Andy Murray: “I think since the roof came in on Centre, you feel more of a difference between the two courts” - UBITENNIS
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Andy Murray: “I think since the roof came in on Centre, you feel more of a difference between the two courts”

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TENNIS WIMBLEDON 2014 – A. Murray d. B. Rola 6-1, 6-1, 6-0. An interview with Andy Murray

 

Q. The Duchess of Cornwell left Centre Court today so she could come and watch you. How pleased are you with that?

ANDY MURRAY: Well, it’s nice that she came to watch the match obviously. But, yeah, I don’t really understand. Was it nice that she left the other court?

 

Q. Yes.

ANDY MURRAY: Well, it was nice that she came to watch me. That was it.

 

Q. I know you’ve only been working with Amélie for a short time. How much of an impact has she been able to have already on what you’re doing on court?

ANDY MURRAY: Well, not loads, because you can’t change things in a week. You can’t make massive differences to the way someone plays.

I think they can definitely help with your mindset and your concentration and things like that. I think it’s easier to make a quick improvement on those things.

But in terms of making changes to my game or improving things in my game, that will take longer.

 

Q. Following on from what you said about the French Open, would you always prefer to win matches pretty quickly like that? For example, last year, the match against Verdasco, did that help you in the latter two matches?

ANDY MURRAY: I think, you know, you’re going to get tested during the tournament. Sometimes that happens in the first round, and sometimes it can happen in semifinals. It can happen at any moment in the tournament. You just have to be ready for it and expect it before every single match.

I go into each match expecting to lose serve, expecting to go behind, you know, so your mind is ready and you don’t get too down on yourself if that happens.

Yeah, I mean, I’m happy to come through matches as quickly as possible, but you’re going to get tested at some stage during the tournament. Obviously the further you go in the draw, the tougher the matches are going to get.

 

Q. Last year I remember you training in between some of your matches with Kyle Edmund. I was wondering if that might be anything you were doing this year and how you assess his progress?

ANDY MURRAY: I practiced with a lot of the British guys the year before. Oliver Golding. I practiced with him last year. I practiced with Kyle. Since I’ve been here, I have practiced with James Ward, Dan Smethurst, Dan Cox. I try to play with all the British guys when I can.

In terms of Kyle’s progress, you know, there’s been parts of the year where we’ve played some good tennis. I practiced with him at a couple of the Davis Cup ties, and he was playing some good tennis.

I obviously haven’t seen him play loads of matches, but he’s making that step up now from playing the futures to the challengers. It takes a bit of time to get used to that level because it’s a higher level.

In the futures tournaments, you’ll be getting seeded and might be playing guys that are ranked at 900 in the world, whereas in the challengers, he’s coming up against players ranked 100 in the world, 150 in the world. So it takes a bit of time. Just need to be patient with him, and hopefully he’ll keep improving.

 

Q. I appreciate what you say about how it might be early for Amélie to change things on the court. Can you talk about the chemistry so far.

ANDY MURRAY: It’s been good. I enjoy spending time with her on the court. I enjoy spending time with her off it. We chatted well about the matches. You know, we obviously discussed the things, you know, I felt like I needed to improve or add things to my game. We’ve chatted about that. We agreed on most things, so that’s good.

But, yeah, I think it’s been working well so far. But, again, like I said at the beginning of the tournament, it’s very difficult to make a change in the space of a week. It takes time in all sports.

You know, if things go well, if we agree to keep working together, then I’ll have some time after the tournament.

 

Q. Your thoughts on Aljaz Bedene becoming a British player? Would you welcome him in the Davis Cup team?

ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I don’t really mind, to be honest. You know, the rules are there. I don’t make the rules.

Yeah, if he becomes a British citizen and is able to play, then I see no reason why he shouldn’t be able to do it.

 

Q. That was your most economical match in terms of time and games. When you’re hammering somebody like that, is there a moment where you feel sympathy for him or is it relentless pressure to get on and off the court?

ANDY MURRAY: To be honest, you just try to win the match. You know, I mean, I talk about it a lot. You put a lot of hours of practice and hard work, training, all the stuff you do in the gym for these tournaments. It hurts a lot of the time.

When you are in a position to win a match like that, you have to try and do it as quickly as possible, because all of the players in this tournament are very, very good tennis players. If you give them, you know, a look in in a set or they see a way back in, they can start playing very well.

You just try to keep it going.

 

Q. Is there much difference, Andy, playing on Centre to 1, how the two courts are playing? Do you accept the fact you have to have at least one outing off of Centre Court?

ANDY MURRAY: Yeah, I don’t care about that, to be honest. But I think since the roof came in on Centre, you feel more of a difference between the two courts. I think before when the roof wasn’t there, they felt kind of similar.

With the roof, that changes things a little bit. A bit more wind gets into Court 1. It swirls a little bit more. Obviously when you toss the ball up and things, you know, with the roof there, the sun obviously doesn’t affect you quite as bad on Centre Court.

Yeah, it sounds a little bit different. It echos a little bit stiff on Centre Court when you strike the ball, where on Court 1 it’s not like that. So they play slightly differently.

 

Q. As a football fan, what did you make of Suarez last night?

ANDY MURRAY: I don’t think you look at that as kind of a football fan. It’s just wrong. I just think it looks really weird seeing a person bite someone else. I just don’t see how that would come into your, yeah, thinking.

Well, obviously he’s not thinking clearly at the time. There was obviously something not quite right there. I think it’s the third time he’s done it now.

It’s not particularly nice to see. You can understand sometimes someone lashing out or whatever. But the biting’s far too much.

 

Q. Your mother’s version this morning of the rescue, she found it quite harrowing. What did she say to you afterwards?

ANDY MURRAY: Nothing because I didn’t see her. She was like two cars behind when I got out of the car. So she came out and tried to help. She couldn’t actually hold the dog still because it was pretty strong. It was a big dog.

But, yeah, I didn’t really see her. When I took the dog into the car park, she went to try and find the owner.

 

Q. She said she saw you jump out of the car in the middle of traffic.

ANDY MURRAY: Well, she was two cars behind me. We were at the traffic light. She obviously saw it.

Yeah, I don’t think I’ve seen her since. I don’t think I’ve seen her since then, yeah.

 

Q. Can you tell the whole story for those of us who haven’t had it in your words?

ANDY MURRAY: Well, basically I was driving from home. It was like two minutes from my house. Got to a traffic light. I parked. It was red, so I parked or stopped. Saw a dog running round like the corner.

This is going to be hard for me to explain. But basically where I am at the traffic lights I would then go right. The dog was coming round from that way down the hill.

I basically was like, What’s going on? I didn’t see an owner. Then I just jumped out the car. The dog started running towards the traffic that was coming.

Yeah, you just get visions of a car coming round that corner and hitting the dog. So I just stopped in front of the traffic, got out, stopped the traffic, then tried to stop the dog.

The dog had obviously been chasing something because it was so tired, so it sat down on the road. I just grabbed it by the collar and, yeah, threw it in the back of my car, then drove to the place where people where I live walk the dogs. I called the number that was on the tag.

Yeah, I left a message. But as I was leaving the message, my mom had bumped into the owner and gave the dog to the owner. Then left. That was it basically.

ATP

The Year-End Rankings: The Rise Of Alcaraz And The Eternals, Djokovic and Nadal

Image via ATP Twitter

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By Roberto Ferri

Let’s start our last article on the ATP rankings by quoting the words which are said to be the last of emperor Augustus: “The play is over, applaud”.

 

We cannot but applaud Novak Djokovic, six-time ATP Finals winner just like Roger Federer. And we applaud the season, which, for good or ill, has been unique. Just consider the most striking events: Carlos Alcaraz rising to No. 1, Roger Federer’s retirement, all the issues involving Djokovic and the Wimbledon affair.  

The top positions of the ranking have been significantly impacted by Djokovic’s absence from two Majors (Australian Open and US Open), four Masters 1000 (Indian Wells, Miami Open, Canadian Open, Cincinnati) and by ATP’s decision to not award points for Wimbledon.

If we compare the ATP rankings published after the ATP Finals in 2021 and 2022, this fact is clearly noticeable. 

22 NOVEMBER 2021

PositionPlayerCountryPts 
1DjokovicSerbia11540
2MedvedevRussia8640
3ZverevGermany7840
4TsitsipasGreece6540
5RublevRussia5150
6NadalSpain4875
7BerrettiniItaly4568
8RuudNorway4160
9HurkaczPoland3706
10SinnerItaly3350
11Auger-AliassimeCanada3308
12NorrieGB2945
13SchwartzmanArgentina2625
14ShapovalovCanada2475
15ThiemAustria2425
16FedererSwitzerland2385
17GarinChile2353
18KaratsevRussia2351
19Bautista AgutSpain2260
20Carreno BustaSpain2230

14 NOVEMBER 2022:

PositionPlayerCountryPts
1AlcarazSpain6820
2NadalSpain6020
3RuudNorway5820
4TsitsipasGreece5550
5DjokovicSerbia4820
6Auger-AliassimeCanada4195
7MedvedevRussia4065
8RublevRussia3930
9FritzUSA3355
10HurkaczPoland2905
11RuneDenmark2888
12ZverevGermany2700
13Carreno BustaSpain2495
14NorrieGB2445
15SinnerItaly2410
16BerrettiniItaly2375
17ShapovalovCanada2105
18CilicCroatia2075
19TiafoeUSA2000
20KhachanovRussia1990

Novak Djokovic ended 2021 with 4720 points more than Carlos Alcaraz; also Medvedev and Tsitsipas earned more points than the Spaniard, who would not have reached 7000 points even counting the 135 points he wasn’t awarded at Wimbledon.

A few comments on the 2022 rankings:

  • Casper Ruud, the ATP Finals finalist, concludes his excellent year in third place, overtaking Stefanos Tsitsipas with an impressive final rush.
  • Novak Djokovic and Rafa Nadal are the only top 10 players born in the 80s; the other 8 were born in the second half of the 90s.
  • Cameron Norrie and Pablo Carreno Busta are the survivors of the lost generation, born between 1990 and 1995 and that was most overpowered by the Big Four dominance. 
  • Only North America, beyond Europe, is represented at the very highest: Auger Aliassime, Fritz, Shapovalov and Tiafoe.
  • Holger Rune has gained 92 positions since the start of the year. Carlos Alcaraz “just” 31.
  • A final note: Kei Nishikori ends 2022 without a ranking. Does this suggest he’s going to retire?

BEST RANKING

Owing to earned and dropped points, as well as results in the Challenger events, five players in the top 100 have achieved their career highest this week:

Emil Ruusuvuori – 40

Quentin Halys – 64

Christopher O’Connell – 79

Roman Safiullin – 89

Nuno Borges – 91

A special applause for the 20-year old Ben Shelton, a bright prospect for USA tennis, who has made his debut in the top 100. Thanks to his victory in the Champaign-Urbana Challenger he’s now ranked 97.

Is that all? Not yet! Just a quiz for everybody: which was the last year which saw the first two places in the rankings occupied at the end of the season by two players of the same nationality?

That’s really all for now. We’ll be back in 2023.

Translated by Kingsley Elliot Kaye

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ATP Finals Daily Preview: Novak Djokovic Faces Casper Ruud in the Championship Match

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Novak Djokovic on Saturday in Turin (twitter.com/atptour)

The biggest ATP non-Major final of 2022 takes place on Sunday in Turin, Italy.

 

2022 has been a bizarre year in the career of Novak Djokovic.  It started with his deportation from Australia, forcing the unvaccinated Djokovic to miss the first Major of the year.  That would be one of six prominent events that Novak would miss this season due to COVID-19 entry rules (Australian Open, Indian Wells, Miami, Montreal, Cincinnati, US Open).  Yet Djokovic was still able to accumulate a record of 41-7, and win his 21st Slam at Wimbledon.  He is now 17-1 at indoor ATP events this fall, and will end the year as the World No.5  With a win on Sunday, he would tie Roger Federer for most all-time ATP Finals titles.

2022 has been a groundbreaking year in the career of Casper Ruud.  He had already established himself as a top 10 player, but prior to this season, was predominantly thought of as a clay court specialist, with five of his six ATP titles coming on that surface.  Yet that all changed this season, starting in Miami when he reached his first Masters 1000 finals.  Casper would go on to also reach his first two Major finals, in Paris in New York.  He is now 51-21, and into his fourth big final of the year.


Sunday’s action in Turin starts at 4:00pm local time with the doubles championship match, featuring Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic (4) vs. Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury (2).  Both teams are an undefeated 4-0 this past week.  This is Ram and Salisbury’s second consecutive year in the final, having lost a year ago to Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut.  Mektic won this title two years ago alongside Wesley Koolhof, while this is Pavic’s first appearance in the final of this event.  These teams have not met since the semifinals of this tournament last year, when Ram and Salisbury prevailed.


Casper Ruud (3) Novak Djokovic (7) – Not Before 7:00pm

Ruud is 3-1 this past week, with his only loss coming in a dead rubber against Rafael Nadal.  Prior to his three top 10 victories across the last seven days, Casper only had two all season (Zverev, Auger-Aliassime).  And he is yet to win a title above 250-level in his career, with the aforementioned three losses this year in big finals.  Ruud was a semifinalist here a year ago in his ATP Finals debut.

Djokovic is an undefeated 4-0 this week, which includes an arduous effort to defeat Daniil Medvedev on Friday in a dead rubber.  Novak is now 10-3 against top 10 opposition in 2022, having taken nine of his last 10 against the top 10.  He is 4-2 in finals this year, though he lost his most recent one, two weeks in Bercy, to Holger Rune.  Djokovic is an eight-time finalist here, though he hasn’t won this title since 2015.

Djokovic has played a lot more tennis across the last two days than Ruud.  On Friday, Novak spent over three hours on court, while Ruud had the day off.  But Djokovic still looked plenty fresh for his semifinal on Saturday against Taylor Fritz, and was able to prevent the American from extending that tight contest to a third set.  Novak is 3-0 against Casper, which includes a straight-set victory at this same event a year ago.  And considering Ruud’s poor record in significant finals, Djokovic is a considerable favorite to win his sixth title at the ATP Finals on Sunday.


Sunday’s full Order of Play is here.

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ATP Finals: Fritz Close But No… Final, Djokovic Advances

Novak Djokovic beats Taylor Fritz in two tie-breaks and is just one win away from his sixth title at Nitto ATP Finals

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Novak Djokovic - 2022 Nitto ATP Finals Turin (photo Twitter @atptour)

[7] N. Djokovic b. [8] T. Fritz 7-6(5) 7-6(5)

 

Even when physically not at his best, Novak Djokovic can still count on his incredible ability to play the most effective tennis in the most important moment. Of course, it doesn’t hurt if the opponent misses an easy shot while attempting to close out the set, but the pressure Djokovic puts on whomever is on the other side of the net makes even the easiest shot look a little bit harder.

The former world no. 1 has put together a clinical display of efficiency during the first semifinal of the Nitto ATP Finals in Turin edging Taylor Fritz by two points in the tie-breaker of each set to reach his eighth finals in the end-of-year Championship.

It was not the best Djokovic, and it was not the best match: lots of errors on both sides, and a huge opportunity for Fritz to take the match to the distance when he served at 5-4 in the second set and then missed an easy backhand sitter to go a set-point up at 40-30, blaming an idiot spectator who indeed shouted in the middle of the point, when he really should have been able to put away that point blindfolded.

Fritz did not start the match in the best possible way: 10 unforced errors during the first five games, a break conceded at love at 2-2 and Djokovic appeared destined for a relatively quiet afternoon. But it was not going to be that easy: errors started flowing also on the Serbian side, and Fritz was able to equalize at 3-3. A tie-break was then needed to decide the winner of the first set, and the deciding point was a laser forehand down the line by Djokovic who swept point and set at 6-5 and headed off to the toilet for a comfort break after taking a one-set advantage.

But the break did not do him much good: unforced errors kept coming from the baseline, and Fritz blitzed 2-0 up with a break. At 4-3, the American wowed the Italian crowd with a magical backhand stop-volley to recover a service game where he found himself down 0-30, but when it was time to serve out the set, he missed that easy backhand we described earlier to give Djokovic another chance to close out a match in two sets.

And another chance is the last thing Djokovic should be gifted, although on a day like today, with Christmas time upon us, gift trading became the thing of the match. Two great points at 4-4 in the tie-break warmed the 12,000-strong crowd at Pala Alpitour to what could have possibly been a great end of the set, but Djokovic first earned a match point to be played on his serve with a good action from the baseline closed by a volley and then squandered it all with a very unusual unforced error on a routine backhand. But on his second match point, just a minute later, Fritz badly missed an inside-out forehand putting an end to the match and gifting Djokovic a chance to win his sixth title at the Nitto ATP Finals, the first in Turin.

On Sunday he will face either Casper Ruud or Andrey Rublev: he has never lost to Ruud in three previous matches (3-0) and the only time he did not beat Rublev (2-1) was last spring in Belgrade in the final of the tournament organized by his family.

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