Roger Federer Plays Down His Miami Chances, Discusses Equal Pay and Doping - UBITENNIS
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Roger Federer Plays Down His Miami Chances, Discusses Equal Pay and Doping

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Roger Federer in action during a practice session during the 2016 Miami Open. (Source: Clive Brunskill/Zimbio.com)

The Return of Roger Federer is quickly approaching as he makes his last minute preparations ahead of his second round clash with Juan Martin del Potro at the Miami Masters.

 

The 34-year-old hasn’t played a match on the ATP Tour since his semifinal loss to Novak Djokovic at the Australian Open. His lengthy absence from the tour was due to a knee injury which forced him to undergo arthroscopic surgery to treat a torn meniscus in his knee. The cause of the injury has been a mystery for many, with some claiming he did it whilst walking in the park with his two daughters. The Swiss ended the rumors by revealing that he ‘heard a click’ in his knee whilst running a bath for his daughters.

“It happened the day after the Djokovic match. I woke up, I don’t know exactly remember what happened”. The world No.1 told media in Miami.
“ I think I was going to run a bath for the girls. I made a very simple movement, turned back, heard a click in my knee. Went to the zoo. My leg was swollen.”

The operation was as much of a surprise as a disappointment for Federer, who was hoping to complete his outstanding tennis career without any surgeries. Nevertheless, seven weeks and two days later, the world No.3 is preparing for his 16th Miami Masters. He has won the title twice in his career, however, his last triumph occurred in 2006. In light of his recent injury woe, the 17-time Grand Slam champion has played down his chances of another Miami title in 2016 as he focuses on how his knee holds up.

‘I’m excited. Anxious to find out how my knee is going to react, is it going to be different day-to-day, how is it going to feel after the match and so forth”. The 34-year-old said about his knee.
I’m just really pleased that I’m here. Couldn’t be more happy how rehab has gone. It’s baby steps. Still at the same time you go from crutches to walking to running to jumping to sprinting. It’s pretty incredible to see the progress I’ve been able to make in a short period of time.

Federer’s comeback match will be against comeback king, Juan Martin Del Potro. Del Potro, who is currently playing in only his third tournament since returning from a wrist injury, defeated Guido Paella in the first round in Miami. The encounter will resume a thrilling  rivalry between the two. Federer currently leads the head-to-head 15-5 against the Argentine. Speaking about playing the former US Open champion for the 21st time on the tour, Federer is delighted to see the return of his close friend.

It’s nice to see him back. I haven’t seen him play at all since he’s been back, so I’m not quite sure what to expect, even though my coach went to see his match yesterday“. Federer said about his upcoming match in Miami against Del Potro.
We’re both in a similar situation. His injury was much, much greater. That’s why I’m really pleased for him that he was able to find a way back onto the tour”. He later added.

Federer’s absence from the tour meant that he missed two massive headlines in the world of tennis. The first of these was Maria Sharapova’s failed drugs test, which she confirmed on March 7th. Speaking about the topic, he admitted that he was expecting Sharapova to announce her retirement before she dropped the bombshell. Speaking positively, Federer said that the failed drug test proves ‘the system is working’. On the other hand, he has questioned the standardization of drugs tests around the world.

“I’ve been in Dubai now for 10 years there and been tested once. That’s not okay for me”. The Swiss player stated.
“I get tested more in Switzerland because the guy from Switzerland lives in my village. He comes to see me the day after my surgery, one week later. In Dubai they’ve only come once, the Asia games. In certain countries, maybe the testing is not as serious as in Switzerland. I’d like to see that across the board to be the same way and fair.”

Expressing his viewpoint on doping, Federer has called for blood samples to be stored for years.

The other topic currently overshadowing the world of tennis is equal prize money. The debate was sparked after former Indian Wells CEO, Raymond Moore, made insulting remarks about the WTA Tour. Following on from that Incident, Novak Djokovic suggested that men should be paid more than women before clarifying his comments. Federer, who support equal prize money, said in Miami that this issue is one that it up to each tournament and nobody else.

“I’m all for equal prize money. When I was fighting for prize money increases, especially at the slam level, I was always very aware of the fact that it was always going to impact the women’s game, which I was very happy about. Both at the same time were growing”. The former world No.1 explained.
“You have to look at the history of each and every event, where it came from. Some tournaments were a men’s tournament, then the women joined or vice versa, it was a women’s tournament and we joined them.
It’s sometimes hard to make equal prize money there. It’s up to the tournament director to decide if he wants it to be that way”.

Federer later added that tennis has produced ‘some of the greatest female athletes in the world’.

This week Federer will play in the main draw of a Masters event for the 122nd time in his career.

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Rafael Nadal Looking For More Accuracy After Cruising Past Delbonis

Rafael Nadal has explained where he needs to improve as he continued to impress on his march to the Australian Open third round.

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Rafael Nadal (@AustralianOpen - Twitter)

Rafael Nadal is looking to be more accurate on break points despite cruising past Federico Delbonis 6-3 7-6(4) 6-1 at the Australian Open. 

 

The Spaniard hit 33 winners and broke Delbonis on three occasions as he produced a dominant display to reach the last 32 in Melbourne.

However even though there were many positives for Nadal, the 31 year-old only managed to convert 15% of his break point opportunities which could be concerning heading into the second week.

Speaking after his win today, Nadal told the media that he is constantly looking to be better and will hope to address the issue in the near future, “Well, I think I can do lot of things better,” Nadal claimed.

“I can do things better because of myself. I need to play better. Especially I need to convert the breakpoints. I was not able to check the statistics, but when you are not able to convert no one breakpoint after I don’t know how many chance, of course you are in trouble.

“I have been practicing a little bit better everyday. Of course, on the match situation, is a little bit different. I am confident that I going to play better because every day in the third set I have been able to show a good level of tennis. I need to do it before the next time.”

Obviously there is a cause for concern that Nadal will need a better break point conversion rate in time for the later rounds but it shows how great a champion Nadal is when he sees areas like this for a need to improve.

The 2009 champion will look to improve his return in time for his next match on Saturday when he plays 27th seed and Compatriot Pablo Carreno Busta.

It is a match, Nadal will look to make a statement in ahead of the second week as he looks to make a third final in four years.

Should the Spaniard reach the second week, he could face Nick Kyrgios at the start of the week and the Australian once again showed his public disdain for Nadal by mocking his serve in his four set win over Gilles Simon.

https://twitter.com/doublefault28/status/1220272894183444480

When asked about it in his press conference, the 19-time grand slam champion saw the funny side, “I really don’t care. I am here to play tennis. Honestly, I don’t care at all. If was funny, good. That’s it.”

Should Nadal and Kyrgios face each other it will be the first time since the Spaniard won a high-quality affair at Wimbledon last year in four sets.

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Alexander Zverev Warns Social Media Adding More Pressure To ‘Next Gen’ Than Ever Before

The German star discusses the downside to technology and the effect it has on his fellow players.

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Alexander Zverev is very much relishing being under the radar in the men’s draw at this year’s Australian Open.

 

After a roller-coaster 2019, the German started off 2020 by losing all of his singles matches at the ATP Cup. Although, it appears that Zverev is once again gaining in momentum at Melbourne Park, where he is yet to go beyond the fourth round. In his latest match he ousted Egor Gerasimov 7-6(5), 6-4, 7-5. Impressively winning 82% of his service points to secure a place in the last 32 on Saturday.

“I just think there’s more young guys that are playing better. The attention is going towards them, as well, a little bit.” Zverev said during his press conference.
“It’s a nice feeling for me, but I’m through to the third round, I’m happy about that. We’ll see how the tournament goes.”

A former winner of the prestigious ATP Finals, the 22-year-old had been tipped by many as one of the future stars of the men’s game. Naming him as one of the successors to the prestigious Big Four (including Andy Murray). He is currently the only active player outside of the quartet to have won three Masters 1000 trophies on the tour.

It hasn’t always been a smooth journey on the tour for Zverev, who first broke into the world’s top three in November 2017. With his best grand slam performance to date being to the quarter-finals of the French Open twice, some leading figures have been critical. Boris Becker, who has a close partnership with the world No.7, once said that he was ‘too dimensional’ and failed to improve his game over a 18-month period.

As for the inability of him and his Next Gen rivals to have a major breakthrough in a grand slam, Zverev admits that it is hard to escape from the pressure at times. When asked to draw parallels between him and past players in a similar situation, the German points out the growing negative impact of social media.

“To read what’s going on, to read the press, something like that, you had to buy a newspaper, go on the laptop and search for it. Now you open up Instagram, there’s 5 million people that have an opinion about you all of a sudden.” Zverev explained.
“I think that has changed in that regard. It’s maybe more difficult for us (the Next Gen) now.”

Throughout the Australian Open, Zverev has vowed to minimise the time he spends on social media. An approach that has been taken by others. Stefanos Tsitsipas to have taken a break from the online world in the past.

“Do I think is it more difficult for us than 20 years ago? Yes, maybe, because of the social media, mobile phones, of the opinions that everybody can spread out on the Internet.” Said Zverev.
“Even though when people say they don’t care, they still read it. In the back of their mind, they’re aware of it. So I think that is a massive difference.”

As for toppling Federer and Co in the future, Zverev believes it will be a joint effort. Saying that once one player claims a major title, it will spark a domino effect among the younger players on the tour.

“I think it started with Tsitsipas getting to the semifinals here (at the Australian Open). Then Medvedev got to the (US Open) final. I’ve made two (French Open) quarterfinals. I think we help each other.” He said.
“Even though maybe some of us don’t want to admit it because we have all kinds of personal relationships that we have with each other, but once one of us wins it, it’s going to be good for the others, as well.”

Zverev will play Fernando Verdasco in the third round.

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Simona Halep Rallies To 90th Grand Slam Win At Australian Open

The world No.4 has achieved a new milestone at Melbourne Park on Thursday.

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Simona Halep’s quest for a first Australian Open title is gaining momentum after she strolled into the third round with a solid 77-minute victory at Melbourne Park.

 

The 2018 runner-up overcame some late resistance en route to her 6-2, 6-4, win over British qualifier Harriet Dart. A world No.172 player who was making her main draw debut at the tournament. Separated by 162 places in the rankings, the disparity between the two players was noticeable. Dart produced glimmers of her talent, but was undone by an array of unforced errors. Which amounted to 34 in total. Enabling Halep to dictate proceedings throughout the majority of the match.

“I like to play under pressure. It is more fun and exciting. But I would prefer to finish the matches when I have the chance to.” Halep said during her on-court interview.

Under the guidance of Darren Cahill once again, the latest performance saw the former world No.1 win 67% of her first service points and break Dart five times in total. However, it was a far from a perfect match with the Romanian’s unforced error count overshadowing her winners at 23 to 14.

“It’s very nice to have him back. It gives me confidence and I’m really happy about my team.” She commented on her reunion with Cahill.

Both sets of Halep’s latest encounter featured a similar pattern of her dismantling the fragile serve on her opponent. During the opener, the two-time grand slam champion broke three consecutive times en route to clinching a 6-2 lead.

It was a much more testing time in the second frame with the underdog staging a last-minute fight back. Leading by a set and 5-2, Halep looked to be on course for a one-sided victory. However, Dart wasn’t finished yet. The underdog produced her best tennis to retrieve one of the breaks to the annoyance of a growlingly frustrated Halep. Who made glares towards her camp in the crowd. Despite the scare, it was not enough to derail the world No.4. On her fourth match point Halep prevailed with the help of a forehand shot from her opponent landing beyond the baseline.

“It was a little bit dangerous before I lost my focus a little bit at the end. She started to play very well, so it was more difficult for me to hold. But I’m happy I went through it.” Halep reflected after.

Thursday’s victory hands the Romanian her 90th main draw win at a grand slam level and 21st at the Australian Open. Improving her overall record of wins in the second round of grand slam tournaments to 20-7. Halep is the only player to have had a top four seeding at the Australian Open every year since 2016.

Awaiting the 28-year-old in the next round will be either 2019 semi-finalist Danielle Collins or Yania Putintseva. She hasn’t played Collins on the tour since 2014 and is yet to face Putintseva.

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