Thanasi Kokkinakis: “I was thrilled with that win. Best win of my career.” - UBITENNIS
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Thanasi Kokkinakis: “I was thrilled with that win. Best win of my career.”

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TENNIS AUSTRALIAN OPEN – 19th of January 2015. T.Kokkinakis d. E. Gulbis 5-7, 6-0, 1-6, 7-6, 8-6. An interview with Thanasi Kokkinakis

 

Q. How do you feel? Mixture of delight and exhaustion, I’m sure.

THANASI KOKKINAKIS: Yeah, a bit of both. Physically I feel pretty good. A lot better than I did last year. Obviously it wasn’t as hot. Played longer against maybe a more experienced opponents. Really happy with how I felt physically. Yeah, I was thrilled with that win. Best win of my career. Had one last week or two weeks ago in Brisbane. And followed it up with a more important win today. I’m happy with how I played today.

Q. Was there a moment early in the fourth set when you thought it was going to be too hard?

THANASI KOKKINAKIS: A little bit. I lost my form. I played a really good second set and got on top of him. I knew early games in the third set were important. I didn’t get them and then he ran away with that set. Again, early games in these matches are huge. But I didn’t do a good job of that. So he was up in the fourth I think 2-Love, but I kept making him play balls. He gave me a couple balls I think when I needed them. That gave me a spark again, and the crowd was unbelievable the whole night. They got me through again.

Q. How did you keep just finding a way? You kept finding ways in the big points.

THANASI KOKKINAKIS: Big serves when I needed to. On the match points, I just trusted my weapons, what I work on every day, what my favorite shots are. I went for a few forehands. Maybe they were a bit lucky, but I would like to think skill. A bit of both. But I needed them and trusted them. There’s no point shying away and pushing, because these good players are going to hit a winner past you anyway.

Q. How important was the time in Dubai practicing with Federer and the fitness side of things?

THANASI KOKKINAKIS: It’s very important. Did a lot of training, a lot of hitting there. It was just two weeks there. I did two weeks in Adelaide, a couple weeks in Melbourne. Just the whole base was big for me. I did a lot more running. I knew what I needed to do to play five-set tennis. Went through it last year; wasn’t quite fit enough; found a way to win my first round. But this year I felt physically good, so I’m happy with how my body’s holding up.

Q. Can you talk about the challenge on the serve? Were you saying because it was out you didn’t make a genuine attempt to serve it back?

THANASI KOKKINAKIS: I definitely tried to hit it in, but I just hit it on the frame and it went into my side of the court. I probably wouldn’t have won the point or made the return, but I just thought the call came and then he called it as it bounced and then I hit it. It was a complete miss-hit. I’m not going to avoid that. I just thought if you got a racquet on it replay the point, but the referee didn’t think it came before contact.

Q. What kind of thoughts went through your mind when you challenged on the fifth set, the breakpoint, the ball barely caught the line?

THANASI KOKKINAKIS: When I hit it I thought it was good, and then he challenged. I was like, Oh, no. Maybe it’s out. They were both putting their fingers up. I was like pretty much really hope this is in, because if not I’m struggling. Didn’t break his serve. One breakpoint. I think he aced me on it. I think I swung and I completely miss-hit it. I really needed that one to go in, and I’m thanking some people for that one.

Q. You had some flashy clothes to match the flashy plays today. Were you inspired at all by Andre Agassi with that outfit?

THANASI KOKKINAKIS: I don’t know. You’ll have to ask Nike. They gave me that package. They were like, We only give this to a few. If you’re up for it, wear it. I was like, Yeah, whatever, I’ll do it. I wore the stripes last year, but that was nothing compared to what I wore this year. So I was out there, and I was like surely in this outfit I’ve got to get the win.

Q. Were the shorts comfortable or not?

THANASI KOKKINAKIS: It was a bit annoying. I saw it dangling at the bottom there, so I tried to flick it over. No, that felt fine. I prefer shorter shorts. It makes me run easier.

Q. It will probably be on the front pages of the newspapers. Or you don’t care about it?

THANASI KOKKINAKIS: It was exciting. I know it was a good win. There’s more to come. I don’t want to win just one round. Obviously it was my best win yet. I’ll enjoy it for the rest of the night, but tomorrow I’ll need to get prepared for the next match two days away against Sam.

Q. Are you going to have a quiet word to Nick about trying to upstage your match?

THANASI KOKKINAKIS: I saw him in the changing rooms. We congratulated each other. It’s a good win for both of us. Hopefully we can go further in the draw.

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Andy Murray Surging In Confidence After Reaching First ATP Quarter-Final Since 2019

The 34-year-old believes he is getting better with every match played on the Tour as he eyes a spot in the final later this week.

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Andy Murray (image via https://twitter.com/ATPTour_ES)

Former world No.1 Andy Murray says he is starting to gain more belief in his game after reaching the quarter-finals of the Moselle Open on Wednesday.

 

The three-time Grand Slam champion rallied to a 6-3, 6-3, win over Canada’s Vasek Pospisil in the French city. Murray dropped serve only once at the start of the second set but broke his opponent four times en route to the victory. It is the first time he has registered back-to-back wins on the ATP Tour since Wimbledon and it is the first time he has reached a quarter-final since winning the 2019 Antwerp Open.

Murray showed glimmers of his best tennis recently at the US Open where he took Stefanos Tsitsipas to five sets in the first round before losing. However, in his following tournament on the Challenger circuit he lost in the second round to world No.154 Roman Safiullin. Despite the mixed performances, the Brit says his fitness continues to improve and he believes he is heading in the right direction.

“For me, this period of the last few years has been the most I have played really,” Murray said following his win over Pospisil.
“My body feels good and I am starting to gain just a little bit of confidence with each match, starting to see the points and how I want to play them, which is great.
“There have been times in the past year where I have been a little bit confused and not seeing how the points are developing which was always a strong part of my game.
“It made me feel quite uncomfortable on court when I was feeling that way, so I am starting to get that back and the results are coming, my tennis is getting better.”

The 34-year-old, who now plays on the Tour with a metal hip after undergoing two operations, is targeting a return back into the world’s top 100 for the first time since 2018. He came agonisingly close in July when he reached 102. At present, he is currently ranked 113 but will climb at least four places following his run in Metz this week.

In the next round Murray will play either top seed Hubert Hurkacz or former top 10 player Lucas Pouille. Both players are likely to be a stern challenge for the three-time Grand Slam champion who is hoping to reach the final for the first time since 2007.

“I would love to get another opportunity to play here in the final, but there is a lot of tennis to be played before then potentially against the number one seed in the next round,” he reflected.
“It is not going to be easy if I want to reach the final, but I am playing well and have an opportunity.”

Murray has won 42 ATP titles and has earned more than $62M in prize money so far in his career.

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Diego Schwartzman Receives Threats On Social Media Following Shock Davis Cup Defeat

The world No.15 is the latest player to speak out about recieving abusive messages on social media.

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The weekend has been an emotional rollercoaster for Diego Schwartzman, who suffered ‘one of the worst’ losses of his career before helping secure victory for his country in their Davis Cup tie against Belarus.

 

On Saturday the world No.15 was stunned by unranked 18-year-old Daniil Ostapenkov who is yet to play a professional match on the pro Tour. Ostapenkov is currently ranked 63 in the world on the junior circuit. The comprehensive victory shocked the Argentinian team who was hosting the tie at the Buenos Aires Lawn Tennis Club.

Despite the shock upset, Schwartman managed to redeem himself the following day when he defeated Alexander Zgirovsky 6-1, 6-2. That victory handed his country an unassailable 3-1 lead in their tie and secured their place in the 2022 Davis Cup qualifiers which will take place next March.

Not only playing Davis, but in Buenos Aires, with a lot of people you don’t see, it’s not easy. My level can be and has to be much better. After the game on Saturday I had a difficult day in the spirit of being able to get up and enjoy with the group,” La Nacion quoted Schwartzman as saying.
“The most normal thing was that we won the series. It’s what everyone expected. But when you have a very difficult day at work like it was on Saturday and then you win, it excites you because you have some internal things withheld.”

Between those two matches, Schwartzman revealed that he was trolled on social media by some people unhappy about his loss in the tie. The 2020 French Open semi-finalist said he received criticism and even threats from some asking him to leave his home country. Something he admits affected him at times.

“It was one of the worst days of my career,” Schwartzman commented on his loss to Zgirovsky. “I lost to an unranked, inexperienced player. All that already affects (me) a lot. Although 80 or 90 percent of the people are always encouraging (me), there was a minority who criticized me with bad intentions.’
“I received threats, insults and requests not to return to Argentina. More or less, it affects (me)”.

Schwartzman is not the first player to speak out about online abuse. During the US Open Shelby Rogers said she was expecting to receive ‘death threats’ following her loss to Emma Raducanu who went on to win the title. Sloane Stephens has also previously spoken out about being the victim of racism online.

The 29-year-old says he has previously tried to interact with those who have trolled him on social media to find out why they are doing so.

Sometimes I start to answer some messages and I ask those people if they realize what they are sending,” Schwartzman said during his press conference. “The vast majority apologize and say they had not realized it. But at the moment it hurts. That very ill-intentioned criticism is the only bad thing about social networks.”

Schwartzman has won four ATP titles and earned more than $10M in prize money so far in his career.

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Spanish Veteran Feliciano Lopez Addresses Future On The Tour

23 years after he played his first main draw match on the ATP Tour, Lopez says his longevity in the sport has been achieved with the help of of some luck.

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Feliciano Lopez of Spain is pictured during the semi-final of ATP Fever-Tree Championships tennis tournament at Queen's Club in west London on June 20, 2019.

Feliciano Lopez has dismissed any speculation that he could retire in the coming weeks after saying he is taking life on the Tour in his stride.

 

The 39-year-old Spaniard is currently the second oldest player in the world’s top 200 after Roger Federer, who is a year older than him. Lopez made his ATP Tour debut at the 1998 Barcelona Open which was before the birth of Jannik Sinner and Carlos Alcaraz. In June he became the 10th active player to record his 500th win on the Tour.

Currently ranked 111th in the world, some are starting to wonder how much longer Lopez will continue playing. So far this season he has achieved a win-loss record of 9-19 with his best performance being a run to the quarter-finals of the Mallorca Open which was held on the grass. It was in Mallorca where he defeated Karen Khachanov who is the only top 30 player he has beaten so far in 2021.

I play year-by-year, the last 6-7 years have been like this, a tennis player at that age cannot think about extending his career. After turning 30 I have been lucky, I have obtained the best results of my career,” Lopez told reporters on Friday.
It is not very common for players my age, at (almost) 40 years to continue playing in the best tournaments.” He added.

Throughout his career, Lopez has impressively played in a record 78 consecutive Grand Slam tournaments dating back to the 2002 French Open. During that period he has reached the quarter-finals of a major tournament on four occasions.

“I don’t play to break records, what makes me most excited is to continue playing Grand Slams. For me, maintaining that record (78 consecutive Grand Slams played) is very nice, but more to follow. Being competitive,” he commented on the milestone.
“It is difficult for someone to overcome it because it is 20 years in a row without missing a great one. I have had continuity and enormous luck. Those of my generation are practically all retired.”

Away from the court, the former world No.12 is the current tournament director of the Madrid Open. Making him one of a few players historically to both be playing on the Tour and managing a tournament at the same time. Recently it was confirmed that Madrid will continue hosting it’s combined event until at least 2030 following a renewed agreement between the city council and the Madrid trophy promotion.

Lopez has won a total of seven ATP titles so far in his career and has earned more than $18M in prize money.

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