Davis Cup Australia vs USA day 1: a lethargic Tomic prevails over Sock to square the tie - UBITENNIS
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Davis Cup

Davis Cup Australia vs USA day 1: a lethargic Tomic prevails over Sock to square the tie

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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

 

Bernard_Tomic_Wimbledon

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

Davis Cup

Could The ATP Cup Move Tim Henman Closer To Davis Cup Captaincy?

The former world No.4 sheds light on if he would like to lead his nation in a more permanent role in the future.

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LONDON: A day after three world No.1 players spoke out about the ATP Cup, it was Tim Henman’s turn to face the media at The O2 Arena on Friday.

 

The 45-year-old will lead the British team in the inaugural event at the start of 2020. Placing him in a national team captain role for the first time in his life. He was nominated for the position by three-time grand slam champion Andy Murray, who spoke with him just over a month ago. The two have known each other since Murray was a teenager.

“If I’m honest, it was not something that I had given a great deal of thought at that stage,” said Henman.
“Then when we did discuss it, I think there are lots of reasons why I accepted, and I think one of the reasons is Andy. I have had a great relationship with him for a long, long time.”

As it currently stands the former world No.4 will lead a team of five players. Besides Murray, Dan Evans, Cameron Norrie, Jamie Murray, and Joe Salisbury have all committed to the event. Which has a prize money pool of $15 million and up to 750 ranking points for those who win the title without losing any matches.

Henman’s selection came ahead of Leon Smith, who has been the British Davis Cup captain since April 2010. Smith, who guided his country to the Davis Cup title in 2015, has been in contact with Henman about his new role.

“Leon is someone that I have known for a long, long time. He’s done a fantastic job in Davis Cup.” Henman states.
“From my point of view, I’m very excited about the ATP Cup, but this isn’t in any way a stepping stone for me moving into other things. I don’t want to do that. I’ve got enough, other commitments with my family, with Wimbledon, the partners that I work with.”

The four-time Wimbledon semi-finalist appears adamant when he plays down a future role in the Davis cup, which has a new format from this year. However, he admits that should he shine in Australia next year, it could persuade him to change his mind in the future. Two out of the three captains before Smith (John Lloyd and Roger Taylor) didn’t take on the role until after their 50th birthdays.

“As I sit here now I don’t have an aspiration to be Davis Cup captain. It’s in a new format now, but certainly before when the time commitment was going to be much more significant it was never something that really appealed to me.’ Henman explains.
“But talking specifically about this event, I’m really looking forward to and I think there are so many exciting aspects of it.’
“Once the event has happened, then I will have time to reflect and see what I want to do going forward.” He added.

The ATP Cup will start on January 3rd. Britain has been drawn in the same group as Belgium, Moldova, and Bulgaria. They will kick off their campaign in Sydney on the opening day of the tournament against Bulgaria, who is being captained by Grigor Dimitrov.

Henman’s Davis Cup player record

First year played 1994
Total nominations 21
Ties played 21
Singles W/L 29/8
Doubles W/L 11/6
Total W/L 40/14

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ATP

Novak Djokovic Confident Elbow Scare Will Not Hamper Davis Cup Duty

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LONDON: Novak Djokovic’s niggling elbow issue briefly resurfaced during his last match played at this year’s ATP Finals in what was a slight scare for the camp of the 16-time grand slam champion.

 

The world No.2 was knocked out of the tournament in straight sets by Roger Federer, who he last lost to back in 2015. It was far from a vintage performance from the Serbian, who appeared somewhat flat on the court. Potentially suffering from the after-effects of his three-set thriller with Dominic Thiem that occurred two days prior.

“There was not much that I did right this match, to be honest. I mean, realistically he was a better player in all aspects and absolutely deserved to win.” Djokovic told reporters in London.
“He served great, moved well, returned my serve very well. From his end, I think he did everything right. From my end, I was just playing too neutral. I couldn’t read his serve well. Just a pretty bad match from my side.”

It was during the match where some started to notice the 32-year-old flexing his elbow at certain points. Raising fears among his entourage. In the past, he has experienced numerous issues with that area of the body. Missing the second half of the 2017 season to rest his elbow and undergoing minor surgery on it the following year.

Nevertheless, Djokovic continued on the court and was never on the verge of calling for a trainer on the court. However, concerns are starting to mount about if he could miss the upcoming Davis Cup in Madrid to avoid aggravating it further.

“I hope it’s nothing that will prevent me from playing Madrid. The pain was pretty sharp.” He revealed.
“I could play the rest of the match, so if I had something really serious I think I wouldn’t be able to hold the racquet. So it was probably just an awkward, quick movement that I did. It did not pose any form of issues later on.”

Djokovic hasn’t played in the team tournament since his country’s quarter-final loss to Spain in 2017. He has represented Serbia in 25 ties. Winning 34 out of 44 matches played. Speaking about the event during the same press conference, he then said ‘things are physically fine.’ Disregarding the elbow scare he spoke about just minutes before.

“Of course the gas tank is not as full as the beginning of the season, but I am motivated to join the guys and play there because I have not played in the team competition of Davis Cup for some time.” He said.
“I look forward to it. They are my dear friends, all of the guys in the team, and I can’t wait to feel that team spirit. The format is different. Should be exciting.”

Now his 2019 season on the ATP Tour has come to an end, Djokovic closes the year out with five titles. Including Wimbledon and the Australian Open. His 54 wins mean that he has won 50 or more matches in 12 out of the past 13 seasons.

Only three players have managed to score multiple wins over Djokovic in 2019 – Roberto Bautista Agut, Daniil Medvedev and Dominic Thiem.

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Davis Cup

Davis Cup: Croatia Replaces Captain Just Days Before The Finals

Zeljko Krajan is fired by the Croatian Federation because of contrasts with players. His replacement will be Franko Skugor. Ivo Karlovic was selected to replace Cilic but declined to play a Challenger in Houston

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Croatian Davis Cup captain Zeljko Krajan - 2018 Davis Cup Final (photo Gianni Ciaccia - Sportvision)

The Croatian Tennis Federation has issued a press release informing that Zeljko Krajan is no longer the Davis Cup captain for the Croatian team. Less than a week before the BNP Paribas Davis Cup Finals at the Caja Magica in Madrid, Krajan’s departure is described as a mutual decision by the official press release, but according to Croatian press agency Hina the former captain categorically denied this version of the events and confirmed he unwillingly had to acknowledge his dismissal. Krajan did not deny there had been disputes between himself and the Federation, but he thought everything had been settled: “I was ready for the press conference on Monday and the departure to Madrid on Tuesday” he said.

 

During the press conference in Zagreb on Monday, instead, the Croatian Tennis Federation named 32-year-old Franko Skugor as the new captain of the Croatian team who will lead the squad in Madrid next week: “These are not the ideal conditions for the team, given the situation, but it has been decided I will lead the team” said Skugor to the press. The President of the Tennis Federation Nikolina Babic explained their decision to replace the captain and confirmed the players agreed with this course of action: “Krajan had lost credibility among the players. We spoke to him and realized it would be better if he didn’t come to Madrid”.

This ends a tumultuous week for Croatian tennis: first there was Marin Cilic’s withdrawal from the team, then the controversial nomination of 40-year-old Ivo Karlovic as his replacement, despite his commitment to play the Houston Challenger next week to boost his chances for a Top 100 year-end ranking (he is currently n. 106) and a direct entry into the 2020 Australian Open singles main draw.

Some media outlets in Zagreb claiming to have access to inside sources are suggesting there are also financial issues behind the events of this last week: it is believed that some players did not like the idea of late-comer Ivo Karlovic receiving an equal share of the Davis Cup prize money. Furthermore, it is highlighted how the decision to remove Krajan from his post came after a meeting that included also the players, some of whom did not have a good relationship with Krajan: Borna Coric refused to play in Davis Cup in 2017 after being excluded from the Final in 2016 and Mate Pavic was kept out of the team on many occasions despite being one of the best doubles players in the world.

In order to replace Marin Cilic, the new Croatian captain nominated both Borna Gojo (ATP n. 279) and Nino Serdarusic (ATP n. 283) as singles players.

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