Gael Monfils: The Artist Of The Court, But Not Of His Mind - UBITENNIS
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Gael Monfils: The Artist Of The Court, But Not Of His Mind

A generous Gael Monfils provides a good show to the London crowds in his match with Dominc Thiem, but falters on the final straight as he (almost) ends his ATP Finals run

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The Day 3 match between a recovering Gael Monfils and a Dominic Thiem running on fumes after his 28-tournament freshmen season in the Top 10 was supposed to be one of the least attractive in the schedule of the 2016 Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. So much so that on the previous day it was possible to scoop a lower bowl ticket for less than 20 pounds on the secondary online market. However both players put on a decent display for the predictably not-numerous crowd showing up at the O2 Arena in Greenwich for the workday afternoon event, even if, as games went by, it became increasingly apparent that Monfils could not find within himself the stamina to face his opponent with his usual running game, therefore being forced to go for the winner much earlier than expected: his first serves pushing 140 mph, repeated serve-and-volley openly challenging Thiem’s deadly backhand and explosive winners attempted from far behind the baseline certainly made the eager crowd’s day, but exemplified Monfils lack of physical condition due to the chest muscle tear that kept him out of last month’s BNP Paribas Masters in Paris. Nonetheless, the Parisian honored the match and pushed the match to the wire, when he totally crumbled under pressure gifting his opponent of the victory with three double faults in the final game.

 

The first set was decided by a single break of serve on the sixth game, when a single winning return was enough for Thiem to gain the decisive advantage thanks to three unforced errors by Monfils, who could not do much on his opponent’s serve, almost untouchable with his 76% of first serves and 89% of first serve conversion. Twenty-six minutes were enough for the Austrian to secure a one set lead but certainly not enough to dismantle Monfils’ resistance. The Frenchman intensified the frequency of his attacks and his serve-and-volleys, forcing Thiem to rush his shots and increase his error count. The 23-year old conceded his first break of the match on his opening service game of the second set, wasting a 30-0 lead and after Monfils had the crowd on their feet for a winning forehand down-the-line returning from a lob. Clearly rattled by his opponent’s intention to shorten the rallies and take the initiative from his own hands, the Austrian produced three horrible mishits also in his following service game, conceding a commanding 4-0 lead to his opponent, who went on to bring the match to the decider after only 51 minutes of play.

With their chances to advance to the semifinals on the line, the two players started the third set taking care of business on their own respective serves, with the only partial hiccup coming from an easy backhand volley missed by Thiem in the third game forcing him to handle a deuce situation. Even if there was no shortage of errors, Monfils and Thiem kept trying to take control of the game by increasing their number of net approaches, displaying some very entertaining shot-making: from a short half-volley by the Austrian to a one-handed backhand passing shot by Monfils. The Frenchman survived three break points at 3-4 with some good serves, but two games later three double faults sealed his fate and left his chances of continuing his adventure here in London in the hands of his group mates and arithmetic.

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Kei Nishikori In Doubt For The Australian Open

Asia’s highest ranked male tennis player is contemplating when he should return to the tour following surgery.

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Kei Nishikori (photo by chryslène caillaud, copyright @Sport Vision)

World No.13 Kei Nishikori is refusing to rule out the prospect of skipping the first grand slam event of 2020 as he continues his recovery from surgery.

 

Nishikori hasn’t played a match on the tour since his third round loss at the US Open back in September. A month later he underwent a procedure on his right elbow in a move that brought his season to an early end. Currently undergoing rehabilitation, it is unclear as to when the Japanese player believes he will return to the ATP Tour.

“The prospect of a return from surgery on right elbow in January. Maybe February. In the second half of next year I want to be able to play well.” Nikkan Sports quoted Nishikori as saying.
“I don’t want to overdo it,” he added.

The Australian Open will get underway on January 20th in Melbourne. Should he miss the grand slam, it will be the second time he has done so in the last three years. Nishikori also withdrew from the 2018 edition due to a wrist injury. In January he reached the quarter-finals and therefore has 360 points to defend next year.

During his time away from the court, the 29-year-old has been kept busy making changes to his team. Recently it was confirmed that he has started working alongside Max Mirnyi, who is a former world No.1 doubles player. Mirnyi, who has won 10 grand slam titles in men’s and mixed doubles, will be working full-time with Nishikori alongside existing coach Michael Chang.

“I’m getting closer to retirement. I want to be cured and come back to play good tennis in the second half of next year.” Nishikori stated.

Despite the injury setback, Nishikori has enjoyed success in 2019. Reaching the quarter-finals in three out of the four grand slam tournaments. The first time he has ever done that in his career. He also claimed his 12th ATP title at the Brisbane International. Overall, he won 29 out of 43 matches played.

Nishikori will turn 30 on December 29th.

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Family Of Venezuelan Doubles Star Launches GoFundMe Page For Cancer Treatment

Roberto Maytin was playing on the Challenger tour less than a month ago, but now faces a new battle.

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One of Venezuela’s highest ranked players on the ATP Tour is facing challenges off the court after being recently diagnosed with cancer.

 

Roberto Maytin, who currently has a doubles ranking of 136th, is undergoing treatment for testicular cancer Non-Seminoma. Non-seminomas are made up of different types of tumour, such as teratomas, embryonal tumours, yolk sac tumours and choriocarcinomas. Maytin’s brother Ricardo has launched a GoFundMe page to help cover the costs. The tennis player made $19,441 in prize money this season, which doesn’t factor into account numerous expenses such as travel, accommodation and paying for his coaching team.

“If life gives you a chance to live longer, I think nobody would miss the opportunity. In this plane, we all want to be (alive) for years however we forget that we are with a 50% chance of leaving at any time every day.” The fundraising page reads.
“My brother was diagnosed with testicular cancer NO Seminoma, at 30 years old. He now faces a crucial match that life has put him for growth as an individual, as a man and as an athlete. He is forced to undergo 4 stages of aggressive chemotherapy in order to heal at all and leave no trace of a Cancer that has been moving for months causing some damage.”

A former top 25 junior player, Maytin is one of only two players from his country to be ranked inside the top 200 in either singles or doubles on the men’s tour. This season he has won four Challenger titles across America. However, he has only played in one ATP Tour event since the start of 2018. He achieved a ranking high of 85th in the doubles back in 2015.

Once a student at Baylor University in Texas, Maytin formed a successful partnership with former world No.2 doubles player John Peers. Together they earned All-American honours with a win-loss of 36-5 and reached the quarter-finals of the 2011 NCAA tournament.

Maytin is also a regular fixture in his country’s Davis Cup team. Since 2007 he has played 15 ties and won 10 out of 16 matches played.

“I am also clear that the family is the gift of God for each one of us, so in this way and in whatever way I will put my desire and my energy so that my Brother Roberto Maytin, a Venezuelan professional tennis player, is back to the courts, which is where he belongs as soon as possible.”

Almost $25,000 has been raised so far to fund Maytin’s treatment. Click here to visit his GoFundMe page.

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John Newcombe Believes The Australian Open Will Be ‘A Big Ask’ For Nick Kyrgios

The tennis legend is unsure if the former top 20 player will be fit in time for the first grand slam of 2020.

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MADRID, SPAIN - Nick Kyrgios of Australia waking to the locked room Davis Cup by Rakuten Madrid Finals 2019 at Caja Magica on November 19, 2019 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Pedro Salado / Kosmos Tennis)

Former world No.1 John Newcombe has cast doubts on Nick Kyrgios’ chances of going deep in the draw at the upcoming Australian Open.

 

The 75-year-old, who won seven grand slam titles during the 1960s and 1970s, believes the injury-stricken world No.30 may struggle playing best-of-five matches in Melbourne. Kyrgios missed most of the final quarter of the 2019 season due to a shoulder issue. He returned to action last month at the Davis Cup, but skipped his country’s quarter-final clash with Canada due to a collarbone injury. Overall, he has won 23 out of 37 matches played this year.

“It’s a bit of a worry that he has recurring injuries, especially around where the muscles join the joints and that’s going to be an ongoing problem for him it seems,” Newcombe told The Age.
“At the Davis Cup he’d only played four sets of singles and his shoulder started to play up again and when you’ve got an injury like that it’s hard to go out and practice a lot.
“Leading into the Australian Open – five sets is a big ask for him.”

A two-time grand slam quarter-finalist, the 24-year-old has struggled to make his mark in the majors this year. Winning just three matches in three grand slam tournaments he played in. Kyrgios missed the French Open due to injury. At his home slam, he lost in the first round for the first time since making his main draw debut back in 2014.

As well as trying to get fit in time for the start of the new season, Kyrgios will continue to be playing under a probation on the ATP Tour for ‘aggravated behaviour.’ Should he violate that, he faces the prospect of a 16-week ban from the tour.

“I can’t speak for him but if it was me it would be tough having that ban hanging over you,” Newcombe said.
“But I guess you’ve just got to learn to zip up.”

Kyrgios is set to start 2020 at the inaugural ATP Cup, which is the only team event to have both prize money and ranking points available. After that, he is set to play in the Kooyong Classic in what will be his final test prior to the Australian Open.

“I am delighted that Nick has chosen to play Kooyong again, and hopefully it acts as the perfect tune up for his Australian Open (AO) campaign and sets him up for a massive 2020 season.” Tournament director Peter Johnson said in a statement.

So far in his career, Kyrgios has won six titles. Including Acapulco and Washington this year.

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