After splitting up with Ivan Lendl Sony Open defending champion Andy Murray makes it to round three in Miami - UBITENNIS
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After splitting up with Ivan Lendl Sony Open defending champion Andy Murray makes it to round three in Miami

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TENNIS – Andy Murray will have to solve the problem of his patchy play quickly if he hopes to defend last year’s Miami ATP Masters title against a star-studded field. In his first match since an unexpected split with coach Ivan Lendl earlier in the week, Murray beat Ebden 3-6, 6-0, 6-1. Simone Kemler

 

Andy Murray will have to solve the problem of his patchy play quickly if he hopes to defend last year’s Miami ATP Masters title against a star-studded field. In 2013 Murray departed Miami ranked second in the world after a razor-thin victory over David Ferrer in the final gave him his second Sony Open title. After that he went on to claim an emotional second Grand Slam title at Wimbledon, but the 26-year-old has yet to reach a final since having back surgery in September 2013 and is currently ranked sixth in the world.

Murray was at a loss to explain a third-set collapse against big-serving Canadian Milos Raonic in the fourth round at the Indian Wells Masters and admitted his confidence was at low ebb. However, in his first appearance in Miami he is into the third round of the Sony Open in Miami despite an early wobble against the world number 67, Matthew Ebden. After losing the first set 6-3 to the Australian, Andy Murray dominated the next two sets for the loss of just one game, securing victory as the clock approached midnight at Crandon Park.

In his first match since an unexpected split with coach Ivan Lendl earlier in the week, Murray got the contest off to an unsteady start when Ebden broke him at the first opportunity and then held serve to quickly jump in front 3-0 on his way to easily taking the opening set. However the sixth seed immediately broke back to get on level terms and raced through the next five games to clinch a convincing victory. “You do what you do to win a match,” said Murray. “It’s not always about how you play or how calm you are on the court, it’s about winning the tennis match. That’s what mattersI won the next six games after that so maybe it nothing to do with it, maybe it helped. I just got on with it and won the match.”

The Wimbledon champion was one of a parade of grand slam winners who made it through the second round, including world number two Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer. Murray will next face Spaniard Feliciano Lopez, against whom he has a 9-0 record

That tough win was Ebden’s first in five tournaments and will have gotten him used to the conditions in Miami. Conditions Murray is very used to. The Scot lives in Miami and spends two to three months practicing on the center court. He will need that familiarity. If he gets past Lopez, Murray could face, Tsonga after that, and then Indian Wells champion and old rival Novak Djokovic in the quarter-finals.

Murray does not expect the first move he makes since splitting with Lendl to bring success in Miami. The Scot says he knows he is not match fit. And the transition from having a coach of Lendl’s stature to doing it alone again might have some psychological consequences in his first couple of outings. The results will be much talked about. Just as people wondered whether Murray would ever win a Major, they now wonder if he will win more after not just back surgery but losing a man who helped turned around his career.

Andre Agassi gives an interesting insight into his thoughts regarding Murray’s future

Agassi spoke to a small group of British reporters as part of World Tennis Day, in London, earlier this month, revealed his ideas on the kind of mental challenges that face Murray, having won Wimbledon: “You’ve seen it a lot in the past. When you win for the first time or become that person who is expected to do it, it’s not easy at first. I won Wimbledon in 1992 and I didn’t win again until August of 1994. Pete won in 1990 at the US Open and my recollection is he didn’t win again until 1993 Wimbledon. There’s that area you get into where mentally you have to recognise that people expect you to win, you’re not satisfied unless you do win and there’s a lot of pressure that goes along with that.Once you deal with that, in time you realise it’s not about winning, it’s about being the best (you) can be every single day. When you start pushing yourself on a fundamental level to be the best that you can, you start to separate yourself. I believe Andy is going to settle into the comfort of being the guy that is going to be standing there towards the end of these tournaments. Once he pushes himself to make himself a better player and not worry so much about holding up the trophy or hardware, I think you’ll see him win a lot more.”

With Lendl, Murray chose an Tennis-icon to be coached by

Lendl, an eight-time Grand Slam champion,was appointed Murray’s coach in December 2011 with the aim of bringing the “experience and knowledge that few others have, particularly in major tournaments”. Prior to his partnership with Lendl, Murray had worked with the likes of Leon Smith, Mark Petchey, Brad Gilbert, Miles Maclagan and Alex Corretja. The Scot had lost his first four Grand Slam finals before teaming up with the Czech. In their first year together, Murray beat Roger Federer in the Olympic final at London 2012 before defeating Novak Djokovic to win the 2012 US Open. Murray then ended a 77-year wait for a British men’s singles champion at Wimbledon the following year with another victory against Djokovic. The 54-year old Lendl, is rated as one of the world’s greatest players, having won 94 ATP Tour titles in a 16-year career. He remained as the world’s top ranked player for 156 consecutive weeks. With regards to his engagement with Murray he said: “It is time to concentrate on some of my own projects, including playing more events around the world. I will always be in Andy’s corner and wish him nothing but great success as he, too, goes into a new phase of his career.”

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‘He Needs To Bulk Up’ – Tennis Great Cast Doubt On Alex De Minaur’s French Open Chances

John Newcombe believes it will be a few more years before the world No.27 reaches his peak.

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One of Australia’s most decorated Grand Slam champions of all time believes compatriot Alex de Minaur still has a way to go before he poses a threat at the French Open.

 

Former world No.1 John Newcombe believes the 21-year-old needs to improve on his physicality before reaching his peak on the surface. De Minaur comes into the Grand Slam high in confidence after reaching the quarter-finals of the US Open in what was his best performance at a major so far in his career. He was knocked out of the tournament by eventual winner Dominic Thiem.

Although De Minaur’s preparations for the clay took a blow last week after he lost the first round of the Italian Open to German qualifier Dominik Koepfer. The world No.27 had a set and 3-0 lead over Koepfer before losing. He is not playing in any tournament this week leading up to Roland Garros.

“I’d have to see the draw, how it comes out, but it will be hard work for him,” Newcombe told the Australian Associated Press about de Minaur’s chances in Paris.
“He’s going to have to do a hell of a lot of work. If he got to the quarters, it would be a terrific effort.
“He’s not going to be physically where he needs to be, just bulking up a bit, until he’s 25, 26.
“But he’s got a good all-court game and he understands the game well, so there’s no reason he can’t be a pretty good late maturer (on clay).”

This year’s clay-court major will be the fourth time the Australian has played in the main draw. In his three previous appearances, de Minaur has only won one match which was against Bradley Klahn last year.

During a recent interview with atptour.com, the Next Gen star gave little away about his expectations for the clay this year given the revised schedule. The French Open is taking place just two weeks after New York due to the COVID-19 pandemic which brought the sport to a five-month standstill earlier this year.

“Realistically, you never know until you step out and play matches. It’s a very quick turnaround, something that has never happened to play such an important event after a slam. I’m taking it all in, doing as best as I can and we will have to see,” he said.

De Minaur has won three ATP titles and has scored four wins over top 10 players so far in his career. He is currently the only player from his country ranked in the world’s top 40 on the ATP Tour.

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Novak Djokovic claims his 36th Masters 1000 title in Rome

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Novak Djokovic came back from 0-3 down in the first set to beat Diego Schwartzman 7-5 6-3 after 1 hour and 53 minutes in the final of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia at the Foro Italico in Rome. Djokovic claimed his fifth title in the Eternal City and his 36th Masters 1000 trophy and his 81st career title. Djokovic has become the oldest Rome champion. 

 

The World number 1 player extended his record in 2020 to an impressive record of 31 wins in 32 matches, including four titles at the Australian Open, Dubai, the Western and Southern Open in New York and Rome. 

Djokovic dropped his serve three times and earned five breaks of serve. 

Djokovic wasted a game point and dropped his serve, when he netted his backhand. Schwartzman hit four service winners in the second game to consolidate the break for 2-0. 

Djokovic made a backhand error to face a break point in the third game. Schwartzman earned his second break to open up a 3-0 after 18 minutes, as Djokovic netted another backhand.  Djokovic earned a break point chance and conveted it after a double fault from Schwartzman. 

Djokovic held serve at 15 with an ace in the fifth game to claw his way back to 2-3. The Serbian star forced an error from Schwarzman to earn a breka point in the sixth game and got the break, when the Argentine netted a forehand. Djokovic held serve at 15 to take a 4-3 in the seventh game. Schwartzman hit a forehand down the line winner at 30-15 in the eighth game and held serve with a service winner to draw level to 4-4. 

Djokovic saved a break point in the ninth game with a volley winner and held serve to take a 5-4 lead. Schwartzman saved a set point with a forehand winner and drew level to 5-5 after two deuces with a backhand the line winner. 

Djokovic held serve after a deuce to take a 6-5 lead forcing Schwartzman to serve to stay in the set for the second time. Djokovic converted his third set point to win the opening set 7-5 after 70 minutes. 

Schwartzman earned an early break at the start of the second set. Djokovic got the break back to draw level to 1-1 when Schwartzman sent a forehand wide. 

Djokovic hit a winner at the net to hold serve in the third game. Schwartzman hit four winners in the fourth game to draw level to 2-2.

Djokovic saved two break points in the fifth game and held serve with a service winner to take a 3-2 lead. Schwartman held serve with a drop shot. Djokovic won his service game at love to take a 4-3 lead and broke serve at love in the eighth game with a backhand down the line winner. Djokovic held serve at love to close out the final. 

“”It was a great week. A very challenging week. I don’t think I played my best tennis throughout the entire week, but I think I found my best tennis when I needed it the most in the decisive moments today, yesterday and in every match. That definitely makes me very satisfied and proud that I managed to find that fifth gear when it was most needed. Turning to Paris, I could not ask for a better tournament here in Rome. Another big title and i super pleased with it”, said Djokovic. 

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Stan Wawrinka Parts Way With Long-Time Coach Norman

Stan the man is on the look out for a new coach for the first time in almost a decade.

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It is the end of an era for three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka after he announced his split from coach Magnus Norman.

 

The former world No.3 confirmed on Monday that the two have decided to end their collaboration with ‘mutual consent’ following eight years working together on the Tour. Norman was last with Wawrinka at the Italian Open last week where the Swiss player lost his opening match to rising star Lorenzo Musetti. It is unclear as to exactly when the decision was made.

“After 8 great years together Magnus Norman and I have decided to part ways by mutual consent. We have had an amazingly strong, enjoyable and hugely successful partnership. We reached the height of this sport together and I want to thank him for helping me win everything that I could ever dream of winning,” Wawrinka said in a statement posted on Instagram.

44-year-old Norman is a former world No.2 player himself who reached the final of the French Open back in 2000. During his coaching career, he guided Wawrinka to various milestones in his career that includes 13 ATP titles with three of those being at Grand Slam level. The Swede has also been recognized by the ATP for his work with Wawrinka after winning the inaugural Coach of the Year award back in 2016.

“He’s been a great coach, friend and mentor and will always be a dear friend,” Wawrinka said in a tribute.
“I want to publicly thank him for all his hard work, dedication and commitment in making me a better player over the years. Winning three grand slams have been a life changing experience for me and I could not have done that without him. I wish him all the best in his next chapter in his life.”

The announcement from the world No.17 comes a week before the French Open starts. Wawrinka has been training on the clay for the past few weeks after deciding against travelling to North America to play in the US Open. Instead, he played in a couple Challenger events and won a trophy in Prague last month. Overall, he has achieved a win-loss record of 15-3 so far in 2020.

It is unclear as to who will be replacing Norman in Wawrinka’s team.

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