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ATP Valencia: Main draw – Ferrer in potential Krygios encounter

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Ferrer has won the Valencia title three times in the past

Ferrer has won the Valencia title three times in the past

David Ferrer has been handed what is probably the toughest start in his quest to claim a fourth Valencia crown, as he could face the unpredictable Nick Kyrgios in the second round.

 

Ferrer enjoys a bye in round one, but with Kyrgios expected to get past his qualifier opponent in the first round, could set up a blockbuster encounter between a experienced veteran and a explosive youngster. Intriguingly, the pair have not met on tour in more than two years, when Ferrer dismissed a teenager Kyrgios in the US Open. This potential match sees a more experienced Kyrgios, with wins over Nadal and Federer under his belt, arrive in Valencia.

The other seeds who benefit from a first-round bye are Feliciano Lopez, Bernard Tomic, and Fabio Fognini.

Fifth seed Benoit Paire also faces a qualifier, whom he should beat, before facing one of two-in form players. Gilles Muller will face Joao Sousa for the right to probably face Paire. With Muller’s more consistent year and lefty serve, and Sousa’s recent early exits since his final appearance in St Petersburg, Muller looks the favourite. Prediction: Muller

In contrast, sixth seed Guillermo Garcia-Lopez faces a horrible match-up against former top-ten player Fernando Verdasco. Despite Garcia Lopez’ higher ranking, Verdasco dominates the head-to-head six-one, and Garcia Lopez has not beaten him since 2009. Prediction: Verdasco

Another all Spanish affair sees seventh seed Roberto Bautista-Agut take on wildcard entry Nicolas Almagro. Since a foot injury plagued Almagro in 2014, the former top-ten star has struggled to return to the highest level, but did end the career of Jarko Nieminen in Stockholm. Still, Bautista-Agut is more consistent than the now retired Finnish veteran. Prediction: Bautista-Agut.

Eighth seed Jeremy Chardy faces Brit Aljaz Bedene in the first round. Bedene is in very poor form, winning just one main draw match since the US Open (def. Youzhny). Recent one-sided defeats to Denis Istomin and Hyeon Chung suggest this is likely to be a predictable encounter. Prediction: Chardy

In a battle of wildcards, Marcel Granollers will face young Russian Andrey Rublev. Granollers has slid heavily down the rankings this term, and has actually reverted to playing as many Challengers as ATP events. Rublev was dismissed rather easily by Mikhail Kukushkin in Moscow, but Granollers has been shocked by young players already this season (Chung) and it could happen again in Valencia. Prediction: Rublev

For the tournament: There are some big names in Valencia this week, and the potential Ferrer-Kyrgios encounter could go some way to deciding the champion. Bernard Tomic had a great run that was only stopped by Djokovic in Shanghai, and will be a major threat despite his early loss to Baghdatis last week. Prediction Tournament winner: Tomic

Main Draw Valencia:

(1) Ferrer, David ESP vs Bye
Kyrgios, Nick AUS vs Qualifier
Pospisil, Vasek CAN vs Giraldo, Santiago COL
Bedene, Aljaz GBR vs (8) Chardy, Jeremy FRA

(3) Tomic, Bernard AUS vs Bye
Cuevas, Pablo URU vs Carreno Busta, Pablo ESP
Sousa, Joao POR vs Muller, Gilles LUX
Qualifier vs (5) Paire, Benoit FRA

(7) Bautista Agut, Roberto ESP vs (WC) Almagro, Nicolas ESP
(WC) Granollers, Marcel ESP vs (WC) Rublev, Andrey RUS
Bellucci, Thomaz BRA vs Qualifier
Bye vs (4) Fognini, Fabio ITA

(6) Garcia-Lopez, Guillermo ESP vs Verdasco, Fernando ESP
Andujar, Pablo ESP vs Qualifier
Johnson, Steve USA vs Klizan, Martin SVK
Bye vs (2) Lopez, Feliciano ESP

Nor Andy Murray, last year’s winner, nor Tommy Robredo, last year’s runner-up, are taking part in the 2015 event.

 

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‘It Almost Feels Like That’s Not Me’ – Emma Raducanu Reacts To Watching Her Historic US Open Win

The recently crowned US Open champion spoke to a series of British TV programmes on Friday morning about her rapid rise in the sport.

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Emma Raducanu (Darren Carroll/USTA)

British tennis sensation Emma Raducanu says her shock run to the US Open title is slowly starting to sink after spending her first night back in the UK watching a replay of her final match.

 

In New York the 18-year-old stunned the women’s draw by coming through qualifying en route to winning the title. In all 10 matches she played Raducanu didn’t drop a seat despite taking on top 20 players Maria Sakkari and Belinda Bencic. In the final she defeated Canada’s Leyleh Fernandez.

The fairytale run has rewritten the history books for various reasons. The Brit, who was playing in the main draw of a Grand Slam for only the second time in her career, is the first ever qualifier to win a major title. She is also the first female player from her country to win a Grand Slam since Virginia Wade in 1977 and the third-lowest-ranked woman to win a major in WTA rankings history.

On Friday the world No.23 spoke to various British morning TV shows about her meteoric rise in tennis over such a short period of time. The US Open was only the fourth main draw she has played on the WTA Tour so far in her career.

“I think it’s gradually sinking in a bit more. Last night I re-watched the final and tried to relive a couple of the moments and remember how it felt,’ Raducanu told BBC Breakfast.
“But it’s still such a whirlwind of an experience. I’ve loved every moment of it. It is something that is very difficult to fully comprehend.
“When I was watching it, it almost feels like that’s not me who’s playing and pulling off some of those shots. I knew exactly what was going to happen but still there’s some very tense moments and I was really proud of how I came through some moments.
“And the timeout at the end, I didn’t realise how stressful that was watching on TV.”

The Lawn Tennis Association (LTA), who are the governing body of British Tennis, are hoping they will be able to capitalise on Raducanu’s US Open triumph through an increase level in participation rates in the country. Various clubs this week have noticed a surge in tennis court bookings. So much so that ironically Raducanu is struggling to get one in her local area.

‘I can’t get a tennis court either. I still can’t get a court. It means a lot that tennis is so popular now,” she told ITV’s Good Morning Britain.

One of the most striking aspects of Raducanu is how mature she appears to be considering her age. She was born in Canada but moved to the UK at the age of two. Her father is Romanian and mother is Chinese who have both worked in the finance section. She credits her parents for making her so level-headed.

Therefore, it is unsurprising that Raducanu isn’t getting too carried away when it comes to what she plans to do with her £1.8M US Open prize money.

I haven’t bought anything yet. I know tennis is an extremely expensive sport so the money will go towards that. I don’t really think of the money side of it. I know there are lots of taxes and expenses. I haven’t logged onto my bank, I’ve just been at home and in the moment,” she said.

Now being dubbed as potentially one of the most marketable athletes in the world by some marketing experts. Raducanu is already rubbing shoulders with some of the world’s best-known celebrities. Earlier this week she received a last-minute invite to the prestigious Met Gala in New York. Both of the Williams sisters, Maria Sharapova, Matteo Berrettini and Felix Auger-Aliassime also attended the event.

“I was so grateful to get the opportunity to go. The performances were amazing. I managed to see Lewis Hamilton, which was really cool because I’m a huge motorsports fan.” Raducanu commented.

Finally, speaking to Sky News via Zoom, the teenager said she hopes her recent success will help inspire others in both tennis and other aspects of their lives.

Even if it’s not tennis, even it’s to be a doctor, I just want to inspire them to dream big and anything can happen,” she told presenter Jacquie Beltrao.
“I just want to get across the message that you can be a normal kid and go to school and do normal things and still achieve results and I think that’s my main message to all the kids.”

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Boris Becker Hits Out At ‘Unacceptable’ Treatment Of Novak Djokovic

Djokovic’s former coach hopes the world No.1 will be percieved differntly following his performance at the US Open.

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German tennis great Boris Becker believes Novak Djokovic is being unfairly treated compared to the other two members of the Big Three and hopes he will now be seen in a different light following the US Open.

 

Djokovic narrowly missed out on becoming the first man since 1968 to achieve a Calendar Slam where a player wins all four major events within the same season. In the final of the US Open the world No.1 fell in straight sets to Daniil Medvedev after producing what he later described as a ‘below par’ performance. If he had won the tournament, he would have also surpassed both Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer to become the most decorated male Grand Slam singles player in history.

Although the final wasn’t entirely bittersweet for Djokovic who relished in the support of the New York crowd which at one stage brought tears to her eyes. Moments after the final, he said he would never forget the match due to the reception he got from the fans.

“I’ve never seen Novak cry on the tennis court. He must have really gone to his limit, or over the limit, emotionally,” Becker told Eurosport Germany.
“With all the expectations on himself, he must have been asked every day since Wimbledon whether he would win the Grand Slam or become the record holder with 21 majors. It came over him, so to speak. His speech after the event was all the more remarkable. Still with wet eyes he explained to the New Yorkers, ‘today is the most beautiful day of my life, because finally I feel that I am respected and loved’. And this on a day when he could not take advantage of what might have been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to win all the majors in one year.
“It was an incredible situation, a crazy moment in time.”

With the chance of making history in the US Open final, the former tennis star says Djokovic was unable to control his emotions on the court. Something Serbian admitted to during his press conference on Sunday.

Becker, who won six Grand Slam titles during his career, is the former coach of Djokovic. The two worked together for three seasons between 2014-2016 and won six major titles. Continuing his defence of Djokovic, the 53-year-old criticised what he perceives as unfair treatment by the media when the topic of the Big Three is discussed.

“I know Novak privately and professionally, and I can only say that he is a fine guy. A competitor who sometimes misbehaves on the court, but who doesn’t? The public, including the media, really have to get used to the fact that there are not just two, but three [legends], who have great qualities as players and as individuals,” he said.
It is not acceptable that Novak is always the bad guy and Roger and Rafa are always the good guys – that is unfair.
“I hope that these two weeks in New York, the final, the following speech and the reaction of the New York audience will ensure that he is finally seen in a different light.”

Continuing his criticism of the media, Becker says Djokovic is also often overlooked when it comes to his defence of his peers.

“He publicly stood up for [Stefanos] Tsitsipas [in the toilet break row] after the semi-final against [Alexander] Zverev; he often stands up for other players. That’s often swept under the rug and no one wants to perceive that in any way. There’s another side to him, and it’s very sympathetic. I hope for him and for his family that he’s finally treated a little more fairly than he has been until now.” He said.

So far this season Djokovic has won a total of four titles with three of those being in the majors. Overall, he has played 50 matches in 2021 and has won 44 of them. The only players to have defeated him are Medvedev, Alexander Zverev, Pablo Carreno Busta, Nadal, Aslan Karatsev and Dan Evans.

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ATP To Make Changes To Toilet Break And Medical Time-Out Rules Ahead Of 2022 Season

Rule changes on toilet breaks and medical time-outs are set to be implemented before the start of the 2022 season.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas (@ToiSports - Twitter)

The ATP are set to make changes to the rules around toilet breaks and medical time-outs ahead of the 2022 season.

 

The issue of toilet breaks and medical time-outs has been long a discussion in tennis with players often accused of using the lenient rule concerning these two topics to gain an advantage using gamesmanship.

More recently this issue has flared up with Stefanos Tsitsipas accused of using eight minute toilet breaks to take the momentum away from his opponent just like he did against Andy Murray at the US Open.

The Greek has often denied that he has done it for those reasons and says he has not broken any rules.

However that might be about to change as an ATP source has told Reuters that there are discussions to change these rules next year, “There will be a change to the rules for bathroom breaks and on-court medical timeouts as well,” an ATP source told Reuters.

“I hope that before the next season begins in January, we will have a stricter rule when it comes to toilet breaks and medical timeouts. I think it’s getting to the point where it’s definitely becoming a big issue. It’s been an issue for a long time but we are taking quite a serious approach now to try and change it.”

Players such as Sloane Stephens and Alexander Zverev have also spoken out against the gamesmanship surrounding toilet breaks and medical time-outs.

Although Tsitsipas did get some support from world number one Novak Djokovic who doesn’t believe the Greek deserved the criticism that he got, “I’ve got to stand for Stefanos Tsitsipas,” Djokovic told reporters at the US Open.

“I don’t think he’s doing anything wrong. I support him. The rule is not clear. Of course you can argue it’s all relative, everyone sees it differently. This was a hot topic last couple of weeks. I think he didn’t deserve that much attacks that he was getting in the media from everyone.”

Changes are hoping to be made before the Australian Open in January which starts on the 17th of January.

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