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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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Why Cameron Norrie’s Historic Run To The Wimbledon Semi-Finals Is No Fluke

The Brit has already proved his worth on the ATP Tour, it was only a matter of time before he did so at the majors.

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image via twitter.com/wimbledon

Cameron Norrie joins a small contingent of British men to have ever reached the semi-final of a major after coming through a dramatic five-set epic against David Goffin at Wimbledon.

Spurred on by an animated crowd, the ninth seed battled from behind to win 3-6, 7-5, 2-6, 6-3, 7-5, against the former top 10 player. In doing so the 26-year-old has become only the fourth British man in the Open Era to reach the last four of the grass-court major and the seventh to do so at any Grand Slam. 

 

“To just be a semifinalist of a slam, especially this one, living just around the corner. It’s just all pretty crazy and all happened pretty quickly.” Said Norrie. 

A former college standout player for Texas Christian University, Norrie’s Grand Slam breakthrough has been one in the making. Last year he achieved his best-ever season with a win-loss record of 52-25. During that year he contested six tour finals across three different surfaces, winning two titles. The most prestigious being Indian Wells.  His coach, Facundo Lugones, was recognized for his work by being named ATP Coach of the Year.

Norrie’s 2021 wasn’t a one-off with him continuing his form into this year. Winning the Delray Beach Open in February and Lyon in May. More recently, he was runner-up at Queen’s to Matteo Berrettini who is absent from the tournament after testing positive for COVID-19

“When I was a kid watching guys on TV making the (Grand Slam) quarterfinals and thinking, ‘Wow, this looks so tough to do, and there’s almost zero chance I’m going to do that.’ But to actually be doing it, to be living it and experiencing it is very cool and pretty crazy.”

Until now the Grand Slams have been where Norrie has failed to shine. It was visible how much the latest Wimbledon win meant to the world No.12 who struggled to hold back his emotions whilst speaking during his on-court interview.

“All the hard work, the sacrifices and everything just kind of all hit me at once. Especially the situation here at Wimbledon in front of my family, my friends, and obviously a lot of people following that match.” Norrie explained.
“Thinking back about all the hard work, the sacrifices and everything was just…. I didn’t really know what to say. It got emotional there. (It was) just a crazy day and crazy match to get through.”

Standing in his way of becoming the first home player since Andy Murray to reach the Wimbledon final is Novak Djokovic. The top seed ousted Jannik Sinner in five sets earlier in the day.

“He has nothing to lose. Every victory from now onwards is a big deal for him. I know that.” Said Djokovic.
“But I practiced (with him) a few times. I know his game well. He’s been around. Of course, I will do my homework and get ready.”

Looking ahead to his showdown with the 20-time Grand Slam champion, Norrie describes playing him as one of the ‘toughest’ tasks in the sport. He first played Djokovic at last year’s ATP Finals in Milan where he lost 6-2, 6-1. Although the Brit believes he has learned a lot from that match and will be seeking tips from a former Wimbledon Champion as well. 

“Andy (Murray) has been super supportive to me and my team. I’m always practicing with him and always reaching out to him for ideas. He’s super supportive with us,” he said.
“I think he’s not a bad guy to ask about some tactics. I’m going to enjoy today and maybe reach out to him and see what he’s got.”

Norrie’s win-loss record against top 10 players in his career currently stands at 4-23. 

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Novak Djokovic Says His Focus Is On Wimbledon Amid Possible US Open Ban

What does the future have in store for the 20-time Grand Slam champion?

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Novak Djokovic-. Credit: AELTC/Simon Bruty

World No.1 Novak Djokovic admits he is uncertain about what the coming months will hold for him after winning a marathon quarter-final match at Wimbledon.

The Serbian is seeking to win his 21st major title at The All England Club. If he does he will move to one away from Rafael Nadal’s all-time record. However, the prospect of Djokovic drawing level this year currently seems unlikely and it has nothing to do with his ability as a player. 

 

Under current guidelines, he will not be allowed to play at the US Open due to government rules regarding covid-19. Unvaccinated individuals are still prohibited from entering the country and Djokovic is one of those. Earlier this year the tennis star was involved in a high-profile legal dispute with the Australian government over his vaccination status which resulted in his deportation.

The Australian deportation has also raised uncertainty about if Djokovic will be allowed back into the country next year. In the worst-case scenario, he may not be able to play another slam after Wimbledon until next May in Roland Garros.

“​​I wouldn’t necessarily say that I have completely new motivation because of the circumstances,” said Djokovic. “I always feel very motivated and inspired to play the best tennis at the Grand Slams, particularly here. I mean, this (Wimbledon) is arguably the most important tournament in the history of our sport.”

Djokovic has vowed not to dwell too much on his current situation. Instead, it is a case of living in the moment.

“What happens after Wimbledon is really, you know, is unpredictable at the moment, so I don’t pay attention too much to that. I try to focus my thoughts here, and then we will see what happens afterwards.” He later added. 

If Djokovic is unable to play in America, he could still play a masters 1000 event in Canada and there is also an ATP 250 event taking place in Mexico during the summer period.

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(EXCLUSIVE) Former Wimbledon Champion Marion Bartoli On Why Tennis Needs Nick Kyrgios

The former world No.7 spoke to Ubitennis about the Australian star who has sensationally been charged with assault.

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Marion Bartoli (left) pictured at the 2022 Wimbledon Centre Court 100 year celebration - image https://twitter.com/bartoli_marion

Marion Bartoli believes tennis needs a ‘disruptor’ like Nick Kyrgios in order to break the trend of similar personalities on the Tour.

Bartoli, who won the 2013 Wimbledon title, spoke to Ubitennis during an hour-long media session that took place at The All England Club on Tuesday morning. A large talking point of the tournament so far has been the roller-coaster behavior of Kyrgios during two of his matches. In the first round, he was issued with a fine for unsportsmanlike conduct after arguing with officials and spitting in front of some members of the crowd who were ‘disrespecting him.’ Then during a dramatic third round clash with Stefanos Tsitsipas, he once again argued with officials and even questioned why his opponent wasn’t defaulted from their match after hitting the ball into the stands.

The Australian is undoubtedly a divisive character. However, Bartoli believes that is exactly what tennis needs. 

 

“You either like him or you don’t. He will not make you feel middle ranged about him,” Bartoli tells Ubitennis.
“We need people like this in tennis. Some sort of disruptor with a different character. I don’t think it is good to have everyone acting the same way.’

“The limit is when you start to go against the umpire but he brings something new and different which is exciting for the game.”

Although not everybody has the same viewpoint. During his press conference on Saturday night, Tsitsipas stunned reporters when he branded his peer a bully due to his antics. Something Kyrgios denies. The Greek has also said he supports some sort of intervention to address the behavior of the world No.40 if such an opportunity occurs. 

“He said what he felt on the court and that’s fair. You just have to respect that,” Bartoli comments on Tsitsipas.
“At the end of the day we know what Nick is bringing to the court and it is not really surprising. It was almost as if Stefanos looked surprised by that which for me is something I wouldn’t have expected from him.”

Controversy aside, Kyrgios is looking to be a major danger in the tournament as long as his shoulder holds up. It is the first time he has reached the last eight of the tournament since 2014 after beating Brandon Nakashima in five sets on Monday. In his section of the draw, he faces unseeded Cristian Garin next, followed by a potential clash with Rafael Nadal. 

It was Kyrgios’ latest performance which has drawn praise from Bartoli.

“I think he has been doing extremely well this year, tennis-wise. He got a lot of confidence playing well on the grass before Wimbledon and he just loves the show,” she said.
“He loves the center stage and the way he played (against Nakashima) was brilliant. He didn’t go out way too much into his extreme where he would talk out loud all the time. It was just about his tennis. He’s always so exciting and he’s a great addition to the championships.“

As our discussion about the tennis star took place, sensational news broke that Kyrgios has been charged with assaulting his ex-girlfriend. The Canberra Times has reported that the assault took place last year and he is set to go to court next month. If he is found guilty, he could go to prison. 

Pick for the women’s final

As for the women’s draw, Bartoli has her money on two particular individuals. Although it is Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur who she is tipping to win the title. The second seed is yet to contest a Grand Slam final in her career. 

Meanwhile, 2019 champion Simona Halep is gaining momentum in the tournament. After struggling with injury and confidence issues in recent months, the Romanian is yet to drop a set in four matches played. 

“Ons Jabeur is playing great tennis. She was my pick to win the Wimbledon title. I think Simona Halep has been extremely impressive, the way she won against Badosa was really quite something. Those two should be the ones going through to the final but in this year’s championship there have been so many upsets you never know.” Bartoli commented.

Bartoli is playing in the mixed-doubles legends draw at Wimbledon alongside Nenad Zimonjic. On Sunday she was one of many former champions to take part in a special ceremony marking the 100th anniversary of Center Court. 

“It feels amazing. I get to be back on center court with my fellow other champions. That was definitely the highlight of my championships so far,” she said.
”To see roger, Rafa, Novak, etc, all the lineup of incredible champions, for me to be part of that group picture was something I would never forget.“
“Wimbledon is by far my favorite place in the world. For me, every year to wear my purple badge and walk through those gates is absolutely amazing.”

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