TENNIS – Seven-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer (2) cruised past Bosnia’s Damir Dzumhur with 6-1 6-3 6-3 in just 67 minutes on Centre Court at Wimbledon on a very warm day with temperatures reaching 30° degrees. Federer broke serve five times and did not face a break point. He hit 26 winners to 12 unforced errors. Diego Sampaolo
Federer, who is bidding to win his 8th title at Wimbledon, needed just 18 minutes to win the first set 6-1. Dzumhur, who played his first match on grass at ATP level, kept the pace with the Swiss Maestro until 3-3 in the second set when Federer pulled away to 6-3. Federer converted on the first of his three match points to seal his 74th win at this event. In the 2nd round Federer will face a tougher opponent in the form of Sam Querrey who beat Igor Sijsling 7-5 6-3 6-4
“Wimbledon is my big goal. I was trying to think how many times I have played there now. I know it’s been often. Every time it feels like it’s a special occasion”, said Federer
Andy Murray (3), winner at Wimbledon in 2013, opened his Wimbledon campaign with a 6-4 7-6(3) 6-4 win over Mikhail Kukushkin in 2 hours and 13 minutes. Murray got the first break in the 10th game of the first set when Kukushkin made a double fault as he was serving to stay in the first set. Murray broke serve early in the 2nd set to take a 2-0 lead. Kukushkin bounced back to take a 6-5 lead earning a chance to serve for the second set. Murray broke serve before winning the second set with 7-3 in the tiebreaker. The Dunblane star broke serve in the 5th game of the 3rd set before wrapping up the match when Kukushkin hit a backhand wide.
“It was a tough match. I made it hard for myself in the second set. Towards the end of the second set I missed 10 first serves in a row. I gave him the opportunity to be aggressive”, said Murray.
Rafa Nadal (10) also needed three sets to beat Thomaz Bellucci 6-4 6-2 6-3. Nadal fended off four of the six break point chances he faced. He will face Dustin Brown who rallied from losing the first set to edge Yen Hsun Lu 3-6 6-3 7-5 6-4. Brown beat Nadal last year in Halle on grass. “Anything can happen. He beat me last year in Halle. It is little bit different. He is a tough player. He won today against a good opponent. He will come with good confidence”, said Nadal.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (13) battled past Giles Muller 7-6(8) 6-7(3) 6-4 3-6 6-2 in 3 hours and 50 minutes in the most exciting match of Day 2. There were no breaks in the first 2 sets which came down to tiebreakers. Tsonga won the first tie-break as Muller drew levelled the match winning the 2nd set tie-break. Tsonga won the 3rd set after breaking for a 3-2 lead and maintaining this advantage for 6-4. However, Muller was not to be discounted. He opened up the 4th set with a 3-0 lead and he too maintained this 1-break advantage for 6-3. The match had to be decided in the 5th set where Tsonga showed his experience. He got out to a 4-1 lead and then broke Muller again as he served to stay in the match for 6-2.
Tomas Berdych (6), finalist here back in Wimbledon in 2010, battled past Jeremy Chardy 6-2 6-7(8) 7-6(3) 7-6(5). The Czech player will take on Nicolas Mahut who beat Filip Krajinovic 7-6(4) 6-4 3-6 7-5. Berdych cruised to 6-2 in the first set. Chardy bounced back in the second set where he saved two set points in the second set before winning the tie-break 10-8. Berdych won the tie-break of the third set with 7-3 points to take a 2-1 sets lead. In the tie-break of the 4th set Chardy hit his forehand into the net to bring up match point for Berdych. Berdych closed out the match with his 16th ace in near darkness on Tuesday evening.
Other winners on the day include several Frenchmen Gilles Simon (12) 6-4 6-4 7-5 over Nicolas Almagro, Gael Monfils (18), Adrian Mannarino and Benoit Paire. Amongst the other winners were Alexandr Dolgopolov, Viktor Troicki (22), Roberto Bautista-Agut (20), Feliciano Lopez (15), Fabio Fognini (30), and Lukas Rosol who beat Ernests Gulbis.Borna Coric beat Sergiy Stakhovsky in 5 sets.
REPORT: Grigor Dimitrov Appoints New Coach
The former ATP Finals champion appears to have found a new mentor.
Former top 10 player Grigor Dimitrov has found a replacement following the departure of Radek Stepanek, according to one Bulgarian news source.
TennisKafe.com has reported that the world No.20 is now working alongside Christian Groh. A German-born coach who has worked with a number of top players on the men’s tour. Including Tommy Haas and Taylor Fritz. It is his work with Haas that Groh is best known for. During their 24 months together, he guided him from outside the top 200 to 11th in the ATP rankings.
The development comes a month after the 28-year-old stated that he was in no hurry to find a new mentor on the tour. Back in May he ended his collaboration with Dani Vallverdu after almost three years working together. He made the decision shortly before he exited the world’s top 50 for the first time since 2012.
“I’m not in a panic right now to find a coach. I always think that when I don’t have someone beside me, it’s hard to train. However, in the past months, I have done things myself that I have not done.” Dimitrov told reporters in November.
“You need to have freedom, to find yourself, to become closer to yourself.” He added.
Despite Stepanek stepping away, Dimitrov is still in contact with eight-time grand slam champion Agassi. Agassi is not a coach to the Bulgarian, but has agreed to a sort of consultation role where the two talk with each other regularly.
Dimitrov has experienced a roller coaster run on the tour this season with a win-loss record of 22-21. At one stage he failed to win back-to-back matches at six consecutive tournaments over the summer. However, his form surged during the last quarter of 2019 where he reached the semi-finals at both the US Open and Paris Masters.
Neither Dimitrov or Groh has yet confirmed their new partnership on the tour. Groh has recently been working as a consultant for the United States Tennis Association (USTA).
Heading into the new season, the first test for the duo will be at the ATP Cup in Australia. As well as playing, Dimitrov is the captain of the Bulgarian team.
Groh’s coaching CV
- 2011: Michael Berrer
- 2012-2013: Tommy Haas
- 2014: Bradley Klahn and Taylor Fritz
- 2015: Tommy Haas and Taylor Fritz
- ATP/WTA Players and United States Tennis Federation Player Development since 2015
Since the publication of this article, Ubitennis has received some additional details on Dimitrov’s work with Groh. The editor of TennisKafe.com, Borislav Orlinov, confirmed it was Dimitrov’s manager (Georgi Stoimenov) who revelled the two will be working together. They are currently training in Monte Carlo, but will head to Australia before the New Year.
Rival Backs Dominic Thiem To Win Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award
Only two players have won the award since 2004.
For the past 15 years only two players have managed to get their hands on the prestigious Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award, but one player thinks there could be a brand new winner this year.
Diego Schwartzman has lent his support behind world No.4 Dominic Thiem. The award recognizes those who have conducted the highest level of professionalism and integrity on the ATP Tour throughout the season. Established in 1977, Roger Federer has won the honour in 13 out of the past 15 years. The only other player to triumph during that period was Rafael Nadal, who won it in 2010 and 2018.
“I think Thiem can win it, he showed throughout the year a competitiveness and a respect with everyone that was spectacular,” Schwartzman told ole.com. “On top of that he is having great years of his career and this season was even better for the achievements he had.’
“He has a good chance of winning it.” He added.
Schwartzman, who reached the quarter-finals of the US Open earlier this year, has also been shortlisted for the award. Along with regular nominees Federer and Nadal. Only once has an Argentinian player won the title, which was José Luis Clerc back in 1981. At that time it was known as the ATP Sportsmanship award before getting renamed in 1996.
“I learned first (of getting nominated) through social networks rather than the official designation that the ATP sends you by mail.” The 27-year-old revealed.
“It is more spectacular than anything for the players I have next to me. It is a very important prize that recognizes a little what you do off the court, not only hitting the ball.”
Whilst he is dreaming of winning the honour himself, Schwartzman is just happy that he has been nominated.
“If I won this award, it would be spectacular. Now I am on that payroll that is very good and represents the values that I try to maintain on a day-to-day basis and that (my coaching teams over the years) have taught me. It is very nice to be recognized for that. “ He concluded.
The four nominees for the Stefan Edberg Award was shortlisted by the ATP. However, it will be the players who will decide the winner. The result will be revealed later this month.
Multiple winners of the Stefan Edberg/ATP Sportsmanship award
Roger Federer – 13
Stefan Edberg – 5
Pat Rafter – 4
Alex Corretja – 2
Todd Martin – 2
Paradorn Srichaphan – 2
Rafael Nadal – 2
Kei Nishikori In Doubt For The Australian Open
Asia’s highest ranked male tennis player is contemplating when he should return to the tour following surgery.
World No.13 Kei Nishikori is refusing to rule out the prospect of skipping the first grand slam event of 2020 as he continues his recovery from surgery.
Nishikori hasn’t played a match on the tour since his third round loss at the US Open back in September. A month later he underwent a procedure on his right elbow in a move that brought his season to an early end. Currently undergoing rehabilitation, it is unclear as to when the Japanese player believes he will return to the ATP Tour.
“The prospect of a return from surgery on right elbow in January. Maybe February. In the second half of next year I want to be able to play well.” Nikkan Sports quoted Nishikori as saying.
“I don’t want to overdo it,” he added.
The Australian Open will get underway on January 20th in Melbourne. Should he miss the grand slam, it will be the second time he has done so in the last three years. Nishikori also withdrew from the 2018 edition due to a wrist injury. In January he reached the quarter-finals and therefore has 360 points to defend next year.
During his time away from the court, the 29-year-old has been kept busy making changes to his team. Recently it was confirmed that he has started working alongside Max Mirnyi, who is a former world No.1 doubles player. Mirnyi, who has won 10 grand slam titles in men’s and mixed doubles, will be working full-time with Nishikori alongside existing coach Michael Chang.
“I’m getting closer to retirement. I want to be cured and come back to play good tennis in the second half of next year.” Nishikori stated.
Despite the injury setback, Nishikori has enjoyed success in 2019. Reaching the quarter-finals in three out of the four grand slam tournaments. The first time he has ever done that in his career. He also claimed his 12th ATP title at the Brisbane International. Overall, he won 29 out of 43 matches played.
Nishikori will turn 30 on December 29th.
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