Australian Open: Murray gives Czech mate to Berdych - UBITENNIS
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Australian Open: Murray gives Czech mate to Berdych

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TENNIS AUSTRALIAN OPEN – Andy Murray fought back from a set down to Tomas Berdych in four sets with 6-7 (6-8) 6-0 6-3 7-5 to get through to his fourth Australian Open final after finishing runner-up in 2010,2011 and 2013 and to his eighth Grand Slam final. Murray is bidding to clinch his third Grand Slam title after the 2012 US Open and 2013 Wimbledon. On both occasions he beat Novak Djokovic, his possible rival in next Sunday’s final if the Serb beats defending champion Stan Wawrinka in this Friday’s semifinal. Diego Sampaolo

 

AO2015: Interviews, Results, Order of Play, Draws

[6] Andy Murray b. [7]Tomas Berdych 6-7(6) 6-0 6-3 7-5

Berdych led 6-4 in the previous 10 head-to-head matches and and won their previous two clashes, but this time Murray prevailed in four sets after losing the first set at the tie-break. It was the first time since the 2012 ATP Finals that Murray beat Berdych. That year the Dunblane star beat his Czech rival in the semifinals of the US Open.

Murray dropped just two sets so far in the tournament winning in four sets against Grigor Dimitrov in the fourth round before beating Nick Kyrgios in the quarter final. Berdych, who also reached the semifinals last year, broke a 17-match losing streak against Rafa Nadal in the quarter finals beating the Spanish star for the first time since 2006 and reached the semifinal without dropping a set so far in the tournament. Berdych was looking to become the first Czech player to reach the Australian Open final since 1998 when Petr Korda won the final.

Berdych broke in the eighth game of the opening set for 5-3 with backhand winners and served for the first set but Murray broke straight back at 30-40 when Berdych hit a backhand into the net. Berdych saved a break point in a service hold for a 6-5 lead before the first set came down to the tie-break. Murray raced to a 3-0 lead in the breaker but Berdych reeled off fived of the next six points to go up 5-4. Murray earned his first set point but Berdych saved it at 5-6 with a forehand and a volley winner.The Czech hit his fourth ace to earn his first set point chance before taking a tight first set with 8-6 after a 76-minute battle when Murray hit a forehand into the net. Berdych won his 16th consecutive set in this tournament. Murray converted on just one of his four break point chances in the first set.

Murray reeled off seven consecutive games to turn around the match. Murray broke serve in the second game of the second set with a lob en route to clinching the second set with a bagel win in a thirty-minute second set. At 0-5 Berdych rallied from 0-30 but Murray broke serve converting on his first serve point when Berdych hit his forehand long.

Murray won the seventh game in a row at the start of the third set. At 3-2 for Murray in the sixth game Berdych went up 40-0 but missed a game point after two double faults allowing the Scotsman to convert on his second break point. Murray hit a forehand down the line on break point before clinching the third set with 6-3 with an ace after 44 minutes

Murray fended off two break points in the sixth game with a cross-court forehand and with a serve to draw level to 3-3. Murray earned two break point opportunities at 5-5 15-30 when Berdych made two errors and a double fault. Murray converted the break point as Berdych hit a groundstroke long. Murray earned the chance to serve for the match as Berdych hit a backhand long. The 2012 Olympic champion held serve to love clinching his 140th Grand Slam win win with his 15th ace.

Murray has reached his four Australian Open final and his eighth in a Grand Slam tournament and his first since he started working with Amelie Mauresmo

I played very well tonight. I am very happy with the way that I played the match. I am happy to be in the final four times here because I am surrounded by guys like Roger, Novak and Rafa. It doesn’t happen that often. I am very proud of that. Making four finals is a very difficult thing to do. It’s not easy to do. I am proud of my record here. I will try my best on Sunday. I will go in with best tactics possible, prepare well. Have a couple of days rest and recoverd as best as I can. If it is enough, it is great. I could not have done anything more to put myself in a better position come Sunday”.

At the beginning of the match Tomas started out well. I was a little bit tentative at the beginning and I was getting used to his ball. He hits the ball extremely hard and flat. At the start I felt like I was on the back foot a little bit. Towards the end of end of the first set I started to come into it more, be more aggressive. Then in the second set I just picked up from how I was playing at the end of the first. I felt like I could have won the first set. Obviously I had some chances there. I was extremely aggressive in the second set and I managed to run away with it.

Today’s match has marked the first time that Murray faced Berdych since the Czech played began working with Murray’s friend Dani Vallverdu, who worked for five years with the Scotman until they split last November.

Guys wanted there to be tension related to Dani. You wanted there to be tension. It’s completely normal for that to happen. I sat in here the other day and got asked more questions about Dani than I did about the match I just played. Because of everything that’s gone on it’s kind of a natural thing to happen. If you learn how the brain works, it’s completely natural for that. It was kind of expected and had planned for that to be the case as well.”

Murray will play against either Djokovic or Wawrinka in Sunday’s final. “I obviously feel good because I thought I played well tonight. The most important thing in tennis matches you need to be able to make adjustments and change when things aren’t going well. That’s one of the things that we didn’t speak about the other day. Everyone can go into a match with game plans and ideas of how they want to play. I felt like tonight I made some big adjustments in the match from how things were going at the start. I will need to do the same thing again on Sunday against Novak or Stan because things that you think will work don’t always work out that way. You need to be able to make adjustments in the middle of the match. That’s where it doesn’t necessarily always come down to the coach. It has to come down to the individual as well because we can’t get coaching during the match. We need to make adjustments ourselves and that’s one of the things I was most pleased about tonight. After that first set I changed the way I was playing and turned the match in my favour.

Murray credits his coach Amelie Mauresmo on the hard-work during the off-season. After spending the off-season with Amelie and working on a bunch of things, having a sustained sort of period together, I did a great training block. I worked extremely hard physically in the off-season. I worked well to give myself the opportunity to play like this this. The way that I feel today compared with how I felt after losing in four sets last year, when I could barely move at the end of the match because I was so sore and stiff. Today I felt strong at the end.

muzzaberdych

 

(updates coming soon)

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US Open Must Allow Entourages Of Three Or Four People, Says Thiem

The world No.3 says he is feeling good ahead of the return of professional tennis next month.

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Dominic Thiem has come out against proposals to restrict the number of coaching staff that can travel to this year’s US Open amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

This year’s New York major will be held behind closed doors for the first time in history and will be implementing a series of measures to help minimise the threat posed by the virus. Part of their plan is to limit how many people a player can bring with them to the tournament. It was originally reported that only one team member per player would be allowed to travel, but it has emerged that the limit has since been extended to three.

Speaking about the limits, three-time Grand Slam finalist Thiem said the idea of only allowing one member of his team to travel with him would be a risk for some players on the Tour.

*”I do not think so. Three or four people must be allowed. It would be extremely risky to travel without your own physio. You need a local coach for this,’ Thiem told The Kronen Zeitung newspaper on Sunday.

Thiem last played a match on the ATP Tour at the Rio Open in February where he lost in the quarter-finals. However, throughout the lockdown he has still managed to maintain his match fitness by participating in numerous tournaments. In total he has played 24 matches across three different countries, including one named after him called Thiems 7.

“Right now I feel very good,” he said. “I have played a lot of exhibition games in the last two months and I am not tired at all. I really wanted to play tennis again, since my start of the year was very good.’
“During This period of confinement at home I have been crushing myself a lot in the physical aspect and already when I returned to training. I have decided to improve the backhand and the serve a little more.”

The ATP Tour will resume next month with Thiem hoping that he can continue his form generated from earlier this year. At the Australian Open he reached the final for the first time in his career before getting edged out by Novak Djokovic. Although when he returns, tournaments will not be the same as before due to the ongoing pandemic with strict safety measures and reduced crowds in place.

“When the circuit returns, the matches will be exactly the same as we had previously, but the atmosphere will be different,” he said.
“All tennis players will miss playing tournaments where many people travelled to see us every day. In New York, Paris or Melbourne there are between 60,000 and 70,000 people every day in the facilities. That previous life we ​​had will not be the same and we may have to get used to this new normal for a few years.”

Thiem is one of only four men to have already made more than $1 million in prize money so far this year on the ATP Tour.

*NOTE: Since the publication of this article quotes have been edited following a translation mix-up.

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Nick Kyrgios Slams Thiem Over Defence Of Controversy-Stricken Adria Tour

The world No.40 has accused the Austrian of lacking an ‘intellectual level’ to understand his view.

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Australian star Nick Kyrgios has continued his public criticism of the Adria Tour by taking aim at two-time French Open finalist Dominic Thiem.

 

The 25-year-old has repeatedly hit out at the exhibition event, which Thiem participated in. Organised by world No.1 Novak Djokovic, the event took place in Belgrade and Zadar before it was scrapped following an outbreak of COVID-19 among both players and coaching staff. Djokovic, Grigor Dimitrov and Borna Coric all got infected. The outbreak came after the Adria Tour was criticised for a lack of social distancing and players attended various public events together. Although at the time, all of their actions were done in accordance with local regulations. Something the Serbian Prime Minister now admits was a mistake.

However, Thiem has called out Kyrgios over his vocal criticism of fellow Adria Tour competitor Alexander Zverev. The German attended a party in southern France less than a week after the COVID-19 outbreak despite issuing a statement saying he would go into self-isolation.

“It was his mistake, but I don’t why a lot of people want to interfere. Kyrgios has done a lot of mistakes. It would be better for him to come clear instead of criticising others,” Thiem told Tiroler Tageszeitung.

Continuing to defend the actions of his fellow players, Thiem also jumped to the defence of Djokovic. Who has been under heavy criticism over the event with some going as far as questioning his position as president of the ATP Players Council.

“He didn’t commit a crime. We all make mistakes, but I don’t understand all the criticism. I’ve been to Nice and also saw pictures from other cities. It’s no different from Belgrade during the tournament. It’s too cheap to shoot at Djokovic.”

The comments have now been blasted by Kyrgios, who stands by his previous criticism of players. Accusing Thiem of lacking an ‘intellectual level’ to see his point of view.

“What are you talking about @ThiemDomi? Mistakes like smashing rackets? Swearing? Tanking a few matches here or there? Which everyone does?” Kyrgios wrote on Twitter.
“None of you have the intellectual level to even understand where I’m coming from. I’m trying to hold them accountable.”
“People losing lives, loved ones and friends, and then Thiem standing up for the ‘mistake,'” he added.

The COVID-19 pandemic has killed more than 500,000 people worldwide and some players have voiced concerns over travelling to America which has recently seen a rise in cases. On Wednesday Alexi Popyrin became the first player to say he won’t play the US Open due to health concerns.

The ATP Tour is set to resume next month but it is unclear as to what events Thiem and Kyrgios will be playing in.

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Roger Federer Eyeing Olympic Glory At The Age Of 39 In 2021

The Swiss tennis star isn’t ready to step away from the sport just yet.

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20-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer has vowed to play at next year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo after undergoing two surgeries on his knee.

 

The former world No.1 hasn’t played a competitive match since his semi-final loss to Novak Djokovic at the Australian Open in January. Since then he had twice undergone arthroscopic surgeries which is a minimally invasive procedure that is used to diagnose and treat problems with the joints. Federer announced shortly after having the procedure done for a second time that he will not be returning to the Tour again this year.

Despite the setbacks, the 38-year-old has vowed to return to action at the start of 2021 with Olympic glory one of his main targets. He is already a two-time Olympic medallist after winning gold in the men’s doubles back in 2008 followed by silver in the singles draw at the 2012 London Games.

“My goal is to play Tokyo 2021. It’s a wonderful city. I met my wife in my first Olympics in 2000. It’s a special event for me,” Federer said on Monday during the launch of ‘The Roger’ shoe with Swiss brand ON.
“I had two surgeries and I can’t hit at the moment, but I’m very confident I will be totally ready for 2021.
“I do miss playing in front of the fans, no doubt. Now, I think if tennis comes back we know it won’t be in a normal way where we can have full crowds yet.”

Federer will be 39 when he returns to action, but is yet to speculate as to when he may close the curtain on his record-breaking career. He is currently the second oldest man in the top 200 on the ATP Tour after Croatia’s Ivo Karlovic, who is 41.

Besides the Olympics, the Swiss Maestro is also setting his eye on Wimbledon where he has claimed the men’s title a record eight times. However, he hasn’t won a major title since the 2018 Australian Open. The Grass-court major has been cancelled this year for the first time since 1945 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Of course I miss Wimbledon, of course I would like to be there currently playing on Centre Court for a place in the second week,” he said.
“Clearly, one of my big goals, and that’s why I do recovery work every day and work so hard, and why I’m preparing for a 20-week physical preparation block this year, is because I hope to play at Wimbledon next year.”

Even though he is not playing for the rest of the year, Federer incredibly still has a chance of qualifying for the ATP Finals due to recent changes in the rankings calculations. Due to the pandemic, players are now allowed to use their best results at 18 tournaments based on a 22-month period instead of 12 months. Something that could enable him to remain inside the top eight until the end of 2020 depending on how his rivals fair.

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