Master 1000 Monte-Carlo: Successful debut for defending champion Djokovic - UBITENNIS
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Master 1000 Monte-Carlo: Successful debut for defending champion Djokovic

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TENNIS – Master 1000 Monte-Carlo defending champion Novak Djokovic swept aside Albert Montanes 6-1, 6-0 in just 45 minutes in a one-sided match in the second round of the Monte-Carlo Rolex Master, the first European clay tournament of the season. Diego Sampaolo

The match did not break the record as the quickest match in history recently set by Jarkko Nieminen against Bernard Tomic with 28 minutes but there was no match today as Djokovic was simply too strong for Montanes.

The match lasted just two games. Montanes won the second game for 1-1 before Djokovic dominated the rest of the match without dropping his serve. Montanes, who beat Benoit Paire in three sets in the first set, earned three consecutive break points but Djokovic saved them to take the 2-1 lead. Djokovic converted his fourth break point chance at 4-1. This was one of the five breaks of serve in this match for Djokovic who lost just 10 points on serve and saved four break points.

Montanes saved two set points but Djokovic closed out the first set at third opportunity. The second set was a training session for Djokovic who dropped just five points in the second set to seal the win on his first match point in just 45 minutes. Djokovic improved his record in his head-to-head matches against Montanes to 6-0. Djokovic will take on either lucky loser Pablo Carreno Busta or Gael Monfils who beat Kevin Anderson.

Djokovic admitted that he has a different approach this year to the clay season in preparation for the Roland Garros, the only Grand Slam title missing in his cabinet.

Last year I put a lot of energy into winning the Roland Garros title. It was in my thoughts constantly. It didn’t help me for the tournaments prior to that, like Madrid and Rome. I have a different approach this year. I want to do well in the next clay tournaments in preparation and eventually get myself in a very good position in terms of confidence for the French Open”, said Djokovic

Djokovic has claimed his 11th consecutive win. The Monte-Carlo based star is looking to clinch his fifth consecutive Master 1000 Tournament, including Shanghai, paris Bercy last year and the second Indian Wells-Miami double of his career last March. He won last year’s final against Nadal and finished runner-up twice to the Spaniard in 2009 and 2012.

His coach Boris Becker followed Djokovic from the stands after missing Indian Wells and Miami

Jo Wilfred Tsonga, semifinalist last year in Monte-Carlo, had to dig deep to battle past Phillip Kohlschreiber. The German won the second set 6-1 to force the match to the third set. After wasting two match points Tsonga broke closed out the match on his third match point when Kohlschreiber sent his forehand wide.The Frenchman hit 19 winners to 39 unforced errors and won 76 percent of his first serve points to win for the seventh time in eight matches against the German. Tsonga, a semifinalist at the Roland Garros last year,

Last year’s Roland Garros finalist David Ferrer swept aside Jeremy Chardy with 6-3 6-0 in 65 minutes.

Italian Andreas Seppi won for the first time in his career after four defeats against Michail Youzhny with 6-3 7-6 (7-4) in just over two hours. Seppi entertained the crowd for a spectacular Federer-style tweener at 3-3 in the first set which could become one of the candidates for “the shot of the week” award.

Seppi broke serve in the fourth game of the first set with a backhand Youzhny broke straight back before saving five break point chances to draw level to 3-all. Seppi got the decisive break at 4-3 before sealing the first set with 6-3 in 44 minutes.

The second set went on serve. In the fifth game Seppi earned a break point chance and Youzhny got two break point chances in the following game but all three chances were saved. Youzhny saved a break point at 4-4 with an ace. Seppi had to save three set points at 4-5 with his serve. The second set came down to the tie-break. Seppi stormed to 5-2 before earning two match points. He closed it out on his first match point.

Seppi is playing for the ninth time in Monte-Carlo but he has never got through the second round. He lost eight times in the second round and in the first round last year against his compatriot Fabio Fognini.

I have already made a tweener against Murray in Rome. It is so special to made a special shot on this prestigious stage in Monte-Carlo”, said Seppi.

Seppi fended off six of the seven break points he faced to set up a second round against Pablo Andujar. Seppi has not claimed back-to-back wins this year so far this year.

Grigor Dimitrov recovered from a break down in the third set before winning the final six games of the match to beat Marcel Granollers with 6-2 4-6 6-2.

French qualifier Michael Llodra upset last year’s Wimbledon qualifier Jerzy Janowicz 6-4 6-2 in just 66 minutes to set up the next match against Lukas Rosol. The young Pole suffered his sixth consecutive defeat since the quarter finals in Rotterdam.

Teymuraz Gabashvili fought back from a set down to overcome Giles Simon 4-6 6-4 6-4 to set up a second round match against eight-time champion Rafa Nadal.

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The Trial Has Ended: David Ferrer Is Now A Head Coach Of Alexander Zverev

The former French Open finalist is set to become a regular face on the men’s Tour once again but in a differnt capacity.

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By Emil Evtimov

David Ferrer is the new head coach of Alexander Zverev alongside his father Alexander Sr. The news was revealed by the world No.7 after his win against Felix Auger-Aliassime at the Ultimate Tennis Showdown in Nice.

 

In the beginning of July Zverev announced that he and Ferrer will work together on a trial basis for two weeks in Monte Carlo. Now the German confirmed that the former world No.3 and Roland Garros finalist will be on his side as a coach at least until the end of the year. 

“The trial period is over. We are together. We understand each other great and now we are a team,” said Zverev.

Ferrer won’t be the first prominent name in team Zverev. Previously the three-time Masters 1000 champion worked with Juan Carlos Ferrero and Ivan Lendl. Since the end of his relationship with Lendl, Zverev has been trained mainly by his dad.

“David and my father are both my head coaches now. My dad doesn’t get any younger. Both are extremely important for the team.”

For Ferrer this will be the first coaching experience. His playing career ended in May 2019 during the ATP Masters 1000 in Madrid with his last opponent on the court being none other than Zverev.

For quite a long time Zverev was considered the big star from the young generation but in 2019 was a bit overshadowed by players such as Stefanos Tsitsipas and  Daniil Medvedev.

The German began 2020 with a great performance at the Australian Open reaching the semifinals where he lost to Dominic Thiem in four sets.

Zverev is on the entry list for the first tournament after the pandemic – the Western & Southern Open which will be staged in New York to create a “protective bubble” for the US Open. The 23-year old talks also about the Grand Slam tournament, saying he would prefer it not to happen, although he is going to play at this point.

“It is a bit crazy to play the US Open now. I would prefer if it would not happen and we just restart in Europe. Because of the pandemic it is not the right time to fly. But when they host the open – what shall we played do? Especially when everyone plays’ it is about ranking points, too. At this point I didn’t think about withdrawing. If everyone reacts within hygiene rules and it will be similar to the NBA bubble it could work out.”

Zverev was one of the tennis players most criticized for his behaviour during the pandemic. The reason was his participation in the Adria Tour where he and his colleagues weren’t following the social distancing rules very strictly. The German gave a negative test for COVID-19 after finding out about the positive test of Grigor Dimitrov. He promised to be in quarantine for safety reasons but was seen partying a few days after. This caused a criticism from Nick Kyrgios, as well as a Twitter war between the Australian and German legend Boris Becker.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas opens up: “I Wasn’t Sure If I Was Good Enough”

Stefanos Tsitsipas reflects on how hard it was in the beginning of his pro career.

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BY EMIL EVTIMOV

 

In the latest instalment of “Behind the Racquet” world No.6 Stefanos Tsitsipas has shed light on the personal struggles he encountered whilst breaking into the sport.

Tsitsipas had a great 2019 season, climbing from N.15 to N.6 at the end of the year after winning the Nitto ATP Finals, as well as two ATP 250 tournaments in Estoril and Marseille. He also reached the final of the Madrid Open.

However, life wasn’t always so easy for the charming Greek. In his “Behind the Racquet” post, he recalls the times when he was playing Futures while doubting that he was good enough to play professional tennis. He admitted he was feeling “very lonely” and not having many friends on the ATP tour.

Here is the Tsitsipas story in the “Behind the Racquet”:

“In 2018, I broke into the Top 15 and was seeded in Grand Slams. That’s when I understood my potential. In the beginning, I traveled with only my dad. Now, I travel with my dad, mom, and three siblings. I’m the main source of income for my family. 

I have hobbies that keep me interested in different aspects of life. These activities keep me creative and are reflected in my tennis game and presence on court. Sometimes, I post things on my social media that not many people understand. These posts express my inner creativity. I’m just trying to be different from the rest. I put Stefanos’ twist on life. I am philosophical, I come from a country with a history of philosophy and I don’t know if I was Pythagoras or Socrates in my previous life, but I wouldn’t mind being either one. 

There was a time when I wasn’t doing well. I started to play futures and was doubting myself. I wasn’t sure if I was good enough to play professional tennis. My country was going through hard times. Greece was on the verge of bankruptcy. The entire population was suffering. My father’s siblings were unemployed and couldn’t feed their families. People looked at me like I was the one ruling the country and they thought I was part of the problem. 

I felt isolated. I wasn’t home to see what was going on because I was traveling. I needed support. My mental coach shared his wisdom and inspired me. Then I said to myself, ‘You’ve dedicated your entire life to tennis, you can’t just give up. You’ve got to keep going.’ I play tennis to prove that my country has a great history and can achieve success. Tennis is a very introverted sport and we face everything alone. We have a team that follows us all over the world but I have spent countless sleepless nights on my own. All the traveling and competing causes a lot of stress and I grew very lonely.

I was an introverted child and I didn’t have many friends. When I first started playing on tour, I thought I would develop friendships but it turned out to be the opposite. Most players keep to themselves. I feel like players don’t want to become friends because they think someone will grab a secret from you to beat you. I guess they’re just too serious about the whole thing. Friends would make traveling less lonely.”

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Roger Federer enjoys calm year ahead of the 2021 season

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Twenty-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer is happy to enjoy a calm year ahead of the 2021 season. The Swiss legend admitted in an interview to Sportpanorama on the Swiss channel SRF 2 that he has not started his preparation for the 2021 Olympic Games in Tokyo, where he will be bidding to his first Olympic singles gold medal. 

 

Federer started the 2020 season with a semifinal at the Australian Open. He saved seven match points in his five-set quarter final against Tennys Sandgren before losing to Novak Djokovic in the semifinal. Last February he underwent arthroscopic surgery for a right knee injury and ended the 2020 season to give time to his body to recover. 

“I have not started mental preparations for the Tokyo Olympics. When you have been on the tour for 20 years, you are happy to have a more calm year. We have so many matches and competitions that whenever you take a break you know that someone else is winning in that time. That’s why it is extremely difficult to say. I take a break. Everyone is now forced to have a break and I think that 90% of the players are thinking: fortunately I can have a break. Tennis is constant and nonstop. You could not really prepare for Tokyo as there would have been 20 tournaments before. They are also very important, even though maybe not as important as the Olympics, which have another significance. We have many big events. That’s why the preparation just starts three months in before. You have the block in tennis with French Open, Wimbledon and Olympic Games. It depends on which surface it is even though in tennis it’s classic on hardcourt in Tokyo. Everyone can play on hardcourt, but you have to specially prepare for clay and grass”, said Federer. 

Federer has enjoyed spending time with his family in the past few months. 

“For the first time in twenty years I have been at one place for five and six years. Of course I enjoy it. We have been incredibly careful and have not seen my parents and friends. We took everything serious which is the right way as it’s not been over yet. That’s why I did not do any interviews and keep distance in everything I do. That’s very important for us. When you are having an injury you can’t do much anyway and have more calm moments at home. You don’t have the stress of the next competition and match, you don’t have nerves, you don’t have the strain from travelling and having a jet-leg, you are not tired. You can enjoy your family life way more”. 

Federer hopes that the Olympic Games in Tokyo will take place in 2021. The Swiss Maestro will be bidding to win his first olympic singles gold medal after the title he won with Stan Wawrinka in the doubles tournament in Beijing 2008. 

“Unfortunately I was injured in Rio and now the Games were postponed, I had the feeling I always took a lot with me away from the Olympic Games. First to be part of it, then with the goal to get a medal, maybe even a Gold one. That’s a completely differerent situation how you enjoyed the Olympic Games. I am curious how Tokyo will be. I hope it will take place. We are one year away but there are voices who say: maybe it’s too early until we have everything under control. I am hopeful all will be good. I think I can speak for both of us when I say that in our position is a goal, otherwise you wonder why you even go there in the first place. I think something is possible. Whether this will be in singles, doubles or mixed. I don’t know yet what I am going to play. I think I would have a chance in singles. At a tournament everything is possible. It’s another story over a whole season but at one tournament many things are possible. At the situation I am in right now i have to honestly say that I would be glad to participate. When I am 100% fit I would be happy to get a medal. When I won’t have one, I would be disappointed but I know that I gave everything and I can look proudly. Tokyo has been great. It was another experience and I could participate at another Olympic Games. My family will be with me just like in London. It’s already a success for me when I am at 100% and can participate, but a medal should be the goal”, said Federer. 

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