Bernard Tomic: “I served very well, and that's what helped me a lot throughout this match” - UBITENNIS
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Bernard Tomic: “I served very well, and that’s what helped me a lot throughout this match”

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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.

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Brazilian Rising Star Joao Fonseca Waives College Eligibility To Turn Pro

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Image via https://twitter.com/RioOpenOficial/

One of Brazil’s most promising young tennis players has made the bold decision to abandon a dream of his to play college tennis in America to turn pro. 

17-year-old Jaoao Fonseca was committed to playing college tennis at the University of Virginia but says professional tennis has called him in a way he couldn’t refuse. The rising star has played just two Tour-level events so far in his career and is currently ranked 343rd in the world. 

At last week’s Rio Open, he became the second-youngest player after Alexander Zverev to reach the quarter-finals of an ATP 500 event since the category was introduced. In his home tournament, the Brazillian beat Arthur Fils and Cristian Garin before losing to Mariano Navone.

“It was an incredibly tough decision for me and my family as I have been dreaming about living a college life in Charlottesville, playing the sport that l love with a wonderful team and coach, but, in the last months, professional tennis called me in a way that I simply couldn’t say no,” Fonseca wrote in a statement published on Instagram
“Although I will not be attending school, I think it is an extremely valuable and viable path for young players in their way to professional careers,” he added.

Fonseca has already enjoyed success on the junior circuit. Last year he was runner-up in the doubles tournament at the Australian Open boy’s event. Then at the US Open, he won his first Grand Slam junior title in singles. He is also a former ITF Junior World No.1 and is currently ranked second in the standings. 

The youngster has already been hailed by compatriot Beatriz Haddad Maia, who is currently ranked 13th on the WTA Tour. Speaking to reporters at the San Diego Open, she has offered her support to Fonseca if he needs it. 

“João is a nice person. He has a great future, if he keeps working hard and keeps doing what he’s doing. I think he has a very aggressive mentality and tennis.” She said.

“We sometimes text each other, but not that much. But I’m always following.. not only him.. but the Brazilians. I’m proud of what he’s doing. He has a long way and he needs to understand that it’s a marathon, it’s not a 100 meter race.’
“Tennis has its ups and downs. I wish him all the best, for sure. I’ll be here whenever he wants. I’m happy with what he’s doing.” 

Fonseca played at the Chile Open this week but lost in the first round to Thiago Agustin Tirante.

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Injured Alcaraz Pulls Out of Rio Open After Two Games

A sprained ankle a couple of minutes into his debut at the Rio Open forced top seed Carlos Alcaraz to abandon his match against Thiago Monteiro

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Carlos Alcaraz after the injury - Rio 2024 (photo Tennis TV)

For world no. 2 Carlos Alcaraz, this year’s Rio Open lasted two games: the Spanish champion had to retire on the score of 1-1 in the first set during his first-round match against Brazilian Thiago Monteiro due to a sprained right ankle suffered in the second point of the match.

In an accident somewhat reminiscent of the terrible one suffered by Zverev in the semi-final of Roland Garros 2022, Alcaraz’s right foot “got stuck”  in the clay as he returned towards the center of the court after returning from the left, and he immediately flew to the ground dropping his racket. The Spaniard immediately asked for a medical time-out, but as soon as he took off his shoe it was immediately clear that his ankle had already swollen.

After having a tight bandage applied, Alcaraz tried to continue the match, but just two games later he understood that it was not possible to continue so he shook hands with his opponent, abandoning the Brazilian tournament.

The match was played on a very heavy court due to the rain that had fallen heavily during the day. The organizers had been forced to cancel the daytime session and play could only begin around 7.30 pm local time, after the courts had remained under pouring water all day.

Alcaraz told the press present in Rio: “I think these things happen, especially on clay. It wasn’t a problem with the court, I hurt myself in a change of direction and this happens on this type of surface. I went back into the match to see if I could continue or not. I spoke to the physiotherapist on the court and we decided, together, that I would continue to see if the ankle would improve. It didn’t happen, so we preferred to be cautious and withdraw as a precaution.”

Considering that Alcaraz left the court on his own two feet and managed to wobble through a couple of games after the injury, it is quite likely that the injury he suffered is much less serious than the one that kept Alexander Zverev away from tournaments for over seven months. However, it will be necessary to verify whether it is just a sprain or whether tendons or ligaments have been involved. If this were to be the case, the prognosis could turn out to be longer, and this is happening less than two weeks before the start of the Sunshine Double in Indian Wells and Miami.

The Spaniard is scheduled to play an exhibition in Las Vegas on 3rd March against Rafael Nadal: it will be decided in the next few days whether to withdraw as a precaution for the first Masters 1000 of the season in Indian Wells.

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Can Jannik Sinner dodge the morning-after syndrome?

Very few players have managed to follow up their first triumph in a Major. Hewitt is the last new Grand Slam champion to immediately win an ATP title. Nadal, Djokovic and Federer all misfired, can Jannik Sinner do better?

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Jannik Sinner - Australian Open 2024 (photo: X @federtennis)

By Roman Bongiorno

“The morning-after syndrome,” as they call it. The list of great champions who have suffered from it – Carlos Alcaraz, Juan Martin del Potro, Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Stan Wawrinka, Andy Murray, is impressive.  Some of the most illustrious names in our sport, the most successful ever. Yet, even for those who are legends, the match immediately after their first Grand Slam triumph is often an insurmountable hurdle.

The very young Spanish phenomenon, born in 2003, was the latest striking example. After winning the 2022 US Open and becoming the new world No. 1, Alcaraz managed to win just one set in his next two matches: he lost 6-7 6-4 6-2 in the Davis Cup against Felix Auger Aliassime, who was definitely on fire in that period, and was inflicted a 7-5 6-3 defeat by veteran David Goffin in his first match at the ATP 500 in Astana.

Mentally, it’ not easy. The most important triumph of one’s life, immediately to be put aside.  And go back to work. The media are quick to pounce on any slip, headlines hinting at signs of a career already over: “it’s gone to his head”, “he has made his money” etc.

Less than a year later, Carlos Alcaraz was once more a Grand Slam champion, beating Novak Djokovic in the final at Wimbledon.

Just think of tennis legends such as Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, who fell victims to this serious syndrome. The former, after his triumph at Roland Garros 2005, stepped back on court on the green grass of Halle, losing in 3 sets to the world number 147 German Alexander Waske: 4-6 7-5 6-3. For many, that was a disastrous defeat foreshadowing a future that would not be as bright as it had seemed. Rafa told another story, by winning another 21 Grand Slam titles, on every surface.

The Serbian, on the other hand, thrived on the hard courts of Melbourne, just like Jannik Sinner. In 2008, after winning the title, he was engaged in Davis Cup against Russia. He did not finish his rubber against Nikolay Davydenko and retired at the beginning of the fourth set while trailing 2 sets to 1. In his first ATP tour appearance, in Marseille, after brushing aside Ivan Dodig, he was ousted in three sets by Gilles Simon. Over the following 15 years Novak Djokovic went on to become the has become the most successful player ever.

What about Roger Federer? After lifting the trophy won at Wimbledon in 2003, he moved to the home clay of Gstaad.  He survived the morning-after syndrome  after a fierce but victorious struggle in the first round with the Spaniard Marc Lopez, ranked No.190. Then he cruised till the final, but was defeated in a five set hustle 5-7 6-3 6-3 1-6 6-3 by Jiri Novak.

The morning-after did not spare Juan Martin del Potro. After his stunning victory over Federer at the 2009 US Open, he set foot on an ATP tennis court three weeks later in Tokyo. It was Edouard Roger Vassellin, 189th in the world, who spoiled the party, neatly defeating the Argentinian in two sets, 64 64.

Even “Ice man” Bjorn Borg, the man without (apparent) emotions, focused only on tennis and winning, lost the first match after his success at Roland Garros 1974. He was defeated in the first round in Nottingham by world No. 71 Milan Holecek from Czechoslovakia. Over the next years he definitely made up for that impasse on English lawns.

A rare bird at last, and not by chance does it come from Australia, a land which is ever so rich in unique species. Lleyton Hewitt, who in 2001 after steamrolling Pete Sampras in the US Open final, immediately won his next matches, two singles rubbers in the Davis Cup against Jonas Bjorkman and Thomas Johansson, and then went on to win in Tokyo by beating Michel Kratochvil in the final.

Jannik Sinner has been building up his success on gruelling feats. Sure he’s eager to be back on the Dutch indoor courts of Rotterdam where he enjoyed a brilliant run last year, only surrendering to Danil Medvedev in the final. Just one year ago the Russian seemed an impossible opponent to defeat. Now, in the last 4 challenges, Jannik has beaten him 4 times. The last one, in the final of the Australian Open.

Rotterdam could have been the stage for a rematch, but Medvedev has pulled out of the tournament. Jannik Sinner appears as a favourite, and is vying to close in on that third place of the rankings currently held by Daniil.

Jannik has set out on his mission. But even if he were to be defeated in the first round by an opponent ranked beyond the top 200, no one should dare cry failure. Italy at last has a Grand Slam winner, and he is not to be downplay him in case of first defeats.

Translated by Kingsley Elliot Kaye

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