ATP Monte-Carlo interviews, Federer: “I think I've seen Jo play different kind of quality matches lately. So not quite sure he's going to play” - UBITENNIS
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ATP Monte-Carlo interviews, Federer: “I think I've seen Jo play different kind of quality matches lately. So not quite sure he's going to play”

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TENNIS – ATP Monte-Carlo R. Federer/ L. Rosol 6-4, 6-1. An interview with Roger Federer

Q. How would you judge your game today? It started off a little bit difficult but then got smooth.

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, I think you summed it up. I think it was a bit rocky in the beginning. I was able to find my way into the match. After four games you usually kind of know what’s going to work, what’s not going to work.

At the end I think I had good variation. I also came to the net some. I was effective on breakpoints. My first serve started to work better. So I just think it was a more difficult start to the match.

I thought Rosol was going to play much more aggressive early on than he did, and he didn’t. I was expecting the rallies to be shorter. When they extended, I made too many mistakes.

As long as I found a way to turn it around and stay calm, it was good. So I was very pleased.

It’s clear for me that not every match can be like the one I had yesterday. It’s not realistic. A match like this is sometimes what you need, as well, get that little fright going early on.

 

Q. How special is it for you to be here after not playing here the last few years?

ROGER FEDERER: It’s nice. Look, I’ve always considered playing in Monaco. Sometimes it was the good preparation. Sometimes I didn’t feel like it’s what I needed. I needed to work, stay home and do a proper buildup.

This year I don’t need necessarily a buildup because I was able to work hard in the off season in December. I’m going to have another buildup I guess after Wimbledon.

So I’m going to work hard after this tournament. Sometimes getting on the clay early is also something you’re looking for so you actually know what you really need to work on and practice. Whereas if you don’t play this tournament, an early clay court tournament, you just think what you need for what’s to come. I’m not saying sometimes you work on the wrong things, but it’s nice getting some information and playing with the other top players on the tour.

So I’m happy to be back. I kind of enjoy this tournament. It’s quite busy, a lot of people. It’s kind of stressful being on site. That’s why I try to escape as quickly as I can.

 

Q. You played Tsonga many times, different surfaces. Are you looking forward to the match tomorrow?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, I think I’ve seen Jo play different kind of quality matches lately. So not quite sure he’s going to play, how aggressive, how passive. I’m going to have to have a bit of an open mind when it comes to that.

I didn’t play a very good match against him at the French last year. That was a bit of a disaster for me. On the other side, I played a really good match against in the Australian this year. So kind of excited to see what’s going to happen this time around.

I think he did a good job of being tough through the second set today. I think as much as Fabio kind of went away, I still think it’s his credit as well to put Fabio into that position, and he started to play actually really well and really aggressive.

I think Jo played the semis here last year, so he’s played here well in the past. I have to make sure I play aggressive myself and not become too passive just because we’re on clay.

 

Q. Do you see him as an inconsistent player? He lost to a 112th ranked player in Davis Cup recently. He’s a Grand Slam finalist. Do you see him as a bit inconsistent?

ROGER FEDERER: Look, he had a change in coaching, as well. I’m not quite sure what exactly they’re working on, if it’s a work in progress at the moment, if they’re telling him to do quite a few things differently. From that standpoint, I guess he only knows and he can only answer that question.

I mean, he’s still at a high level. I think at the moment he’s just missing that big tournament where he goes deep and beats some of the top ranked players. That’s maybe not quite what he’s been able to do as of late.

Losing against a guy ranked outside of the top 20, top 50, top 100, at the end of the day that doesn’t tell me much, as long as he can play up. He’s put himself into that position again now. That’s why it’s an important match for him and for me tomorrow.

THE MODERATOR: Questions in French.

 

Q. Did you follow the match between Jo and Fognini? What do you think about it?

ROGER FEDERER: Saying he lost 17 points in a row is totally unfair to Jo. You can’t put everything on Fabio’s side. You have to show some respect for Jo, who played well. It is not as if Fabio didn’t play any more.

 

Q. The question was rather about Fabio’s behavior.

ROGER FEDERER: We see that too rarely on the tour nowadays because now the game has become extremely professional. Seeing players who seem not to care about anything is something that doesn’t exist anymore. I believe it shows we are humans. I can relate to him, and I believe it shows we are not machines.

 

Q. You’re saying that the game now does not allow players to show some strong personality and be good at the same time?

ROGER FEDERER: I believe having a strong personality is not the problem. The rules are more severe. You throw your racquet or you say a word you shouldn’t say, you get a fine. But this doesn’t mean that if you don’t do that you have no personality.

More personality is your capacity to concentrate because, after all, the show is the tennis shots, not the discussions with the umpire. And with Hawk Eye, it’s almost absolute. There’s no more discussions with the umpire.

When I started playing, there was a lot of communication between the player and the umpire that no longer exists today. So you can have a strong personality and keep focused.

 

Q. You played 15 times against Jo. You are far ahead in the head to head. Last time was on clay in the French Open. Do you feel vulnerable right now?

ROGER FEDERER: I feel good. It’s just the beginning of the season. Both of us had the same preparation. We played indoors and we played two matches on clay. So it’s fair. I’m playing well, but I don’t know how he’s going to play.

Our match in Australia, I played good. But in the French Open, I missed that match and he played very good. So I will try to play like in Australia and he’s going to try to play like in the French Open.

I will try to use the clay to my advantage. But I don’t know what weather we will have, whether it’s going to be sunny or windy.

I’m glad he won today because it was not easy against Fognini. He put himself now in a position to go further. In Masters 1000 tournaments, the toughest thing is to go through those first rounds, and now he really is in a position of making that next step. Normally it’s after the first three rounds that we start playing better.

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Hubert Hurkacz Undergoes ‘Knee Procedure’ Ahead of Olympic Bid

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Poland’s top player on the ATP Tour is not giving up on his dream of winning a medal at the Olympic Games despite recently undergoing a medical procedure.

World No.7 Hubert Hurkacz suffered a knee injury during his second round clash at Wimbledon against France’s Arthur Fils. In the fourth set tiebreak of their clash, Hurkacz dived for a shot but landed badly on his knee and required on-court medical attention. He then played two more points before retiring from the match. 

In a social media post published on Wednesday, the  27-year-old confirmed he underwent a procedure on his knee earlier this week but didn’t provide any further details.  Although Hurkacz has stated his intention to play at the upcoming Olympic Games in Paris, where the tennis event will be held on the clay at Roland Garros. 

“I had a knee procedure this Monday, but I’m feeling better already and my team and are dedicating extensive time each day to the rehab process.” He wrote on Instagram. 

“It’s a dream for every athlete to represent their country at the Olympics, and I want to make sure I am fully fit and ready before making the final decision to step on court. The aim is not only to participate, but to win a medal for my country.”

So far this season Hurkacz has won 34 out of 48 matches played on the Tour. He won the Estoril Open in April and was runner-up to Jannik Sinner in Halle. 

The Olympic tennis event is scheduled to begin a week Saturday on July 27th. Poland is yet to win a medal in the event but expectations are high with women’s No.1 Iga Swiatek also taking part. 

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Motivation, Pressure And Expectations – Novak Djokovic Targets History At Wimbledon

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image via x.com/wimbledon

Novak Djokovic has broken numerous records throughout his career but he still feels the pressure of trying to make history in the sport. 

The world No.2 is through to his 10th Wimbledon final where he will play Carlos Alcaraz, who beat him at this stage of the tournament 12 months ago. There is plenty on the line for the Serbian who could equal Roger Federer’s record for most men’s titles won at SW19 and break the overall record for most major singles won in the sport if he triumphs over the Spaniard. Djokovic currently has 24 Grand Slam trophies to his name which is the same as Margaret Court, who won some of her titles before the Open Era started. 

“Obviously I’m aware that Roger [Federer] holds eight Wimbledons. I hold seven. History is on the line.” Djokovic said on Friday after beating Lorenzo Musetti.

“Also, the 25th potential Grand Slam. Of course, it serves as a great motivation, but at the same time it’s also a lot of pressure and expectations.”

Coming into Wimbledon, there had been doubts over Djokovic’s form after he underwent surgery to treat a knee injury he suffered at the French Open. However, he has defied the odds to reach the final. His run has also seen him beat Alexi Popyrin and Holger Rune before getting a walkover in the quarter-finals from Alex de Minaur, who sustained an injury during the tournament. Then on Friday, he overcame a spirited Musetti in three sets. 

Despite the challenge, Djokovic has insisted that his expectations to do well are always high no matter what the situation is. During what has been a roller-coaster first six months of the season, he is yet to win a title this year or beat a player currently ranked in the top 10. Although he will achieve both of these if her beats Alcaraz on Sunday. 

“Every time I step out on the court now, even though I’m 37 and competing with the 21-year-olds, I still expect myself to win most of the matches, and people expect me to win, whatever, 99% of the matches that I play.” He said.

“I always have to come out on the court and perform my best in order to still be at the level with Carlos [Alcaraz] or Jannik [Sinner] or Sascha [Zverev] or any of those guys, Daniil [Medvedev]. 

“This year hasn’t been that successful for me. It’s probably the weakest results the first six months I’ve had in many years. That’s okay. I had to adapt and accept that and really try to find also way out from the injury that I had and kind of regroup.”

Djokovic hopes that a Wimbledon win will help turn his season around like it has done in the past for him. 

“Wimbledon historically there’s been seasons where I wasn’t maybe playing at a desired level, but then I would win a Wimbledon title and then things would change.” He commented.

“For example, that was the case in 2018 when I had elbow surgery earlier in the year, dropped my rankings out of top 20, losing in fourth round of Australian Open, I think it was quarters of Roland-Garros, and just not playing the tennis that I want to play. Then I won Wimbledon and then won US Open and then later on became No.1 very soon.”

Meanwhile, 21-year-old Alcaraz is hoping to stop Djokovic in his tracks. Should he defend his title at Wimbledon, he would become the first player outside the Big Three to do so since Pete Sampras more than 20 years ago. He has won their only previous meeting on the grass but trails their head-to-head 3-2. 

“I’m sure he knows what he has to do to beat me,” said Alcaraz.

“But I’m ready to take that challenge and I’m ready to do it well.”

When the two players take to the court to play in the Wimbledon final, Djokovic will be 15 years and 348 days older than Alcaraz. Making it the largest age gap in a men’s Grand Slam final since the 1974 US Open. Whoever is victorious will receive £2,700,000 in prize money. 

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Carlos Alcaraz And Novak Djokovic Wouldn’t Yield To Medvedev And Musetti At Wimbledon

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image via x.com/wimbledon

Carlos Alcaraz seemed to be on his own against a vastly improved Daniil Medvedev. The defending Wimbledon champion appeared to be out of tricks.

And Medvedev sensed it.

Alcaraz still scored a 6-7 (1), 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 victory over Medvedev. It may look rather easy on paper, but there was nothing easy about Alcaraz’s victory. The young Spaniard just came through when he needed it to advance to what he hopes will lead to his fourth Grand Slam title.

MEDVEDEV APPLIED ENDLESS PRESSURE

Medvedev was always there, ready to pounce on any mistake by Alcaraz. But mistakes didn’t happen that often after Medvedev took the first set in a tie-breaker.

Alcaraz hadn’t served that well in the first set that Medvedev had taken in a tiebreaker. But it was a different story once Alcaraz found the mark on his serves. He just kept holding service until the match was his.

Remember, he’s only 21 years old. But now he faces someone in this Wimbledon final almost twice as old in 37-year-old Novak Djokovic.

NOVAK DIDN’T LET INJURED KNEE STOP HIM

Early in the match, Djokovic looked like he might have problems against Lorenzo Musetti. He appeared to have a slight limp in the right knee that was covered by a band. Of course, it’s been less than six months since Novak underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus in that knee.

Djokovic didn’t always chase after balls in situations where his service game wasn’t in jeopardy. He just hit winners when the opportunities came along, and his serve was always ready to win a point, a game or the match.

MUSETTI WASN’T THE SAME

Young 25th seed Musetti had been so strong and talented in his quarterfinal upset of Taylor Fritz. The 22-year-old Italian had looked like he might be a threat to the likes of Djokovic and Alcaraz in the last two rounds in London.

Musetti appeared to be able to run down everything against the speedy Fritz, until Fritz seemed to grow tired in a fifth set that Musetti won easily.

The Italian wasn’t the same against Djokovic.

Djokovic was just too good and too consistent to allow Musetti to stop his bid for another title.

NOVAK THE VIOLINIST

The setting was completely different this time with Djokovic looking questionable at the start. But Musetti could hardly push Djokovic, and ended up losing by a 6-4, 7-6 (2), 6-4. Once Novak charged through the second set tiebreaker, dropping only two points, Musetti couldn’t get back into the match.

And then Novak came out pretending to play a violin on his racket for his precious 6-year-old daughter Tara, whom Novak said has been learning to play the violin for about six months.

Some fans apparently didn’t like this, but then there probably were others who became Novak Djokovic fans. Novak obviously is a great guy and dad these days.

After all, Novak has just played his 97th Wimbledon match, and he’s hoping in his 37th Grand Slam final to tie Roger Federer’s record of eight Wimbledon titles.

James Beck was the 2003 winner of the USTA National Media Award  for print media. A 1995 MBA graduate of The Citadel, he can be reached at Jamesbecktennis@gmail.com. 

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