Andy Murray Struggles Through Opener At Australian Open - UBITENNIS
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Andy Murray Struggles Through Opener At Australian Open

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Andy Murray has got off to a shaky start at the Australian Open after coming through a tough 7-5, 7-6(5), 6-2, win over Ukraine’s Illya Marchenko.

Bidding to win his first title in Melbourne, Murray struggled to find the right balance in his shots throughout the match. The inability was one which frustrated the Brit, who was shouting and complaining in the in the direction of his camp. One prominent feature in Murray’s outbursts was complaints about his movement, which contributed towards his 27 unforced errors.

Taking to the Melbourne court as the top seed for the first time of his career, a bout of nerves hampered Murray’s play throughout the opening set. Three double faults in the first game of the match handed Marchenko an immediate break before the Brit regained his footing by surging to a 4-1 lead. Despite the advantage, Murray remained unsettled on the court with Marchenko growing in confidence as he clawed his way back to level 5-5. Despite a mini resurgence from the Ukrainian, it was the world No.1 who prevailed. As Marchenko served to stay in the set, a duo of unforced errors gifted Murray the break to clinch the opening set after 55 minutes of play. Handing a sense of relief to the nervous Murray camp in the crowd.

Murray’s woes continued beyond the opening set, with the 7-5 advantage failing to deter Marchenko’s determination in the encounter. A well constructed rally concluded with the underdog hitting a forehand winner to break Murray once again to swiftly open up a 3-1 lead in the second. Emulating the early stages of the match, the top seed triumphantly responded by clawing his way back to level 4-4. Struggling to pull away from his rival, Murray had to wait until a tiebreak to gather some momentum. Disposing of Marchenko’s serve with ease, the Wimbledon champion strolled to a trio of set points with an ace down the line. The two-sets lead was then sealed a couple points later with the help of a blistering Murray forehand that his rival couldn’t return back in court.

Closing out the testing victory, Murray finally found the winning formula to crush the spirited performance of Marchenko. A poor forehand volley at the net from the Ukrainian elevated the Brit closer towards the finish line. The threats pose to the world No.1 was no more as Marchenko’s error count mounted and consistency faded. Serving for a place in the second round, the tricky win was secured after a lengthy rally concluded with an error No. 62 from his opponent.

Recording a first serve rate of 48%, Murray will be eager to build on his performance in the next round. Awaiting the top seed in the last 64 will be Russia’s Andrey Rublev, who defeated Lu Yen-hsun in four sets.

“It’s wasn’t the best match.” Murray told Eurosport UK. “I didn’t manage to hit the ball clean from the back of the court, but I managed to get through it in straight sets. It was tough conditions with it being hot, but the court was so much more lively than the past couple of days.”
“I didn’t feel that comfortable controlling the ball from the back. I started to feel a bit better towards the end, but it was a tough match.” He added.

This year the 29-year-old is bidding to become the first British man to win the Australian Open since Fred Perry in 1934. Reflecting on his rise to the top, Murray has attributed his success to what he has learned from playing against some of the biggest names in the sport.

“Roger, Rafa and Novak, are three of the greatest players to ever play the game.” Said Murray.
“It’s been tough, but I kept working, kept finding ways to be better.  Also, having those guys around has helped me a lot because I have had to learn from my losses to improve. It’s been tough, but I finally managed to get there (to world No.1). He added.

Murray’s second round match on Wednesday will be the tenth in his career at Melbourne since 2007.

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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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