Kei Nishikori bounced from the French Open in 1st Round - UBITENNIS
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Kei Nishikori bounced from the French Open in 1st Round

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TENNIS FRENCH OPEN – Kei Nishikori is having a most bizarre year. The 24-year-old has finally made it into the top 10 solidifying his status as one of the premier young stars on the tour, but now finds himself packing for home after losing to Klizan 7-6, 6-1, 6-2. Cordell Hackshaw

Interviews, Results, OOP, Draws from the Roland Garros

Kei Nishikori (9) is having a most bizarre year. The 24-year-old has finally made it into the top 10 solidifying his status as one of the premier young stars on the tour. He is playing some of the best tennis of his life but his body is betraying him in the big moments. In Miami he beat Roger Federer for the 2nd consecutive time but had to withdraw from the semifinal matchup against Novak Djokovic. He won Barcelona and got to the final of Madrid but had to retire from the match in the 3rd set against Rafael Nadal. He arrived in Paris with a lot of steam behind him and the probability of getting to the Round of 16, equaling last year’s effort, but now finds himself packing for home. Martin Klizan of Slovakia took out the Japanese number 1 in straight sets 7-6(4) 6-1 6-2. “It’s tough for me, but I guess this is my tennis life, you know. I have to take care of my body and injury will come again, for sure. So I have to mentally, you know, be ready. I have to do whatever, you know, I can do to get healthy” stated Nishikori after the match.

It was clear from the opening game that Nishikori was not 100% as Klizan broke for an early 2-0 lead. Nishikori came back and won five of the next six games. He served for the set 5-3 but Klizan broke back and held serve for 5-5. Though ranked 59th in the world, Klizan is not to be overlooked. He recently won the Munich tournament beating Tommy Haas (16) and Fabio Fognini (14) en route to the title. Sensing the vulnerability of his opponent, Klizan turned up the intensity and forced the issue to a tiebreaker where he took it 7-4 points.

Klizan only needed this 1st set under his belt to then take complete control of the match. Nishikori showed recently that he can play with the greatest of all left-handed players, Nadal. However, it was the lesser lefty player in the form of Klizan who proved to be too much for him. The quality of play in the 1st set was very even as both players had a similar winner to error ratio; Klizan being 10:18 and Nishikori 9:21. Their serving statistics were negligible. The 2nd and 3rd sets were different matters altogether. Klizan was simply relentless, dogging Nishikori on every service game breaking him four times and never once facing break points on his own serve. Nishikori looked winded and no longer able to construct points in an effective manner. He committed 19 errors in those two sets compared to 9 from Klizan. Klizan opened up the court with that lefty swinging forehand for the easy put away shots. Klizan took the 2nd set in 27 minutes 6-1 and then raced out to a 5-1 lead in the 3rd. Soon, Klizan had match point and closed it out 7-6 6-1 6-2.

In the press conference, Nishikori spoke of the lack of practice since Madrid as one of the factors for his loss: “I didn’t have much practice. First time playing points after Madrid, so I didn’t have much rhythm. And also serve, I didn’t hit any serve 100%, you know, before today.” He added “I was really disappointed with my performance…I was playing well on clay in Europe, so it’s very sad for me to lose first round here.” However, Nishikori remains hopeful despite this loss. He is very happy with the progress of his game this year so far as well as his partnership with new coach, 1989 French Open Champion, Michael Chang. Klizan on the other hand will face Robin Haase in the 2nd round.

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Rafael Nadal Withdraws From Rotterdam Due To Back Injury

Rafael Nadal has withdrawn from Rotterdam due to ongoing back problems.

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Rafael Nadal (@WeAreTennisITA - Twitter)

Rafael Nadal has announced his withdrawal from next week’s ATP 500 event in Rotterdam due to a back injury.

 

The Spaniard’s back problems have started since before the Australian Open which he managed to play the tournament in Melbourne with the problem.

Eventually Nadal lost in his Australian Open quarter-final to Stefanos Tsitsipas from 2 sets to love up.

Despite playing in Melbourne, Nadal’s back problems continue to derail his schedule as he has now withdrawn from Rotterdam.

In a statement on Twitter, Nadal said that after consulting his doctor it was not the best idea to play Rotterdam.

“It is with great sadness that I have to forfeit from Rotterdam. As most of the fans know, I suffered back problems in Australia that started in Adelaide and continued in Melbourne,” Nadal said.

“We found a temporary solution that allowed me to play without pain in the second week of the tournament. Once I got back to Spain I visited my doctor and together with my team they’ve advised not to play this upcoming week.”

Nadal’s 10 year hiatus from the tournament continues as he looks to recover from the problem as soon as possible.

The 20-time grand slam champion’s main priority will be the clay-court swing where he can win a record-breaking 21st grand slam title.

Nadal’s next scheduled tournament will be the Miami Masters in late-March.

Meanwhile Nadal could now lose his world number two ranking next week as the top seed which is now Daniil Medvedev could replace him there.

The recent Australian Open finalist will need to reach the final if he wants to become the world number two but will face stiff competition in Holland from the likes of Stefanos Tsitsipas, Andrey Rublev and Milos Raonic.

The tournament will start on the 1st of March.

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John Isner not happy with the cut in prize money for Miami Masters

John Isner took to Twitter to raise some issues about the ATP and latest state of affairs in Tennis.

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The American took to social media to vent his frustration saying it doesn’t make sense.

 

John Isner took to twitter today after hearing the news that the Miami Open will be cutting its prize money down with the singles champion only taking $300,110 with a first round loser only winning $10,000 in prize money.

Isner and many other players on tour believe the tournament should be forced to due an audit to truly reveal what their finances are and to see if they are hiding anything.

“How about a true audit to see how much tourneys are actually hurting and then a money formula after the event to reconcile?”

“Amazing we still don’t have this in a lot of our big events. How does that make any sense?” 

He also tweeted about the promoters saying the system the ATP uses is broken.

The American also spoke of the unfairness in the cuts the players are taking in comparison to the actual events.

“So players should take a 60% cut and 80% champions cut while ATP executives keep full salaries, benefits, and expense accounts? Make that make sense. Seems just a little bit hypocritical, don’t ya think?”.

Isner finally believes the players should benefit from the tournament not just in the short term but over a long tenure.

““Tennis is plagued by conflict and lack of transparency”

The tournament is scheduled for March 23rd at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami and the tournament has confirmed they won’t be doing a quarantine like the Australian Open.

The players will need to provide a negative PCR test to board a flight to the US and once they land they will be tested once again and isolate until a negative result is shown.

The players will only be allowed at the hotel and the venue and any player who doesn’t respect the rules will be subject to penalties and be withdrawn from the tournament.

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Lleyton Hewitt ‘Hugely Honoured’ To Be Elected To Hall Of Fame

The class of 2021 have been confirmed with The Original 9 of women’s tennis also being inducted.

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Former world No.1 Lleyton Hewitt celebrated his 40th birthday by being notified that he will be inducted into the prestigious Tennis Hall of Fame.

 

The Australian tennis star will be inducted into the player category after coming in first place in a vote by tennis fans that took place last year and being selected by the official voting group of media, historians and Hall of Famers. Hewitt was one of five candidates up for the vote. He is the first person from his country to enter the Hall of Fame since wheelchair tennis player David Hall did so in 2015.

Hewitt played in 46 ATP finals during his career in which he won 30 titles. In the Grand Slams he defeated Pete Sampras at the 2001 US Open to clinch his maiden major trophy. In the following year he triumphed at the Wimbledon Championships. It was during 2001 when he topped the ATP rankings at the age of 20 to become the youngest player to ever do so since the system was implemented in 1973. A record that he still holds this present day. Hewitt spent a total of 80 weeks as world No.1 which is 10 times longer than John Newcombe, who is the only other Australian man to have held the top spot for multiple weeks.

“The Hall of Famers are people who I admired so much throughout my career – especially people like [Tony] Roche and [John] Newcombe and Rod [Laver] and so many others,” Hewitt said in a statement. “They were all motivating factors in my career and to be recognised alongside them in tennis history is an incredible honour.”

In the Davis Cup Hewitt was instrumental in helping his country win two titles. He holds the Australian Davis Cup record for most ties played (43), most years played (19) and the most total wins in the competition (59). After retiring from the sport he became captain of the team.

“It’s a pleasure to welcome these tennis greats into the International Tennis Hall of Fame,” Hall of Fame President Stan Smith said. “Lleyton Hewitt always competed hard until the last ball was hit, and this is very apparent in the Hall of Fame resume he built, which includes a Wimbledon trophy, a US Open trophy, two Davis Cups, and being World No. 1.”

Original 9 also receive recognition

Also inducted into the class of 2021 are the Original 9 who played a pivotal role in the formation of women’s tennis. The group, who are the first to make the hall of fame, made history in 1970 after signing $1 contracts with Gladys Heldman to take part in a tournament. At the time both playing opportunities and prize money for women were significantly different to that of their male counterparts. The event led to the formation of the Virginia Slims Circuit and then to the birth of the WTA Tour.

“The Original 9 were true trailblazers in tennis history,” said Smith. “It took a lot of courage to do what they did, and we have today’s incredible WTA Tour to thank for it, as well as opportunities for women in so many other sports.”

The members of the Original 9 are Peaches Bartkowicz, Rosie Casals, Julie Heldman, Billie Jean King, Kristy Pigeon, Nancy Richey, Valerie Ziegenfuss, Judy Tegart Dalton and Kerry Melville Reid.

Finally, tennis coach Dennis Van der Meer will be inducted into the Hall of Fame posthumously after passing away in 2019.

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