Monte Carlo Draw: Djokovic with Federer and Nadal with Wawrinka - UBITENNIS
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Monte Carlo Draw: Djokovic with Federer and Nadal with Wawrinka

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TENNIS – The Draw of the 2014 Monte-Carlo Rolex Master, the first Master 1000 Tournament on clay of the season, was held today. The possible semifinals could be Nadal-Wawrinka and Djokovic- Federer. The prestigious Monte-Carlo Rolex Master in the Country Club will get underway on Sunday. Diego Sampaolo

Mont Carlo Draw

The King of Monte-Carlo Rafa Nadal, eight-time champion at the Country Club, could meet David Ferrer in the quarter final and Stanislas Wawrinka in the semifinal. Defending champion Novak Djokovic could face Tomas Berdych in the quarter finals and Roger Federer in the semifinals. The other possible quarter finals could be Wawrinka-Milos Raonic and Federer against either Jo Wilfred Tsonga or last year’s semifinalist Fabio Fognini.

Nadal, who lost just two matches against Guillermo Coria in the third round in 2003 and against Novak Djokovic in the final last year, could face 2014 Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka, if the Swiss World Number 3 will be able to return to the same form which led him to his triumph Down Under. It could be a re-match of this year’s Australian Open final won by the Lausanne player.

In the bottom half of the draw Djokovic, winner last year against Nadal and twice more finalist in 2009 and 2012, could face Roger Federer, who played in three consecutive finals in 2006, 2007 and 2008 in the other semifinal. They have a 1-1 head-t-head draw this year: Federer won the Dubai semifinal, but Djokovic beat the Swiss 17-Grand Slam champion in the Indian Wells final.

First quarter:

In the first quarter of the draw Nadal will start his campaign against Giles Simon or a qualifier. Nadal will be looking to become the first player in the Open Era to win nine titles in the same tournament. In the third round the Mallorcan legend may play against Michail Youzhny who will make his debut against Italian Andreas Seppi. In the quarter final Nadal could face either Grigor Dimitrov or David Ferrer. Nadal dropped a set against Dimitrov last year in the Mediterranean Principality. Dimitrov, who will make his debut against Spaniard Marcel Granollers in the first round, beat Djokovic on clay last year in Madrid. In the head-to-head clashes on clay Nadal leads 17-1 against Ferrer

Monte-Carlo is like a home-tournament for Nadal who won eight years in a row between 2005 and 2012 and boasts a record of 48-2 winning matches. “Monte-Carlo is the tournament I dreamt to win when I was a child. I watched this court with the sea in the backdrop on television and I thought it would have been fantastic to lift this trophy in this venue. I managed to win eight times and the crowd has adopted me. Mont-Carlo is my favourite tournament”, said Nadal

Second quarter:

Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka has been drawn in a second quarter which features some clay specialists like Nicholas Almagro, Tommy Robredo and Federico Delbonis. Wawrinka will start his campaign against either Marin Cilic or Fernando Verdasco before a possible third round clash against Almagro and Robredo, Delbonis or Milos Raonic.

Third round:

Roger Federer returns to Monte-Carlo after two years of absence. He reached the quarter final in 2011. “The goal is to win another Grand Slam. I have more chances at Wimbledon and at the US Open. I beat Djokovic at Dubai but It is more difficult to beat Rafa”, said Federer on the eve of Monte-Carlo.

Federer will be bidding to win the 22nd Master 1000 tournament of his career.

Federer, who won in Dubai and reached the final in Indian Wells losing against Djokovic, will start against either Ivo Karlovic or Radek Stepanek in the second round before possibly meeting 2013 Wimbledon semifinalist Jerzy Janowicz. Federer may face either Jo Wilfred Tsonga or last year’s Monte-Carlo semifinalist Fabio Fognini. The Italian is a clay specialist and beat Andy Murray last week in the Davis Cup quarter final between Italy and Great Britain in Naples. Federer and Fognini led their national teams to the Davis Cup semifinal and will meet next September for the match between Switzerland and Italy.

Number 10 seed and World Number 13 Fognini will start against Portugal’s Joao Sousa in the first round and Roberto Bautista Agut or Vasek Pospisil in the second round.

Fourth quarter:

Last year’s Monte-Carlo champion Novak Djokovic is in very good form and is ready to defend his title after scoring the Indian Wells-Miami double for the second time in his career. “I live and train in Monte-Carlo. Winning here in the Club where I train gives me an amazing feeling.”

Djokovic will face either Gael Monfils or Kevin Anderson in the third round before facing a possible quarter final clash against Tomas Berdych. Ernests Gulbis against Aleksander Dolgopolov (semifinalist at Indian Wells) will be the most interesting first round match in this quarter of the draw.

Djokovic will be looking to clinch his fifth consecutive Master 1000 title after winning in Shanghai and Paris Bercy at the end of 2013 and winning Indian Wells and Miami last month.

The Big Four Nadal, Djokovic, Federer and Andy Murray (absent this year in Monte-Carlo) have won 34 of the last 36 Master 1000 tournaments. The only players able to break this dominance of the Big Four were Robin Soderling in 2010 and David Ferrer in 2012.

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Wrist Injury Threatening To End Holger Rune’s Olympic Dream

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Holger Rune will have a second medical opinion on Monday before deciding if he is fit enough to play at the Olympic Games, according to his team. 

The Danish world No.17 recently retired from his quarter-final match at the Hamburg Open due to a knee injury. The hope at the time was that his withdrawal would be just a precautionary measure ahead of the Olympics. However, he is also dealing with a second issue that appears to be more serious.

According to TV 2 Sport, Rune has been struggling with a wrist issue and underwent a scan on Sunday which his mother Aneke says ‘doesn’t look promising.’ Aneke is also the manager of her son’s career. Rune’s Olympic dreams now rest on the outcome of a second medical expert that he will visit tomorrow who has a better understanding of the sport. 

“Unfortunately, it does not look promising after the first medical opinion after the review of the scan of the wrist,” Aneke Rune told TV 2 Sport.

“We are waiting for two tennis-specific doctors who will give a second opinion tomorrow (Monday). Tennis wrists look different from regular wrists, so we’ll hold out hope for one more day.” 

Rune is one of three Danish players entered into the Olympic tennis event along with Caroline Wozniacki and Clara Tauson. The country has only won one medal in tennis before which was at the 1912 Games when Sofie Castenschiold won silver in the women’s indoor singles event. 

So far this season, the 21-year-old has won 27 matches on the Tour but is yet to claim a title. He reached the final of the Brisbane International and then the semi-finals of three more events. In the Grand Slams, he made it to the fourth round of the French Open and Wimbledon. 

It is not known when a final decision regarding Rune’s participation in Paris will be made.

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Hubert Hurkacz Undergoes ‘Knee Procedure’ Ahead of Olympic Bid

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Poland’s top player on the ATP Tour is not giving up on his dream of winning a medal at the Olympic Games despite recently undergoing a medical procedure.

World No.7 Hubert Hurkacz suffered a knee injury during his second round clash at Wimbledon against France’s Arthur Fils. In the fourth set tiebreak of their clash, Hurkacz dived for a shot but landed badly on his knee and required on-court medical attention. He then played two more points before retiring from the match. 

In a social media post published on Wednesday, the  27-year-old confirmed he underwent a procedure on his knee earlier this week but didn’t provide any further details.  Although Hurkacz has stated his intention to play at the upcoming Olympic Games in Paris, where the tennis event will be held on the clay at Roland Garros. 

“I had a knee procedure this Monday, but I’m feeling better already and my team and are dedicating extensive time each day to the rehab process.” He wrote on Instagram. 

“It’s a dream for every athlete to represent their country at the Olympics, and I want to make sure I am fully fit and ready before making the final decision to step on court. The aim is not only to participate, but to win a medal for my country.”

So far this season Hurkacz has won 34 out of 48 matches played on the Tour. He won the Estoril Open in April and was runner-up to Jannik Sinner in Halle. 

The Olympic tennis event is scheduled to begin a week Saturday on July 27th. Poland is yet to win a medal in the event but expectations are high with women’s No.1 Iga Swiatek also taking part. 

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Motivation, Pressure And Expectations – Novak Djokovic Targets History At Wimbledon

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image via x.com/wimbledon

Novak Djokovic has broken numerous records throughout his career but he still feels the pressure of trying to make history in the sport. 

The world No.2 is through to his 10th Wimbledon final where he will play Carlos Alcaraz, who beat him at this stage of the tournament 12 months ago. There is plenty on the line for the Serbian who could equal Roger Federer’s record for most men’s titles won at SW19 and break the overall record for most major singles won in the sport if he triumphs over the Spaniard. Djokovic currently has 24 Grand Slam trophies to his name which is the same as Margaret Court, who won some of her titles before the Open Era started. 

“Obviously I’m aware that Roger [Federer] holds eight Wimbledons. I hold seven. History is on the line.” Djokovic said on Friday after beating Lorenzo Musetti.

“Also, the 25th potential Grand Slam. Of course, it serves as a great motivation, but at the same time it’s also a lot of pressure and expectations.”

Coming into Wimbledon, there had been doubts over Djokovic’s form after he underwent surgery to treat a knee injury he suffered at the French Open. However, he has defied the odds to reach the final. His run has also seen him beat Alexi Popyrin and Holger Rune before getting a walkover in the quarter-finals from Alex de Minaur, who sustained an injury during the tournament. Then on Friday, he overcame a spirited Musetti in three sets. 

Despite the challenge, Djokovic has insisted that his expectations to do well are always high no matter what the situation is. During what has been a roller-coaster first six months of the season, he is yet to win a title this year or beat a player currently ranked in the top 10. Although he will achieve both of these if her beats Alcaraz on Sunday. 

“Every time I step out on the court now, even though I’m 37 and competing with the 21-year-olds, I still expect myself to win most of the matches, and people expect me to win, whatever, 99% of the matches that I play.” He said.

“I always have to come out on the court and perform my best in order to still be at the level with Carlos [Alcaraz] or Jannik [Sinner] or Sascha [Zverev] or any of those guys, Daniil [Medvedev]. 

“This year hasn’t been that successful for me. It’s probably the weakest results the first six months I’ve had in many years. That’s okay. I had to adapt and accept that and really try to find also way out from the injury that I had and kind of regroup.”

Djokovic hopes that a Wimbledon win will help turn his season around like it has done in the past for him. 

“Wimbledon historically there’s been seasons where I wasn’t maybe playing at a desired level, but then I would win a Wimbledon title and then things would change.” He commented.

“For example, that was the case in 2018 when I had elbow surgery earlier in the year, dropped my rankings out of top 20, losing in fourth round of Australian Open, I think it was quarters of Roland-Garros, and just not playing the tennis that I want to play. Then I won Wimbledon and then won US Open and then later on became No.1 very soon.”

Meanwhile, 21-year-old Alcaraz is hoping to stop Djokovic in his tracks. Should he defend his title at Wimbledon, he would become the first player outside the Big Three to do so since Pete Sampras more than 20 years ago. He has won their only previous meeting on the grass but trails their head-to-head 3-2. 

“I’m sure he knows what he has to do to beat me,” said Alcaraz.

“But I’m ready to take that challenge and I’m ready to do it well.”

When the two players take to the court to play in the Wimbledon final, Djokovic will be 15 years and 348 days older than Alcaraz. Making it the largest age gap in a men’s Grand Slam final since the 1974 US Open. Whoever is victorious will receive £2,700,000 in prize money. 

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