Sports can offer brothers an opportunity to make a name for themselves individually and then again for the family specifically. It is almost as if an athletic gene is passed from a father and mother, and then from one sibling to the other. Often an intensity almost a rivalry results. That seems to nurture a seedling of talent that can lead to each of them becoming towering performers.
Paging through various record books reveals how brothers have fostered brotherly success. Dizzy and Daffy Dean (who should be No. 1 in the “Best Names In Sports” category) were Major League Baseball stars. Many baseball accomplishments were enjoyed by the following trios – Felipe, Jesus and Matty Alou; Dom, Joe and Vince DiMaggio; and Bengie, Jose, and Yadier Molina. It supports the axiom that if two are good, three can be great.
Additional outstanding brother combinations can be found in American football- Peyton and Eli Manning; in soccer (or real football) – Rio and Anton Ferdinand; and in basketball – Marc and Pau Gasol. Family tandems have gained attention in hockey – Daniel and Henrik Sedin; in Formula 1 – Michael and Ralf Schumacher; and in NASCAR – Kurt and Kyle Busch. They also grab notice in golf – Edoardo and Francesco Molinari; in rugby – Rory and Tony Underwood; and even, in boxing – Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko.
Whether it is on the recreational or competitive level, the nature of tennis promotes family participation. In fact, it would be fair to say that, in certain situations, the game encourages “brotherliness”. Just look at what the US’s Bob and Mike Bryan, and Andy and Jamie Murray of Great Britain have accomplished in their careers. In bygone days, New Yorker’s John and Patrick McEnroe, and South African’s Byron and Wayne Black were impressive. Belgian’s Christophe and Olivier Rochus, though not well known, can’t be overlooked. Neither can the “A” troika of Indian brothers – Anand, Ashok and Vijay Amritraj, along with American’s Doug, Jeff and John Austin, (whose sisters, Pam and Tracy, were WTA performers).
Tim and Tom Gullikson were the initial poster boys for “Twin Tennis.” The Bryans, of course, took up the crusade and surpassed everything that the duo from La Crosse, Wisconsin had achieved.
While Christian and Ryan Harrison are gaining notice further afield than Florida, Alexander and Mischa Zverev have become the brothers to watch. In Halle, Germany, they have major roles in the Gerry Weber Open show.
Mischa, the 29-year-old, is a 6’3” left-hander, first played the tournament in 2007. He achieved back-to-backed quarterfinal appearances in 2009 and ’10, where he was defeated by countrymen Tommy Haas 7-6, 6-2, and Benjamin Becker 7-6, 6-0. He reached the Last 8 again in 2013, and Roger Federer, the tournament winner, ransacked him, 6-0. 6-0.
Alexander, who is nine years younger and three inches taller than his brother, made his Halle debut in 2015 and lost to Ivo Karlovic of Croatia, 6-7, 6-3, 6-3 in the second round. Last year, the right-hander, who is nicknamed Sascha, was a 6-2, 5-7, 6-3 finalist to compatriot, Florian Mayer.
Their paths into the spotlight have varied dramatically. Using 2014 as a starting point, Mischa, who had been contending with a variety of injuries over a period of time, was No. 724 and Alexander was No. 137. A year later, both moved higher. Mischa reached No. 172 and Alexander, No. 83. In 2016, their results soared. Mischa finished the year at No. 51. (Alexander is one of the players who have been utilized to promote the ATP Next Gen finals that will be staged in Milan, Italy in mid-November), skyrocketed to No. 24. When the 2017 Halle began, Mischa was No.29 (a career high) and Alexander was No. 12. (His career high was No. 10 on May 22, 2017.)
The Zverevs possess a unique compatibility built on an appreciation and fondness for one another. Each has continually said he draws inspiration from the other. Their parents, Alexander Sr., a former touring pro who is their coach, and Irina, who is also a recognized teaching professional, grew up in Russia, but moved to Hamburg, Germany to take advantage of the work opportunities available.
The brother’s playing styles, as do their heights, differ. Mischa, taking after his father, is an unrelenting serve and volleyer. Alexander, who appears to be as leggy as he is lanky, racks groundstrokes like a pulsing muscle stimulating machine. Simply stated, they go about winning points by remaining true to their personal mindset. Brothers being brothers, they admit that competition is part of just about everything they do. But, winning and trying to be better does not impact their core, which is being Mischa and Alexander – The Zverev Brothers.
Roger Federer Targets Djokovic And Alcaraz For Laver Cup 2024 After Team World Thrashes Europe
Roger Federer says he would love to see the two highest-ranked players on the men’s Tour play in the next Laver Cup after this year’s tie ended in a crushing defeat for Europe.
Team World, which is captained by John McEnroe, dominated the clash in Vancouver after surging to a 10-2 lead heading into the final day of competition. On Sunday they were required to win only one match to claim the overall title which they did in the opening doubles match. Ben Shelton and Frances Tiafoe ousted the European duo of Andrey Rublev and Hubert hurkacz 7-6(4), 7-6(5).
“I am proud of these guys. We brought together a great group of some youth and experience, guys that have been here before. Everybody played well,” McEnroe said of his team’s 13-2 victory.
“It was an awesome week. We kicked some ass.”
“Winning is a whole lot better than losing. We struggled the first couple of years, and now we have tasted winning and it feels good.”
In contrast, Europe didn’t have much joy at the event with their only victory being from Casper Ruud who defeated Tommy Paul on the second day of the tie. Since the start of the competition in 2017, Europe won four consecutive titles but 2023 is the second year in a row that they have been defeated.
Hoping that this losing streak will come to an end next year when the event is held in Berlin, Federer says he wishes Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz will play. Djokovic has played in the Laver Cup twice before but Alcaraz is yet to make his debut.
“They destroyed Team Europe. Team World played fantastic, they really brought the energy. Everybody brought a point, they were stronger in the doubles. In the singles too, they were moving fast, they were ready to go. They thoroughly deserved victory,” said Federer.
“I would like to see Novak again, Alcaraz and Novak on the same team. Sascha Zverev would be great for the German market. Someone like [Holger] Rune, that really hurt Team Europe. Rune and [Stefanos] Tsitsipas pulling out. [Daniil] Medvedev would be great. I like watching [Andrey] Rublev, and maybe someone will come through,” he added.
Federer is a co-founder of the Laver Cup with his management company Team 8 partnering up with Tennis Australia and Jorge Paulo Lemann to create the event. In 2019 the team competition was awarded ATP Tour status with a spot on the official calendar and access to marketing facilities under an agreement. However, ranking points are not awarded to players.
Due to the nature of the format, only one match was played on Sunday with fans not getting the chance of watching any singles. Something two-time French Open champion Ruud admits is a problem.
“Two of the times that I have played was maybe in a way a little bit unfortunate with only one deciding doubles (match) on Sunday,” Ruud commented.
“The crowd didn’t get to see a singles (match) after or whatever. That’s not in my hands to decide what the format looks like.’
“But last year in London was great in many ways because you had so many great players and it came down to almost the last match. When I watched on TV the first series, it was so exciting because Roger played a couple of times, the final match of the Sunday and clutched it for Team Europe. It’s been a couple of years without playing that last singles match. But it’s a great initiative. Me, as a golf fan, watching the Ryder Cup all my life in my childhood, it’s great for tennis to have this event.”
The 2024 Laver Cup will be held at the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Berlin between September 20-22.
India’s Sumit Nagal Receives Sponsorship Boost After Revelling Financial Struggles
A leading food and drink company has pledged to support India’s highest-ranked men’s player who was unable to train at his usual facility in Germany earlier this year due to a lack of money.
Earlier this week world No.159 Sumit Nagal made a public plea for financial support to help him continue his career as a tennis player. In recent years he has been based at the Nansel Tennis Academy in Germany but was unable to train there during the first three months of the 2023 season due to a lack of funds. During this period he relied on his friends, including former player Somdev Devvarman, to help maintain his fitness.
“If I look at my bank balance, I have what I had at the beginning of the year. It is 900 euros. I did get a bit of help. Mr Prashant Sutar is helping me with MAHA Tennis Foundation and I also get monthly (salary) from IOCL but I don’t have any big sponsor,” Nagal told the Press Trust of India.
“I am investing whatever I am making. The yearly cost where I travel with one coach is costing me around Rs 8 million to Rs 10 million (90,000-113,000 euros) and that is just with one travelling coach (no physio). Whatever I have made I have already invested,” he added.
Nagal, who is 26 years old, has reached the semi-finals of better at five tournaments on the lower-level Challenger Tour so far this season. His only Grand Slam result was at the US Open where he lost in the first round of qualifying to Taro Daniel. It was at the US Open where he took a set off Roger Federer before losing in 2019.
Despite being the only player from his country to be ranked in the top 400, Nagal is currently not part of the Target Olympics Podium Scheme. An initiative set up by the Indian government to provide support to their top athletes.
After learning about Nagal’s ongoing struggles on the Tour, a leading company has decided to support the tennis player by signing a three-year deal with him. Gatorade specializes in sports drinks and is manufactured by PepsiCo. Under the deal, Nagal will receive support with his recovery and nutrition from experts at the Gatorade Sports Science Institute (GSSI).
“I am deeply moved and grateful to join hands with Gatorade. This association comes to me at a pivotal time, and I am thankful my hard work and passion is getting recognized and appreciated. With Gatorade by my side, I am sure I will reach new heights and give it my all both on and off the court,” the Indo-Asian News Service quoted Nagal as saying on Thursday.
Speaking about the new partnership, Ankit Agarwal from PepsiCo India has hailed the collaboration. Agarwal is the company’s Associate Director of Energy & Hydration.
“Sumit is a role model for the new-gen athletes of India with his career being a true example of hard work and sweat that makes talent shine,” he said.
“As a brand that is dedicated to supporting athletes in removing barriers to sporting success, we are delighted to welcome Sumit to the Gatorade squad.”
Nagal has been ranked as high as No.122 in the world. So far in his career, he has won four Challenger titles with two of those occurring this year in Italy and Finland.
(VIDEO): Malaga Line-Up Set As Davis Cup Most Unpredictable Tournament In History
UbiTennis founder Ubaldo Scanagatta explains why any of the eight teams in Malaga could win November’s Davis Cup Finals
The Davis Cup quarter-final line-up is set after an incredible Group Stage over Bologna, Split, Manchester and Valencia.
Now eight teams remain including Novak Djokovic’s Serbia, Great Britain and Australia.
However surprise teams such as the Netherlands, Finland and the Czech Republic will also appear in the quarter-finals.
Ten-time champions Great Britain will face Serbia with the winners taking on the winner of the quarter-final between Italy and the Netherlands.
In the other half of the draw Canada will be heavy favourites against Finland while the Czech Republic face Australia.
The final eight tournament will take place in Malaga and will take place between the 21st and the 26th of November.
However this year’s Davis Cup could be the most unpredictable version in the tournament’s history with there being no Spain or USA.
It really could be anyone’ tournament with Tennis’ most prestigious team competition up for grabs in November.
In this video UbiTennis founder Ubaldo Scanagatta explains why this year’s Davis Cup finals could be the most unpredictable edition of all-time and why any of the teams could win the title.
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