Gerry Weber Open Showcase: Mikhail Youzhny - UBITENNIS
Connect with us

ATP

Gerry Weber Open Showcase: Mikhail Youzhny

Avatar

Published

on

Mikhail Youzhny (zimbio.com)

By Cheryl Jones

Mikhail Youzhny is still in competition on the professional tour nearly 19 years after he joined the ranks of “for pay” athletes that have of late found grass court tournaments that should help make their game ready for competition at Wimbledon. That stateliest of Grand Slams begins on July third.

 

In the past, Youzhny has had good luck at the Gerry Weber Open – not every year, but in what some may call his salad days. (Salad days are a reference to youthful inexperience and fearlessness. Shakespeare had Cleopatra regretting her “affair” with Julius Caesar by saying, “My salad days, When I was green in judgment, cold in blood…” That was penned in 1606. A bit later it came to mean that youth could be raw and unbounded by experience.)

Youzhny who is Russian began playing with his brother, Andrei when he was just six years old. He said that they used to scrounge equipment to learn the game and soon it was apparent that he was good. There was a problem though. He was temperamental. His frustration was not just a pout and then sullen demeanor. He broke racquets and cried – a lot. His coach, Boris Sobkin noted that it was difficult finding anyone to deal with the headstrong lad, but he has been with Youzhny since 2000 and that may be nearing a record for coaching longevity, given the frequency of changes many other players make.

Presently, he is ranked 88 – still in the top 100, but definitely far from his top ranking of number 8 in the world in January of 2008 and October of 2010. Even though it may seem to some that those days are not long ago, it’s nearly seven years since his last career high ranking. Still, the best of the best have fluctuations in their game and standing. He will be thirty-five on Sunday, the 25th of June, (coincidentally the final day of the Gerry Weber Open), and he must be tired. Today, he lost to a very young Russian player who is 19 and a member of the Next Generation of ATP players to watch. The three set match that ended with a rather lopsided, 6-0, 3-6, 6-3 tally allowed fans to catch glimpses of the right-hander’s phenomenal backhand that can twist the ball exactly where he wants it to twist. But, it wasn’t enough to overcome the youth and fearlessness of his opponent who has been showing promise since he was named the number one junior player in the world in 2014.

But, tennis isn’t Youzhny’s only forte. He received a PhD in Philosophy in December of 2010. His thesis was titled, “Professional Tennis Players on the Court”, a subject he may not only have observed, but been a part of. He said, “You find out about other players and try to compare them with you. You look at what you have to do against them or what changes they may make before matches.” He went on to explain that it took time, which at that point in his life had meant spending over ten years being a part of a loosely directed caravan of migrant workers who play tennis for money. (Actually those workers are tennis professionals, but they do migrate to places where their kind of labor is highly valued and amply compensated.)

Youzhny is one of the eleven active players who have reached the quarterfinals of each of the grand slams. (FYI – The others are – Tomas Berdych, Juan Martin Del Potro, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, David Ferrer, Tommy Haas, Andy Murray, Rafael Nadal, JoWilfried Tsonga, and Stan Wawrinka.) After defeating World Number 2, Nadal in the quarterfinals, World Number 9, Andy Roddick took away his hopes of being a contender in the US Open final in 2006. But, now, it’s more than ten and a-half years later, and still he competes.

Today wasn’t his day. After nearly twenty years on the job, he may want to reflect on how to best use his time, energy and love of tennis. The Gerry Weber Open has been good to him over the years. In 2013, he reached the final, but was vanquished by Roger Federer 6-7, 6-3, 6-4 who is the all-time champ here in Halle.

Maybe he will spend a little time before Wimbledon evaluating his game. There isn’t a magic spell that can change the aging process, but a few have defied the inevitable and eked out a few more years. Actually Federer comes to mind, and today, he was on the court as the last match of the day. The Swiss Maestro will be thirty-seven this coming August, and on a very hot and humid evening in Halle, he faced Mischa Zverev, (brother of Alexander, who will face Roberto Bautista Agut in the quarterfinals, tomorrow). Federer was victorious in his good luck charm arena at Halle. He defeated Mischa Zverev 7-6, 6-4, to move into the quarterfinals where he will face last years champ, German Florian Mayer who defeated Lucas Pouille of France, 6-7, 6-4, 6-3 early this afternoon.

Will it be another notch on the oldster racquet handle when Sunday’s matches are complete? That conundrum will be solved in a matter of days. Maybe it is as some folks say though, “age is merely a state of mind”. And right now, Federer’s outlook is definitely not searching out retirement.

ATP

Petra Martic comes back from one set down to beat Ludmila Samsonova in Palermo

Avatar

Published

on

Top seed Petra Martic from Croatia came back from one set down to beat qualifier and world number 117  Ludmila Samsonova 5-7 6-4 6-2. 

 

Martic saved six break points in the 10th game of the opening set, but Samsonova converted her third break point in the 12th game to win the first set 7-5. 

Martic earned an early break in the first game to open up a 2-0 lead. Samsonova broke back at love in the eighth game to draw level to 4-4. Martic broke for the second time in the ninth game to win the second set 6-4. The Croatian player broke twice in the third and seventh games to close out the third set 6-2. 

Martic will face world number 50 Aliaksandra Sasnovich from Belarus in the quarter finals. Sasnovich came through the qualifying round before beating Jasmine Paolini in straight sets. 

Former top 30 Camila Giorgi rallied from losing the first set to beat Slovenian teenager Kaja Juvan 3-6 6-2 6-4 after 2 hours reaching her second WTA quarter final of the season. Before the outbreak of the Covid-19 outbreak Giorgi reached the top 8 in Lyon. Juvan qualified for the Main Draw at the Australian Open and beat five-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams in three sets at the Abierto Mexicano in Acapulco. 

Giorgi started with an early break at deuce at the start of the first set and opened a 2-0 lead. Juvan broke twice to take a 4-3 lead. Giorgi dropped serve for the third time after a double fault on the set point. 

Giorgi came back from 1-2 down by winning five consecutive games with two consecutive breaks in the fifth and seventh games. 

Giorgi broke twice to race out to a 3-0 lead at the start of the third set. Juvan pulled one break back at love in the fourth game but Giorgi got another break to race out to a 5-1 lead. Juvan broke at 30, when Giorgi was serving for the match at 5-2. The Italian player earned two match points and sealed the win on her second chance. 

“I think I was more solid in playing my game. I was moving more forward, so it was much for me. At the start of the match, I was making too many tactical mistakes because I was trying to finish points for no reason. I started to adopt better tactics in the second set and that’s when things started working for me”, said Giorgi. 

Number 4 seed Anett Kontaveit from Estonia came back from one set down to beat Laura Siegemund 3-6 6-2 6-2 after 2 hours and 20 minutes booking her spot in the quarter finals at the Palermo Ladies Open. 

The Estonian player has reached her third quarter final this year after the Australian Open and Dubai. 

Kontaveit set up a quarter final against Elisabetta Cocciaretto, who became the youngest Italian player to reach the quarter final of a tournament since Sara Errani in 2006. 

“I am quite happy about the way I was handling close situations, playing the close games and turning the close games around. I thought I actually handled that sort of pressure, that I didn’t think I would be used to, quite well”, said Kontaveit. 

Continue Reading

ATP

Andrea Gaudenzi recognizes the contribution of the Italian Tennis Federation in staging the Internazionali d’Italia

Avatar

Published

on

ATP President and former Italian tennis player Andrea Gaudenzi spoke in an interview to Italian TV channel Supertennis about staging the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome before the French Open and recognised the contribution of the Italian tennis Federation (FIT) in staging the tournament in the Italian capital. 

 

The Rome ATP Masters 1000 and WTA Premier 5 tournaments will be held from 20th to 27th September one week before the French Open (27th September to 11th October). 

“We are grateful to everyone, holding an event this year is difficult from an organizational and financial point of view. We thank the Italian Federation and those who organize the Challengers. Italy is making a great contribution. I think the players are waiting for the BNL Internazionali d’Italia. The Foro Italico is among the most beautiful venues in the world. Rome is splendid in September”, said Gaudenzi. 

During his tennis career Gaudenzi scored wins over Roger Federer in Rome 2002, Pete Sampras in the first round of the 2002 French Open, Jim Courier in the 1994 US Open, Goran Ivanisevic, Thomas Muster, Michael Stich and Yevgeny Kafelnikov. Gaudenzi claimed three ATP titles in Casablanca in 1998, St. Poelten and Bastad in 2002. He graduated in law at the Bologna University and obtained a MBA with Honours at IUM.

Continue Reading

ATP

No US Open For Rafael Nadal Due To COVID-19 Concerns

The will be no men’s world No.1 in New York this year.

Avatar

Published

on

BY EMIL EVTIMOV

The 2020 US Open will be staged without it’s defending champion Rafael Nadal. The Spaniard has withdrawn from this year’s tournament which is set to start in New York later this month.

 

The reason for his decision is the ongoing COVID-19 situation and the increased number of cases lately. His participation was always in doubt given his interviews in the previous weeks where he stated his concerns about the situation with the pandemic.

The world No.2 announced his decision through the social media. He thanked the organizers for their efforts staging the event and described the decision as a one he “never wanted to take”.

View this post on Instagram

Tras pensarlo mucho he decidido no participar en el US Open de este año. La situación sanitaria sigue muy complicada en todo el mundo con casos de COVID-19 y rebrotes que parecen fuera de control. Sabemos que el calendario de este año tras 4 meses sin jugar es una barbaridad, si bien entiendo y agradezco los esfuerzos que todas las partes están poniendo para que se jueguen torneos. Acabamos de tener la noticia de que el torneo de Madrid también ha sido anulado. A dia de hoy la situación es complicada para hacer torneos y todo mi respeto a la USTA, organizadores del US Open y a la ATP por los esfuerzos que están haciendo para que se juegue el torneo para los millones de fans que lo verán por TV o en las plataformas digitales. Esta es una decisión que no querría tomar pero en este caso sigo mi corazón para decidir que por ahora prefiero no viajar. After many thoughts I have decided not to play this year’s US Open. The situation is very complicated worldwide, the COVID-19 cases are increasing, it looks like we still don’t have control of it. We know that the reduced tennis calendar is barbaric this year after 4 months stopped with no play, I understand and thank for the efforts they are putting in to make it happen. We have just seen the announcement of Madrid not being played this year. All my respects to the USTA, the US Open organisers and the ATP for trying to put the event together for the players and the fans around the world through TV. This is a decision I never wanted to take but I have decided to follow my heart this time and for the time being I rather not travel.

A post shared by Rafa Nadal (@rafaelnadal) on

This means that for the first time since the 1999 US Open there will be a Grand Slam tournament (if played) that will not have either Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal in the field. With the absent of the Spaniard the second seed in New York should be Dominic Thiem. The other big names missing in the entry list are Gael Monfils, Fabio Fognini, Stan Wawrinka, Nick Kyrgios, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Lucas Pouille. At the moment, the last direct entry in the main draw goes to world No. 127 Sumit Nagal.

As for Nadal, after the cancellation of the ATP Masters 1000 in Madrid and his decision about US Open, his 2020 season can restart at the earliest in Rome, the only one clay Masters tournament still in the calendar, starting on 20 September.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending