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Players complain about differing court-speeds in Melbourne

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TENNIS MELBOURNE – Just two days into the Australian Open a number of Spanish players have expressed their dissatisfaction with the difference in court-speeds at Melbourne Park. Bruno Bergarece Sans

 

AO 2015: Interviews, Results, Order of Play, Draws

Just two days into the Australian Open a number of Spanish players have expressed their dissatisfaction with the difference in court-speeds at Melbourne Park. The problem is many of these players train on one court and then play their matches on a different one and it’s like playing a completely different sport.

“I don’t think it’s fair that every court you play on has a different speed”, said Roberto Bautista after defeating Dominic Thiem in four sets. “If under the roof you play at one speed, it should be the same outside. It can’t be that you train on one court that’s quick, then others are slower and then inside the speed is perfect to play on. I’ve expressed these complaints, but they don’t say anything”.

Much of these complaints are also aimed at the fact that top players barely move around courts, playing and training on the main courts, meaning that they have an advantage over those players who are constantly having to adapt to the different speeds of the surface.

“It’s the quickest surface out of all the years I’ve played in Australia”, mentioned David Ferrer, who overcame a deficit of a set and a break to overcome Brazilian Thomaz Bellucci. “The practice courts are even quicker because they’re smaller, but in the past they’ve been too slow. Now, they’ve turned it around. What can you do? Try to adapt. You can complain but you’re not going to get anything from that. The court isn’t going to be slower if you keep complaining”.

A victim of that speed was Pablo Carreño who was ousted by big-serving Gilles Muller on court 22 (one of the quickest). “I didn’t play tennis because I couldn’t. The court was very quick and the ball really slid through the surface. Those points that weren’t aces by him I could hardly play in. I was doing what I could. Returning serve was a nightmare. I’ve trained at the club twice because it’s impossible to get a court if you’re not seeded. I trained on Margaret Court with Bautista and it was a different world. We could have normal rallies on a normal court, with a medium speed which you could return serve and play. However, on the outside courts, where I trained with Verdasco before the game, we couldn’t keep a rally going for more than two shots. Serve, return, end. They’re too quick. Normally, at every tournament the main courts are a bit slower than the outside ones but here they’re much quicker than normal. Today was anything but tennis; I was playing the lottery on my return games to see if I could guess where he was going to serve”, said the disappointed Spaniard.

“I put the racket in place, the ball bounced and I couldn’t hit it”, was Nicolas Almagro’s reflection after coming off the court against Kei Nishikori. The man from Murcia was happy to be back on the court for the first time since Roland Garros 2014 but a straight sets defeat against the talented Japanese player left him with a bitter taste also as a result of the surface. “I don’t know what the problem is, but the court is similar to the one we played on in the Davis Cup final in Prague, which was ice and the ball didn’t bounce. They’re trying to get rid of tournaments on clay and the rhythm they’re going at the same thing will happen with hard court tournaments. You’ve got the likes of Karlovic, Groth or Kokkinakis who are having a field day”.

Finally Verdasco, who overcame a slow start against James Ward to get his campaign up and running at a Grand Slam which holds brilliant memories for the lefty from Madrid, as he played the best tennis en route to the semi-finals in 2009, stated that “I’ve trained on Hisense Arena and Margaret Court. Also outside on courts 16, 18 and 20. Today I played on court number seven. The outside courts are quicker and the ones which are furthest away are the quickest. Court number seven and the others on that side are quick but maybe a little bit less. And Hisense is the slowest I’ve trained on. Each court is a bit different. I trained with Carreño on court 18 and we got five balls over the net in every game. Basically every point was a serve”.

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Fabio Fognini To Undergo Arthroscopic Surgery On Both Ankles

Fabio Fognini is to have surgery on both ankles as he aims to extend his tennis career when the ATP Tour returns.

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Fabio Fognini (@ASB_Classic - Twitter)

Fabio Fognini will undergo Arthroscopic surgery on both ankles in Italy today after re-injuring them in training. 

 

The Italian took to social media to announce that he will have the surgery on both his ankles immediately as he looks to take advantage of Tennis’ hiatus.

In the post Fognini revealed that this is not a new problem he has been suffering from, “I’ve been having a problem with my left ankle for three and a half years now, it’s an issue I’ve learned to cope with,” Fognini explained.

“Then my right ankle started playing up in the past two years as well. I had hoped the various issues would go away during my two months break from the game because of the lockdown but, when I resumed training they were still there. 

“After medical examination and a long discussion with my team, I decided to have arthroscopic surgery on both ankles. I believe it is the right thing to do while the tour is on this enforced break.”

This is big news for the Italian, who is now 33 years-old and with his time on the tour running out this is a big risk but a risk worth taking in order to increase his longevity.

The timing couldn’t have been better for the world number 11 as he looks to take advantage of the hiatus in the tennis calendar and get himself fully ready for the 2021 season.

Since turning pro 16 years ago, Fognini has won 9 ATP singles titles and been a grand slam champion in doubles with his flamboyant style remaining consistent over the years and will look to continue this form after surgery.

Meanwhile a decision on the US Open is expected to be made in the next couple of weeks as the tournament organisers are hoping to still hold the tournament on the 31st of August.

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Australian Tennis Great Passes Away Aged 83

Ashley Cooper is one of only 11 men in history to have won three grand slam titles within the same year.

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Women’s world No.1 Ash Barty has led tributes to multiple grand slam champion Ashley Cooper, who passed away on Friday.

 

Cooper was one of the sports best players in the years leading up to the birth of the Open Era. He was declared the world’s best amateur player in 1957 and 1958. It was during 1958 where he really stood out by winning three out of the four major tournaments within the same season. Something only 10 other players in the history of men’s tennis have been able to achieve. Cooper also achieved success in the doubles by winning another four grand slam titles. In the Davis Cup he led Australia to a 3-2 victory over America in the 1957 final.

Whilst his achievements occurred during the 1950s, Cooper did sort of have a taste of what it was like to place in a major event during the Open Era after featuring in the main draw of the 1968 French Open. He progressed to the second round after his opponent retired before withdrawing from the tournament without playing a single point.

After retiring from the sport, he maintained his links with tennis. Working alongside Tennis Queensland with their player development and was on the Board of Directors for Tennis Australia.

“Ashley was a giant of the game both as a brilliant player and an astute administrator and he will be greatly missed,” said Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley.
“His contribution to the sport went far beyond his exploits on the tennis court. His rich legacy includes the magnificent Queensland Tennis Centre, a project he was passionate about, nurturing the development from the very beginning, and resulting in the return of world-class international tennis to Brisbane.”
“Ashley was also the most humble of champions and a great family man. Our hearts go out to his wife Helen and his family, along with his wide and international circle of friends, including so many of our tennis family.”

Paying her own tribute, French Open champion Barty took to Twitter to send her sympathy to Cooper’s family. Last year she was presented with the Ashley Cooper Medal at the Queensland Tennis Awards. The highest individual honour that can be issued by the organisation named in after the tennis great.

Rod Laver, who is one of Australia’s greatest tennis players of all time, described Cooper as a ‘wonderful champion’ in his tribute.

“So sad to hear of Ashley’s passing. He was a wonderful champion, on and off the court. And what a backhand! So many cherished memories. Farewell my friend. My thoughts are with Ashley’s wife, Helen, and his family.” Laver wrote on Twitter.

The have been no details released on the exact cause of Cooper’s death, but it has been reported that he has been battling ‘a long illness.’ He was 83-years-old.

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Novak Djokovic aims at breaking Federer and Nadal Grand Slam records

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Novak Djokovic told US program In Depth presented by Graham Bensinger that he wants to break all Grand Slam records and play for many years. The Serbian player is the third best ever player with 17 Major titles behid Roger Federer (20) and Rafael Nadal (19).

 

“I believe that the journey chooses you and not the other way around and I know that I still have things to do in sport. At the same time, they are not the only things that motivate me, what really feeds me is the desire to keep growing. I can achieve all feats and become the greatest in history maintaining on the courts”, said Djokovic.

The Serbian legend said that he does not set set any limits. He was still unbeaten before the suspension of the season due to the coronavirus pandemic. His winning streak includes a record of 18 consecutive match wins and a 21-match win streak dating back dating back to the Davis Cup Finals last November. He beat Roger Federer in the semifinal and Dominic Thiem in the final to clinch his 8th Australian Open title. He became the third man to win 8 titles at a Grand Slam tournament. Last February he saved three match points against Gael Monfils in the semifinal before beating Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final in Dubai.

 “I don’t believe in limits. I think limits are just illusions of your ago or your mind. I definitely want to go on for a long time but I know that at the same time I have to maintain the right principles and the routine to maintain the health and well being of my body, mind and soul”, said Djokovic.

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