Andy Murray: “I served well, moved well. It's been solid so far” - UBITENNIS
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Andy Murray: “I served well, moved well. It's been solid so far”

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TENNIS WIMBLEDON 2014 – 27th of June. A. Murray d. R Bautista Agut 6-2, 6-3, 6-2. An interview with Andy Murray

Q. I can only assume you kept us waiting so long because you’ve been healing the rift with your brother.

ANDY MURRAY: I was just, yeah, doing all the usual stuff after a match. Obviously because it was pretty late, yeah, I just needed to make sure before I go to bed that I’m cooled down and stretched and stuff so I don’t wake up with any sore things tomorrow.

But I haven’t spoken to Jamie yet.

 

Q. Probably for a few years.

ANDY MURRAY: Maybe (smiling).

 

Q. How would you assess your first week?

ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, it’s been good. I played well in all the matches. I mean, I was very happy with the way I played today. More in the third set, I played a bad game on my serve at 4-Love. I could have done a little bit better there.

But apart from that, it’s been good. I served well, moved well. It’s been solid so far.

 

Q. Did you get a chance to speak to Ricky Gervais?

ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I got to chat with him afterwards. I’d never met him before. I’m a huge fan of The Office. I mean, I’ve watched a lot of the stuff that he’s done, but when I went over to Spain when I was 15, I watched an episode of The Office almost every single night I was there. I could almost, yeah, basically remember it word for word when I was over there training.

Yeah, it was nice for me to get to meet him after the match.

 

Q. Is he a big tennis fan?

ANDY MURRAY: He said he plays some tennis now. I don’t think he’s been to watch loads. But he said he plays quite a bit when he’s back home, not so much when he’s over in America. But, yeah, he seemed to be into it.

 

Q. You’re the only Brit through to the second week in the singles. Yesterday Heather Watson said she could understand some accusation that some of the British players are a little bit spoiled with the facilities and treatment they get, haven’t put it in on the practice courts. What is your take on those accusations?

ANDY MURRAY: I don’t know. To be honest, I don’t spend day in, day out with any of the British players, so I can’t give a fair assessment on that.

When I do my training blocks, I tend to do them over in Miami. Last year I did it with Kyle Edmund when he worked very hard. I did it with Jamie Baker the year before that. He worked extremely hard.

But, yeah, like I say, I don’t see them week in, week out. I don’t see them at the tournaments all the time.

It’s easy to work hard for a couple of weeks, but you need to do it throughout the whole year. I can’t say for sure how hard everyone’s working because I don’t see it. So I don’t know.

 

Q. After the surgery last September, is this about the absolute best you could feel the way things worked out this year?

ANDY MURRAY: To be honest, I didn’t know exactly what to expect. I was happy with the Australian Open. I thought I did okay there. Just physically I wasn’t quite ready. My body just wasn’t ready for a long four or five-set match on the hard courts at that stage.

Yeah, I mean, I’d say I’m happy with where my body’s at right now. Physically I feel good. My back feels much better than it did at this stage last year, so that’s a big positive for me.

I’ve spoken to a few people that have had surgeries, ex-players and stuff. They said sort of six to nine months from when they started playing again until they actually started to feel their best. Obviously some people it can be quicker than others.

But I’m fairly happy with where I’m at just now.

 

Q. Do you think this is the best first week you’ve had at Wimbledon?

ANDY MURRAY: I don’t know. I’ve been asked that a few times when the first week’s gone well.

But I don’t know. It’s been a good start, for sure. I played well from the first game of the first match pretty much through until the end of today’s one. I haven’t used up too much energy, which is good.

But, I mean, it’s impossible to say that. I don’t know if it’s the best I’ve felt. But it’s been a good first week.

 

Q. You haven’t been on court very long.

ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I think that’s a positive. You can lose a slam in the first week by playing three five-set matches or two five-set matches. They do take their toll a little bit. If you can get through the matches quickly, I obviously have a couple days off now as well, so I’ll be able to work on a couple things tomorrow on the practice court which is nice, then get ready for Monday.

 

Q. Tomas Berdych and Marin just finished their match.

ANDY MURRAY: I couldn’t see the ball on the TV. I can’t imagine what it was like with them.

 

Q. They couldn’t play with Hawk-Eye for the last few games. Do you think it’s fair that a game should continue if technology can’t actually work in the dark?

 

ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, it does make things interesting. I’m not sure exactly what time Hawk-Eye stops. But I’ve seen it a couple times here so far, yeah, when it gets pretty dark that Hawk-Eye stops.

From a player’s perspective, when the light starts to go, it’s tough to play good tennis, to play properly. I don’t think you want matches to be decided on someone shanking a ball because they can’t see it. You want players to be able to play their best tennis for as long as possible.

Yeah, if it was too dark to see, then they should have stopped.

 

Q. In America we talk about how Agassi evolved from being a bratty young guy into a really thoughtful, giving guy. Your journey has been a little different. A lot of people talk about your growth over the years. People are talking about your command of things. Talk about your own path. Is it something you’re aware of or something you feel good about?

ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, well, I think when I first came on the tour, I absolutely loved it. I enjoyed everything that went with it. It was great. I had no problems. I felt pretty free. There was no pressure.

But then obviously I had a few problems with the media. Yeah, it became hard for me. I didn’t feel like I was represented fairly. I don’t know, I went into my shell. I didn’t feel like I could express myself at all. I became very defensive because, you know, I felt like I was getting criticized about not just my tennis but my hair, the way I looked, what I was saying.

Yeah, it was a tough few years for me because my jump came quite quickly from being 350 in the world to playing in the slams and being in press conferences with a lot of people and stuff.

It was a quick transition and I had a few problems in that early part of my career. Then once I started to, yeah, grow up and understand how everything worked, I was able to handle things much better as I got older.

Obviously I’ve had good people around me, as well, that have helped me through tough moments and given me good advice when I’ve needed it.

Yeah, now I feel like I’m a grown-up so I can handle myself fine now.

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Olympic Qualification Is Not the Only Goal For French Veteran Gael Monfils

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Gael Monfils (image via https://twitter.com/atptour)

Gael Monfils admits he doesn’t have too many years left on the Tour but this doesn’t mean his targets are any less ambitious. 

The 37-year-old has enjoyed a rapid rise up the rankings over the past 12 months following battles with injury. At his lowest, he was ranked 394th last May but is now in 40th position. As a result, he is closing on securing a place in the Olympic Games which is being held in his home country of France for the first time since 1924. The tennis event will be staged at Roland Garros. 

“When I was 400, I was thinking the Olympics would be great, but it’s going to be tough,” Monfils told reporters on Tuesday. 
“There are younger players playing well. If I don’t qualify, I don’t mind. It will just mean I’m very close to the ranking I want to be. That ranking will allow me to find another goal.”

Monfils is already a three-time Olympian but has never won a medal at the event. He reached the quarter-finals of the singles tournament twice in 2008 and 2016. 

Another goal of Frenchmen is the Wimbledon championships which concludes just three weeks before the Olympics begin. The proximity of these tournaments will be a challenge to all players who will be going from playing on clay to grass and then back to clay again. 

“I really want to go and play Wimbledon. I don’t have so many Wimbledons to play in the future. The Olympics is one goal, not the only goal.” Monfils states.
“My dream is of course to be part of the Olympics. I played three times at the Olympics. I’d like to be there again. But I also really want to do well in Wimbledon this year. To reach my goal, it has to be including Wimbledon.” He added. 

Monfils is currently playing at the Monte Carlo Masters where he beat Aleksandar Vukic in his opening match. In the next round, he will take on Daniil Medvedev in what will be their first meeting since 2022. He leads their head-to-head 2-1. 

Medvedev has openly spoken about his roller-coaster relationship with playing on the clay. He admits it is not his favourite surface but how much of a factor could this be in his upcoming clash with Monfils?

“Of course, it’s not his favourite one, but he’s still Daniil Medvedev, and whatever the surface, it’s always very complicated to play him,” Monfils concludes. 

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Matteo Berrettini wins in Marrakech displaying quality tennis

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Matteo Berrettini - Marrakech 2024 (photo X @ATPTour_ES)

Matteo Berrettini defeats Roberto Carballes Baena in straight sets, 75 62, and proves that his comeback is well grounded  

If life is often considered a continuous narrative, it may be no coincidence that today Matteo Berrettini’s comeback journey intersescted Carballes Baena, a player he had faced twice in straight tournaments, Florence and Naples in October 2022, shortly before plunging into his annus horribilis, an injury-plagued 2023.

Just like resuming the story from where it was left.

Carballes Baena, the defending champion, got off to a sharper start, holding serve with ease and earning a first break point in the second game. Berrettini averted the threat by hammering down three serves but lost his service two games later.

Doubts on the Italian’s recovery from his energy-draining semifinal may have been starting to come afloat. However Berrettini broke back immediately, unsettling the Spaniard’s consistency with changes of pace and alternating lifted and sliced backhands.

The next six games neatly followed serve. Figures witness how close the match was. After 45 minutes the scoreboard read 5 games all, and stats reported 27 points apiece.

The eleventh game was to be crucial. Carballes Baena netted two forehands, while trying to hit through the Italian’s skidding spins and conceded a break point. Berrettini followed up two massive forehands with a delicate, unreachable drop shot and secured the break.

Carballes Baena was far from discouraged, and fired two forehand winners dashing to 0 40  with the Italian serving for the set.

Berrettini was lucky to save the first break point with a forehand that pinched the top of the net, and trickled over. Then he hit two winning first serves to draw even. Then again two first serves paired with their loyal forehand winner: Berrettini’s copyright gamepattern sealed a 59 minute first set.

The match seemed about to swing round at the very start of the second set when Carballes Baena had three break points and was winning all the longer rallies. Once more Berrettini got out of trouble thanks to his serve. Carballes Baena’s disappointment turned into frustration after he failed to put away two quite comfortable smashes and lost his service immediately after.  

Unforced errors were seeping into the Spaniard’s game and when Berrettini won a 16-shot rally with a stunning crosscourt forehand on the stretch and went on to grab a two-break lead, the match appeared to have taken its final twist.

Berrettini did not falter when serving for the match at 5 2, despite an unforced error on the first point. Three first serves chauffeured him to two match points.

Carballes Baena only succeeded in bravely saving the first, well steering the rally. But the 2021 Wimbledon finalist produced a massive serve out wide and joyfully lifted his arms to the sky, for a most emotional victory. It means so much to a player whose talent and career have been incessantly diminished by injuries.

It’s been a tough last couple of years” Matteo Berrettini said, holding the trophy. “Thanks to my team I was able to overcome all the tough moments my body didn’t allow me to play. I thank you and all the people that made my comeback possible: all my friends and my family, the people that were with me all the time when I was sad, injured and I didn’t think I could make it.”

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Andrey Rublev Reflects On Recent Struggles Ahead Of Monte Carlo Title Defence

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Andrey Rublev admits he continues to struggle to maintain his emotions on the court after his disqualification from a tournament earlier this year.

The Russian world No.6 hopes to get back on track after a disappointing American swing where he won just one out of three matches played. In Indian Wells, Rublev beat ex-No.1 Andy Murray before falling in straight sets to Jiri Lehecka. Then in Miami, he lost his opening match against Tomas Machac. 

“At Indian Wells, I was so focused on trying to control my movements that I was completely stuck,” the 26-year-old recently commented
“I had no energy left, I had no strength. And in Miami, I exploded. I could no longer control myself, my actions, my nerves. I felt paralyzed, I couldn’t move.”

As to why Rublev felt so paralyzed, he acknowledges it could be linked to an incident that happened earlier in the season. At the Dubai Tennis Championships he was defaulted from his semi-final clash against Alexander Bublik for unsportsmanlike conduct after he was accused of saying an obscenity in his native language at an official. He then successfully appealed against the penalty and retained the ranking points and prize money he earned, barring a fine of $36,400 for a code violation.

“Maybe what happened in Dubai remains in my mind,” said Rublev. 

Rublev’s focus now switches to his title defence at the Monte Carlo Masters. It is the only Masters 1000 event he has won so far in his career. 

“I feel better. These last two weeks I have been training a lot. But it’s one thing to train well, it’s another to play well in a match.” He evaluated of his current form. 

Rublev has yet to defend a Tour-level title so far in his career. Should he do so, he will become only the fifth player in the Open Era to win multiple Monte Carlo trophies. 

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