ATP Toronto – Feliciano Lopez: “I was lucky I went for the shots in that long game when I faced nine break points” - UBITENNIS
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ATP Toronto – Feliciano Lopez: “I was lucky I went for the shots in that long game when I faced nine break points”

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TENNIS ATP TORONTO – 8th of August 2014. F. Lopez d. M. Raonic 6-4, 6-7, 6-3. An interview with Feliciano Lopez

 

Q. Can you talk a little bit about the match, especially about your net play? It was very clean and very effective. Is that one of your favorite approaches during matches like this?

FELICIANO LOPEZ: Well, the match was very close. I got a break in the first set. He didn’t serve that good in that game, so I got the break, I won the set.

The second set was very close, to be honest. I didn’t face any break points in the second set, and we went to the tiebreak and I think he played a little bit better than me.

I hit a couple of mistakes, one double fault, easy volley, and then this point where I fell down when I was facing a set point down, so it was very difficult for me to come back after losing the set, because I thought that I might, you know, play a little bit better in the tiebreak.

I was lucky I went for the shots in that long game when I faced nine break points, and the end, somehow I made another break.

I think he was thinking still about the game I held my serve. I think that’s probably something what he was thinking at that moment.

 

Q. With Milos Raonic basically playing on home territory, obviously there was an elevated crowd presence behind him. Did you feel that was an extra obstacle you had to overcome?

FELICIANO LOPEZ: Yeah, of course. The crowd was very excited. They were fair, I have to say, but noisy.

When the match was close at the end I was feeling the pressure. When I was missing my first serve they were yelling a little bit more than normal, but this is tennis and we are playing in Canada and I totally understand, no? It’s normal, no?

If we would have played in Madrid it would be the same with me (smiling).

 

Q. How important was something like a Davis Cup experience? We have seen a couple of players who struggled against a big crowd this week.

FELICIANO LOPEZ: Yeah, it’s important. I’m 32 years old, and I have played in, you know, a couple matches like this and Davis Cup or playing at home in Madrid.

And, yeah, it’s good to have played at least few more times in a good atmosphere like this where you feel the pressure and when you know that the crowd is going to be excited, when you know the match is going to be tight.

But in the other way it’s fun to play like this. I mean, these matches, you always dream to play them. And, yeah, this is a great match to play, I have to say.

 

Q. What was your game plan going in? Did you want to attack his backhand?

FELICIANO LOPEZ: My game plan basically is to be aggressive. This is the way I have to play every player.

I mean, with Milos I have to be aggressive, because if not, he’s going to dominate. But I have been doing this game the whole week and it was working perfectly. So for me there was no reason to change playing Milos today.

 

Q. Milos was visibly frustrated at times. When you’re on the other side of the net, what’s it like when your opponent kind of vents after making an error?

FELICIANO LOPEZ: I think the match was, you know, very close. We have been through difficult situations during the match where you feel tight, when you’re nervous.

I was feeling the same, and I think he was also feeling, no? Because these matches, they go by one, two, three points, and, yeah, you feel the opponent getting tight, but he’s feeling that you’re also tight, no?

So at the end, as I said before, it’s two, three points. I was really lucky that I finally saved this game. And then two mistakes, one break, and that’s it.

This is tennis. In these kind of courts, in situations where both players are very aggressive, both players are serving great, you know, it’s like this.

 

Q. You seemed to gesture to your camp after the match after you had shaken hands. Is there a story behind that? Is there something that happened this week, in particular? You pointed over to your camp, like thanks, after the match.

FELICIANO LOPEZ: No, no, because this week my coach is not here, and he’s coming to Cincinnati next week. I’m bringing over one friend from Spain, and I just want to thank him because he left the family for two weeks in Spain, and he was very, you know, kind to accept the offer to come with me to Washington and here in Toronto, so I just wanted to think of him.

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Roger Federer Eyeing Olympic Glory At The Age Of 39 In 2021

The Swiss tennis star isn’t ready to step away from the sport just yet.

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20-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer has vowed to play at next year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo after undergoing two surgeries on his knee.

 

The former world No.1 hasn’t played a competitive match since his semi-final loss to Novak Djokovic at the Australian Open in January. Since then he had twice undergone arthroscopic surgeries which is a minimally invasive procedure that is used to diagnose and treat problems with the joints. Federer announced shortly after having the procedure done for a second time that he will not be returning to the Tour again this year.

Despite the setbacks, the 38-year-old has vowed to return to action at the start of 2021 with Olympic glory one of his main targets. He is already a two-time Olympic medallist after winning gold in the men’s doubles back in 2008 followed by silver in the singles draw at the 2012 London Games.

“My goal is to play Tokyo 2021. It’s a wonderful city. I met my wife in my first Olympics in 2000. It’s a special event for me,” Federer said on Monday during the launch of ‘The Roger’ shoe with Swiss brand ON.
“I had two surgeries and I can’t hit at the moment, but I’m very confident I will be totally ready for 2021.
“I do miss playing in front of the fans, no doubt. Now, I think if tennis comes back we know it won’t be in a normal way where we can have full crowds yet.”

Federer will be 39 when he returns to action, but is yet to speculate as to when he may close the curtain on his record-breaking career. He is currently the second oldest man in the top 200 on the ATP Tour after Croatia’s Ivo Karlovic, who is 41.

Besides the Olympics, the Swiss Maestro is also setting his eye on Wimbledon where he has claimed the men’s title a record eight times. However, he hasn’t won a major title since the 2018 Australian Open. The Grass-court major has been cancelled this year for the first time since 1945 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Of course I miss Wimbledon, of course I would like to be there currently playing on Centre Court for a place in the second week,” he said.
“Clearly, one of my big goals, and that’s why I do recovery work every day and work so hard, and why I’m preparing for a 20-week physical preparation block this year, is because I hope to play at Wimbledon next year.”

Even though he is not playing for the rest of the year, Federer incredibly still has a chance of qualifying for the ATP Finals due to recent changes in the rankings calculations. Due to the pandemic, players are now allowed to use their best results at 18 tournaments based on a 22-month period instead of 12 months. Something that could enable him to remain inside the top eight until the end of 2020 depending on how his rivals fair.

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Next Gen Star Alexei Popyrin Fears He May Be Forced To Play US Open Despite Health Concerns

Like many other lower ranked players on the Tour, the 20-year-old finds himself in a tough situation.

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One of Australia’s rising stars has said he is worried that he may have to play at the US Open against his will or risk losing a chunk of ranking points.

 

Alexei Popryin has raised his concerns about travelling to the New York major in August amid a surge of COVID-19 cases in some areas of the country. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention there were 52,228 New Cases of the virus on July 5th compared to 24 hours before. Furthermore, the governor of New York recently announced that people travelling from 16 different states in America are now required to self-quarantine for 14 days if they visit the city. According to USA Today this ruling applies to roughly 48% of the entire American population.

Despite the concerns, the organisers of the US Open have insisted they will be able to hold the tournament in a safe manner and will be implementing various restrictions. Including holding the event without fans for the first time and conducting frequent testing of players. However world No.103 Popryin admits that he still has his concerns about attending.

“There are talks regarding the US Open but I really don’t want to go with the situation in America right now,” Popyrin said at the Ultimate Tennis Showdown over the weekend.
“But we have to see if we would be forced to go because of ranking points.
“If the ranking points won’t be frozen, then most of us would be forced to go play cause our ranking will drop and we wouldn’t have any say in it.
“But if the rankings are frozen, then I am staying here.
“I will stay in Europe where it’s safe with my family.”

Popryin has a considerable amount of points to defend in New York after reaching the third round there last year. Therefore, if he skips the event he faces dropping further down the rankings. Something which will then impact on his chances of entering the bigger tournaments later in the year. Usually the cut off for Grand Slam tournaments is around 105.

It is still to be announced as to what will happen with the ranking points system at the US Open and if there will be any adjustments made due to the pandemic. Although organisers will likely be against any idea to remove them from the event as it is a key factor to attract players to take part.

Another player to voice their concerns about the US Open is France’s Benoit Paire, who has said he would not attend the event if it was taking place today. Speaking to RMC Sport the world No.22 said he would rather not go to the event if he meant that he would be ‘taking a risk’ with his health.

“Going to the United States would be at risk of catching it. I am a great professional and I am one of those who would always like to play tennis, but your health is the most important thing,” he said.
“If going there is taking the risk of catching the disease and staying quarantined when I return, I prefer not to go, really.’
“It looks like if we play the US Open, we will have to sacrifice not to play the Mutua Madrid Open or the Masters 1000 in Rome.”

Meanwhile, world No.3 Dominic Thiem recently told Austrian media that he believes a final decision regarding the Grand Slam will be made within a week. Something that is yet to be confirmed by officials.

Should it go ahead, the US Open will start on August 31st.

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REPORT: Former Spanish Tennis Star In Talks To Coach Alexander Zverev

A former world No.3 could be returning to the Tour later this year in a new position.

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Tennis sensation Alexander Zverev could soon be mentored by somebody whose career he ended last year at the Madrid Open.

 

Spanish newspaper Marca have reported that the world No.7 is set to enter in a 15-day trial with former French Open finalist David Ferrer where the two will get to know each other better. Ferrer has reportedly travelled to Monte Carlo to start working alongside Germany’s top player. Should everything go well, the two could start a formal partnership in September ahead of the European clay-court swing of the Tour, which has been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Both men are already fairly familiar with each other after facing off nine times on the ATP Tour, including three times last year. Zverev was the last player Ferrer played against at the Madrid Open before officially retiring from the sport at the age of 37.

“He’s the most respectful guy for me on Tour, and one of the most loved people on the Tour as well,” Zverev told reporters in the Spanish capital following their match.

Whilst never winning a Grand Slam, Ferrer achieved numerous accolades throughout his career. Including spending 4914 consecutive days in the world’s top 50, winning 27 ATP titles and achieving a ranking high of No.3 back in 2013. Overall, he has played 1011 matches on the ATP Tour (including Grand Slams) which is more than John McEnroe.

Should Ferrer receive the green light, Zverev will be the first high-profile player he will be responsible for. The Spaniard had previously hinted at his desire to enter coaching with his long time objective being to captain the Spanish Davis Cup team. He is also currently serving as the tournament director of the Barcelona Open.

“I would be very proud to be able to be (Davis Cup captain),” Ferrer told Marca in April 2019. “I also understand that this is very far away and there are players who are ahead. First, I have to train as a professional in teaching (coaching).”

Neither Ferrer or Zverev has publicly commented on the report. At present Zverev is coached on the Tour by his father who guided him to the semi-finals of the Australian Open in January.

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