AO 2015: Murray and Nadal in Federer's half - UBITENNIS
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AO 2015: Murray and Nadal in Federer’s half

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TENNIS AO 2015 – The Main Draw of the Australian Open men’s tournament which starts on Monday 19th January in Melbourne was held today. Last year’s finalist Rafa Nadal will face a very tough path and may clash against Tomas Berdych in the quarter finals and Roger Federer in a possible blockbuster semifinal. Federer may face Andy Murray in the quarter finals. Novak Djokovic could clash against Milos Raonic in the top-half quarter. Last year’s Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka could battle against either Kei Nishikori or David Ferrer in the quarter finals Diego Sampaolo

 

AO 2015 men’s draw

AO 2015 women’s draw

First quarter: World Number One and four-time Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic will open his campaign against a qualifier before facing the first tough test against Fernando Verdasco in the third round before a possible fourth round match against either John Isner or 2014 ATP Most Improved Player Roberto Bautista Agut. In the opening round the Spanish player will play against Austrian rising star Dominic Thiem, who reached the fourth round at the 2014 US Open and is currently leading the new generation’s challenge against the old guard.

Djokovic will be bidding to win his fifth Australian Open title after the wins in 2008, 2011, 2012 and 2013 and the eighth Grand Slam in his career which also features two wins at Wimbledon in 2011 and 2014 and the US Open in 2011. Should he win his fifth title Down Under, he would become the most successful male player at the Australian Open in the Open Era. He is currently second most successful player in the Australian Open history together with Roger Federer and André Agassi behind Roy Emerson who clinched six titles at Melbourne Park.

He will be looking for a re-match of last year when he was beaten by Stan Wawrinka with 9-7 in the decider in a thrilling five-set quarter final match.

Djokovic withdrew from the Mubadala final in Abu Dhabi against Andy Murray before suffering an upset quarter final 7-6 6-7 4-6 loss against Croatian giant Ivo Karlovic in the ATP 250 in Doha after a very tough match. This was the second loss for Djokovic in 23 matches since the US Open

Djokovic will have to face a possible quarter final clash against Milos Raonic The Serbian player leads 4-0 in his career head-to-head matches against Raonic. Djokovic’s possible rivals in the semifinals will be Wawrinka or Nishikori.

The top-half also features 2009 US Open champion Juan Martin Del Potro from Argentina. Del Potro will have to face a difficult test against 2013 Wimbledon semifinalist Jerzy Janowicz who won the Hopman Cup last week in Perth together with her compatriot Agnieszka Radwanska. The winner of the match between Del Potro and Janowicz will face the always dangerous Gael Monfils who reached the US Open quarter finals last year.

Raonic’s potential fourth round rivals could be Feliciano Lopez, Monfils or Del Potro.

Del Potro, nicknamed the Tower from Tandil, has made his come-back this week in Sydney after being sidelined for one year because of a career-threatening wrist injury. Now ranked Number 338 player in the world, Del Potro played two encouraging matches in his first tournament in Sydney where he beat two tough players Sergiy Stakhovsky in the first round and Fabio Fognini in the second round before losing against Mikhail Kukushkin in the quarter finals.

I did more than what I expected. I played three matches in a row and I played against good players in this tournament, which means a good comeback for me. I didn’t expect to play three matches in a row. We go day by day. It’s dangerous for me if I am looking forward to the next tournaments or the next month. I have to be patient and do my best every day. This is my biggest challenge in my new career”, said Del Potro in Sydney.

Second quarter: The second quarter of the draw could feature a potential quarter final between Stan Wawrinka and Kei Nishikori in a re-match of the 2014 US Open quarter final. Defending champion Wawrinka, who will play against Turkey’s Marsel Ihlan in the first round, could face either Pablo Cuevas in the third round, Aleksander Dolgopolov or Fabio Fognini in the fourth round. Wawrinka will be looking to clinch his second consecutive Australian Open-Chennai double after winning in the Indian Tournament last week for the second consecutive year by beating Slovenian qualifier Aljaz Bedene 6-3 6-4.

Wawrinka could renew his battle against Novak Djokovic in the semifinal in a possible re-match of the epic 2013 fourth round match and the 2014 quarter final. On both occasions they played two very tight five-set matches which came down to the wire. Djokovic won in 2013, while Wawrinka took the re-match in the quarter final in 2014 before lifting his first ever Grand Slam Trophy.

I am happy to be back for sure. I am playing well and have confidence with my game but everything starts from zero again and you have to be ready for two weeks. Against Novak last year changed everything. To finish as the winner, it gave me the confidence and put me in the semifinals there. I was feeling great. It feels great to see the picture of me with the Trophy in the corridor. The first thing I did was to check to see if it was there and if it was a good picture. When you have the picture, it’s always a good picture. Starting the year with a Grand Slam and finishing with the Davis Cup, it was an incredible 2014”, said Wawrinka.

Last year’s US Open champion Nishikori, who reached the semifinal in Brisbane last week, will start his campaign against Nicholas Almagro in a difficult first round before a possible fourth round against David Ferrer, who is always a difficult rival at Grand Slam level. Ferrer got off to a very good start to his 2015 campaign by winning his 22nd career title at the Qatar Open in Doha where he beat Tomas Berdych in the final with 6-4 7-5. It was his first title for Ferrer under the guidance of his new coach Francisco Fogues. It was his first trophy since Buenos Aires in February 2014 and his first ever Doha win in five appearances after losing the 2013 semifinal against Nikolay Davydenko. Ferrer will not have a tough draw as he will face Thomas Bellucci in the first round, Sergiy Stakhovsky in the second round and last year’s Shanghai Master 1000 finalist Giles Simon.

Third quarter: Rafael Nadal, last year’s finalist in Melbourne, was drawn against Mikhail Youzhny in the first round before a possible tricky third round match against Lukas Rosol, who upset the Mallorcan legend at Wimbledon in 2012. If he overcomes these difficult hurdles, Nadal could meet either Kevin Anderson or Richard Gasquet in the fourth round and Tomas Berdych in the quarter final. Nadal suffered a surprising first round loss against Michael Berrer in Doha, needs to play matches to get into shape after being undergoing appendicitis surgery on 3rd November.

Nadal will be looking to complete a double Career Grand Slam after losing against Wawrinka last year.

Berdych was drawn in the same section with Phillip Kohlschreiber, Ernests Gulbis and Bernard Tomic. The most intriguing match of the third quarter of the draw will pit Ernests Gulbis and Australian tennis hope Thanasi Kokkinakis.

Fourth Quarter: This is the most interesting section of the draw as it features Roger Federer and Andy Murray who may square off against in a potential blockbuster quarter final. It could be a possible chance for Murray who lost 6-0 6-1 in the ATP Finals in London last November. Federer and Murray were drawn in into the same half as Nadal. There is a possibility that Federer or Murray could face Nadal in the semifinals. Murray’s possible rivals before the fourth round are David Goffin (semifinalist in Chennai last week) and Grigor Dimitrov in the fourth round. The young Bulgarian, semifinalist in Brisbane last week, will face a tough debut match against Dustin Brown, a German player of Jamaican origin who beat Rafa Nadal last year in Halle and always produces a spectacular tennis.

Federer, four-time winner at Melbourne in 2004, 2006, 2007 and 2012 and semifinalist last year against Nadal, will start against Yen Shun Lu, before facing either in-form Italian Simone Bolelli or juan Monaco in the second round and Croatian rising star Borna Coric in the third round. Coric, the youngest player in the top-100 in the ATP Ranking, who will start against Frenchman Jeremy Chardy. Federer could meet either Tommy Robredo, who upset the Swiss legend in the 2013 US Open, or Ivo Karlovic, who upset Djokovic in Doha before losing a hard-fought semifinal against Ferrer last week. In Qatar Karlovic became the third player in history to reach the 9000 aces milestone. With 9092 aces Karlovic is currently ranked second behind Goran Ivanisevic (10183 aces) but he is ranked ahead of Andy Roddick (9074 aces). The second round could feature a very interesting second round match between Karlovic and Australian rising star Nick Kyrgios, who famously beat Rafa Nadal in the fourth round at Wimbledon in 2014.

Federer is one of the strongest favourites to win his 18th Grand Slam title after his impressive start to the season in Brisbane where he became the third player in history to reach the 1000th match win milestone after beating Raonic in a fantastic final in three sets with 6-4 6-7 6-4. Only Jimmy Connors (1253 wins) and Ivan Lendl won more matches than the Basel legend. During the Brisbane award ceremony Federer received the Roy Emerson Trophy from Australian tennis legend Roy Emerson. Federer clinched his 83th career title in Brisbane

It was a special day for me, winning a title plus getting the magic number of 1000. This figure means a lot because it’s such a huge number. Just alone to count to 1000 is going to take a while. To get to 1000 match wins in front of such legends as Roy Emerson and Rod Laver means a lot to me. I will never forget this match”, said Federer.

The most interesting first round matches are Del Potro-Janowicz, Grigor Dimitrov vs Dustin Brown, Sam Querrey vs Vasek Pospisil, Jiri Vesely vs Viktor Troicki, Ernests Gulbis vs Thanasi Kokkinakis and Rafael Nadal vs Mikhail Youzhny, Roberto Bautista Agut vs Dominic Thiem, Gael Monfils vs Lukas Pouille and Jeremy Chardy vs Borna Coric. Former World Number 1 Lleyton Hewitt will play against Chinese wild card Zhang Ze.

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French Open Crowd Crossed The Line, Says Frustrated Alex de Minaur

The Australian explains why he wasn’t entirely happy with the atmosphere in the French capital.

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Alex de Minaur didn’t hide his irritation with fans at Roland Garros following his shock exit from the tournament on Tuesday.

 

The 19th seed fell to home player Hugo Gaston in a five-set epic that lasted more than four hours. De Minaur had a 3-0 lead in the decisive set but ended up losing 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, 0-6, 7-6(10-4) to the world No.74. He has now lost in the first round of the French Open in four out of six appearances.

During the match De Minaur had to contend with a boisterous crowd who were cheering on Gaston. He faced some booing and jeering from those in the stands which the world No.20 was not happy about.

“I think there is a difference between a great atmosphere and supporting your fellow countrymen, which is completely fine and it’s great. I’m sure for him was an amazing atmosphere, he enjoyed every second of it.” De Minaur said afterwards.
“But there is a line that, when I’m getting told things by people in the crowd, making eye contact with me after I hit a double fault, I think there is a certain line that needs to be kind of looked at.”
“Good on him (Gaston) for playing a great match in front of his home crowd and being able to feed off that, and you know, having a moment that I’m sure he won’t forget.”

De Minaur refused to go into what exactly was being said to him from certain members of the crowd but insisted that he was not being intimidated by what was occurring on the court. Towards the end of the match a series of unforced errors, including double faults, costed him dearly.

“I’m pretty sure I dealt with it pretty well, all things considering,” he said. “I was in the moment. I was in the heat of the moment battling out there. It felt like kind of an away Davis Cup match, and I thrive on that. It was a lot sometimes and sometimes you do your best to focus on playing a tennis match. There are outside factors that you do your best to control.“

Heading into Paris, De Minaur had shown encouraging results on the clay with semi-final runs to tournaments in Barcelona and Lyon. He also reached the third round in Rome and took a set off Andrey Rublev when they clashed in Monte Carlo.

Given those recent results on the Tour, it is clear that the latest defeat is one that will sit with him for a while.

Ideally, I will sleep tonight and I will forget all about it, but I have a feeling that won’t be the case,” de Minaur admits.
“It’s disappointing, as everything is, it is what it is. It’s a sport that we are playing. You have your good days, your bad days. You win absolute battles; you lose absolute battles.”

As for Garon, he will face Argentine qualifier Pedro Cachin in the second round. This year’s draw is a golden opportunity for the Frenchman with him guaranteed to not play a seeded player until at least the last 16 if he makes it that far.

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Novak Djokovic Opens Up About Wimbledon Points Removal

The world No.1 states that he will always support the views of his peers.

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Novak Djokovic (Roberto Dell'Olivo)

By Kingsley Elliot Kaye

In his press conference following his win over Yoshihito Nishioka at the French Open, Novak Djokovic expressed his views about the ATP decision to remove points from Wimbledon.

 

Negatively affected by such a decision – he will drop 2000 points – the world No.1 praised the ATP’s stance and called for players’ unity.

“I think collectively I’m glad that players got together with ATP, the governing body of the men’s tennis, and showed to the Grand Slam that when there is a mistake happening, and there was from the Wimbledon side, then we have to show that there are going to be some consequences. So I support the players, unification always. I have always done that. I will always do that.” He said.

Djokovic criticized the lack of communication between the parties involved, in particular with regard to a document of recommendation by the English Government which contained diverse options. Had it been discussed by the All England Club with ATP and players, a compromise may have been reached.

“I think it was a wrong decision. I don’t support that at all. But, you know, during these times, it’s a super sensitive subject, and anything that you decide, it’s unfortunately going to create a lot of conflict, a lot of separation instead of unification.” He continued.

Djokovic also mentioned other suggestions coming from WTA and ATP, that possibly men’s and women’s players from Belarus, Ukraine, and Russia could play together at some exhibition event during the slam or something like this and prize money could go to the victims in Ukraine. There were different ideas, but there was never really a strong communication coming from Wimbledon.

He stressed that removing the points from Wimbledon, therefore not allowing players to earn or to defend points, is a decision that affects everyone, a lose-lose situation for everyone, as he called it.

Nonetheless, the charm and prestige of Wimbledon shall rest unaltered and its meaningfulness extends far beyond: “A Grand Slam is still a Grand Slam. Wimbledon for me was always my dream tournament when I was a child. You know, I don’t look at it through the lens of points or prize money. For me, it’s something else.”

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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.

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Borna Coric - US Open 2020 (via Twitter, @usopen)

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.

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