Kyrgios, Dimitrov, Raonic and Bouchard, the next stars on tour? - UBITENNIS
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Kyrgios, Dimitrov, Raonic and Bouchard, the next stars on tour?

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TENNIS – Wimbledon 2014 has launched the career of 18-year-old Australian sensation Nick Kyrgios who impressively stunned Rafa Nadal to reach the quarter finals. The Championships also confirmed the great prospect of Grigor Dimitrov and Milos Raonic. On the women’s side Canadian rising star Eugenie Bouchard reached her first Grand Slam final after two consecutive Grand Slam semifinals. Diego Sampaolo

Nick Kyrgios was born in Canberra on 27th April 1995. His father is a self-employed house painter. His mother is a computer engineer. He is the third of three children. He was a promising basketball player in the early teens before taking the decision to focus entirely on tennis at the age of 14.

Kyrgios emerged in January 2013 when he he beat his compatriot Thanasi Kokkinakis in the Australian Open Junior final with 7-6 6-3 to win his first Grand Slam Junior title. He scored his first ATP Tour match at the 2013 Roland Garros when he knocked out Radek Stepanek in three sets which ended each in a tie-break before losing against Marin Cilic in the next round. Later in the summer he qualified for the US Open where he lost against David Ferrer in the first round.

He has been considered as the new Australian star with a potential to continue the proud tennis tradition of this country which produced some tennis legends like Pat Cash Lleyton Hewitt and Mark Philippoussis. Kyrgios, the son of a Greek father and a Malaysian mother, played an impressive Wimbledon tournament in which he recovered from two sets down and fended off nine match points against Richard Gasquet in the second round before sensationally knocking out this year’s Roland Garros Rafa Nadal in the fourth round to qualify for his first ever Grand Slam quarter final. He became the first male debutant to reach the quarter finals since Florian Mayer in 2004. He lost against Milos Raonic in four sets in the quarter final.

Kyrgios hit 312 winners and 128 aces in the five matches he played at the All-England Club. He entered Wimbledon but he has moved up 78 spots to a career best 66th after the third Grand Slam Tournament.

Mark Philippoussis, who beat former World Number 1 Pete Sampras in the 1996 Australian Open when he was a teenager, praised Kyrgios and the other Australian teenager Thanasi Kokkinakis.

I watched Nick a couple of times and he has got a big serve and a big forehand. He had an amazing tournament. He should get a lot confidence from this and hopefully learn from it”, said Philippoussis

He is a big guy. He has to be careful and has to be careful the way he trains because he could be prone to injuries. When you beat Nadal the way he did, you can beat anyone in the world. He has to grow as a tennis player, and get more experienced and work a little more on the volleys and he is gong to get better. He has got a big game. What I really love is that he has a big heart. He doesn’t give up until the end that’s beautiful to watch and something that I enjoy. I think Australia should be excited. He is the best prospect since it was myself, Pat and Lleyton”, continued Philippoussis

Philippoussis also criticized another Australian young star Bernard Tomic who reached the quarter finals at Wimbledon in 2011 but he did not live up to his huge talent since then.

When you hear that he loses a match against Jarkko Nieminen in 28 minutes, I don’t even see it’s possible to lose a match in 28 minutes. It’s impossible to lose that fast and it’s a shame. He can turn it around but it’s got to be now”, said Philippoussis

Grigor Dimitrov by Fabrizio Maccani

Grigor Dimitrov by Fabrizio Maccani

Wimbledon 2014 also confirmed the huge prospects of Grigor Dimitrov and Milos Raonic. Dimitrov has continued his impressive period of form of 2014 in which he collected titles on all surfaces in Acapulco (hard-court), Bucharest (clay) and Queen’s (grass) and reached the semifinals in Rome and at Wimbledon.

At the All England Club Dimitrov showed that he fully deserves his reputation as the heir of Roger Federer when he upset defending champion and local hero Andy Murray playing great tennis in the quarter final. He pushed hard Novak Djokovic in four hard-fought sets but he was knocked out by the Serb with 6-4 3-6 7-6 7-6 in the semifinal where the young Bulgarian squandered three consecutive set points in the tie-break of the fourth set. The merit of this outstanding breakthrough goes to his coach Roger Rasheed who has contributed to his outstanding year in which he has moved to World Number 9 and has a good chance to qualify for the ATP World Finals in London for the first time in his career.

Milos Raonic by Art Seitz

Milos Raonic by Art Seitz

Milos Raonic has also made outstanding breakthrough this year thanks to the advice of former World Number 3 Ivan Ljubicic and Riccardo Piatti. He reached the semifinals in Rome and Wimbledon and the quarter finals at the Roland Garros. He beat only a seed Kei Nishikori to reach the quarter final where he beat Nadal’s conqueror Kyrgios. The young Canadian was beaten by Roger Federer in the semifinal. Thanks to these results he has reached the World Number 6.

Eugenie Bouchard by Art Seitz

Eugenie Bouchard by Art Seitz

Last but not least, we have a look at the new generation of women who made a major breakthrough this season and confirmed this reputation at Wimbledon. The most prominent rising star is young Canadian Eugenie Bouchard, who has reached at least the semifinal in all three Grand Slam tournaments this year. Eugenie played an outstanding Wimbledon semifinal in which she did not drop a set in the whole tournament until the final where she lost against Wimbledon queen Petra Kvitova 6-3 6-0 in just 55 minutes. She beat two top-10 Angelique Kerber and World Number 3 and Roland Garros finalist Simona Halep in the semifinal. She showed the potential to win her first Grand Slam crown after winning Wimbledon at junior level in 2011. After Wimbledon she has broken the top-10 for the first time in his career reaching the World Number 7 spot for the first time in her young career.

Bouchard received a strong support of British tennis fans during the tournament. “I don’t know if I deserve all your love today during the final I lost against Kvitova but I really appreciate it”, said Bouchard.

Among her fans there was Princess and namesake Eugenie (the daughter of the Duke and the Duchess of York) who attended the women’s final in the Royal Box.

I am very happy that she came out. Unfortunately I could not put on a better show for her”, said Bouchard

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Diego Schwartzman Receives Threats On Social Media Following Shock Davis Cup Defeat

The world No.15 is the latest player to speak out about recieving abusive messages on social media.

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The weekend has been an emotional rollercoaster for Diego Schwartzman, who suffered ‘one of the worst’ losses of his career before helping secure victory for his country in their Davis Cup tie against Belarus.

 

On Saturday the world No.15 was stunned by unranked 18-year-old Daniil Ostapenkov who is yet to play a professional match on the pro Tour. Ostapenkov is currently ranked 63 in the world on the junior circuit. The comprehensive victory shocked the Argentinian team who was hosting the tie at the Buenos Aires Lawn Tennis Club.

Despite the shock upset, Schwartman managed to redeem himself the following day when he defeated Alexander Zgirovsky 6-1, 6-2. That victory handed his country an unassailable 3-1 lead in their tie and secured their place in the 2022 Davis Cup qualifiers which will take place next March.

Not only playing Davis, but in Buenos Aires, with a lot of people you don’t see, it’s not easy. My level can be and has to be much better. After the game on Saturday I had a difficult day in the spirit of being able to get up and enjoy with the group,” La Nacion quoted Schwartzman as saying.
“The most normal thing was that we won the series. It’s what everyone expected. But when you have a very difficult day at work like it was on Saturday and then you win, it excites you because you have some internal things withheld.”

Between those two matches, Schwartzman revealed that he was trolled on social media by some people unhappy about his loss in the tie. The 2020 French Open semi-finalist said he received criticism and even threats from some asking him to leave his home country. Something he admits affected him at times.

“It was one of the worst days of my career,” Schwartzman commented on his loss to Zgirovsky. “I lost to an unranked, inexperienced player. All that already affects (me) a lot. Although 80 or 90 percent of the people are always encouraging (me), there was a minority who criticized me with bad intentions.’
“I received threats, insults and requests not to return to Argentina. More or less, it affects (me)”.

Schwartzman is not the first player to speak out about online abuse. During the US Open Shelby Rogers said she was expecting to receive ‘death threats’ following her loss to Emma Raducanu who went on to win the title. Sloane Stephens has also previously spoken out about being the victim of racism online.

The 29-year-old says he has previously tried to interact with those who have trolled him on social media to find out why they are doing so.

Sometimes I start to answer some messages and I ask those people if they realize what they are sending,” Schwartzman said during his press conference. “The vast majority apologize and say they had not realized it. But at the moment it hurts. That very ill-intentioned criticism is the only bad thing about social networks.”

Schwartzman has won four ATP titles and earned more than $10M in prize money so far in his career.

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Spanish Veteran Feliciano Lopez Addresses Future On The Tour

23 years after he played his first main draw match on the ATP Tour, Lopez says his longevity in the sport has been achieved with the help of of some luck.

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Feliciano Lopez of Spain is pictured during the semi-final of ATP Fever-Tree Championships tennis tournament at Queen's Club in west London on June 20, 2019.

Feliciano Lopez has dismissed any speculation that he could retire in the coming weeks after saying he is taking life on the Tour in his stride.

 

The 39-year-old Spaniard is currently the second oldest player in the world’s top 200 after Roger Federer, who is a year older than him. Lopez made his ATP Tour debut at the 1998 Barcelona Open which was before the birth of Jannik Sinner and Carlos Alcaraz. In June he became the 10th active player to record his 500th win on the Tour.

Currently ranked 111th in the world, some are starting to wonder how much longer Lopez will continue playing. So far this season he has achieved a win-loss record of 9-19 with his best performance being a run to the quarter-finals of the Mallorca Open which was held on the grass. It was in Mallorca where he defeated Karen Khachanov who is the only top 30 player he has beaten so far in 2021.

I play year-by-year, the last 6-7 years have been like this, a tennis player at that age cannot think about extending his career. After turning 30 I have been lucky, I have obtained the best results of my career,” Lopez told reporters on Friday.
It is not very common for players my age, at (almost) 40 years to continue playing in the best tournaments.” He added.

Throughout his career, Lopez has impressively played in a record 78 consecutive Grand Slam tournaments dating back to the 2002 French Open. During that period he has reached the quarter-finals of a major tournament on four occasions.

“I don’t play to break records, what makes me most excited is to continue playing Grand Slams. For me, maintaining that record (78 consecutive Grand Slams played) is very nice, but more to follow. Being competitive,” he commented on the milestone.
“It is difficult for someone to overcome it because it is 20 years in a row without missing a great one. I have had continuity and enormous luck. Those of my generation are practically all retired.”

Away from the court, the former world No.12 is the current tournament director of the Madrid Open. Making him one of a few players historically to both be playing on the Tour and managing a tournament at the same time. Recently it was confirmed that Madrid will continue hosting it’s combined event until at least 2030 following a renewed agreement between the city council and the Madrid trophy promotion.

Lopez has won a total of seven ATP titles so far in his career and has earned more than $18M in prize money.

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ATP Moves Closer To Staging Five More 12-Day Masters 1000 Events After Board Approval

Changes are coming to the men’s Tour which includes a brand new ‘profit-sharing formular’ for players.

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Masters tournaments in North America, Europe and Asia are set to be expanded over the coming months after the ATP Board recently approved some ‘key aspects’ of their strategic plan.

 

In a letter issued to players, ATP chairman Andrea Gaudenzi said an agreement has been reached concerning a variety of topics, which include the expansion of various Masters 1000 events. It is understood that the plan is for Rome, Madrid, Canada, Cincinnati and Shanghai to be increased to 12-day events instead of just one week. Putting them more in line with Indian Wells and Miami. Tennis.com reports that under the new structure, ATP 250 events will also take place during the second week of those tournaments and they could receive a subsidy from the ATP Tour, provided by extra fees paid by the Masters tournaments.

Masters 1000 events are the third highest-ranked category events in men’s tennis after Grand Slams and the ATP Finals in terms of prize money and ranking points on offer. The series was first introduced back in 1990 but it wasn’t until 2009 that the name ‘Masters 1000’ was born. The number represents how many ranking points the winner receives.

Besides the proposed changes to the Masters series, the Board has also given a green light to “a new Profit-Sharing formula” and “long-term prize money levels.” The prize money increase is reportedly said to be 2.5 percent of a base level, plus a bonus pool with a 50 percent share of the collective profit of the Masters events.

“This represents significant progress for our sport and the way our player and tournament members operate under the equal partnership of the ATP Tour. It is only through the spirit of this partnership, transparency, and alignment of interests that we can truly maximise your potential and switch our focus to the competition we face in the border sports and entertainment landscape,” Gaudenzi wrote in his letter to players.

Part of the plan also include making changes to ATP Media, who are in charge of broadcasting the events. At present it is currently jointly owned by the Tour and each of the Masters 1000 events. However, in the future it has been proposed that those tournaments trade in their ownership rights for shares in ATP media. Exact details about this process have not been publicly disclosed and it is unclear if all of the tournaments would agree to such a move.

The ATP also wants to create a ‘Tennis Data Innovations’ which will be an independent entity.

All of these proposed changes are still subject to further agreement around additional matters. The ATP have been working on details of their strategic plan for the past 18 months.

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