ATP Eastbourne: Aegon International preview - UBITENNIS
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ATP Eastbourne: Aegon International preview



The final stop ahead of the third Grand Slam of the season, Wimbledon, next week, the Aegon International in Eastbourne provides some of the top men one final lead-up ahead of the grass courts of the All England Club.

Featuring two of the world’s top 20 including 12-time Grand Slam champion and three-time Wimbledon winner Novak Djokovic, the Aegon International in Eastbourne, where the men return to for the first time since 2014, serves as the final grass court lead-up event ahead of Wimbledon, with 250 ranking points on offer for the champion on the south coast of England at Devonshire Park.

First quarter

The top quarter of the draw is led by top-seeded wildcard Novak Djokovic, making his Eastbourne debut, and eighth seed Diego Schwartzman of Argentina. For Djokovic, the Serb begins his grass court season against either big-hitting Czech lefty Jiri Vesely, who upset Djokovic in Monte Carlo in 2016, or Canadian qualifier Vasek Pospisil in the second round. The former world number one could then face eighth-seeded Schwartzman, who plays American Next Gen star Jared Donaldson in the first round before a possible meeting with Donald Young or Brit Kyle Edmund in the second round ahead of a potential last eight meeting with Djokovic.

Despite the top seed’s struggles this season, the three-time Wimbledon champion has a very comfortable early draw in Eastbourne and if Djokovic can navigate his way past a potentially dangerous opening match against either Vesely or Pospisil, the Serb looks good to make the semifinals at Devonshire Park.

Semifinalist: Djokovic

Novak Djokovic hits a forehand during practice at the Aegon International in Eastbourne

Second quarter

The second quarter of the draw features two Americans, fourth seed Steve Johnson and fifth seed Sam Querrey. For Johnson, who made an emotional run to the third round of the French Open following the death of his father, the American opens against two qualifiers, either Thomas Fabbiano or Franko Skugor, while Querrey, who knocked out Djokovic in the third round of Wimbledon last year, begins his Eastbourne campaign against Russian Daniil Medvedev before a possible second round meeting with three-time ‘s-Hertogenbosch champion Nicolas Mahut or Dutchman Robin Haase.

If Johnson and Querrey can take advantage of a pretty straightforward quarter, they should be set for a quarterfinal collision, where former Aegon Championships winner Querrey would most likely be the favorite.

Semifinalist: Querrey

Sam Querrey hits a forehand during practice at the Aegon Championships at the Queen’s Club in London/Zimbio/Harry Murphy

Third quarter

The third quarter is headlined by big-serving American and third seed John Isner and seventh-seeded Frenchman Richard Gasquet, a 2015 Wimbledon semifinalist. For Isner, the six-foot-11-inch American awaits the winner of Jeremy Chardy and Dusan Lajovic before a possible quarterfinal encounter with Gasquet. The former top ten Frenchman plays American Next Gen star Frances Tiafoe in the opening round before possibly meeting a difficult second round opponent in either Brazilian Thomaz Bellucci or 2015 Queen’s runner-up Kevin Anderson, another big server, of South Africa.

In this section with a few big servers, there is bound to be many close matches especially given the grass court surface here on the south coast of England. If Anderson can play consistent tennis, he should be the favorite to reach a quarterfinal meeting with Isner, and given the giant South African’s pedigree on this surface, he would likely be the favorite to reach the last four in Eastbourne.

Semifinalist: Anderson

Kevin Anderson hits a forehand at the French Open at Roland Garros in Paris/Zimbio/Adam Pretty

Fourth quarter

The bottom quarter of the draw is by second-seeded French wildcard Gael Monfils and sixth seed of Germany, Mischa Zverev, who reached the final at the Mercedes Cup in Stuttgart a few weeks back to begin the grass court season. For Monfils, the always popular flashy Frenchman opens against either British wildcard Cameron Norrie or Horacio Zeballos before a possible matchup with Zverev in the quarterfinals. For the left-handed German, he has American Ryan Harrison in the first round ahead of a possible second round meeting with either qualifier Norbert Gombos or Australian Bernard Tomic.

While Zverev and Tomic do both pose a significant threat on the grass and could be an intriguing second round match here at Devonshire Park, this quarter seems to be primed for Zverev to keep up his impressive grass court form from tournaments in Germany in Stuttgart and Halle and to keep it up in Eastbourne and make himself a contender to make the second week at Wimbledon.

Semifinalist: Zverev

Mischa Zverev hits a backhand at the Gerry Weber Open in Halle/Zimbio/Joachim Sielski


Semifinals: Querrey def. Djokovic, Zverev def. Anderson

Final: Zverev def. Querrey


Jack Draper Wins In Stuttgart, Potentially Faces Andy Murray in Round Two



Jack Draper – ATP Monaco di Baviera 2024 (foto via Twitter @atptour)

Britain’s Jack Draper tight first round win headlined the opening day’s results at the Boss Open 2024 in Stuttgart – and possibly faces a second-round match with Andy Murray who takes on Marcos Giron tomorrow.

Less than 24 hours from the last ball being hit at Roland Garros, the ATP Tour had already switched surfaces onto the grass, and 22-year-old Draper was well tested but ultimately came through in two tie-breakers over Sebastian Ofner.

The sixth seed’s 7-6, 7-6 win contained just one break of serve each, both coming in the second set, as serve dominated proceedings on the faster grass courts in Germany.

While the Austrian won 75% on his first serve, Draper won a whopping 89% behind his first delivery as well as hitting eight aces. These kind of service stats will surely take him far during the grass court season.

“I thought it was a really good match,” Eurosport quoted Draper saying after his match. 
“Both of us played really clean tennis, executing really well.
“When it came down to it, I’m glad I competed really well and got over the line – it’s good to be back on the grass as well.”

There were also wins for Germany’s Yannick Hanfmann who won 6-3, 6-3 over wildcard Henri Squire, while compatriot Dominik Koepfer won in three sets over China’s Zhizhen Zhang 4-6, 7-6, 7-6. 

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Carlos Alcaraz Still Owns A Magical Racket



The legend of Carlos Alcaraz and his magical racket lives on.

The 21-year-old Spaniard executed one magical shot after another with his racket and legs  Sunday afternoon in the French Open final. That bit of magic spelled defeat for Germany’s Alexander Zverev.

This was a final to remember, one of the great matches of all the Grand Slams. It just wasn’t in the cards for the 26-year-old Zverev to finally win a Grand Slam title.


Both players seemed to play a game of “he had it and then he didn’t.”

Alcaraz appeared to have everything under control in the first set, but Zverev rushed through the second set and then made a comeback from 5-2 down in the third set to win five straight games.

Zverev had everything going for him when he started the fourth set with a two-set advantage. It appeared that all the 6-6 Zverev had to do was to continue playing his masterful game of big serves and mighty ground strokes.

But Zverev couldn’t get started in the fourth set until he was down 4-0. So much for a smooth and easy ride to a Grand Slam title. By then, the magic of Alcaraz was heating up.


Zverev still had his chances, even when he fell behind 2-1 in the fifth set. He had to feel pretty good about his chances when he took a triple break point lead against Alcaraz’s serve and appeared ready to even the set at 2-2. Even after Carlos came up with a winner to bring the  game score to double break point.

Zverev still was ready to even the entire match.

That’s when everything seemed to go haywire for the German, while all the while, Alcaraz was able to repeatedly come up with his magical shots as the Spaniard made critical shots that looked almost impossible to make.


Everything for Zverev was lost in the magical racket of Alcaraz.

What was then initially called a game-ending Alcaraz double fault and a 2-2 deadlock quicky reversed itself and Alcaraz stayed alive by winning the next three points while taking a 3-1 advantage.

Zverev did get back to a 3-2 deficit and had a break point in the sixth game, but that was it for the hopes of Zverev. The last two games went rather easily in favor of Alcaraz to wrap up a 6-3, 2-6, 5-7, 6-1, 6-2 victory for Alcaraz.

That moved the Spaniard to a higher level of success on the ATP Tour. He became the youngest man to win Grand Slam titles on all of the different surfaces, clay, grass and hard courts.

Carlos Alcaraz and his magical racket appear to be headed for greatness.

James Beck was the 2003 winner of the USTA National Media Award  for print media. A 1995 MBA graduate of The Citadel, he can be reached at 

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Tsitsipas Brothers Hit With Trio Of Fines At French Open



Stefanos Tsitsipas and his brother Petros have been fined more than 20,000 euros for multiple violations of the coaching rules at this year’s French Open. 

The brothers received a financial penalty during three different matches that they played in. Two of those were in the second and third rounds of the men’s doubles tournament. Furthermore, Stefanos was also penalised during his singles quarter-final match against Carlos Alcaraz, which he lost in straight sets. According to French newspaper L’Equipe, all three of those fines were issued as a result of coaching rules being broken.

Ironically, coaching is allowed during matches at the French Open but certain rules must be followed. ‘Verbal’ coaching can only be issued from the coaches and their team if they are sitting in the designated player’s box. Instructions must be limited to a few words and can only be given if the player is in the same half of the court as their coach. Although non-verbal coaching is allowed regardless of what side the player is on. Finally, players can’t start a conversation with their coach unless it is during a medical break, a bathroom break or when their opponent is changing clothes.

However, the Tsitsipas brothers have been found in violation of these rules, which is likely due to their animated father in the stands who is also their coach. Apostolos Tsitsipas has been given coaching violations in the past at other events, including the 2022 Australian Open. 

The value of the fines are €4,600 and €9,200 for the Tsitsipas brothers in the doubles, as well as an additional €7,400 just for Stefanos in the singles. In total, the value of their fines is €21,200. However, the penalty is unlikely to have an impact on the duo whose combined earnings for playing in this year’s French Open amount to roughly €495,000. 

So far in the tournament, the highest single fine to be issued this year was against Terence Atmane who hit a ball out of frustration that struck a fan in the stands. Atmane, who later apologised for his actions, managed to avoid getting disqualified from the match. Instead, he was fined €23,000. 

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