Bits & Pieces from the World of Tennis: 25th of July 2014 - UBITENNIS
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Bits & Pieces from the World of Tennis: 25th of July 2014

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TENNIS BITS & PIECES – Bouchard to miss Washington. Stephens hires a new coach. Florian Mayer will miss the US Open. Argentina concerned for their Davis Cup tie in Israel and Bernard Tomic is back in the top 100. Angelo Lo Conte

Wimbledon runner-up Bouchard withdraws from Citi Open

Wimbledon runner-up Eugenie Bouchard withdrew Thursday from the Citi Open next week.

Tournament officials didn’t provide a reason for Bouchard’s decision to pull out of the Washington event. The No. 7 in the world hasn’t played on tour since losing to Petra Kvitova in the final at Wimbledon on July 5. Wimbledon semifinalist Lucie Safarova will replace Bouchard as the Citi Open’s top seed.

Stephens working with Thomas Hogstedt

Sloane Stephens has stopped working with Paul Annacone following an eight-month partnership, from now on she will be coached by Thomas Hogstedt. A statement from Stephens’ management company called the split “amicable,” and the 21-year-old American called it an opportunity for a “fresh start.” Reports at Wimbledon said Annacone and Stephens would end their coaching relationship, and Stephens said the decision had been taken following the tournament.“Based on the conversations Paul and I had after Wimbledon, we both feel like it would be a good idea for me to have a fresh start leading into the summer hard-court swing,” Stephens was quoted as saying. “I’ve learned a lot over our past eight months together and now just need to meld them into my long-term plan. Paul is one of the top coaches in the world and will remain a close friend and confidant. I can’t thank him enough for his time and continued support.” Annacone, who had most recently worked with Roger Federer, cited Stephens’ up-and-down play as a reason for the break, and said the timing would allow Stephens to adjust. The new Stephens’ coach Thomas Hogstedt is an established trainer on the WTA tour, including recent stints with Maria Sharapova (for three years) and Caroline Wozniacki (for three months).

Florian Mayer pulls out of U.S. Open.

Florian Mayer has pulled out of the U.S. Open. The 62nd-ranked German hasn’t played since March, when he withdrew from his match against Novak Djokovic at Key Biscayne because of a groin injury. He missed the French Open and Wimbledon. His withdrawal from the U.S. Open was announced Thursday.

Argentina requests change of venue for Davis Cup tie vs. Israel

The Argentine Tennis Association (AAT) has requested a change in venue for its Davis Cup playoff tie against Israel in September. With the tie scheduled to be played at Tel Aviv, the AAT says it has security concerns about the region because of the growing conflict in Gaza.“We are concerned. We have communicated with the ITF, which promises to make a decision about Davis Cup by Friday,” said AAT president, Arturo Grimaldi, speaking to sports channel TyC Sports. There were “two possibilities” if the location of the tie is changed, he said. “One is that Israel will give up home advantage if we cede ours in future. The other is that the location is changed to Greece [Athens] or Cyprus.” However, added Grimaldi, the Argentine team will play the tie wherever the ITF decides. “We will wait till Friday and if they say the tie is in Tel Aviv, we will [play],” he said.

Tomic back in ATP Top 100

Bernard Tomic is back in the ATP top 100 in style. After his Wimbledon performance dropped him to No. 124, the 21-year-old Australian rose 54 spots in the rankings to land at No. 70 after winning his first title of the year in Bogota, Colombia. Tomic’s tournament victory, the second of his career, came the same week he missed the cut-off for the main draw of the U.S. Open and was dropped by his management company. With just 55 points to defend over the summer, he should put himself in good position for a U.S. Open wild card.

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Jack Draper Wins In Stuttgart, Potentially Faces Andy Murray in Round Two

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Jack Draper – ATP Monaco di Baviera 2024 (foto via Twitter @atptour)

Britain’s Jack Draper tight first round win headlined the opening day’s results at the Boss Open 2024 in Stuttgart – and possibly faces a second-round match with Andy Murray who takes on Marcos Giron tomorrow.

Less than 24 hours from the last ball being hit at Roland Garros, the ATP Tour had already switched surfaces onto the grass, and 22-year-old Draper was well tested but ultimately came through in two tie-breakers over Sebastian Ofner.

The sixth seed’s 7-6, 7-6 win contained just one break of serve each, both coming in the second set, as serve dominated proceedings on the faster grass courts in Germany.

While the Austrian won 75% on his first serve, Draper won a whopping 89% behind his first delivery as well as hitting eight aces. These kind of service stats will surely take him far during the grass court season.

“I thought it was a really good match,” Eurosport quoted Draper saying after his match. 
“Both of us played really clean tennis, executing really well.
“When it came down to it, I’m glad I competed really well and got over the line – it’s good to be back on the grass as well.”

There were also wins for Germany’s Yannick Hanfmann who won 6-3, 6-3 over wildcard Henri Squire, while compatriot Dominik Koepfer won in three sets over China’s Zhizhen Zhang 4-6, 7-6, 7-6. 

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Carlos Alcaraz Still Owns A Magical Racket

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The legend of Carlos Alcaraz and his magical racket lives on.

The 21-year-old Spaniard executed one magical shot after another with his racket and legs  Sunday afternoon in the French Open final. That bit of magic spelled defeat for Germany’s Alexander Zverev.

This was a final to remember, one of the great matches of all the Grand Slams. It just wasn’t in the cards for the 26-year-old Zverev to finally win a Grand Slam title.

HE HAD IT, THEN HE DIDN’T

Both players seemed to play a game of “he had it and then he didn’t.”

Alcaraz appeared to have everything under control in the first set, but Zverev rushed through the second set and then made a comeback from 5-2 down in the third set to win five straight games.

Zverev had everything going for him when he started the fourth set with a two-set advantage. It appeared that all the 6-6 Zverev had to do was to continue playing his masterful game of big serves and mighty ground strokes.

But Zverev couldn’t get started in the fourth set until he was down 4-0. So much for a smooth and easy ride to a Grand Slam title. By then, the magic of Alcaraz was heating up.

MAGIC OF ALCARAZ HEATING UP

Zverev still had his chances, even when he fell behind 2-1 in the fifth set. He had to feel pretty good about his chances when he took a triple break point lead against Alcaraz’s serve and appeared ready to even the set at 2-2. Even after Carlos came up with a winner to bring the  game score to double break point.

Zverev still was ready to even the entire match.

That’s when everything seemed to go haywire for the German, while all the while, Alcaraz was able to repeatedly come up with his magical shots as the Spaniard made critical shots that looked almost impossible to make.

ALCARAZ HEADED FOR GREATNESS

Everything for Zverev was lost in the magical racket of Alcaraz.

What was then initially called a game-ending Alcaraz double fault and a 2-2 deadlock quicky reversed itself and Alcaraz stayed alive by winning the next three points while taking a 3-1 advantage.

Zverev did get back to a 3-2 deficit and had a break point in the sixth game, but that was it for the hopes of Zverev. The last two games went rather easily in favor of Alcaraz to wrap up a 6-3, 2-6, 5-7, 6-1, 6-2 victory for Alcaraz.

That moved the Spaniard to a higher level of success on the ATP Tour. He became the youngest man to win Grand Slam titles on all of the different surfaces, clay, grass and hard courts.

Carlos Alcaraz and his magical racket appear to be headed for greatness.

James Beck was the 2003 winner of the USTA National Media Award  for print media. A 1995 MBA graduate of The Citadel, he can be reached at Jamesbecktennis@gmail.com. 

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Tsitsipas Brothers Hit With Trio Of Fines At French Open

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Stefanos Tsitsipas and his brother Petros have been fined more than 20,000 euros for multiple violations of the coaching rules at this year’s French Open. 

The brothers received a financial penalty during three different matches that they played in. Two of those were in the second and third rounds of the men’s doubles tournament. Furthermore, Stefanos was also penalised during his singles quarter-final match against Carlos Alcaraz, which he lost in straight sets. According to French newspaper L’Equipe, all three of those fines were issued as a result of coaching rules being broken.

Ironically, coaching is allowed during matches at the French Open but certain rules must be followed. ‘Verbal’ coaching can only be issued from the coaches and their team if they are sitting in the designated player’s box. Instructions must be limited to a few words and can only be given if the player is in the same half of the court as their coach. Although non-verbal coaching is allowed regardless of what side the player is on. Finally, players can’t start a conversation with their coach unless it is during a medical break, a bathroom break or when their opponent is changing clothes.

However, the Tsitsipas brothers have been found in violation of these rules, which is likely due to their animated father in the stands who is also their coach. Apostolos Tsitsipas has been given coaching violations in the past at other events, including the 2022 Australian Open. 

The value of the fines are €4,600 and €9,200 for the Tsitsipas brothers in the doubles, as well as an additional €7,400 just for Stefanos in the singles. In total, the value of their fines is €21,200. However, the penalty is unlikely to have an impact on the duo whose combined earnings for playing in this year’s French Open amount to roughly €495,000. 

So far in the tournament, the highest single fine to be issued this year was against Terence Atmane who hit a ball out of frustration that struck a fan in the stands. Atmane, who later apologised for his actions, managed to avoid getting disqualified from the match. Instead, he was fined €23,000. 

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