ATP Cincinnati – Roger Federer: “Like at Wimbledon I got off a flier and sort of never looked back” - UBITENNIS
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ATP Cincinnati – Roger Federer: “Like at Wimbledon I got off a flier and sort of never looked back”

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TENNIS ATP CINCINNATI – 16th of August 2014. R. Federer d. M. Raonic 6-2, 6-3. An interview with Roger Federer

 

Q. How tough was it to get ready? Looked like the match may be over a solid hour and a half before it ended. How tough was it to follow that, especially when you’re not expecting that?

ROGER FEDERER: You know, at 6 2, 4 Love, we still said, This can still turn, and it did.

What do you do? You kind of wait around. You hop around. We’re used to it. Rain delays and all that. That’s what tennis players are ready for.

For other sports who know exactly on that day, that hour it all happens with no interruption, it’s different. You really gear into that.

But as a tennis player you know that these things can happen. Obviously worse case scenario would’ve been if things had gone longer and rain came and because of that we couldn’t have finished. That wouldn’t be good for anybody, but that’s also what happens and you’ve got to deal with it.

Milos and me were both hanging around in the gym just hanging around really. Keep yourself active I guess I would say, because you never know if in the beginning of the third if somebody retires as well. You’re on the standby.

Q. Were you watching or just keeping a sense of what the score was?

ROGER FEDERER: No, it was on. We have like ten TVs at the gym and they were all running. There is no escaping that match, you know. (Smiling.)

Q. What do you feel like was the biggest difference tonight for you to get the win?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I mean, I think the start was big again. Like at Wimbledon I got off a flier and sort of never looked back.

I think I returned well in patches. I would return really well one game and not for three games and then return well again.

I feel like because of that it matched up really well with how he was serving. I think because of maybe the problems I’ve caused him in the past he was pushing a bit too much on the serve or felt like he had to do something special.

That’s exactly what you want your opponent to feel. I was playing my pace. I was calm. I knew what I wanted to do, and when I did it, it worked well.

I think he had chances in the second set. It was close, and he was returning better and just getting into those rallies he was looking for. So I think it was crucial, that break I did get at 4 3 when he saved a couple.

So that was big, because otherwise maybe I am stuck in a breaker and then you never know.

Q. This is your second Masters 1000 final in a row. Just want to get your thoughts. Last week it was you and a bunch of guys, and this week it’s you and a bunch of different guys. Andy, Novak, and Rafa are sort of not currently that stage. Do you have any thoughts on do you miss them? Do you think about it at all? Or you just doing your thing?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, clearly I think we’re all interested to see what the decision is going to be about Rafa for the Open. I think that would be a bit of a letdown for the Open, for the tournament. The tournament is big in itself. It can cope with those kind of things, but clearly be more exciting having him around.

Novak clearly was surprising to see his losses.

I think Murray is getting back to where he wants to be.

Then there is always a bunch of good guys right behind them. Ferrer this week, Tsonga last week. Somebody inevitably has to win the tournament and somebody is going to have a run. That’s the beauty of it really. Never a dull moment in tennis.

The rankings keep changing and you got to keep defending your points. Rafa is losing a bunch of points now just by not playing. It’s a brutal ranking system, but it creates lot have entertainment and also news I think at the same time. So I think it’s really good.

But clearly the focus is more just trying to manage a tough schedule. I’ve played an a lot of tennis the last couple of weeks now. Got to be like ten matches in thirteen days or something with a day of travel. So it’s a lot and there is a lot on the line.

You can pick up a lot of points and win titles. That’s what I play for now. I really want to win the one tomorrow, so clearly the focus has been more on me making the transition from grass to the hard courts and then managing fatigue.

In the beginning I had a lot of muscle pain in Toronto last week from playing tough matches on the hard courts again. My body felt that.

Now I feel better than I have in ten days. That’s really encouraging, even though I played a lot of tennis now. Really hope I got one more good match here tomorrow and then I can rest next week.

Q. Does it feel like it’s been two years since you won a Masters title?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, yeah, because last year was a bit of a lost year, I guess. I don’t know if I was even in the finals of one. Maybe in Rome against Rafa. Maybe. I don’t remember. Then I came close in Paris and all that.

But, yeah, so, I mean, the problem last year was like just at one point I did get injured in the first Masters 1000. I did play Indian Wells where I might have had chances. I had Rafa in my quarter. That was always going to be tough.

That’s when things started to unravel for me. The thing is I was missing 10% or more, and knew it I was going to struggle against the best. If you struggle against the best you’re not going to win Masters 1000s, because those are the guys you’ll run into from quarters on. That’s why it was no surprise I didn’t win one last year.

Q. Would it be a significant milestone, sort of coming full circle to last year’s injury to lift one of these?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I love Cincinnati. It’s been my most successful Masters 1000, I guess. It would be great winning one more. Plus, I think I’ve lost three this year already, so it’s about time I win this one right now.

ATP

‘He Did Everything I did, Only Better’ – Pat Rafter Names The Toughest Rival Of His Career

The two-time grand slam champion opens up about his toughest rivalry as he predicts a bleak outlook for the 2020 tennis season.

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Former world No.1 Pat Rafter has named an American tennis legend as the player who he struggled the most against throughout his professional career.

 

The 47-year-old was a star of Australian tennis during his playing days after achieving a series of milestones. His accolades include becoming the first player from his country in 28 years to reach the top of the ATP rankings in 1999 and becoming the first man to win the Rogers Cup, Cincinnati Masters and US Open within the same year. Rafter is also the last player outside of the Big Three to have won back-to-back US Open titles after triumphing in 1997 and 1998.

Despite his successes, there was one player that caused him difficulty. Rafter played Pete Sampras 16 times on the ATP Tour, but could only win four of those encounters. At one stage he lost to the 14-time grand slam champion eight times in a row.

“The toughest player I played against was definitely Pete Sampras – he did everything I did, only better.” Rafter told Eurosport.
“His record was the best so there’s no doubt about it Sampras the stand-out. I enjoyed playing Andre Agassi the most – I thought we had a really good battle, I really enjoyed playing him.”

The rivalry between the two was tense at times. Highlighted best by their encounter in the 1998 US Open semifinals. Sampras complained of a quadriceps injury following his loss to the Australian. Prompting Rafter to famously say ‘he’s becoming a bit of a crybaby.’ A few months before that comment, he admitted that his relationship with the American wasn’t solid by saying ‘We’re not the best of mates. I wouldn’t go out for a beer with him, put it that way.’

22 years on from the verbal exchange between the two, Rafter now describes it as a thing of the past. Insisting that his rival never took what he said to him ‘personally.’

“I can’t remember the exact words, but we had a run-in in Cincinnati one year – I probably told him to grow up.” He recounted.
“He cracked it when I beat him one time. But that was back in the old days, emotions were running high and don’t take it personally. It’s all good.”

No tennis in 2020

Besides reminiscing about his playing career with Eurosport, Rafter has also predicted a bleak outlook for this year’s tour. All professional tournaments have been suspended until July 13th due to the Covid-19 pandemic. For the first time since 1945 Wimbledon has been cancelled due to the situation.

Many are now speculating as to when it will be possible for the tour to resume. The US Open is still optimistic that they can hold their tournament as scheduled later this summer. Meanwhile, the French Open is set to be played during the later part of September. However, Rafter doubts that either of those tournaments will happen.

“No, I think this (the virus) is going to be around for a long time.” Rafter commented on the chances of the 2020 season resuming. “Until they get a vaccine I can’t see how anyone is going to be playing.’
“Personally, I think it’ll be like the flu and we’ll have to get used to it.”

Potentially one solution for the tournaments would be to host matches without spectators. In order to minimise the risk of the virus spreading. An approach that has already been taken by other sports such as football. However, Wimbledon refused to consider that option this year.

“I think they could. No spectators. Sure. No ball-boys – I’d love to see the players pick up the balls themselves!” he concluded.

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‘Don’t Be Afraid’ – Nick Kyrgios Offers Support To Those Struggling During Covid-19 Pandemic

The bad boy of tennis says he will support those in need by delivering essential supplies.

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Former top 20 player Nick Kyrgios has urged members of the public to reach out to him if they require any help during the covid-19 pandemic in a social media post.

 

The two-time grand slam quarter-finalist has offered to deliver food to those who are struggling during the current crises, which has suspended the ATP and WTA Tours until at least July. It is estimated by economists that more than 500,000 people in Kyrgios’ home country of Australia will lose their jobs due to the outbreak. There have been more than one million cases of the coronavirus worldwide with many countries currently placed in a lockdown in a bid to halt the spread of the virus.

‘If ANYONE is not working/not getting an income and runs out of food, or times are just tough… please don’t go to sleep with an empty stomach,’ Kyrgios wrote on Instagram.
‘Don’t be afraid or embarrassed to send me a private message. I will be more than happy to share whatever I have.
‘Even just for a box of noodles, a loaf of bread or some milk. I will drop it off at your doorstep, no questions asked.’

In Australia there have been 5687 cases of Coronavirus as of Sunday which has resulted in 34 deaths. This is according to figures provided by chief medical officer Professor Brendan Murphy.

It is not the first time Kyrgios has offered to support those in need. Earlier this year he was an instrumental figure in helping raising money for the Australian bushfire appeal. Donating AUS$200 for every ace produced during the first month of the season and participating in a series of exhibition matches. According to 7 News, Kyrgios raised in the region of AUS$100,000 for the bushfire fund.

Kyrgios is currently ranked 40th in the world and has won six out of his nine matches played earlier this season. At the Australian Open he reached the fourth round before falling in four sets to Rafael Nadal.

 

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Diego Schwartzman On Playing The Big Three And Who He Believes Is The Best

The top-20 player pays tribute to the three tennis legends as he cast his vote in the greatest of all time debate.

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When it comes to taking on the Big Three in tennis, Diego Schwartzman is perhaps one of the best players to provide an insight into how frustrating it can be.

 

The Argentine world No.13 has played a member of the illustrious trio no less than 18 times in his career, but is yet to gain a single victory to his name. Consisting of Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, the big three have dominated men’s tennis in recent years. Between them, they have won the last 13 grand slams and at least one of them has featured in 58 out of the past 60 major finals. Since February 2004, Andy Murray is the only player outside of the group to have held the No.1 position.

Schwzrtman’s record against the big guns has seen him lose to Nadal nine times as well as succumbing to both Djokovic and Federer on four occasions. Nevertheless, the three-time grand slam quarter-finalist isn’t bitter as he hails their achievements in the sport.

“Against Nadal you always come in hope of giving him a fight on any day and on any surface, but you quickly realize that it is almost impossible to defeat him.” Schwartzman said during an Instagram live chat with journalist Danny Miche.
“Djokovic makes me feel that in the second game of service I no longer have lungs. It’s unbelievable.’
“Federer gives you more air (time), but you don’t seem to know how to play tennis. It’s amazing how he hits the ball.’
“The three are unbelievable, in different ways.”

There is also the ongoing debate as to who should be named the greatest of all time. Each player has their own credentials. Federer currently has the all-time lead for most grand slam titles at 20. Nadal has won more ATP tournaments on the clay than any other player in history. Meanwhile, current world No.1 Djokovic has won more prize money in the sport than any other player – male or female.

Weighing on the debate, Schwartzman has given the edge to Djokovic. Prior to the suspension of the tour due to covid-19, Djokovic started 2020 by winning 18 matches in a row. Claiming titles at the ATP Cup, Australian Open and Dubai Tennis Championships.

“At his best, Djokovic has beaten Rafael Nadal many times on the clay and Roger Federer many times on the grass. So maybe I would say that he is slightly above the other two.” He explained.
“Let’s see if you can reach the records, now it was packed and saw that pace being broken. But Djokovic knows that he has to keep the level, because if he doesn’t win he will win the other two.”

Schwartzman started the year by winning nine out of 14 matches played. His best performance of the season so far took place on home territory when he reached the final of the Cordoba Open before losing to Christian Garin.

The Big Three head-to-head

Djokovic

Nadal

Federer

Djokovic

N/A

29-26

27-23

Nadal

26-29

N/A

24-16

Federer

23-27

16-26

N/A

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