Lleyton Hewitt: “Wimbledon coming up that's obviously the next main focus” - UBITENNIS
Connect with us

ATP

Lleyton Hewitt: “Wimbledon coming up that's obviously the next main focus”

Avatar

Published

on

TENNIS 2014 ROLAND GARROS – 27th of May 2014. C. Berlocq d. L. Hewitt 3-6, 6-2, 6-1, 6-4. An interview with Lleyton Hewitt.

 

Q. You played well in the first set, but you were not able to keep that level in the next sets.

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, it was always going to be a tough match and I was going to have to go out there and try and be aggressive. The first set I did that well, but it’s a very fine line how aggressive to play, especially in conditions like today, really slow and heavy out there, and he can obviously get a lot of balls back.

I was going to make some errors out there, but I still feel like that was my best shot at winning.

 

Q. How do you feel and how your body is reacting? How many seasons do you feel you have left in you?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, my body feels fine at the moment, which is good. Yeah, obviously I started really well winning Brisbane, and then, yeah, only played a couple more tournaments on hard court after that, and obviously didn’t play that much on clay, whereas my least favorite surface. Coming onto the grass now.

The grass, preparing for Wimbledon, and then obviously the U.S. hard courts, leading into the US Open, is, you know, where I’d like to play my best tennis.

 

Q. Talking to Venus Williams, and you and her having similar generations in terms of when you come up on the tour. She was saying she still, even though results haven’t been quite the same as they were ten years ago, still goes into every tournament thinking she can win and you can catch lightning in a bottle on some level. Do you still think that when you show up to, maybe not the French, but when you get to Wimbledon in three weeks that things can click and magic can still happen?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I feel especially at Wimbledon there is not as many guys that have a realistic articular shot, and, you know, guys that can go out there and compete against the top guys who possibly can win the tournament. I think I’m one of those guys who can go out there and push those guys.

If I, yeah, execute everything, and my ball striking, yeah, I’m feeling pretty good about it at the moment again.

So that’s one area that, going straight onto the grass gives me a lot of confidence. Yeah, with Wimbledon coming up that’s obviously the next main focus.

 

Q. What’s the biggest thing you take out of a match like today looking ahead to the next phase of the season?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Probably my ball striking, I think. I was pretty happy with how I hit the ball. Return serve well. My net play was fantastic. You know, I came in on the right balls. Occasionally lost a couple, but I felt like, you know, my volleying, that was really good today.

I think moving forward obviously for the grass is such a key aspect of the grass.

So, yeah, it’s obviously disappointing right now, but, you know, there are positives. My body feels good and I played over three hours and I feel like I could keep playing. Yeah, there is a few positives.

 

Q. A question about football. Do you follow soccer?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Soccer? Yeah, a little bit.

 

Q. Can you give me a quick outlook on the Socceroos for the World Cup? What do you think they can do?

LLEYTON HEWITT: We’re definitely the underdogs, that’s for sure.

Yeah, I was in South America end of last year when they did the World Cup draw, and I don’t think it was too favorable for us (smiling).

But then again, I think that’s a good position for us to be in. I think our coach is very good. He’s done really well in their local competition. And I know Tim Cahill a little bit, and he’s a fantastic leader. Hopefully he can score a few goals for us.

ATP

Novak Djokovic Storms Into Wimbledon Third Round For 16th Time

The top seed dealt with the breezy conditions and his Australian opponent with ease in what was largely a one-sided performance.

Avatar

Published

on

Novak Djokovic (SRB) - Credit: AELTC/Joe Toth

Novak Djokovic has sent out a warning to this year’s men’s draw at Wimbledon by producing a clinical win over Thanasi Kokkinakis to reach the third round on Wednesday.

 

The world No.3 dictated proceedings throughout his 6-1, 6-4, 6-2, triumph over Kokkinakis. A player who is currently 79th in the world that has been hampered by injury issues throughout a large chunk of his tennis career. Djokovic has now won 307 Grand Slam main draw matches and a staggering 1007 at Tour level. The latest performance saw him produce a total of 29 winners against 14 unforced errors

“I’m very happy with my performance today. I thought I started with well, I was very solid from the back of the court,” said Djokovic.
“I tried to make him work a lot around the court and brought a lot of variety into the game.’
“It was not easy to serve because of the wind but from my side overall it was a really high-quality performance and I’m very pleased.”

In what was their first Tour meeting in seven years the reigning champion got off to a dream start against an erratic Kokkinakis. The Australian struggled to control his unforced error count early on which resulted in him getting broken in his opening service game. Meanwhile, Djokovic settled in instantly as he worked his way to a 3-0 advantage with relative ease. A couple games later the double break was sealed with the use of a delicate drop shot which Kokkinakis failed to return over the net. He went on to close the set out yet another carefully placed drop shot. 

Contending with strong gusts of wind, as well as Kokkinakis’ speedy serve, Djokovic broke once again early in the second frame with a winning volley at the net. Despite glimmers of impressive shot-making from his opponent, it failed to materialize into any momentum as the Serbian eased to a two-set lead. Down 3-5 Kokkinakis valiantly saved four set points to hold serve. However, Djokovic proceeded to seal the two-set lead in the following game.

Djokovic’s relentless hitting overwhelmed his opponent who looked growingly lost on the court. The start of set three saw a 12-minute Kokkinakis service game where the Australian buckled once again whilst under intense pressure. Strolling to a game from victory, Djokovic closed out the match with a serve out wide that Kokkinakis returned out.

It is the 16th time in Djokovic’s career he has reached the last 32 at SW19 and his 13th in a row. Only Jimmy Conors has achieved a longer run of 14 between 1972-1985. In total, he has won 81 matches at Wimbledon which is the third-highest tally for a male player in history. 

“I’m quite pleased with the way I have raised my level within two days,” said Djokovic who defeated Kwon Soon-woo in the first round. 
“Hopefully I can keep that trajectory and keep getting better as the tournament progresses.”

Djokovic will play compatriot Miomir Kecmanović in the third round. He leads their head-to-head 2-0. 

Continue Reading

ATP

(EXCLUSIVE) Ricardas Berankis’ Coach On Wimbledon Showdown With Rafael Nadal

Dirk Hordorff speaks to UbiTennis about the world No.106 and his chances against the second seed.

Avatar

Published

on

Ricarcas Berankis at Wimbledon (image via http://www.yonex.co.uk/_assets/)

Ricardas Berankis is no stranger to Wimbledon as he marks the 12th anniversary of his first-ever main draw win at the tournament after coming through three rounds of qualifying.

 

A stand-out player in his younger years, the Lithuanian topped the world junior rankings and won the US Open boys title back in 2007 when he defeated Jerzy Janowicz in the final. Transitioning to the pro level was never straightforward for Berankis who is now 32-year-old. Nevertheless, he has made his impression on the Tour with runs to two ATP Tour finals in 2012 (Los Angeles) and 2017 (Moscow). He also won the 2015 US Men’s Clay Court doubles title in Houston alongside Teymuraz Gabashvili.

Today Berankis is ranked 106th in the world, which is 56 places below his career-high. His best performance on the ATP Tour so far this season was in Abu Dubai when he came through qualifying to reach the quarter-finals before losing to Denis Shapovalov. He also reached the final of a Challenger event in Lille.

At Wimbledon this year he started his campaign with a straight-sets win over former semifinalist Sam Querrey. Making it only the fourth time in his career he has won a main draw match at the tournament. His reward is a showdown on Thursday with the formidable Rafael Nadal who is seeking a historic 23rd major title and his third in a row. Nadal defeated Francisco Cerundolo in his opening match.

So can Berankis trouble Nadal on the grass?

The best person to ask is Germany’s Dirk Hordorff who coaches Berankis. The veteran coach has also previously collaborated with the likes of Rainer Schuettler, Lars Burgsmüller, Yen-Hsun Lu, Kristian Pless, Sergiy Stakhovsky, and Vasek Pospisil.

During an email exchange with UbiTennis, Hordorff shared his thoughts about Berankis’ upcoming clash with Nadal.

UBITENNIS: It wasn’t until Melbourne this year that Ricardas played Nadal on the Tour for the first time. He lost the match 6-2, 7-5. What did his team learn from that experience?

HIRDORFF: I was not in Melbourne, but I coached unsuccessfully in a lot of matches against Rafa. He is next to Novak (Djokovic) over so many years as a true champion and a great person outside the court. You learn every match against him and Ricardas is ready for this match.

UBITENNIS: When it comes to playing a member of the Big Three, how do you as a coach go about dealing with Berankis’ mentality?

HIRDORFF: Ricardas played a good first round against Sam Querrey. Nevertheless, to play Rafa is a different issue. You need to concentrate on your abilities and not worry about history.

UBITENNIS: Nadal was sternly tested during his opening match. Does this in any way give a confidence boost towards Berankis or do you think it is irrelevant?

HIRDORFF: Every match starts at zero. What Rafa played yesterday doesn’t affect Ricardas’ match. Anyway, Rafa won his first round quite solidly against a good upcoming player.

UBITENNIS: Whilst the odds might be against Ricardas, it isn’t impossible that he could defeat Nadal. What will the key areas be for him to focus on during their match? (e.g. return position, use of slice etc).

HIRDORFF: Ricardas needs to focus on his abilities and take his fine form from the first round in this match. Rafa is a complete player, so you need to perform well in all aspects of the game.

UBITENNIS: What is the most difficult thing about playing Nadal on the tour?

HORDORFF: He is a complete player with a lot of special strengths. Strong serve, good backhand, fast, perfect coordinate and no weak parts in his game.

UBITENNIS: Ricardas might be 32 but he has shown some good results on the Tour (runner-up at a Challenger event in Lille and QF in Dubai). Given the trend of players playing later into their careers, is his best yet to come?

HIRDORFF: Ricardas had to deal with a lot of health problems. I am sure that the best part of his career is yet to come for him.

Continue Reading

ATP

Rafael Nadal Survives Scare In Wimbledon Opener

Bidding to win his third slam in a row, the Spaniard experienced a tougher test than he expected.

Avatar

Published

on

Rafael Nadal’s bid for a first Wimbledon title in over a decade has got off to a shaky start after he battled his way past Argentina’s Francisco Cerundolo in the first round.

Nadal was unable to tame the world No.41 throughout his rollercoaster 6-4, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4,  victory which is his 306th in the main draw of a Grand Slam. Cerundolo exceeded expectations by playing some inspired tennis for a player who has only ever won one Tour-level match on the grass and had never won a main draw match at a major.

 

All the credit to Fran, I think he started to play great and he was a very tough opponent,” said Nadal.
It has been three years since I last played on this amazing surface and I’m happy to be back. For me, it’s always amazing to play on their court (Center Court) and I can’t thank the crowd enough for their support. 

The showdown was the first real test for the Spaniard since his historic triumph at the French Open which he won for a record 14th time. Since then, he hasn’t played any ATP grass-court events leading up to Wimbledon. Although he did take part in an exhibition event at the Hurlingham Club. Furthermore, he had undergone a new medical procedure in a bid to solve the pain caused by his long-term foot condition.

“It’s not the surface we play very often, especially in my case due to different reasons. For the last three years, I haven’t stepped onto a grass court so it always takes a while,” the 22-time Grand Slam winner commented.
Today has been an important test, especially at the start of the tournament and the difficult circumstances I arrived in.

It was by no means a vintage performance from the former world No.1 who struggled behind his second serve by winning just 43% of those points. Furthermore, he hit a total of 23 winners against 41 unforced errors. At one stage he was facing the prospect of going into a fifth set after falling behind 2-4 in the fourth frame before upping his intensity to claim four games in a row and clinch the match.

“It’s obvious when you play well in Roland Garros there is not much time between (that and Wimbledon). I used to remember the beautiful days when I used to win Roland Garros and then play on grass at Queen’s the next day but my body doesn’t allow me to do this anymore so I have to take some days off,” he admits.
“The most important thing for me is that I am at Wimbledon 2022 and I won my first match.”

Nadal will play Ricardas Berankis in the second round.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending