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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Rival Backs Dominic Thiem To Win Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award

Only two players have won the award since 2004.

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For the past 15 years only two players have managed to get their hands on the prestigious Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award, but one player thinks there could be a brand new winner this year.

 

Diego Schwartzman has lent his support behind world No.4 Dominic Thiem. The award recognizes those who have conducted the highest level of professionalism and integrity on the ATP Tour throughout the season. Established in 1977, Roger Federer has won the honour in 13 out of the past 15 years. The only other player to triumph during that period was Rafael Nadal, who won it in 2010 and 2018.

“I think Thiem can win it, he showed throughout the year a competitiveness and a respect with everyone that was spectacular,” Schwartzman told ole.com. “On top of that he is having great years of his career and this season was even better for the achievements he had.’
“He has a good chance of winning it.” He added.

Schwartzman, who reached the quarter-finals of the US Open earlier this year, has also been shortlisted for the award. Along with regular nominees Federer and Nadal. Only once has an Argentinian player won the title, which was José Luis Clerc back in 1981. At that time it was known as the ATP Sportsmanship award before getting renamed in 1996.

“I learned first (of getting nominated) through social networks rather than the official designation that the ATP sends you by mail.” The 27-year-old revealed.
“It is more spectacular than anything for the players I have next to me. It is a very important prize that recognizes a little what you do off the court, not only hitting the ball.”

Whilst he is dreaming of winning the honour himself, Schwartzman is just happy that he has been nominated.

“If I won this award, it would be spectacular. Now I am on that payroll that is very good and represents the values ​​that I try to maintain on a day-to-day basis and that (my coaching teams over the years) have taught me. It is very nice to be recognized for that. “ He concluded.

The four nominees for the Stefan Edberg Award was shortlisted by the ATP. However, it will be the players who will decide the winner. The result will be revealed later this month.

Multiple winners of the Stefan Edberg/ATP Sportsmanship award

Roger Federer – 13
Stefan Edberg – 5
Pat Rafter – 4
Alex Corretja – 2
Todd Martin – 2
Paradorn Srichaphan – 2
Rafael Nadal – 2

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Kei Nishikori In Doubt For The Australian Open

Asia’s highest ranked male tennis player is contemplating when he should return to the tour following surgery.

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Kei Nishikori (photo by chryslène caillaud, copyright @Sport Vision)

World No.13 Kei Nishikori is refusing to rule out the prospect of skipping the first grand slam event of 2020 as he continues his recovery from surgery.

 

Nishikori hasn’t played a match on the tour since his third round loss at the US Open back in September. A month later he underwent a procedure on his right elbow in a move that brought his season to an early end. Currently undergoing rehabilitation, it is unclear as to when the Japanese player believes he will return to the ATP Tour.

“The prospect of a return from surgery on right elbow in January. Maybe February. In the second half of next year I want to be able to play well.” Nikkan Sports quoted Nishikori as saying.
“I don’t want to overdo it,” he added.

The Australian Open will get underway on January 20th in Melbourne. Should he miss the grand slam, it will be the second time he has done so in the last three years. Nishikori also withdrew from the 2018 edition due to a wrist injury. In January he reached the quarter-finals and therefore has 360 points to defend next year.

During his time away from the court, the 29-year-old has been kept busy making changes to his team. Recently it was confirmed that he has started working alongside Max Mirnyi, who is a former world No.1 doubles player. Mirnyi, who has won 10 grand slam titles in men’s and mixed doubles, will be working full-time with Nishikori alongside existing coach Michael Chang.

“I’m getting closer to retirement. I want to be cured and come back to play good tennis in the second half of next year.” Nishikori stated.

Despite the injury setback, Nishikori has enjoyed success in 2019. Reaching the quarter-finals in three out of the four grand slam tournaments. The first time he has ever done that in his career. He also claimed his 12th ATP title at the Brisbane International. Overall, he won 29 out of 43 matches played.

Nishikori will turn 30 on December 29th.

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Family Of Venezuelan Doubles Star Launches GoFundMe Page For Cancer Treatment

Roberto Maytin was playing on the Challenger tour less than a month ago, but now faces a new battle.

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One of Venezuela’s highest ranked players on the ATP Tour is facing challenges off the court after being recently diagnosed with cancer.

 

Roberto Maytin, who currently has a doubles ranking of 136th, is undergoing treatment for testicular cancer Non-Seminoma. Non-seminomas are made up of different types of tumour, such as teratomas, embryonal tumours, yolk sac tumours and choriocarcinomas. Maytin’s brother Ricardo has launched a GoFundMe page to help cover the costs. The tennis player made $19,441 in prize money this season, which doesn’t factor into account numerous expenses such as travel, accommodation and paying for his coaching team.

“If life gives you a chance to live longer, I think nobody would miss the opportunity. In this plane, we all want to be (alive) for years however we forget that we are with a 50% chance of leaving at any time every day.” The fundraising page reads.
“My brother was diagnosed with testicular cancer NO Seminoma, at 30 years old. He now faces a crucial match that life has put him for growth as an individual, as a man and as an athlete. He is forced to undergo 4 stages of aggressive chemotherapy in order to heal at all and leave no trace of a Cancer that has been moving for months causing some damage.”

A former top 25 junior player, Maytin is one of only two players from his country to be ranked inside the top 200 in either singles or doubles on the men’s tour. This season he has won four Challenger titles across America. However, he has only played in one ATP Tour event since the start of 2018. He achieved a ranking high of 85th in the doubles back in 2015.

Once a student at Baylor University in Texas, Maytin formed a successful partnership with former world No.2 doubles player John Peers. Together they earned All-American honours with a win-loss of 36-5 and reached the quarter-finals of the 2011 NCAA tournament.

Maytin is also a regular fixture in his country’s Davis Cup team. Since 2007 he has played 15 ties and won 10 out of 16 matches played.

“I am also clear that the family is the gift of God for each one of us, so in this way and in whatever way I will put my desire and my energy so that my Brother Roberto Maytin, a Venezuelan professional tennis player, is back to the courts, which is where he belongs as soon as possible.”

Almost $25,000 has been raised so far to fund Maytin’s treatment. Click here to visit his GoFundMe page.

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