"It is finally our year" Argentina fans speak out ahead of Davis Cup Final - UBITENNIS
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“It is finally our year” Argentina fans speak out ahead of Davis Cup Final

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Gabriel and his brother Sebastian posing with Leonardo Mayer, who is a member of the Argentina team for the final (Photo by Andres Lukomski).

As the last major event in Men’s Tennis in 2016 approaches, Ubitennis caught up with two Argentina fans who gave their thoughts on their country’s history in the competition and their chances in the Davis Cup  final against Croatia this weekend.

 

Andres and Gabriel Lukomski are a father and son duo who have lived through the successes, trials and tribulations that the Argentina Davis Cup team has encountered over the last twenty years.

I spoke to Andres first, who recalled the famous final that Argentina played against the United States in 1981. “It was such a hard final, the finest doubles team of all time in McEnroe/Fleming, and our boys Jose Luis Clerc and Guillermo Vilas gave them the match of their lives. That was the match that decided it for me.”

Andres still recalls with pride the tennis on display over the course of that tie. “Clerc defeated Roscoe Tanner, who had a beautiful, powerful serve, and in straight sets too.” Clerc also played the fourth match, losing in another thriller to McEnroe in the match that officially sealed the tie.

We then moved on to discuss the next three final appearances for Argentina, against Russia in 2006, and Spain in 2008 and 2011. “We relied far too heavily on David (Nalbandian)” Andres said. “It was on that carpet in Russia which of course did not favour Juan Ignacio Chela or Jose Acasuso who live on the clay. The Russians with Nikolay Davydenko and Marat Safin had the strength in their number 1 and 2 players that we simply did not have for the surface, though Acasuso still managed to take a set from Safin.”

Gabriel then took me through the 2006 Final defeat to Spain, to date the only Davis Cup final that Argentina have played on home soil, in Mar Del Plata. “We had to try and predict the team” he said. “Given Nadal’s emergence on the clay we decided to forgo the traditional strength of many Argentinians, which is the clay, as we expected him to play.” The final was instead played on hard courts, though the gamble failed to pay off as Nadal did not play with Spain instead fielding Fernando Verdasco and Feliciano Lopez for the singles.

Andres made sure to remind me of one more fact he felt was pertinent to the proceedings. “Poor Delpo (Del Potro) had played in the Masters Cup (now the ATP World Tour Finals) and had to travel all the way from Shanghai (where it was held at the time), to Mar Del Plata. He lost to Feliciano Lopez, a player he would normally beat so I think the travel played a big part.

Gabriel then summed up the final. ” I think of all the appearances in the finals for Argentina so far it was perhaps our biggest chance. If we had stuck to clay we could have beaten Feliciano Lopez for sure and it maybe could have been a different story.

Both father and son talked little of the 2011 defeat, which had seen a Spain team anchored by Nadal win 3-1 in Seville. Andres did mention one thing “Delpo started incredibly in that match with Nadal he won the first set 6-1 you know.

Moving to this year’s clash Andres, who has lived through each agonising defeat so far, was fatalistic about his country’s chances. “I do not think this will be our year” he said. He also noticed a coincidence linking the two finalists. “Croatia is the country of our captain, Daniel Orsanic’s father, it will be a very interesting time for him.”

Gabriel was much more optimistic about the final. “Delpo can definitely beat Cilic and Karlovic. I feel we will lose the doubles as Ante Pavic and Ivan Dodig are regular doubles players. Either Leo Mayer or Federico Delbonis will then beat Karlovic, so we will win 3-2, it is finally our year!” Gabriel also noted a key factor that he felt could tip the balance in the favour of Argentina. “Our fans are undoubtedly the most vociferous, they really create a strong atmosphere for our players even if they are home or away, and Delpo and the team must take heart from that”.

Andres’ final comments regarded Argentina’s path to the final. “We have played all of our ties away from home this year. In Poland, in Italy, We beat Murray and the British in Glasgow, and now we are away again in the final with CroatiaIf we win then we need not ever play again at home” he joked before complimenting his country’s home stadium. “We have a beautiful stadium that was built in Argentina after I left, but I have seen the atmosphere and it is incredible.”

  • My thanks go to Andres and Gabriel for speaking ahead of the Davis Cup final.

 

 

 

 

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Iga Swiatek Demands Talks With ITF And WTA After Withdrawing From Billie Jean King Cup

Iga Swiatek is not happy with the ITF and WTA after withdrawing from the Billie Jean King Cup Finals.

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Iga Swiatek (@IgaSwi_France - Twitter)

The world number one has announced that she will not compete at the Billie Jean King Cup Finals in November after criticising tennis’ governing bodies for not looking after player welfare.

 

The event is set to take place the week after the WTA Finals in Glasgow which causes a huge problem and obstacle for many players.

This is definitely the case for Swiatek who has qualified for the WTA Finals which takes place in Texas on the 31st of October.

A huge dilemma which now means Swiatek will not compete for her country at the Billie Jean King Cup.

Speaking on Instagram the Pole criticised the decision from the ITF and WTA and wants to speak to them about player welfare to prevent future decisions from happening, “I was thinking it through a lot and discussing it with my team all over again, but I will not be able to play at the Billie Jean King Cup in Glasgow,” Swiatek said in her Instagram story.

“And it makes me sad. I’m very sorry because I play for Poland whenever it’s possible and I always give it my best. Playing in Poland this year was an honour and I hoped to do this again at the end of the season.

“I’m disappointed that tennis governing bodies didn’t come to an agreement on something as basic as the calendar of tournaments, giving us only one day to travel through the globe and changing the time zone. This situation is not safe for our health and could cause injury.

“I’m going to talk to the WTA and ITF in order to change something. This situation is difficult not only for the players like me, but mainly for the tennis fans that support our fans.”

It’s clear Swiatek wants change in terms of player welfare and communication between governing bodies on how to facilitate the schedule.

However Swiatek now turns her attention to preparing for the WTA Finals and first up for the Pole is Ostrava this week.

In her opening match Swiatek will face either Ajla Tomljanovic or Shuai Zhang.

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Cameron Norrie Withdraws From Tokyo After COVID Positive Test

Cameron Norrie will miss the rest of the Asian swing due to COVID.

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Cameron Norrie (@the_LTA - Twitter)

After withdrawing from his quarter-final in Seoul, Cameron Norrie has now withdrawn from the ATP 500 event in Tokyo.

 

The Brit’s absence from the latter stages of the ATP 250 event in South Korea, raised eyebrows with Norrie suffering from illness.

However Norrie then withdraw from the ATP 500 event in Tokyo where he was due to play Thanasi Kokkinakis.

Now his absence has been explained as Norrie confirmed on social media that he tested positive for COVID-19.

In a statement originally posted on Instagram, Norrie explained he had no symptoms but has to quarantine in his hotel room in Seoul, “Unfortunately I had a positive COVID test in Korea and wasn’t able to compete in the rest of my matches,” Norrie said.

“I have no symptoms and I am feeling 100%. It’s been a complicated situation and I appreciate the Republic of Korea trying their best to be amicable in a very tough situation.

“I was really hoping to go to Tokyo but because of the quarantine period I will not be able to play there. Looking forward to getting back to Europe for the indoors. See you guys soon!”

This is the second time Norrie has tested positive for COVID with the first time being before the start of the season.

Norrie’s scheduled next tournament will be in Stockholm which will take place on the 17th of October.

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Carlos Alcaraz Faces Rune Test In Astana

Carlos Alcaraz leads a stacked field in Astana next week.

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Carlos Alcaraz (@WeAreTennis - Twitter)

Carlos Alcaraz returns to the ATP tour next week in Astana next week where he faces Danish talent Holger Rune.

 

The world number one plays his first ATP tournament since winning his first Grand Slam title at the US Open and becoming the youngest world number one in history.

Having qualified for the Nitto ATP Finals, Alcaraz will now look to build momentum over the coming weeks for the event in Turin.

First up for Alcaraz is the ATP 500 event in Astana next week where the Spaniard faces a tough opening round in the form of Danish talent Holger Rune.

The Dane reached his first Grand Slam quarter-final at Roland Garros earlier this year but had struggled for form since then.

However Rune has reached the semi-finals in Sofia this week and is hitting form at the right time so this will be a big test for Alcaraz.

Should Alcaraz get through that test than a potential second round meeting with Stan Wawrinka could be on the cards with the Swiss wildcard facing Adrian Mannarino in his opening match.

Andrey Rublev is the player that could face Alcaraz in the last eight with the eighth seed facing a qualifier in his opening round match.

Rublev is one of a number of players who are chasing the remaining spots at the Nitto ATP Finals.

Also in the top half of the draw is Stefanos Tsitsipas and Hubert Hurkacz with Tsitsipas facing Mikhail Kukushkin.

While Hurkacz faces Francisco Cerundolo and a potential second round match against home favourite Alexander Bublik could await in round two.

In the bottom half of the draw, Novak Djokovic will continue his search for a surge up the rankings against Cristian Garin.

Djokovic’s potential quarter-final is Jannik Sinner who begins against tricky serve and volleyer Oscar Otte.

Daniil Medvedev is also taking part in a stacked field in Astana as he faces Albert Ramos-Vinolas in his opening round match.

In the bottom quarter there is also an intriguing opening round match between Felix Auger-Aliassime and Roberto Bautista Agut.

Here is the full draw with play starting on Monday:

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