Davis Cup 2014: Fognini gives Italy the lead. Murray – Seppi suspended - UBITENNIS
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Davis Cup 2014: Fognini gives Italy the lead. Murray – Seppi suspended

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TENNIS – Davis Cup 2014. Italy took the lead after Fognini beat Ward in the first rubber in four sets with 6-4 2-6 6-4 6-1 after heavy rain postponed the match by two hours. The second match was suspended because of bad light as Murray was leading 6-4 5-5 against Seppi. Murray saved four set points at 4-5 in the second set. The match will be resumed on Saturday morning at 10.30 local time. Diego Sampaolo

 

LIsten to the press conferences from Naples

Word Number 13 Fabio Fognini gave Italy the early 1-0 lead after clinching a tough match in four sets with 6-4 2-6 6-4 6-1 after a two-hour delay due to heavy rain which made the clay court very slow. .

Fognini went down a break to fall behind 0-3 in the early stages of the match but recovered from a sluggish start to break back at 3-3 before breaking serve again to clinch the first set. Ward, who won against Sam Querrey in the first round match against the USA in San Diego, broke early in the second set and went on to play a consistent second set against a struggling Fognini. Ward broke again with a drop-shot to take the second set.

Italy vs Great Britain: Images of day 1

Fognini took a medical time-out to treat his injured rib. The Italian broke serve early in the third set as Ward hit wide. Fognini faced a series of break points during the third set but he managed to hold serve before serving out for the set.

Fognini got a early break in the fourth set before sealing a easy win with a drop volley on his first match point for 6-1 after three hours and nine minutes.

I feel a bit tired. I had a week off after Miami. Everything is going to be in the right way”, said Fognini.

If Fognini is fit, he could team up with Simone Bolelli in tomorrow’s doubles match.

Andy Murray and Andreas Seppi started their second rubber at 17.40 local time. They were aware that they were unlikely to finish their match before sunset.

The match was balanced until the seventh game when Murray got the break in the seventh game to lead 4-3 before closing out the first set with a forehand pass.

Seppi got the break at the fourth opportunity to take a 4-2 lead but Murray broke straight back in the following game. The Scotsman could not convert on three break point chances at 4-4 before it was decided that there would be one more game

Murray served to stay in the set at 4-5 as light was fading. Murray saved four set points with a volley to draw level to level to 5-5 in a long and dramatic game before the match was suspended.

Murray and Seppi will resume the match on Saturday morning. The Scotsman could play his second match in the crucial doubles match if he will be chosen to team up with Colin Fleming.

First and foremost we have got to get Andy focused to finish the job against Seppi. I twill be a difficult challenge but I think that Andy is in the driving seat. Once the match is finished we will a discussion with Andy and the rest of the team to see what we can do with the doubles, said British captain Leon Smith

Switzerland vs Kazakhstan 1-1

The winner of the Naples match will play against either Switzerland or Kazakhstan in next September’s semifinal. Switzerland was the favourite on the eve of the match held indoors in the Palexpo in Geneva but the Davis Cup often provides surprises .

The match between 2014 Australian Open champion Stanislas Warinka and Andrey Golubev was the example that everything can happen in the Davis Cup and ranking do not matter too much.

The Kazakh player gave a surprising early lead after taking an upset win over Wawrinka in four sets with 7-6 (7-5) 6-2 3-6 7-6 (7-5).

Wawrinka saved two match points in the 12th game of the fourth set. In the tie-break Golubev took a 6-2 lead but Wawrinka managed to save three more break points before the Kazakh player converted his sixth match point after 3 hours and 14 minutes to win for the second time in four head-to-head matches against Wawrinka.

Wawrinka converted on just one of his 10 break points and made 70 unforced errors.

There is always a lot of pressure when you play at home and for your country but it’s part of our game and you have to deal with that. I am expecting to play better omorrow in the doubles. I started a little bit tight. When I am in this position, I know that I don’t move so well. He was playing really aggressive and I did not find a way to to turn the match”, said Wawrinka

Roger Federer kept Swiss hopes alive by drawing level with a three-set win over Mickail Kukushkin with 6-4 6-4 6-2 in less than two hours to the relief of the 15000 Swiss fans who packed the Geneva Indoor arena Federer got the break in the tenth game for 6-4 in both the first and the second set The 17-time Grand Slam champion, who is bidding to win his first Davis Cup, broke serve in the second game to take a 3-0 lead in the third set. He broke sere in the final game to clinch the third set 6-2. Federer capitalized on four of his nine break points and did not face a break point chance.

Federer and Wawrinka are expected to team up for Saturday’s match against teh Kazakh team which may feature Golubev and either Aleksander Nedovyesov or Evgeny Korolev.

I trust Stan that he is going to be fit and healthy and fighting till the end. It was unfortunate for his match but I think that Golubev played a good match in good indoor conditions for him”, said Federer.

The Swiss team is bidding to reach the first semifinal since 2004.

Japan vs Czech Republic 0-2

Radek Stepanek and Lukas Rosol gave defending champions from Czech Republic a comfortable 2-0 lead against Japan in Tokyo. Japan is missing their best player Kei Nishikori who is nursing a groin injury.

Radek Stepanek rallied from a set down to edge Tatsuma Ito with 6-7 (5-7) 7-6 (7-5) 6-1 7-5. Lukas Rosol overcame a tough match against Taro Daniel in five se ts with 6-4 6-4 3-6 4-6 6-2

Davic Cup hero Radek Stepanek will team up with Jiri Vezely in Saturday’s double match against Yasutaka Uchiyama and Tatsuma Ito

Davis Cup

India’s political gambit throws Indo-Pakistan Davis Cup tie into chaos

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Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The prospect of being sanctioned by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) prompted the All India Tennis Association (AITA), the apex Indian tennis body, to agree to visit Pakistan for the Asia/Oceania Group I Davis Cup tie in September 2019. The tie – scheduled for 14th-15th September – would have been the first time since 1964 that India would have visited its neighbour and arch-rival to play the Davis Cup.

 

Up until last week, almost all details had been laid out. The venue had been decided – the tie was to be played on outdoor grass in Islamabad – and the visiting nation had announced its squad under the captaincy of Mahesh Bhupathi. And while security concerns remained a subject of discussion, they did not threaten any late-minute forfeiture of the tie.

The Cause of Problems, and the Aftermath

The Indian government’s decision to do away with a key article of the country’s constitution about its northern region of Jammu and Kashmir on 6th August, however, changed the dynamics of the Indo-Pak socio-political relationship yet again. On the said date, India’s home minister Amit Shah announced that Article 370 of the constitution would be abrogated. The Article, as it had come into effect in 1954 after being amended, gave Jammu and Kashmir special autonomy within the country’s geopolitical and social ambit. The Article was signed by the then ruler of the province Hari Singh who did not want to join either India or Pakistan at the time of India’s partition in 1947 after it gained independence from the British Empire.

Soon after India’s announcement, Pakistan – which regards Kashmir as its territory under Indian occupation – retaliated by snapping the existing diplomatic channels between the countries. It also approached the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) asking the UN body to take up the issue.

In India and globally, there is also fear that the Kashmir problem could thrust both nations into a war-like scenario yet again. Concerning sports, specifically tennis, in this case, the Indian tennis administration does not want its players to face any potential security threat in Pakistan on account of the altered landscape.

The AITA Stand

Yet, despite the worry of any possible breach of security, the AITA does not want to take any premature step vis-à-vis the tie either. On 9th August, when the author of this story spoke to the AITA, the association’s general-secretary Hironmoy Chatterjee said that the AITA was taking a wait-and-see approach.

“We are waiting for two more days,” said Chatterjee. “…I will wait for today because Saturday and Sunday, the ITF will be closed, so Monday (12th August), I will respond… (So) we will see the situation, how it turns in the next two days.”

Noting that the operations of the sole train service between the two nations had been stopped and the airspace between them had been closed by Pakistan, Chatterjee rued that the situation was “not very conducive at the moment”. According to him, if the diplomatic relationship between the sub-continental giants were to improve in the next couple of days, the Indian team would not fail to travel westwards.

“Thereafter (after two days), we will write to the ITF may be suggesting that looking at the situation they should (move the) tie to a neutral venue,” Chatterjee noted, emphasised that India was not considering forfeiting the tie at any cost. “We are very keen to play the tie because (it) is very important for us. There is a lot of difference at stake for them (Pakistan) and us. So, it is very important we play this tie.”

Finally, when asked if the AITA was worried about the ITF sanctioning Indian Davis Cup aspirations, Chatterjee unequivocally denied that the eventuality would come to that.

“It won’t come to that. It shouldn’t come to that because everyone knows the situation. The ITF also knows the situation,” he said before subtly punting the ball back onto the ITF’s side. “The ITF can’t put us into a situation where there is going to be a lot of anxiety. I don’t want that to happen. So, we will discuss it and will come to an amicable solution.”

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Davis Cup

Gerard Pique Takes Swipe At The ATP Cup Over Calendar Scheduling

The Kosmos founder has made some comments that will likely not go down well with the governing body of men’s tennis.

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Barcelona F.C. player and Kosmos founder Gerard Pique has come out fighting against critics of the newly revamped Davis Cup.

 

The 32-year-old was an instrumental figure behind the controversial changes to the 119-year-old team competition. His company Kosmos has pledged to invest $3 billion over the next 25 years. From 2019, the finals will take place over a week and feature 18 teams taking part. Removing the concept of home and away finals. It will be played in group stages with a format similar to that of the FIFA World Cup.

Since the revamp was approved last year, there has been a mixed reception in the world of tennis. A series of high-profile figures has branded the revamp as too radical and accused the International Tennis Federation (ITF) of killing the competition. Ion Tiriac, who is the president of the Romanian Tennis Federation, recently sent a letter to governing body voicing his anger. In it, he wrote ‘I strongly believe that many players will not accept to play in this format and that the nationalist glamour has been lost forever.’

Speaking to The Times, Pique has insisted that the Davis Cup will be a hit despite its criticism. The first edition of the week-long finals will take place in November at the end of the season. It will be held at the Caja Magica in the Spanish capital of Madrid.

“I totally understand that when someone comes from another sport and if you change something that is very traditional like the Davis Cup for the better of the sport there will be some people who won’t buy it and they won’t believe in it,” Piqué said. “We need time to convince the people that this is the right way to go. What we need in November is to prove these people wrong. I cannot simply convince them with words. What I will try to do is put in all my effort and experience from other sports. We will try to do our best to create an incredible event. I’m sure we will convince some of them, but it is impossible to convince everyone.”

It isn’t just changing the attitudes of others that Pique and Co have to fight against. It is also dealing with competition from the ATP. From next year the ATP Cup will be held annually in Australia at the start of each season. Both prize money and, more crucially ranking points will be on offer for those taking part. The Davis Cup, which is run by the ITF, can’t award points.

Players such as Alexander Zverev has ruled themselves out of playing in the Davis Cup finals as it will eat into their limited off-season training period. However, Pique has suggested that the newly created ATP Cup is in an even worse position in the calendar. A comment that will not help the tentative relationships between Kosmos and the ATP.

“It is true that maybe some people don’t see it as the best place in the calendar for us, but if you want to create a big event, I prefer to be where I am than the ATP Cup.” He stated.
“It will be the first event of the season and the Australian Open is two weeks after. As a professional athlete, you cannot start the pre-season with a big competition because normally you use it for warming up, a little bit like the Hopman Cup in the past. We are at the end of the season. Maybe for the players it is a long season, but it is the last event and a different event because of the uniqueness of playing for your country and the atmosphere we want to create.”

There have been talks about there being just one team event, but at the moment it is unlikely. The ATP is not going to surrender a tournament they have just revived and spent millions on. The same applies to the ITF, whose current president is a key backer of the reform.

“We had so many meetings with the ATP to try to arrive to a deal to create one event or go together. This is something that we are still working on. I think that both competitions have pros and cons. In the Davis Cup, we have the freedom to go elsewhere every two or for years. This is something that it doesn’t seem the ATP Cup will do because they have to be attached to Australia.” Pique concluded.

The Davis Cup finals will take place between 18-24 November.

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Davis Cup

EXCLUSIVE Interview With US Davis Cup Captain Mardy Fish: “If Davis Cup Fails, We All Fail”

Mardy Fish takes the reins of the US Davis Cup team and feels very strongly about the new format for the competition: “If you love Davis Cup you have to support it, even with this format”

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After Jim Courier’s resignation from the role of US Davis Cup Captain last September after the defeat in the 2018 semifinal against Croatia, the USTA decided to take their time and make some changes to the duties required by the role. Following Courier’s suggestion that “the new captain should be someone closer in age to the players”, the United States Tennis Association decided to trust former world no.7 Mardy Fish with this important responsibility, also making him a key figure in the Player Development Program, expanding the role of captain into a year-round presence at tournaments around the world to provide a bigger support to players.

 

While we were covering the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, Mardy found the time to talk to Ubitennis over the phone from his house in California and provided some insight into this new adventure for him.

What can you tell us about your first few months in your new role?

It’s been a fun few months, adjusting from the role of peer to the other players to that of captain. I have found a lot of respect towards me from the other players and this is obviously a great thing. I have always been a huge fan of Davis Cup, I have always said yes whenever I had the opportunity to play it, and it’s an honor to be in this role.

You retired a few years ago from professional tennis: how do you feel about getting back on the road now that your life is structured in a different way?

My life at home has been quite established, with my wife and my two kids, but I have been doing a bit of personal traveling for some exhibitions and for golfing. This role will not require a lot of traveling, I will just do what I need to create some camaraderie in the team: I have spent a few days in Indian Wells, from Tuesday to Saturday, I will be a few days in Miami, then I won’t be around much for the European season and I will travel again to tournaments in the summer. I just need the players to know that they have my support and the support of the USTA if it’s needed.

What do you think about the new formula for the Davis Cup?

I think it’s too early to tell right now, we will find out how it goes. On paper the formula sounds awesome, the time was right for a change, although I’m not sure if it was necessary to make it as drastic as this. I know there are some people that feel very strongly against this new formula, but this means that people are passionate about Davis Cup, they really care about it.
The date in the calendar for the Finals is quite tough though. But at the end of the day, if it’s Davis Cup the majority of players will find a way to participate and I’m convinced we will get an excellent field.
As far as the US Team is concerned, I don’t foresee any availability issue from our players, especially the younger ones: they are very excited about playing for the USA, the National Team is in a lot of conversations among our players. I can’s speak for other countries, I know some of them have pledged not to play with the new format, but what we need to remember is that we are all responsible for Davis Cup: if Davis Cup fails, we all fail, we are all together on the same boat. For example, the Australian players are all very passionate about Davis Cup, they love it, and that is fantastic. But if they don’t support it, it’s not going to work.

With the new formula, a team getting to the final will need to play six ties in seven days: how important do you think it will be to have a ‘long bench’?

I think it will be important to bring players who play only singles and other players who play only doubles. I believe that teams that only have one or two players, as it could be for Russia, and relying on them to play both singles and doubles could get into a bit of a situation should they get to the business end of the competition, because their players may get there quite tired. We are lucky in that sense because we can have someone like Jack Sock who could play doubles leaving the singles guys free to worry about the singles.

Tennis politics have recently made the headlines with Chris Kermode not being renewed as the ATP CEO. What is your take on this?

I have spoken to some of the guys who are in the Players’ Council and once again I need to stress that they do what they do because they act with passion. They are passionate about tennis, they act out of love for the game even if their ranking is not high. I know Kermode personally from when he was the Tournament Directors at the Queen’s Tournament and everything was perfect for me; I don’t have direct experience with him at the helm of the ATP, I had already retired when he took the reins of the organization.

A few weeks ago the ITF decided the composition of the Round Robin phase of the Davis Cup Final and the US team will be in the same group as Italy and Canada. Can you tell us about these teams?

Well, Canada has the right mix of experience and youth: Denis Shapovalov and Felix Auger Aliassime are going to be there for a long time, and Milos [Raonic] will be able to give them all the support they need. Similarly, Italy has an established core of players such as Fabio Fognini and Andreas Seppi that will be supplemented by Marco Cecchinato, whom I know him anyway because he is was my opponent in my last match ever at the US Open.
I am very confident about our chances in this group: we have three top 60 players who are still 21 years old or younger, who are Tiafoe, Fritz and Opelka. Tiafoe has just reached the Quarterfinals of the Australian Open, and that’s not a result that you can improvise, you need to beat good players to get there. They will be the core of our team for the years to come, and they will be helped by more established veterans like John [Isner] or Sam [Querrey].

 

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