ATP Champions Tour: Ivanisevic wins, McEnroe steals the show - UBITENNIS
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ATP Champions Tour: Ivanisevic wins, McEnroe steals the show

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TENNIS ATP CHAMPIONS TOUR – Goran Ivanisevic beat Ivan Lendl in the final of the “Grande Sfida”, the Italian leg of the ATP Champions Tour held on two days of fantastic tennis in Genoa and Milan in front of enthusiastic crowd who came in great numbers to cheer four legends. John McEnroe beat Michael Chang 6-3 6-3 in the final for third and fourth place stealing the show when he entertained the crowd with some spectacular shots. From Milan, Diego Sampaolo

 

The ATP Champions Tour made its return to Italy after six years and it lived up to the expectations of the fans who filled the 105 Stadium in Genoa on Friday evening and the Assago Forum in Milan creating a magic atmosphere. The two days attracted a total of 13000 spectators. Even the four stars John McEnroe, Ivan Lendl, Goran Ivanisevic and Michael Chang were surprised by the huge support from the crowd. The first evening at the 105 Stadium in Genoa attracted 5000 enthusiastic spectators on an emotional evening which followed a tragic week in which the city was hit by a devastating flood.

On Friday Ivanisevic, Wimbledon champion in 2001, beat McEnroe 6-2 7-6 (7-5) in the first semifinal. In this match the Croatian player showed his powerful serve, his favourite weapon which made him the second player in the world. Ivan Lendl won in straight sets over Michael Chang in a “re-match” of the famous fourth round clash of the 1989 Roland Garros where the then 17-year-old Chang won a epic five-set match and went on to clinch his first Grand Slam title beating Stefan Edberg in the final.

McEnroe was the most cheered player by the 8500 spectators who packed the Assago Forum during the presentation of the four players before the matches. “Super Mac” showed some spectacular shots which made him so famous in the Eighties when he won seven Grand Slams and 77 ATP titles. After a very long sixth and spectacular game in which McEnroe saved a break point at 2-3, the 55-year-old player broke serve in the seventh game for 4-3 with a fantastic forehand passing shot en route to winning the first set. McEnroe got another break in the fourth game of the second set to take a 3-1 lead before holding serve in the next game. He wrapped up the match with 6-3.

In the final for first and second place Lendl went to the lead with 4-3 in the first set but Ivanisevic won five consecutive games en route to leading 6-4 2-0 at the start of the second set with a series of big serves and took control of the match and clinched the second set with 6-4. Forty-three year-old Ivanisevic is still able to hit his serves at 220 km/h !

The four stars received the awards from Italian tennis Ambassadors Nicola Pietrangeli and Lea Pericoli during the award ceremony.

Apart from the results the Grande Sfida was a huge success with many families and children in the stands to support the four legends.

Goran Ivanisevic by Diego Sampaolo

Goran Ivanisevic by Diego Sampaolo

“I was surprised to see so many people this weekend in Genoa and Milan. There were more spectators today than in 1997 when I beat Sergi Bruguera in the ATP Tournament in Milan! People have missed tennis for a long time. It was really special to play in front of such amazing crowd. I have a special relationship to Italy and Milan. I love going shopping and I enjoy Italian food. The surface was very fast. I could have played at the same level with Marin Cilic for one set on this fast court. The win at Wimbledon in 2001 has changed my life. I could have won more Grand Slams but I am proud of my career”, said Ivanisevic.

McEnroe returned to Milan after so many years but he was still the most popular player among spectators who admired him when then they were children in the Eighties.

John McEnroe by Diego Sampaolo

John McEnroe by Diego Sampaolo

“I have made a lot of history in Milan. It’s great to be back. The crowd was fantastic. They made me feel special. I am old and grey but it was a special weekend for me. I have a lot of good memories in Italy. I played here against Bjorn Borg and Vitas Gerulaitis in 1978 during some exhibition matches. I love the food. This city is one of the best places where I have been playing for a long time. I definitely want to come back. It’s pretty good to be loved by young people.”

The US tennis legend paid tribute to his big rival Ivan Lendl during the post-match press conference for his decision to leave his native city Ostrava and become US citizen. “Ivan took a tough decision to walk away from his family and live in the USA. I give credit to him”, said McEnroe.

Lendl also made his return to Milan where he played at the start of his career at the Bonfiglio and Avvenire Tournaments. He won three editions of the Milan Indoor Tournament.

“A lot of people watched me and John when they were kids and they still want to watch us.I played so many times in Milan and I enjoyed to come back here. I played my first ever five-set match at the Bonfiglio Tournament”

Asked what he felt playing for the USA and not for his native Czechoslovakia, Lendl said: “I have the double citizenship. There are so many people who live in a different place from where they were born. I still enjoy going back to my native town and to recognize the place where I was used to practice at the start of my career”, said Lendl

Chang remembered his past years as professional player and talked about his life after the end of his career during the post match press conference.

“I was part of a special generation of players like Pete Sampras and André Agassi. I had the opportunity to play with different generations and I am looking forward to have more opportunities to play tennis. I got married to a wonderful wife in 2008. I have two beautiful girls. I also work with my Foundation”, said Chang

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Juan Martin Del Potro Splits From Coach

The tennis star has announced a big change to his team.

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Former US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro is on the hunt for a new coach after agreeing to end his collaboration with Sebastian Prieto to continue focus on his rehabilitation from injury.

 

Del Potro has been working alongside Prieto since 2017 and achieved a series of career milestones under his guidance. Including winning his maiden Masters 1000 title at the 2018 BNP Paribas Open and reaching a ranking high of third in August that same year. Their decision has been made to allow Prieto to focus all of his attention on Juan Londero. Another Argentine player who is currently ranked 62nd in the world.

“I want to share that I have agreed with Sebastian Prieto to end our partnership, so that he can work with Juan Londero, while I continue my rehab process,” Del Potro said on Twitter.
“I’m very thankful to Piper for all of these years together. He is a great coach and even a better person. All the best!”

45-year-old Prieto is a former ATP player who peaked at a ranking high of 22nd in the doubles. During his career, he won 10 Tour titles with all of those occurring on the clay. He also reached the quarter-finals of the men’s doubles tournament at the 2003 French Open.

It is currently unknown as to who will be taking over as Del Potro’s new coach. The former grand slam champion hasn’t played a competitive match since last June due to a serious knee injury. At the Fever-Tree Championships in London, he fractured his right kneecap and was forced to undergo surgery to repair it. The second time he had to undergo that procedure within as many years after also suffering a similar injury at the 2018 Shanghai Rolex Masters.

Del Potro is currently undergoing rehabilitation and it is unclear as to when he will be able to return to the Tour again. All professional tennis tournaments have been either suspended or cancelled until at least July 31st due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although both the US Open and French Open are hoping to go ahead as planned.

So far in his career, the 31-year-old has won 22 ATP titles and earned almost $26 million in prize money. Earning more money than any other player from his country in the history of the sport.

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Novak Djokovic On Why He Didn’t Post Details Of Lockdown Training

The Serbian tennis star has shed some light on his recent training routines as he outlines plans for a Balkan tennis tour.

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World No.1 Novak Djokovic has been training almost daily since the world of tennis came to a halt due to the COVID-19 pandemic but opted to keep his activities out of the limelight to avoid any potential backlash from fellow players.

 

The ATP Tour has been suspended since March due to the Pandemic with officials hoping to restart the sport in some capacity during the summer ahead of the US Open. Nevertheless Djokovic, who started 2020 by winning 18 matches in a row, has been able to continue practicing in Marbella. He and his family were staying in a house located next to a tennis court.

Speaking with Serbian reports on Monday, the 17-time grand slam champion admitted that he didn’t want to ‘anger’ others by posting updates on social media of him training. Showing that he has been able to stay active more than other players during the lockdown.

“I had the opportunity to train almost every day during coronavirus because we stayed in a house next to a tennis court. I played a lot of tennis on a hard surface, but I didn’t upload anything on the net so as not to anger other players,” he told The Telegraf.
“I started recently on clay, I had two training sessions here, I feel good physically. I was quite active, I followed my program. Of course, the intensity decreases because I was not preparing for tournaments.”

https://twitter.com/DavisCup/status/1264885745916968960

With uncertainty surrounding when the Tour may start again, numerous countries have created their own domestic tournaments. In Djokovic’s case, he is the founder of his own event that will be played across the Balkan region. The Adria Tour is set to take place between June and July with three top 20 players set to participate. Besides Djokovic, Alexander Zverev and Grigor Dimitrov are also taking part.

“I started the whole idea of ​​the project and I communicate every day with TSS (Serbian Tennis Federation) and the company that organizes all this,” said Djokovic.
“The current international competitions, ITF and ATP will not happen before the first of August, and even that is uncertain. Afterwards, I will have time again if things resume on a hard surface in America, because I will have a month to prepare for the continuation of the season.”

Should it all go to plan, the clay-court tournament is set to be played in Belgrade (Serbia), Zadar (Croatia), Montenegro and Banja Luka (Bosnia and Herzegovina). Although it has been confirmed that the locations of the Bosnian and Montenegrin events are still not fully confirmed with the possibility of Sarajevo hosting one leg of the tour. Sarajevo hosted the 1984 Winter Olympics.

Prior to the Tour suspension, Djokovic was unbeaten in 2020. He started the season by winning three consecutive titles at the ATP Cup, Australian Open and Dubai Tennis Championships. Those triumphs enabled him to earn prize money of $4,410,541. He also earned just over $70,000 from playing doubles so far this year.

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Nikoloz Basilashvili Domestic Abuse Case: Extraordinary Claims Emerge From Both Sides

One journalist says she has ‘inside knowledge’ that the tennis pro has a history of domestic abuse, but his family has issued a statement claiming the accuser has a record of making false allegations.

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On what has been a dramatic day for tennis star Nikoloz Basilashvili, his family has now issued a statement in which they have made a series of allegations against his ex-wife.

 

The world No.27 was arrested on May 22nd over allegations that he ‘physically attacked’ Neli Dorokashvili during a confrontation on the outskirts of Tbilisi. Prosecutors have launched charges against him under the article ‘Domestic violence in the presence of a minor against a member of his family.’ Officials have confirmed that the alleged incident took part in front of their son.

After his initial hearing on Sunday, Basilashvili denied any wrongdoing and paid for a bail. His lawyer, Irma Tchkadua, has said that there is ‘no evidence’ in this case. However The Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia is demanding a pre-trial detention of the 28-year-old.

In a new twist to the case, Basilashvili’s family has now issued a statement to news agency IPN in which they have accused Dorokashvili of deliberately making false allegations. Claiming she has made similar claims in the past in order to damage the reputation of the tennis star. Revealing that Basilashvili’s mother, Natalia, have previously faced child abuse accusations.

“We want to respond to the allegations made against Nikoloz and our family today,” the statement begins.
“First of all, we want to apologize to the fans for the false allegations. We declare with full responsibility that the information about violence is not true and there is no evidence that would prove any violent action.’
“It is not happening for the first time that Neli Dorokashvili, Nikoloz’s ex-wife, is trying to inflict moral, financial and reputation damage on Nikoloz and his family’
“After the divorce, Neli Dorokashvili sued Nikoloz Basilashvili’s mother about child abuse. The court considered the complaint and acquitted Basilashvili’s mother.”

Touching on the incident that is alleged to have taken place, the Basilashvili family has said that Dorokashvili broke into the property and tried to start a fight. However, the family statement didn’t address reports that Nodar Basilashvili, who introduced his son to tennis at the age of five, was issued with a restraining order.

“As for the May 21 incident, Neli Dorokashvili broke into the property of the parents of Nikoloz Basilashvili without permission, where she deliberately tried to provoke a conflict. Nevertheless, there was no any violent action against her, not even an attempt. Fortunately, there is evidence for this and the court will consider it on July 16, 2020,” the family insists.
“The trial continues. We believe that Nikoloz will prove his innocence very soon.”

The claims made by a journalist

Despite the calls to dismiss the case, one Georgian journalist has made an extraordinary claim in which she said that Basilashvili has a history of domestic abuse. Magda Kldiashvili, who is the former editor-in-chief of goal.ge, has claimed that the two have been separated for some time and there was a contract drawn up in which he has to pay his ex-wife 100,000 Georgian Lari per month. Their contract is said to be kept confidential according to the journalist. Furthermore, Kldiashvili claims the argument between the two started when Dorokashvili asked for her monthly payment to be increased from 100,000 to 300,000 Lari.

“I have behind-the-scenes information that Nikoloz Basilashvili has been abusing his wife for many years and they have been separated for many years,newsreport.ge quoted Kldiashvili as writing on Facebook.
“Neli Dorokashvili had a formal contract with her husband, according to which Basilashvili paid her one hundred thousand GEL every month. Basilashvili saw the child with the permission of a social worker and rarely!”

‘It might have been an axe’

The Recorder is one of the first news outlets to obtain a testimony from Dorokashvili herself on the incident. Contradicting a comment previously made by Kldiashvili, she said she has no idea as to why the alleged confrontation occurred. Although she claims that she was chased after by Basilashvili’s father Nodar who was holding what she ‘thought was an axe’ but is unsure.

“The reason for the controversy is still unclear to me, I just went to fetch my son,” Kldiashvili told The Recorder.
“An examination (investigation) has been conducted and is still ongoing. I was not expecting (him) to be released on bail.’
“At my sight, when I visited my son, I don’t know what happened, he (Nodar) was drunk or what he needed, I don’t know, he and his son chased me with some weapons.”
I can’t confirm what it was, because it had some big tarry, I think it was an axe.” She later added.

It is important to note that all three statements have not been verified and the police investigation is ongoing. The Public Defender of Georgia, Nino Lomjaria, is examining the case.

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