Andreas Seppi: “To beat Roger first time, especially in a Grand Slam, best-of-five, is a special moment for me” - UBITENNIS
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Andreas Seppi: “To beat Roger first time, especially in a Grand Slam, best-of-five, is a special moment for me”

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TENNIS AUSTRALIAN OPEN – 23rd of January 2015. A.Seppi d. R.Federer 6-2, 7-6, 4-6, 7-6. An interview with Andreas Seppi

Q. Did you surprise yourself today?

ANDREAS SEPPI: Yeah, of course. You know, to beat Roger first time, especially in a Grand Slam, best-of-five, is a special moment for me. Of course at the beginning I just went on the court to enjoy the match and to play my best tennis. Yeah, but especially after the first set, then I felt, you know, I am there, I am hitting the ball very well. I start to believe that I can do more. Yeah, then I think very important was the second set tiebreak. And, yeah, it worked out pretty well.

Q. His record against you is very imposing, 10-0. How do you go into a match trying not to think about that?

ANDREAS SEPPI: Yeah, I mean, as I said, I went in the court of course to, first of all, enjoy the moment. You don’t play every day on center court, full stadium in a Grand Slam against Roger. I was pretty calm, I have to say, from the beginning. Also in the important moments. Maybe it was the match where I felt more comfortable in my life also with my emotions. I think that help me for sure in the end of the match a lot.

Q. What did he say to you at the end?

ANDREAS SEPPI: Yeah, I can’t remember well. But I think he said, Unbelievable last point. Congratulations, something like that.

Q. You had a lead back in 2012 against Djokovic, also up two sets. Did that ever enter your mind when you had the two-set lead against Federer and then maybe lost the third as well?

ANDREAS SEPPI: I wasn’t thinking about anything, I have to say, about this match. As I said, I was very calm. I really enjoyed the atmosphere out there. I was not thinking I’m leading two sets to love or two sets to one. It was going to the end, the match, so just if I could do that any time, it would be great, yeah.

Q. Is it still such a moment to play against Roger Federer compared to five, ten years ago?

ANDREAS SEPPI: Yeah. I mean, especially for me it’s always special moment to play against him. I know him a long, long time. He had so many great results. So step on court against him for me is always something special. Yeah, it’s always different than against anyone else.

Q. What does this win mean for your career? Biggest one so far?

ANDREAS SEPPI: Yeah, of course. It’s first time I beat him. I beat once Nadal in Rotterdam when he was 2 in the world. Was also a big win. Against Roger, you know, I never went close. I never had the chance. To have this win in my career, it’s for sure something big, yeah.

Q. Your countryman, Bolelli, played Federer before. Did you get a chance to speak to him and get some advice?

ANDREAS SEPPI: No, not really. I didn’t ask any advices or anything. I mean, it’s tough to ask some advices because, anyway, Roger, you know how he plays. You know him well. I just saw the first set yesterday. I think, yeah, Bolelli played a great set, and the rest I didn’t see. I didn’t talk to him after the match, I have to say.

Q. The way you play, beating him, did it tell you anything about yourself as a player which you didn’t know before?

ANDREAS SEPPI: Yeah, of course. Now I know that I can handle also some very difficult moments or some big pressure. Maybe I’m a little bit more mature, you know, on court. Especially, yeah, I know myself a little bit better. Yeah, it’s for sure a big confidence for the next upcoming matches.

Q. Did you feel that playing in the day helped you? Was the court faster? Do you feel like you would have had the same victory if you played in the night session? How different are the sessions?

ANDREAS SEPPI: Actually I like more to play in night session, I have to say. I like more play without sun. It’s not so hot. I mean, for me it’s also better if I play at night, I have to say. But, I don’t know. The conditions were not so hot I think today. Maybe at the beginning, but then during the match was pretty okay. So comparing to maybe yesterday or two days ago, so…

Q. Was it faster?

ANDREAS SEPPI: No, no, no. I don’t think it was faster than the other days. I mean, for sure I like to play on faster surfaces, but I think also he do. So I think, yeah, it’s pretty even.

Q. How about the match point, that shot, how did you see it coming and how highly does it rank on the list of shots you’ve hit?

ANDREAS SEPPI: Yeah, was for sure a strange shot. At the beginning I thought I couldn’t even reach the ball. Then, yeah, when I hit it, I didn’t saw it going there. I just saw when it bounced in. Was, yeah, for sure one of the important shots of my life.

Q. Have you watch it on video yet?

ANDREAS SEPPI: No, not yet. I will.

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Carlos Alcaraz In Doubt For Madrid Open Title Defence

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Carlos Alcaraz admits that he is not certain if he will be ready in time to play at next week’s Madrid Masters.

The 20-year-old is yet to play a clay tournament in Europe due to a forearm injury which ruled him out of both Monte Carlo and Barcelona. He hurt his right arm whilst training shortly before the Monte Carlo event began. 

It is the latest in a series of injury issues that has affected Alcaraz throughout his young career. Since the start of 2023, he has also been derailed by issues with his abdominal, hamstring, post-traumatic arthritis in his left hand and muscular discomfort in his spine. 

“My feeling isn’t right, but it is what it is. Now I’m fully focused on recovery and I have a little more time,” Alcaraz told reporters in Barcelona on Monday.
“My goal is to try and go to the Madrid Open, but at the moment nothing is certain. I was given specific recovery times and I’ve respected them, but I haven’t felt good. I don’t want to get ahead of myself.
“I can’t say I’ll be 100% in Madrid, but that’s my intention. We’ll train and do everything we can so that the feelings improve so I can play a match … It’s also a very special tournament for me.”

Alcaraz has won the past two editions of the Madrid Open, which is classed as a Masters 1000 event. In 2022 he defeated Alexander Zverev in the final and then 12 months later he beat Jan-Lennard Struff in the title match.

The setback comes after what has been a steady start to the year for Alcaraz who has reached the quarter-finals or better in four out of five tournaments played. He successfully defended his title in Indian Wells and then reached the semi-finals in Miami. 

Should he not play in Madrid, it is likely that the Spaniard will lose his No.2 spot to Jannik Sinner who is just over 100 points behind him in the standings. He will still have the chance to play a clay-court event before the French Open with Rome taking place early next month. 

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Olympic Qualification Is Not the Only Goal For French Veteran Gael Monfils

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Gael Monfils (image via https://twitter.com/atptour)

Gael Monfils admits he doesn’t have too many years left on the Tour but this doesn’t mean his targets are any less ambitious. 

The 37-year-old has enjoyed a rapid rise up the rankings over the past 12 months following battles with injury. At his lowest, he was ranked 394th last May but is now in 40th position. As a result, he is closing on securing a place in the Olympic Games which is being held in his home country of France for the first time since 1924. The tennis event will be staged at Roland Garros. 

“When I was 400, I was thinking the Olympics would be great, but it’s going to be tough,” Monfils told reporters on Tuesday. 
“There are younger players playing well. If I don’t qualify, I don’t mind. It will just mean I’m very close to the ranking I want to be. That ranking will allow me to find another goal.”

Monfils is already a three-time Olympian but has never won a medal at the event. He reached the quarter-finals of the singles tournament twice in 2008 and 2016. 

Another goal of Frenchmen is the Wimbledon championships which concludes just three weeks before the Olympics begin. The proximity of these tournaments will be a challenge to all players who will be going from playing on clay to grass and then back to clay again. 

“I really want to go and play Wimbledon. I don’t have so many Wimbledons to play in the future. The Olympics is one goal, not the only goal.” Monfils states.
“My dream is of course to be part of the Olympics. I played three times at the Olympics. I’d like to be there again. But I also really want to do well in Wimbledon this year. To reach my goal, it has to be including Wimbledon.” He added. 

Monfils is currently playing at the Monte Carlo Masters where he beat Aleksandar Vukic in his opening match. In the next round, he will take on Daniil Medvedev in what will be their first meeting since 2022. He leads their head-to-head 2-1. 

Medvedev has openly spoken about his roller-coaster relationship with playing on the clay. He admits it is not his favourite surface but how much of a factor could this be in his upcoming clash with Monfils?

“Of course, it’s not his favourite one, but he’s still Daniil Medvedev, and whatever the surface, it’s always very complicated to play him,” Monfils concludes. 

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Matteo Berrettini wins in Marrakech displaying quality tennis

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Matteo Berrettini - Marrakech 2024 (photo X @ATPTour_ES)

Matteo Berrettini defeats Roberto Carballes Baena in straight sets, 75 62, and proves that his comeback is well grounded  

If life is often considered a continuous narrative, it may be no coincidence that today Matteo Berrettini’s comeback journey intersescted Carballes Baena, a player he had faced twice in straight tournaments, Florence and Naples in October 2022, shortly before plunging into his annus horribilis, an injury-plagued 2023.

Just like resuming the story from where it was left.

Carballes Baena, the defending champion, got off to a sharper start, holding serve with ease and earning a first break point in the second game. Berrettini averted the threat by hammering down three serves but lost his service two games later.

Doubts on the Italian’s recovery from his energy-draining semifinal may have been starting to come afloat. However Berrettini broke back immediately, unsettling the Spaniard’s consistency with changes of pace and alternating lifted and sliced backhands.

The next six games neatly followed serve. Figures witness how close the match was. After 45 minutes the scoreboard read 5 games all, and stats reported 27 points apiece.

The eleventh game was to be crucial. Carballes Baena netted two forehands, while trying to hit through the Italian’s skidding spins and conceded a break point. Berrettini followed up two massive forehands with a delicate, unreachable drop shot and secured the break.

Carballes Baena was far from discouraged, and fired two forehand winners dashing to 0 40  with the Italian serving for the set.

Berrettini was lucky to save the first break point with a forehand that pinched the top of the net, and trickled over. Then he hit two winning first serves to draw even. Then again two first serves paired with their loyal forehand winner: Berrettini’s copyright gamepattern sealed a 59 minute first set.

The match seemed about to swing round at the very start of the second set when Carballes Baena had three break points and was winning all the longer rallies. Once more Berrettini got out of trouble thanks to his serve. Carballes Baena’s disappointment turned into frustration after he failed to put away two quite comfortable smashes and lost his service immediately after.  

Unforced errors were seeping into the Spaniard’s game and when Berrettini won a 16-shot rally with a stunning crosscourt forehand on the stretch and went on to grab a two-break lead, the match appeared to have taken its final twist.

Berrettini did not falter when serving for the match at 5 2, despite an unforced error on the first point. Three first serves chauffeured him to two match points.

Carballes Baena only succeeded in bravely saving the first, well steering the rally. But the 2021 Wimbledon finalist produced a massive serve out wide and joyfully lifted his arms to the sky, for a most emotional victory. It means so much to a player whose talent and career have been incessantly diminished by injuries.

It’s been a tough last couple of years” Matteo Berrettini said, holding the trophy. “Thanks to my team I was able to overcome all the tough moments my body didn’t allow me to play. I thank you and all the people that made my comeback possible: all my friends and my family, the people that were with me all the time when I was sad, injured and I didn’t think I could make it.”

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