TENNIS – Roger Federer has enjoyed an impressive 2014 season in which he clinched four titles compared to just one win in 2013. Although he has not won any Grand Slam titles Federer has moved up to World Number 2 in the ATP Ranking overtaking Rafa Nadal. The year is far from over for Federer who has still a chance to end the 2014 season in first place. Diego Sampaolo
What a year for Roger Federer! The Swiss Maestro ended 2013 in eighth place after a difficult year ruined by a back injury in which he won just one trophy in his favourite venue of Halle and he secured his spot for the ATP Finals only in the last qualifying tournament. After the 2014 Australian Open he fell to World Number 8, his lowest ranking since 2002. This year he won four tournaments in Dubai, Halle and two consecutive Master 1000 titles in Cincinnati and Shanghai. He lost an epic Wimbledon final against Novak Djokovic with 7-6, 4-6, 6-7, 7-5, 4-6 in the fifth set in the best match of 2014. He also reached the semifinal at the Australian Open (where he lost to Rafa Nadal after beating Jo Wilfred Tsonga and Andy Murray) and the at the US Open (where he lost to eventual winner Marin Cilic) and played three Master 1000 finals finals at Indian Wells (losing to Novak Djokovic), Monte-Carlo (where he was defeated by his compatriot Novak Djokovic) and in Toronto (losing to Jo Wilfred Tsonga). Federer also contributed to the historic achievement of the Swiss team who has reached the Davis Cup final for the first time since 1992. Switzerland will meet France in the much-awaited Davis Cup final on Indoor clay under the roof of the football stadium Pierre Mauroy in Lille from 21st to 23rd November. Federer is the player who has more match wins than anybody else on the circuit (61 victories), has more wins against top-10 players (13) and more finals (9).
“I am playing a solid, consistent season. It was about winning titles this season because last year I only got one, which was disappointing. The biggest concern this year was to remain healthy. That’s something I am so pleased about, to see how the hard work I put in last year is paying off. I am waking up normally. I am not half-broken like I was last year. I am playing the way I was hoping I could play again”, said Federer.
His Swedish coach Stefan Edberg has played a key role in Federer’s great season by contributing to his aggressive and attacking game. He showed the benefits of this tactic in the Shanghai semifinal last Saturday where he beat Novak Djokovic with a double 6-4 putting an end to Djokovic’s winning streak of match wins on Chinese soil. In the re-match of the Wimbledon final Federer approached the net 35 times and won 20 points at the net.
Although Federer has not won any Grand Slam tournaments this year, he has still some chances to end the year in first place in the ATP Ranking as can add points to his ranking. Djokovic is leading in the ATP Ranking by 2430 points over Federer with 9080 points.
Federer has three tournaments in his home city Basel, Paris Bercy and the ATP Finals in London plus the Davis Cup Final. He will defend 300 finalist points in Basel, 360 semifinalist points in Paris and 400 points in London where he lost in 2013 in the semifinal against Nadal. There is a question mark on Paris Bercy as Federer may the last Master 1000 Tournament of the year to have a week of rest to prepare the Davis Cup final in Lille where he will be looking to win one of the few trophies missing from his cabinet. The Davis Cup could add extra 225 points to Federer’s ranking.
On the contrary Novak Djokovic will have to defend his 2013 titles in Paris and London. However, Djokovic and his wife Jelena are expecting their first child in November and this could change Novak’s schedule in the final part of the year. The Serbian player, winner in Indian Wells, Miami, Rome, Wimbledon and Beijing this year, is currently leading the ATP Race to London by 990 points (9010 to 8020 points). Federer has always performed brilliantly on the fast European Indoor courts and has a good chance to make up further ground.
Federer could become the oldest Number 1 player since André Agassi. He could also become the third player to end the year in Number 1 position without winning a Grand Slam title after Jimmy Connors in 1975 and 1977 and John McEnroe in 1982.
“I think this year everything is going really well. I have still many highlights to lool forward to for the end of the year. Usually everything slows down at the end of the season. Not for me this time. What does it need for Number 1 ? I am not quite sure that I need to look into that, how realistic it is or not. It is in Novak’s racquet. Nevertheless I am still going to be playing well again”, said Federer
Filip Krajinovic To Skip Australian Open If Required To Quarantine For More Than Five Days
The world No.34 says he ‘sees no reason’ why vaccinated players should have to go through a long quarentine in Australia.
The second highest-ranked Serbian player in men’s tennis says it would be ‘unacceptable’ for organisers of the Australian Open to require players to quarantine for more than a week if they have been fully vaccinated.
Filip Krajinovic has become the first player to publicly state that they will not be prepared to travel to Melbourne at the end of this season if they have to go through strict quarantine measures once again. All the players who participated in this year’s Australian Open were required to be quarantined in a designated hotel for 14 days upon arrival in the country. During their stay they were allowed to use training facilities but that was the only time they could leave the premises unless there was an emergency.
There is no final decision regarding the travel requirements for the 2022 tournament but there are concerns that unvaccinated players may not be allowed to enter the country. The Victorian government recently issued a mandate ordering all essential workers to be vaccinated, including athletes. However, the regional government will not have the final say concerning tennis players arriving in the country with the national government being the ones in charge of that decision.
“They are very rigorous there and honestly, if I have to be in quarantine for 14 days after arriving in Melbourne, I will not go to Australia,” Krajinovic told Serbian newspaper Blic.
“I was vaccinated, I did everything in my power to protect myself and the people around me, so I really see no reason to sit there for 14 days in a room.’
“If they (the organisers) say that after arrival I need, say, five days to be in isolation, that’s OK for me, but anything beyond that is unacceptable to me. With the season ending late, I will have 20 days to get ready and go. Charter flights will be organized again and the last one is planned for December 28 for the players and that is the final date when I can go to Australia. I will see what the final decision from Melbourne will be, so I will cut what is the best thing to do.”
Earlier this week Victoria’s Sports minister Martin Pakula urged players to be vaccinated because it give them ‘the best opportunity to play in the Australian Open.’ It is expected that if unvaccinated players are allowed to attend, they will be subjected to stricter restrictions. This might include a longer quarantine period upon arrival and limitations of where they can go during their stay.
“Last year, all of those players had to do their 14 days of quarantine. Right now there looks like there will be different rules for people who enter this country who are vaccinated as against unvaccinated and I don’t think the tennis will be any exception to that.” Pakula told the Sports Entertainment Network (SEN).
“In terms of what rules apply for people to enter Australia, whether unvaccinated people are allowed in at all, I don’t the answer to that yet. That’s going to be the subject of discussion at national cabinet and among the federal cabinet … those rules are not set by state governments.” He added.
Krajinovic is currently ranked 34th in the world and has a win-loss record this season of 18-18. At the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells he reached the second round before falling in straight sets to Daniil Medvedev. His best run so far this year was at the Hamburg Open where he reached the final.
“When we look at the whole of 2021, I played one final, one semifinal, there were good victories, but also worse results,” the 29-year-old commented.
Krajinovic is currently without a coach but is currently in ‘negotiations’ with somebody without elaborating further about who that person is.
Alexander Zverev Secures Place In ATP Finals With Indian Wells Win
Zverev will be seeking to win the season-ending extravaganza for the second time in his career.
Germany’s Alexander Zverev has become the fourth player to officially qualify for the ATP Finals after reaching the third round of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.
The world No.4 defeated America’s Jenson Brooksby 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, in his second round match on Sunday which pushed him over the points threshold to secure his spot in the end-of-season event. It is the fifth year in a row he has qualified for the ATP Finals which he won back in 2018. He is one of only three German players to ever win the title after Boris Becker and Michael Stich.
This year’s tournament will take place in Turin, Italy for the first time in history after being held at The O2 Arena in London for more than a decade. Only the eight highest ranked players are eligible to play in the round-robin tournament which has on offer up to 1500 rankings points for an undefeated champion.
“My first time in Turin. I’ve been to London four times before. London is obviously very special to me because I won there, as well. I think the stadium is incredible, one of the most special events that we had,” Zverev told reporters on Sunday.
“But I also love playing in Italy. I had great success in Italy. I won my first Masters in Rome. I’m looking forward to being there. I’m looking forward to playing in front of the Italian fans. It’s going to be a great week.”
The 24-year-old approaches the final quarter of this season with four titles already won this year. He has won two Masters 1000 trophies, an ATP 500 event in Mexico and a gold medal in singles at the Tokyo Olympic Games. Zverev, who has recorded seven wins over top 10 players, also reached the semi-finals at both the French Open and US Open.
Zverev joins Novak Djokovic, Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas as the players who have qualified for the ATP Finals so far. It is the third straight season the quartet has qualified for the event.
This year’s ATP Finals will get underway on November 14th. Medvedev is the defending champion.
Denis Shapovalov Advances After Pospisil Retires In Indian Wells
The battle of the two Canadians didn’t go as planned…
Vasek Pospisil faced off against his fellow Canadian Denis Shapovalov in the second round of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells and it was the world number 13 who got the win after the Vernon native pulled out due to an injury whilst trailing 0-3.
It was a rough start for Pospisil who seemed to struggle with his serve in the opening game of the match and double-faulted twice in a row to give the early break and Shapovalov had no issues consolidating the break.
Shapovalov continued to apply pressure on the Pospisil serve and after saving two breakpoints the world number 68 pulled up after a serve and stopped play, calling for the trainer. He ended up taking a medical timeout off the court and a couple of minutes later returned to court. Pospisil was broken once again and the following game after a couple of returns decided to call it quits.
” It was pretty awful…and if I’m being honest I am shaking a bit…It really sucks I hope it’s nothing serious…He’s a great guy he’s a real warrior he’s fought back from some injuries surgeries to such a great level.” Shapovalov said of his compatriot.
Shapovalov will face 19th seed Aslan Karatsev in the next round after the Russian thrashed Salvatore Caruso 6-2, 6-0.
In the other results of the day sixth seeed Casper Ruud dominated Roberto Carballes Baena 6-1, 6-2, Roberto Bautista Agut beat the Argentine Guido Pella 7-5, 6-3 and Sebastien Korda won an all American battle with Frances Tiafoe 6-0, 6-4.
Finally, Diego Schwartzman needed three sets to beat another American in Maxime Cressy winning 6-2, 3-6, 7-5.
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Marin Cilic overcomes Damir Dzumhur at the Kremlin Cup in Moscow
Andrey Rublev defends his title at the Kremlin Cup in Moscow
Jannik Sinner leads the line-up in Antwerp
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