Five Players That Need To Improve Ahead Of The Clay Court Season - UBITENNIS
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Five Players That Need To Improve Ahead Of The Clay Court Season

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Richard Gasquet (Zimbio)

Richard Gasquet (Zimbio)

On the ATP World Tour, the clay court season is fast approaching and we are going to look at five players that need to step up their game.

Richard Gasquet

The world number 22 has had a rocky start to 2017, a great start to the season included a final in Montpellier and a semifinal in Marseille, beating the likes of Gael Monfils and Benoit Paire en route to a great French indoor hard court season. Despite this though injuries prolonged Gasquet’s progress in America as he had to pull out of both Indian Wells and Miami due to Appendicitis. How long the Frenchman will be out of action is questionable, however when he does return to the court he needs to make major improvements as his potential on the clay is at a high standard. He has a massive amount of points to defend and will need to work that backhand on the European clay to have a chance of staying in the top 30 in the world.

Points To Defend: 585 

Gilles Simon

Another Frenchman who needs to improve on the clay is Gilles Simon. The consistent baseliner is currently number 84 in the race to London and his best performance was reaching the quarterfinals in Marseille in February. Simon missed Miami and suffered a crushing defeat to Jan-Lennard Struff in Miami on relatively slower conditions. Again this is Simon’s favourite time of year with long rallies, where he can dictate play across the court being his preference. This should be a part of the season which could determine where Simon ends up at the end of the season, he needs to step up his game.

Points To Defend: 360

David Ferrer

The Spaniard is having a tough time in 2017, he has only won three matches at the start of the year with his last win coming at the Australian Open against Ernesto Escobedo. Losses against Jordan Thompson and Diego Schwartzman hasn’t helped his confidence either. Also the world number 32 has suffered several injuries in the past year which have left to his severe downfall in the rankings. Ferrer is currently 142 in the race to London, which is below the likes of Jerzy Janowicz, who we have barely seen on the main tour. If Ferrer wants to become relevant again he needs to bring his clay court agression to Europe and pull off some big results. Can he be seeded for Roland Garros?

Points To Defend: 450

Feliciano Lopez

Speaking of Spaniard’s who have had a terrible time in 2017, Feliciano Lopez. The big serving Spaniard has had a dreadful start to the season only winning two singles matches in the new year. This has lead to him being ranked 218th in the race to London. This has also impacted his doubles play, where he hasn’t faired much better with his partner Marc Lopez. The world number 36 isn’t known for his clay court prowess but needs to improve if he wants to avoid an awful draw come Roland Garros. He will need to play the best he can and improve tactically if he wants to successfully defend his doubles title in Paris as well.

Points To Defend: 270

Kyle Edmund

The Brit has had a decent start to the season, reaching two quarterfinals in Brisbane and Delray Beach. Despite this he should be progressing a lot better and needs to start producing bigger performances on the big stage. Edmund has massive potential and it is no secret that he has the game to get into the top 10 in the world, however players like Dominic Thiem, Alexander Zverev and Nick Kyrgios. He has been in the second week of a slam before and can play on all surfaces. Can the clay be the start of something big for Edmund?

Points To Defend: 187

 

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Simona Halep Provides Injury Update On Knee Ahead Of US Open

The return of Simona Halep looks a long way away from happening as a knee injury continues to bother the Romanian.

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Simona Halep has provided an update on her knee injury as she faces a race against time to be fit for the US Open.

The former Roland Garros and Wimbledon champion’s comeback has not gone according to plan so far as she returned from a doping ban in Miami earlier this year.

However playing time has been limited for the Romanian as her second tournament of the year ended in a first round retirement at a Challenger event in Paris.

As a result of her retirement Halep was forced to miss Roland Garros and Wimbledon as she looked to recover from a knee injury.

The injury is more serious than meets the eye though as Halep provided an update on her knee injury and revealed it’s an injury that has been occurring for the last few months, “I wanted to provide a little health update since I have been away from the court lately. It is not the best news, but I wanted to share all the same,” Halep revealed on Instagram.

“For a few months now, I have been struggling with a knee injury. It’s an injury I have never had before and it has been a tough one to manage, with the pain persisting. It has been a very difficult period (almost two years) mentally and emotionally for me and struggling physically on top of that definitely doesn’t help.

“I have decided to take the time needed to recover properly, rather than training and playing through pain. My instinct has always been to try to come back as soon as possible, but I am not a machine, I am a human being and I need time to recover from everything I have gone through.

“I’ll keep you posted and, as always, want to thank you for your permanent support. I hope to be back on court very soon.”

Halep now faces a race against time to be fit for the US Open which starts on the 26th of August.

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Alexander Zverev Commits To Olympics, Speaks About Miscommunication Between Olympics And ATP

Alexander Zverev is preparing for his Olympic title defence.

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Alexander Zverev has spoken out on the miscommunication between the Olympics and the ATP tour with tennis’ top stars set to miss some big events on the tour.

The German is getting ready to defend his Olympic title that he won in Tokyo as Zverev heads to Paris.

After narrowly missing out on Roland Garros glory, Zverev now has an opportunity at redemption as he aims for a second consecutive gold medal at the Olympics.

However there is a dilemma for big players this year as the same week as the tennis event at the Olympics at the ATP 500 event in Washington.

This is an event that Zverev usually plays but will have to miss it due to playing in Paris.

Speaking out on the miscommunication, Zverev said it’s no secret that the ATP are not best friends on the Olympics but has committed to the historic event, “The ITF or the Olympics are not best friends with the ATP, that’s not a secret,” Zverev was quoted by Tennis Infinity as saying.

Everybody continues their own tour. Yes, the Olympics is one of the, if not the, most important events we have in sports. So, the best players in the world are always going to play the Olympics over anything else, over points and over prize money.

All the top players went to Wimbledon a few years back, despite having no points on the line. It’s about prestige, it’s not about points or money. It’s about winning these kinds of titles and having medals for your country.

That’s what it’s about. I would never choose to play a 500 event over the Olympics. There are no thoughts on that, and I think Washington is going to be quite an interesting 500 event, I would say.

The ATP 500 event in Washington will be headlined by Grigor Dimitrov, Ben Shelton, Karen Khachanov and Frances Tiafoe as they are among those that have chosen ranking points over the Olympic experience.

As for Zverev he is continuing his Olympic preparations in Hamburg where he will face Pedro Martinez in the semi-finals.

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Rafael Nadal Reveals Delight At Setting Up Ajdukovic Semi-Final After Four Hour Victory

Rafael Nadal has revealed his delight at reaching the Bastad semi-finals after a four hour victory over Mariano Navone.

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(ubitennis/Francesca Micheli)

Rafael Nadal has revealed his delight at reaching the semi-finals in Bastad after a four hour victory over Mariano Navone.

The 22-time Grand Slam champion prevailed in a marathon 6-7(2) 7-5 7-5 victory to reach his first semi-final since Wimbledon 2022.

The Spaniard converted ten of his 21 break point opportunities as he reached the semi-finals.

After the match Nadal revealed his delight at reaching the last four and prevailed Navone for his resilient display, “I lost for some moments my concentration, but I was able to hold physically until the end,” Nadal told the ATP website.

“That is so important for me. Let’s see how I am tomorrow, but today I am alive and in the semi-finals, so that’s very important. There were a lot of changing dynamics in every single set. For moments, he was in control. For moments, I was in control. But at the end, no one was in control! That’s true, and I had a good chance in the second with 3-0. Then I was very close to losing the match in the second set.

“In the third [I was ahead] again with 5-2, but he’s a great fighter and he played a great match. I wish him all the very best for the rest of the season.”

Nadal will now play Duje Ajdukovic in the semi-finals as he aims to continue his eight match winning streak in Bastad with this being his first appearance at the tournament since winning the title in 2005.

The other semi-final will be Nuno Borges against Thiago Agustin Tirante with both players reaching their maiden ATP tour semi-final.

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