In the heat of Melbourne Bernard Tomic takes an early afternoon siesta, but wakes up right on time to level up the rubber between Australia and USA
At 1:30PM the temperature is over 30C: in these hot conditions Bernard Tomic and Jack Sock start the second rubber on Kooyong’s grass. The match is completely different from the previous rubber between Isner and Groth, with both players on the baseline and long(ish) rallies, usually ended by a trivial unforced error, with a framed ball landing meters off court (the statistics say 35 forced and 35 unforced errors for Tomic and 29 unforced and 53 forced for Sock, but the scoring person has been very generous rating some errors as forced). And so the first set goes to the tie break without too many emotions, which Tomic easily takes with some good winners and a forehand return by Sock landing out: 7-6(2).
Something then happens in the second set: it’s 3-2 Sock when Tomic starts pushing more, alternating his sliced backhand (3/4 court but very low on which Sock cannot hit his forehand) to a flat one, deep on Sock’s backhand. With 16 points to 3 Tomic flies to 5-3 and then takes the set with a return on the line which Sock then frames: 6-3.
It looks like Tomic is cruising now and takes the first game of the third set. Then the Aussie literally falls asleep, losing mobility, losing intensity, letting Sock control the game and making a plethora of unforced errors: 4 unforced errors in the third game count more than 2 winning serves and Tomic is broken a first time. Regardless the Fanatics’ effort to keep Bernie alert with a high dose of loud sound, Tomic appears lethargic, while Sock’s forehand is as effective as ugly to watch. On 5-3 the American gets 2 set points: Tomic sends an easy forehand in the net and the US re-open the match.
Nothing changes in the fourth set till 4-4 when Tomic appears to slowly wake up. In the next game a good defense and Sock sending an overhead out, and an inside out forehand winner (a total of 22 for him and 30 for Sock) give Tomic 2 break points: he converts the second with a forehand in the net by Sock. Tomic is now serving for the match and delivers: a couple of winners and an unforced by Sock give him 3 match points: the first one is enough with Sock sending out the return: 7-6(2), 6-3, 3-6, 6-4. Australia 1 – USA 1 and everybody runs inside just before the thunderstorm.
“The support Hewitt gave me at the change of ends was fundamental. He told me the right things from the start and his support when I was starting having negative thoughts in the third set was fundamental” said Tomic at the press conference. “Winning today was very important to build confidence. I’ve never won in the two previous matches with Sock, as I have not won in the previous match with Isner, but this is the surface [grass] where I can win. I have to return well, I am serving well, and will play my chances.”
Tomorrow at 12PM Groth and Peers will try to upset the Bryan Bros, unless Lleyton Hewitt is setting up a surprise …
From Melbourne: Robbie Cappuccio
Is Covid-19 Just An Excuse To Axe The 2020 Davis Cup Finals?
The decision to cancel the team event five months before it was set to start may be more complex than what officials are letting on.
On Friday the International Tennis Federation issued a statement to confirm that their two premier tennis team events will not be taking place this year.
The Davis Cup and Fed Cup tournaments have been delayed until 2021 due to the global uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. For the Davis Cup, it is only the 12th time in history a season has ended without a champion being decided since its birth in 1900 and the first since 1945. The teams that have qualified for the week-long finals this year will instead have to wait until November 2021 to battle it out for the title.
“This is a tough decision to have to make, but delivering an international team event on this scale while guaranteeing the health and safety of all involved ultimately poses too great a risk,” ITF President David Haggerty said in a statement. “It is a complex undertaking and we have made the decision now to provide certainty for players, national associations and fans.”
There are however some questions over why the ITF has made this announcement five months before the start of the tournament. Especially when both the ATP and WTA Tours are set to restart in August. Furthermore Madrid, where this year’s finals were scheduled to take place, will still host their premier combined event at the Caja Magica in September.
“It’s the inconsistencies that I find tedious. Two months before the Davis Cup was meant to be playing we are playing at the same venue in Madrid for the masters. In regards to the crowds there seemed to be a fair bit of social distancing at this event last year,” John Millman wrote on Twitter.
It appears that there could be a more substantial financial reason to postpone the Kosmos-backed event. Investment company Kosmos was founded by Gerard Pique and has pledged millions into the Davis Cup in a deal to help revamp it. French newspaper L’Equipe have quoted sources reporting that the event lost an astonishing 50 million euros in 2019, which was the first year where the new format took place. Furthermore, it has been reported that the decision to scrap November’s event will help save 18 million euros.
Furthermore, one senior figure at Tennis Canada has suggested that Pique had tried to do everything he could to prevent the tournament from taking place. Louis Borfiga, who serves as his country’s Vice President of High Performance, said he believes there has been no meetings with the federations prior to Friday’s announcement.
“While everyone is doing everything possible to try to replay, I have the impression that Piqué did everything to prevent the Davis Cup from taking place this year,” he said in a separate interview with L’Equipe.
“ They (Kosmos leaders) put forward health reasons, I hope they are the right ones. They are going to have the right role. There is nothing we can say about health.”
“When I read the official press release, I am surprised by one thing. It is Piqué who speaks first, and the president of the ITF (David Haggerty) after. That too is shocking.” He added.
Borfiga is not alone in this view. Back in March tennis player Nicola Mahut criticised Pique for not being more optimistic about holding the finals this year. The Spaniard had previously said he was ‘pessimistic’ about having the event without fans.
“The message he sent through his statements is: ” If Madrid is complicated and we cannot do it, well it will be cancelled and he will save some money.” Mahut commented.
According to Diario AS, the Madrid economy will lose in the region of 50 million euros due to the finals not being held. Furthermore, it is estimated that 600 jobs would have been created to support the running of the tournament from start to finish.
Gerard Pique’s Pessimistic Davis Cup Outlook Blasted By French Tennis Star
The football player has been urged to ‘put more energy’ in finding a solution for the event to take place in 2020.
Kosmos founder Gerard Pique has come under fire over his plans for the Davis Cup Finals later this year after recently casting doubt on the event taking place due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Pique, whose company helped finance the transformation of the 120-year-old team competition, recently admitted that he was doubtful that the event could go ahead if crowds weren’t allowed to attend. Last year was the first time the new format of the competition took place with 18 teams featuring in a week-long round-robin tournament which was won by host nation Spain.
“I’m a bit pessimistic, to have the Davis Cup with no fans is difficult,” Pique told Movistar.
“There is a lot of uncertainty. We are listening to what the sport’s ministry and the government are telling us about whether we’ll have the ability to have fans.”
All professional tennis tournaments have been suspended since March due to the Pandemic. Officials are hoping to be able to get the sport going again in August ahead of the US Open that is scheduled to take place. Although some have doubts about the chances of the Tour’s starting by then, including world No.43 John Millman.
Amid the ongoing uncertainty, French tennis star Nicolas Mahut has criticized Pique’s bleak outlook for this year’s Davis Cup finale. The 38-year-old has represented his country in 13 ties, including the 2018 final as well as the semifinals in two other years.
“We don’t have a lot of information. But as a player, you can just trust the official statements. And when I hear Pique, I’m extremely disappointed,” Mahut told L’Equipe.
Mahut has called on Pique to explore more options such as potentially relocating the event to another country if it would make it safer for the event to go ahead. Implying that he was his duty to do so after setting ‘to destroy the formula’ of the event. Critics of the revamp have accused Pique of ruining the traditional competition.
“I would like him to put as much energy into saving the Davis Cup that he has set up. That is to say, to find solutions for it to take place in Madrid or elsewhere, as he has set to destroy the formula that had been in place for over a hundred years,” he said,
“The message he sent through his statements, is: ” If Madrid is complicated and we cannot do it, well it cancels and I save some money. ” And it bothers me a lot compared to what has happened for more than a year. We don’t play with this competition. Maybe that suits it.”
Kosmos has signed a $3 billion 25-year deal with the ITF to acquire the rights for the Davis Cup Finals.
Davis Cup Finals In Doubt, Admits Gerard Pique
The Kosmos founder explains why he isn’t too optimistic about the team event going ahead later this year.
The chances of this year’s Davis Cup Finals taking place are still up in the air with one of the key figures involved in the competition openly saying that he is ‘pessimistic’ about its chances.
Football star Gerard Pique is one the driving forces behind the new format following a huge financial investment from his company Kosmos. Signing a 25-year deal with the International Tennis Federation worth in the region of $3 billion. Despite the significant investment, Pique admits that he has low hopes of the event taking place later this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. All professional tennis tournaments have been halted since March.
“There is a lot of uncertainty, we try to be aware of what the government says regarding sports and to whether we can put spectators inside the Caja Magica,” Pique said during an interview with Movistar.
“I would say I am a bit pessimistic, because a Davis Cup without fans is difficult.
“I think that nobody at the moment has the certainty that we can put fans in or if it will have to be behind closed doors. As the days go by, I suppose we will have a little more clarity.”
Spain is currently in the process of relaxing some of their lockdown restrictions with tennis players being able to train at local facilities from next week. The country is following a four-stage plan with the hope that their premier La Liga football league will resume next month at some stage.
However, the issue for the Davis Cup is the limited number of fans that would be able to go to the tournament if it takes place. In more advanced stages of the plans, no more than 50 people can attend an indoor venue. Although the number could be increased by November, it will be a stark difference to 2019. Held at the Caja Magica, the total capacity of the premier court is 12,500 people.
Last year’s final saw Spain lift the title for the first time since 2011 after they defeated Canada in the final. The two teams are seeded third and sixth in this year’s draw.
The Davis Cup is scheduled to take place between November 23-29 in Madrid. The ATP, WTA and ITF will not restart their Tour’s until at least July 13th, however, there is speculation that the suspension will be extended in the coming weeks.
US Open Men’s Singles Entry List Updated
Petra Martic advances to the second round at the Prague Open
EXCLUSIVE: Oliviero Palma: “We Have Shown That Professional Tennis Can Still Happen”
Johanna Konta ‘Not Too Worried’ By Heart Scare At Top Seed Open
Svetlana Kuznetsova Becomes Latest Grand Slam Winner To Skip US Open Over Virus Fears
Ivan Ljubicic To Quit Coaching After Federer, Criticises Hype Over GOAT Grand Slam Debate
‘Lucky To Be On The Court Right Now’ – Grigor Dimitrov Struggling With After-Effects Of COVID
The Meaning Of Naomi Osaka’s Commitment To Racial Equity
Chris Evert: “Navratilova and I transcended the game”
Ash Barty To Skip US Open Over ‘Significant Risks’ As Former Champion Signs On
[EXCLUSIVE] Alexei Popyrin: “I’m Not Going To The US Open, It’s Too Risky”
Chris Evert: “Navratilova and I transcended the game”
[EXCLUSIVE] Patrick Mouratoglou: “I’m A Salesman, Not A Liar”
(EXCLUSIVE) Mats Wilander: “Lendl Had Nightmares Playing Me And Djokovic Meant No Harm With Adria Tour”
[EXCLUSIVE] Brandon Nakashima: “I Love Federer, But My Game Resembles More Djokovic’s”
Hot Topics1 day ago
Toni Nadal Hopeful Inactivity Won’t Hinder Rafael Nadal’s French Open Bid
Hot Topics2 days ago
Controversial Waiver Bans Players From Suing US Open If They Get COVID-19
Hot Topics2 days ago
Serena Williams Backs Use Of Electronic Line Calling Ahead Of Return To Tour
Latest news2 days ago
Dominic Thiem: “This year’s US Open will be less important than the 2020 Australian Open”
Focus2 days ago
Simona Halep ‘Happy To Be Back’ Amid Uncertainty Over US Open Plans
ATP3 days ago
Anett Kontaveit beats Petra Martic to reach the final in Palermo
WTA3 days ago
Fiona Ferro beats Camila Giorgi to set up final against Anett Kontaveit
Hot Topics2 days ago
Fiona Ferro Stuns Kontaveit To Win Palermo Open