US Open 2014 – Roger Federer: “It almost never happened to me that they would take me off before it started raining, but it was the right decision” - UBITENNIS
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US Open 2014 – Roger Federer: “It almost never happened to me that they would take me off before it started raining, but it was the right decision”

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TENNIS US OPEN – 31st of August 2014. R. Federer d. M. Granollers 4-6, 6-1, 6-1, 6-1. An interview with Roger Federer

Q. With the stoppage for the weather, did the conditions changing help you that much, or did you just have enough time to reset yourself?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I definitely I guess played better after that. But then again, the first seven games all happened very quickly. I think the biggest difference was the wind. It was quite windy when we got out. When we came back, basically it was gone. It also felt quite different because the wind has that effect of air-conditioning a little bit for the players; whereas when it’s not windy you really feel the humidity and the heat. So I think that was a big change. The court might have played a little bit slower because of it cooling off from the rain. And for me personally, I just tried to play solid, you know, figure things out a little bit, because he did come out and play really aggressive. He served well. He was doing a lot of things really well. It was just, for me, going to be one of those things to like weather the storm and see if he could maintain that level of play or not and if I could lift my game up and see how that matched up. I think overall it worked out great at the end.

Q. When is the last time you played in a stadium that empty?

ROGER FEDERER: I don’t know. I don’t remember. Could have been like not long ago, but I don’t know. At that point you’re not really concerned if there’s five people in the stadium or 20,000. Really it’s about getting back into the match. I thought it all worked out well at the end for fans, TV, us as well. It was a bit different feeling, but it was nice the way it filled up quickly. It was natural. There wasn’t ever any interruption. I think it was quite smooth actually.

Q. What did you know ahead of time before the match in terms of what they expected with the weather?

ROGER FEDERER: The second time around?

Q. The first time. What did they tell you?

ROGER FEDERER: What did they say? I saw on the radar 50% chance of rain. The sky totally changed, so you go figure something was going to come. I didn’t think they would take us off the court at 5-2. It almost never happened to me that they would take me off before it started raining, but it was the right decision. Did they say there was going to be more rain coming later on?

Q. Yes.

ROGER FEDERER: They said we had an hour to play, one and a half maybe, when we went on the second time around, which also has an effect on you mentally. You’re like, Where is it? It feels like a shadow over you. I don’t want to say you play fast, because Granollers doesn’t take much time, I don’t take much time, so I think it was perfect anyway for everybody that we did speed it up.

Q. After the rain delay there were some moments in that match where you were moving at a very high level. When you analyze your longevity, your 60th major, your movement, how those things tie together…

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, it’s been good for a while now. I think especially now it’s been really excellent the last three matches here at the US Open. I feel very explosive, quick. Like you say, the coordination is there, as well. I feel like I’ve gotten used to the hard courts by now. It’s really working well. I’m very pleased. Today conditions were much more humid so you could feel a little flat out there, but that wasn’t the case. I was able to power through that. Yeah, I mean, I’m happy I wake up every day and I’m ready to go. It’s also great to see Robredo fit like a fiddle at the end last night. I thought that was impressive, too. He’s my age, too. I think when you keep yourself in shape and train the right way, that’s how you do it. Then actually it’s not such a surprise for yourself. But I’m clearly happy about it because it’s become a game of movement. If you don’t move very well you can’t dig out a few shots. It’s just not going to work out in the long run.

Q. You come into the tournament with a title win and a slam final. How do you think the Roger Federer of this year would fare against the Federer of 2004 through 2007?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, I hope I’m a better player today. Geez, so much time has gone by and I’ve practiced so hard over the years that I feel I have more power on my serve. I volley better now, I guess. I’ve gotten to understand, you know, so many things over those years. But the thing back then is I was so unbelievably confident. I was coming through stretches where I wouldn’t lose against top 10 players. I wouldn’t lose finals. That I did for such a long time, I didn’t remember losing — how it happened or how it would work. I had an unbelievable winner mentality. Not that I don’t have it today, but I haven’t won as much as I did back then. I think that could make a difference. Otherwise I’m very pleased with how things are going this year.

Q. A little while ago you said you would have loved to play against Borg’s backhand. Is there a forehand that you would love to play against? Laver? Borg? Becker? Courier? And also a volley and return.

ROGER FEDERER: I mean, I think the forehand — which forehand? Like Jim Courier’s or someone like that, you know, who is really very dominant on the one side. Like Ferdinando González or James Blake, where when he went there, they had to go for something because they didn’t want to hit a backhand anymore. I guess Jim was part of that. Lendl’s maybe. Volleys, I guess the old school, like all the guys in the ’60s and ’70s; clearly Stefan’s. I was lucky enough to play Pete and Rafter, which were very interesting volley players. And Henman. I enjoyed playing against them.

Q. And return?

ROGER FEDERER: Return? Yeah, I think playing Agassi and Rafa and Novak, it’s like very different in its own way, but I think that was always very interesting.

Q. On CBS John McEnroe said that Paganini deserves a medal for getting you through 60 Grand Slams. Do you agree with him? How much has it helped to have one man that has been with you through all that time getting you ready physically?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, he’s not in the limelight. He doesn’t show up much at tournaments, only from time to time. So the hard work gets done away from the tennis tournaments really. There’s only so much you can do during. There’s a lot of maintenance going on. We’ve worked together for a long time. We really got to know each other from 14 to 16, then not 16 to 19 because he left the Federation. Then I started with him again I think at 19 or 20 years old until now. He’s been a great man in my corner. Yeah, I mean, clearly we’ve worked unbelievably hard and I think in the right way, as well, to keep me injury-free. The great thing with him is we have always very open talks about anything. Especially with him and Severin and my wife. Basically we can talk about a one-year schedule within about 20 minutes so we can all get it done very quickly because we know each other so well. We know what we want to achieve. We know how much I need to train to achieve certain things. I think last year was particularly challenging for both of us with the back problems I had. Where do we go now? Are we allowed? What can we do? I think we were all training with the hand brake on and it wasn’t very enjoyable. He would always ask me, How does this feel? Is this dangerous for you? We just felt this was not the way to go, so we had to figure things out. I’m happy we did so. And the record continues, so I’m very happy about it.

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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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