Kevin Anderson: “The last two sets were sort of what I would have liked to start match out with” - UBITENNIS
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Kevin Anderson: “The last two sets were sort of what I would have liked to start match out with”

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TENNIS WIMBLEDON 2014 – 27th of June. K. Anderson d. F. Fognini 4-6, 6-4, 2-6, 6-2, 6-1. An interview with Kevin Anderson

Q. What happened in the match when you were down two sets to one, two break points? Of course, great serve, but do you think you were a bit lucky as Fognini said or not?

KEVIN ANDERSON: It was a very interesting match I would say. There was a lot of ups and downs. Facing those break points, down two sets to one, I definitely knew it was my time if I wanted to at least stay even and give myself a chance to win.

That was very important. I didn’t feel great in the third set, but I knew that if I could get things going, I felt confident that on the surface I felt like my chances were going to be pretty good.

Fortunately I was able to save that game, which was, looking back at it, obviously very important. From that time, I just felt much better. Felt like I got a second wind going. I felt much more relaxed. My feet were much better.

The last two sets were sort of what I would have liked to start match out with. Obviously very happy to get through regardless of what might have taken place in the match.

 

Q. What was the problem with your back?

KEVIN ANDERSON: It was weird. I think I was a little nervous going out. Obviously it’s a big match, a match that I thought if I stuck to my game I was going to have a good chance of getting through.

 

My first time being in this position here at Wimbledon, and just got a little stiff and affected the serve right from warming up. So I was a little bit nervous.

The more nervous I got the worse the back felt. Fortunately it settled down. It wasn’t a factor. Definitely happy that I’ve got two days off to get to feeling better.

 

Q. You got a bit of treatment on it?

KEVIN ANDERSON: Yeah, I’ve already b#b# fortunately I have a very good team with me. My physio, he’s already taken a look at it. Nothing to worry about.

 

Q. How does it feel to be the first South African to get this far in 14 years since Wayne Ferriera?

KEVIN ANDERSON: Yeah, it’s fantastic. I mean, been in the fourth round a couple times at the Australian and French and fell a match short last year.

But, you know, just starting this week I felt like I was feeling good on the grass. It’s been a very enjoyable tournament for me so far. I’ve been facing the challenges that I’ve had to face in matches, but little scenarios within the matches as well.

Today was a crazy match. As I said, so many ups and downs and playing against a pretty tricky opponent. Feels great to be through. Being in the second week of Wimbledon, you know, feels fantastic.

 

Q. If were to face Andy Murray, how would you feel about that?

KEVIN ANDERSON: Yeah, I’ve been asked that throughout the week. I never like talking about possible matchups before they’ve played. Bautista is so good. He won ‘sb#Hertogenbosch last week. I’ve played him before. He’s had a terrific year, and he definitely has his work cut out for him.

If I do play Andy, yeah, it will be a great experience for me. It’s why I play this game, to play greats, and at such a big tournament. Yeah, I mean, I haven’t really thought too much about it yet.

 

Q. You’ve beaten him before.

KEVIN ANDERSON: Yeah, I played him a couple times. Didn’t go so well against him in Australia. Got the better of him in Canada a couple years ago. Practiced with him a few times. Don’t need to go too much about how he is as a tennis player. He’s one of the best. There are so many parts of his game that are so good.

If I do play him, there will be a few challenges. I think the biggest will be staying calm, regardless of what court we may be on or all those outside factors.

Really it’s about me focusing on my game. If I do that and do it very well, then I might have a few chances here and there.

 

Q. Fabio is the kind of player that’s known to have quite the temper and sometimes it’s a bit distracting to play him. Going into the match, is he the kind of player you dread facing because of that?

KEVIN ANDERSON: Yeah, you’re not sure what you’re going to get. I guess that’s the reason we were out on I think it was Court 17 today. Sort of lived up to what I thought it was going to be like. A lot of talking. Not sure if he’s doing it b#b# I mean, I personally just think that’s the way he copes with some of the stress of being out on the tour.

Regardless of what’s going on, you have to play and beat him. I did expect that a little bit going into the match, so I definitely felt a bit more prepared to deal with it.

 

Q. Does it bother you?

KEVIN ANDERSON: Yeah, I mean, didn’t really bother me too much today. I feel like I’m able to sort of put that off my mind. I was able to just focus on what I needed to do on the court.

 

Q. If you look down your past record you can see which big names you play, but doesn’t tell us the big stadiums and how crowded they were. Which were the biggest crowds you played in front of?

KEVIN ANDERSON: Let me try to think. I played Andy in Melbourne on Laver. That’s actually the only main like center court of the slams that I’ve been on.

I’ve been on Hisense.

Court 1 here. Played Novak here a few years ago. Played Davydenko here on Court 1;Berdych on Court 1 as well.

Then at the Open, played David Ferrer there.

And at the French Open…

 

Q. On Ashe?

KEVIN ANDERSON: No, on Court 1, on Armstrong.

And then on French Open I played on Lenglen against Ferrer twice.

So I feel like, I mean, just, yeah, playing Novak and playing Berdych and Davydenko on Court 1, it’s not much of a size difference. It’s a great crowd.

Obviously not sort of home support, but it’ll be exciting. I don’t know who I’m playing yet, but if it is Andy and if we do get on Centre Court, it’ll definitely be fantastic.

 

Q. Were you around on day one when he walked out and got that long standing ovation?

KEVIN ANDERSON: Yeah, it was great to see. I got into the locker room and I think the TV wasn’t on and I asked the guys to put on. I think it’s great to see the defending champ go out for the first time. It’s an amazing tradition and something very special to see.

 

Q. Were you surprised to be on Court 17 today?

KEVIN ANDERSON: Yeah. Well, just because – biggest surprise was being able to get one grounds pass for a third-round match. I mean, I don’t know if there is an exact reasoning. Maybe assuming something to do with my opponent and some of the antics he’s had this week so far.

 

Q. Did this annoy you?

KEVIN ANDERSON: No, I mean, not really. Just have to deal with it. When it comes to court scheduling and stuff, nothing you’re going to do about it. The only frustrating part was, as I, said the amount of grounds passes I could get.

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Carlos Alcaraz In Doubt For Madrid Open Title Defence

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Carlos Alcaraz admits that he is not certain if he will be ready in time to play at next week’s Madrid Masters.

The 20-year-old is yet to play a clay tournament in Europe due to a forearm injury which ruled him out of both Monte Carlo and Barcelona. He hurt his right arm whilst training shortly before the Monte Carlo event began. 

It is the latest in a series of injury issues that has affected Alcaraz throughout his young career. Since the start of 2023, he has also been derailed by issues with his abdominal, hamstring, post-traumatic arthritis in his left hand and muscular discomfort in his spine. 

“My feeling isn’t right, but it is what it is. Now I’m fully focused on recovery and I have a little more time,” Alcaraz told reporters in Barcelona on Monday.
“My goal is to try and go to the Madrid Open, but at the moment nothing is certain. I was given specific recovery times and I’ve respected them, but I haven’t felt good. I don’t want to get ahead of myself.
“I can’t say I’ll be 100% in Madrid, but that’s my intention. We’ll train and do everything we can so that the feelings improve so I can play a match … It’s also a very special tournament for me.”

Alcaraz has won the past two editions of the Madrid Open, which is classed as a Masters 1000 event. In 2022 he defeated Alexander Zverev in the final and then 12 months later he beat Jan-Lennard Struff in the title match.

The setback comes after what has been a steady start to the year for Alcaraz who has reached the quarter-finals or better in four out of five tournaments played. He successfully defended his title in Indian Wells and then reached the semi-finals in Miami. 

Should he not play in Madrid, it is likely that the Spaniard will lose his No.2 spot to Jannik Sinner who is just over 100 points behind him in the standings. He will still have the chance to play a clay-court event before the French Open with Rome taking place early next month. 

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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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