Andy Murray Draws Positives From Del Potro Win As Edmund Exits The French Open - UBITENNIS
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Andy Murray Draws Positives From Del Potro Win As Edmund Exits The French Open

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On a day where British tennis was targeting double joy, it was poster boy Andy Murray that prevailed with a hard fought 7-6(8), 7-5, 6-0, win over Juan Martin del Potro at the French Open.

The highly anticipated encounter was a rematch of last year’s final at the Rio Olympic Games. Initially, both players managed to live up to the pre-match hype with a marathon opening set before Murray exerted his dominance against a gradually fading Del Potro.

Resuming their rivalry on an almost packed Court Philippe Chatrier, both men were out to prove a point. Murray was seeking a solid performance after what has been a roller coaster season on the clay for the world No.1. Meanwhile, Del Potro was eager to dismiss ongoing injury concerns that has overshadowed him before and during this year’s tournament.

Signs of any physical issues hampering the Argentine were vacant from the onset of the match. Del Potro’s blistering forehand tested the No.1 seed, who went down a break almost instantly. There was little to choose between both players with 35 points each after ten games during what was a set worthy of a grand slam final. Del Potro failed to capitalise on his lead as Murray battled valiantly, saving two set points on route, to level the match at 5-5.

The closeness between the two resulted in a thrilling opening set tiebreaker. Murray was on course to take it with ease after a backhand drop shot elevated him two set points at 6-4. Still, it was not enough to tame Del Potro, who then claimed three points to move ahead. Engaged in some gripping baseline rallies, prompting praise from the crowd, Murray survived the scare to come out on top. Ironically, it was Del Potro’s trusted forehand that let him down after a shot drifted just out. Murray’s response was a fist pump directed towards his camp, but del Potro wasn’t convinced. The outcome was eventually confirmed by the match umpire after he consulted with a lineman. Del Potro’s heavy investment was visible as he slumped over the net after dropping the marathon 82-minute set.

“It was tough because I think he (del Potro) was playing much better than me in the first set.” Murray admitted during his post-match interview.

Murray’s mini triumph proved too much for his opponent, who started to suffer during set No.2. A early break for the top seed increased his stronghold in the match as Del Potro sought painkillers to treat his ongoing problems. The two continued fighting on court during the roller coaster encounter, but the spark was no more. Even a chant of ‘Delpo’ from the crowd failed to turn around the match. Failing to serve the second set out at 5-4 due to some impressive play from his rival, Murray triumphed two games later with the help of an ace down the line.

Racing towards the finish line, the top seed grew stronger and stronger. Murray was visibly the fitter of the two players, seemingly improving the longer the match progressed. It was almost unfair that the match ended in such a one-sided manner given Del Potro’s early investments. Their battle concluded with a Murray backhand painting the baseline to extend his head-to-head record to 7-3 against the Argentine.

“I expected a very tough match and the first set was very very important I think. Whoever won that first set had big momentum.” Said Murray, who fire 44 winners past his third round opponent. “In these conditions when it is very slow and heavy, to be coming back is very difficult. I played some very good tennis towards then end.”

The victory at Roland Garros means the world No.1 has won three consecutive matches on the clay for the first time this season. Leading up to the second grand slam of 2017, doubts were cast over Murray followed his lacklustre results on the tour.

“I’m starting to play better. I was really looking forward to playing at the French Open. I struggled the last six or seven week’s coming in. This is one of the most important tournament of the year. I have great memories from last year in Paris and I wanted to come and play some good tennis again.” The three-time grand slam champion explained.
“Each day I am feeling a little bit better, I hope I can keep it going.” He added.

In the last 16 Murray will play either John Isner or Karen Khachanov.

Edmund edged out

The other British interest at the French Open on Saturday was Kyle Edmund, a former boys doubles champion at Roland Garros. Facing experience opponent Kevin Anderson, the Brit had a two-set advantage before crashing out 6-7(8), 7-6 (4), 5-7, 6-1, 6-4. The match, which was the longest the 22-year-old had ever played, saw the world No.49 falter of the worst possible moment. Serving at 4-4 in the decider, Anderson grabbed the critical break before closing out the four-hour match.

“Kyle is a great player and it came down to one or two points,” Anderson said about the Brit. “I’m pleased to be through.”

Former top-10 player Anderson will next play seventh seed Marin Cilic. Cilic eased past Feliciano Lopez 6-1, 6-3, 6-3, in his third round encounter on Saturday.

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Dominic Thiem Rules Federer Out Of GOAT Debate

The Austrian puts forward his theory on who should be regarded as the best player in history.

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Dominic Thiem; e-motion/Bildagentur Zolles KG/Martin Steiger, 27.10.2022

The honour of which player deserves to be regarded as the greatest of all time (GOAT) should be decided based on one factor, according to Dominic Thiem. 

 

The former world No.3 has weighed in on the debate by suggesting that the argument should be settled by the number of Grand Slam titles a player has won as they are the most prestigious tournaments in the sport. In tennis, the four major tournaments are the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open. 

Thiem’s GOAT criteria have therefore ruled Roger Federer out of contention. The Swiss maestro was at one stage the frontrunner due to the numerous records he has broken throughout his career. However, he retired from the sport last year with 20 Grand Slam trophies under his belt which is less than both Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic who are currently on 22 each. 

“In my opinion, the Grand Slam titles should be the defining criteria when determining the best of all time, they are the four most important tournaments in tennis,” Eurosport quotes Thiem as saying. 
“Everything else is fine, but it’s not the same. The Slams are what counts, so the GOAT will probably be the one with the most Grand Slams.”

Others will argue that more factors should be taken into account in the subjective debate. For example, Federer has won 103 ATP titles which are more than his two rivals, Djokovic holds the record for most weeks as world No.1 and Nadal has won more tournaments on clay than any other player in history. Furthermore, there is the players’ win-loss rate on the Tour and their records against the top 10 players. 

Recently at the Australian Open Djokovic won the men’s title for a historic 10th time in his career. An achievement that has been hailed by Thiem who was runner-up to the Serbian at Melbourne Park in 2021. 

“I am not very surprised, Djokovic still looks young,” he said. “Physically and mentally, because of the way he moves on the court. It’s like he was 25 years old.
“We have to be honest, he is the best, so his victory was not very surprising.”

Thiem has won one Grand Slam title which was at the 2020 US Open when he became the first man in the Open Era to come back from two sets down to win in the final. He has also been runner-up at the French Open twice, as well as the Australian Open once. 

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Novak Djokovic’s Australian Open Injury ‘Hard To Believe’ In The Eyes Of His Opponent

Some details surrounding Djokovic’s battle with a hamstring issue ‘doesn’t make sense,’ according to Enzo Couacaud.

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Image via Adelaide International Twitter

The only man to take a set off Novak Djokovic during the Serbian’s run to a historic 10th Australian Open title believes there are unanswered questions over his injury. 

 

France’s Enzo Couacaud took a set off the world No.1 before losing their encounter in the second round at Melbourne Park. At the tournament Djokovic was dealing with a hamstring problem which he picked up at the Adelaide International earlier this year. Throughout the tournament, he was wearing strapping on his leg and there was uncertainty about if he would be able to continue playing in the Grand Slam event. 

Despite the issue, Djokovic claimed a record-equalling 22nd Grand Slam title by disposing of Stefanos Tsitsipas in straight sets in the final. Afterwards his coach, Goran Ivanisevic, claimed that 97% of players would not have played if they were in a similar situation. The exact diagnosis of Djokovic’s injury hasn’t been addressed by his team but Australian Open director Craig Tiley said he suffered a 3mm tear. 

However, Couacaud has questioned the significance of the injury to begin with. During an interview with Tennis Actu, the world No.172 believes that some of the details appear to be ‘far-fetched’ as he draws parallels with Rafael Nadal, as well as footballer Kylian Mbappe.  

“Novak claimed he was playing with an injury, a big injury,” said Couacaud. “When athletes are injured in combat sports, they often can’t continue. When Rafael Nadal is injured, he can’t run. Kylian Mbappe, for example, is out for two weeks.
“And those are the greatest athletes, not those who don’t have access to top-notch care. It is therefore difficult to believe that only one man in the world can continue with an injury.
“When you take the examples of Nadal or Mbappe, but especially Rafa, with an injury to Wimbledon, he couldn’t even serve. When you see the greatest who can’t set foot on the pitch and another who wins a Grand Slam by playing every day for 15 days. It still seems a bit far-fetched.
“There are little things that don’t make sense to me. I was always told not to stretch with an injury. You saw Novak stretching all the time. You say to yourself, either they have a new method in Serbia, or it’s weird. Little things like that, he has his staff, but I’m too far to judge the authenticity of anything. It is true that it seems hard to believe.”

It is not the first time Djokovic has faced accusations that he has in some way exaggerated the significance of an injury. He encountered a similar situation during the 2021 Australian Open where he suffered an abdominal injury. After winning the tournament, he confirmed that he sustained a tear in the region. 

Speaking to journalists at Melbourne Park last month, the tennis star once again hit back at his critics and claimed that he was being singled out. 

“I leave the doubting to those people – let them doubt,” Tennis Majors quoted Djokovic as saying in Serbian following his fourth round win over Alex de Minaur. “Only my injuries are questioned. When some other players are injured, then they are the victims, but when it is me, I am faking it. It is very interesting… I don’t feel that I need to prove anything to anyone.
“I am not really interested at this point what people are thinking and saying. It is fun, it is interesting to see how the narrative surrounding me continues, narrative that is different compared to other players that have been going through similar situation. But I am used to it, and it just gives me extra strength and motivation. So I thank them for that.”

Djokovic has won 93 ATP titles during his career which is the fourth-highest tally in history. Only Ivan Lendl (94), Roger Federer (102) and Jimmy Connors (109) have won more. 

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Nick Kyrgios Admits Assaulting Former Girlfriend But Avoids Prosecution

The tennis star says he ‘deeply regrets’ how he reacted during an argument with his former partner.

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Nick Kyrgios (AUS) playing against Felix Auger-Aliassime (CAN) in the third round of the Gentlemen's Singles on No.1 Court at The Championships 2021. Held at The All England Lawn Tennis Club, Wimbledon. Day 6 Saturday 03/07/2021. Credit: AELTC/Jonathan Nackstrand

Nick Kyrgios will not be charged with assault despite pleading guilty to shoving over his former girlfriend following an argument. 

 

The Wimbledon finalist attended court on Friday after he was accused by his former partner, Chiara Passari, of assaulting her during an incident that took place on January 10th 2021. Kyrgios was initially charged following an argument which took place outside of Passari’s apartment in the inner-city Canberra suburb of Kingston. 

At a hearing at the ACT Magistrates Court, it was revealed that Kyrgios’ ex-girlfriend was standing in front of an Uber car door which prevented him from closing it before he pushed her over. When she fell to the ground, he was heard saying ‘seriously.’ In the minutes leading up to what happened, Kyrgios told Passari “leave me the f*** alone” and to “just f***ing piss off” when he was asked to get out of the car and calm down. He had called for an Uber ride following their argument. 

Passari, who didn’t report the incident to the police until 10 months after it happened, suffered a grazed knee and hurt her shoulder as a result of her fall, according to her legal filing. Kyrgios apologized for his actions two days later when the two met at a Canberra cafe. Unknown to him at the time, that conversation was recorded by Passari. The two continued their relationship for some months before breaking up. 

Magistrate Beth Campbell has ruled in Kyrgios’ favour despite him owning up to his actions. In her verdict, Campbell said the seriousness of the matter was ‘low’ and the tennis star was not likely to re-offend again. 

“You acted in the heat of the moment,” she said.
“I am dealing with you in the same way I would deal with any young man in this court. You are a young man who happens to hit a tennis ball particularly well.”

During the hearing, evidence was heard from Kyrgios’ psychologist, Sam Borenstein, who said his mental health issues were ‘recurrent’ and he has suffered from thoughts of self-harm. Although Borestein says his condition has improved in recent times. Furthermore, Kyrgios’ lawyer, Michael Kukulies-Smith, said there was “a relationship between the mental health and the offending – even though he no longer suffers it to the same extent today.”

In a statement issued following the court’s decision, Kyrgios said he reacted ‘in a way he regretted’ and apologized for his actions. He went on to attribute what happened to his mental health condition at the time. 

“I respect today’s ruling and I am grateful to the court for dismissing the charges without conviction,” he said.
“I was not in a good place when this happened and I reacted to a difficult situation in a way I deeply regret. I know it wasn’t OK and I am sincerely sorry for the hurt I caused.
“Mental health is tough. Life can seem overwhelming. But I have found that getting help and working on myself has allowed me to feel better.”

Before his guilty plea, Kyrgios had argued that the charge should be dropped on the grounds of his mental health but that appeal was withdrawn when the court found that he is not currently suffering from a major depressive illness. 

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