Bits and Pieces from the World of Tennis: 2014 Roland Garros special - UBITENNIS
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Bits and Pieces from the World of Tennis: 2014 Roland Garros special

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TENNIS Bits and Pieces – Numbers, curiosities and bits of news after the first 7 days of the 2014 French Open. Also injury updates for Tipsarevic and Del Potro. Joshua Bosco

Interviews, Results, OOP, Draws from the Roland Garros

Sunday, 25th May

Francesca Schiavone, 2010 French Open winner, fell in a straight sets defeat against Ajla Tomljanovic. This was Schiavone’s fourth consecutive loss at the first round of a Grand Slam.

Filippo Volandri lost to Sam Querrey, meaning the Italian has now lost in the first round of a Grand Slam tournament in his last 17 main draw appearances.

Monday, 26th May

For the first time since Petr Korda in 1998, the Australian Open champion lost in the first round of the French Open: World No.3 Stan Wawrinka lost to Guillermo Garcia Lopez 4-6 7-5 2-6 0-6, hitting 62 unforced errors along the way. He’s the highest seed to fall in the opening round at Roland Garros since Andy Roddick (No.3) lost to Igor Andreev in 2007.

Facundo Bagnis celebrated his Grand Slam debut with a stunning 6-1 6-2 1-6 3-6 18-16 victory over Frenchman veteran Julien Benneteau, who was playing his 44th major. The Argentine player also had to save a match point in the 4h 26m marathon match, with the fifth set alone lasting 2h 24m.

Spanish veteran Albert Montanes was forced to withdraw after twisting his ankle in his first round match against Kenny De Schepper, in what was his 50th career Grand Slam.

Tuesday, 27th May

Not to be outdone by Stan, the women’s 2014 Australian Open champion Na Li also lost her first round match in Paris. She’s the first Australian Open champion to lose so early at Roland Garros since Lindsay Davenport in 2000. Na Li lost 5-7 6-3 1-6 to French youngster Kristina Mladenovic.
This is the first time in the Open Era that both the Australian Open champions lose in the opening round of the French Open.

After twelve failed attempts, Marinko Matosevic finally reached the second round in a Grand Slam tournament with a 7-6 6-4 6-7 7-5 win over Dustin Brown.

Wednesday, 28th May

Roger Federer became the first man in history to win 60 or more matches in all four Grand Slam tournaments. After defeating Diego Sebastian Schwartzman 6-3 6-4 6-4, the Swiss player now (as of 28th May 2014) holds a 60-14 record at the French Open to go with his 73-11 at the Australian Open, 67-8 at Wimbledon and 67-9 at the US Open.

World No.1 Serena Williams bowed out of the tournament in the second round with a shock 2-6 2-6 loss to Garbine Muguruza. The four games won made this her worst result in a major in 288 matches; it was also just the third time she had lost before the third round in her 55 Grand Slam appearances.
Her loss also made this the first time in the Open Era that both the women’s No.1 and No.2 seeds have fallen before the third round in any Grand Slam.

As if this wasn’t enough for the Williams’ family, a few hours earlier her sister Venus had lost her second round match to Anna Schmiedlova 6-2 3-6 4-6.

Thursday, 29th May

Fernando Verdasco came back from a 0-2 deficit to win his 2nd round match against Pablo Cuevas 4-6 6-7 7-5 6-4 6-3. By doing so, he became only the sixth player to complete comebacks from two sets down in all four Grand Slams: he joined Federer, Becker, Krickstein, Noah and Nalbandian in this elite group.

Friday, 30th May

Not wanting to be outdone by the two top seeds, Serena Williams and Na Li, No.3 seed Agnieszka Radwanska crashed out of Roland Garros with a 4-6 4-6 loss to Ajla Tomljanovic, who was playing her first French Open. It was also the first time that the young Croatian had made it past the second round in a Grand Slam and her first win against a Top 25 player.

Big server Milos Raonic became the first Canadian man ever to reach the fourth round at the French Open after coming back from 1-2 down to beat Gilles Simon 4-6 6-3 2-6 6-2 7-5.

Roger Federer became the first player to reach the fourth round at the French Open for twelve times. The Swiss Maestro bettered the record set by Guillermo Villas who reached the last 16 on eleven occasions.

Saturday, 31st May

Rafael Nadal extended his winning streak at Roland Garros to a staggering 31 consecutive match wins, tying his own record set between 2005 and 2009. Back in 2009 Nadal’s streak came to an end in his fourth round loss against Robin Soderling, which up to today remains his only loss at the French Open.

With her 6-3 6-4 win over Ekaterina Makarova, Sloane Stephens is the only WTA player to have reached the fourth round in all six Grand Slams since the 2013 Australian Open. The American will now play No.4 seed Simona Halep for a place in the quarter-finals.

Sunday, 1st June

With a neat 6-3 6-3 6-3 victory over Marcel Granollers, Milos Raonic became the first Canadian man to reach the quarter-finals at Roland Garros. Unfortunately for him this could be the last of his achievements this week as he will now face World No.2 Novak Djokovic for a place in the semi-finals.

After nine consecutive French Open quarter-finals, Roger Federer was knocked out in the fourth round by Ernests Gulbis 7-6 6-7 2-6 6-4 3-6.

-Injuries update

Del Potro back on court!

On Thursday Former World No.4 Juan Martin del Potro, who underwent left wrist surgery on 24th March, completed his first post-operation on-court tennis training session.

The Argentine took to Facebook to tell his fans he had had a light 20-minute hit with his coach, Franco Davin, in which he hit some forehands and volleys and even tried some sliced backhands, to start what will be quite a long recovery.

Tipsarevic undergoes surgery

On Wednesday Janko Tipsarevic finally underwent surgery after being diagnosed with plantar fasciitis, a foot problem which has kept him off the tour for the last 7 months.

It was a complicated surgery (cause there was so much damage ‘inside’), but it went well” Tipsarevic wrote on Twitter. The player has not yet given a date for his return.

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Wrist Injury Threatening To End Holger Rune’s Olympic Dream

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Holger Rune will have a second medical opinion on Monday before deciding if he is fit enough to play at the Olympic Games, according to his team. 

The Danish world No.17 recently retired from his quarter-final match at the Hamburg Open due to a knee injury. The hope at the time was that his withdrawal would be just a precautionary measure ahead of the Olympics. However, he is also dealing with a second issue that appears to be more serious.

According to TV 2 Sport, Rune has been struggling with a wrist issue and underwent a scan on Sunday which his mother Aneke says ‘doesn’t look promising.’ Aneke is also the manager of her son’s career. Rune’s Olympic dreams now rest on the outcome of a second medical expert that he will visit tomorrow who has a better understanding of the sport. 

“Unfortunately, it does not look promising after the first medical opinion after the review of the scan of the wrist,” Aneke Rune told TV 2 Sport.

“We are waiting for two tennis-specific doctors who will give a second opinion tomorrow (Monday). Tennis wrists look different from regular wrists, so we’ll hold out hope for one more day.” 

Rune is one of three Danish players entered into the Olympic tennis event along with Caroline Wozniacki and Clara Tauson. The country has only won one medal in tennis before which was at the 1912 Games when Sofie Castenschiold won silver in the women’s indoor singles event. 

So far this season, the 21-year-old has won 27 matches on the Tour but is yet to claim a title. He reached the final of the Brisbane International and then the semi-finals of three more events. In the Grand Slams, he made it to the fourth round of the French Open and Wimbledon. 

It is not known when a final decision regarding Rune’s participation in Paris will be made.

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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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