Stan Wawrinka: “The back is good. I had two days off with treatment” - UBITENNIS
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Stan Wawrinka: “The back is good. I had two days off with treatment”

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TENNIS ROLAND GARROS 2014 – Stan Wawrinka pre-tournament interview.

Q. You come into that Grand Slam as a Grand Slam champion. How has had a changed coming into this tournament.

STAN WAWRINKA: More press to do (smiling). But, no, it’s been great so far. You know, it’s more about my game. I’m really happy with the way I’m playing. I’m really confident for the tournament. I had good preparation, and I’m excited to play, to start the tournament.

I’m ready now, so we’ll see when I’m going to play.

 

Q. Just wondering how the back is feeling and physically how are you coming into this tournament?

STAN WAWRINKA: The back is good. I had two days off with treatment and arrive Wednesday here, first practice here Wednesday. I’m 100% fit. I’m really happy I’m playing good.

Physically I’m ready, and mentally also, so that’s why I’m happy and I’m excited to start.

 

Q. The title in Monte Carlo, how big was that in terms of your confidence for clay, specifically, coming into here?

STAN WAWRINKA: It was really big. Not only for clay but in general, you know, after winning Grand Slam it was important for me to win a Masters 1000. It was something really difficult, but I did it in Monaco, first tournament on clay against Roger, so it was even more special.

But for sure the confidence, that’s something big for me, to know that I can beat the top guys even on Masters 1000, on clay courts.

And now I’m ready for here. We’ll see. I had two quick loss in Madrid and Rome, but I’m okay. I was playing good tennis. I’m happy the way I’m playing in practice, and I know for me that’s the most important.

THE MODERATOR: Questions in French.

 

Q. I like Stanislas.

STAN WAWRINKA: Well, you can call me Stanislas.

 

Q. Why did you ask ATP to change your first name? Why should we say Stan and not Stanislas?

STAN WAWRINKA: Because everybody calls me Stan apart from you, and no, kidding. It’s just to simplify everything on the draw, my name during the press reference. That’s the only reason.

Of course I’m STAN WAWRINKA. That’s all right. Andy did it, as well. It’s to simplify the whole thing. That’s all. Nothing important.

 

Q. Well, you know, in terms of quick math, people say you’re the favorite here in Paris. How would you feel about this, to be the favorite?

STAN WAWRINKA: Well, it’s going on well, I must say. I have repeated this here and again. I’m one of the favorites. I understand this, by the way.

But I’m far behind Rafa and Novak. They are really above the other players. You know, when they are really on the courts they are difficult to fight against.

But I have played well. I won the Masters 1000 and a Grand Slam. I’m playing good tennis. I can win against all players.

But the way I look at this Grand Slam is not different. You know, I’m not looking where I am on the draw. It’s the first match, the first round, that counts. Who I’m going to play against, that’s how it starts, how you get started in the tournament.

 

Q. Apart from this Grand Slam title, which changes the whole deal, what’s the main difference between STAN WAWRINKA last year here in Paris and this year in terms of your tennis, in terms of your physical preparation?

STAN WAWRINKA: Well, I play better at a high level. My confidence mainly, it’s different. I know that whoever I’m going to play against, I can defeat them all.

It depends very much on me. Then, you know, at the end of the day, it’s small details that make the biggest differences in terms of rankings and results.

 

Q. Do you think you have become a model for all the outsiders on the tournament? Maybe you’re going to give other players some ideas about it.

STAN WAWRINKA: A model? Well, no. For sure no. But maybe I have given them ideas, that’s true. But, you know, it’s not because I have won this Grand Slam that the others will do the same. You know, it’s not by watching people play or win that you’re going to win yourself.

And yet I have shown that things are possible. It’s possible, yet it’s very difficult. It’s tough and complicated to go for it and fight against the best.

 

Q. Was it easy with these two losses in the last two tournaments? What about the days after Rome, the first few days after Rome?

STAN WAWRINKA: Well, no problem, you see, no big deal. I know why I lost these two matches, as I said, and also in Madrid. It was the first round. The other player played well, and I was not really there playing a good match.

It might happen, you see, but no problem as far as I’m concerned. During practice I play well. I do my best during the match. I fight hard. In Rome I was playing a very good tennis style before my back hurt. It might happen. You have to do with it.

Then I took a good rest and I practiced for the French Open and I practiced a lot this morning and well this morning. So I think I’m ready at a high level for this Open.

 

Q. You won the Australian Open, the Grand Slam. Would you look at this tournament differently psychologically, I mean? Because now, you know, people look at you differently on the courts or also off the courts.

STAN WAWRINKA: Yeah, I look at this Open differently. I had to adapt after Australia. When I’m here now, I know that I can go far. I have done that before. So the way I look at it is quite different.

Mentally speaking I have more confidence. Mentally I know what it takes, what I have to do to be ready. The way I start the tournament has not really changed. You know, I’m not looking at the draw too much because I know how difficult it is to last two weeks and to play five set matches.

So many things can happen.

And there is also the conditions, the weather, and you have to be ready from the first match.

Apart from the general aspect of the tournament, that is, I know I can have a good draw and go far and deep, but each match is a new challenge and you have to take them as they come.

 

Q. You are not saying you’re a favorite. How come? Is it because you feel there is too much pressure on your shoulders? Is it because you’re hiding away?

STAN WAWRINKA: (Smiling) Well, it’s reality, you know. You know, what I said is very clear. That is the favorites, there is Nadal and Djokovic. They are far above the rest.

You can tell me what you want. It’s always going to be the case. When they’re on the courts, nobody else can beat them.

You know, I’ll be with Rog just afterwards, just after them. I’m one of the favorites, but I wouldn’t said I’m the top favorite. I’m so far from Nadal, so far from Djokovic.

As I always say, these players are outstanding, they’re exceptional. But the difference is if I were to play against them, I know that when I’m on the courts I can defeat them.

It’s not because they are well above where I stand that I’m going to lose against them.

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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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Carlos Alcaraz And Novak Djokovic Wouldn’t Yield To Medvedev And Musetti At Wimbledon

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image via x.com/wimbledon

Carlos Alcaraz seemed to be on his own against a vastly improved Daniil Medvedev. The defending Wimbledon champion appeared to be out of tricks.

And Medvedev sensed it.

Alcaraz still scored a 6-7 (1), 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 victory over Medvedev. It may look rather easy on paper, but there was nothing easy about Alcaraz’s victory. The young Spaniard just came through when he needed it to advance to what he hopes will lead to his fourth Grand Slam title.

MEDVEDEV APPLIED ENDLESS PRESSURE

Medvedev was always there, ready to pounce on any mistake by Alcaraz. But mistakes didn’t happen that often after Medvedev took the first set in a tie-breaker.

Alcaraz hadn’t served that well in the first set that Medvedev had taken in a tiebreaker. But it was a different story once Alcaraz found the mark on his serves. He just kept holding service until the match was his.

Remember, he’s only 21 years old. But now he faces someone in this Wimbledon final almost twice as old in 37-year-old Novak Djokovic.

NOVAK DIDN’T LET INJURED KNEE STOP HIM

Early in the match, Djokovic looked like he might have problems against Lorenzo Musetti. He appeared to have a slight limp in the right knee that was covered by a band. Of course, it’s been less than six months since Novak underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus in that knee.

Djokovic didn’t always chase after balls in situations where his service game wasn’t in jeopardy. He just hit winners when the opportunities came along, and his serve was always ready to win a point, a game or the match.

MUSETTI WASN’T THE SAME

Young 25th seed Musetti had been so strong and talented in his quarterfinal upset of Taylor Fritz. The 22-year-old Italian had looked like he might be a threat to the likes of Djokovic and Alcaraz in the last two rounds in London.

Musetti appeared to be able to run down everything against the speedy Fritz, until Fritz seemed to grow tired in a fifth set that Musetti won easily.

The Italian wasn’t the same against Djokovic.

Djokovic was just too good and too consistent to allow Musetti to stop his bid for another title.

NOVAK THE VIOLINIST

The setting was completely different this time with Djokovic looking questionable at the start. But Musetti could hardly push Djokovic, and ended up losing by a 6-4, 7-6 (2), 6-4. Once Novak charged through the second set tiebreaker, dropping only two points, Musetti couldn’t get back into the match.

And then Novak came out pretending to play a violin on his racket for his precious 6-year-old daughter Tara, whom Novak said has been learning to play the violin for about six months.

Some fans apparently didn’t like this, but then there probably were others who became Novak Djokovic fans. Novak obviously is a great guy and dad these days.

After all, Novak has just played his 97th Wimbledon match, and he’s hoping in his 37th Grand Slam final to tie Roger Federer’s record of eight Wimbledon titles.

James Beck was the 2003 winner of the USTA National Media Award  for print media. A 1995 MBA graduate of The Citadel, he can be reached at Jamesbecktennis@gmail.com. 

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