Andy Murray starts his title quest with a strong win at the ATP Finals - UBITENNIS
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Andy Murray starts his title quest with a strong win at the ATP Finals

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Andy Murray opened up his campaign at the ATP World Tour Finals by defeating Spain’s David Ferrer 6-4, 6-4.

 

 

This year is that first time in Murray’s career that he has gone into the year-end tournament as the second seed after a solid year where he has won four titles with a win-loss of 68-12 leading into this week’s tournament. In comparison Ferrer has won 4 ATP titles this year but 12 matches less than the 28-year-old .

 

Murray started the match tentatively as he faced a break point at the start of the match before eventually holding his serve. The slow start by the two-time Grand Slam champion improved in the following couple games as Ferrer appeared initially solid with his serve. Murray had a shot of breaking to lead 3-1 but was unable to capitalise. The Brit also had three chances during a lengthy 8th game to break to move ahead 5-3 but was unable to convert any of them against a determined 33-year-old Ferrer.

 

After squandering four break points during the opening set, Murray pounced at the right moment. As Ferrer served trailing 4-5, a superb backhand volley from the Brit was rewarded with his first first set point. The set was then gifted to Murray with a costly double fault from the Spaniard, triggering a big cheer from the London crowd.

 

Leading into the match Murray has a 59-0 win-loss after winning the first set however that daunting figure didn’t faze Ferrer. After taking advantage of Ferrer’s nightmare end to the first set, Murray came abruptly under attack from the Spaniard at the start of the second set with Fereer breaking to love. The offensive against Murray from Ferrer continued as the 33-year-old intensified his aggression on the court to maintain his advantage. Despite trailing the Brit once again found a way to claw himself back. A deep cross-court forehand forced his opponent to return the ball into the net as he broke back to level at 3-3.

 

After Murray grabbed the crucial break back, Ferrer faced his biggest test yet by serving to stay in the match. As the pressure mounted, Ferrer was unable to get a first serve in to enable Murray to dominate the rallies. This fragility in the Spaniard’s game allowed Murray to easily maneuvered his way to his first match point as Ferrer hit an erratic backhand wide. The world No.2 took the victory will a smash at the net.

 

The victory is Murray’s fifth consecutive win over Ferrer as he extends his overall head-to-head to 12-6. Following his won, Murray gave his assessment on the match during his on-court interview.

 

“it was a tough match, a lot of long rallies. he fought all the way until the end and made it really difficult for me”. Murray said.

“He (Ferrer) didn’t serve well, which helped me”. Murray admitted.

 

The next match for Murray will play either Rafael Nadal or this year’s French Open champion Stan Wawrinka.

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Roger Federer Still Experiencing Knee Issues, Says Fellow Member Of Big Three

A comment made by Novak Djokovic has triggered speculation over the current health of the 38-year-old.

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Roger Federer at the 2019 Nitto ATP Finals in London (photo Roberto Zanettin)

20-time grand slam champion Roger Federer wasn’t asked to participate in a tennis event being set up in Europe due to ongoing issues with his troublesome knee, according to one of his biggest rivals.

 

Novak Djokovic has confirmed that he didn’t invite the Swiss maestro to participate in the upcoming Adria Tour due to his current fitness. Federer has only played one tournament so far in 2020, which was at the Australian Open where he reached the semi-finals. A month later he underwent surgery on his right knee for the second time in his career and subsequently withdrew from the clay swing (before the Tour was suspended due to COVID-19). The procedure he underwent was arthroscopic surgery, which is usually minimally invasive.

Djokovic, who leads his swiss rival 27-23 in their head-to-head, told reporters on Monday that the two have been in contact during the lockdown. Along with fellow Big Three member Rafael Nadal. When questioned if he has asked the two tennis giants to take part in the Adria Tour, which he is helping organise, the world No.1 shed some light on Federer.

“More than usual, Rafa, Roger and I have communicated, due to changes due to the coronavirus pandemic and helping lower-ranked tennis players,” he said.
“Federer still has knee problems, so I didn’t ask him.’
“Rafa has been playing recently. We talked last week about the US Open, but I didn’t ask him. I don’t expect him to come and ask him.”

It is unclear as to what the exact problem is with Federer or how significant it could be. On April 20th he shed some light on his knee during an Instagram live chat with Rafael Nadal. It was during the chat where the world No.4 admitted that his recovery had slowed before stating that he was in no rush to return to action.

“With the knee it is ok. I had a really good first six weeks and then it (the recovery) was getting a bit slower,” he explained. “Now it is getting better again but I have plenty of time so there is no stress or rush.’
“At the end of the day it doesn’t matter when I return as long as my knee is good. I’ve been hitting against the wall, doing my rehab and fitness.” He later added.

During his most recent video interview last weekend, the 38-year-old stated that he was ‘happy’ with his body but played down the idea of the Tour resuming soon. He made the comments whilst speaking with former player Gustavo Kuerten, who is organising a fundraiser to support families affected by the coronavirus in Brazil.

“I am happy with my body now and I still believe that the return of the tour is a long way off,” he commented “And I think it’s important mentally to enjoy this break, having played so much tennis.
“When I’m getting towards returning and have a goal to train for, I think I will be super motivated.”

Federer has won 103 ATP titles so far in his career. The second highest tally in the history of men’s tennis after Jimmy Connors.

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Novak Djokovic On Why He Didn’t Post Details Of Lockdown Training

The Serbian tennis star has shed some light on his recent training routines as he outlines plans for a Balkan tennis tour.

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World No.1 Novak Djokovic has been training almost daily since the world of tennis came to a halt due to the COVID-19 pandemic but opted to keep his activities out of the limelight to avoid any potential backlash from fellow players.

 

The ATP Tour has been suspended since March due to the Pandemic with officials hoping to restart the sport in some capacity during the summer ahead of the US Open. Nevertheless Djokovic, who started 2020 by winning 18 matches in a row, has been able to continue practicing in Marbella. He and his family were staying in a house located next to a tennis court.

Speaking with Serbian reports on Monday, the 17-time grand slam champion admitted that he didn’t want to ‘anger’ others by posting updates on social media of him training. Showing that he has been able to stay active more than other players during the lockdown.

“I had the opportunity to train almost every day during coronavirus because we stayed in a house next to a tennis court. I played a lot of tennis on a hard surface, but I didn’t upload anything on the net so as not to anger other players,” he told The Telegraf.
“I started recently on clay, I had two training sessions here, I feel good physically. I was quite active, I followed my program. Of course, the intensity decreases because I was not preparing for tournaments.”

With uncertainty surrounding when the Tour may start again, numerous countries have created their own domestic tournaments. In Djokovic’s case, he is the founder of his own event that will be played across the Balkan region. The Adria Tour is set to take place between June and July with three top 20 players set to participate. Besides Djokovic, Alexander Zverev and Grigor Dimitrov are also taking part.

“I started the whole idea of ​​the project and I communicate every day with TSS (Serbian Tennis Federation) and the company that organizes all this,” said Djokovic.
“The current international competitions, ITF and ATP will not happen before the first of August, and even that is uncertain. Afterwards, I will have time again if things resume on a hard surface in America, because I will have a month to prepare for the continuation of the season.”

Should it all go to plan, the clay-court tournament is set to be played in Belgrade (Serbia), Zadar (Croatia), Montenegro and Banja Luka (Bosnia and Herzegovina). Although it has been confirmed that the locations of the Bosnian and Montenegrin events are still not fully confirmed with the possibility of Sarajevo hosting one leg of the tour. Sarajevo hosted the 1984 Winter Olympics.

Prior to the Tour suspension, Djokovic was unbeaten in 2020. He started the season by winning three consecutive titles at the ATP Cup, Australian Open and Dubai Tennis Championships. Those triumphs enabled him to earn prize money of $4,410,541. He also earned just over $70,000 from playing doubles so far this year.

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‘He Could Become An Excellent Player’ – Remember Roger Federer’s Grand Slam Debut 21 Years Later

More than two decades ago on this day was the start of where it all began for the former world No.1. But what did he and his opponent think about his first match played at a major?

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Roger Federer at the 1999 French Open

On this day 21 years ago the most decorated grand slam champion in the history of men’s tennis began his major career.

 

Roger Federer embarked upon the 1999 French Open as the youngest player in the field and yet to break into the world’s top 100. Aged 17, the Swiss player was yet to play in the final of an ATP Tournament and only managed to enter the Roland Garros main draw thanks to a wild card. His opponent was third seed Pat Rafter who at the time was at the peak of his career. The Australian had won back-to-back US Open titles leading up to the tournament.

Undoubtedly the odds were piled heavily against a young and inexperienced Federer, but he still managed to make his mark. Surprisingly taking the first set before Rafter fought back to eventually win 5-7, 6-3, 6-0, 6-2.

“The young man from Switzerland could be one of the people who will shape the next ten years,” the French sports newspaper L’Equipe wrote at the time.

Rafter echoed a similar view to L’Equipe during his post-match media engagements. He went on to become one of the few players to have a perfect winning record against Federer of 3-0. Also defeating him twice during the 2001 season.

“The boy impressed me very much,” he said. “If he works hard and has a good attitude, he could become an excellent player.”

Rafter’s prediction came true but even he at the time didn’t expect the 17-year-old to go on and become one of the greatest. Now Federer holds the records for most grand slam titles (20), most weeks as world No.1 (310) and has won more ATP Awards than anybody else (37). Approaching the age of 39, he remains a prominent fixture in the world’s top 10 18 years on from his debut.

Federer has spoken about his first taste of a grand slam a few times in the past. One of his most notable observations was during a conversation he had with Rafter at the 2011 Wimbledon Championships. When speaking about losing his one set lead, the Swiss maestro said it was partly to do with his mental weakness and showing too much respect to the top guns at the time.

”I was up a set and I was just 17 years old and I wasn’t expected to win,” Federer recounted. ”I think I got broken in the second set and I was like ‘Oh, God, what am I doing?’
”Next thing you know I’m losing 6-3, 6-0, 6-2. It was very mental. I had a lot of respect for the older generation who were already accomplished. Obviously stars like Pat were, for me, people I really looked up to, even though I knew I could beat them. Mentally I was not so solid.”

Rafter has also admitted that his 1999 victory was partly down to the mental weakness of his rival during a 2018 interview with Blick newspaper. However, he blames losing the first set on never playing Federer before.

“I met Roger for the first time at the French Open in 1999. It was his grand slam debut. Since I did not know his game at the time, it took me some time to adjust to him. That’s why I lost the first set,” he said.
“Roger’s biggest handicap was his mental maturity, he was only 17 years old. That was one of the reasons why I came back and win in four sets.”

Whilst the French Open was where it all began for Federer, his record in the major is the worst out of the four grand slams. It is the only one he has failed to win multiple times, claiming his sole title back in 2009. Overall, he has played in the main draw 18 times with a win-loss of 70-17.

How old was the current top 10 when Federer made his grand slam debut?

  1. Novak Djokovic – 12
  2. Rafael Nadal – 12
  3. Dominic Thiem – 5
  4. Roger Federer – 17
  5. Daniil Medvedev – 3
  6. Stefanos Tsitsipas – 9 months
  7. Alexander Zverev – 2
  8. Matteo Berrettini – 3
  9. Gael Monfils – 12
  10. David Goffin – 8

(numbers in years unless otherwise stated)

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