TENNIS WIMBLEDON 2014 – 27th of June. J. Janowicz d. L. Hewitt 7-5, 6-4, 6-7, 4-6, 6-3. An interview with Lleyton Hewitt
Q. As you look back now, do you see the chance at the start of the fifth, do you see that as the pivotal part of the match?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, if I got a second serve, I’m pretty sure I would have broken at that stage. I was on top of his second serve. He started hitting his first serve a lot harder through the fifth set. He made an incredible amount of them.
But, yeah, if I got a second serve or was able to get some kind of ball back into play over the service line and actually make him come up with a tough shot, you know, I felt like he was getting a little tight on his service games.
When you got a serve like that, he can open up on my service games and let it rip, and that’s what he did.
Q. You gave a wave to the crowd at the end of the match. Standard wave? It wasn’t a wave good-bye for good?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I don’t know. You never know. I’m one injury away from hanging up the bats at any time. Obviously you appreciate the support out there today.
Q. Does that make you try to appreciate the moments like today a bit more?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Not really ’cause when you’re out there in battle, you’re doing what comes naturally to you. Nothing changes.
I’m focused on every single point. As soon as anything else starts entering your mind, you know, you might as well walk inside, you’re done.
Q. Talking about your fitness and your health, it’s good now. Are you looking forward?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, the body felt fine out there which is, you know, obviously a positive thing. But, you know, still frustrating to walk off the court feeling fine, feeling like you could have bounced back and played another fiveb#setter tomorrow. But you don’t get the opportunity.
Yeah, you know, with all that, what I’ve been through, the surgeries, it’s going okay at the moment.
Q. Is your mind when you get that close to someone who is top 20, does it give you the belief it’s still worth keeping playing because you’re so close?
LLEYTON HEWITT: It’s not something I really focus on. I’m playing for my own reasons.
Yeah, I know when I play my best tennis, I can still go out there and push guys, especially on this kind of surface over five sets. It’s not something going into this tournament or this match that I doubted, so…
Q. Before you said you were playing for your own reasons. Can you put into words what your reasons are for keeping going?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Well, I still enjoy it. I still enjoy doing the hard work. For moments out there like today, to play five-setters against the best guys in the world.
But, yeah, obviously when I’ve had the surgeries, I’ve missed it as well when you have been out. I think in some ways the last couple years I’ve been grateful I’ve been able to come back, especially after the last surgery where I didn’t really think I’d be able to go out there and compete against the guys again.
Yeah, there’s satisfaction in doing that.
Q. I believe you set a new record today for most fiveb#set matches in slams. Are you proud of that accomplishment? What is it that makes you keep digging deep in those circumstances?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I’ll have to take your word on that because I wouldn’t have a clue on the record.
Yeah, I’d much rather win in three or four sets than go the distance all the time. I seem to put everyone through the wringer quite a bit.
Q. What are your plans between now and the U.S.? Do you feel you need more tennis or less tennis?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I’ll play a few tournaments leading into the U.S. I’ll sit down and work out what schedule I want to get as many matches as I feel like I need.
I won’t be playing every week.
Q. The grass court season going an extra week next year…
LLEYTON HEWITT: I wouldn’t make my decision whether I keep playing or not just on that for sure. But, obviously, I would have loved it 10 years ago. It’s always so tough and such a short period to adjust and play on grass.
Yeah, a lot of guys are playing a lot better on grass I think. There’s a lot more guys that can play on this surface as you see in the draws nowadays. But I think it’s a good things.
Q. With Nick’s success and a couple other young guys coming through, what is your sense where the Davis Cup team might be over the next 18 months?
LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I don’t know. Obviously a lot depends on draws. Right now we got to get through our playoff match. That’s the only focus we have for September, then we wait and see on the draw.
We’re not going to be seeded in the World Group for a long time until we start making semis and finals again. We could be playing Spain in Spain. Brutal draws out there.
REPORT: Grigor Dimitrov Appoints New Coach
The former ATP Finals champion appears to have found a new mentor.
Former top 10 player Grigor Dimitrov has found a replacement following the departure of Radek Stepanek, according to one Bulgarian news source.
TennisKafe.com has reported that the world No.20 is now working alongside Christian Groh. A German-born coach who has worked with a number of top players on the men’s tour. Including Tommy Haas and Taylor Fritz. It is his work with Haas that Groh is best known for. During their 24 months together, he guided him from outside the top 200 to 11th in the ATP rankings.
The development comes a month after the 28-year-old stated that he was in no hurry to find a new mentor on the tour. Back in May he ended his collaboration with Dani Vallverdu after almost three years working together. He made the decision shortly before he exited the world’s top 50 for the first time since 2012.
“I’m not in a panic right now to find a coach. I always think that when I don’t have someone beside me, it’s hard to train. However, in the past months, I have done things myself that I have not done.” Dimitrov told reporters in November.
“You need to have freedom, to find yourself, to become closer to yourself.” He added.
Despite Stepanek stepping away, Dimitrov is still in contact with eight-time grand slam champion Agassi. Agassi is not a coach to the Bulgarian, but has agreed to a sort of consultation role where the two talk with each other regularly.
Dimitrov has experienced a roller coaster run on the tour this season with a win-loss record of 22-21. At one stage he failed to win back-to-back matches at six consecutive tournaments over the summer. However, his form surged during the last quarter of 2019 where he reached the semi-finals at both the US Open and Paris Masters.
Neither Dimitrov or Groh has yet confirmed their new partnership on the tour. Groh has recently been working as a consultant for the United States Tennis Association (USTA).
Heading into the new season, the first test for the duo will be at the ATP Cup in Australia. As well as playing, Dimitrov is the captain of the Bulgarian team.
Groh’s coaching CV
- 2011: Michael Berrer
- 2012-2013: Tommy Haas
- 2014: Bradley Klahn and Taylor Fritz
- 2015: Tommy Haas and Taylor Fritz
- ATP/WTA Players and United States Tennis Federation Player Development since 2015
Since the publication of this article, Ubitennis has received some additional details on Dimitrov’s work with Groh. The editor of TennisKafe.com, Borislav Orlinov, confirmed it was Dimitrov’s manager (Georgi Stoimenov) who revelled the two will be working together. They are currently training in Monte Carlo, but will head to Australia before the New Year.
Rival Backs Dominic Thiem To Win Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award
Only two players have won the award since 2004.
For the past 15 years only two players have managed to get their hands on the prestigious Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award, but one player thinks there could be a brand new winner this year.
Diego Schwartzman has lent his support behind world No.4 Dominic Thiem. The award recognizes those who have conducted the highest level of professionalism and integrity on the ATP Tour throughout the season. Established in 1977, Roger Federer has won the honour in 13 out of the past 15 years. The only other player to triumph during that period was Rafael Nadal, who won it in 2010 and 2018.
“I think Thiem can win it, he showed throughout the year a competitiveness and a respect with everyone that was spectacular,” Schwartzman told ole.com. “On top of that he is having great years of his career and this season was even better for the achievements he had.’
“He has a good chance of winning it.” He added.
Schwartzman, who reached the quarter-finals of the US Open earlier this year, has also been shortlisted for the award. Along with regular nominees Federer and Nadal. Only once has an Argentinian player won the title, which was José Luis Clerc back in 1981. At that time it was known as the ATP Sportsmanship award before getting renamed in 1996.
“I learned first (of getting nominated) through social networks rather than the official designation that the ATP sends you by mail.” The 27-year-old revealed.
“It is more spectacular than anything for the players I have next to me. It is a very important prize that recognizes a little what you do off the court, not only hitting the ball.”
Whilst he is dreaming of winning the honour himself, Schwartzman is just happy that he has been nominated.
“If I won this award, it would be spectacular. Now I am on that payroll that is very good and represents the values that I try to maintain on a day-to-day basis and that (my coaching teams over the years) have taught me. It is very nice to be recognized for that. “ He concluded.
The four nominees for the Stefan Edberg Award was shortlisted by the ATP. However, it will be the players who will decide the winner. The result will be revealed later this month.
Multiple winners of the Stefan Edberg/ATP Sportsmanship award
Roger Federer – 13
Stefan Edberg – 5
Pat Rafter – 4
Alex Corretja – 2
Todd Martin – 2
Paradorn Srichaphan – 2
Rafael Nadal – 2
Kei Nishikori In Doubt For The Australian Open
Asia’s highest ranked male tennis player is contemplating when he should return to the tour following surgery.
World No.13 Kei Nishikori is refusing to rule out the prospect of skipping the first grand slam event of 2020 as he continues his recovery from surgery.
Nishikori hasn’t played a match on the tour since his third round loss at the US Open back in September. A month later he underwent a procedure on his right elbow in a move that brought his season to an early end. Currently undergoing rehabilitation, it is unclear as to when the Japanese player believes he will return to the ATP Tour.
“The prospect of a return from surgery on right elbow in January. Maybe February. In the second half of next year I want to be able to play well.” Nikkan Sports quoted Nishikori as saying.
“I don’t want to overdo it,” he added.
The Australian Open will get underway on January 20th in Melbourne. Should he miss the grand slam, it will be the second time he has done so in the last three years. Nishikori also withdrew from the 2018 edition due to a wrist injury. In January he reached the quarter-finals and therefore has 360 points to defend next year.
During his time away from the court, the 29-year-old has been kept busy making changes to his team. Recently it was confirmed that he has started working alongside Max Mirnyi, who is a former world No.1 doubles player. Mirnyi, who has won 10 grand slam titles in men’s and mixed doubles, will be working full-time with Nishikori alongside existing coach Michael Chang.
“I’m getting closer to retirement. I want to be cured and come back to play good tennis in the second half of next year.” Nishikori stated.
Despite the injury setback, Nishikori has enjoyed success in 2019. Reaching the quarter-finals in three out of the four grand slam tournaments. The first time he has ever done that in his career. He also claimed his 12th ATP title at the Brisbane International. Overall, he won 29 out of 43 matches played.
Nishikori will turn 30 on December 29th.
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