Can Federer become world number 1 again? - UBITENNIS
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Can Federer become world number 1 again?

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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

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Playing Clay Events After Wimbledon Was A Mistake, Says Diego Schwartzman

The former French Open semi-finalist is seeking to win his first title since March 2021 at the Tel Aviv Open this week.

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Diego Schwartzman (Roberto Dell'Olivo)

Diego Schwartzman will likely reevaluate his schedule for next year after admitting that part of his plans for this summer backfired. 

 

The world No.17 enters into the final quarter of the season with 31 wins against 22 losses on the Tour but is yet to win a title. Although he did reach back-to-back finals back in February in Argentina and Brazil. He has won two out of eight matches against top 10 opposition, defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas at the ATP Cup and Felix Auger-Aliassime in Barcelona. 

Reflecting on his performance, Schwartzman admits that his decision to return to European clay after playing at Wimbledon was a mistake. He lost his second match in Gstaad to Pablo Carreno Busta and then his first in Hamburg to Emil Ruusuvori. 

“It’s difficult to play at the same level every tournament, I’ve made a bad decision playing clay tournaments after Wimbledon, I didn’t have time to rest,” he said during his pre-tournament press conference at the Tel Aviv Open. “I paid the price and had some bad losses. But I started to feel much better in USA hard court season, lost to Stefanos Tsitsipas who reached the final in Cincinnati and to Frances Tiafoe at the US Open. Now I am feeling very good, I really love playing indoor tournaments.”

The 30-year-old has headed straight to Tel Aviv from the Laver Cup where Roger Federer played the last match of his career. Despite Schwartzman’s Team World winning the title for the first time, his only contribution to the tie saw him lose 6-1, 6-2, to Tsitsipas. 

Retirement was very much the topic of conversation during the Laver Cup with others such as Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic questioned by reporters about their plans in the sport. As for Schwartzman, he stayed coy about how much longer he would continue playing after saying in the past he might stop at the age of 33. 

“33 — is a good age to retire, isn’t it? South Americans are in different situations compared to European players. We travel too much, and sometimes we are not coming back home for 2-3 months, while Europeans can fly home every week. It’s tough,” he said. 
“As for Roger — he’s a special player, I think he is just the greatest in our sport.”

The Argentine is seeded third this week in Israel and will begin his campaign against Arthur Rinderknech who defeated qualifier Marius Copil in his opening match. 

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Laver Cup Daily Preview: Team Europe Goes for a Fifth Straight Laver Cup

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The lineup for Day 3 (twitter.com/lavercup)

Heading into Day 3, the 2022 Laver Cup is feeling extremely familiar.  Team Europe has an 8-4 advantage, and only needs two wins on Sunday to secure their fifth consecutive Laver Cup.  Team World needs to win three matches to pull off the upset and obtain their first. 

 

Sunday’s play gets underway in London at 12:00pm local time.  And each match on Sunday is worth three points.


Matteo Berrettini and Andy Murray (Team Europe) vs. Felix Auger-Aliassime and Jack Sock (Team World) – 12:00pm

Berrettini was victorious in both singles and doubles on Saturday, defeating Auger-Aliassime in singles, and teaming with Djokovic to overcome Sock and de Minaur in doubles.  So Matteo gained victories over both of his Sunday opponents on Saturday.  Murray lost to de Minaur in singles on Friday.  Andy and Jack are the most accomplished doubles players in this match, as Sock is pretty much Team World’s doubles specialist.  If he and Felix cannot pull of the victory on Sunday, it could be a pretty short day.


Novak Djokovic (Team Europe) vs. Felix Auger-Aliassime (Team World)

Like Berrettini, Djokovic won in singles and doubles on Saturday, comfortably dispatching of Tiafoe in singles.  While it was his first match in over two months, Novak showed no rust whatsoever.  Auger-Aliassime’s loss to Berrettini on Saturday will not help his confidence against the 21-time Major champion.

Novak and Felix have only played once before, and that occurred four months ago in Rome on clay.  It was a pretty tight affair, but Djokovic prevailed 7-5, 7-6(1).  And there’s not much evidence to support a different outcome on Sunday.  Novak is surely eager to re-assert his authority after missing so much of this season due to his vaccination status.


Stefanos Tsitsipas (Team Europe) vs. Frances Tiafoe (Team World) – If Necessary

Tsitsipas easily beat Diego Schwartzman on Friday, dropping just three games.  He is 3-2 against Tiafoe, and 3-1 on hard courts.  However, Frances claimed their most recent encounter, last fall in Vienna, which was also on an indoor hard court.


Casper Ruud (Team Europe) vs. Taylor Fritz (Team World) – If Necessary

Ruud defeated Sock on Friday, while Fritz defeated Norrie on Saturday.  If this match takes place, it will be their first career meeting.


The full Laver Cup schedule is here.

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Laver Cup Daily Preview: Novak Djokovic to Play Singles and Doubles on Saturday

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The lineup for Day 2 (twitter.com/lavercup)

In the wake of Roger Federer’s incredibly emotional retirement on Day 1, the focus of this event shifts to the rest of the competitors on Day 2.  And for the first time in the five-year history of the Laver Cup, Team World goes into Day 2 without a deficit.  With both Federer and Rafael Nadal replaced by alternates for Day 2 and Day 3, is this Team World’s opportunity to capture their first Laver Cup? 

 

Each day, this preview will look at all four scheduled matches, while taking an extended look at the most notable match of the day.  Saturday’s day session gets underway in London at 1:00pm local time, and the night session at 7:00pm.  And each match on Saturday is worth two points.


Matteo Berrettini (Team Europe) vs. Felix Auger-Aliassime (Team World) – 1:00pm

These two good friends have played four times, with Berrettini winning on three of those occasions.  Matteo’s wins came three years ago in the final of Stuttgart on grass, in the quarterfinals of last year’s Wimbledon, and a year ago in this event.  Auger-Aliassime’s only win occurred last summer in Cincinnati.  Matteo is coming off a quarterfinal run in New York, as well as three victories last week in Davis Cup.  Felix was upset in the second round of the US Open by Jack Draper, and went 2-1 in Davis Cup.


Cameron Norrie (Team Europe) vs. Taylor Fritz (Team World) – Second in the Day Session

Norrie was also an alternate in last year’s Laver Cup, but did not play.  Fritz was a part of Team World in 2019, when he went 1-1 in singles, defeating Dominic Thiem during Sunday’s play in a must-win match to keep his team alive.  Cam is now 45-22 on the year, while Fritz is 36-17.  Both men achieved their best-ever Major performances two months ago at Wimbledon.  They played each other just last week in Davis Cup, with Norrie prevailing after three tight sets.  Overall they have split 10 previous meetings.


Novak Djokovic (Team Europe) vs. Frances Tiafoe (Team World) – 7:00pm

Is Tiafoe ready to upset another member of “The Big Three” on Saturday?  He earned the biggest win of his career by taking out Rafael Nadal at the US Open, and defeated Nadal and Federer in doubles on Day 1 alongside Jack Sock.  Meanwhile, this will be the first match for Djokovic in over two months, since he won the Wimbledon final over Nick Kyrgios.  The unvaccinated Novak was unable to travel to North America for the hard court summer season.

Djokovic has only played seven tournaments this year, amassing a record of 23-5.  Tiafoe is 26-19, and is coming off his exciting semifinal run in New York.  Their only previous matchup was at the 2021 Australian Open, when Novak defeated Frances in four sets.  Frances is certainly the much more match-tough player on this day.  But despite his recent inactivity, Djokovic should still be considered the favorite.


Matteo Berrettini and Novak Djokovic (Team Europe) vs. Alex de Minaur and Jack Sock (Team World) – Second in the Night Session

Novak will have only a few minutes of rest ahead of this doubles match, so the length of his match with Tiafoe could impact the result here.  This will be Novak’s first time playing doubles since last year’s Davis Cup finals.  Berrettini played three doubles matches this past January at the ATP Cup, going 1-2.  De Minaur overcame Andy Murray in singles on Friday in what was a grueling contest, while Sock was defeated in singles and victorious in doubles.


The full Laver Cup schedule is here.

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