TENNIS AUSTRALIAN OPEN – 28th of January 2015. S.Wawrinka d. K.Nishikori 6-3, 6-4, 7-6. An interview with Stan Wawrinka
Q. After everything that happened in the tiebreak, how happy were you to see his dropshot hit the net?
STAN WAWRINKA: That one I was really happy because I was not going to get to that ball. Yeah, I had the wind with me, so it was not easy to make a dropshot, especially at that moment. No, it was a crazy tiebreak, but good tiebreak. Good to finish in three sets.
Q. You were serving very good with a lot of variety. Was that your plan?
STAN WAWRINKA: Yeah, for sure today I was serving really well. I’m happy with that part of my game. It’s never easy to break Kei because he’s playing so well. You need to be focused on what you need to do. You need to change the speed. You need to change where you serve also. Yeah, I think it was one of my best match if I look about that.
Q. You’re 6-0 in the tiebreak. Why are you so good at it?
STAN WAWRINKA: It’s just the beginning of the season. We’ll see at the end of the year. Two days ago I was lucky. I was down 6-2, I won the tiebreak with some luck. Today I was 6-1 up, but I start on the side with the wind, so that helps me a lot. He start with serve-volley. When he come back from 6-1 to 6- All, he was playing good, aggressive. I was a little bit hesitating. I didn’t put first serve. It’s never easy when you have so many match point to focus after. But 6-All I had the wind again. I was trying to be aggressive. Lucky that he missed the dropshot. Happy to make an ace after.
Q. Do you have the belief you can win this thing?
STAN WAWRINKA: I’m just happy to be back in the semifinal so far. Was important match for me today to play Nishikori. It’s never easy. Had to be ready for that. Had to fight with myself to stay with him, to play really aggressive, to stay on my line, not give him the opportunity to put me in a defensive play. I’m happy that I did that really well today. I think was a great match in general.
Q. Do you feel you’re starting to play at the level that brought you the title last year?
STAN WAWRINKA: No, I think I play better. But I think we all improve every year. I’m more aggressive. I’m more confidence with my game when I come to the net. Again, it’s a Grand Slam. You play every two days. Today was a great level, was a great match. Now I’m going to enjoy a little bit, watch who’s going to win tonight and get ready for the semifinal.
Q. Except the match against Garcia-López, you played an unbelievable week. It’s something about the preparation? Why are you so good in Australia?
STAN WAWRINKA: Why not? Why not? No, I think I got a lot of confidence from first winning the Davis Cup at the end of the year. I think since Shanghai I’m playing great tennis. I’m focused on what I’m doing every day. I’m trying to practice really hard, trying to improve my game. I had a really good Masters in London, playing one of my best tournaments indoor, losing semifinal against Roger. Then I had the important Davis Cup final. It was important mentally to get there, to play well. That’s what I did. I had a short pre-season. But I’m trying to work hard. I’m trying to improve my game. I have the chance to have a great team around me with Magnus Norman, Pierre Paganini who are really behind me trying to push me every day. I got a lot of confidence by winning Chennai, the first tournament. My game is there and I’m happy to play here in Melbourne, to have a chance to play the semifinal again.
Q. Do you feel any pressure as the returning champ or the pressure is on someone like Novak?
STAN WAWRINKA: As I said before the tournament, I don’t feel pressure by defending the title because I don’t come here to defend it. I come here as a new challenge, a new Grand Slam. That’s how I start the tournament. I’m really happy to be already in the semifinal, to play that well so far. As I say, I’m going to enjoy it because it was really important for me, this match, especially the way I deal with the pressure to play Nishikori. It’s never easy for me, for my game. So I’m going to enjoy, watch the match tonight and get ready for the semifinal.
‘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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