How will Davin and Dimitrov fare? - UBITENNIS
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How will Davin and Dimitrov fare?

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Franco Davin and Grigor Dimitrov will embark on their first tournament together this week in Malaysia as the Bulgarian kicks off his campaign against Joao Sousa tomorrow.

It has been well documented how poor Dimitrov’s 2015 season has been, as his ranking has dropped to 19, with a win-loss record of 27-17 for the present campaign and no quarter-final showings since the Madrid Open in May. It mustn’t be forgotten that Dimitrov was dubbed as the new Federer, which is an almost near impossible tag to live up to, but at the age of 24 he has fallen way short of even becoming the next big thing in the world of tennis. Boasting only four career titles (Stockholm 2013, Queens, Bucharest and Acapulco 2014) his journey thus far has seen far more disappointments than success.

2015 has been a year of change for Dimitrov, both off the court and on the court, and after putting an end to his professional relationship with Roger Rasheed in July, he’s been waiting to make the right decision to steer his career in the right direction. He linked up with Johan Ortegren and completed some sessions with Ivan Lendl, but the former Czech star decided he couldn’t fully commit to the job and therefore passed on the possibility of leading one of tennis’ brightest talents.

So what can Franco Davin bring to the table? The Argentine has been a key figure in his nation’s golden era of tennis, leading Gaston Gaudio to the French Open title in 2004 and Juan Martin Del Potro to the US Open in 2009, two triumphs which no one could have expected. Working with enigmatic talents can be a frustrating ordeal and very few manage to get the best out of these players but Davin has worked with, perhaps, one of the most volatile players of the last twenty years in the figure of Gaudio. The French Open champ possessed a skill that you’re born with, a subtle touch that can’t be trained, but he lacked an equally important skill, which is to know how to channel that ability effectively, and that’s where Davin came into play. He managed to convert inconsistent spells of magic into consistently effective tennis.

Just like Dimitrov, Davin has also been waiting for the right moment to return to the coaching game. It is rumoured that Milos Raonic and Andy Murray both approached him, but he loyally stuck to Del Potro, until he underwent surgery for a third time on his left wrist and Davin decided he had to get back to work. According to sources near Davin, linking up with Dimitrov was a very quick process so they haven’t had time to practice together. The idea in this two-tournament trial period is to discover whether they’re on the same page in terms of how to go about redirecting his career.

Obviously miracles can’t happen in a week, and Dimitrov’s game will undergo no effects in Kuala Lumpur or Tokyo but depending on Davin’s methods he will decide whether to continue or not, and vice versa, the Argentine coach won’t stick around if he sees they’re not on the same page. But if Dimitrov has the patience to listen to Franco Davin then this will surely be a winning combination. With a proven track record and the knowledge to squeeze more out of players than they ever thought they had it is down to Dimitrov to find in Davin the answers to all the questions that right now he cannot find.

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Jack Draper Wins In Stuttgart, Potentially Faces Andy Murray in Round Two

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Jack Draper – ATP Monaco di Baviera 2024 (foto via Twitter @atptour)

Britain’s Jack Draper tight first round win headlined the opening day’s results at the Boss Open 2024 in Stuttgart – and possibly faces a second-round match with Andy Murray who takes on Marcos Giron tomorrow.

Less than 24 hours from the last ball being hit at Roland Garros, the ATP Tour had already switched surfaces onto the grass, and 22-year-old Draper was well tested but ultimately came through in two tie-breakers over Sebastian Ofner.

The sixth seed’s 7-6, 7-6 win contained just one break of serve each, both coming in the second set, as serve dominated proceedings on the faster grass courts in Germany.

While the Austrian won 75% on his first serve, Draper won a whopping 89% behind his first delivery as well as hitting eight aces. These kind of service stats will surely take him far during the grass court season.

“I thought it was a really good match,” Eurosport quoted Draper saying after his match. 
“Both of us played really clean tennis, executing really well.
“When it came down to it, I’m glad I competed really well and got over the line – it’s good to be back on the grass as well.”

There were also wins for Germany’s Yannick Hanfmann who won 6-3, 6-3 over wildcard Henri Squire, while compatriot Dominik Koepfer won in three sets over China’s Zhizhen Zhang 4-6, 7-6, 7-6. 

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Carlos Alcaraz Still Owns A Magical Racket

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The legend of Carlos Alcaraz and his magical racket lives on.

The 21-year-old Spaniard executed one magical shot after another with his racket and legs  Sunday afternoon in the French Open final. That bit of magic spelled defeat for Germany’s Alexander Zverev.

This was a final to remember, one of the great matches of all the Grand Slams. It just wasn’t in the cards for the 26-year-old Zverev to finally win a Grand Slam title.

HE HAD IT, THEN HE DIDN’T

Both players seemed to play a game of “he had it and then he didn’t.”

Alcaraz appeared to have everything under control in the first set, but Zverev rushed through the second set and then made a comeback from 5-2 down in the third set to win five straight games.

Zverev had everything going for him when he started the fourth set with a two-set advantage. It appeared that all the 6-6 Zverev had to do was to continue playing his masterful game of big serves and mighty ground strokes.

But Zverev couldn’t get started in the fourth set until he was down 4-0. So much for a smooth and easy ride to a Grand Slam title. By then, the magic of Alcaraz was heating up.

MAGIC OF ALCARAZ HEATING UP

Zverev still had his chances, even when he fell behind 2-1 in the fifth set. He had to feel pretty good about his chances when he took a triple break point lead against Alcaraz’s serve and appeared ready to even the set at 2-2. Even after Carlos came up with a winner to bring the  game score to double break point.

Zverev still was ready to even the entire match.

That’s when everything seemed to go haywire for the German, while all the while, Alcaraz was able to repeatedly come up with his magical shots as the Spaniard made critical shots that looked almost impossible to make.

ALCARAZ HEADED FOR GREATNESS

Everything for Zverev was lost in the magical racket of Alcaraz.

What was then initially called a game-ending Alcaraz double fault and a 2-2 deadlock quicky reversed itself and Alcaraz stayed alive by winning the next three points while taking a 3-1 advantage.

Zverev did get back to a 3-2 deficit and had a break point in the sixth game, but that was it for the hopes of Zverev. The last two games went rather easily in favor of Alcaraz to wrap up a 6-3, 2-6, 5-7, 6-1, 6-2 victory for Alcaraz.

That moved the Spaniard to a higher level of success on the ATP Tour. He became the youngest man to win Grand Slam titles on all of the different surfaces, clay, grass and hard courts.

Carlos Alcaraz and his magical racket appear to be headed for greatness.

James Beck was the 2003 winner of the USTA National Media Award  for print media. A 1995 MBA graduate of The Citadel, he can be reached at Jamesbecktennis@gmail.com. 

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Tsitsipas Brothers Hit With Trio Of Fines At French Open

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Stefanos Tsitsipas and his brother Petros have been fined more than 20,000 euros for multiple violations of the coaching rules at this year’s French Open. 

The brothers received a financial penalty during three different matches that they played in. Two of those were in the second and third rounds of the men’s doubles tournament. Furthermore, Stefanos was also penalised during his singles quarter-final match against Carlos Alcaraz, which he lost in straight sets. According to French newspaper L’Equipe, all three of those fines were issued as a result of coaching rules being broken.

Ironically, coaching is allowed during matches at the French Open but certain rules must be followed. ‘Verbal’ coaching can only be issued from the coaches and their team if they are sitting in the designated player’s box. Instructions must be limited to a few words and can only be given if the player is in the same half of the court as their coach. Although non-verbal coaching is allowed regardless of what side the player is on. Finally, players can’t start a conversation with their coach unless it is during a medical break, a bathroom break or when their opponent is changing clothes.

However, the Tsitsipas brothers have been found in violation of these rules, which is likely due to their animated father in the stands who is also their coach. Apostolos Tsitsipas has been given coaching violations in the past at other events, including the 2022 Australian Open. 

The value of the fines are €4,600 and €9,200 for the Tsitsipas brothers in the doubles, as well as an additional €7,400 just for Stefanos in the singles. In total, the value of their fines is €21,200. However, the penalty is unlikely to have an impact on the duo whose combined earnings for playing in this year’s French Open amount to roughly €495,000. 

So far in the tournament, the highest single fine to be issued this year was against Terence Atmane who hit a ball out of frustration that struck a fan in the stands. Atmane, who later apologised for his actions, managed to avoid getting disqualified from the match. Instead, he was fined €23,000. 

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