ATP Monte-Carlo Interviews Federer: “I think it's one of the those finals that I could have won. But Stan was tougher at the end.” - UBITENNIS
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ATP Monte-Carlo Interviews Federer: “I think it's one of the those finals that I could have won. But Stan was tougher at the end.”

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TENNIS ATP Monte-Carlo – S. WAWRINKA/R. Federer 4-6 7-6 6-2 An Interview with Roger Federer

 

Q. I’m sure you’re very disappointed.

ROGER FEDERER: Not so disappointed, no.

Q. But losing against Stan, your friend, partner in our Davis Cup team, that gives you some positive thought. Maybe it’s not so bad.

ROGER FEDERER: Exactly. You make it sound so bad, and at the end it’s not so bad.

I started from not so bad to a bit frustrated that maybe you don’t win it. Like you said, I think it’s one of the those finals that I could have won. But Stan, you know, was tougher at the end. I think he deserved it just a little bit more.

Clearly it would have been nice to win that second set tiebreaker. I didn’t necessarily play a bad one, but also at the same time I didn’t quite ever get into the lead where things went my way.

Of course, I’m very happy for Stan. It’s a huge win for him after winning his first Grand Slam this year, also to win his first Masters 1000. To take the opportunities when they’re there, that’s key in a tennis player’s career. So I’m very happy for him.

 

Q. Is it more difficult to play with the same usual intensity against a friend with whom you have played and practiced in the morning? Did you feel something was missing today in your will to come back?

ROGER FEDERER: No.

 

Q. How do you explain in the last eight serves of Wawrinka, you made only six points?

ROGER FEDERER: I think he served better. He definitely found his range. As the match went on, he started to feel more and more comfortable. I struggled to put him under pressure enough. I think it was a bit of both players: him raising his game, me maybe going down a notch.

I think it’s a big match, regardless of the opponent, because it’s a finals. Playing Stan just adds to the excitement in some ways.

The thing is just that you really know the patterns well of the other player. I know patterns well when I play Novak, Rafa, or Murray for that matter. Of course, they can surprise you to a degree, but it’s more surprising when you play somebody for the first time.

With Stan, we’ve practiced so much together and played each other also quite a lot, so I really know his patterns, he knows mine. Very rarely can we really, like on match point, hit a clean winner like that. Okay, he chased the line and it worked for him.

So many points end, you know, in overpowering or out maneuvering your opponent because you know the patterns so well. That’s the biggest change I felt in the match today against somebody I know so well.

 

Q. Can you explain why the third set got away from you? Your level dropped? Stan was more aggressive?

ROGER FEDERER: A bit of both. I don’t think I served quite so well early on in the third set. Like I said, I think he really found his range and started to hit bigger, deeper. He didn’t miss that many second serve returns anymore. He gave me a couple cheap points in the first couple sets which he later on really didn’t give me anymore. So it made it tougher for me.

Maybe got into some bad starts to my service games which then allowed him to sort of open up a bit. I think clearly he was relieved as well winning that second set that gave him that extra belief or looseness to his shots which he was missing a little bit midway through the second, which was normal, because he was under pressure trying to stay in the match.

 

Q. For sure it is the first tournament on clay. After this tournament, looking to Djokovic and Nadal, who had some problems, do you think the players who go very well to Roland Garros is bigger now?

ROGER FEDERER: What’s bigger?

 

Q. More players, they can play better and win Roland Garros. You and Wawrinka could possibly be winners.

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, but I still think we would have had an outside chance would we have lost first round. For me it doesn’t change. It’s still the same.

Nothing happened to Rafa really. He just lost a match, which happens. But he’s fine. I’m sure he’ll be his usual self again moving forward.

With Novak it’s a bit more of a question mark. If he’s in great shape, he’s clearly one of the big favorites with Rafa. Everybody else sort of comes after that.

I think we’re right there as well with Stan now. We’ve put ourselves in positions time and time again. This was one of those weeks we were able to capitalize on it. Stan did the same at the Australian Open. I did it in Dubai. It’s definitely a good start to the season for I think all four of us really.

I would have loved to have won a second title because I’ve come close a few times. That’s my next objective, that I get to the very end more frequently. But clearly I’m happy that the clay court season started so well for me.

 

Q. You play so much at the net. Is this a new key of the new Federer by Edberg or…

ROGER FEDERER: I mean, I think I’ve always tried to come in to a degree. When I started with Tony Roche, everybody thought I was at the net more. When I started with Paul Annacone, everybody thought I was at the net more. Now I started with Edberg, everybody thinks I’m at the net more.

You think back, I actually was at the net, more than other players. I think I’m continuing that trend. I must say I feel actually quite confident and good at the net. I’ve definitely gone through phases as well in my career where I didn’t just quite feel it at the net. But now I think when I’m coming to net, I’m choosing the right shots to come in. I’m reading the plays well. I’m moving well at the net, even though on clay it’s always a bit tricky with not having the grip so much like on the hard courts.

It’s something I definitely have to keep on doing. I can play from the back sometimes. I can hit flat sometimes. I definitely also have to mix it up by coming forward a bit more often.

Maybe I should have done it a bit more today. But I still think I played okay throughout this tournament and also in the match today.

 

THE MODERATOR: Questions in French for Roger.

 

Q. You played a lot since the beginning of the season. Did you have less intensity at the end of the match because of it? Besides, what is your schedule now?

ROGER FEDERER: I’m going back home because I need to recuperate. I played with a lot of intensity during the past month and I’m happy that I can relax. I wasn’t able to do that after Geneva. I feel that I’m tired. My body feels strange and I need to sleep.

At the end of the third set, after the fifth day in a row of playing, I might have lacked that 2% that made a difference. But the credit is for Stan. He was able to stay in the match.

 

Q. From outside this final, it seemed a family party with the older brother playing against the younger brother. Everybody was giving back points to the opponent.

ROGER FEDERER: Well, it was, of course, a great pleasure to share this moment with Stan. As to the line calls and everything, it was just as it normally should be between players.

I didn’t feel frustrated. I was happy for Stan. I was congratulating him. As far as I’m concerned, I focused on myself. I didn’t look at Severin. I didn’t want anybody to feel uneasy. The important thing was that everybody agreed.

It was all right with me because I played so many finals already. I was relaxed. The important thing was that Stan had to feel comfortable. Before anything else, it was a tennis celebration on a beautiful court.

 

Q. Did you get enough information about what you had to work on?

ROGER FEDERER: In the beginning of the clay court season, you always work on many things. It is non stop. You’re reassessing your game all the time. It was good that Pierre was there. He was able to see live how I was moving on the court.

My tennis game is pretty good. Sliding was more difficult. It was slippery at times. But the more you play, the more you get used to it. I’m very happy with this week.

 

Q. You were saying you were tired. Are you still going to play Rome, Madrid and the French Open?

ROGER FEDERER: That’s the plan. It’s just after those five days and playing a lot the past month that I was feeling a bit tired after the second set. I still tried whatever I could to stay in the match.

The beginning of the third set was a bit tough. He was on the rise. I tried to start my engine again, and somehow I didn’t really succeed. But my schedule is open and the plan is to play Rome, Madrid and the French Open.

 

Q. Here you were not far from winning. Are you satisfied with that or do you really want to be able to go one step further and win it?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, you must see the positive side. Try not to be disappointed or frustrated. What I see is that if I’m in that position again, if I keep trying as I did, at a certain point it’s going to go my way, like it did in my match against Jo.

If you feel good mentally, then things are going to turn out good. Winning a Masters 1000 is never easy anyway.

ATP

The Trial Has Ended: David Ferrer Is Now A Head Coach Of Alexander Zverev

The former French Open finalist is set to become a regular face on the men’s Tour once again but in a differnt capacity.

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By Emil Evtimov

David Ferrer is the new head coach of Alexander Zverev alongside his father Alexander Sr. The news was revealed by the world No.7 after his win against Felix Auger-Aliassime at the Ultimate Tennis Showdown in Nice.

 

In the beginning of July Zverev announced that he and Ferrer will work together on a trial basis for two weeks in Monte Carlo. Now the German confirmed that the former world No.3 and Roland Garros finalist will be on his side as a coach at least until the end of the year. 

“The trial period is over. We are together. We understand each other great and now we are a team,” said Zverev.

Ferrer won’t be the first prominent name in team Zverev. Previously the three-time Masters 1000 champion worked with Juan Carlos Ferrero and Ivan Lendl. Since the end of his relationship with Lendl, Zverev has been trained mainly by his dad.

“David and my father are both my head coaches now. My dad doesn’t get any younger. Both are extremely important for the team.”

For Ferrer this will be the first coaching experience. His playing career ended in May 2019 during the ATP Masters 1000 in Madrid with his last opponent on the court being none other than Zverev.

For quite a long time Zverev was considered the big star from the young generation but in 2019 was a bit overshadowed by players such as Stefanos Tsitsipas and  Daniil Medvedev.

The German began 2020 with a great performance at the Australian Open reaching the semifinals where he lost to Dominic Thiem in four sets.

Zverev is on the entry list for the first tournament after the pandemic – the Western & Southern Open which will be staged in New York to create a “protective bubble” for the US Open. The 23-year old talks also about the Grand Slam tournament, saying he would prefer it not to happen, although he is going to play at this point.

“It is a bit crazy to play the US Open now. I would prefer if it would not happen and we just restart in Europe. Because of the pandemic it is not the right time to fly. But when they host the open – what shall we played do? Especially when everyone plays’ it is about ranking points, too. At this point I didn’t think about withdrawing. If everyone reacts within hygiene rules and it will be similar to the NBA bubble it could work out.”

Zverev was one of the tennis players most criticized for his behaviour during the pandemic. The reason was his participation in the Adria Tour where he and his colleagues weren’t following the social distancing rules very strictly. The German gave a negative test for COVID-19 after finding out about the positive test of Grigor Dimitrov. He promised to be in quarantine for safety reasons but was seen partying a few days after. This caused a criticism from Nick Kyrgios, as well as a Twitter war between the Australian and German legend Boris Becker.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas opens up: “I Wasn’t Sure If I Was Good Enough”

Stefanos Tsitsipas reflects on how hard it was in the beginning of his pro career.

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BY EMIL EVTIMOV

 

In the latest instalment of “Behind the Racquet” world No.6 Stefanos Tsitsipas has shed light on the personal struggles he encountered whilst breaking into the sport.

Tsitsipas had a great 2019 season, climbing from N.15 to N.6 at the end of the year after winning the Nitto ATP Finals, as well as two ATP 250 tournaments in Estoril and Marseille. He also reached the final of the Madrid Open.

However, life wasn’t always so easy for the charming Greek. In his “Behind the Racquet” post, he recalls the times when he was playing Futures while doubting that he was good enough to play professional tennis. He admitted he was feeling “very lonely” and not having many friends on the ATP tour.

Here is the Tsitsipas story in the “Behind the Racquet”:

“In 2018, I broke into the Top 15 and was seeded in Grand Slams. That’s when I understood my potential. In the beginning, I traveled with only my dad. Now, I travel with my dad, mom, and three siblings. I’m the main source of income for my family. 

I have hobbies that keep me interested in different aspects of life. These activities keep me creative and are reflected in my tennis game and presence on court. Sometimes, I post things on my social media that not many people understand. These posts express my inner creativity. I’m just trying to be different from the rest. I put Stefanos’ twist on life. I am philosophical, I come from a country with a history of philosophy and I don’t know if I was Pythagoras or Socrates in my previous life, but I wouldn’t mind being either one. 

There was a time when I wasn’t doing well. I started to play futures and was doubting myself. I wasn’t sure if I was good enough to play professional tennis. My country was going through hard times. Greece was on the verge of bankruptcy. The entire population was suffering. My father’s siblings were unemployed and couldn’t feed their families. People looked at me like I was the one ruling the country and they thought I was part of the problem. 

I felt isolated. I wasn’t home to see what was going on because I was traveling. I needed support. My mental coach shared his wisdom and inspired me. Then I said to myself, ‘You’ve dedicated your entire life to tennis, you can’t just give up. You’ve got to keep going.’ I play tennis to prove that my country has a great history and can achieve success. Tennis is a very introverted sport and we face everything alone. We have a team that follows us all over the world but I have spent countless sleepless nights on my own. All the traveling and competing causes a lot of stress and I grew very lonely.

I was an introverted child and I didn’t have many friends. When I first started playing on tour, I thought I would develop friendships but it turned out to be the opposite. Most players keep to themselves. I feel like players don’t want to become friends because they think someone will grab a secret from you to beat you. I guess they’re just too serious about the whole thing. Friends would make traveling less lonely.”

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Roger Federer enjoys calm year ahead of the 2021 season

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Twenty-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer is happy to enjoy a calm year ahead of the 2021 season. The Swiss legend admitted in an interview to Sportpanorama on the Swiss channel SRF 2 that he has not started his preparation for the 2021 Olympic Games in Tokyo, where he will be bidding to his first Olympic singles gold medal. 

 

Federer started the 2020 season with a semifinal at the Australian Open. He saved seven match points in his five-set quarter final against Tennys Sandgren before losing to Novak Djokovic in the semifinal. Last February he underwent arthroscopic surgery for a right knee injury and ended the 2020 season to give time to his body to recover. 

“I have not started mental preparations for the Tokyo Olympics. When you have been on the tour for 20 years, you are happy to have a more calm year. We have so many matches and competitions that whenever you take a break you know that someone else is winning in that time. That’s why it is extremely difficult to say. I take a break. Everyone is now forced to have a break and I think that 90% of the players are thinking: fortunately I can have a break. Tennis is constant and nonstop. You could not really prepare for Tokyo as there would have been 20 tournaments before. They are also very important, even though maybe not as important as the Olympics, which have another significance. We have many big events. That’s why the preparation just starts three months in before. You have the block in tennis with French Open, Wimbledon and Olympic Games. It depends on which surface it is even though in tennis it’s classic on hardcourt in Tokyo. Everyone can play on hardcourt, but you have to specially prepare for clay and grass”, said Federer. 

Federer has enjoyed spending time with his family in the past few months. 

“For the first time in twenty years I have been at one place for five and six years. Of course I enjoy it. We have been incredibly careful and have not seen my parents and friends. We took everything serious which is the right way as it’s not been over yet. That’s why I did not do any interviews and keep distance in everything I do. That’s very important for us. When you are having an injury you can’t do much anyway and have more calm moments at home. You don’t have the stress of the next competition and match, you don’t have nerves, you don’t have the strain from travelling and having a jet-leg, you are not tired. You can enjoy your family life way more”. 

Federer hopes that the Olympic Games in Tokyo will take place in 2021. The Swiss Maestro will be bidding to win his first olympic singles gold medal after the title he won with Stan Wawrinka in the doubles tournament in Beijing 2008. 

“Unfortunately I was injured in Rio and now the Games were postponed, I had the feeling I always took a lot with me away from the Olympic Games. First to be part of it, then with the goal to get a medal, maybe even a Gold one. That’s a completely differerent situation how you enjoyed the Olympic Games. I am curious how Tokyo will be. I hope it will take place. We are one year away but there are voices who say: maybe it’s too early until we have everything under control. I am hopeful all will be good. I think I can speak for both of us when I say that in our position is a goal, otherwise you wonder why you even go there in the first place. I think something is possible. Whether this will be in singles, doubles or mixed. I don’t know yet what I am going to play. I think I would have a chance in singles. At a tournament everything is possible. It’s another story over a whole season but at one tournament many things are possible. At the situation I am in right now i have to honestly say that I would be glad to participate. When I am 100% fit I would be happy to get a medal. When I won’t have one, I would be disappointed but I know that I gave everything and I can look proudly. Tokyo has been great. It was another experience and I could participate at another Olympic Games. My family will be with me just like in London. It’s already a success for me when I am at 100% and can participate, but a medal should be the goal”, said Federer. 

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