Bits & Pieces from the World of Tennis: 28th of April 2014 - UBITENNIS
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Bits & Pieces from the World of Tennis: 28th of April 2014

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TENNIS Bits & Pieces – Murray continues his search for a coach. Nole Djokovic to become a father. Greg Rusedski will coach Kyle Edmund. Tel Aviv will replace the ATP in St. Petersburg and who is playing where this week. Joshua Bosco

 

Murray looking for a coach

British No.1 Andy Murray, coach-less since his split with Ivan Lendl at the Sony Open in March, is said to have a short-list of seven or eight potential candidates for the job.

According to the BBC Murray would have liked to have a new coach prior to the French Open, but due to the issues concerning the appointment of a new trainer (talks, contracts, finances) he’d be very happy to start working with someone at least before his Wimbledon defence starts.

Some would-be candidates for the job are Larry Stefanki (he’s worked with Andy Roddick and Fernando Gonzalez), Tim Henman (but he looks quite happy with his work at the All England Club) and Darren Cahill (who is a tough man to convince, having turned down an offer from Roger Federer in 2009 and now has a well-paid job with ESPN).

After a busy week which saw him being granted an honorary degree from Stirling University and the Freedom of the city, Murray is now in Valencia where he’s training ahead of his return to the court at the Madrid Masters.

Daddy Djokovic

On Thursday World No.2 Novak Djokovic took to Twitter to announce that his long-time girlfriend Jelena Ristic is expecting their first child.

The announcement came as the couple were in Greece, where Djokovic is recuperating from the wrist injury he suffered while playing in Monte Carlo. The player is confident he’ll be fit for the Madrid Masters, which start on 5th May.

Who’s playing where

The ATP moves to Munich this week for the BMW Open, where defending champion and No.2 seed Tommy Haas will try and defend his title against top seed Fabio Fognini and other Top 50 players like Mikhail Youzhny, Gael Monfils, Philipp Kohlschreiber and Andreas Seppi. German players Dustin Brown, Peter Gojowczyk and Alexander Zverev have received wildcards.

Other Top 50 players including Tomas Berdych, Milos Raonic, Marcel Granollers and Dmitry Tursunov will head to Oeiras for the Portugal Open, a combined event, where last year’s winner Stan Wawrinka has decided not to defend his title.

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova won’t be defending her title either as she is one of the nine women to have withdrawn before the start of the tournament. Carla Suarez Navarro (who retired from her quarterfinal match in Stuttgart on Friday) is the top seed and she will play along with Eugenie Bouchard, Samantha Stosur, Roberta Vinci and Lucie Safarova.

Rusedski to coach Edmund

Greg Rusedski will replace Colin Beecher coaching Britain’s highest ranked teenager Kyle Edmund.

On Friday Edmund, currently ranked No.272 in the world, lost to Simone Bolelli in the quarterfinals at the Vercelli Challenger.

He has five Futures titles to his name and won his first ATP tour level match in Eastbourne last year when he defeated Kenny De Schepper in straight sets.

St Petersburg moves to Israel

Early last week the ATP finally gave its approval to relocate the St Petersburg Open, usually held the week after the Davis Cup semi-finals in September, in Israel.

Starting from this year the tournament will take place at the Israel Tennis Centre in Ramat HaSharon, situated in the district of Tel Aviv. The tournament, which will keep its ATP World Tour 250 status, will be the first held in Israel since 1996.

After 19 memorable years in St Petersburg, the time has come for us to take the tournament in a new direction. We are very excited about the opportunities that lie in Tel Aviv and look forward to holding a successful event in September” said Ruslan Linkov, the tournament representative.

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(VIDEO) Novak Djokovic Makes Tearful Tribute To Mentor Kobe Bryant After Australian Open Win

The world No.2 pays his respect to ‘one of the greatest athletes of all time’ on the Rod Laver Arena.

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Novak Djokovic posing for a photo ahead of his quarter-final match with Milos Raonic at the Australian Open (image via https://twitter.com/AustralianOpen)

World No.2 Novak Djokovic shed tears following his quarter-final win over Milos Raonic after paying tribute to NBA legend Kobe Bryant.

 

The 16-time grand slam champion took to the Rod Laver Arena wearing a green zip-up top. On the top right of his jacket with Bryant’s initial along with the numbers 8 and 24. The jersey numbers Bryant worn throughout his 20-year NBA career with the LA Lakers. A love heart was also placed under the numbers on Djokovic’s top.

“’I don’t know what we could say. It really caught us by surprise.” An emotional Djokovic said during his on-court interview with John McEnroe on Tuesday.
‘He was one of the greatest athletes of all time, he inspired myself and many other people around the world. I had that fortune to have a personal relationship with him over the last 10 years.’
‘When I needed some advice and support, he was there for me. He was my mentor, my friend, it’s just heartbreaking to see what has happened to him and his daughter. It’s unbelievable.’

Bryant was killed on Sunday in a helicopter crash that also claimed the life of his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others. As an athlete, he achieved numerous milestones. Including being named the 2008 NBA Most Valuable Player and two-time NBA Finals MVP. He was also a two-time Olympic gold medallist and played in 18 All Star Games.

Just days before Bryant’s death, Djokovic spoke about their friendship during an interview with ESPN. Praising him for the support he received during his elbow injury and fall in the rankings during 2017 and the start of 2018. Reflecting on the conversations the two have had, he said he received some ‘valuable guidance.’

“Kobe has been one of my mentors,” Djokovic told ESPN. “I’ve had several phone conversations with him and also of course when we see each other live in the past couple of years. When I was going through the injury with my elbow and struggling to mentally and emotionally handle all of these different things that were happening to me and dropping in the Rankings and then having to work my way up, he was one of the people who was really there for me to give me some very valuable advice and guidelines to kind of believe and trust in myself, trust the process that I’ll be back.”

Djokovic will play Roger Federer in the semi-finals of the Australian Open.

The tribute can be watched below (from 00:30 to 01:40)

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Dominic Thiem reaches his first quarter final at the Australian Open

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Dominic Thiem eased past Gael Monfils 6-2 6-4 6-4 after 1 hour and 50 minutes on the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne to reach the quarter final at the Australian Open. Thiem has extended his winning streak to 6-0 in his head-to-head matches against Monfils.

 

He fought back from two sets to one down to beat Australia’s Alex Bolt in the second round, but he won eight of his past nine sets to advance to the quarter finals.

Thiem got two breaks in the first set and never faced a single break point in the entire match. The Austrian player converted his fourth break point after three deuces, as Monfils missed a backhand volley wide. Thiem started the third set with an early break in the first game, as Monfils hit an inside-out forehand wide from the middle of the court wide. Thiem won his next service games and held his final game at love.

Thiem will face Rafael Nadal in a re-match of last year’s Roland Garros final.

“I think that I played my best match so far at this year’s Australian Open. It’s a very good feeling. The score looks way easier than the match was. I think I was lucky to make an early break in each set and I was managing to hold my serve well. I am so happy because I am in the quarter final here for the first time”, said Thiem.

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Alexander Zverev tops Andrey Rublev to set Australian Open quarter final against Stan Wawrinka

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Alexander Zverev beat his friend Andrey Rublev 6-4 6-4 6-4 in one hour and 37 minutes to reach the quarter final at the Australian Open for the first time in his career and his third at Grand Slam level.

 

Zverev broke serve once in each set. The German player has not dropped a set at this year’s edition of the Australian Open.

Zverev ended Rublev’s 15-match winning streak. Rublev had not lost a match since October, winning four matches at the Davis Cup last November and back-to-back titles in Doha and Adelaide.

In the opening set Zverev earned his first break at 3-3, as Rublev hit a forehand into the net. He held his serve to consolidate the break and wrapped up the first set after 29 minutes, when Rublev hit a crosscourt backhand wide.

Zverev started the second set with an immediate break in the first game of the second set and closed it out with a hold at love with an ace after 29 minutes.

Zverev broke serve for the third time in the match in the ninth game of the third set to take a 5-4, when Rublev made a groundstroke error, and sealed the win with a forehand volley.

“It feels amazing. I played some great matches against some great opponents. This is Andrey’s first loss of the season, having won two tournaments and getting through to the fourth round with unbelievable tennis. I have known Andrey since we were ten years old. I think he will be top 15, top 10 very soon. I am just happy and I hope I can continue”,said Zverev.

Zverev will face Stan Wawrinka in the quarter final. The German star beat Wawrinka twice in their previous two head-to-head matches in St. Petersburg 2016 and Miami 2017.

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