Angelique Kerber Puts Her Rise To World No.1 Down To Personal Growth - UBITENNIS
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Angelique Kerber Puts Her Rise To World No.1 Down To Personal Growth

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Angelique Kerber (image via zimbio.com)

After coming so close at the Cincinnati Open, Angelique Kerber has finally ended Serena Williams’ 186-week reign as world No.1 at the US Open.

 

Becoming the oldest female tennis player in history to debut at world No.1, Kerber sealed her new position after Serena Williams crashed out in the semifinals to Karolina Pliskova. It is the second consecutive year that Williams has suffered heartbreak in the last four in flushing Meadows following her loss to Roberta Vinci last year.

“It feels amazing.” The new world No.1 said. “It feels just great. I mean, the day came today, and to be now the No. 1 in the world, that was always a dream for me.”
“I was trying to not thinking too much the last few weeks about this, and now I reach it. So it’s something really special for me because I was dreaming for this No. 1.”

Kerber booked her place in the US Open final after downing Caroline Wozniacki 6-4, 6-3, in a relatively straightforward encounter. The 28-year-old will now be bidding to win her second major title of the season after the Australian Open.

Saturday’s upcoming match will be Kerber’s seventh final this year in what has been a breakthrough season on the tour. Speaking about her 2016 surge, Kerber has said that the development of her mental game has enhanced her performance. This was evident during her match against Wozniacki where she remained composed despite the No.1 position hanging in the balance.

“It was not so easy to go then to court, because I knew that if Serena lost, of course, I will be the No. 1. So it was not so easy mentally, but I was trying to, again, not putting too much pressure on myself.” She said.
“That also shows me that I think I’m growing and I’m not putting the pressure on my shoulders if something like this happen.”

After reaching the top position for the first time in her career, the next task for the German will be trying to win her first US Open title. Standing in Kerber’s way is Pliskova, a player who defeated her in straight sets in last months Cincinnati Open. The upcoming encounter will be a tough match for Kerber, but she is hoping to learn from her previous mistakes against the Czech player.

“I think my serve have to be very good. I have to move good, as well, to bring a lot of balls back, and playing also more aggressive like I played in Cincinnati. I was just pushing too much the balls there, so I think I will change this a little bit.” Kerber said about her tactics for the final.

Kerber is the 22nd player in history to claim the No.1 position on the WTA Tour. She is her country’s first No.1 since Steffi Graf in March 1997.

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Roger Federer, Alexander Zverev Fight Back To Clinch Dramatic Laver Cup Victory For Europe

20-time grand slam champion Federer has hailed Europe’s latest triumph in the team tournament as an ‘unbelievable roller-coaster.’

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After three days of pulsating action at the Laver Cup in Geneva, it was the final 10-point tiebreaker that separated team Europe from their opponents.

 

Lead by Roger Federer and Co, the European contingent was expected to cruise towards victory given their calibre of seven top 20 players compared to only one from team World. They headed into the final day of competition with a 7-5 lead, but a dramatic twist in momentum saw the underdogs claim six consecutive points. Thanks to Jack Sock and John Isner triumphing in the doubles, followed by Taylor Fritz stunning Dominic Thiem 7-5, 6-7(3), 10-5. Making it Fritz’s first ever win over a top five player.

“That was a big match for Team World. We really needed that win. To let my team down the first day and contribute to the team today and give them the win means so much to me,” Fritz said during an on-court interview. “This has to be one of the biggest wins of my career. You’re usually just playing for yourself, but it means so much when you’re playing for other people.”

In danger of losing the title for the first time in the history of the Laver Cup, it was up to 20-time grand slam Federer to start the comeback. The Swiss maestro is one of the co-founders of the team tournament. Taking on Isner, Federer delighted his animated home crowd with a resounding 6-4, 7-6(3), triumph. Reducing his teams deficit from 7-11 to 10-11.

“What an atmosphere and what a match. I’m thrilled that I was able to give something back to the team after a tough Match Tie-break (in doubles) earlier today,” Federer said. “Team Europe has been amazing. They’ve fought so hard and played so well.”

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Undoubtedly Federer is the player everybody in Geneva wanted to see, however, it was Alexander Zverev, who had the most pressure placed on his shoulders. Not only was he playing the final match of the 2019 tie, he had to win or Eureope’s stronghold on the Laver Cup would come to an end. A situation he was also placed in 12 months ago.

Standing in Zverev’s way was former Wimbledon finalist Milos Raonic. A player renowned for his blistering serve. Like the 2019 event, it was a turbulent encounter. At one set apiece, the German ousted his rival in a decisive tiebreaker. Working his way to five match points after hitting a deep backhand winner. It was on his first opportunity where Zverev prevailed after hitting a forehand cross-court winner. Claiming the match 6-4, 3-6, 10-4 and prompting the world No.6 to drop onto his knees as an almighty roar erupted around the Palexpo Arena.

“It was an unbelievable weekend. They (team world) were one or two points away from winning it all. Credit to all of you. Every one of you deserved to win.” Zverev said in tribute to his deflated opponents afterwards.
“I played an unbelievable tiebreaker. I am super thankful to Roger, Rafa and the team. Without them on the bench today I would not have done it.” He added.

In the aftermath of the triumph, blue confetti dropped onto the black court in Geneva. Symbolising Europe’s latest triumph in the competition and their third in a row. It was during the trophy ceremony where it confirmed that the 2020 event will return back to America and be held in Boston. The venue will be the 20,000 capacity TD Garden, which is the home ground of NBA team Boston Celtics and NHL team Boston Bruins.

“Congratulations Team World on an unbelievable fight, I can’t wait for the next one in Boston. For us, so many emotions. It’s been an unbelievable roller-coaster.” Federer said in a tribute to close the 2019 competition.
“Bjorn, you’re a great captain, and Rocket (Rod Laver), thanks for being here today. It makes it more special.
“It’s been a dream weekend for me to be playing in Switzerland. Thank you for all the noise you’ve made, I’ve loved every moment.”

The 2020 Laver Cup will take place between September 25-27.

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Andy Murray Undecided On Future, Plays Down Chances Of Returning To His Best

Murray’s future in the sport may be uncertain, but he has no fear regardless of what may happens.

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Three-time grand slam champion Andy Murray has said it would be ‘silly’ for him to think that he could return back to the top of his game.

 

The former world No.1 has been dodged by hip problems over the past two years and has undergone two surgeries within that period. The most recent took place after the Australian Open where he had hip resurfacing surgery. Due to the problems, Murray is currently ranked outside the top 400 and is still in the middle of returning back to singles competition.

Murray’s next test will be the Zhuhai Championships, which will officially get underway on Monday. It will be the fourth tournament where he has played in the singles draw after having surgery. During a pre-tournament press day, the Brit spoke frankly about his chances of hitting top form in the future.

“Honestly, I’m not expecting to get back to my very best,” Murray said during an interview with AFP news.
“I think it would be probably a bit naive and silly to think that would be the case.
“I do feel like tennis-wise I can still compete at the highest level in terms of my skill, it’s just whether physically I can get to a high enough level to be competitive right at the top.
“I’ve still got quite a ways to go in that respect, I don’t know exactly where the end point is.”

Earlier this week at the Laver Cup, John McEnroe told reporters he ‘absolutely believes’ that Murray could return to the top 10 as long as he stays injury free. The Brit has spent 41 weeks as world No.1 during his career. The 14th longest streak in the Open Era.

For the moment retirement is not on the mind of the 32-year-old. Who has vowed to continue playing as long as he keeps improving further on the tour. However, the prospect of walking away from the sport for good is not as daunting as it once was for him.

“Tennis has always been a huge part of my life, but I realised probably then that actually my health was the most important thing for a happy life and I had always probably been worried about what life might look like after tennis,” he said.
“I had a glimpse these last few months and it was brilliant.
“I was just in no pain, just doing lots of different things, hanging out with friends and family, and it was great.
“So I am looking forward to when I do stop playing eventually.
“But while I am not in pain just now, I will try to keep playing tennis because I enjoy it.”

Murray will play Tennys Sandgren in the first round of the Zhuhai Championships in what will be an opportunity to get revenge. He lost to the American in the first round of the Winston-Salem Open last month.

Timeline of Murray’s latest comeback

June:- wins doubles title at Queen’s with Feliciano Lopez in comeback tournament. A week later he loses in the first round of the men’s doubles draw in Eastbourne with Marcelo Melo.
July: Returns to Wimbledon for the first time since 2017. Pairs up with Serena Williams to reach third round in the mixed doubles. Loses in the first round of the men’s doubles.
August: Continues to play a couple more doubles tournaments before starting his singles comeback at the Cincinnati Masters, where he loses his opening match to Richard Gasquet. Then in Winston-Salem he was ousted by Sandgren in the first round.
September: Plays first Challenger event since 2005. Scores two wins before losing in the quarter-finals.

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Former Mentor Of Dominic Thiem Slams Trio Of Rising Stars In Men’s Tennis

The renowned Austrian coach has branded Alexander Zverev a ‘total failure.’

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The man responsible for helping Dominic Thiem rise to the top of the sport has blasted three players tipped to become stars of the game in the future.

 

Gunter Bresnik, who is also known for his previous work with Ernests Gulbis, believes some players are missing what Daniil Medvedev has on the tour. Medvedev is currently in the midst of his breakthrough season. This week is the fifth consecutive tournament where the Russian has reached a final on the ATP Tour. During the summer he claimed his first Masters title in Cincinnati and finished runner-up to Rafael Nadal at the US Open.

“I said to Dominic in February in Buenos Aires: ‘Do not just look forward to Djokovic, Nadal, Federer, look back: Medvedev is coming.” Bresnik said during an interview with heute.at.
“He laughed at me, Medvedev is smart, has that Russian sense of humour, is moving extremely well. (This is what) the other boys are missing.”

Asked to pinpoint who he meant, the 58-year-old didn’t hold back. Describing Germany’s Alexander Zverev as a ‘total failure.’ Zverev is currently ranked sixth in the world and has 11 ATP titles to his name. The most prestigious of which being the ATP Finals, which he won last November. However, Zverev wasn’t the only player to be criticised by the Austrian.

“Zverev is a total failure, (Stefanos) Tsitsipas was grotesque at two majors this year, (Denis) Shapovalov would be dangerous because he has the weapons, but he has not been trained well in recent years.” He claims.

Bresnik has a wealth of experience when it comes to tennis. In his career, he has worked with more than 20 players who have reached the top 100. Including Boris Becker, Henri Leconte, Stefan Koubek and Jeff Tarango. In his home country, he was the Sports Director of the Austrian Tennis Federation (1998-99) and Davis Cup Captain twice (1992-1993 and 1998-2004).

Unsurprisingly Bresnik has a more favourable opinion when it comes to Thiem, who is now working with former player Nicolas Massu. He has known the world No.5 since he was a child. The two got acquainted after Thiem’s father applied to work at his academy in Vienna.

“Thiem, he has no technical weakness, he can control the highest speed in a controlled manner, he was closer to Nadal than Medvedev in New York last year, many forget that, but he has to get his level.” He concluded.

At present Bresnik is working with WTA player Mira Antonitsch, who is yet to crack the top 500 on the tour.

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