French Open Day 15 Preview: The Men’s Singles Final - UBITENNIS
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French Open Day 15 Preview: The Men’s Singles Final

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Rafael Nadal (zimbio.com)

Rafael Nadal is 9-0 in French Open finals, while Stan Wawrinka is 3-0 in major finals. One of those streaks must give on Sunday.

 

Rafael Nadal is going for “la decima,” his record-extending tenth title at Roland Garros. Nadal’s clay domination over the past thirteen years is unprecedented for any player on any surface in the men’s game. After two sub-par clay seasons by Nadal’s unparalleled high standards, he has returned to top form in 2017. Rafa already won his tenth title at two other tournaments earlier this year: in Monte Carlo and Barcelona. This was after narrowly losing to Roger Federer in an epic Australian Open final. In fact if not for Federer, who also defeated Nadal in Indian Wells and Miami, Nadal may have won all three of those tournaments. Even with those losses, Nadal has a significant lead in the year-to-date rankings. Over the past two weeks in Paris, he has not dropped a set and only lost twenty nine games through six matches (the least amount of games he has ever dropped heading into the French Open final). He dismantled Dominic Thiem in the semifinals on Friday, and Thiem has been the second best clay court player this season. Nadal seems unstoppable.

Stan Wawrinka is coming off the match of the tournament, taking out world #1 Andy Murray in a semifinal that went over four and a half hours. That match must have taken a lot out of Stan, who will come into the final with only one day’s rest and having spent over 50% more time on court than Nadal on the way to the final. Wawrinka is a big match player, and has defeated world #1’s in all of his three previous major finals, but this will be his tallest task yet. Wawrinka will need to be at his best to have a chance of upsetting Nadal on his quest for his tenth French Open on Sunday. If Stan is on, he does have the ability to outhit Rafa and determine the outcome. If anyone knows what it takes to beat Nadal, it is Wawrinka’s coach, Magnus Norman. He was the man to coach Robin Soderling to victory over Nadal at Roland Garros in 2009. Another man who could offer Stan some advice on how to defeat Rafa would be Stan’s compatriot Roger Federer. Much like Wawrinka in this match, Federer was not favored to overcome Nadal in Melbourne. Stan would be smart to consult Roger and take a few cues from his game plan.

Head-to-head, Nadal is 15-3 against Wawrinka. However, they are 3-3 in their last six meetings. One of those three Nadal losses came in their only other major final, the 2014 Australian Open. While Wawrinka played very well on that occasion, Nadal notably suffered a back injury during the second set. Stan does have a win over Rafa on clay, which occurred at the 2015 Rome Masters. The third victory happened to be in Paris, but on an indoor hard court at the 2015 Paris Masters. Wawrinka will draw some confidence from those matches, but Nadal is a different player in 2017 than he was in 2015.

It’s hard to imagine Nadal losing in the French Open final. That being said, in a best of five sets major final on clay, no player in the world today has a better shot of pulling off the upset than Stan Wawrinka. The Swiss #1 has made a Hall of Fame career out of quietly making his way through draws and upsetting tennis greats. Wawrinka will need to stay competitive with Nadal from the start: he cannot afford to allow Rafa to build a quick lead. If Stan is able to put pressure on Nadal and extend the match to four or five sets, it will be interesting to see how Rafa responds. Let’s not forget Nadal has suffered some epic losses at majors in recent years, most notably the Australian final against Federer. The winner of this match will also become #2 in the world, which will be important for seeding at Wimbledon. While Nadal is the favorite to prevail in Paris, the stage is set for a captivating final on Sunday.

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Fabio Fognini To Undergo Arthroscopic Surgery On Both Ankles

Fabio Fognini is to have surgery on both ankles as he aims to extend his tennis career when the ATP Tour returns.

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Fabio Fognini (@ASB_Classic - Twitter)

Fabio Fognini will undergo Arthroscopic surgery on both ankles in Italy today after re-injuring them in training. 

 

The Italian took to social media to announce that he will have the surgery on both his ankles immediately as he looks to take advantage of Tennis’ hiatus.

In the post Fognini revealed that this is not a new problem he has been suffering from, “I’ve been having a problem with my left ankle for three and a half years now, it’s an issue I’ve learned to cope with,” Fognini explained.

“Then my right ankle started playing up in the past two years as well. I had hoped the various issues would go away during my two months break from the game because of the lockdown but, when I resumed training they were still there. 

“After medical examination and a long discussion with my team, I decided to have arthroscopic surgery on both ankles. I believe it is the right thing to do while the tour is on this enforced break.”

This is big news for the Italian, who is now 33 years-old and with his time on the tour running out this is a big risk but a risk worth taking in order to increase his longevity.

The timing couldn’t have been better for the world number 11 as he looks to take advantage of the hiatus in the tennis calendar and get himself fully ready for the 2021 season.

Since turning pro 16 years ago, Fognini has won 9 ATP singles titles and been a grand slam champion in doubles with his flamboyant style remaining consistent over the years and will look to continue this form after surgery.

Meanwhile a decision on the US Open is expected to be made in the next couple of weeks as the tournament organisers are hoping to still hold the tournament on the 31st of August.

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Australian Tennis Great Passes Away Aged 83

Ashley Cooper is one of only 11 men in history to have won three grand slam titles within the same year.

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Women’s world No.1 Ash Barty has led tributes to multiple grand slam champion Ashley Cooper, who passed away on Friday.

 

Cooper was one of the sports best players in the years leading up to the birth of the Open Era. He was declared the world’s best amateur player in 1957 and 1958. It was during 1958 where he really stood out by winning three out of the four major tournaments within the same season. Something only 10 other players in the history of men’s tennis have been able to achieve. Cooper also achieved success in the doubles by winning another four grand slam titles. In the Davis Cup he led Australia to a 3-2 victory over America in the 1957 final.

Whilst his achievements occurred during the 1950s, Cooper did sort of have a taste of what it was like to place in a major event during the Open Era after featuring in the main draw of the 1968 French Open. He progressed to the second round after his opponent retired before withdrawing from the tournament without playing a single point.

After retiring from the sport, he maintained his links with tennis. Working alongside Tennis Queensland with their player development and was on the Board of Directors for Tennis Australia.

“Ashley was a giant of the game both as a brilliant player and an astute administrator and he will be greatly missed,” said Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley.
“His contribution to the sport went far beyond his exploits on the tennis court. His rich legacy includes the magnificent Queensland Tennis Centre, a project he was passionate about, nurturing the development from the very beginning, and resulting in the return of world-class international tennis to Brisbane.”
“Ashley was also the most humble of champions and a great family man. Our hearts go out to his wife Helen and his family, along with his wide and international circle of friends, including so many of our tennis family.”

Paying her own tribute, French Open champion Barty took to Twitter to send her sympathy to Cooper’s family. Last year she was presented with the Ashley Cooper Medal at the Queensland Tennis Awards. The highest individual honour that can be issued by the organisation named in after the tennis great.

Rod Laver, who is one of Australia’s greatest tennis players of all time, described Cooper as a ‘wonderful champion’ in his tribute.

“So sad to hear of Ashley’s passing. He was a wonderful champion, on and off the court. And what a backhand! So many cherished memories. Farewell my friend. My thoughts are with Ashley’s wife, Helen, and his family.” Laver wrote on Twitter.

The have been no details released on the exact cause of Cooper’s death, but it has been reported that he has been battling ‘a long illness.’ He was 83-years-old.

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Novak Djokovic aims at breaking Federer and Nadal Grand Slam records

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Novak Djokovic told US program In Depth presented by Graham Bensinger that he wants to break all Grand Slam records and play for many years. The Serbian player is the third best ever player with 17 Major titles behid Roger Federer (20) and Rafael Nadal (19).

 

“I believe that the journey chooses you and not the other way around and I know that I still have things to do in sport. At the same time, they are not the only things that motivate me, what really feeds me is the desire to keep growing. I can achieve all feats and become the greatest in history maintaining on the courts”, said Djokovic.

The Serbian legend said that he does not set set any limits. He was still unbeaten before the suspension of the season due to the coronavirus pandemic. His winning streak includes a record of 18 consecutive match wins and a 21-match win streak dating back dating back to the Davis Cup Finals last November. He beat Roger Federer in the semifinal and Dominic Thiem in the final to clinch his 8th Australian Open title. He became the third man to win 8 titles at a Grand Slam tournament. Last February he saved three match points against Gael Monfils in the semifinal before beating Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final in Dubai.

 “I don’t believe in limits. I think limits are just illusions of your ago or your mind. I definitely want to go on for a long time but I know that at the same time I have to maintain the right principles and the routine to maintain the health and well being of my body, mind and soul”, said Djokovic.

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