TENNIS US OPEN – Our Giulio Gasparin has selected the best quotes from Day 12 of US Open at Flushing Meadows. Words from men’s semifinalists.
Saturday 6th September could be remembered for a long time in the history of tennis, as for the first time since Australian Open 2005, none of the “big three” advanced to the final stage of a Slam tournament.
Kei Nishikori upset world number one Novak Djokovic and, later in the day, Croat Marin Cilic took down Roger Federer in straight sets 6-3, 6-4, 6-4.
“Just for the performance today from, I mean, first point to the last, I was absolutely playing the best tennis of my life,” said the Croat. “Considering the huge occasion I was playing in, I mean, for the second time in a semifinals of a Grand Slam, it just can’t be more special.
“Considering also that, you know, even I was a set up and break up, you know, the crowd was rooting for Roger to come back. You know, it wasn’t easy to deal with that, but I felt that my serve helped me a lot today.”
Following his ban for a controversial case of doping in 2013, Cilic came back this year showing probably the best tennis of his life.
“I felt that very similar to the Berdych match,” he added. “I adjusted pretty well to the wind and to the conditions we were playing in.
“It was a different game from different ends. With one end it was wind in the back, so it was a bit easier to play from that side. Most of my breaks I made from that end.”
He also gave credits to this surprising result to the first “normal man” to win a slam in this moment of big champions.
“Well, it’s a bit of a changeup year considering all the past years that these top four guys were making to the final,” he said. “Wawrinka opened the doors for us from the “second” line, and I think most of the guys have now bigger belief that they can do it on the Grand Slams.”
The Swiss champion could not but prize his opponent and did not look for any excuse for his loss.
“It’s fairly simple: I think Marin played great,” he said. “I maybe didn’t catch my best day, but I think that was pretty much it in a nutshell.
“I was feeling good, you know. I was feeling fine. I just think if I could have stayed longer with him in the first set, you know, I felt like there was a proper match going on.
“But I think him playing with the lead he played with, you know, no fear and just full-out confidence, which clearly everybody at this point sort of has in the semis of a slam.
“I think he served great when he had to.”
He also gave his opinion about this change in depth that seems to be happening also in men’s tennis.
“I think it’s exciting for the game, you know, to have different faces from time to time,” he commentated. “At the same time, I think people still enjoy seeing the guys they have seen for a while or often in the big matches. But I think it’s definitely refreshing to some extent.
“Everybody who gets to this stage of this kind of a competition deserves to be there because they have put in the work and they hoped for the break, and this is it for both of them. I hope they can play a good final.”
The Japanese player showed to be in the form of his life, physically, as he survived another long match in his semi-final as he passed past Djokovic 6-4, 1-6, 7-6, 6-3.
“I think that two days — last couple of days helped so much,” he said. “You know, it wasn’t easy playing two five sets and four hours’ match.
“It was even tough for me to play today. Especially third and fourth I couldn’t really put effort for every game. But I tried to concentrate with those important points. Especially last game, you know, I tried to get more energy and tried to concentrate again.”
He is a new face in such stages of a slam, but Nishikori had always showed great skills in the past.
“I was ready to play, you know, these kind of players always,” he said. “Especially this year I have been playing really well. I went to final in Masters once and, you know, I have been beating those top guys already.
“But I knew I was a little bit nervous, getting nervous, you know, first time semis here. But I think the confidence helped for today’s match.”
It was definitely an upset for the world number not to be able to play one more final in New York, but he gave full credits to his opponent.
“It was not easy to play in these conditions,” he admitted. “But also he had more hours spent on the court. So it’s no excuse.
“He played some great tennis. I congratulate him for the effort. He was the better player today.”
To the question about what changed in his opponent’s game to make him so competitive these past two weeks, he said: “I think he wasn’t using forehand as well as he does now.
“His backhand is very solid. One of the best double-handed backhands from all over the court. Really aggressive. He’s very quick, so he gets a lot of balls back. Uses every short ball to attack. I think now he’s all-around player.”
On Monday, we will have a new slam and US Open winner, the second first timer of this 2014.
Injury-Hit Borna Coric Reacts To First Grand Slam Win In 16 Months
The Croat admits he was unsure how his shoulder would hold up in his opening match at Roland Garros.
Borna Coric said he is relieved that his body managed to hold up during his opening win at the French Open on Sunday.
The former world No.12 spent almost three hours on the court before defeating Spain’s Carlos Taberner 3-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-1, in what was his first Grand Slam match of any kind since the 2021 Australian Open. Paris is only the seventh tournament Coric has played in since returning to the Tour following a year-long absence due to shoulder surgery. The 25-year-old is yet to win back-to-back matches this season.
“It does feel great. I didn’t know what to expect in terms of my shoulder because I’ve never been in the fourth set, fifth set (of a match) for one-and-a-half years,” said Coric.
“So it was also kind of worrying for me, I didn’t know what to expect, I didn’t know how I’m going to feel and how my whole body is going to behave in those later sets. Obviously I’ve been practicing it, but it’s really never the same.”
Impressively the Croat produced a total of 54 winners against 39 unforced errors in his latest match in the French capital. Furthermore, he won 76% of his first service points and 53% of his second.
“The last few weeks haven’t been very easy, I lost many tight matches. I mean, I was also quite happy with my tennis, but I was just losing,” he reflected.
Coric was once tipped to be the future of men’s tennis after rising quickly up the ranks at a young age. In 2014 he was the youngest player to end the season in the top 100 and a year last he was the youngest to do so in the top 50. He has recorded a total of nine wins over top five players, including Roger Federer, as well as winning two Tour titles.
In the second round at Roland Garros Coric will take on the formidable Grigor Dimitrov who has been ranked as high as third in the world. He will enter the clash as the underdog given his ongoing comeback from injury. At present Coric’s principal focus is on his body but that will change in the coming weeks.
“Until Wimbledon my health needs to come first and after Wimbledon I can kind of try to switch in my mind so I can start playing more and more tournaments. I can train more and I can focus more on the tennis rather than on my shoulder,” he explains.
Coric has reached the third round of the French Open on four previous occasions.
Roger Federer’s Team8 Considering Bid To Buy Cincinnati Masters Rights From USTA
The potential move has gained support from one former world No.1 player who says ‘it is nice to see responsible names’ in the mix to buy the prestigious event.
It is understood that sports and entertainment company Team8 which was co-founded by Roger Federer is looking into potentially submitting an application for ownership of the Cincinnati Masters, according to two sources.
Sports business publication Sportico and Steve Weissman from The Tennis Channel have both reported that the business is among a number of interested parties who want to buy the event that is best known as the Western and Southern Open. In February this year it was confirmed that the USTA is selling their 93.8% stake in the tournament for a ‘nine-figure sum.’ It is understood that the organization doesn’t want the event to be relocated from Cincinnati in part of any deal.
“The USTA’s Board of Directors believes now is the right time to explore potential strategic options and alternatives in order to optimize the long-term growth of the tournament and take the tournament to the next level,” the USTA said in a statement published by tennis.com.
The USTA brought the rights to the men’s event back in 2009 for $12.5M and has since spent an additional $65M. Whilst Cincinnati is a combined tournament, the ongoing negotiations only apply to the men’s section. The women’s tournament is overseen by Octagon management.
Neither Federer or a member of Team8 have commented on the reported plans. The company was founded by the 20-time Grand Slam champion and his agent Tony Godsick back in 2013. Since then they have been involved in the creation of the Laver Cup, became a ‘major investor’ in the Universal Tennis system and are a ‘strategic investor and partner’ to On Running.
Should Team8 become the new owners, questions may arise about conflicts of interest with Federer still being an active player on Tour. The 40-year-old is currently sidelined from action due to a knee injury but is aiming to stage a comeback at the Swiss Open later this year. However, former world No.1 Andy Roddick has given his full backing to the possible takeover.
“In the world of tennis, where conflicts of interest know no bounds at all, Roger can do this. He has, obviously, been a great steward for the game and has created an incredible relationship with the fans in the city of Cincinnati. You’d like to see it stay in the tennis family with someone who actually knows and loves our sport.” Roddick told The Tennis Channel.
Federer has won the Cincinnati Masters a record seven times in his career.
Daniil Medvedev ‘Happy To Play Wimbledon’ If Ban Is Lifted
The world No.2 says he is willing to speak with other players about the situation ahead of his return to action following surgery.
Daniil Medvedev says he is still hopeful that he might be able to play at this year’s Wimbledon Championships should officials at The All England Club decide to change their stance.
At present the reigning US Open champion will not be allowed to play at the grass court major due to his nationality. Officials at the Grand Slam have confirmed that Russian and Belarussian players have been banned from the event due to the war in Ukraine. Ian Hewitt, who is the chairman of The AELTC, said the action was taken in order to prevent ‘the propaganda machine of the Russian regime’ from potentially benefiting from their players’ success.
The ban is a controversial move for the sport which until now had a united approach when it came to allowing those players participate in tournaments but only as neutral athletes. Former Wimbledon champions Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokopvic and Andy Murray have all expressed some degree of opposition to the decision. Meanwhile, the ATP and WTA are considering the possibility of removing the allocation of ranking points at the event.
Speaking about the ban ahead of this week’s Geneva Open, Medvedev acknowledges that it is a ‘tricky situation’ but is still hopeful that a u-turn could occur which would allow him to play. The 26-year-old has made four main draw appearances at Wimbledon with his best result being a run to the fourth round last year.
“There has been a lot of talk around it. I just tried to follow what’s happening because I don’t have any decisions to make. It’s right now about Wimbledon itself, the ATP, maybe the British government is involved,” news agency AFP quoted Medvedev as telling reporters in Switzerland.
“It’s a tricky situation and like every situation in life, you ask 100 players, everybody’s going to give a different opinion.
“I can play: I’m going to be happy to play in Wimbledon. I love this tournament.
“I cannot play: well, I’m going to try to play other tournaments and prepare well for next year if I have the chance to play.”
The former world No.1 has been among a group of Russian players who have previously called for peace in the region. Although none of them have gone as far as publicly condemning the actions of their government. Something which has drawn criticism from Ukraine’s Elina Svitoliva.
“I had some time to follow what is happening, yeah, it’s very upsetting,” Medvedev commented on the war.
Geneva will be the first event Medvedev has played in since reaching the quarter-finals of the Miami Open. He took time away from the Tour to undergo hernia surgery but has confirmed he intends to play at next week’s French Open despite his lack of match play on the clay.
During his time at those events, the tennis star says he is more than happy to speak with other players about the Wimbledon ban should they want to.
“Since I haven’t been on the tour, I haven’t talked to any of them face to face. It was the first time when I came here on Saturday when I can talk to players, and if they start talking about this, we can discuss,” he said.
“I don’t know exactly what’s happening, what’s going to happen, if there are going to be more decisions made.
“Same about Wimbledon. I don’t know if this decision is 100 percent, and it’s over.”
Granted a bye in the first round, Medvedev will start his Geneva campaign against either Richard Gasquet or John Millman.
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