Tomas Berdych retirement against Philipp Kohlschreiber paves the way for a potential comeback for Germany in Davis Cup - UBITENNIS
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Tomas Berdych retirement against Philipp Kohlschreiber paves the way for a potential comeback for Germany in Davis Cup

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Berdych looked to feeling the effects of his efforts from Friday and Saturday, as a hamstring injury forced him to retire against Philipp Kohlschreiber.

Philipp Kohlschreiber was the beneficiary of an injury retirement from Tomas Berdych to ensure that the Davis Cup World Group First Round encounter between Germany and the Czech Republic would go to a fifth and deciding rubber. Kohlschreiber was leading by two sets, 6-3, 7-5, when Berdych retired with a hamstring injury.

 

Berdych had led the head-to-head with Kohlschreiber 8-1 coming into the tie, but Berdych required significant treatment in the fifth game of the match, and never truly looked comfortable on court, surrendering two break in the first set.

Berdych did at least find some success in the second set, holding serve for most of the set with more comfort than in the first. Yet he could not find any way to get engaged against the Kohlschreiber serve, failing to earn any break points. Berdych was continually serving from behind in the set and he was finally broken at 5-6, handing the German a precious two-set lead.

It looked a long way back for the Czech, who had played an epic five-set match against Alexander Zverev, as well as the doubles with Radek Stepanek on Saturday. He then decided to retire, handing the victory to Kohlschreiber, and ensuring that the tie would be decided by that match between Alexander Zverev and Lukas Rosol at the arena in Hannover. Both men lost five-set matches on Friday Zverev to Berdych, and Rosol to Kohlschreiber.

Rosol leads the head-to-head with Zverev 2-0, having not dropped a set. It is worth noting though that of the four sets that Rosol has won, three have gone to tie-breaks, suggesting that yet another close match could decide this tie.

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Novak Djokovic Opens Up On His Key To Success As He Names His Biggest Rival

The Serbian will play his first singles tournament this week since winning Wimbledon.

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Image via Laver Cup Twitter

Noval Djokovic says he still has the drive to continue his illustrious tennis career despite admitting that he has ‘achieved pretty much everything he can achieve.’ 

 

The 21-time Grand Slam champion is one of the most decorated tennis players in history with 88 Tour titles to his name. He has held the ATP No.1 spot for more weeks than any other player and his career earnings of almost $159M is a record for the sport. He also has the most wins over top 10 opposition which currently stands at 232. 

Djokovic, who is playing at the Tel Aviv Open this week, says his successful career hasn’t been due to one particular thing. Instead, he said a group of factors had aided his rise to the top of the sport.

“There isn’t one secret or one key that solves all the problems. It’s a combination of things that are part of your character: who you are, how you train, what’s your lifestyle,” he told reporters on Wednesday. “It all creates the image of success. That formula has worked for me.”

Currently ranked seventh in the world, the Serbian admits that there is always room for improvement as he seeks a return back to the No.1 spot which is currently held by 19-year-old Carlos Alcaraz. 

“I also try some new things, because I always want to progress. Especially when you have guys like Alcaraz, who is full of power and adrenaline. So you always have to figure out how to improve and take yourself to a higher level,” he continued.

Tel Aviv will be the first singles tournament Djokovic has played in since Winning Wimbledon in July. He missed the North American swing as he was unable to travel to the region due to being unvaccinated against COVID-19. 

He returned to competitive tennis over the weekend in the Laver Cup where he experienced mixed results on the court with a dominant victory over Frances Tiafoe before losing to Felix Auger-Aliassime a day later. He also won his doubles match alongside Italy’s Matteo Berrettini. It was during the three-day event that Djokovic admitted that he had some concerns over soreness in his right wrist but those worries have since been alleviated. 

“I practiced today for two hours and it was ok. I am feeling good and happy that injuries are now behind me,” he stated. 

Losing a member of the Big Three

Watching Roger Federer play his final match at The O2 Arena last Friday has got Djokovic thinking about how he would like his career to end. Although the 35-year-old, who is six years younger than the Swiss maestro, has no intention of doing so anytime soon. 

“Seeing his kids and his family, it got me emotional as well. I also must say I was thinking about how it would look for me when I say goodbye to tennis,” he said. 
“There is definitely one thing that I will wish to have, other than, of course, my family and the close people in my life, I would love to have my biggest rivals and competitors there. Because it added something more special, added more importance to that moment.”

Now Federer has said his farewell, the other long-time nemesis of Djokovic’s is showing no signs of calling it a day anytime soon. Rafael Nadal currently holds the record for most major titles won but Djokovic is just one title behind. 

“Everyone is my rival, whoever I step out on court against. But when it comes to who is my biggest rival, then it’s Nadal without a doubt. He is still there. We played more matches against each other than any other rivalry in the history of tennis. And I hope that we will play many more times, it’s exciting for us and for tennis.” He commented. 

Djokovic will be doing double duty at the Tel Aviv Open this week. Besides being the top seed in the singles draw, he will also play doubles alongside soon-to-be-retired Jonathan Erlich. Together the duo claimed the 2010 Queen’s Club trophy which is Djokovic’s only doubles title on the ATP Tour. 

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Cameron Norrie Vows To Make ‘Big Push’ In Bid To Reach Tour Finals

With 45 wins to his name so far this season, the British No.1 is looking to end 2022 on a high note.

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Cameron Norrie (GBR) - Credit: AELTC/Simon Bruty

Cameron Norrie hopes his plan to play a packed schedule during the last quarter of this season will pay off as he targets a place in the prestigious ATP Tour Finals. 

 

The Wimbledon semi-finalist is set to play five tournaments over the next six weeks in a bid to generate as many ranking points as possible. Norrie is currently eighth in the world rankings but he is in 11th place on the Race to Milan standings which are based on a player’s performance over 52 weeks. Only the top eight will qualify for the ATP Finals which has a prize money pool of more than $7M. 

Norrie will return to action this week at the Korean Open in Seoul where he will be the second seed in the draw after Casper Ruud. He will then play events in Japan, Sweden, Austria and France. 

“For me, I’m going to make a big push for Turin,” Norrie said.
“I think I’m knocking on the door there. I’m 11 or 12 in the race at the moment, so I’m going to try and make a big push there.
“I’m going to Seoul, Tokyo, (have) a week off, Stockholm, Vienna, Paris, so a pretty full schedule.
“A lot of points on the line, and a lot of tennis to be played, but yeah, like I said, I want to just go all in to try and make Turin.”

Norrie made his ATP Finals debut last year as a replacement for Stefanos Tsitsipas who pulled out after his first match due to injury. He played two matches in the round-robin stage, falling in straight sets to Novak Djokovic before pushing Ruud to three sets before losing.

So far this season the 27-year-old has achieved a win-loss record of 45-23, winning titles in Lyon and Delray Beach. At Wimbledon, he reached the last four before losing to Novak Djokovic in what is his best-ever run at a Grand Slam tournament. Against top 10 opposition, he has recorded three wins against eight losses so far this year.

Norrie believes one explanation for his lacklustre record against top 10 players could be down to how he starts matches. Admitting that he can’t afford to get off slowly against the best in the world if he wants to beat them. 

“I think there are only a couple of players or a handful of players that have won more matches or played more matches than me this year. There is no reason I should play a loose game to start and then have these flat starts, but the good news is I’m always finding a way into the match, and I’m always giving myself the best chance,” he said. 
“Guys I’m trying to beat, like Novak (Djokovic), Stefanos (Tsitsipas) and Casper (Ruud), they always play very complete matches on their serve. I can’t afford to do that and have a slow start or play a loose game here and there against those guys, especially with my game style.” 

In his opening match at the Korean Open, Norrie will play Japan’s Kaichi Uchida. He is aiming to win his fifth Tour title and his first in Asia. 

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Retirement Not On The Cards Yet For Former US Open Champion Marin Cilic

The Croat has given an estimate of much longer he would like to continue playing before potentially going into another area related to the sport.

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Marin Cilic - Roland Garros 2022 (foto Roberto Dell'Olivo)

Marin Cilic says he has no intention of retiring from the sport anytime soon after shedding some light on what he hopes to do in the future. 

 

The 33-year-old is currently the third-oldest player in the ATP Pepperstone top 20 after Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal. Cilic made his Tour debut back in 2005 and since then has won 20 titles with his biggest triumph occurring at the 2014 US Open. Overall, he has won 577 matches and earned more than $31M in prize money. 

Cilic’s love for tennis is something he hopes to continue beyond retirement as he sets sights on the possibility of going into coaching. Following in the footsteps of players such as Carlos Moya, Boric Becker, Juan Carlos Ferrero and John McEnroe.

“I love tennis, my wife is always laughing at me, cuz’ I also watch tennis on TV every day,” he told reporters at the Tel Aviv Open. 
“I love competing and everything that comes with tennis. I’ll be involved in this game even after I retire. I’d also be more dedicated to my family, I have two boys now. But I will be in tennis, maybe coaching at an academy.’
“Hopefully, it won’t happen no earlier than 4-5 years from now.”

One player who has called time on his career is Roger Federer who played Cilic 11 times on the Tour, winning 10 of their encounters. Coincidentally Cilic’s only victory occurred during his run to his first Grand Slam title in New York. The Swiss maestro ended his career last Friday at the Laver Cup by playing in a doubles match alongside Nadal which they narrowly lost. 

“It’s a sad moment for tennis, sad for all the fans around the world. Roger was such an icon, he carried tennis to incredible heights,” Cilic said in tribute. 
“I felt nervous even watching his match, I wondered if it was gonna be more of an exhibition, but they held match-point. Would’ve been great if they could win, but still it was a very emotional moment. We’re gonna miss Roger so much.”

Cilic is the second seed at this week’s Tel Aviv Open which is the first ATP-level event taking place in Israel since 1996. He is yet to reach a tournament final so far this season. 

In his opening match, he faces a tricky encounter against former world No.3 Dominic Thiem who is still on the road to recovery following a lengthy absence from the sport due to a wrist injury. He has never beaten the Austrian in his career.

“He had a tough time coming back,” Cilic said of Thiem. “The injury was a bad one. He won the US Open in 2020 and was in great form there. After he won that title, he dropped a little bit emotionally, and then the injury came. In tennis if you lose one year, it takes you at least one more year to come back and feel your game again. But he’s doing better and better now, which is good to see.”

This year’s Tel Aviv Open will be headlined by Djokovic who arrived in the country on Monday despite there being some concerns over his wrist. Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman is the only other top 20 player in the draw. 

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