Wimbledon Preview: Andy Murray and Roger Federer Targets The Last Four At SW19 - UBITENNIS
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Grand Slam

Wimbledon Preview: Andy Murray and Roger Federer Targets The Last Four At SW19




Crowd favourites Andy Murray and Roger Federer will both be hoping to continue their solid run at Wimbledon in their quarter-final matches on Day 9 of the tournament.


The last eight features a mixture of the best and the underdogs. At one end of the spectrum,  the top two seeds left in the tournament (Murray and Federer) and at the other end are two players making their grand slam quarter-final debut (Sam Querrey and Lucas Pouille). Despite the removal of Novak Djokovic, the four men’s matches promises to be full of excitement and intrigue.

Roger Federer Vs Marin Cilic

18 months on from Federer’s shock loss to Cilic in the semifinals of the US Open, both men will once again battle against each other on the court. The route to the last eight of the tournament has seen the 34-year-old ease past Guido Pella, Marcus Willis, Dan Evans and Steve Johnson without dropping a set. It is a run that has even surprised the seven-time champion himself, who has been hampered by a knee problem and a back injury during this year.

“I would never have thought that I was going to win the first four matches in straight sets, I’m extremely pleased.” Federer said after his fourth round match.

Cilic promises to be Federer’s toughest test yet. The Croat’s run to his third consecutive Wimbledon quarter-final has included triumphs over Brian Backer, Sergiy Stakhovsky and Lukas Lacko. In the last 16 he progressed to a Federer showdown after Kei Nishikori retired due to injury. Unlike last year, the former US Open champion is beaming with confidence on the grass and he believes that he is a bigger threat in the tournament than he was last year.

“I would say that I’m playing pretty good, close to the baseline and trying to be aggressive as much as I can. Last year I wasn’t feeling as good as this year.” Cilic said.

Overall, Federer currently dominates the head-to-head 5-1 against the ninth seed. If he is able to continue his form from the first week of the competition, it is likely that that Swiss player will be able to reach yet another semifinal at SW19. On the other hand, Cilic should never be underestimated and a straight sets triumph for the seven-time champion will be unlikely. Federer has the edge, but he will be pushed to his limits by his 27-year-old rival is what will be his biggest fitness test on the grass yet.

Andy Murray – Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

For the third time in their careers, Murray Will play Tsonga in the second week at Wimbledon after 2010 and 2012. The world No.2 set up with a clash with the Frenchman with early victories over Liam Broady, Yen-Hsun Lu and John Millman. In the fourth round, he brushed aside an erratic and below-par Nick Kyrgios in straight sets. Murray will now play his ninth consecutive Wimbledon quarter-final. Things are certainly looking good for Murray, however, he is under no illusion of how tough his next match will be.

“I’m fully aware of how difficult my next opponent is.  I know Tsonga is one of the best grass court players in the world.” Murray said.
“If he plays well, I’m not on my game, I can lose that match for sure.”

Incredibly Tsonga has never won a tournament on the grass in his professional career. At this year’s grass-court major, the Frenchman endured a marathon third round match against John Isner, edging him out 19-17 in the final set. Despite the epic encounter, he should be fresh for the last eight after only playing six games in the fourth round after Richard Gasquet retired due to a back injury.

Murray has a win-loss of 15-3 against Tsonga and won their three most recent meetings. Six of those encounters occurred on the Grass with the Brit only losing once in a 2004 Challenger tournament. The Brit is expected to come through with the use of his sublime defensive play against Tsonga’s powerful shots. The Frenchman will put up a fight ten times tougher than Krigios did in the previous round, but Murray is likely to still come out on top.

Tomas Berdych – Lucas Pouille

Statistically Tomas Berdych is set to dominate proceedings against rising-star Pouille. The Czech is ranked 21 places higher than him and  he will be playing in his 15th major quarter-final compared to Pouille’s first. As far as experience goes, Berdych should win comfortably, however, Pouille is one of the most talented young players on the tour.

32nd seed Pouille reached the last eight with hard fought wins over Juan Martin Del Potro and Bernard Tomic. His run on the grass has reminded the tennis community that is isn’t just Dominic Thiem or Alexander Zverev that has the potential to be future stars in the game. What is even more incredible about the world No.30 is that he had never won a match on the grass prior to the tournament.

“Before the tournament, [my goal] was to win one match on grass. I’m very happy and very emotional with the win,” said Pouille after his fourth round win.
“I’ll try to recover as good as possible for Wednesday. I think it will be one of the most important matches of my career so far… But for the moment, I’m just trying to enjoy it.

The prospect of Pouille beating the 10th seed in their first meeting is a tough task, but not an impossible one for the 22-year-old. During Berdych’s match against Jiri Vesely, there were  periods where he was fragile on the grass and Pouille is the kind of player that has the ability to capitalize on those moments.  Berdych might be the odds on favourite against the inexperienced Pouille, but don’t be surprised to see him crash out to the French underdog.

Milos Raonic Vs Sam Querrey

In the North American battle, the fast-serving Raonic faces Djokovic’s conqueror Querrey. It is a showdown that nobody expected a week ago. Both men have earned their respect of the grass this season, but Raonic does have the edge.

Raonic, who never played on a grass-court until the age of 17, has blossomed on the grass since working with John McEnroe. At the Aegon Championships he reached the final without dropping his serve before losing to Murray. He continued his surge with Wimbledon wins over Pablo Carreno Busta, Andreas Seppi and Jack Sock. It wasn’t until the fourth round where he faced danger. For the first time in his career, Raonic came from two-sets behind to battle past Belgian 11th seed David Goffin.

The encounter seems likely to be a triumph for Raonic, however, it is hard to play-down a player who defeated world No.1 Djokovic in the third round of a grand slam, regardless of any potential issues the Serbian may have had.  Querrey reached his maiden major quarter-final with a straight-set win over Ricoh Open champion Nicolas Mahut.

Querrey has defeated Raonic at Wimbledon before in the second round of the 2012 tournament. On the other hand, Raonic has developed significantly over the past four years and it is expected that he will get his revenge for that loss on Wednesday.

Order of play

Centre Court (start 13:00)
(3) Roger Federer (Swi) v (9) Marin Cilic (Cro)
(12) Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (Fra) v (2) Andy Murray (Gbr)

Court 1 (start :13:00)
(28) Sam Querrey (USA) v (6) Milos Raonic (Can)
(10) Tomas Berdych (Cze) v (32) Lucas Pouille (Fra)

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Grand Slam

Government Minister Sheds Light On Australian Open Schedule

A member of the Victorian Government has given a new update concerning the first Grand Slam of 2021.




It is likely that the Australian Open will not be getting underway on its planned date of January 18th following recent comments by a government minister.


Negotiations between Tennis Australia and local officials are ongoing amid uncertainty over when the Grand Slam event will start. Last week plans for next year suffered a heavy blow after it was confirmed that players will not be allowed to enter the country in December as previously hoped. Instead they can enter from January 1st but will then have to go through a 14-day quarantine where they will not be allowed to play any competitive tennis.

In the wake of the ruling, speculation is mounting that the Australian Open will be delayed. If not, players will only have a four-day period between finishing their quarantine and playing their first tournament of the new year.

Martin Pakula, who is the sports minister for the Victorian Government, said on Wednesday that it was likely there would be a slight delay to the start of the competition due to what he describes as ‘very complex negotiations.’

“I still think it’s much more likely that it will be a shorter rather than longer delay. I don’t want to unduly repeat myself but these are very complex negotiations,” The Sydney Morning Herald quoted Pakula as saying.
“I’m still confident we’ll have an Australian Open, and we’ll have one in the early part of the year.”

It is also still unclear as to what will be happening to other tournaments that were set to be held in the country such as the ATP Cup, Brisbane International and others. Tennis Australia had previously said they intend to relocate some of their events to Melbourne in order to minimise travel. However, due to the delay in players arriving those plans are in doubt. If they were held after the Australian Open, it would have a significant impact on both the ATP and WTA Tour calendars.

“There’s a number of potential dates on the table. I’ve seen reports that suggest that it’s likely to be delayed by a week or two. I think that’s still most likely,” said Pakula. “But it’s not the only option. As you know, the French Open was delayed by many months and Wimbledon didn’t occur at all.
“I still think it’s much more likely that it will be a shorter [delay] rather than a longer one.”

Pakula has also confirmed that the conditions of the ‘biosecure bubble’ which players will be kept in are yet to be finalized. Although he says there will be a rigorous testing system in place.

Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley said over the weekend that a date for the Australian Open should be confirmed within 14 days.

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Rafael Nadal Urges Calm Over Australian Open As Officials Search For Solution

The world No.2 has confirmed his intentions to play at the Grand Slam but there are fresh doubts over when it will be getting underway.




20-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal has urged his peers to remain patient amid growing uncertainty over what the start of the 2021 season in Australia will look like.


Earlier this week it was confirmed that the government of Victoria refused a plan for 550 players to travel to the region next month in a move that could force a delay to the start of the Australian Open. Instead players will not be allowed to arrive until January 1st and then they will have to undergo a 14-day quarantine process. As it stands during that time they are reportedly allowed to train but not play in tournaments.

The ATP has already acknowledged that ‘new challenges’ have arisen in an internal letter issued to their players. Should the Australian Open dates remain unchanged, there will only be a four-day break between quarantine ending and the Grand Slam starting.

Questioned about the situation following his exit from the ATP Finals on Saturday, Nadal said he and others just need to ‘accept the situation’ by respecting any decision taken by the government.

“I don’t know what’s the situation going to be yet,” he said. “We need to wait about what the (state) government there in Victoria says.
“We can’t do much from ATP position or just wait. We have nobody to say what they feel is better for his country.
“We just need to be patient and accept the situation that we are facing. That is difficult for everyone. We need to be flexible to understand the situation and to find a way to play as many tournaments as possible next year.”

The head of Tennis Australia, Craig Tiley, has tried to allay concerns in a statement released on Sunday. Providing an update on the current situation, he says a plan taking into account the ‘needs of the players, fans, partners and staff’ is currently being drawn up alongside the Victorian Government. Although it is unclear as to when it will be finalised or what the final decision will be.

“We are continuing our urgent talks with local health authorities regarding quarantining and bio-security requirements and are confident we will have decisions soon,” said Tiley.
“Tennis Australia is acutely aware of the need for certainty, but also conscious of reaching a solution with the State Government that ensures the safety of the entire community.”

The Australian Open isn’t the only issue, it is what will happen with other events such as the ATP Cup. Originally it was hoped that various tournaments which usually take place around the country would be moved to Melbourne in order to minimise travelling. Now due to the later than planned arrival dates and quarantine, it is possible some of these events could be axed. So far the only event confirmed to have the chop is the Australian Open junior tournament, which will take place later in the year.

Amid the uncertainty, Nadal says he is hopeful that the Tour would return to a degree of normality in the future.

“Hopefully with the vaccine, that ends soon and we can come back at least to close to normal in a couple of months, but now is a difficult situation,” Nadal concluded.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this week’s ATP Finals is taking place behind closed doors for the first time in its history.

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Bombshell Puts Australian Tennis Events In Doubt

It is looking increasingly likely that players will not be allowed to play any tournament leading up to the first Grand Slam of 2021.




The start of the 2021 tennis season has been dealt a massive blow as it has emerged that players hoping to travel to Australia next month will not be allowed to.


It is being reported that initial plans by Tennis Australia to allow roughly 550 players to enter their ‘bubble’ within the coming weeks have been blocked by the government in a move which may force the cancellation of any tournament set to take place prior to the Australian Open. A plan had been set out for players to arrive in December so they can enter into a mandatory 14-day quarantine. However, it now appears that the proposal has been denied due to COVID-19 protocols.

Unless there is a change of heart, players will not be allowed into the country until January 1st and then they will have to go through quarantine. Then under the current schedule the Australian Open will start just four days after. Players are not allowed to play any tournaments whilst in quarantine. The ATP, which is the governing body of men’s tennis, has issued an internal statement acknowledging that there are ‘new challenges’ concerning arrival times.

“In discussions with Tennis Australia over the past 24 hours, we have been informed there are some new challenges around the previously planned arrival dates for players and team members,” the ATP told its members.
“We continue to work with Tennis Australia on confirming plans for January, and we will provide an update as soon as more information is available in the coming days.
“We understand there is uncertainty about the start of the 2021 season, and we are working as hard as possible to deliver the best possible calendar of events to players, maximising points, jobs and prize money opportunities.”

Less than a week before the bombshell, Tennis Australia confirmed their desire to relocate various tournaments to Melbourne due to travel restrictions. The idea was for events usually held in Sydney, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, Canberra and Hobart to be moved to the area. However, it is now unclear as to what if any will go ahead now.

There have been rumours of the Australian summer potentially being extended into February which will allow for more events outside of the Australian Open to take place in the region. However, this has not been confirmed and there is no indication yet that the date of the Grand Slam will be moved back.

“Whether (players) need to be here in December… I don’t know that that necessarily means there isn’t an Australian Open,” Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews told reporters on Wednesday.
“Whether there are lead-in tournaments, that’s to be worked through.”
“It has to be done safely, it has to be done properly. We are working very, very closely with Tennis Australia. They are working (with) all of their partners and we’re confident that we’ll finish up with an Australian Open.” He later added.

There is yet to be any public comment from Tennis Australia regarding the latest development. Although the CEO of the organisation, Craig Tiley, has confirmed to The Tennis Channel that the tune-up events for the Australian Open are now in jeopardy.

The Australian Open is scheduled to start on January 18th.

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