ATP Monte-Carlo Interviews Wawrinka: “When you win a match like this, it's only one or two points, especially in the tiebreak” - UBITENNIS
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ATP Monte-Carlo Interviews Wawrinka: “When you win a match like this, it's only one or two points, especially in the tiebreak”

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

 

Q. A great day for you and Swiss tennis. How would you analyze the match?

STANISLAS WAWRINKA: Well, I think at the beginning we were both nervous. The first set we were not moving so well because we were hesitating a lot, looking at each other both. But he did better than me. He was serving a little bit better.

Then for me was important to fight with myself. It’s never easy to play him   especially in a final.

But I did see I was playing good tennis. It was few little change to take the advantage. I start to play more aggressive, trying to push him more.

Yeah, when you win a match like this, it’s only one or two points, especially in the tiebreak. But I think I did a great tiebreak. I was serving big and being really aggressive.

Then I took the advantage at the beginning of the third set. I saw that he was a little bit tired. Me, I was playing better and better, especially moving better.

 

Q. What happened when you got the warning? Normally in the match you were relaxed, or tense and relaxed at the same time. Not many ‘C’mons’ because too much friends or what?

STANISLAS WAWRINKA: I did get the warning for stupid word, so was not like a big, big problem for me. I was trying to find the solution to play better tennis, not to be too much nervous.

It’s always special to play Roger. We know it’s always a strange match, especially being in the final here. He’s my best friend on the tour. We respect each other so much. I’m just trying on the court to win the match. Before and after, we still very good friend. During the match, we just try everything to win.

Today I’m really happy to take that one.

 

Q. How much confidence does your performance not just today but this week give you for the remainder of the clay court season?

STANISLAS WAWRINKA: A lot, for sure. I can see that when mentally I’m there and I’m fighting, I can play tennis, I can beat all the player. That was important for me after Davis Cup to play well, to be ready for a tough match, to be ready to fight with myself.

But I did amazing job. I’m really happy after winning my first Grand Slam to win a Masters 1000 so quick. I didn’t expect. When I came here, for me it was more like a test. I knew I was playing good tennis, but I didn’t expect to win because the draw was so strong.

Yeah, again, I can see that when I’m moving well, when I’m there fighting with myself, strong with myself, I can beat all the players.

 

Q. After Australia, you were in the U.S., you had a few tough matches. But the match in Davis Cup that you won, it seems that was a turning point for you to be in this position. How do you feel about that? Do you feel more confident?

STANISLAS WAWRINKA: I feel great. Winning Grand Slam, first Grand Slam, it’s never easy after because a lot of things change. I did only two tournaments so so. I did lost two matches not that great.

But Davis Cup was really important for me. It’s always the goal for me to play well in Davis Cup. Playing at home, playing with Roger, playing against Kazakhstan, we knew we were favorite, but it was tough for me, especially the first two day.

After I was happy with the win. I was happy with the Sunday. It was good for me mentally to go straight to the clay and to come early here straight after Davis Cup and to be ready for the first tournament on clay.

 

Q. This year you won your first Grand Slam, your first Masters 1000. What changed in you, in your mentality, to be a good player, to be a winner?

STANISLAS WAWRINKA: Well, it already change last year when I start to first make my first quarter in French Open, final in Madrid, my first semifinal in US Open. I start to realize I be able to beat all the players. That’s what I am doing this year and I’m doing well.

I’m surprised where I am, but I’m not surprised when I see how I play on the court, how I move, the way I’m winning those match.

 

Q. For a long time we talked about the top four. Can we now talk about the top five with you?

STANISLAS WAWRINKA: I just think the big four will always be the big four: Rafa, Novak, Roger and Murray. They won all the tournaments since many years and you cannot change that.

Now it’s a little bit different. Last year Roger was struggling a little bit. Murray, his back, it’s tough for him to come back. The ranking is different, but the statistics are the same: they won all the tournaments since many years.

 

Q. Did Magnus Norman say to you something special about clay? Did he say to you, You have to do this special on clay, you can win Roland Garros, something like that?

STANISLAS WAWRINKA: We start last year with Magnus. The first few days was on clay before Estoril. We start to practice there. For sure he’s saying few things different than on grass or on hard court.

But it’s all about the work we’re doing together. We’re not expecting to win tournament after one week of practice. We doing every day a good job. We trying to focus on every day to practice well, to try to win every matches. That’s it.

I won my Grand Slam on hard court, so doesn’t mean that I can only play on clay. I won my first Masters 1000 here on clay. I grown on clay. For me it’s easy to come back on clay and to play well on clay. I need one or two days and I know that my level is there.

 

Q. About clay and the movement, it seems you embrace it. Is that easy for you?

STANISLAS WAWRINKA: Yeah, clay, it’s natural for me. It’s easy. I’m always happy to come back on clay. It’s always easy. As I say, I need one or two practice and I feel great on clay. I feel I can slide well, I can use the position, I can use my spin, I can use the power from the back. I can stay really back and come back to the court.

It’s really easy and normal for me to play on clay court. Maybe that’s why I’m playing great tennis.

 

THE MODERATOR: Questions in French, please.

 

Q. On the court you were talking about overcoming a barrier. Can you tell us which ones and how you did it?

STANISLAS WAWRINKA: I’m experiencing the best emotions ever during the past year or so. It’s incredible. This is why I’ve been practicing all those years. It’s to live those moments.

Today it was a personal challenge. Playing against Roger is always very special. He is the one who is really able to mix it up. For me, winning a match is already complicated, but against him it’s even more difficult. He always had that advantage on me. He’s used to those situations. That why the beginning of the match was a bit tough. But it was for both of us.

I saw he was tense, too. We were looking at each other. But then I was able to lead and use the conditions today. They were good for me. I was able to block his backhand by being aggressive, and I was able to control the rhythm of the match.

I believe that was the difference.

 

Q. With your good results here on clay, you will be a favorite in the French Open. How are you going to deal with that?

STANISLAS WAWRINKA: Well, before that there’s Rome and Madrid. After this I believe I’ll be top three. I play well on clay. It’s normal that I would be a favorite for the French Open, but I don’t think so because I’m very far from players like Rafa, Novak and Roger.

Anyway, I will not change anything in the way I approach the tournaments.

 

Q. This final was different from any other final. You didn’t seem to be enemies on the court. Roger was so happy to be able to congratulate you immediately after the match.

STANISLAS WAWRINKA: Yes, this is pretty rare in sport, in a very selfish and very individual sport, not just tennis. We are friends. We are not enemies on the court. We are there to try to win, but we have a lot of respect for each other. We don’t overdo it.

Before the match we had lunch together. After the match we were laughing together in the locker rooms. That’s why also we did well in the Olympics because we did that together.

 

Q. If you’re more confident, is it okay for you to start thinking you might be the next No. 1?

STANISLAS WAWRINKA: No, I’m too far from that right now. The No. 1 this year last won two Grand Slams and five Masters 1000s in a year. You have to win almost every tournament you play to be No. 1. So when I will play Rome or Madrid, I’ll think about trying to go as far as I can in the tournament and nothing else. Anyway, it’s too early in the season to tell.

 

Q. Are you thinking about your game on grass?

STANISLAS WAWRINKA: Although I don’t have my best results on grass, it’s a surface I always liked. I might have better results this year because I will prepare well for this with Magnus, and I’m not afraid of that surface. I believe it’s a nice challenge.

 

Q. You’re saying you’re far from the top players, but don’t you think you can beat them?

STANISLAS WAWRINKA: When I go into a match against them, I always think I can beat them. I’m on the court to win. Now I’m more consistent and I have better results, but I still can’t compare myself with Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic. My career is different.

I have my own career. I’m happy with my career. I’m just trying to do well.

ATP

Injured Alcaraz Pulls Out of Rio Open After Two Games

A sprained ankle a couple of minutes into his debut at the Rio Open forced top seed Carlos Alcaraz to abandon his match against Thiago Monteiro

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Carlos Alcaraz after the injury - Rio 2024 (photo Tennis TV)

For world no. 2 Carlos Alcaraz, this year’s Rio Open lasted two games: the Spanish champion had to retire on the score of 1-1 in the first set during his first-round match against Brazilian Thiago Monteiro due to a sprained right ankle suffered in the second point of the match.

 

In an accident somewhat reminiscent of the terrible one suffered by Zverev in the semi-final of Roland Garros 2022, Alcaraz’s right foot “got stuck”  in the clay as he returned towards the center of the court after returning from the left, and he immediately flew to the ground dropping his racket. The Spaniard immediately asked for a medical time-out, but as soon as he took off his shoe it was immediately clear that his ankle had already swollen.

After having a tight bandage applied, Alcaraz tried to continue the match, but just two games later he understood that it was not possible to continue so he shook hands with his opponent, abandoning the Brazilian tournament.

The match was played on a very heavy court due to the rain that had fallen heavily during the day. The organizers had been forced to cancel the daytime session and play could only begin around 7.30 pm local time, after the courts had remained under pouring water all day.

Alcaraz told the press present in Rio: “I think these things happen, especially on clay. It wasn’t a problem with the court, I hurt myself in a change of direction and this happens on this type of surface. I went back into the match to see if I could continue or not. I spoke to the physiotherapist on the court and we decided, together, that I would continue to see if the ankle would improve. It didn’t happen, so we preferred to be cautious and withdraw as a precaution.”

Considering that Alcaraz left the court on his own two feet and managed to wobble through a couple of games after the injury, it is quite likely that the injury he suffered is much less serious than the one that kept Alexander Zverev away from tournaments for over seven months. However, it will be necessary to verify whether it is just a sprain or whether tendons or ligaments have been involved. If this were to be the case, the prognosis could turn out to be longer, and this is happening less than two weeks before the start of the Sunshine Double in Indian Wells and Miami.

The Spaniard is scheduled to play an exhibition in Las Vegas on 3rd March against Rafael Nadal: it will be decided in the next few days whether to withdraw as a precaution for the first Masters 1000 of the season in Indian Wells.

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Can Jannik Sinner dodge the morning-after syndrome?

Very few players have managed to follow up their first triumph in a Major. Hewitt is the last new Grand Slam champion to immediately win an ATP title. Nadal, Djokovic and Federer all misfired, can Jannik Sinner do better?

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Jannik Sinner - Australian Open 2024 (photo: X @federtennis)

By Roman Bongiorno

“The morning-after syndrome,” as they call it. The list of great champions who have suffered from it – Carlos Alcaraz, Juan Martin del Potro, Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Stan Wawrinka, Andy Murray, is impressive.  Some of the most illustrious names in our sport, the most successful ever. Yet, even for those who are legends, the match immediately after their first Grand Slam triumph is often an insurmountable hurdle.

 

The very young Spanish phenomenon, born in 2003, was the latest striking example. After winning the 2022 US Open and becoming the new world No. 1, Alcaraz managed to win just one set in his next two matches: he lost 6-7 6-4 6-2 in the Davis Cup against Felix Auger Aliassime, who was definitely on fire in that period, and was inflicted a 7-5 6-3 defeat by veteran David Goffin in his first match at the ATP 500 in Astana.

Mentally, it’ not easy. The most important triumph of one’s life, immediately to be put aside.  And go back to work. The media are quick to pounce on any slip, headlines hinting at signs of a career already over: “it’s gone to his head”, “he has made his money” etc.

Less than a year later, Carlos Alcaraz was once more a Grand Slam champion, beating Novak Djokovic in the final at Wimbledon.

Just think of tennis legends such as Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, who fell victims to this serious syndrome. The former, after his triumph at Roland Garros 2005, stepped back on court on the green grass of Halle, losing in 3 sets to the world number 147 German Alexander Waske: 4-6 7-5 6-3. For many, that was a disastrous defeat foreshadowing a future that would not be as bright as it had seemed. Rafa told another story, by winning another 21 Grand Slam titles, on every surface.

The Serbian, on the other hand, thrived on the hard courts of Melbourne, just like Jannik Sinner. In 2008, after winning the title, he was engaged in Davis Cup against Russia. He did not finish his rubber against Nikolay Davydenko and retired at the beginning of the fourth set while trailing 2 sets to 1. In his first ATP tour appearance, in Marseille, after brushing aside Ivan Dodig, he was ousted in three sets by Gilles Simon. Over the following 15 years Novak Djokovic went on to become the has become the most successful player ever.

What about Roger Federer? After lifting the trophy won at Wimbledon in 2003, he moved to the home clay of Gstaad.  He survived the morning-after syndrome  after a fierce but victorious struggle in the first round with the Spaniard Marc Lopez, ranked No.190. Then he cruised till the final, but was defeated in a five set hustle 5-7 6-3 6-3 1-6 6-3 by Jiri Novak.

The morning-after did not spare Juan Martin del Potro. After his stunning victory over Federer at the 2009 US Open, he set foot on an ATP tennis court three weeks later in Tokyo. It was Edouard Roger Vassellin, 189th in the world, who spoiled the party, neatly defeating the Argentinian in two sets, 64 64.

Even “Ice man” Bjorn Borg, the man without (apparent) emotions, focused only on tennis and winning, lost the first match after his success at Roland Garros 1974. He was defeated in the first round in Nottingham by world No. 71 Milan Holecek from Czechoslovakia. Over the next years he definitely made up for that impasse on English lawns.

A rare bird at last, and not by chance does it come from Australia, a land which is ever so rich in unique species. Lleyton Hewitt, who in 2001 after steamrolling Pete Sampras in the US Open final, immediately won his next matches, two singles rubbers in the Davis Cup against Jonas Bjorkman and Thomas Johansson, and then went on to win in Tokyo by beating Michel Kratochvil in the final.

Jannik Sinner has been building up his success on gruelling feats. Sure he’s eager to be back on the Dutch indoor courts of Rotterdam where he enjoyed a brilliant run last year, only surrendering to Danil Medvedev in the final. Just one year ago the Russian seemed an impossible opponent to defeat. Now, in the last 4 challenges, Jannik has beaten him 4 times. The last one, in the final of the Australian Open.

Rotterdam could have been the stage for a rematch, but Medvedev has pulled out of the tournament. Jannik Sinner appears as a favourite, and is vying to close in on that third place of the rankings currently held by Daniil.

Jannik has set out on his mission. But even if he were to be defeated in the first round by an opponent ranked beyond the top 200, no one should dare cry failure. Italy at last has a Grand Slam winner, and he is not to be downplay him in case of first defeats.

Translated by Kingsley Elliot Kaye

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Matteo Berrettini Looks To Draw Inspiration From Jannik Sinner

Matteo Berrettini is looking to draw inspiration from Jannik Sinner ahead of his comeback to the ATP tour.

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(@TheTennisLetter - Twitter)

Matteo Berrettini is looking to draw inspiration from Jannik Sinner as Berrettini is continuing his recovery from his injury.

 

The former Wimbledon finalist has had a horrible run of injuries which has seen the Italian fall down the rankings as he is now at 124 in the world.

After suffering a horrible injury at the US Open during his match with Arthur Rinderknech, Berrettini was looking to make his return at the Australian Open as he was set to face Stefanos Tsitsipas in the opening round.

However just before the match, Berrettini withdrew as he decided to delay his comeback to the tour as he will aim to return to the court as soon as possible.

If Berrettini needed any inspiration then Jannik Sinner’s triumph at the Australian Open could be that much needed spark as the Italian beat Novak Djokovic on his way to capturing a first Grand Slam title.

Speaking an interview Berrettini explained that he is still not 100% and admits he is looking to draw inspiration from Sinner’s form, “I’m better, but I’m not yet 100%,” Berrettini was quoted by Tennis Infinity as saying.

“The goal is to play the whole season, and without these setbacks which are destroying my body and my head. Sinner did a miracle. I will also use this energy for my tennis. I was happy with what Jannik said.

“We have a good relationship, which has strengthened in recent months. We are different but similar. We are pursuing the same dream.”

Berrettini will hope Sinner’s success will have a positive influence on his recovery and quicken his return to the tour as the former world number six aims for a successful return to the tour.

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