Alex De Minaur demonstrates incredible mental fortitude to stun Gerald Melzer for first ever Grand Slam win - UBITENNIS
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Alex De Minaur demonstrates incredible mental fortitude to stun Gerald Melzer for first ever Grand Slam win

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2017 Australian Open - Day 1

Alex De Minaur scored one of the wins of the first round, the seventeen year old defeating Gerald Melzer in five, sensational sets, (Image via Zimbio.com)

Young Australian Alex De Minaur gave Australian tennis a huge boost in a difficult period, by coming back from what looked like certain defeat to beat Gerald Melzer 57 63 26 76 61.

 

The youngster had seemed out of it when Melzer had served for the match at five-three in the fourth but broke back, and then won the resulting tiebreak. He then dropped just a single game as he ran away with the fifth set to win of his grand slam debut.

Much is expected of De Minaur after the seventeen year-old started 2017 in stunning fashion, defeating the likes of Mikhail Kukushkin, Frances Tiafoe, and Benoit Paire in the season’s opening weeks.

The youngster was backed by a vociferous Aussie crowd on Court No.3, and managed to get off to a decent start, keeping pace with his more experienced opponent through much of the first set. There were problems in his game though, with his forehand winners count struggling to keep pace with the same wing and the unforced errors. In contrast, his backhand, though with no winners in the first, set troubled Melzer, and produced no unforced errors.

It was forehand that broke down, aiding Melzer in taking the first set. The Austrian, realising the number of forehand errors from his opponent, attacked that wing relentlessly and was rewarded with the break and the set.

The young Australian went down a further break to begin the second, but responded brilliantly to win the next three games. With the forehand beginning to pick up, he managed another break to secure his first set at a pro level grand slam event to level the scores.

Unfortunately, the third set did not go so well for the youngster, as Melzer broke quickly. the break was retrieved but De Minaur quickly found himself in trouble again at two-three. A roar at saving a break point to reach deuce was warmly received by the crowd, but he surrendered the break two points later, and Melzer put daylight between the two with a second break, winning the third set at a canter.

Melzer again broke early in the fourth, and with De Minaur still struggling on serve, looked set for the second round. De Minaur had other ideas though, and broke when the Austrian served for the match at five-three. Both men then held for the tiebreak, and the home favourite swept into an early after a Melzer forehand found the net, De Minaur leading four-two at the change of ends. Melzer completely fell away mentally, demonstrated by a miserable attempt at a drop-shot, and the set went to De Minaur when he put a passing shot right on the shoes of the Austrian.

De Minaur then backed up the tiebreak win with the first break of the fifth, a down-the-line backhand return catching Melzer by surprise, who could only limply slice into the net. A comfortable hold, his first in a long while, saw De Minaur halfway to victory on the scoreboard before Melzer had even registered in the fifth. Melzer fell love-forty in the next game, and double-faulted the double break to De Minaur.

Melzer at least managed one service hold for one-five, but De Minaur then secured the match after three hours and forty-three minutes, a final forehand winner closing it out. The seventeen year-old celebrated passionately with the crowd, earning his first ever Grand Slam win.

De Minaur will face the winner of the meeting between Sam Querrey and Quentin Halys.

 

 

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Gael Monfils Joins Forces With Former Long-Time Coach Of Dominic Thiem

Will the Frenchman return to his best form with the help of his new mentor?

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Tennis star Gael Monfils will start the 2021 season with a new team setup after confirming the appointment of a new coach.

 

The former US Open semi-finalist has paired up with the renowned Gunther Bresnik who is best known for his time spent working alongside Dominic Thiem for over a decade until their split in 2019. Thiem is now coached by Nicolas Massu. Bresnik is the former Davis Cup captain of Austria and has worked with numerous top names such as Ernests Gulbis, Jerzy Janowicz, Boris Becker and Henri Leconte.

Monfils has been training with Bresnik during the off-season but only now has it been confirmed that the two have formed an agreement to work together. However, over the coming weeks Monfils will be guided by another Austrian. Co-coach Richard Ruckelshausen will work with the world No.11 in Australia and has been appointed as the captain of the French ATP Cup team.

“I’ve known Gaël for a long time,” Bresnik told krone.at on January 9th. “With Ernests Gulbis and Stefan Lochbihler’s son, he worked on his shape here in Spain (during the off-season).”

The 34-year-old will be looking to get back on top form following what was a roller-coaster 2020. Monfils started last year by winning 16 matches within a three-month period. However, following the pause in tennis due to the COVID-19 pandemic he struggled to regain that form. Ending the season with three consecutive first round losses.

Monfils had been working with Liam Smith. The upcoming Australian Open will be his 54th appearance in a Grand Slam main draw. He has only reached the quarter-finals at the Melbourne major once which was back in 2016.

So far in his career Monfils has won 10 ATP titles and has been ranked as high as sixth in the world.

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Andy Murray won’t travel to Australia

Andy Murray will miss next month’s Australian Open after testing positive for COVID-19 a couple of weeks ago.

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Andy Murray (@the_LTA - Twitter)

Andy Murray has made it official, he won’t be making the trip down under after working with Tennis Australia to find a viable solution to make it work.

 

“We’ve been in constant dialogue with Tennis Australia to try and find a solution which would allow some form of workable quarantine, but we couldn’t make it work.”

Murray was scheduled to fly to Australia with one of charter flights but due to a positive Covid test wasn’t able to make the flight and put his tournament in jeopardy.

Although he missed the chartered flights there was still a small chance he would play but had to workout an agreement with Tennis Australia to make it work. However it didn’t work and was gutted with the news.

“I want to thank everyone there for their efforts, I’m devastated not to be playing out in Australia. It’s a country and tournament that I love.”

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‘If I knew, I Wouldn’t Come’ – Victor Troicki Slams Hard Quarantine In Melbourne

Troicki, who will head the Serbian ATP Cup team next month, says his career has been thrown into ‘chaos.’

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Former top 20 player Victor Troicki says his ‘Grand Slam is failing’ after implying that he felt that he was misled about the quarantine rules ahead of the Australian Open.

 

Troicki, who is currently ranked 202nd in the world, is among 72 players who have been placed in a strict quarantine where they are not allowed to leave their room for a 14-day period. Those affected have all been deemed as a ‘close contact’ of somebody who tested positive for COVID-19. A series of positive tests was detected on flights en route to the country.

34-year-old Troicki travelled to Australia from Doha after successfully qualifying for the Australian Open with wins over Cedrik-Marcel Stebe, Ulises Blanch and Jurij Rodionov. This year’s two qualifying tournament’s took place in the Middle East due to the pandemic.

“If I knew, I wouldn’t come,” Troicki told Sportski Zurnal earlier this week.
“Total chaos, horror as far as everything is concerned. I’m locked up for 14 days, I can’t leave the room. No training, nothing. My Grand Slam is failing, I can’t get ready for five sets in the room.”

In recent days there has been some dispute over whether players knew about the conditions regarding going into a strict quarantine. Carlos Martinez, who is the coach of Daria Kasatkina, told UbiTennis that players were initially under the impression that sections of a plan would have to be isolated if there was a positive case and not the entire plane. Ultimately the decision was up to the Australian health authorities.

“Tennis Australia was doing a great job in my opinion. The only thing that was a bit unclear was about the quarantine when somebody gets infected on the plane. They were talking like they were going to make sections inside the plane so if they found somebody in a section (who tests positive) they would isolate those people,’ said Martinez.
“But in the end the government didn’t want to do this and they preferred to isolate all on the plane because it was safer for everyone.”

Amid the debate over whether Troicki and his peers knew the full story or not, Spain’s Paula Badosa has become the first Australian Open player to contract the virus during quarantine. She had previously criticised the procedure before later apologising.

As for Troicki, he says the current situation is creating ‘chaos’ in his career.

“All preparations are failing,” he said. “Two weeks of lying in bed, it is certain that I will have to get back in shape for the next month and a half. All this is creating chaos in my career.”

Troicki is the team captain of the Serbian ATP Cup team. The tournament will start a week prior to the Australian Open on February 1st.

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