 and half hours. At Roland Garros, Tsitsipas reached the final for the first after beating Zverev and Medvedev on the way to set up a summit clash with Novak Djokovic. After an hour, Tsitsipas took the first set even saving a set point and went on to win the second set as he inched closer to the title but Djokovic’s mental game was too good to break. The Serbian conceded five games in the next two sets and took the final set 6-4 to win his second title of the year.
Tsitsipas then lost in the first round at Wimbledon to Frances Tiafoe in straight sets but took revenge by beating him in the third round at Tokyo Olympics and lost the next match to Ugo Humbert. Tsitsipas then beat Humbert at Toronto and went on to reach the semifinals where he lost to server Reily Opelka. At Cincinnati, he again reached the semifinals but lost to Zverev after having a 4-1 lead in the third set. In the next 6 events he failed to reach the semifinals as his season came to an end at the Nitto ATP finals where he played one match and withdrew due to an elbow injury.
Tsitsipas reached his third consecutive Grand Slam semi final at Roland Garros this year. The Greek god has a classic one handed backhand like Thiem and is one of the few players to still have it. Tsitsipas showed fearlessness against Djokovic in his debut final but could not hold onto the momentum in the final stages which happens at the big stages. Tsitsipas is currently recovering from the injury and is set to make a comeback at the start of the 2022 season.
Tsitsipas will try to get a good start at the 2022 Australian Open and maybe beat Djokovic at his favorite Slam. Tsitsipas had defeated Roger Federer in the 2019 edition and this year took out Nadal so he can target big this time. Amongst the next gen, Tsitsipas is not the best in terms of court temperament as he had some issues at the US Open where had taken too much time for toilet breaks and it did not go well with Andy Murray. Tsitsipas is only 23 and winning big titles at the expense of a few racquets has been occurring for decades now.
Our aim is to increase participation and grow the sport - Prasad Kapre, CEO at touchtennis India
In India, where sporting infrastructure has been a perennial problem combined with the population, tennis has always been regarded as a rich man’s sport. After all, having access to a tennis court is not for the ordinary public and hiring a coach to teach the nuances of the game makes it quite an inaccessible sport to many. However, touchtennis is a wonderful alternative as a modified version of tennis played on a compact court with foam balls and shorter racquets. Not only does it solve the problem of space constraints but will soon become much more accessible in schools, events and housing societies.
In this exclusive interview with SPOGO, Mr. Prasad Kapre, CEO at touchtennis India speaks about the potential of the sport in the country, various initiatives planned by the organization, navigating the COVID-19 situation, overcoming challenges, future goals and more!
Q 1) As CEO of touchtennis India please share some insights on the popularity of the sport in the country, its growth and potential?
touchtennis is a very new sport and we have just launched the sport in India last year. Due to the pandemic we could not conduct many events but the activities we did in our base at Pune turned out to be successful as many people were interested and wanted to take up the sport. Once the educational institutions and offices are back, we are planning to organize school summer camps and hold league events with rankings for the adults in 2022. We are also planning to do demos in housing societies.
The game is ideal for Indian scenarios because we don't have many open areas and touchtennis does not take much space. We also lack sports facilities but the sport doesn't require specialized equipment so there is a lot of potential in the country for all age groups.
Q 2) What are the various initiatives that touchtennis India is undertaking to popularize the sport in the country?
The initiative which we have already planned is a school activation program once the schools in bigger cities start their offline class where we will give them demos. We will also start the after school program and summer school break activities as we are hoping that there won't be any more lockdowns. For the corporate employees, we will be focusing mainly on the women employees as now most of the organizations are trying to engage the women force towards health and sports. We feel that there is a lot of potential for women in the corporate sector and their participation will enhance the potential in the sport.
Q 3) What are some of your upcoming events planned in India? How are you navigating the COVID-19 situations to make them happen?
We are coordinating with schools now, as precautions we take necessary measures by sanitizing the rackets and courts but when we are in schools, we follow the school norms of social distancing, not having too many children on the court and many other things. We don’t have a specific safety protocol but tag along with the organization's health and safety protocols which we as a group tend to follow.
Q 4) What are some of the challenges that you have faced as CEO of touchtennis India? How did you overcome them?
The first and foremost challenge we faced is that not too many Indians have played tennis per se, so tennis is a very new sport for a lot of people as they are wary of whether they can pick it up as a recreational sport or not. A lot of people tend to follow tennis and try to pick up the sport by watching it but not too many people have actually played the sport. The second challenge we faced is that touchtennis is a recreational sport. As of now there isn’t a career path or it is played professionally as many parents tend to ask us ‘what's the future for my son in this sport’ so these are some of the challenges we face. In my defence I would say this is the perfect sport for the age group of 6-12 to pick up the nuances of tennis as the playing time is more and you tend to develop the cognitive skills of tennis and if you're good at touchtennis then you will indirectly be good at tennis.
Q 5) Do you believe that touchtennis in India can become as popular as mainstream tennis one day? If yes, what needs to be done to make that happen?
We're not really competing with mainstream tennis as such. More than the popularity, we want participation. The idea is to make it a people's game. We want it to be a mass participative game for which we have a nice inbuilt system that is followed globally as touchtennis is very popular in Western Europe and North America. They have a very well developed league system and ranking games. We also have our own leaderboard because everybody wants to be seen and get that recognition. Everybody wants to unleash the Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal within them. The plan is to organise more and more events where people participate and there is a healthy competition but in a recreational way. You're not really playing for money but for the recognition and the bragging rights against your friends or colleagues. That is where we see it catching up with the young and middle age audience. The two things we are going to do in the next couple of years is the proliferation of our leagues and our ranking tournaments.
Q 6) What are your long term goals as CEO of touchtennis India? How do you plan to accomplish them?
The long term goal is to make sure that touchtennis reaches every corner of India in the next 10 years. The plan is to find the right partners once we develop a holistic business model around because right now we are doing everything like going to schools for demos, running training centers ourselves but as an organisation we have limitations and can only do certain things. I wouldn't call them franchises but they need to believe in touchtennis and that they can really work on it. We will empower them, dwell them and help them to grow touchtennis in their own area depending on their capacity. That is what we are concentrating on, to grow the sport.
Thiem and Nadal cast doubts over 2022 Australian Open participation
(Tennis news) The 2022 Australian Open may have more absentees as the latest updates about Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem added doubts about their participation. Nadal has tested positive after playing at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship exhibition event in Abu Dhabi last week. The Spaniard was playing after a gap of almost 3 months, he played two matches last week against Andy Murray and Denis Shapovalov. Although he lost both the matches, Nadal was looking in shape and is now doubtful about participating in the year’s first Grand Slam.
Nadal has been playing the Australian Open since 2004 and has only missed it twice since then. He did not play in 2006 and 2013, his only title here came in 2009 while defeating Roger Federer in the final. This year, Nadal had lost in the quarter final stage to Stefanos Tsitsipas and lost to Thiem in the same round last year.
“The idea is to go there and try my best there in Australia, being 100% honest, I can’t guarantee it," Nadal said. “I need to speak with my team. It's been more than six months since the last real official match. Things are difficult and I accept that I was able to compete in both matches and even had my chances, so if we put that in perspective it’s a very positive thing.
“I went through this process unfortunately a lot of times in my tennis career but I need to practice and I need to be healthy enough to go through this process. If that happens, I’m confident that I will be back."
Meanwhile Dominic Thiem also announced that he will be missing the ATP Cup and Sydney Tennis Classic next month. His absence will be a big loss for Austria, Thiem had injured his wrist this year and was out of tour for six months. Six months back he failed to record a win at Roland Garros for the first time in his career and broke his streak of winning at least one title every season since 2015.
"I caught a cold while I was in Dubai and was unable to practice last week. I will therefore not be in the physical condition to be able to compete in the ATP Cup and Sydney ATP 250. After not competing for the last six months I cannot take the risk of coming back too early and picking up a further injury. My aim is still to play the Australian Open, but we will make a final decision on my participation by the end of December,” said Thiem.
Thiem has been featuring in the Australian Open since 2014 and reached the final last year as he lost to Novak Djokovic after taking the first two sets. The 28 year old will look to add to his US Open win last year when he comes back on tour in 2022.
Daniil Medvedev targets no 1 spot in season 2022
(Tennis news) Daniil Medvedev has been part of the next gen for the past 3 years. He got his first tour win in 2016 in Grass at Libema Open, since then he has embarked on a record breaking run on tour. Medvedev finished this year with most wins on the ATP tour as he had 63 wins. He was the only player with 60 plus wins and reached 8 finals while winning 4 of them.
Medvedev first reached the no 2 spot in rankings in March as he became the first player other than big four to take the position since Lleyton Hewitt in 2005. Medvedev had his chances at Roland Garros and Wimbledon to ascend to the world no 1 ranking but could not as Djokovic ended up winning the titles. Medvedev can become the first world number one other than the big four who have held the top spot since 2003, Andy Roddick was the last person other than the big four to become world number one 18 years ago.
Medvedev’s top moment came this year at the US Open which will forever be one of the top moments in tennis history. Medvedev was facing Novak Djokovic who was aiming to be the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to win the calendar slam. Medvedev had lost to Djokovic in the Australian Open final earlier this year in straight sets, Djokovic was the favorite given his experience and his form this year. Medvedev had 3 wins against the Serb while losing 5 in the previous 8 matches, Medvedev produced one of the most dominant performances to beat Djokovic in straight sets. It was heartbreak for Djokovic as he lost the final hurdle and it will be unsure when a chance similar to this will come next.
Medvedev also got his first victory at Roland Garros in his fifth attempt and went on to reach the quarterfinals. He also reached the Wimbledon fourth round for the first time, thus bettering his record at every Grand Slam this year. Medvedev’s breakthrough in the Grand Slam came two years ago at US Open two years where he reached the final and fought Rafael Nadal for almost five hours to take the runner up trophy.
Medvedev’s US Open victory made him the second player born in the 90’s after Dominic Thiem to win a Grand Slam title. Medvedev has now won a Grand Slam and has reached the no 2 in rankings. His next step will be to be the world number one and follow the footsteps of Roger Federer, Nadal as they are currently recovering from injuries but will be back next year. Medvedev will spearhead the next gen’s attack on the big three along with Alexander Zverev and Dominic Thiem.
Medvedev will have strong chances of becoming the world number one as he has come the closest to it than any other player in the past 15 years other than the big four. As of now, Medvedev is not plagued by injuries unlike many players even though his schedule has also been packed. Medvedev’s court coverage and baseline attack has made him one of the toughest players to beat on tour. He is 6 feet 6 inches tall but can still run and pick up tough drop shots as the 25 year old Russian is peaking at the right time. Medvedev has one clear goal for season 2022 and that is to be at the peak of the rankings.
Juan Martin del Potro expected to make comeback in 2022 season
(Tennis news) Juan Martin del Potro announced through social media that he was hoping to make a comeback on tour in the 2022 season. He last played in 2019 and has been recovering from knee injury. Del Potro has had multiple surgeries on his knee and wrist which has caused multiple breaks in his career.
"I’ve been training really hard. Some days are better than others, but always with the hope of coming back to compete early next year," Del Potro said. "It would be very special to come back to Buenos Aires and then play in Rio. As you can imagine, I’m giving my all every day so we can meet again very soon. I’ll keep you all updated with my progress. Take care.”
Del Potro's best moment on tour came in 2009 at the US Open. He became the first to defeat Roger Federer and Rafeal Nadal during the same Grand Slam. Del Potro was then 20 years old as he defeated Nadal in straight sets in the semifinal and in the final against five time defending champion Federer. Federer was only two points away from winning the title in the fourth set but Del Potro came back to win his first and only Grand Slam title. Del Potro is the only man outside the big four to win a major since the 2005 Australian Open till the 2014 Australian Open where Stan Wawrinka broke the streak. Del Potro again reached the finals at the US Open in 2018 where he lost to Novak Djokovic.
Del Potro has been one of the hardest hitters of the ball on tour. His forehands are known to reach speeds of almost 190 km/ hour and at an average of around 140 km/hour. He uses the eastern grip for his forehand and hits it flat without much wrist use. His height and long arms allows him to hit the ball even harder, he can hit hard forehands multiple times in a rally and his on the run shot has been compared to Fernando González. González is known to have one of the best forehands in tennis history as it was often used to hit powerful winners.
The Argentine is 6 feet 6 inches tall which gives him fast first serves and good reach while picking up a dropshot. His backhand is much slower than his forehand which exposes his weakness although it was much stronger in his early days before the wrist surgeries which limited the movement.
Del Potro was last seen playing in 2019 at London at Cinch Championships, he issued a walkover in the second round after falling at the net in the previous match against Denis Shapovalov. He had to undergo surgery on his right knee since then has not played a match on tour. He last won a title in 2018 at Indian wells for his first Masters 1000 title as he defeated Federer in the final.
Rafael Nadal wins Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award for the fifth time
(Tennis news) The ATP year awards came to an end with the final award winner being Rafael Nadal who won the Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship for the fourth consecutive time. He first won it in 2010 and then has been the winner since 2018. Nadal played 29 matches this year and won titles at Rome and Barcelona.
Nadal last played at Washington after which he ended the season early in August. He is currently recovering from a foot injury, the Spaniard will be seen in action in the first week of January at Melbourne. This year marked his 20th year on tour with his entry coming as a teeanger, he even won the ATP newcomer award in 2003 and 2 years later he won the most improved player of the year title.
“I can’t be happier to receive the Sportsmanship Award one more time from my colleagues on the Tour,” Nadal said. “It means a lot to me, so thanks a lot to every player that thinks that I am the right one to receive this award.
"Honestly, it means a lot to me because I try to always be correct on court. Thanks for believing in me and I wish all the very best for the 2022 season to all my colleagues on the Tour and I hope to see you soon.”
The ATP also announced the best tournaments of the year from the 250, 500 and Masters 1000 series. Qatar ExxonMobil Open was the winner in the 250 series, having won the title in 2015, 2017 and 2019. It is held in Doha at the start of the year and is played on hardcourts. Roger Federer has won it thrice with Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray winning it twice. Nadal has won the singles title once and has been a winner in doubles on four occasions.
The Erste Bank Open which has been held since 1974 won the best event in the 500 series for the first time. It is held at Vienna in October and is played on hardcourts; Alexander Zverev won the title as there have been 7 different winners in as many years. Andy Murray has won the title twice with his last title coming 2016 and Djokovic’s lone win came 14 years back. Federer had won the 2002, 2003 in which he also won the doubles in 2003.
The BNP Paribas Open also known as Indian Wells Open since it is played at Indian Wells garden. It is the first event among the nine Masters 1000 series as it is held in March but this year it was held in October due to the pandemic. It has been winning the title since 2014 except in 2020 as the event was not held for the first time because of the pandemic. Federer and Djokovic lead with 5 titles each. Nadal has won the singles event thrice and the doubles event twice with Marc Lopez.
Jenson Brooksby wins Newcomer of the year award as Federer is fan favorite
(Tennis news) Jenson Brooksby won the ATP Newcomer of the year award for his outstanding performance in 2021. Roger Federer won the fans favorite award for the 19th straight year as the 40 year old is recovering from a knee injury.
Brooksby started the year with a ranking of 314 and after 11 months he is currently ranked career best 56. The 21 year old won 15 matches this year and only had one victory on the tour prior to this year. He reached the finals at Newport and reached the semifinals in Antwerp where he defeated Reily Opelka in the opening match. Brooksby’s best came at Washington where he reached the semifinals without dropping a set and defeated Felix Auger-Aliassime, Frances Tiafoe on the way.
At the Grand Slams, Brooksby made his debut at Roland Garros and lost in the first round to Aslan Karatsev. He took revenge at the US Open by beating Karatsev in the third round and beat Taylor Fritz in round two but lost to Novak Djokovic in the fourth round. Brooksby had made his debut at the Grand Slams three years ago at the US Open. He had qualified for the Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals but had to withdraw due to an abdominal injury but he beat fellow Gen stars to win the award.
“First, after the adversity I’d faced in 2020, not being able to play any matches and just knowing what it takes to win… fighting through that adversity to win the title in my second week in South Africa. Secondly I was proud of how well I adjusted to big moments and how well I consistently did in the Challengers after winning that first title, especially in Tallahassee and Orlando during that time of the season,” Brooksby said. “I’m proud of how I’ve been committed to my process and doing the things I need to do. I know there’s still work to do in that, but I’ve made good strides this year. Third, I’m proud of how well I translated my game and my belief into the ATP Tour tournaments. I translated my game really well and I had good results starting with my first ATP tournaments.”
There was no surprise in the ATP fans favorite award as Roger Federer took home the title for the 19th straight year. Federer had only played 13 matches this year as a knee injury kept him out of the tour since July, he lost to Hubert Hurkacz at Wimbledon this year in the quarterfinals which was his last match of the season. Federer is expected to come back next season after Wimbledon.
Alexander Zverev 6 titles this season paves way for big targets in 2022
(Tennis news) Alexander Zverev has been a regular in the top ten rankings of the ATP for the past four years. The 24 year old has been winning at least one title since 2016, his breakthrough year was 2017 where he won 5 titles including two Masters 1000 events. In 2018, he kept on winning as he picked up 4 titles and his biggest title which was the Nitto ATP Finals.
Zverev won 6 titles this year, the most by a player on ATP this season. He won two Masters 1000 titles, gold at Tokyo Olympics and also finished with a second title at the year end championships. Zverev also picked up 300th career win this season at Vienna in October and finished with 59 victories, one less than his personal best of 60 wins in 2018.
The right hander is one of the most promising next gen players. He stopped Novak Djokovic in the semifinals at the Tokyo Olympics which denied the Serbian the elusive gold and also defeated Djokovic again at the semifinals of the year end championship. Zverev is a baseliner who has a steady backhand and a powerful serve which is a hard to combat mixture in hard courts. Zverev has won titles in clay and hard courts with only grass remaining in his bucket list.
Zverev reached the semifinals of a Grand Slam for the first time last year at the Australian Open and reached the finals of the US Open. This year he reached the semifinals at Roland Garros and the US Open. He has been struggling in grass courts since beginning, at Wimbledon he has not progressed beyond the fourth round.
Zverev can target the grass courts next year as he has accomplished himself as a top player to beat in clay and hard courts. With his defense and control on court, he can land titles at grass too. Zverev has two runner up finishes at Halle and beat Roger Federer in the semifinals five years back. He will also look to win his first Grand Slam title in the 2022 season as he has been reaching the last four stages continuously over the past two years, the last German to win a Grand Slam in the ATP tour was Michael Stich at WImbledon in 1991.
Zverev will begin his quest at the 2022 Australian Open, he will look to follow Boris Becker as he has won the most Grand Slams for a German player on the ATP tour. Steffi Graff had won 22 Grand Slams which is the most by a German player and Angelique Kerber was the last German to win a Grand Slam in 2018 again at Wimbledon. History has been kind to Germany in grass and it might change Zverev’s fortune next season.
Four milestones which can be covered by the big three in 2022 season
(Tennis news) The 2022 season will begin in 16 days as players get ready for new records and challenges. The big three will also have their own targets set as Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic are expected to start on time, Roger Federer said he is expecting rest till the mid season. The three players have been on tour for a very long time especially Federer as it is going to be his 24th year on tour and Djokovic is the favorite to lead the attack after his performance this year
Roger Federer career wins record
Roger Federer currently has 1251 victories on tour and needs 23 more to eclipse Jimmy Connors record and will become the all time leader on most career wins. Over the past two years he has not played many matches as he only has 14 wins from 2020 but in 2019 he had 53 so he still has the chances of beating the record next season.
Novak Djokovic 1000th career victory
Djokovic has been on tour for the past 18 years and has had 989 career wins. He can become the 5th player to record 1000 career wins and the last player to do so was his arch rival Nadal. Djokovic needs 11 more victories which he can do for sure, he is 39 matches behind Nadal and both are expected to start the 2022 tour at the same time.
Nadal reaching a final for the 19th consecutive year
Nadal has been reaching at least one singles final since 2004 and will be his 19th consecutive year if he reaches a final in the 2022 season. Nadal is only behind Federer who has reached a final for 20 consecutive years and the Spaniard leads in the title records as he has been winning a title every year since 2004. Only Djokovic and Nadal have been winning a title for more than 15 consecutive years as the Serbian has been winning a title since 2006.
21st Slam in line
This is the milestone which the three will equally focus on as they look to become the first man in history to win 20 or more Grand Slams. Although Djokovic is the one in form, his US Open final loss this year is a sign that the record might take more time. Nadal will savor his chances on Roland Garros and Federer will look for Wimbledon success as Djokovic is a threat now in all the four. The next gen will give us more surprises as they are getting stronger in each tournament.
Rafael Nadal and Domnic Thiem look to start strong in 2022 season
(Tennis news) The 2022 season is only 23 days away as many stars had to take leave early this season due to injuries. Bianca Andreescu, Serena Williams and Roger Federer have already said that they won’t be playing the Australian Open next year. The calendar for next also has seen some changes in the order of events as it is tightly packed especially in the first half with the inclusion of the ATP Cup. Many top players did not play the entire 2021 season and given below are the top four players who withdrew early from the ATP tour this year.
Federer has only played 13 matches this year with Wimbledon being his last tournament. The 20 time Grand Slam winner is 40 years old and one of the oldest players on tour. He underwent a third knee surgery in August after having two of them done last year. He also won’t be playing at the 2022 Australian Open and will mostly return mid season. He is currently ranked 16 having last won a title two years ago in Basel.
Nadal played 29 matches this year and lost just five of them. He last played at Washington, losing to Lloyd Harris in the fourth round and then underwent treatment in his foot as he called off the season. The Spaniard won two titles this year and will next be seen at the Australian Open where he and Novak Djokovic will be battling for a record 21st Grand Slam title.
The 28 year old had a disappointing season having played 18 matches and missing out on the second half of the ATP calendar. Thiem last played at Mallorca Open where he suffered a wrist injury which led him to retire in the first round against Adrian Mannarino. He had won his first Grand Slam title at the US Open last year, becoming the first player born in the 90’s to do so. Thiem is expected to return at the 2022 Australian Open, he was the runner up last year losing to Djokovic.
Wawrinka has a lot to cover next year as his ranking dropped to 64 places and is currently ranked 82 in the world. He played 6 matches this year and was seen at Doha in March after undergoing a surgery on his foot. Wawrinka again had to undergo a surgery in June and his name was not on the list for Australian Open 2022. It is not sure when Wawrinka will make his comeback on tour as the three time Grand Slam champion will be waiting to set loose his backhand on court.
Also read: AITA begins process to identify venue for Davis Cup tie against Denmark
Nominees announced for this season’s ATP awards, Casper Ruud leading with two nominations
(Tennis news) The tennis season is now fully centered around the Davis Cup which is into its final stages. It is time to celebrate the top athletes of the year as the ATP awards have stated the nominees in each category. Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic are the big missing names in the nominees as of now as there are still other categories coming up later this month. The coach of the year will be a little hard to decide as all the nominees have achieved personal milestones in the past twelve months and the coaches will be proud of their results.
Comeback Player of the Year: The player who has come back after a serious injury and has been one among the top players on the ATP Tour. Andy Murray had won it in 2019 and Vasek Pospisil won it last year. This year Murray again has a strong chance to take the title.
Thanasi Kokkinakis, Mackenzie McDonald, Andy Murray, Jack Sock
Most Improved Player of the Year: Players who have gained a significant increase in their rankings by the season end and have played well throughout the year. Andrey Rublev won the award last year and this year Ruud, Carlos Alcaraz are the favourites to win.
Carlos Alcaraz, Aslan Karatsev, Cameron Norrie, Casper Ruud
Newcomer of the Year: On among the Next Gen ATP players who are inside the top 100 and were the highlight of the season. Alcaraz had won it last year, this year Jenson Brooksby and Brandon Nakashima look to be the favourites.
Sebastian Baez, Jenson Brooksby, Juan Manuel Cerundolo, Hugo Gaston, Brandon Nakashima
Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award: The award is for the player who has maintained high standards of professionalism and competed with respect and fairness against his opponents. Nadal is the three time defending winner of the title and has won it a total of four times.
Felix Auger-Aliassime, Rafael Nadal, Casper Ruud, Frances Tiafoe
Coach of the Year: The award is voted by coaches on tour and it describes the coach who has helped his player achieve great performances in the season. Hubert won his first Masters 1000 title this year alongside Norrie, Ruud has won five titles this year, Medvedev won his first Grand Slam of the year and Alcaraz won the next Gen ATP which gave him a perfect end to the season.
Craig Boynton: Hubert Hurkacz, Gilles Cervara: Daniil Medvedev, Juan Carlos Ferrero: Carlos Alcaraz, Facundo Lugones: Cameron Norrie, Christian Ruud: Casper Ruud.
Also read: Women’s Tennis Association suspends all tournaments in China amidst Peng Shuai
Alexander Zverev claims his second ATP Finals title after defeating Daniil Medvedev
(Tennis news) Germany’s Alexander Zverev defeated reigning champion Daniil Medvedev 6-4 6-4 to win the ATP Finals title for the second time in four years, having previously won his first title at London's O2 in 2018. It was an upset by all means as the Russian was a heavy favourite to win this clash after defeating Zverev in their last five meetings.
The third seed had already defeated World Number 1 Novak Djokovic on Saturday and needed a flawless display against Medvedev to ensure a straight sets victory. By doing so, Zverev became the fourth player to defeat the top two players in the world in the semi-finals and finals of the season ending tournament and the first since Andre Agassi in 1990. Zverev had already faced Medvedev in Turin where the Russian defeated the 24 year old in a lengthy three set match but a repeat of such a result was not on the cards as Zverev took an early break in both the sets.
Such was his display that Zverev only dropped four points on serve in the first set and won 83% of first serve points, wrapping up the win with a fitting ace. Moreover, the fixture was an indication of what the next generation has in store as it was the first time since 2005 that the finalists were 25 years old or younger. The German has already won six titles of the year including an Olympic gold and said “I had to play one of my best matches, I'm super thrilled and super happy right now. There is no better way to end the season than to win here."
Despite not being as prestigious as the Grand Slams, the ATP Finals have always been a good indicator of future major champions as it features the eight leading male players of the year with the likes of Alexander Zverev, Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas possibly the next generation trio who can replicate the incredible achievements of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic. Medvedev said as much that Zverev has the potential to become a Grand Slam champion, “He is a great player who is capable of beating anybody so he definitely can win a Grand Slam, it's just obvious, but he's not the only one and that's where it gets tough” hinting at Tsitsipas. "Is he capable? Yes. Is he going to do it? We never know,” Medvedev concluded.
Novak Djokovic off to a good start at Nitto ATP Finals, Andrey Rublev knocks down Stefanos Tsitsipas
(Tennis news) Novak Djokovic has overcome many challenges and has risen up on every occasion. He did just that when he faced debutante Casper Ruud at the Nitto ATP Finals, as the opening set saw both the players exchanging long rallies and covering a lot of ground. Djokovic even had a fall in the first game but got back on his feet in no time to hit the next shot and Ruud also hit a tweener as the fireworks were present right from the beginning.
Djokovic’s defensive shields were returning every shot Ruud hit as the Serbian somehow was able to predict most of the strokes. Even though Djokovic is 12 years older to Ruud, the court coverage and the ball striking were precise and timed to perfection. Ruud also toned his groundstrokes as his patience was tested, the first set went till a tie breaker as Ruud fell short and Djokovic was halfway to victory. In the second set, Ruud could not do the same as Djokovic began building his lead as he served at 5-2 and finished the match with a wide angled serve. Djokovic now has 39 victories at the event and is second in the list alongside Ivan Lendl as Roger Federer is leading with 59 victories.
“I recovered from that fall on that breakpoint in that first game,” Djokovic said in his on-court interview. “It was very strange. I played a good forehand and came into the net and had a pretty comfortable overhead and I slipped, tripped, dropped my racquet and lost my serve. The conditions here are quite tough. If you lose your serve, it is difficult to get it back. But I managed to stay in. I am very pleased with the way I handled the match.”
Andrey Rublev beat Stefanos Tsitsipas in a one way match as Rublev’s serve added to his firepower. Tsitsipas and Rublev did not have a good run before coming at this event as Tsitsipas seemed to be worn out as the Russian did not face a single break point in the match. Tsitsipas had beaten Rublev in the finals at Monte Carlo and also met last year at ATP Finals where again Tsitsipas won.
Rublev’s serve and forehand was a successful mixture as it kept the rallies short and fast. Tsitsipas unforced errors also contributed to his loss as now the pair has split their 8 meetings with 4 wins each. In the second set, Rublev broke the Greek god’s serve in the fifth game as it gave a crucial lead once again to Rublev who kept the lead as Tstispas will wait to come in form in the next match. Rublev defeated Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4, 6-4.
In doubles, 2019 champions Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert also made their entrance with a victory over Juan Sebastián Cabal and Robert Farah in their first match. Nicolas and Herbert defeated Cabal and Robert 7-6(7-1), 6-4.
Roger Federer likely to be ruled out of the Australian Open says coach Ivan Ljubicic
(Tennis news) 20 time Grand Slam winner Roger Federer is unlikely to participate in the Australian Open as the Swiss tennis star continues to recuperate from his knee surgery. The 40 year old has not featured in any tournaments since losing in the Wimbledon quarter-finals this year.
Speaking to Stats Perform, Federer’s coach Ivan Ljubicic said “I think there are very few chances, he is still recovering and knowing him, he wants to be sure he can play to win the tournament and be at 100 percent. So I think the Australian Open is not a real possibility right now. But he will go step by step because he is 40 years old now and he needs to be patient. He cannot recover as quickly as he used to.”
The trio of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic are tied with 20 Grand Slams each and are vying to become the most successful men's singles Grand Slam champion of all time. As things stand, only Nadal is a confirmed participant at the Australian Open with Djokovic refusing to confirm or deny his attendance until Tennis Australia reveals the health protocols of the tournament.
The Australian government has revealed that they will allow unvaccinated players to compete at the Grand Slam tournament provided they undergo 14 days of quarantine and negotiations between Tennis Australia and the government are currently ongoing about the health protocols of the tournament. Djokovic has declined to disclose his vaccination status and has said it’s doubtful he will participate in the Australian Open.
Novak Djokovic aiming to end season on a winning note at Nitto ATP Finals
(Tennis news) The 51st edition of the ATP Year end finals will be up and running from tomorrow as the top eight players battle for the prestigious crown. The event is held at Turin for the first time until 2025 after being in London since 2009. Hubert Hurkacz and Casper Ruud will be making their debuts this year as they grabbed the final spots a few weeks back. Hurkacz is the only player who has less than 40 match wins this season as he has 36 wins in 56 matches. Novak Djokovic at 34 will be the oldest player in the draw this year and Casper Ruud who is 22 is the youngest.
This year there are no left handers for the first time since 2018 as Rafael Nadal is out with injury and Cameron Norrie is the second alternate. The event will be played in Pala Alpitour arena with 65 percent of the capacity as the players will enjoy the spectators presence as it was not there last year. Here are the top four players to watch out for as the event begins tomorrow.
Djokovic will be keen to win a record 6th title and tie with Roger Federer for most number of titles. The Serbian is fresh off from winning a record 6th Paris title where he defeated Daniil Medvedev in the final, Djokovic can also become the oldest man to win the title since Federer won it when he was 30 in 2011. The Serbian last won here in 2015 which was the last of his four consecutive wins and is the only man to have done it. He lost to Dominic Thiem last year at the semifinals but this year his form has made him invincible on court.
Medvedev at present has the highest chances of stopping Djokovic even though he lost to him in the finals at Paris. He is the defending champion and did not lose a match last year as he defeated Djokovic in the round robin stage and went on to beat Thiem for the title. Medvedev will be eager to become the first player in 6 years to defend a title at the event. He will look to add to his US Open victory to end the year with yet another trophy.
The 2018 champion is the only player this year to have won two Masters 1000 titles and has the joint highest number of wins this season along with Stefanos Tsitsipas as they both have won 55 matches. Zverev celebrated his 300th career win last month and has had a season worth remembering. Zverev has all the machinery to become a champion.
The Greek god had won the title in 2019 which was his first appearance at the event. Tsitsipas won his first Masters 1000 title this year at Monte Carlo and also reached the finals of a Grand Slam for the first time at the French Open. Tsitsipas retired in his opening match at the Paris Masters due to a long term right arm injury and hopefully is hundred percent fit when he plays at Turin.
The race to be world number one, next gen seeks new possibility
(Tennis news) To become the world number one in any sport is a challenge in itself, to be crowned the best of the best and to sit on top is an accomplishment for every athlete. In tennis, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray have shared the world number one ranking for a long time. The last time the four of them were not on top was in 2003 when Andy Roddick was the world number one.
This year Daniil Medvedev became the world number two as the last time the big four were not in the number two position was in 2005 when Lleyton Hewitt was number two. Medvedev has a golden chance to secure the world number one ranking if he manages to perform well in the Paris Masters and the year end Championships. Alexander Zverev also has a chance but not this year as he has to cover a huge lead to end up first, he has been one of the most consistent players over the years.
The Grand Slams have been slipping past the veterans as the next gen have been getting their hands on the trophy. Consistency is what keeps the big three on top as Andy Murray is still yet to come back to his old self, age is something that no matter how hard they control it will eventually catch up. This year the injury toll was on the rise and it showed how the curtains will fall for the former champions soon but the next gen should not wait for these players to step out of the game. This year, Djokovic went into the time machine to reach the final of all four slams but there were three different finalists and next year this might not be the case.
With the entry of new players the next gen will need to bring in the consistency card in order to reach the top ranking. In the current set of players, Dominic Thiem has been efficient in clay as well as Stefanos Tsitsipas as Medvedev has been brilliant in hardcourts. Zverev has struggled at the Grand Slams, something which he will need to look upon as the other three have reached the finals and also won slams except Tsitsipas.
The next gen should be able to play similar to the big three like how they used to play in their prime. Playing well in the slams as well as the tournaments and getting enough rest as the calendar is getting hectic year by year. They have to be careful with the injuries as it affects the career of any young player and can even end one’s career. With the year coming to an end, there are huge possibilities in 2022 as the next gen is proficient in stopping records and now they can get to know how to make them.
Grigor Dimitrov struggling with his form on tour, drops out of top twenty in rankings
(Tennis news) Grigor Dimitrov is currently ranked 28th in the world and is one of the most athletic players on tour. Dimitrov has played 35 matches this year so far while winning 20 of them, he has a similar playing style like Roger Federer and has an elegant backhand just like him.
Dimitrov has been one among many who have been in the shadows because of the dominance of the big four. His best performance in the last two years came at the 2019 US Open where he defeated Roger Federer for the first time to reach the semifinals. Since then Dimitrov has failed to reach any final of any tournament and this year reached the quarterfinals of the Australian Open beating Dominic Thiem on the way.
Dimitrov had reached the last four at San Diego Open which was his only last four appearance this year. He last reached a final of a tournament in 2018 at Rotterdam where he lost to Federer and last won a title in 2017 which was the Nitto ATP Finals. Since then Dimitrov has struggled with his form, even though he has been reaching the last eight in few of the tournaments it has been tough for him to shine at the big stage.
Dimitrov is currently playing at the Indian Wells and has reached the fourth round for the first time. He is one of the most talented players on tour but has always struggled with consistency throughout his career, with the next gen winning Grand Slams and slowly taking over the game will be causing trouble to the generation who are in the middle. Dimitrov turned 30 this year although he is much younger than the big three, he has to prove himself against the next generation. Given his talent he can do much more for sure and there is still a lot left in him.
Dimitorv has a single handed backhand which is fast and has an effective slice but the best part in his game is his athleticism and the ability to stretch. He has been known to perform trickshots at the net but will have to step up and start winning titles again. With his experience, he can dominate the game and still has time to capture a Grand Slam as he knows what it takes, having come close on many occasions. Dimitrov will face Daniil Medvedev in his next match at Indian Wells, looking at Medvedev he will know that opportunities are taken by force in this sport.
Looking back at Rafael Nadal’s record breaking run at the 2020 French Open
(Tennis news) The 2020 French Open was played from September to October instead of its usual schedule due to the pandemic. Rafael Nadal had won the last three editions and was looking for a 13th title here and 20th Grand Slam overall. Roger Federer was leading the list with 20 Slams, Nadal had 19 and Novak Djokovic came in third with 17 slams.
Nadal had lost in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open to Dominic Thiem in four sets and was looking to win his first title of the year after winning two slams the previous year. Nadal recorded two bagels in the first four matches and faced stiff competition in the quarterfinals from Jannik Sinner as the first set went till tiebreak. In the semifinals he faced Diego Schwartzman and had lost to him for the first time at Rome, the first two sets went in favour of Nadal and in the third set a tie break was needed in which the Spaniard prevailed to head into the final for a 13th time.
Nadal and Djokovic were meeting at Roland Garros for the seventh time. Djokovic had handed Nadal his second defeat at the French Open when they met last time five years ago and had beaten Nadal at the ATP finals in the beginning of the year. Beating Nadal at the French Open has been one of the most difficult tasks in the sport since 2005 and Djokovic was the favourite to do so.
Nadal began his title defense by taking the first six games as he recorded his third bagel of the tournament and went on to win the next two to take his 13th French Open and join Federer with 20 Grand Slams. Nadal had not dropped a set while winning the title and did it for the fourth time and the first time since the 2017 French Open. This has been Nadal’s last slam till date and is currently recovering from an injury in his left foot having played three slams this year.
Nadal will be 36 next year and is still the favourite to win the French Open. Given his record at the Slam in the past 16 years there is little chance anyone can topple the “King of clay” other than Djokovic as even Federer has failed in multiple attempts even at his prime he could not defeat Nadal at Roland Garros. The left hander undoubtedly is the best when it comes to the clay surface and the French Open has his name written all over, Nadal has every chance to take the crown in 2022.
Indian Wells back on tour after a year, first time champion confirmed in men’s draw this time
(Tennis news) The Indian Wells tournament will begin from 7th October as it usually is played in the month of March. It always is the first Masters 1000 event of the year but this time due to the pandemic has become the second last event of the year. It is one the most watched and attended events after the four Grand Slams. It's the first time since 2000 when any of the big three were not featured in the tournament. The men’s and women’s draw will be finalised once the qualifiers are over tomorrow.
Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have won the title every year from 2004 till now except in 2010 when Ivan Ljubicic won the title, 2018 when Juan Martin Del Potro captured the crown and in 2019 when Dominic Thiem secured his Masters 1000 title. This time there will be no former champions playing as Djokovic withdrew from the event a few days earlier, which means that there will be a first time winner.
In the women’s event, Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka will not be featuring this time. Emma Raducunu and Leylah Fernandez will be making their debut in the event and will be playing for the first time since the US Open. Former champions like Victoria Azarenka, Simona Halep and defending champion Bianca Andreescu will also be playing, making the women’s event as competitive as ever.
The Indian Wells was not held last year due to the pandemic as it was the first time that the event was cancelled since its inception in 1976. Nadal is the only left hander to win the tournament in the last 20 years and he last won it in 2013, in the women’s field the last left hander to win the event was Martina Navratilova in 1991 and is the only one.
Federer and Djokovic have won the most singles crown in the men’s field with five titles. In the women’s field nine players have the title twice but in the current players only Victoria Azarenka, Serena Williams and Kim Clijsters have won it twice. There have been three different champions in the last three editions in the men’s field and seven different champions in the women’s field.
Wildcard Kim Clijsters is playing the event for the first time in 10 years and she had last won it in 2005. Andy Murray and Jack Sock are the other prominent wild card entries. Carlos Alcaraz, Sebastian Korda, Lorenzo Musetti and Jenson Brooksby along with Coco Gauff, Iga Swiatek and Barbora Krejcikova are all making their debut at the event this time.
Andy Murray given wildcard entry into the main draw at Indian Wells
(Tennis news) British tennis player Andy Murray will be making his first appearance at the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells since 2017 after the three time Grand Slam champion was given a wildcard entry into the main draw of the prestigious California based tournament. Murray reached the quarter-finals of the Moselle Open and suffered a straight set defeat to Norway’s Casper Ruud at the San Diego Open on Thursday.
Fellow former World Number 1 and four time Grand Slam champion Kim Clijsters was also given a wildcard entry as she makes her comeback in tennis. The mother of three gave credit to Andy Murray’s resilience and desire to succeed in tennis after recovering from a hip surgery as a source of motivation.
Despite not being a Grand Slam, the BNP Paribas Open is one of the most prestigious tournaments on the tennis calendar and is usually held in March but was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. US Open winner Emma Raducanu was also given a wildcard entry for the tournament earlier this week while Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Ashleigh Barty, Serena and Venus Williams are set to miss out.
Top four players who can qualify for the ATP World Tour Finals for the first time
(Tennis news) The Nitto ATP finals will be held from November second week which will feature the top 8 players in the world. With the Sofia and San Diego Open going on, the players will look to capitalize on the two Masters 1000 series which will bring them closer to the top 8 rankings. There are a few players who have the chance to make it to the tournament for the first time.
Hubert won the Moselles Open in singles and doubles, he has won three titles this year and looks in great form. Hubert is currently in 7th position in the race for the year end championships and so far will not have trouble qualifying. All of his titles have come in hard courts and will be an added advantage for the polish number one. On his way to winning a first Masters 1000 title at Miami he recorded successive wins over Stefanos Tsitsipas and Andrey Rublev. His game does not allow him to commit many unforced errors and has excellent control at the net.
Casper is having the best year in his career as he has won four titles and all of them have come on clay. He has won 43 matches with 12 losses and recently played in the Laver Cup where he defeated Reilly Opelka in straight sets. He had reached the quarterfinals in Toronto and Cincinnati where he lost to Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev respectively. Casper had reached the last four in Madrid and Monte Carlo while defeating two top 10 players on the way. He won three successive titles in the month of July with a winning streak of fourteen matches which ended at Toronto. He is currently in 8th position to qualify for the Tour finals.
Jannik has won two titles this year both in hardcourts and reached the finals in Miami Masters 1000 losing to Hubert in two sets. He has defeated Gael Monfils in the US Open and Andrey Rublev at Barcelona, he has an attacking game as he is always looking for winners. Jannik last played in the US Open reaching the fourth round, he has already qualified for the ATP next Gen where he is the defending champion. Jannik had won the first title of the year at Melbourne where he defeated Karen Khachanov in a marathon semifinal which involved two tie breaks.
He is the youngest player in the race for the Tour Finals and along with Jannik has qualified for the ATP next Gen with his record breaking performance at the US Open. The 21 year old has progressed to the fourth round in all Slams except the French Open this year and has two runner up finishes. He had defeated Roger Federer at the Halle Open and has four wins over top ten players this year. Felix has shown great composure while playing at the Grand Slams and will be needing the same when he qualifies in the final tournament of the year.
World number 1 Novak Djokovic withdraws from the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells
(Tennis news) Five time BNP Paribas Open champion Novak Djokovic has confirmed his withdrawal from the Indian Wells, the Serbian along with the tournament organizers have confirmed.
In a twitter post, Djokovic said “I am sorry I won't get to see my fans in Indian Wells and play in the desert, my favourite place to go. I hope to see you next year!". Tommy Haas, tournament director of the BNP Paribas Open said “We are disappointed that Novak will not be able to join us at the BNP Paribas Open this fall. We hope to see him back in Tennis Paradise next March to contend for a record-setting sixth title in the desert."
The 34 year old last made an appearance at the US Open where he lost to Daniil Medvedev. The Serbian has enjoyed a successful year, winning the Australian Open, Roland Garros and Wimbledon and was attempting to become the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to win all four major honours in a single season.
Djokovic has already earned a spot at November’s ATP Finals in Turin and is on course to finish the season as World Number 1 for the seventh time, becoming the only tennis player in history to do so. His fellow greats Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have already ended their seasons while Dominic Thiem, the 2019 BNP Paribas Open champion is also out due to an injury.
Nick Kyrgios out of 2021 season due to injury, to be back next year at the Australian Open
(Tennis news) World number 96 Nick Kyrgios has become the latest player to finish his 2021 season early due to a knee injury. The Australian had featured in the Laver Cup for Team World, losing the singles against Stefanos Tsitsipas and the doubles to Tsitsipas and Andrey Rublev while partnering with John Isner.
Kyrgios had lost in the first round against Roberto Bautista Agut at the US Open and had first round exits at Toronto and Washington. His last victory came at Atlanta against Kevin Anderson in the first round. He has only played seven tournaments this year and did not play in the French Open, his best performance came in the Murray River Open where had reached the fourth round as he lost to Borna Coric.
Kyrgios lost to Dominic Thiem in the third round of the Australian Open after taking a two set lead with the match lasting for four hours and was next seen at Wimbledon where he retired mid match due to an abdominal injury against Felix Auger-Aliassime at the same stage. He has been affected by injuries this season which saw him play a total of 15 matches and had first round exits in his last three tournaments.
The 26 year old had posted in instagram saying he hadn’t been a hundred percent fit lately and in the Laver Cup said that he plans for an early retirement. Known for his temperament and skills, he is planning to return to the Australian Open next year and had reached the quarterfinals in 2015. He is regarded as one of the most talented players on tour but with a troublesome attitude and is known to be a crowd puller.
Kyrgios joins Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Dominc Thiem who have finished their season early due to injuries. Serena Williams, Venus Williams and Naomi Osaka have also ended their 2021 season as all of them hopefully will be seen on court at the first Grand Slam of the year. Last year, the pandemic had played its part on the tour as many tournaments were cancelled in the first half and this year has seen players being affected by injuries.
With only two months of tennis season left, the teenage stars will look to perform in absence of their seniors on tour. In the women’s tour, BNP Paribas Open is the next Masters 1000 tournament and the VTB Kremlin Cup starts right after Paribas Open. The year end championships will be held in November. For the men’s tour, the BNP Paribas Open will be held next month followed by the Rolex Paris Masters in November as the World Tour finals will be held from the second week of November. The fourth edition of next Gen ATP finals will start from November 9th as the youngsters will hope for a US Open scenario to happen again.
Also read: Reilly Opelka enters the top twenty rankings for the first time
Team Europe win four consecutive Rod Laver Cups with a dominant 14-1 win over Team World in Boston
(Tennis news) Team Europe won the Rod Laver Cup yet again to maintain their unbeaten run in the competition against Team World in Boston. Having already won the previous three editions held in Prague, Chicago and Geneva, Team Europe won with a margin of 14-1 to record yet another victory.
The Ryder Cup style event had Team Europe with an 11-1 lead heading into Sunday with a single win enough to guarantee the Rod Laver Cup. Doubles' pairing of Germany's Alexander Zverev and Russian Andrey Rublev defeated American Reilly Opelka and Canadian Denis Shapovalov 6-2 6-7 (4-7) 10-3. Unlike the previous editions of the Rod Laver Cup where the result went down to the wire, Team Europe comfortably won in Boston, a testament to their clinical performance.
The Rod Laver Cup format means that match victories on Friday are worth 1 point, Saturday is two points and Sunday is three points. Unlike the previous editions, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic were unavailable in the contest, which meant that Zverev, Rublev, Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Matteo Berrettini and Casper Ruud competed for Team Europe.
Team World comprised Felix Auger-Aliassime (Canada), Diego Schwartzman (Argentina), John Isner (United States) and Nick Kyrgios (Australia). Kyrgios, who lost both his singles and doubles matches for Team World at the Rod Laver Cup, has also announced that he won’t be competing in future editions of the competition. "I'm sure I won't be here again, so I took everything in this week. I will be watching from my couch, the next Laver Cup, cheering for Team World,” said Kyrgios.
In an on-court interview, Zverev said “At the end of the day, the score says that it was 14-1, but it could have gone both ways a lot of the time. We (did) a lot of hard work for this victory throughout the whole week. The group of this team has been absolutely amazing. I think a lot of us came a lot closer together and to be honest I can't wait for London next year.”
Rublev, who won a gold medal in mixed doubles at the Tokyo Olympics, commented on how special the experience was of winning the Rod Laver Cup. The Russian said “This year I had two really emotional moments. One was the Olympic gold medal and this week is the second. It's something that's going to stay forever with me."
Hubert Hurkacz wins singles and doubles at the Moselle Open
(Tennis news): Hubert Hurkacz kept his winning record in ATP finals intact as he beat Pablo Carreño Busta in the battle of top two seeds at the Moselle Open. Hubert has won three titles this year which includes the Miami Masters 1000 and Delray Beach Masters 250. Hubert had lost to Pablo in their only meeting at Cincinnati Open and will now look to enter the top ten of the rankings as there are two more Masters 1000 events coming up before the year end championships.
Hubert took almost an hour to take the first set as there were two exchanges of breaks with Pablo having had a chance to take the lead early on but Hubert broke back to level the scores. Pablo’s defensive play did stretch out the first set as Hubert won in the tiebreak, in the second set Hubert broke Pablo’s serve at 3-3 and that was all he needed to close out the match. Hubert defeated Pablo 7-6(2), 6-3.
In the doubles final, Hubert was again on the winning side with his partner Jan Zieliński as they defeated Arthur Rinderknech and Hugo Nys 7-5, 6-3. This is Hubert’s second title as he had won the title in Paris with Felix Auger-Aliassime last year and is proving himself as a player who can play from the baseline as well as from the net. His volleying skills were evident in the singles match against Pablo.
Hubert has become the seventh non French player to win the Moselle Open and the first one to win both the singles and doubles in a single edition, Arnaud Clement won the singles crown in the inaugural edition in 2003 and the doubles the next year. Hubert and Zieliński are the second Polish pair to win the title after Mariusz Fyrstenberg and Marcin Matkowski had won in 2014. Hubert had lost to Gregoire Barrere in 2019 in the third round at his first outing here.
Hubert did not drop a set in singles as well as doubles on the way to winning the crown and played a tiebreak in his last three matches. He recorded his second victory over Andy Murray as he defeated him in Cincinnati with the scores being identical and defeated the 2017 champion Peter Gojowczyk in the semifinals.
Hubert has had a breakthrough year by reaching his first Grand Slam semifinal in Wimbledon, defeating Daniil Medvdev and Roger Federer on the way. He also won titles after two years as his last title came in 2019 at the Winston Salem Cup and now is only hundred points from making a top ten entry. He is currently ranked 12th as this victory pushed him ahead of Denis Shapavalov and is only trailing 30 points behind Felix Auger-Aliassime.
Pablo was also looking for a third title this year and a first hardcourt title as both his titles came at clay. He won the Bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics defeating Novak Djokovic and had defeated Daniil Medvedev in the quarterfinals. He is currently the second highest ranked Spaniard behind Rafael Nadal, Pablo and Gael Monfils are the only ones in their thirties other than the big three in the top 20 rankings.
Also read: Hubert Hurkacz looking to make it two in two at the Moselle Open
Cristiano Ronaldo reclaims top spot of the world’s highest paid footballer, overtakes Lionel Messi according to Forbes
(Football news) The words Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are firmly associated with decades of dominance in world football, a bucket load of goals and many Ballon d’Or awards. With the number of records each of these footballers have broken, their achievements both individually and collectively with the team, it’s no wonder that both of them have also been the highest paid athletes in their respective sports for a very long time.
With both these iconic legends moving away from their clubs this summer, as Cristiano Ronaldo rejoined Manchester United and Lionel Messi shocked the sporting world by moving to Paris Saint-Germain from his boyhood club Barcelona, their new deals have also changed the dynamics of who is paid more. According to a report by Forbes, Ronaldo is now the highest paid footballer in the world, earning $125 million before taxes in the 2021/2022 season. Ofcourse, being the world’s most popular athlete with a combined number of followers amounting to nearly half a billion across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter helps, with commercial deals with Nike, Herbalife, Clear and the CR7 brand amounting to nearly $50 million of his revenue.
Only three other active athletes, namely Roger Federer ($90 million), LeBron James ($65 million) and Tiger Woods ($60 million) earn more than the Portuguese superstar commercially. However, Cristiano’s longtime rival Lionel Messi earns about $110 million, nearly $15 million less than the current Manchester United player. This is because Messi’s endorsements with Adidas, Pepsi, watchmaker Jacobs & Co. and Budweiser earn him $35 million, significantly lower than Ronaldo. Paris Saint-Germain currently employs three of the top five earners in world football with Neymar in the third position with an estimated value of $95 million and Kylian Mbappe in the fourth position with $43 million.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the top 10 highest paid footballers will earn an estimated $585 million before tax, about $15 million more than last year with salaries and bonuses amounting to nearly $415 million of the total. These figures are despite the report by Europe’s governing body UEFA, which claimed top flight clubs endured an $8.5 million pandemic related revenue loss.
Boston to host the fourth edition of the Laver Cup, New generation leading the pack
(Tennis news): Laver Cup will begin from 24th of September and will be led by the next generation as the big three won’t be taking part this time. Team Europe is led by the US Open champion Daniil Medvedev and Diego Schwartzman will be leading team World, the tournament is back after a year as it was not held last year due to the pandemic.
The Laver Cup is played in honour of the living legend Rod Laver who dominated the game during the early 60’s and set records which still stands today. He is the only man to have achieved a calendar year slam and was the first player to do it when he won all the four slams in 1969. He played left handed and had strong groundstrokes along with an attacking serve and volley.
Laver also became the first Open era champion at Wimbledon in 1968, he had a total of 198 titles with 111 titles coming in the Open era. He also played doubles, winning all the slams except the US Open in the pre open era and won the Australian Open and Wimbledon in the open era. He was one of the highest paid players and had a total of 11 slams in which 5 of them came in the open era. Laver had laid the foundation for tennis, he was even present in this year’s US Open final and Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne is named after him.
The Laver Cup was created by Roger Federer’s management company TEAM8 along with former player Jorge Paulo Lemann with a partnership of Tennis Australia. It is based on the Ryders Cup in Golf and the top players from the US play against top professionals from Europe. The Laver has two teams, team Europe and team world and there six players in each team who will be captained by a legend in the sport. The current captain for team Europe is Bjorn Borg and vice captain being Thomas Enqvist as for the team world they are being captained by John Mcenroe and the vice captain being Patrick Mcenroe.
The Laver Cup does not have ATP points and is played between the top players. The players are chosen according to team ranking and the captain also chooses players, Team Europe has won the first three editions of the game and Alexander Zverev is the only one player from team Europe to feature in all the editions. John Isner and Nick Kyrgios and have also been part of all the editions in team world.
The first edition was notable as Federer and Rafael Nadal were part of the doubles team and in the second edition Federer and Novak Djokovic were part of the doubles team. There were outstanding performances from Sock in the doubles, Isner and Kyrgios in the singles. All the players watch the match on the court and also receive coaching during the match from the captain and the players.
Team Europe: Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Alexander Zverev, Andrey Rublev, Matteo Berrettini and Casper Ruud.
Team World: Félix Auger-Aliassime, Denis Shapovalov, Diego Schwartzman, Reilly Opelka, John Isner and Nick Kyrgios.
John Isner is the only player this time who is aged above 30 as the rest of the players are all in their twenties. Isner who is 36 is the oldest and Félix Auger-Aliassime who is 21 is the youngest this time. Team Europe is filled with youngsters and is the favourite to win the Cup as for Team world they will look to hold the cup for the first time.
The 21st Slam in 2022 or the end of the big three reign, two groups on two different missions
(Tennis news) With the end of the final Grand Slam this year, the big three will start next year with 20 Grand Slams and there will be pressure on each of them when they face their younger rivals who are also on a mission. The US Open final saw youngsters all over the place as the older players just couldn’t match the energy with their juniors.
Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, the three greatest players whose rivalry has a new target. Federer and Nadal are plagued by injuries as they would not be competing this year, something which was supposed to clear the route for Djokovic but the next generation came in the way. The Australian Open next year will be a must watch as now the draw is hard to predict.
Focusing on the big three’s mission, Djokovic is the youngest as he is 34 years old with Nadal being a year older and Federer at 40 being the oldest. Djokovic is aging gracefully as he has reached the last four finals at the Grand Slam and won three of them which means that he is the clear favourite on any surface. Djokovic is the third man to win all the Grand Slams twice and the first one in over four decades, he defeated Nadal in the semifinals at the French Open this year and also saved two match points in the final at Wimbledon against Federer two years back.
Nadal has his best chances at the French Open which he has won a record 13 times. Even though he is affected by injury a comeback is never off the charts and is a fighter off court too. Nadal’s attacking style has cost him multiple times but he has the never give up spirit which even troubled Federer at his prime. Nadal has struggled in Wimbledon and also in Australian Open, French Open has been his home and the US Open also has been kind to him in recent times.
Federer was written off by critics 4 years back as he had not won a Slam since 2012. In the 2017 season he came back from an injury and made one of the most inspiring comebacks by winning two slams in the year which included a record 8th Wimbledon title. Federer is always a contender even though his last Slam was the Australian Open which he won three years ago and will hope to come back next year to further add more records in his glittering career. Maybe even a dream US Open clash facing Rafael Nadal as both of them have never played at Flushing Meadows.
The second mission is spearheaded by the newly crowned US Open champion Daniil Medvedev followed by Alexander Zverev, Dominic Thiem and Stefanos Tsitsipas. These players are most likely to take the game ahead in the coming years when the big three step out of the court. They have the potential to win slams even if the big three is on the way and even if the odds are against them as seen at the US Open.
Dominic Thiem and Daniil Medvedev are the only players to win a Slam in their pack. Zverev and Tsitsipas have reached the finals of a Slam and are expecting to open their tally next year. This year there were a lot of matches where these players made up for the absence of the veterans. Players like Matteo Berrettini who made the Wimbledon final, Andrey Rublev, Felix Auger Aliassime, Denis Shapovalov are also not far behind in troubling the big three and the emergence of even younger players like Carlos Alcaraz Garfia, Jannik Sinner, Lorenzo Musetti and Jenson Brooksby add more woes to the seniors.
Next year it might not even be about who will win the 21st Slam. It will be about who’s going to take the baton or to rephrase who’s going to grab it as the chances are high that the younger generation start their dominance and assert their presence on court. These players are ready to make history and take what is rightfully theirs, the courts are going to get messy but that's what happens in an invasion.
Also read: Daniil Medvedev’s groundbreaking run at the US Open gives hope to the next generation of stars
Daniil Medvedev’s groundbreaking run at the US Open gives hope to the next generation of stars
(Tennis news): Daniil Medvedev has pulled off one of the biggest upsets in tennis history as he defeated Novak Djokovic in the most unforeseen circumstances at the US Open. The odds were against Medvedev as he was facing arguably the most versatile tennis player on the planet but Medvedev put all that aside and did not let Djokovic in his head.
Djokovic was having the best possible year as he was unbeaten in Grand Slams and was looking to repeat the feat achieved by Rod Laver in 1969. Rod Laver was himself present in the crowd as his record was in danger but as the match started the record seemed to move further away. Medvedev played like he had nothing to lose and just broke Djokovic mentally as the pressure to win the calendar slam rocketed.
Djokovic lost the opening set as he had done previously in the last four matches and he had always come back in those matches but this time it looked like it was getting delayed as Medvedev did not falter at any point of time and kept winning points as he looked at the crowd which was witnessing a major upset.
Djokovic changed his shirt in the beginning of the last set as he tried one last time to make a comeback and there was a slight hope that the match would go another set and the crowd was suddenly chanting for Djokovic’s revival. Djokovic had the lost the first set at Wimbledon against Matteo Berrettini but even more notable was that he had the lost the first two sets against Stefanos Tsitsipas at the French Open but found ways to finish with the trophy in hand.
It was looking as if Medvedev had lost control and would choke in the end but Medvedev made sure the crowd would get the answer quick and clear. Maybe the Australian Open final against Djokovic in the year beginning played a major part in Medvedev’s victory or the pressure got to Djokovic in winning the calendar slam which does not seem likely.
The match saw both the players becoming emotional as there was a lot at stake especially for Djokovic. Djokovic was also seen smiling in the end as it reminded the crowd of the same grin which was there 10 years back when Djokovic saved one of the match points against Roger Federer in the semifinal with a powerful cross court forehand. This time Djokovic was seen in tears as he put the towel in his face before the last game and Medvedev who is known for his celebrations which involves a smile or just a thumbs up also did not hold back as he just fell on the court after winning the last point.
This victory is one of the most significant victories ever in the game, Rafael Nadal was defeated for the first time at the French Open in 2009 by Robin Soderling and it was a huge victory as Nadal had won the last four titles. Roger Federer was defeated in the same year at the US Open final by Juan Martín del Potro and Federer had won the last five titles. Nadal was defeated by the brutal strength of Soderling’s forehand and Federer was annihilated by Potro’s forehand, but the difference here is Djokovic had won all the Slams in the year, something which had not happened in the last 52 years.
Roger Federer was known for his ability to excel in all the surfaces but even he had his troubles in clay as he struggled especially against Nadal. Djokovic has proved himself to be a court player as he has continued to win no matter what the surface or opponent is but will be wondering what went wrong against Medvedev.
Medvedev stopped Djokovic from a historic calendar Slam and also from a record 21st Grand Slam title. Medvedev had already lost to Djokovic in the Australian Open final but none of that mattered to him when he played the final here at the US Open. Medvedev has now cemented his place in the list of greatest upsets and is the second man born in the 90’s to win a Grand Slam after Dominic Thiem took the title here last year.
Daniil Medvedev will celebrate his achievement now as he will lift the trophy and make sure he gets more next year. As for Djokovic it will be a painful defeat as he was only victory away but being the athlete he is there is no need to wait for him to bounce back. Djokovic will look to defend the titles next year and hope to give company to Rod Laver next time.
Also read: Paralympic stars Dylan Alcott and Diede de Groot create history by winning the Golden Slam in wheelchair tennis
Joe Salisbury and Rajeev Ram win doubles title at the US Open, Novak Djokovic and Daniil Medvedev reach summit clash
(Tennis news): In Men’s Singles, Daniil Medvedev proved why he is the world number 2 as outsmarted Felix Auger Aliassime in the semifinals of the US Open. Medvedev has been finishing matches quickly in the tournament so far and the semifinal was no different. Felix started well as he came into the net and picked up a few points in the first set but Medvedev was always a step ahead.
In the second set Felix gave his best shot as he raked up a 5-2 lead and even had a set point at 5-4 even as Medvedev slowly started coming back. Medvedev took the second set as he reeled off the final five games and the third set saw Felix making an exit from his best ever performance in a Grand Slam. Medvedev defeated Felix 6-4, 7-5, 6-2
Novak Djokovic beat Alexander Zverev for the third time this year to reach the finals of the US Open. Djokovic made sure what happened in Tokyo stayed in Tokyo as he did not let his guard down and kept fighting till the last point. Djokovic repeatedly came into the net to outplay Zverev, Zverev then could not get the ball past him. Although Djokovic won the match it certainly brought out some great rallies from the players. Djokovic defeated Zverev 4-6, 6-2, 6-4, 4-6, 6-2.
Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Andy Murray have been exchanging the world number one ranking since 2004. The last time someone outside the big four became world number was in 2003 when Andy Roddick was on top and Daniil Medvedev has a chance to topple Djokovic if he manages to stop him in the final.
Djokovic is reaching the finals of all the Slams for the second time as he did it first in 2015. The last Calendar Slam was achieved by Steffi Graf in 1988 and in the Men’s field by Rod Laver in 1969. Djokovic will be under pressure as he is going to break many records when he steps on the court against Medvedev, but he has excelled in times like these and acts quick in times of crisis.
Djokovic is the hot favourite to win the Championship as Medvedev continues to spearhead the next generation against the big three. Medvedev has it in him to stage an upset and if he does it will be one to be remembered for ages. Whatever the result is on Monday it will be historic and a landmark in the sport.
In Men’s Doubles, Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury won the title as they defeated Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares 3-6, 6-2, 6-2. Rajeev and Joe did not let the first set defeat wear them down as they played aggressively against the error free pair of Jamie and Bruno.
Rajeev and Joe won the Australian Open last year and also reached the final this time. They will look to compete in the year end Championships but for now will celebrate the victory here.
In Women’s Doubles, the pair of Caty McNally and Cori Gauff have reached the finals and will play against Samantha Stosur and Zhang Shuai. Cori and Caty received a walkover in the semifinals against Luisa Stefani and Gabriela Dabrowski. Meanwhile Samantha and Zhang defeated Desirae Krawczyk and Alexa Guarachi 6-2, 7-5 to make it to the finals.
Caty and Cori upset top seeds Hsieh Su-wei and Elise Mertens in the quarterfinals, Cori is only 17 years old and Caty is 19 as Samantha is 37 years old and Zhang is 32. The US Open is indeed an entrance for future superstars as many veterans made their breakthroughs at New York. Samantha Stosur won the Singles title in 2011 and the doubles title in 2005 and it will be interesting to see how they perform against the teenagers given their success at the Singles this time. The Women’s Singles and doubles final will take place tomorrow.
In Mixed Doubles, Giuliana Olmos and Marcelo Arévalo will face Joe Salisbury and Desirae Krawczyk in the championship match. Giuliana and Marcelo defeated Max Purcell and Dayana Yastremska 4-6, 6-4, 10-6 in the semifinals and will expect to have a tough fight against Joe and Desirae. Joe and Desirae defeated Jessica Pegula and Austin Krajicek 7-6(7-2), 6-4 to save some energy for the finals. The finals will be played today.
Also read: Teenagers Emma Raducanu and Leylah Fernandez into the finals of the US Open
Young Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz is breaking records one step at a time
(Tennis news): Carlos Alcaraz Garfia is just 18 years old and already making heavy strides in the game. The US Open has been his major spotlight although he has been making progress since the start of the year. At the start of the 2019 season, he was ranked 490 and by the end of the year he was ranked 130. In 2020 he started the year ranked 130 and the rankings didn't change much as there were few tournaments taking place. He has made his debut in all the Grand Slams this year.
In the 2021 season, Alcaraz made his Grand Slam debut at the Australian Open where he beat Botic van de Zandschulp in the first round but lost to Mikael Ymer in the next round. His major breakthrough came in the AnyTech365 Andalucia Open, a 250 tier tournament where he made the semifinals beating Feliciano Lopez, Casper Ruud on the way. Alcaraz also faced his idol Rafael Nadal in the third round of the Madrid Masters 1000 losing in straight sets.
In the French Open, Alcaraz won his opening match against Nikoloz Basilashvili but lost his next match to Jan-Lennard Struff. In Wimbledon too he won his first match against Yasutaka Uchiyama and in the next match lost to Daniil Medvedev. His next tournament, the Croatia Open 250 will always be special to him as he beat Filip Krajinovic, Albert Ramos-Vinolas and in the final demolished Richard Gasquet for his first ATP tour title.
The Croatia Open has an interesting history behind it. Alcaraz’s coach, Juan Carlos Ferrero had won it in 2010. Novak Djokovic also made his tour level appearance in Umag back in 2003 when Alcaraz was born. The year 2003 is also when Rafael Nadal made his Grand Slam debut and Roger Federer won Wimbledon which was his first Grand Slam title. Alcaraz has a lot of players he can look upto especially his own countrymen, he considers Nadal as his idol.
Juan Carlos Ferrero, a former world number 1 and French Open winner in 2003 has been instrumental in the young Spaniard’s career. He has been coaching him since 2018 and has been bringing in changes constantly especially on his aggressive play. Stefanos Tsitsipas said that he has never seen anybody striking the ball that hard after losing to Alcaraz in the fourth round of the ongoing US Open.
Alcaraz is a right hander and plays a two handed backhand, he employs his powerful forehand to hit winners and also uses a drop shot as he can also finish off points in the net. His endurance was heavily tested against Stefanos Tsitsipas in the fourth round of the US Open, the match lasted for over four hours and Alcaraz had covered 9kms in distance during the match. Although he is young, he has the strength and grit to trouble the top players.
Alcaraz is the youngest Grand Slam quarter finalist since Michael Chang in the 1990 French Open and is the youngest to reach the US Open quarterfinals since 1963. He is the youngest man from Spain to reach the US Open fourth round since Nadal in 2006, Nadal had lost in the quarterfinals to Mikhail Youzhny that year. Alcaraz is also the youngest player to beat a top three ranked opponent since the start of the ATP rankings in 1973.
Alcaraz has a lot to look forward to since he has just started his career and has done it in the best way possible. 16 years ago, on a different surface another aggressive young Spaniard won his first Grand Slam and now will be looking for a successor. Nadal has set the bar high for the future players from Spain, Alcaraz has his targets in sight as he will try to reach the last four and maybe even face Novak Djokovic in a thrilling battle. There are a lot of expectations from the young lad as he will try to break in the next Gen which will be carrying the tour hopefully soon. Alcaraz has been a major headline of this year’s US Open and who knows might even lift a Grand Slam in a year or two.
The tour has seen a lot of youngsters making the top cut, but someone so young shining in the Grand Slams has not been seen in recent years. The pressure and facing the crowds itself is a difficult task and adding to facing top players who have had years of experience. Alcaraz doesn't seem to be distracted by all this as he is now a crowd favourite and showed his best tennis in Arthur Ashe Stadium which is the largest tennis stadium in the world. He will next face Felix Auger Aliassime who is also a rising star himself, it will be a eye dropping battle as the crafty Canadian will take on the aggressive rough Spaniard. A battle of the future stars and they have indeed added more spice in the tournament. The future of tennis is in safe hands and the ball is in the court, let's admire the show while it lasts.
Also read: Novak Djokovic four victories away from making history at the US Open, Leylah Fernandez knocks out Angelique Kerber in fourth round clash
Novak Djokovic aims to break multiple records, 21st Grand Slam on sight
(Tennis news): There are certain instances in history where the chances of a particular event happening is nearly impossible but everyone wants it to happen as that little desire, that little madness which jumps across logic and imagination takes over statistics and science. Time plays a crucial role here as Rod Laver was the last man to win all the four Grand Slams in a year and it was 52 years ago. Novak Djokovic is chasing history and is en route to become the greatest ever. In a sport that requires stamina, agility, strength and speed, abilities a young 18 year old or a 20 year old should possess but that has not been the case here for the past 17 years. The big four have shattered the stereotypes and broken all physical barriers that built the sport earlier, they have quantum leaped and have rebuilt the game.
Djokovic burst into the Tennis world in 2008 when Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer were sharing the spotlight in the court no matter what the surface they played on. It was supposed to be a predictable final but two young gentlemen decided to take matters into their own hands. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga simply broke Nadal’s defense and Djokovic made sure Federer gave him company afterwards. Both the semifinals were whitewashed in straight sets, Tsonga was the biggest surprise as Djokovic had earlier reached the US Open finals in the previous year. Djokovic prevailed in the final over the frenchmen to win his first Grand Slam title.
Djokovic’s breakthrough year was in 2011 where he won three of the four Grand Slams and looked unbeatable the whole year. Even in 2015 he again won three of the four Grand Slams and was sweeping the Masters 1000 titles. But there was one similarity in both the years, he lost in the French Open and both the defeats featured swiss players with one handed backhand. Federer defeated Djokovic in the 2011 semi final of the French Open and Stan Wawrinka defeated him in the 2015 Final. Both the Swiss players won't be playing in this year’s US Open due to an injury and this year things are different, Djokovic not only captured the French Open but defeated Nadal in the semi final. Nadal has won the French Open a record 13 times and Djokovic is the only player to defeat him twice at the French Open.
Djokovic is an aggressive player who has the current best backhand in the world as it is effective on both sides of the court. His defense is outstanding and can turn into a Rahul Dravid when needed, he is very flexible on court and oftens employs it to win some breathtaking points and not to mention his speed. Overall he can perform every possible stunt in the court but has not been impressive in the net play as his smash has been the best on tour. Djokovic is also a great returner of the serve and to serve an ace will require loads of luck and power.
Djokovic has won the US Open three times with the last one coming in 2018 when he defeated Juan Martin Del Potro in the final. Last year he was defaulted from the tournament while accidentally hitting a line official in the throat with a tennis ball during his fourth round match. Djokovic will look to change things this year and continue his exceptional season.
This year Djokovic has played 43 matches and lost only five of them. He won the Australian Open for a record 9th time as he defeated Daniil Medvedev in the title match, won the French Open defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final and won Wimbledon by beating Matteo Berrettini in the final match. Djokovic will look to be in his best shape, especially mentally as he has a lot riding on him and the pressure might get into him as seen in the Tokyo Olympics. But he has been known to have one of the strongest mental games in the sport and has played mind blowing tennis under pressure. Djokovic will face stern competition from Alexander Zverev, Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev. Djokovic has an all round game so tactics won't be much of a use and if he is on form then Rod Laver just might get company.
Djokovic is the favourite to win this time and will take some monumental tennis to shake him up from the top. He is the perfect embodiment of a tennis player and there is no reason why he won’t win his record 21st Grand Slam. Djokovic lost his last match to Zverev but in Grand Slams it is tough to uproot Djokovic and we can expect some shocks in the first few days. Djokovic will look to be calm and only let the court decide who is the winner and keep his racket intact and break the milestones.
Also read: A new chapter is beginning to unfold with the next generation of tennis stars hungrier than ever
A new chapter is beginning to unfold with the next generation of tennis stars hungrier than ever
(Tennis news): In every sport there are moments where a new generation of players take over, the baton is exchanged as the young ones carry legacy forward. In tennis since the late 90s, the William sisters started dominating the Women’s tour, Roger Federer came into the frame in 2003, Rafael Nadal came in 2005 and Novak Djkovic in 2008 and since then these players have taken the sport to new heights. The matches have been nothing short of epic, the courts have seen rallies that brought the spectators to their feet and for over two decades, these athletes have shown extraordinary skills that have kept them on the top of the game for so long.
Only few sports have seen athletes dominating for so long in the international era, Sachin Tendulkar, Carl Lewis, Peter Gade, Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo to name a few. It takes years of dedication and hardwork to excel in the field for such a long time, it is even tougher to deal with it when they start ageing. It's only a matter of years when we see some legends of the game retire and watch others script history.
Last year’s US Open saw history in the making as Dominic Thiem became the first male player born in the 90’s to win a Grand Slam title, he finally broke the jinx as it was time for the young stars to shine and take the spotlight. This year, Novak Djokovic has won all the Grand Slams but has faced tough competitions from the younger players. He was outmatched by Alexander Zverev in the Tokyo Olympics Semifinals and will now have to wait three more years for the prestigious Gold. He left Tokyo without a medal after losing in the Bronze medal playoff Djokovic lost to Pablo Carreño Busta.
The 2021 season has seen 6 Masters 1000 tournaments take place, Rafael Nadal was the oldest winner aged 35 as the second oldest is Daniil Medvedev aged 25. Five of the tournaments were won by players born in the 90’s and one was won by Nadal. All the finalists were also born in the 90’s except in Rome where Djokovic lost to Nadal. Times like these are inevitable and happen in every field, although it had not happened in tennis for a very long time.
Also read: Ashleigh Barty back in the US Open, aiming to win her 2nd Major this year
The new generation players have come out in top form in recent times, with Thiem leading with a Grand Slam title, Daniil Medvedev is a two time finalist, Alexander Zverev is a Olympic champion, Stefanos Tsitsipas is also Grand Slam finalist. They have led the younger players and have played some great matches against their idols which brings in the question of who’s next. Who will set the benchmark now, who will lead the force and what new records will be made. Reily Opelka has served his way into the top 25 Singles ranking with a semifinal finish in Rome and a runner up in Toronto Open. Pete Sampras set the bars high when he finished with 14 slams but now records are tumbling in every slam. Serve and volley are not used as much anymore as trickshots and power are winning matches now.
Alexander Zverev has a great return percentage with a steady backhand and he is also very athletic when it comes to drop shops and volleys. Daniil Medvedev is 6 feet 6 inches but his movements on court don't reflect his height as he is very swift and has an unorthodox style in his forehand and backhand, he can cause real damage as he is also mentally tough. Medvedev was booed multiple times last year in the US Open but faced it like a true champion and even said that it's because of the crowd’s behaviour he won certain matches. Tsitsipas reached the finals of the French Open and is expected to strike when he enters the court next week. Andrey Rublev is also a major contender who can use his extremely powerful groundstrokes to finish off points especially in the hardcourt, Nick Kyrgios has had a poor show in recent events but can produce magic when in form.
In the Women’s competition, Naomi Osaka has won four Grand Slams and will turn 24 in two months. She is the defending champion and won her first major title here, Ashleigh Barty also looks to continue her great season forward as she looks to win her second major and 6th title this year. Barbora Krejčíková is having one of the best seasons in Singles ever, she started this year with a ranking of 65 and now is ranked 9th. Barbora won her first Singles Grand Slam by capturing the French Open along with the Doubles title and also won the mixed doubles title in the Australian Open.
The US Open starts from August 30th and many top players have pulled out as injuries have made them rest for now. As older players also take more time to recover, their future endeavours look doubtful. The younger ones look fitter than ever and ready to write a new chapter in the game.
Interesting fact: This is the first time in 24 years that neither Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Serena Williams and Venus Williams are not featuring in a Grand Slam draw.
Alexander Zverev waiting to halt Novak Djokovic from a historic Grand Slam victory
(Tennis news): Alexander Zverev is on a roll this year, winning the last two tournaments he has entered. He has won four titles this year, including two Masters 1000 and an Olympic Gold. He is one of the players who has beaten Novak Djokovic this year. Zverev stopped him in the Tokyo Olympic semi finals, denying Djokovic a chance for an Olympic Gold and this time he will be trying to stop him from winning a calendar slam. The calendar slam was last achieved in 1969 by Rod Laver in the Men’s tour and Steffi Graf in 1988 in the Women’s tour. Zverev is the second German player after Steffi Graf to win the Olympic Gold in Singles and the first German man to do it.
Zverev last year entered the finals of the US Open and was on the course of winning his first title when he was up two sets against Dominic Thiem but fumbled in the next three sets. He will look to win his first Grand Slam and has been in exceptional form in hard courts as three of his four titles this year have come in hard courts. Zverev has faced Djokovic nine times overall, winning thrice. The pair has met thrice this year with Djokovic leading 2-1, they have met in the Grand Slam twice and Zverev is looking for a maiden win against him at the majors.
Their first meeting was back in 2017 in the Rome Masters 1000 final when a 20 year old Zverev prevailed over Djokovic in straight sets to take the title. They last met in the Tokyo Olympics where Zverev shocked the World number 1 in three sets on the way to winning the Gold medal. He is known to handle high pressure, the best one coming in 2018 in the Nitto ATP finals against Novak Djokovic and came out blazing to take the trophy in just his second attempt against the five time champion.
Also read: Serena Willams hoping for a comeback, looking to win first major since 2017
Zverev has a strong return percentage in the tour, he also has a fast first serve. He can move around the court as quick with his feet, he also has a powerful reliable backhand along with a strong forehand which will play a crucial role as he will start his preparations. His backhand is one of the best in the game and also is very agile. He also volleys from time to time and uses his height in the net. Zverev is one of the top players in the next gen and a possible future world number no 1.
In the Cincinnati Open, Zverev only lost a single set on the way to winning the tournament. He lost a set in the semifinals against Stefanos Tsitsipas and showed no signs of trouble when he defeated Andrey Rublev in the final. He is currently on a 11 match winning streak and last lost to Felix Auger Aliassime in fourth round of Wimbledon even after winning the first two sets. Zverev will need to be at his best against Djokovic as power and speed won’t guarantee victory, he will look to break Djokvic’s defense and fire aces to put the brakes on a calendar slam. Zverev will also be looking to close in the mental edge over Djokovic as he will look to remind him of Tokyo but Djokovic is on top form this year. Djokovic has won three slams in a year for a third time and won't be thinking of stopping there.
The Serbian had a similar run in 2015 and 2011 where he won three slams and both the years faced losses in French Open. Roger Federer defeated him in the semifinal of the French Open in 2011 and Stan Wawrinka defeated him in the final of the French Open in 2015. Zverev will have to produce the magic they both did. The only difference is that this time it is on a hard court. The last few tournaments have seen the young players trying to take over the reins, in the three slams this year the oldest finalist was Matteo Berrettini in Wimbledon who is 25 years old. Zverev already has some years of experience and has played Djokovic on several occasions including this year and will be ready to prevent Djokovic again from making history.
Injuries piling up this season as Rafael Nadal becomes latest casualty
(Tennis news): Rafael Nadal won't be seen on court until next year as he is still recovering from a foot injury. He is joined by Roger Federer and Dominic Thiem as the players who won’t be playing the remainder of 2021 season. This is the second consecutive time Nadal and Federer won't feature in the year end slam. Nadal played 29 matches this season winning 24 of them and failed to defend his French Open title as he lost to Novak Djokovic in the semifinals. Djokovic became the first man to beat Nadal twice in French Open and the first man to defeat him in the Semifinals.
Also read: Benoit Paire continues to impress in Cincinnati, Ashleigh Barty shines bright with a stellar performance
In the Australian Open, Rafael Nadal lost to Stefanos Tsitsipas in the quarterfinals. The Spaniard won two titles this year, both in clay courts. Nadal won the Barcelona Open Masters 500 beating Stefanos Tsitsipas in the Final and a Masters 1000 title in Rome beating Novak Djokovic in the final. Nadal has also won the US Open four times with his last one coming 2 years ago when he defeated Daniil Medvedev in the final. He also missed last year’s US Open due to the pandemic. Nadal completed the career Grand slam when won the US Open in 2010. The 35 year old will look to come back next year and achieve more milestones.
Defending champion Dominic Thiem out of the U.S Open due to injury
(Tennis news): 2020 U.S Open champion Dominic Thiem has pulled out of this year’s Championship due to a wrist injury. He stated he won't be available for the rest of the season and has played 18 matches so far. He also missed out on the Tokyo Olympics and Wimbledon. He has a 9-9 win/ loss record this year, with his last match coming in June at Mallorca. He lost in the 1st round of the French Open to Pablo Andujar and lost in the fourth round to Grigor Dimtrov in the Australian Open. He had won his first Grand Slam last year at the US Open defeating Alexander Zverev after losing the first two sets.
Also read: Jannik, Opelka and Murray stumble in Cincinnati, Halep withdraws due to injury
Thiem had also reached the final of the Australian Open last year where he lost to Novak Djokovic in five sets. He also reached the final of the French Open for two consecutive years in 2018 and 2019 losing to Rafael Nadal on both the occasions. He is the first Austrian to win the US Open and the first player born in the 90’s to win a Grand Slam and is one of the most successful players from the next generation. Thiem is known for his powerful groundstrokes and a strong serve, he also adds topspin into his forehand and single backhand which also has a strong slice game to slown rallies. He will be joined by Roger Federer who will be missing the US Open and also the remainder of the season. It will be interesting to see the top 8 in the World tour finals which will conclude the tennis season.
Dimtrov and Berrettini notch up victories as Giorgi gets knocked out in Cincinnati
Cincinnati (Tennis news): In Men’s Singles, John Isner had a rough start in his opening match against Cameron Norrie in Cincinnati Masters 1000. Norrie raced off to take the first set as Isner was looking at an early exit, in the second set both were players going head to head and a tiebreak was needed to separate the two. Isner took the tiebreak 7-5 as he avoided defeat and in the final set the American made no mistake as he won the match 4-6, 7-6(7-5), 6-4. Isner served his way into the record books as he became the second player to cross the 13,000 aces mark in the match. Ivo Karlovic leads the chart with 13,709 aces followed by Isner and Roger Federer. Isner will next face Jannik Sinner in the next round while another huge server Reily Opelka also needed three sets to advance against Corentin Moutet.
Opelka started strong as he took the first set 7-6(7-3), Corentin fought back to take the second set 6-4. The final set saw Opelka securing victory as he took it 6-4 and will next take on Casper Ruud. Wimbledon runner up Matteo Berrettini made a return to the tour by defeating Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6-7(5-7), 6-3, 7-5 in his first match since his incredible run on grass. Grigor Dimtrov defeated Roberto Bautista Agut in straight sets to set up an exciting contest against Alexander Bublik, this will be their third meeting and they last met in Wimbledon this year where Bublik prevailed. Benoit Paire secured his third win against Denis Shapovalov, he overcame Denis 6-3, 4-6, 7-5 as he looks in form this time around. The young Canadian had an early exit in the Toronto Open as well in the same round of 32 and will look to be his old self as he comes back for the US Open.
Also read: Paire and Shapovalov battle in round three as Murray advances in Cincinnati
In Women’s Singles, Jessica Pegula was in incredible form when she demolished Camila Giorgi when she secured victory as Camila could only win four games in total. Jessica will next face former world number Simona Halep, Halep had earlier defeated Magda Linette and had issues in the second set. Halep won the first set 6-4 and Magda came back with equal power by taking the second set 6-3 but the decisive set saw the two time grand slam winner conceding just a single to take it 6-1. Belinda Bencic also announced her return with a victory after winning the Gold in Singles at the Tokyo Olympics. She won her match against Markéta Vondroušová 6-3,7-5 to set up a round of 32 match against Shelby Rogers. Markéta Vondroušová had upset Naomi Osaka in the third of the Tokyo Olympics, Osaka who finished as runner up last year to Azarenka will start her campaign against teenager Coco Gauff who breezed past Hsieh Su-wei. Victoria Azarenka beat Ludmilla Samsonova 6-2,6-3 in her opening match, Azarenka had won here last year and back in 2013.
In Men’s Doubles, Rohan Bopanna and Ivan Dodig exited in their opening match as they lost 1-6, 6-4, 10-7 to Filip Krajinović and Fabrice Martin. It was a tough defeat as they took the first set and things looked set for a victory. They lost the second set and could not stage a dramatic run down the finish line in the final set. John Peers and Filip Polasek shook off a first set setback and took the next two sets against Luke Saville and Matwe Middelkoop to confirm a showdown with Alex de Minaur and Cameron Norrie.
In Women’s Doubles, Japanese pair of Ena Shibahara and Shuko Aoyama toppled Jeļena Ostapenko and Jil Teichman without much trouble with a 6-3, 6-3 victory. Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Iga Świątek won a marathon match against Petra Martić and Shelby Rogers when finally the scorecard read 2-6, 7-5, 10-5 and they will next face the pair of Darija Jurak and Andreja Klepač in the round of 16.
Cincinnati Open looks promising as two weeks left for the final Slam of the year
Cincinnati (Tennis news): The Western and Southern Open mostly known as the Cincinnati Open Masters 1000 has gotten underway. With the big three missing, there will be plenty of opportunities, especially for the new gen who are slowly making a mark on the tour. With Alexander Zverev capturing the gold in the Tokyo Olympics and Daniil Medevdev winning the title in Toronto they will be keen to make a name in the US Open too. Roger Federer has the most titles in Cincinnati with his 7th title coming in 2015 where he defeated Novak Djokovic. Defending champion Novak Djkovic is also out due to injury along with Rafael Nadal and Federer won't be in action for a few months missing out on the final slam. Daniil Medvedev will be expected to win his second title here as he won it in 2019 defeating David Goffin in straight sets. He will be strongly challenged by Stefanos Tsitsipas who reached the semifinals of the recently concluded Toronto Open, Reily Opelka has been in tremendous form as he finished as runner up in Toronto. Andy Murray will also look for inspiration as has won the titles in 2008 and 2011 and will look to bring his old magic into the court.
Also read: Tennis star Roger Federer set to undergo knee surgery, expected to be sidelined for months
In Men’s Singles, 2019 runner up David Goffin lost to Guido Pella in straight sets in the first round. Both the players were coming back after being affected by injuries. Pella was joined by Benoit Paire who defeated Miomir Kecmanović in three sets. He had a shaky start as he lost the first set 7-5 but came back strongly 6-3,6-2 to proceed to the round of 64.
Andrey Rublev and Karen Khachanov started off their doubles campaign by defeating Máximo González and Simone Bolelli in a three set gruelling encounter. They will be facing Horacio Zeballos and Marcel Granollers in the round of 16.
The Women’s Singles and doubles opening rounds will start today. Simona Halep will be looking to finish strong before the US Open in Singles and the pair of Gabriela Dabrowski and Luisa Stefani will look to win back to back titles in doubles.
Tennis star Roger Federer set to undergo knee surgery, expected to be sidelined for months
(Tennis news) The future of tennis great Roger Federer has been cast in doubt after the 40 year old announced on Sunday that he will undergo a further knee surgery that will keep him sidelined for months.
In a video posted on Federer’s Instagram account, the Swiss tennis player said, "I will be on crutches for many weeks and out of the game for many months. "I want to give myself a glimmer of hope to return to the tour in some shape or form. I am realistic, don't get me wrong. I know how difficult it is at my age to go through another surgery. I will try it. I I want to be healthy, I want to be running around."
Federer has already undergone two knee surgeries in 2020, where he only played six times and having played 13 matches so far in 2021, it’s unlikely for Federer to feature in many games for the remainder of the year. This rules him out for the U.S Open which is due to begin in two weeks after already pulling out of the Tokyo Olympics. Federer has already pulled out of the French Open earlier this year and he has casted fresh doubts about his future playing career after taking much longer to recuperate from injuries than ever before.
If this were to be the end of an era, Federer will leave behind a legacy decorated with 103 titles, only behind Jimmy Connors on 109. The Swiss great would have spent a total of 310 weeks in the number one position, having won $130 million in prize money. More than anything, Federer has made countless tennis enthusiasts fall in love with his elegant style of play, iconic one handed backhand and his gentlemanly demeanour. The tennis community will undoubtedly hope for Federer’s recovery so that we can once again witness the all-time great at the highest level.
Also read: Medvedev wins fourth title as unseeded Giorgi captures her first in Toronto
Injured Rafael Nadal pulls of Toronto Open, as Novak Djokovic withdraws from Cincinnati Masters
Toronto (Tennis news): Rafael Nadal has pulled out from the Toronto Open due to a foot injury, it will be a major crisis as the US Open is only two weeks away. His withdrawal ensured lucky loser Feliciano Lopez taking his place in the draw where he will be facing Lloyd Harris. Stefano Tsitsipas overcame Ugo Humbert in a three set marathon in which the second set tiebreak needed 18 points to decide the winner. Benoit Paire sailed smoothly as he won in straight sets against Mackenzie McDonald in round 64 and next will face Diego Schwartzman. In round of 32, Karen Khachanov will face his compatriot Aslan Karatsev which will prove to be a mouth watering clash. Reilly Opelka continued his fine form as he beat Grigor Dimitrov 6-3, 6-4 and had earlier beaten Nick Kyrgios in the first match.
In the Women’s Singles, Bianca Andreescu started her title defence by beating Harriet Dart as she had to struggle in between as Harriet stretched it till the deciding set. Garbiñe Muguruza is out of the tournament as Kateřina Siniaková came out as the winner in the final set even after being bageled in the second set.
In Men’s Doubles Ivan Dodig and Rohan Bopanna defeated the pair of Fabio Fognini and Lorenzo Sonego, they will face Simone Bolelli and Máximo González in the round of 16.
In the Women’s doubles Ellen Perez and Květa Peschke continued their winning run as they will face next Jeļena Ostapenko and Dayana Yastremska in the round of 16.
Also read: Reilly Opelka overcomes Nick Kyrgios in opening match, Garbiñe Muguruza to start her campaign today
With Nadal out in Toronto it has raised concerns as Novak Djokovic has withdrawn from the Cincinnati Masters which starts on 15th August. Djokovic’s last match was the Bronze medal playoff in the Tokyo Olympics and is resting after winning three Grand Slams this year. Roger Federer has also pulled out of the Cincinnati Masters as he is down with a knee injury. There is only one Tournament just before the US Open that is the Winston-Salem Open which ends 2 days before the US Open, Cincinnati is the last Masters 1000 before the US Open. The big three will look to come back in form and compete in the year end Grand Slam as the tennis season is slowly coming to an end.
Rafael Nadal looking for a Hatrick in Toronto, chases record Masters 1000 title
The Canadian Open, which is currently known as the National Bank Open will be getting underway today in Toronto. The 5th masters 1000 of the season is coming back as it was not played last year due to the pandemic. First started in 1881, the Canadian Open is the second oldest tennis tournament in the world after Wimbledon. Rafael Nadal has won the tournament five times with his first title coming in 2005 when he beat Andre Agassi in the final. The top players will be seen in action as double defending champion Rafael Nadal will be looking to make up for his early exit in the Washington Open. The Spaniard will also be looking to win a record 37th Masters 1000 title and is currently on par with Novak Djokovic with 36 titles. Daniil Medvedev will be looking to make up for his 2019 final loss to Nadal and Stefanos Tsitsipas will also be looking to win here as he was the runner up in 2018 after losing to Nadal.
Also read: Bopanna retains place in Indian team for Davis Cup tie against Finland in September
Nick Kyrgios has been given a wildcard and will be looking to improve from his last two outings here, as he failed to win a match in both. He will be seen playing his first match against big server Reilly Opelka. Jannik Sinner, fresh off from winning the Washington Open will be looking to continue his fine run here. There can be a lot of surprises as Grigor Dimitrov will be playing and will be looking to come up good as he has had a rather tough year, Gael Monfils is also in contention as he has also struggled this year and will be looking for his first title of the season. Kei Nishikori is back on tour as he reached the semifinal of the Washington Open and was beaten by Mackenzie McDonald. Lloyd Harris caused an uproar when he beat Rafael Nadal on his route to winning the title in the Washington Open.
In Tennis news, Novak Djokovic will not be playing this time as he is resting after his Olympic heartbreak due to a hectic schedule. Roger Federer who turned 40 yesterday will not be playing as he is suffering from a knee injury. Tokyo Olympics Singles Gold medalist Alexander Zverev is resting as he needs to recover for the US Open which starts on 30th. Dominic Thiem will also not be seen in action as he is still recovering from a wrist injury while other big names like Stan Wawrinka have withdrawn from the tournament because of a surgery on his left foot in July and David Goffin would not be seen on court because of an ankle injury. Lorenzo Musetti was not allowed to play as he had left his Covid bubble and it was considered as a breach of protocol.
Interesting fact: Ramanathan Krishnan won the Canadian Open in 1968, he remains the only Indian player to do so.
The Golden Slam Awaits Novak Djokovic at the Tokyo Olympics
Novak Djokovic is in fine form coming into the Tokyo Olympics 2020, winning the first three Grand Slams of the season. This year he has been creating records at each Grand Slam, in the Australian Open he won a record 9th title, in the French Open he became the first man to defeat Rafael Nadal twice at the French Open, in Wimbledon he won his 100th grass court win and in the US open he will be looking to be the first man in the open era to win all four Grand Slams in a year. More records are waiting for him at the Tokyo Olympics as he will look to win a Golden Slam and become the first male player and the second tennis player after Steffi Graf to do it. He is the favourite to win the title given his form this year and the way it has dominated this season. Ten years ago he gave us a stellar season to watch, as players around the globe were mesmerized by the high quality of tennis. It took the sport to another level as he won three slams that year, defeated Rafael Nadal in six finals at three different surfaces and had a 41 match winning streak that ended in the French Open semifinals where he lost to Roger Federer. He had a phenomenal season in 2015 too where again he won three slams, won 82 matches while losing a mere 6 and won 16 titles including the Grand Slams. These show us that he has the ability to win matches all year long, even if the surfaces change and the venues change. He has the ability to defeat Nadal on clay and Federer on grass and he has done it. He has come out on top every surface, he recently became the first man to win 75 matches in all four Grand Slams.
Age doesn't seem to be slowing him down, this year seems like a sequel to 2011 and 2015. The Olympic Gold medal is something he has to hunt down as he has won every tournament the sport has to offer. His best performance came in the 2008 Beijing Olympics where the Bronze medal, in the 2012 London Olympics he lost to Juan Martin Del Potro in the Bronze medal watch and in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics lost again to Del Potro in the opening match. Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas would love to have their revenge for their loss in the Grand Slam finals. The players need to bring out their best to stop him as it will be a major upset and would be a crucial mental advantage at the US Open. In Olympic news, Alex de Minaur has withdrawn from the Olympics after testing positive, joining this year’s Wimbledon runner up Matteo Berrettini who will not be playing because of a thigh injury. Bets will be in for Djokovic but for someone to pull off an upset would rely on the young guns for sure and the experienced players like Fabio Fognini or Gael Monfils. The tennis event starts on 24th July and will end on August 1st, it will be played on Hard Courts.
Interesting fact: Jennifer Capriati is the youngest tennis player to win an Olympic gold, she was 16 when she won the title in Barcelona 1992.
Also read: Naomi Osaka is looking to triumph at home in the Tokyo Olympics
Murray seeks a historic third gold medal at Tokyo Olympics against the young forces
With only 9 days to go, the race for the elusive gold medal is heating up with Roger Federer pulling out at the last moment because of the recurring knee injury. The Olympics has always been the toughest hurdle to jump through for the athletes who seek the highest honour in a century old competition. Tennis has been a regular part of the Olympics since 1988 and has been played on different surfaces since its inception. This time it's on hard courts making it fast paced and highly competitive. The matches will begin on July 24th till August 1st.
Nadal, Thiem, Shapovalov, Kyrgios, Wawrinka, Isner won't be playing this year and Djokovic, who is seeking a historic Olympic crown will be on the course of becoming the first male player to win the Golden Slam but after his victory in the Wimbledon, he may or may not play. The Gold medal has been won by Agassi, Nadal and most recently Murray. Players like Federer, Sampras, Djokovic have not stood on top of the podium and this time it will be a rare chance for the debutants to seize the crown. The next gen will see this as the perfect opportunity to take the medal home and make their country proud. In tennis news Medvedev, Zverev and Tsitsipas will be making their debut this time, players like Schwartzman, De Minaur, Auger-Aliassime, Cilic, Monfils are also there to stage an upset in the draw. Since this will be a hard court, it will be a fast paced game and will give an advantage for the heavy hitters such as Andrey Rublev and Matteo Berrettini. Andy Murray has not been in form in recent times after his early exit from Wimbledon and his recent hip surgery which has halted him from his earlier form. The favourite is Murray given his history at the Olympics, but there can be major upsets this time.
Berrettini is in form after finishing runner up in Wimbledon and he can come up strong and hit his hammer forehands across the court. Speaking of hard hitters, Rublev is also not far behind. It is time for him to shine in the big stages of the game and if it is his best day, Rublev can become the second Russian to win a gold medal at this event. Monfils and Cilic have been in the shadows of the big four, they are indeed great players and will be looking for redemption on the court. Many players have lost their prime years to the big four and this time it will be an unpredictable draw and there is a feeling that the underdogs will come out on top. Last time Djokovic lost in the first round, history at the Olympics has not been kind to tennis players who are on top of their game outside the Olympics.
Young players will have their next chances but older players might not be present at the next Olympics. It will be interesting to see who can increase their country’s medal tally. Covid has affected every subject matter in these two years so there will be no spectators around, the players will have to boost their own morale after every point, the crowd chants will be missed and we will have to see the heroics through a screen.
Interesting fact: Leander Paes is the only Indian tennis player to win an Olympic medal. He won bronze at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics in the men’s singles.
Swiss tennis star Roger Federer pulls out of Tokyo Olympics due to knee problem
Lausanne (Switzerland), Jul 13 (Tennis news) Tennis icon Roger Federer on Tuesday announced that he is pulling out of the upcoming Tokyo Olympics owing to a knee injury.
The Olympics, in which on-site spectators will not be allowed owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, are scheduled to be held in the Japanese capital from July 23 to August 8.
In a statement, he said that he had "suffered a setback" with his knee.
Federer announced the news on Twitter saying that he is "greatly disappointed" on missing out on an opportunity to represent Switzerland in the world's biggest sporting spectacle.
"During the grass court season, I unfortunately experienced a setback with my knee, and have accepted that I must withdraw from the Tokyo Olympic Games," Federer said in the statement.
"I am greatly disappointed, as it has been an honour and highlight of my career each time I have represented Switzerland," he added.
Federer won the silver medal in men's singles at the 2012 London Olympics and gold old in men's doubles at the 2008 Beijing Games.
Also read: ‘The stars aligned’: Ash Barty’s Wimbledon win is an historic moment for Indigenous people and women in sport
The 39-year-old Federer, who has won 20 Grand Slam men's singles titles, a record he shares with his great rivals Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, has begun rehabilitation and hopes to return to action later this summer.
"I have already begun rehabilitation in the hopes of returning to the tour later this summer. I wish the entire Swiss team the best of luck and I will be rooting hard from afar. As always, Hopp Schwiz!" he added.
Last week, Federer was knocked out of Wimbledon by Poland's Hubert Hurkacz in the quarter-finals.
Hurkacz beat the legend in straight sets to reach the semi-final. In the first round of the tournament, Federer survived a scare before France's Adrian Mannarino retired due to injury.
In 2020, Federer had two knee surgeries. He even had to withdraw from French Open despite winning three matches to save himself for Wimbledon.
Federer has been dealing with knee issues for a while now. He had pulled out of French Open this year to help improve his condition before the Wimbledon. News source: PTI
Why should boys have all the fun?
'I love sports and no I'm not a boy!'
We're sure every fangirl at some point would have raised a few eyebrows and been a cause for a confused smirk on people's faces when they talk about their love and enthusiasm for sports. This isn't funny and could be very annoying. So, if you are one of those who fall for the popular belief that girls know nothing about sports or follow it only to swoon over the good looks of their favourite players then hold on! You're about to meet some of our special guests who can not only make you question your passion or fan boying skills but also school you about the very technicalities of the game!
Our first guest, Ashwathy Santhosh, a UPSC aspirant from Kerala talks about her craze for football and especially the ISL premier team Kerala Blasters FC. "I do watch every single game and never miss a chance to attend home matches" she says. Aswathy who is also a blogger loves writing fan blogs and makes it a point to regularly contribute fan blogs for official Kerala Blasters site and app despite being overburdened with studies to prepare for UPSC. "It's exhausting but I love to do it!" she further adds with a smile.
When asked about her favorite player from the team, Aswathy didn't take a second to think and replied with sheer excitement ''Facundo Pereya! I think he's just fab!" Other than Kerala Blasters FC she's been a diehard Real Madrid fan since the last ten years. "I really like Zidane, Kaka and Sergio Ramos," she says.
For her Football is a 'healthy addiction and a lifestyle'
Our Second guest, Marisha Bhatt, an engineer from Gujarat says her life revolves around the tennis court and especially Roger Federer - The Titan from Switzerland with 20 Grand Slam Titles. When asked about what she loves the most about tennis, she said "The absolute thrill and unpredictability of the game! You could be a Serena or a Djokovic and still get knocked out from your turf in the very first or second rounds by some underdog! Few misses or hits, some bad or good minutes and boom! You're either home or you're biting the dust! Talking about her love for Federer she gladly shares that she's been following him ardently since her childhood and that she is still not over Federer's loss in the 2019 Mens Wimbledon Finals against Djokovic. "My Heart still aches thinking about that" she laughs. "While everyone at my home was watching the ICC World cup final between New Zealand and England, I was in my room alone watching the Wimbledon finals. It was like an emotional roller coaster ride for me. Those five hours of the game, I experienced my worst sporting heartbreak that day." She concluded.
Our third guest , Satveer Kaur, a Physics teacher from Punjab passionately talks about her love for cricket and the Australian legend Brett Lee. "My friends call me 'Cricket ki encyclopedia' as I have a very sharp memory and remember every game, record and stat I see" she laughs. When asked about her admiration for Brett Lee she said "mostly people think I like him for his killer looks but it's not true, let's not forget he is one of the greats of the game and had a fantastic career with 718 international wickets and 2,728 runs despite enduring so many career threatening injuries over the years."
Not just this, Satveer was also lucky enough to have a video chat with Lee recently. "It was a particular quiz competition on Lee that I participated in on Instagram. I didn't really think I stood a chance to win among thousands of correct answers but as they say, miracles do happen and I got selected for a live chat with my childhood hero! That was indeed the best day of my life!” she says.
We also asked her about her most memorable game and she instantly replied "The Edgbaston Test from 2005 Ashes series was my favourite. Though Australia lost it but the fight Lee pulled up until the very end was an inspiration to draw. One of the finest games in test cricket, in my opinion!” she finishes.
So these were our guests who wholeheartedly shared their fandom stories. We would like to extend our sincere thanks to them for taking out time and speaking to us and proving our point "Mhari Chhoriya Chhoro se kam hai ke!?"
Written by Karina Michwal, Sports Enthusiast.
The opinions and views expressed in the blog are strictly personal opinion of the author.