Queen's: Why Injury Was The Best Thing To Ever Happen To Gilles Muller - UBITENNIS
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Queen’s: Why Injury Was The Best Thing To Ever Happen To Gilles Muller

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LONDON: On a lukewarm Friday afternoon at The Queen’s Club, Luxembourg’s Gilles Muller extended his winning streak to seven matches after disposing of former champion Sam Querrey 6-4, 7-6(5).

 

Engaged in the battle of the big servers, Muller was forced to draw upon his wealth of experience. Coming through the first set with the help of one poor service game from Querrey, the second was a test of nerves. After 11 games with no break point occurring, Muller was on the verge of allowing Querrey back into the match. Twice the American had set point at 6-5, but both of those were saved by Muller’s variety in his game.

A familiar trend followed in the tiebreaker with opportunities coming and going. Twice the Luxemburg player dropped serve before coming back. The roller coaster encounter began to frustrate Querrey, who handed out match point to his rival after misjudging a return of serve. Victory was then sealed with a delicate Muller volley at the net.

“I think on grass everything goes so fast, and I feel like even when you don’t play well you can still stay in the match with your serve.” He said following the match.
“I think what makes the biggest difference is that the big points, you kind of feel like you’re always taking the good choice on important moments like I did on break point today. If you look at the whole match there was almost no break chances for both of us.”

At the age of 34, Muller continues to rise up the rankings. It all started in January when he claimed the Sydney Open title. It was an emotional experience for him and his family. 16 years had gone by without him claiming a single ATP trophy. It was a moment of celebration, but it also took him into unfamiliar territory.

“When I got it (Sydney title), it was tough, to be honest. The first weeks after that were kind of a lot of questioning in my mind. So what do we do now? It’s something you work for for so long, and then basically you reach that goal, so what are we doing now?”

Injury heartache to title joy

Now he has two tour titles to his name after triumphing at last week’s Rosmalen Championships in the Netherlands. It wasn’t always easy for the 6’2” player, who produced a total of 12 aces in his match today. During 2013 he was forced to end his season in June due to a troublesome elbow injury. The absence results in him spiraling down the rankings and drifting further away from his top-20 dream. Returning to action the following year, his desire to win was no less as he climbed 320 places within a 12-month period.

Muller is not the only one to draw positives from an injury break. The most significant is that of Roger Federer, who won the Australian Open in January title after a six-month injury absence. Like the Swiss player, Muller is ironically thankful for being injured.

“You can see in Roger, it’s kind of the same example. He took a couple months off and was able to work very hard, which he never did probably before in all his career. So that was very good for me, actually.” He explained.
“(It’s) strange to say, but that injury was probably the best thing that happened to me.”

It isn’t just an injury that has attributed towards Muller’s surge. It is also fatherhood. It is usually the parents that inspire the child, but not in the case of the 34-year-old. Who dreams of playing on the biggest stages of tennis with his two sons watching with pride.

“One thing that always kept me going was my two boys at home. I always dreamt of playing in front of them and them seeing me play the big tournaments.” He explained.

A lot of focus concerning players rise in the rankings circulates about their physical preparation and fitness. Muller and others prove that this isn’t always the case. Sometimes absence makes the heart grows fonder, which is exactly what happened to Muller’s motivation when out injured in 2013. The world of tennis is never black and white.

Muller will play Marin Cilic in Saturday’s semifinal for a chance to reach his ninth ATP final. Five out of those eight previous finals occurred after his injury setback.

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Iga Swiatek Demands Talks With ITF And WTA After Withdrawing From Billie Jean King Cup

Iga Swiatek is not happy with the ITF and WTA after withdrawing from the Billie Jean King Cup Finals.

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Iga Swiatek (@IgaSwi_France - Twitter)

The world number one has announced that she will not compete at the Billie Jean King Cup Finals in November after criticising tennis’ governing bodies for not looking after player welfare.

 

The event is set to take place the week after the WTA Finals in Glasgow which causes a huge problem and obstacle for many players.

This is definitely the case for Swiatek who has qualified for the WTA Finals which takes place in Texas on the 31st of October.

A huge dilemma which now means Swiatek will not compete for her country at the Billie Jean King Cup.

Speaking on Instagram the Pole criticised the decision from the ITF and WTA and wants to speak to them about player welfare to prevent future decisions from happening, “I was thinking it through a lot and discussing it with my team all over again, but I will not be able to play at the Billie Jean King Cup in Glasgow,” Swiatek said in her Instagram story.

“And it makes me sad. I’m very sorry because I play for Poland whenever it’s possible and I always give it my best. Playing in Poland this year was an honour and I hoped to do this again at the end of the season.

“I’m disappointed that tennis governing bodies didn’t come to an agreement on something as basic as the calendar of tournaments, giving us only one day to travel through the globe and changing the time zone. This situation is not safe for our health and could cause injury.

“I’m going to talk to the WTA and ITF in order to change something. This situation is difficult not only for the players like me, but mainly for the tennis fans that support our fans.”

It’s clear Swiatek wants change in terms of player welfare and communication between governing bodies on how to facilitate the schedule.

However Swiatek now turns her attention to preparing for the WTA Finals and first up for the Pole is Ostrava this week.

In her opening match Swiatek will face either Ajla Tomljanovic or Shuai Zhang.

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Cameron Norrie Withdraws From Tokyo After COVID Positive Test

Cameron Norrie will miss the rest of the Asian swing due to COVID.

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Cameron Norrie (@the_LTA - Twitter)

After withdrawing from his quarter-final in Seoul, Cameron Norrie has now withdrawn from the ATP 500 event in Tokyo.

 

The Brit’s absence from the latter stages of the ATP 250 event in South Korea, raised eyebrows with Norrie suffering from illness.

However Norrie then withdraw from the ATP 500 event in Tokyo where he was due to play Thanasi Kokkinakis.

Now his absence has been explained as Norrie confirmed on social media that he tested positive for COVID-19.

In a statement originally posted on Instagram, Norrie explained he had no symptoms but has to quarantine in his hotel room in Seoul, “Unfortunately I had a positive COVID test in Korea and wasn’t able to compete in the rest of my matches,” Norrie said.

“I have no symptoms and I am feeling 100%. It’s been a complicated situation and I appreciate the Republic of Korea trying their best to be amicable in a very tough situation.

“I was really hoping to go to Tokyo but because of the quarantine period I will not be able to play there. Looking forward to getting back to Europe for the indoors. See you guys soon!”

This is the second time Norrie has tested positive for COVID with the first time being before the start of the season.

Norrie’s scheduled next tournament will be in Stockholm which will take place on the 17th of October.

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Carlos Alcaraz Faces Rune Test In Astana

Carlos Alcaraz leads a stacked field in Astana next week.

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Carlos Alcaraz (@WeAreTennis - Twitter)

Carlos Alcaraz returns to the ATP tour next week in Astana next week where he faces Danish talent Holger Rune.

 

The world number one plays his first ATP tournament since winning his first Grand Slam title at the US Open and becoming the youngest world number one in history.

Having qualified for the Nitto ATP Finals, Alcaraz will now look to build momentum over the coming weeks for the event in Turin.

First up for Alcaraz is the ATP 500 event in Astana next week where the Spaniard faces a tough opening round in the form of Danish talent Holger Rune.

The Dane reached his first Grand Slam quarter-final at Roland Garros earlier this year but had struggled for form since then.

However Rune has reached the semi-finals in Sofia this week and is hitting form at the right time so this will be a big test for Alcaraz.

Should Alcaraz get through that test than a potential second round meeting with Stan Wawrinka could be on the cards with the Swiss wildcard facing Adrian Mannarino in his opening match.

Andrey Rublev is the player that could face Alcaraz in the last eight with the eighth seed facing a qualifier in his opening round match.

Rublev is one of a number of players who are chasing the remaining spots at the Nitto ATP Finals.

Also in the top half of the draw is Stefanos Tsitsipas and Hubert Hurkacz with Tsitsipas facing Mikhail Kukushkin.

While Hurkacz faces Francisco Cerundolo and a potential second round match against home favourite Alexander Bublik could await in round two.

In the bottom half of the draw, Novak Djokovic will continue his search for a surge up the rankings against Cristian Garin.

Djokovic’s potential quarter-final is Jannik Sinner who begins against tricky serve and volleyer Oscar Otte.

Daniil Medvedev is also taking part in a stacked field in Astana as he faces Albert Ramos-Vinolas in his opening round match.

In the bottom quarter there is also an intriguing opening round match between Felix Auger-Aliassime and Roberto Bautista Agut.

Here is the full draw with play starting on Monday:

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