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Australian Open Video: Day 6 Round up

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Dominic Thiem edges Vitaliy Sachko to reach the second round in Vienna

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This year’s US Open champion Dominic Thiem had to dig deep to beat Vitaliy Sachko 6-4 7-5 in front of his home fans to reach the second round at the Erste Bank Open in Vienna. Thiem has improved his career win-loss record to 14-8 in Vienna.

 

Thiem went up a double break to race out to a 5-1 lead. Sachko pulled both breaks back to win three consecutive games for 4-5. Thiem broke for the third time in the tenth game to win the first set 6-4. 

Sachko broke Thiem’s serve for third consecutive time to take a 1-0 lead in the second set. Thiem broke twice in a row to build up a 4-1 lead. Sachko broke serve for the fourth time, but Thiem converted his second break point at deuce in the 12th game to close out the second set 7-5. 

“I wanted to present myself well in front of the home crowd and to find the right match intensity. The high match intensity was not easy and he was playing well, especially from the moment I was up 5-1 up in the first set. From that moment on, I thought it was a pretty close and decent match. I am very happy with how I found a pretty good intensity towards the end of the match”, said Thiem. 

Thiem set up a second round match against Christian Garin, who battled past Stan Wawrinka 6-4 6-7 (9-11) 6-3. Garin saved all five break points he faced to clinch his 18th win of the match. 

Garin won the first set with a break in the third game to take a 2-1 lead. In the second set Wawrinka saved three set points at 5-4 before winning the tie-break 9-7 on the eighth set point forcing the match to the tie-break. Garin got the decisive break in the second game to win the third set 6-3. 

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On The Decline Of American (And Australian) Men’s Tennis

The best player from the US, John Isner, is 35 and ranked outside the world Top 20, while the only truly great prospect seems to be 19-year-old Brandon Nakashima – this might be the lowest point for American tennis.

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A few days ago, a reader sent us some interesting observations: “While sifting through the latest ATP Ranking, I asked myself: who is the highest-ranked American? How high is he? When I realized it was John Isner, sitting at N.23, I thought of the famous Latin phrase, ‘sic transit gloria mundi.’ When I was young, the Yankees dominated along with the Australian’s, who seem to be on the rocks themselves. Is it just my impression? If it isn’t, which could be the reasons for such a decline?

 

It seems to us that the topic may be of interest to many, so we decided to answer the first part of the question, starting from some statistical data obtained by:

· The first ATP Ranking released in 1973.

· The first ranking of the four following decades.

· The most recently released rankings.

Here is the result:

Here are some observations.

The first ITF global report in 2019, which was elaborated by 195 national tennis federations, shows that there are about 87 million tennis players in the world; in the areas of our interest the numerical distribution is this:

 USAEUROPAAUSTR.
    
Number of practitioners (millions)18272.3
Number of male practitioners (m)8.2161.4

In Europe, there is a Top 100 player every 235,000 men; in Australia, one every 280,000; in the USA, one every 911,000 (we think that is appropriate to reflect on these data, dear parents and kids, before making a decision vis-à-vis whether or not trying to follow the path of professional tennis).

In 1973, the United States occupied 23 of the Top 100 positions and 6 of the Top 20; at the beginning of the following decade, their edge over the rest of the world was equally if not more overwhelming. In the last thirty years, however, this prominence has gradually disappeared: first in terms of quantity and then of quality; the last American to occupy top spot was Andy Roddick on January 26, 2004, and the last one in the Top 10 was John Isner on January 27, 2019. The new faces of American tennis do not appear to point to the imminent advent of an American Male Renaissance: among the 9 players present in the top 100 today, the youngest is Frances Tiafoe, who will turn 23 next January and occupies the 63rd spot; the best-positioned teenager is 19-year-old Brandon Nakashima at N.203, followed by his peer Jenson Brooksby at N.299; far behind is Govind Nanda, N.709. Given such premises, it will be difficult for the US to get back to winning ways in the Davis Cup, a competition in which their record tally is stuck at 32 since 2007. 

Australia cannot yet be called a bygone men’s tennis power, since it hasn’t been that long since they boasted the best player in the world, i.e. Lleyton Hewitt on May 12, 2003 – he was also the last Australian to make the Top 10 in July 2006. However, this is a far cry from the age when this nation competed with the United States for the sceptre of world tennis. To give a more complete idea of ​​what Australia represented in the past for tennis, between 1950 and 1967 they won the Davis Cup 15 times (the USA won the remaining three); since 1973, the Aussies have bagged six more, the last one in 2003. For the foreseeable future, they can count on twenty-one-year-old Alex de Minaur, ranked 29th in the world, and on the wayward moods of Nick Kyrgios, currently 43rd; further down the line, they can count, to a lesser extent, on Alexei Popyrin, a peer of De Minaur, but more untested at high levels, but mostly they will have to rely on the Divine Providence, since the best-ranked Australian teen is 19-year-old Hijkata at N.672.

The numbers tell us that, since 1973, Europe’s trajectory has been almost specular to the Australian one. At the beginning of the 1980’s, men’s tennis in the Old Continent was going through a period of severe crisis, from which it was able to brilliantly recover – since February 2004, a European has occupied the throne in the world rankings with no interruptions. At the team level, since the beginning of the new millennium, a European country has lifted the Davis Cup 16 times out of 19. There are no credible alternatives to this sporting dictatorship on the horizon: among youngsters, the sole Denis Shapovalov (who has European origins himself) seems to have the potential to be able to aspire to a Major win; extending the analysis to the very young – i.e. the top ten tennis players born after January 1, 2001 – the tune is the same, since five of them are Europeans including the three most promising:

1.      Sinner, Italy, 46     

2.      Musetti, Italy, 123          

3.      Alcaraz, Spain, 136           

4.      Nakashima, USA, 203     

5.      Tseng, Taiwan, 288

6.      Draper, UK, 297            

7.      Brooksby, USA, 299        

8.      Zeppieri, Italy, 317          

9.      Baez, Argentina, 330               

10.  Cerundolo, Argentina, 345      

Countries belonging to the former Iron Curtain (and Yugoslav) block have been giving a significant contribution at the success of the European tennis for a long time; as a matter of fact, there are 19 representatives of these nations in the top 100:

  • Serbia 5          
  •  Slovenia 1         
  • Russia 3           
  • Poland 1          
  • Moldova 1        
  • Lithuania 1         
  • Hungary 2       
  • Czech Republic 1                       
  • Croatia 2          
  • Belarus 1     
  • Bulgaria 1          

At the end of our analysis, we believe that the feelings of our reader have been largely confirmed.  However, the second part of the question (the most important) he posed to us remains unsolved: if the USA and Australia are really in decline, what are the causes?

Website CEO Ubaldo Scanagatta and his good friend Steve Flink, with their deep knowledge of the top tennis systems, could try to give us an answer in one of their future videos. We are simply humble scribes of the editorial staff – lacking such knowledge and aware of the fact that the vision that is drawn from the numbers we have presented is partial, because of the limited sample examined. All we can hope for is that our work can at least offer some interesting food for thought.

Original article by Roberto Ferri; translated by Matteo Pelliccia; edited by Tommaso Villa

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Iga Swiatek To Quarantine After Close Contact With Polish President

Iga Swiatek will quarantine after being in close contact with the Polish President, who tested positive for COVID-19.

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Iga Swiatek will quarantine for a few days after Polish President Andrzej Duda tests positive for COVID-19.

 

The recent Roland Garros champion met the Polish President a few days ago after achieving a historic sporting moment for Poland.

Becoming the first Polish Grand Slam tennis champion in singles warranted a huge congratulations from Political and historical leaders as the 19 year-old prepares for life under the spotlight.

However this morning, Swiatek announced that she will now undergo quarantine after coming into close contact with the Polish President, who tested positive for COVID-19.

In a statement on Twitter in Polish, Swiatek stated, “Neither I nor my teammates have symptoms of the Coronavirus,” the Pole said.

“We perform tests regularly. In accordance with the applicable procedures, we are quarantined. We will repeat the tests in three days. We wish you a lot of health, take care.”

Although tests are negative so far, the incubation period is 10 days so Swiatek will have to quarantine until then.

One bit of good news for Swiatek, is she got to meet her idol Rafael Nadal via a zoom call.

Swiatek, who idolised Nadal when she was younger, met Nadal as she talked about her 2021 preparations and winning Roland Garros.

No doubt the 19 year-old will be eager to meet Nadal in Australia as she looks to win more grand slams next year.

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