TENNIS ATP Monte-Carlo – R. FEDERER/J. Tsonga 2-6, 7-6, 6-1 An Interview with Roger Federer.
Q. You must be happy with the way you got through that. Two points from defeat. Get out of jail, so to speak.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, not only was it close in the breaker, but I think I was down 6 5, Love 30 maybe. A tough point at 15 30 as far as I remember with a half volley backhand defense kind of thing. It wasn’t looking good there. Clearly was quite frustrating for a long period of time, you know, missing all those breakpoints.
It was a tough day at the office. I’m happy I found the way to tough is out.
Q. What sort of explanation do you give to yourself when you are on court and you miss all those breakpoints? Do you get more and more nervous?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, it clearly gets more difficult as you go along because I really should have broken in the first three or four, I don’t remember exactly. I don’t remember what happened when, but when I had the dropshot early, then I think twice actually I had a dropshot opportunity which he played, I got to quite easily, and I didn’t win the point on one of them. It’s how did I get to missing that many?
I think it started that I should have never not broken that early. Then it got into that habit of, okay, he’s always going to be defensive on the breakpoint and I’m not going to be able to find a way to start the point neutral. That was a problem for me and something I need to fix for the next match if it happens again.
Q. Tsonga was saying the conditions changing seemed to favor you more in the third set, to which Stan responded with a sarcastic message on Twitter. What do you make of that, that supposedly the conditions suited you?
ROGER FEDERER: I don’t think it was that much of a change, to be quite honest. I mean, it did go through phases and it definitely got cooler rather than warmer. That’s logical.
But I don’t think, like, you know, there was any wind change or any crazy, like, quickness change in the way it played. I just think it got later in the day.
We played in those conditions a million of times. I think conditions were quite nice out there from the start of the match till the finish. Not too much wind. The ball wasn’t bouncing all over the place.
For both of us at times it was quite frustrating that we weren’t playing better. I don’t think our best matched up sometimes. When he was playing well, he was in the lead. Finally when I got the lead, I was dominating.
Q. You’re a very confident player. Were you surprised the way the third set went? You kept your focus and confidence. You just kept winning games.
ROGER FEDERER: Well I figured, like, winning that second set was tough for Jo. It was good for me. I just thought it was really important to hold my first service game, not kind of like play a nothing game and get down a break, then sort of give him the lead right away again. It was my opportunity to be in the lead for the first time in the match.
Then I really believed that eventually I was going to come through. It’s not possible to go through that many breakpoints. I was playing good enough to make the break and then serve my way home. That’s exactly kind of what happened.
It wasn’t just all negative, you know. The important thing was to carve out the positive stuff in my mind even midway through the first set, midway through the second set when things got tough.
I definitely think Jo didn’t serve as well or as hard as he could have in the third set. I don’t know why that is. But I took advantage of that at the end. That’s all that matters for me right now.
Q. It’s obviously frustrating when you have all those breakpoint chances. Were you happy with your composure? You didn’t let it show it was getting to you.
ROGER FEDERER: I was frustrated. Let’s be honest. I did chuck a ball out of the stadium. I did scream sometimes. I was aggravated to a degree, but not to the extent where I totally lost it.
I was not actually playing poorly or terribly. I was just taking wrong decisions sometimes. That kind of matched up sort of with Jo’s genius play sometimes, and his erratic play as we know it.
For me, I was just hoping my game was not going to go down because I was missing breakpoints. So I was very happy with the composure overall. That got me home at the end, I think.
THE MODERATOR: Questions in French, please.
Q. This is your fourth time in the semifinals. What does that mean for you to be in the semis of your first clay court tournament of the year?
ROGER FEDERER: It helps you feeling more relaxed for the following Masters 1000 tournaments because you don’t have to run after your first victory on clay. It helps you knowing where you stand. You have information about what you need to work on. Also you can be more relaxed and play without pressure which is pleasant because we often are under a lot of pressure.
I know here I am not the most favored player. But I know tomorrow might be an opportunity for a good performance for me. There’s nothing guaranteed, but I’ll try.
Q. Two Swiss players are in the semis here. This shows that Swiss tennis is experiencing a very good period.
ROGER FEDERER: Yes, indeed, it’s fabulous. When Stan made it into the top 10 in Rome in the finals, that was already a great moment. But now we’re 3 and 4, so in the draws we are far apart, and this is good because we have more opportunities of having one of us going further in the tournament.
What Stan has been doing during the past six or nine months is extraordinary. On my side, after my problems last summer, I am now back in better shape.
Q. What do you think of the semifinal coming up, either Novak or Garcia López?
ROGER FEDERER: I know Garcia López very well. He will play from the baseline. He will move well and slide well. I know what to expect against him. If it is Novak, we know he moves very well and he serves better than Garcia López.
If I play Garcia López, the match will be in my hands. If I play Novak, the match will be in his hands.
But playing Novak in Indian Wells and Dubai gave me information that I can use. I can prepare well for a possible match against Novak.
Daniil Medvedev ‘Happy To Play Wimbledon’ If Ban Is Lifted
The world No.2 says he is willing to speak with other players about the situation ahead of his return to action following surgery.
Daniil Medvedev says he is still hopeful that he might be able to play at this year’s Wimbledon Championships should officials at The All England Club decide to change their stance.
At present the reigning US Open champion will not be allowed to play at the grass court major due to his nationality. Officials at the Grand Slam have confirmed that Russian and Belarussian players have been banned from the event due to the war in Ukraine. Ian Hewitt, who is the chairman of The AELTC, said the action was taken in order to prevent ‘the propaganda machine of the Russian regime’ from potentially benefiting from their players’ success.
The ban is a controversial move for the sport which until now had a united approach when it came to allowing those players participate in tournaments but only as neutral athletes. Former Wimbledon champions Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokopvic and Andy Murray have all expressed some degree of opposition to the decision. Meanwhile, the ATP and WTA are considering the possibility of removing the allocation of ranking points at the event.
Speaking about the ban ahead of this week’s Geneva Open, Medvedev acknowledges that it is a ‘tricky situation’ but is still hopeful that a u-turn could occur which would allow him to play. The 26-year-old has made four main draw appearances at Wimbledon with his best result being a run to the fourth round last year.
“There has been a lot of talk around it. I just tried to follow what’s happening because I don’t have any decisions to make. It’s right now about Wimbledon itself, the ATP, maybe the British government is involved,” news agency AFP quoted Medvedev as telling reporters in Switzerland.
“It’s a tricky situation and like every situation in life, you ask 100 players, everybody’s going to give a different opinion.
“I can play: I’m going to be happy to play in Wimbledon. I love this tournament.
“I cannot play: well, I’m going to try to play other tournaments and prepare well for next year if I have the chance to play.”
The former world No.1 has been among a group of Russian players who have previously called for peace in the region. Although none of them have gone as far as publicly condemning the actions of their government. Something which has drawn criticism from Ukraine’s Elina Svitoliva.
“I had some time to follow what is happening, yeah, it’s very upsetting,” Medvedev commented on the war.
Geneva will be the first event Medvedev has played in since reaching the quarter-finals of the Miami Open. He took time away from the Tour to undergo hernia surgery but has confirmed he intends to play at next week’s French Open despite his lack of match play on the clay.
During his time at those events, the tennis star says he is more than happy to speak with other players about the Wimbledon ban should they want to.
“Since I haven’t been on the tour, I haven’t talked to any of them face to face. It was the first time when I came here on Saturday when I can talk to players, and if they start talking about this, we can discuss,” he said.
“I don’t know exactly what’s happening, what’s going to happen, if there are going to be more decisions made.
“Same about Wimbledon. I don’t know if this decision is 100 percent, and it’s over.”
Granted a bye in the first round, Medvedev will start his Geneva campaign against either Richard Gasquet or John Millman.
Denis Shapovalov gets revenge win over Nadal to reach quarterfinals in Rome
The Canadian avenged a loss he suffered last year by beating the king of clay in the eternal city.
Denis Shapovalov booked his spot in the quarterfinals of the Italian Open after beating the world number four Rafael Nadal in three tight sets 1-6, 7-5, 6-2 in two hours and 36 minutes on Pista Centrale.
The Canadian fired 35 winners and served 13 aces while the Spaniard hit 34 unforced errors in a match that went back and forth.
“It’s definitely incredible to me to beat him. Having match points against him last year was kind of a hurtful feeling,” said Shapovalov who lost to the Spaniard at the same tournament 12 months ago. “Coming back here this year, I definitely remember that match. Obviously great tennis, but that one really hurt. Happy to get the win this time around”.
It was the Spaniard with the better start to the match, putting pressure right away on the world number 16 in the second game of the match and it took Shapovalov almost 10 minutes to save three breakpoints and hold serve.
At 2-1 Nadal kept pushing and struck setting up two breakpoints with his ferocious forehand and then broke the Toronto native with a solid backhand down the line winner.
After consolidating the break the world number four was hungry for more and again with his powerful forehand set up more break opportunities and broke again to take a 5-1 lead and served out the first set.
Shapovalov once again faced three breakpoints in the opening game of the second set but managed to save all of them and was able to hold serve. In the following game he broke Nadal to love for the early 2-0 lead.
He was able to consolidate the break but at 4-3 the Spaniard fought back and managed to break back to go back on serve. However, the Canadian at 6-5 was able to get the crucial break to take the second set and send the match to a third.
Nadal responded right away breaking the Canadian in the first game of the third set but the following game Shapovalov set up three breakpoints with a perfectly timed forehand winner.
He broke back the following point and at 3-2 Nadal struggled with his serve and double faulted to give the world number 16 a 4-2 lead as it seemed he was struggling with an injury.
After running down a ball he was seen hunched over at the towel box and was almost limping after points and wincing before serving or returning serve.
At 5-2 with the Spaniard serving to stay in the match and in pain, Shapovalov had three chances to seal the win and it was third time lucky as Nadal last shot went out.
I was trying to change something, he was completely outplaying me and I was hanging in there and I was really happy to turn it around,” said Shapovalov.
Shapovalov will next face Casper Ruud in the quarterfinals on Friday. In their last meeting the Norweigan was able to come out with the win when they played in the Geneva Open final last summer.
After Multiple Surgeries, Comeback Kid Stan Wawrinka Books Djokovic Showdown In Rome
In only his third tournament of the year, 37-year-old Wawrinka admits the upcoming clash will be ‘really difficult’ but he is willing to give it his best shot.
Until now 15 months have passed since Stan Wawrinka last experienced the feeling of recording back-to-back wins in a tournament of any sort.
The three-time Grand Slam champion was sidelined from the sport for a year due a foot injury which ended up requiring two surgeries. The first was done in March last year before he underwent another procedure in June. The surgeries occurred just four years after he underwent two other operations on his left knee. Despite the physical problems and frustration, the Swiss isn’t giving up on his career just yet and is proving why at this week’s Italian Open.
A day after knocking out 14th seed Reilly Opelka, Wawrinka battled on court for almost three hours to oust Laslo Djere 7-6(8), 3-6, 6-4, in front of a highly animated crowd. The rollercoaster battle saw him fight back from a 1-3 deficit in the deciding set. Then four match points came and went before he finally prevailed. Booking his place in the last 16 of a Masters 1000 event for the first time since Paris 2020.
“It’s helping me to keep doing what I love. Tennis is a passion. The crowd, the support, the atmosphere, these courts is the reason why after two surgeries and one year out (of the Tour) I’m still playing tennis at 37. To live those moments as much as I can and I’m enjoying it a lot,” Wawrinka told atptour.com following his win over Djere.
At 361st in the world, Wawrinka has become the lowest-ranked player to reach the third round of a Masters event since Taylor Dent at the 2009 Miami Open. In Rome specifically, he is the lowest-ranked third round player since Carrado Borroni in 1995.
The reward is a clash with world No.1 Novak Djokovic in what will be a true test for Wawrinka. The two have an extensive rivalry after playing each other on the Tour 25 times before, including the finals of the 2015 French Open and the 2016 US Open. Djokovic currently leads their head-to-head 19-6 with their last meeting taking place in 2019.
“It’s always special to play against him,” Wawrinka said of the 20-time Grand Slam winner. “As I’ve said many times I’m not where I want to be yet with my game and fitness level. I need those matches.’
“To have a chance to play against the best player (in the ATP rankings) it’s going to be really difficult for me because I think I’m not ready to compete at that level. (But) it’s what I need. I need those challenges and push myself as much as I can to keep improving.”
Wawrinka’s win over Djere is his 535th on the ATP Tour and his 24th at the Italian Masters.
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