5 of the best ATP matches of 2016: No.5 Dominic Thiem vs Nicolas Almagro - UBITENNIS
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5 of the best ATP matches of 2016: No.5 Dominic Thiem vs Nicolas Almagro

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With the ATP season now finished for 2016, we can look back on some great matches over the course of the year, and reflect on how these matches have helped shape the rankings going into 2017. Over the course of this week five matches will be remembered.

No.5 – Dominic Thiem defeats Nicolas Almagro 7-6, 3-6, 7-6, in the Buenos Aires Final.

This match makes the list for remembering a young talent’s victory over a excellent clay specialist trying to get his career back on track after injury. It just edges out the equally enthralling semi-final victory for Thiem against Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals. This match really shaped the course of Dominic Thiem’s outstanding 2016 season. Going into the year ranked at No.20 the Austrian had had an indifferent start to the year, reaching the semi-finals of just one of his first three events at the Brisbane International (l. to Federer). His run at the Buenos Aires Open handed him his first title of a season where he would add a further three titles, reach the semi-finals of a Grand Slam for the first time, qualify for the season-ending ATP World Tour Finals and finish inside the Emirates Top 10.

This match was not just about Dominic Theim though. Nicolas Almagro was once ranked at No.10 in the ATP rankings. His best results have come on clay, reaching the quarter-finals at Roland Garros three times (2008, 2010, 2012). Since 2014 though, Almagro had struggled with a foot injury, and saw his ranking plummet out of the Top 100. Almagro recovered to play this match with a ranking once again in the Top 100, though not near his once normal placing in the Top 30. Nevertheless, this match saw Almagro at his sensational best once again, providing formidable opposition for the young Austrian. The Spaniard built on his performance in this final, moving his ranking back into the Top 50 by the end of the season.

The match itself saw many long rallies, as both players unsurprisingly looked to dictate from the baseline and beyond. Both right-handers with one-handed backhands and aggressive games, in many ways Almagro and Thiem were very similar in style. The first set saw both attack hard, often forcing thirty or deuce games against each other’s serve. In particular both used the cross-court angles superbly well, on both wings, forcing each other to demonstrate admirable defensive traits as well as attacking strengths.

The first set went to a tie-break, and Thiem took the initiative from the off, seizing on a slightly short mid-court ball from Almagro to crush a forehand. Almagro then collapsed when serving at two-five, losing both points to give the younger man the early advantage.

Almagro did well to recover from love-thirty when serving at one-two in the second, before breaking Thiem at three-all when a fortunate net cord forced a net-rushing Thiem into an error. Thiem lost his composure towards the end of the set, missing a regulation lob before double-faulting on set point to ensure that Almagro would serve first in the championship decider.

Almagro’s hot form continued into the second set, breaking early. Thiem came back and refused to let Almagro consolidate the early break, levelling up at two-all. The set then went with serve, resulting in a tie break. Again, it was the Austrian who came through the victor, with Almagro framing a forehand long on match point to hand Thiem his first title of a terrific 2016.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XUjmImvbuVU

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Andrea Gaudenzi recognizes the contribution of the Italian Tennis Federation in staging the Internazionali d’Italia

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ATP President and former Italian tennis player Andrea Gaudenzi spoke in an interview to Italian TV channel Supertennis about staging the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome before the French Open and recognised the contribution of the Italian tennis Federation (FIT) in staging the tournament in the Italian capital. 

 

The Rome ATP Masters 1000 and WTA Premier 5 tournaments will be held from 20th to 27th September one week before the French Open (27th September to 11th October). 

“We are grateful to everyone, holding an event this year is difficult from an organizational and financial point of view. We thank the Italian Federation and those who organize the Challengers. Italy is making a great contribution. I think the players are waiting for the BNL Internazionali d’Italia. The Foro Italico is among the most beautiful venues in the world. Rome is splendid in September”, said Gaudenzi. 

During his tennis career Gaudenzi scored wins over Roger Federer in Rome 2002, Pete Sampras in the first round of the 2002 French Open, Jim Courier in the 1994 US Open, Goran Ivanisevic, Thomas Muster, Michael Stich and Yevgeny Kafelnikov. Gaudenzi claimed three ATP titles in Casablanca in 1998, St. Poelten and Bastad in 2002. He graduated in law at the Bologna University and obtained a MBA with Honours at IUM.

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The Trial Has Ended: David Ferrer Is Now A Head Coach Of Alexander Zverev

The former French Open finalist is set to become a regular face on the men’s Tour once again but in a differnt capacity.

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By Emil Evtimov

David Ferrer is the new head coach of Alexander Zverev alongside his father Alexander Sr. The news was revealed by the world No.7 after his win against Felix Auger-Aliassime at the Ultimate Tennis Showdown in Nice.

 

In the beginning of July Zverev announced that he and Ferrer will work together on a trial basis for two weeks in Monte Carlo. Now the German confirmed that the former world No.3 and Roland Garros finalist will be on his side as a coach at least until the end of the year. 

“The trial period is over. We are together. We understand each other great and now we are a team,” said Zverev.

Ferrer won’t be the first prominent name in team Zverev. Previously the three-time Masters 1000 champion worked with Juan Carlos Ferrero and Ivan Lendl. Since the end of his relationship with Lendl, Zverev has been trained mainly by his dad.

“David and my father are both my head coaches now. My dad doesn’t get any younger. Both are extremely important for the team.”

For Ferrer this will be the first coaching experience. His playing career ended in May 2019 during the ATP Masters 1000 in Madrid with his last opponent on the court being none other than Zverev.

For quite a long time Zverev was considered the big star from the young generation but in 2019 was a bit overshadowed by players such as Stefanos Tsitsipas and  Daniil Medvedev.

The German began 2020 with a great performance at the Australian Open reaching the semifinals where he lost to Dominic Thiem in four sets.

Zverev is on the entry list for the first tournament after the pandemic – the Western & Southern Open which will be staged in New York to create a “protective bubble” for the US Open. The 23-year old talks also about the Grand Slam tournament, saying he would prefer it not to happen, although he is going to play at this point.

“It is a bit crazy to play the US Open now. I would prefer if it would not happen and we just restart in Europe. Because of the pandemic it is not the right time to fly. But when they host the open – what shall we played do? Especially when everyone plays’ it is about ranking points, too. At this point I didn’t think about withdrawing. If everyone reacts within hygiene rules and it will be similar to the NBA bubble it could work out.”

Zverev was one of the tennis players most criticized for his behaviour during the pandemic. The reason was his participation in the Adria Tour where he and his colleagues weren’t following the social distancing rules very strictly. The German gave a negative test for COVID-19 after finding out about the positive test of Grigor Dimitrov. He promised to be in quarantine for safety reasons but was seen partying a few days after. This caused a criticism from Nick Kyrgios, as well as a Twitter war between the Australian and German legend Boris Becker.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas opens up: “I Wasn’t Sure If I Was Good Enough”

Stefanos Tsitsipas reflects on how hard it was in the beginning of his pro career.

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BY EMIL EVTIMOV

 

In the latest instalment of “Behind the Racquet” world No.6 Stefanos Tsitsipas has shed light on the personal struggles he encountered whilst breaking into the sport.

Tsitsipas had a great 2019 season, climbing from N.15 to N.6 at the end of the year after winning the Nitto ATP Finals, as well as two ATP 250 tournaments in Estoril and Marseille. He also reached the final of the Madrid Open.

However, life wasn’t always so easy for the charming Greek. In his “Behind the Racquet” post, he recalls the times when he was playing Futures while doubting that he was good enough to play professional tennis. He admitted he was feeling “very lonely” and not having many friends on the ATP tour.

Here is the Tsitsipas story in the “Behind the Racquet”:

“In 2018, I broke into the Top 15 and was seeded in Grand Slams. That’s when I understood my potential. In the beginning, I traveled with only my dad. Now, I travel with my dad, mom, and three siblings. I’m the main source of income for my family. 

I have hobbies that keep me interested in different aspects of life. These activities keep me creative and are reflected in my tennis game and presence on court. Sometimes, I post things on my social media that not many people understand. These posts express my inner creativity. I’m just trying to be different from the rest. I put Stefanos’ twist on life. I am philosophical, I come from a country with a history of philosophy and I don’t know if I was Pythagoras or Socrates in my previous life, but I wouldn’t mind being either one. 

There was a time when I wasn’t doing well. I started to play futures and was doubting myself. I wasn’t sure if I was good enough to play professional tennis. My country was going through hard times. Greece was on the verge of bankruptcy. The entire population was suffering. My father’s siblings were unemployed and couldn’t feed their families. People looked at me like I was the one ruling the country and they thought I was part of the problem. 

I felt isolated. I wasn’t home to see what was going on because I was traveling. I needed support. My mental coach shared his wisdom and inspired me. Then I said to myself, ‘You’ve dedicated your entire life to tennis, you can’t just give up. You’ve got to keep going.’ I play tennis to prove that my country has a great history and can achieve success. Tennis is a very introverted sport and we face everything alone. We have a team that follows us all over the world but I have spent countless sleepless nights on my own. All the traveling and competing causes a lot of stress and I grew very lonely.

I was an introverted child and I didn’t have many friends. When I first started playing on tour, I thought I would develop friendships but it turned out to be the opposite. Most players keep to themselves. I feel like players don’t want to become friends because they think someone will grab a secret from you to beat you. I guess they’re just too serious about the whole thing. Friends would make traveling less lonely.”

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