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


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




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.


Felix Auger-Aliassime Survives Australian Open Marathon

For a second time this week the Canadian was pushed but managed to win a tough four-set match against his Spanish opponent.




Felix Auger-Aliassime (Manuela Davies/USTA)

Felix Auger-Aliassime booked his spot in the third round of the Australian Open after beating Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 7-6, 6-7, 7-6, 7-6 in a match that lasted four hours and 20 minutes.


The Montreal native hit 58 winners and served 28 aces while Davidovich Fokina hit 51 unforced errors. It is the second time the 21-year-old has reached the last 32 in Melbourne Park in what is his third appearence.

The first game of the match was a nervy one for the world number nine as it lasted six minutes and it involved him saving two breakpoints before being able to hold serve. The opener stayed on serve until 2-2 when the Fokina came up with an impressive passing shot to set up two more chances for the first break of serve of the match and this time managed to convert. Three games later the Canadian fought back and broke right back to go back on serve.

It was a tiebreak which decided the first set. The Montreal native jumped out to a 3-0 lead before the Spaniard came back again to win the next four points but the Canadian responded again winning three straight points to take the breaker 7-4 and the first set.

The second set was another impressive performance on serve by both players and once again was decided by a back and forth breaker that this time was won by Davidovich Fokina to level the match.

The third frame was much the same as both players kept their level up and not much differentiated the two. This tiebreaker was much more straightforward as the Canadian jumped out to a 5-1 lead before closing out the third set 7-5 and taking two sets to one lead.

The fourth set stayed on serve until 2-1 when the world number 50 had a chance to break and was able to get it for a 3-1 lead before the Canadian was able to break back the following game to go back on serve.

For the fourth time, the set was decided by a tiebreaker and this one was super tight with the Canadian getting the crucial break to take a 4-3 lead and that one break was enough for him to serve it out.

Auger Aliassime will now face Dan Evans in the third round after the Brit was handed a walkover against Frenchman Arthur Rinderknech who pulled out of the match due to injury.

Continue Reading


‘Best Feeling I’ve Ever Had’ – Underdog Christopher O’Connell Stuns Schwartzman At Australian Open

Prior to this week the 27-year-old had never won a main draw match at Melbourne Park or beaten a top 20 player.




Image via

World No.175 Christopher O’Connell has pulled off a major upset at the Australian Open by knocking out 13th seed Diego Schwartzman.


The 27-year-old wild card had only ever won one match in the main draw of a Grand Slam prior to this year but illustrated the talent that he has with a 7-6, 6-4, 6-4, win over Schwartzman. A player who is currently ranked 162 places above him in the rankings. Against the Argentine he fired a total of 44 winners and won 75% of his first service points on route to claiming his first win over a top 20 player.

“It’s the best feeling I’ve ever had on a tennis court. I’ve been playing tennis since I was four. To have moments like this it’s a dream come true.” O’Connell said during his press conference.

Despite the straightforward score, the match itself was a marathon. The opener alone lasted for almost 90 minutes with the underdog saving three set points whilst down 4-5 before prevailing in the tiebreaker. Then in the following two sets he broke Schwartzman three times in total.

“I knew how crucial that first set was. It was really warming up out there. It was really a battle back and forth. It was crucial to get that first set, especially in the heat,” he said.

A late bloomer on the men’s Tour, the Australian started to make a breakthrough last year by reaching his first quarter-final at the Atlanta Open where he defeated Jannik Sinner. During that year he also reached the final of a French Challenger event before withdrawing due to injury and reached the second round of the US Open.

O’Connell, who has been ranked as high as 111th in the world, credits his coach for helping him reach new milestones in the sport. He is mentored by former player Marinko Matosevic who reached a ranking high of 39th back in 2013 and made more than $2M in prize money during his playing career.

“The process didn’t start yesterday. It’s been happening all of last year,” he stated.
“I’ve been working with Marinko. He’s just really confident with how I want to play tennis now. It’s the first time I’ve really had a one-on-one coach literally every day with me.’
“Marinko was such a great player. All his knowledge of the game, he’s just putting it onto me.”

Next up for O’Connell will be the in-form Maxime Cressy who lost to Rafael Nadal in the final of the Melbourne Summer Set just over a week ago. The American defeated Czech qualifier Tomáš Macháč 6-1, 3-6, 6-1, 7-6(5), in his second round match.

“I knew I had good results in me. It’s just being consistent. I felt today was a consistent match from me,” he reflected.
“But the biggest thing for me is just staying healthy, not having these injuries where I miss two months of tournaments. I nearly missed five or six months last year. I can’t be doing that.’
“The belief is always there, but I just got to make sure my body’s healthy this year. I want to play a full year.”

Continue Reading


French Player Tests Positive For COVID-19 Hours After Australian Open Defeat

The world No.40 was preparing to leave the country.




Image via

Ugo Humbert is in quarantine after testing positive for COVID-19 following his first round loss at the Australian Open on Tuesday.


Humbert, who was the 29th seed in the men’s draw, is understood to have produced a positive result during a routine procedure players have to conduct before they leave the country. It is unclear as to if he is currently suffering from any symptoms.

Humbert crashed out of the tournament to compatriot Richard Gasquet, who won their match 3-6, 7-6(4), 7-6 (3), 6-3, in three hours and 18 minutes. Gasquet also tested positive for COVID-19 upon arrival in Australia earlier this month but was given the all clear to play at Melbourne Park following a negative test. There was a 15-day period between the 35-year-old announcing on Twitter he had the virus and his first match against Humbert.

“I was tested positive on my exit test yesterday and I’ll stay one more week in isolation in Australia,” Humbert wrote on Instagram.
“Thanks for your support and see you soon.”

The 23-year-old has started his season by winning one out of four matches played. Prior to the Australian Open, he scored one of the biggest wins of his career by defeating Daniil Medvedev at the ATP Cup in the group stages. However, following that victory he suffered losses to Alex de Minaur and Matteo Berrettini.

Tennis Australia is yet to comment on Humbert’s positive test.

Continue Reading