TENNIS AUSTRALIAN OPEN – 21st of January 2015. B.Tomic d. P.Kohlschreiber 6-7, 6-4, 7-6, 7-6. An interview with Bernard Tomic
Q. Three breakers in four sets. A grinding win?
BERNARD TOMIC: Yeah. I was really impressed with the level of tennis tonight. We were playing both pretty well. He was coming up with shots I’ve never seen before. Some shots, I don’t know how they were going in. But I played good myself. So I was very happy.
Q. Your level of play seemed to be the best when you were down. In the third-set tiebreaker you won five in a row. You came up with big shots in the fourth as well. Was that something that was particularly pleasing for you?
BERNARD TOMIC: Tennis is a funny sport sometimes. You can be up winning, and all of a sudden it can change with one shot. I was losing those set points, I think, but I tried somehow to win the two points on my serve. It was 6-5 then. I thought, Go for it. He managed to miss that shot after I played a few rallies back. I can’t complain. He was playing good. I was playing good. It was good tennis. I served very well, and that’s what helped me a lot throughout this match for sure.
Q. Does having the Australian crowd help you along as well, with their support there for you?
BERNARD TOMIC: For sure. It’s very motivating. Especially when you are down you always hear them. It’s an amazing sport. You hear them in the back of your ear. You keep going and keep wanting to push. I love it. It’s an amazing feeling. They get behind all the Australian players, not just myself. It’s good to see. The support down here is huge. I’d like to thank the fans for coming today, for coming throughout the Open and supporting us Australians. It’s huge for us. We seem to play good tennis on that.
Q. Might be a different feeling against Groth; two Aussies against each other.
BERNARD TOMIC: Yeah, I mean, now it’s the third round. I could be playing someone of a better rank for sure, but the draw’s opened up. Gulbis lost to Thanasi after four or five match points, and now Sam took that opportunity. He played today I saw against Thanasi. It was a very tough match. He’s improved a lot. I have to be ready. I know it’s going to come at me, so I have to be ready. I think if I have a lot of service games of mine where I hold pretty comfortably it’s going to put a lot of pressure on him. It’s going to be tough tennis. He’s improved a lot. It just shows — he’s winning a lot of matches now and he’s fitter. It’s a tough match, so I have to prepare a lot for this.
Q. There’s a good chance against Groth a couple sets might go to a tiebreak. Have you had good preparation?
BERNARD TOMIC: Yeah, but I’ll try to break him before it goes to the tiebreaker. If it happens, tiebreaks are funny. One point changes the tiebreak. Like I said, Sam is playing well, he’s fitter. I’m going to have to prepare as best as I can tomorrow and stuff. Two Australians playing in the third round, it doesn’t happen like this very often, so this is a huge opportunity for one of us to get into the fourth round. Very big opportunity for myself.
Q. With the likes of Kyrgios and Kokkinakis on the scene, they’re stealing the headlines. Is it easier for you not being under such a massive spotlight going into the tournament?
BERNARD TOMIC: I don’t look at that stuff anymore, you know. That’s just stuff on paper. For me it’s important training and winning matches like this. Sooner or later I’m going to get inside the top 40, top 30. I just have to work hard and play the tennis I’m playing, beating guys inside the top 20. I’m happy the way I’m playing. It’s going to be interesting after the Australian Open. The next five months I don’t have any points to defend. I can get inside the top 20 and then I can start choosing where I play. I have to work to get there. It’s not going to be easy. I’m here now in Melbourne playing, and I’m happy with myself. Last year, after losing first round, every match I play is a plus, every match I win here.
Q. Last year you spoke about the demons of last year after the last win. Has something changed? Do you feel a different player from this time 12 months ago?
BERNARD TOMIC: Yeah, absolutely. I feel much fitter, much better movement. I move much better on court. For me it’s helped me a lot, I think, the surgeries I had. People think I’ve gone down with my ability, but the surgeries I’ve had are probably only a few of the surgeries that help you move better. For example, me, I couldn’t move before in my hips and my, you know, lower back. Now I’ve managed to get so much more range of movement and flexibility. For me it was a benefit for me for both hips. I’m happy I did it at the age of 21. I wasn’t going to do it at the age of 25 and take 10 months to recover. I thought I’d get it out of the way. It was a good year last year. I can’t complain. But now it’s very motivating for me the next six months.
‘I Know How To Get There’ – Karen Khachanov Targets Return To Top 10
The world No.31 has showed signs of his talent this season with a run to the Olympic final but a lack of consistency and changes to the ATP ranking system has hindered him too.
It wasn’t that long ago when Karen Khachanov was the highest-ranked Russian man on the ATP Tour and billed as the next big thing from his country.
A breakout 2018 season saw Khachanov claim three Tour titles with the biggest of those being at the Paris Masters which remains his most prestigious trophy to date. He also reached his first major quarter-final at the French Open during the same season and scored five wins over top 10 players. Those triumphs helped elevate him in the ranking to a high of eight.
However, since that breakthrough Khachanov has found himself on a a rollercoaster journey. He is yet to win another title since Paris but came agonisingly close at the Tokyo Olympic Games where he finished runner-up to Alexander Zverev. In his nine previous Grand Slam tournaments his best run was at Wimbledon this season where he reached the last eight before losing to Denis Shapovalov.
Now ranked 31st in the world, the 25-year-old is aiming to claim back up the ladder after the ATP changed their ranking logic to the method used prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The rankings turned out to be a big pun, it was frozen for a year and a half, only now normal counting has begun. I am not fixated on this,” Khachanov told reporters in Moscow on Wednesday. “My main goal is to get back to the Top10. I know how to get there. And the intermediate goals are to be healthy and motivated.”
Khachanov has been ranked outside the world’s top 20 since February and hasn’t been in the top 10 since October 2019. He is currently coached on the Tour by Jose Clavet who has previously worked with a series of top Spanish players such as Feliciano Lopez, Alex Corretja, Tommy Robredo and Carlos Moya.
“He travels with me everywhere, for which I am grateful to him. I trust him as a specialist, as a coach and as a friend,” Khachanov said of Clavet.
Khachanov has returned to his home country this week where he is playing in Moscow at the Kremlin Cup. A tournament he won three years ago by defeating Adrian Mannarino in the final. Seeded third in the draw this time round, he began his campaign on Wednesday with a 3-6, 6-3, 6-1, win over James Duckworth. In the next round, he faces another Australian in the shape of John Millman which he believes will be a far from easy task.
“He is a fighter, a complete player, he does everything well, forehand and backhand with good intensity. He does everything at a good level, but the main quality is that he fights till the end, so it will be hard for me,” he said of his next opponent.
Moscow is the seventh tournament this year where Khachanov has reached the quarter-final stage.
Filip Krajinovic To Skip Australian Open If Required To Quarantine For More Than Five Days
The world No.34 says he ‘sees no reason’ why vaccinated players should have to go through a long quarentine in Australia.
The second highest-ranked Serbian player in men’s tennis says it would be ‘unacceptable’ for organisers of the Australian Open to require players to quarantine for more than a week if they have been fully vaccinated.
Filip Krajinovic has become the first player to publicly state that they will not be prepared to travel to Melbourne at the end of this season if they have to go through strict quarantine measures once again. All the players who participated in this year’s Australian Open were required to be quarantined in a designated hotel for 14 days upon arrival in the country. During their stay they were allowed to use training facilities but that was the only time they could leave the premises unless there was an emergency.
There is no final decision regarding the travel requirements for the 2022 tournament but there are concerns that unvaccinated players may not be allowed to enter the country. The Victorian government recently issued a mandate ordering all essential workers to be vaccinated, including athletes. However, the regional government will not have the final say concerning tennis players arriving in the country with the national government being the ones in charge of that decision.
“They are very rigorous there and honestly, if I have to be in quarantine for 14 days after arriving in Melbourne, I will not go to Australia,” Krajinovic told Serbian newspaper Blic.
“I was vaccinated, I did everything in my power to protect myself and the people around me, so I really see no reason to sit there for 14 days in a room.’
“If they (the organisers) say that after arrival I need, say, five days to be in isolation, that’s OK for me, but anything beyond that is unacceptable to me. With the season ending late, I will have 20 days to get ready and go. Charter flights will be organized again and the last one is planned for December 28 for the players and that is the final date when I can go to Australia. I will see what the final decision from Melbourne will be, so I will cut what is the best thing to do.”
Earlier this week Victoria’s Sports minister Martin Pakula urged players to be vaccinated because it give them ‘the best opportunity to play in the Australian Open.’ It is expected that if unvaccinated players are allowed to attend, they will be subjected to stricter restrictions. This might include a longer quarantine period upon arrival and limitations of where they can go during their stay.
“Last year, all of those players had to do their 14 days of quarantine. Right now there looks like there will be different rules for people who enter this country who are vaccinated as against unvaccinated and I don’t think the tennis will be any exception to that.” Pakula told the Sports Entertainment Network (SEN).
“In terms of what rules apply for people to enter Australia, whether unvaccinated people are allowed in at all, I don’t the answer to that yet. That’s going to be the subject of discussion at national cabinet and among the federal cabinet … those rules are not set by state governments.” He added.
Krajinovic is currently ranked 34th in the world and has a win-loss record this season of 18-18. At the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells he reached the second round before falling in straight sets to Daniil Medvedev. His best run so far this year was at the Hamburg Open where he reached the final.
“When we look at the whole of 2021, I played one final, one semifinal, there were good victories, but also worse results,” the 29-year-old commented.
Krajinovic is currently without a coach but is currently in ‘negotiations’ with somebody without elaborating further about who that person is.
Alexander Zverev Secures Place In ATP Finals With Indian Wells Win
Zverev will be seeking to win the season-ending extravaganza for the second time in his career.
Germany’s Alexander Zverev has become the fourth player to officially qualify for the ATP Finals after reaching the third round of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.
The world No.4 defeated America’s Jenson Brooksby 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, in his second round match on Sunday which pushed him over the points threshold to secure his spot in the end-of-season event. It is the fifth year in a row he has qualified for the ATP Finals which he won back in 2018. He is one of only three German players to ever win the title after Boris Becker and Michael Stich.
This year’s tournament will take place in Turin, Italy for the first time in history after being held at The O2 Arena in London for more than a decade. Only the eight highest ranked players are eligible to play in the round-robin tournament which has on offer up to 1500 rankings points for an undefeated champion.
“My first time in Turin. I’ve been to London four times before. London is obviously very special to me because I won there, as well. I think the stadium is incredible, one of the most special events that we had,” Zverev told reporters on Sunday.
“But I also love playing in Italy. I had great success in Italy. I won my first Masters in Rome. I’m looking forward to being there. I’m looking forward to playing in front of the Italian fans. It’s going to be a great week.”
The 24-year-old approaches the final quarter of this season with four titles already won this year. He has won two Masters 1000 trophies, an ATP 500 event in Mexico and a gold medal in singles at the Tokyo Olympic Games. Zverev, who has recorded seven wins over top 10 players, also reached the semi-finals at both the French Open and US Open.
Zverev joins Novak Djokovic, Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas as the players who have qualified for the ATP Finals so far. It is the third straight season the quartet has qualified for the event.
This year’s ATP Finals will get underway on November 14th. Medvedev is the defending champion.
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