‘Lifelong Fan’ Roger Federer Pays Touching Tribute To Martina Hingis - UBITENNIS
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‘Lifelong Fan’ Roger Federer Pays Touching Tribute To Martina Hingis

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Roger Federer and Martina Hingis (zimbio.com)

Roger Federer has praised compatriot Martina Hingis for helping show him the way to grand slam glory on the same day she announced her retirement.

 

37-year-old Hingis confirmed on Thursday that this week’s WTA Finals will be her final tournament before she hangs up her racket. Hingis has previously retired twice before. At the age of 22 she stepped away from the sport for two years due in injuries. Then in 2007 she retired for the second time after being handed a two-year suspension for a positive drugs test.

“Now that the cat is out of the bag, here we are for the third, and final time.” Hingis wrote on Facebook.
“Looking back now, it’s hard to believe that almost exactly 23 years ago I made my professional debut. The years that followed have been some of the most rewarding years of my life, both personally and professionally, but I believe the time has come for me to retire, which I will be doing after my last match here in Singapore.”

Hingis was the darling of Swiss tennis before Federer. Winning five grand slam titles during the late 1990s. In 1997 she became the youngest world No.1 and stayed in that position for 80 consecutive weeks before getting sidelined with injury. Together Federer and Hingis won the 2001 Hopman Cup.

“I loved seeing her play in the last couple of months in doubles, her matches were just beautiful to watch,” Federer told reporters in Basel. “Martina has a huge passion for our sport. Future life remains tied to tennis, I’m almost impatient to know what she’s going to do now.”

The 19-time grand slam champion revealed that he had knowledge of the retirement. Saying that he heard about it at the start of the year and again last week. Federer also links to Hingis to his own success in the majors. Saying that she showed him how it was done.

“Martina was partially the one who showed me how it was all done,” he said.
“It was great for Switzerland to have someone of her calibre. We were very lucky. I loved playing with her at the Hopman Cup, she was always super friendly, I love that about her.”

A fan for life

Federer’s affection for his fellow countrywoman is one that shows no signs of diminishing. Hingis’ career concludes with 25 grand slam titles (13 doubles, seven mixed and five singles trophies). Overall, she has won more than 60 WTA titles in both singles (68) and doubles (86) prior to Singapore.

“I’m not sad to see her retire, she’s been in the game for long enough, she seems at peace with her decision — that’s wonderful. I’ve always been a fan of her and I always will be.”

This week Federer is playing at the Swiss Open in Basel. He reached his 15th quarter-final at the event earlier today following a 6-3, 6-1, win over France’s Benoit Paire.

ATP

Tomas Berdych: It Is Up To Others To Decide My Legacy

The former top-10 player spoke with reporters for the first time since officially retiring from the sport

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Tomer Berdych (far left) among group of recently retired player's attending special presentation at The 2019 ATP Finals

LONDON: Tomas Berdych has said his future plans is ‘to not have a plan’ after officially retiring from tennis on Saturday at the age of 34.

 

The former Wimbledon runner-up joined a series of other former players to celebrate their careers in a special on-court presentation at the ATP Finals. Also present was Radek Stepanek and David Ferrer. News of Berdych’s decision to walk away from the sport surfaced earlier this week after a Czech newspaper spoke with his father Martin.

Speculation has mounted in recent months about Berdych’s future in the sport after struggles with injury issues concerning his back and hip. He hasn’t played on the tour since the US Open. Overall, he has only managed to play 22 matches this season. Winning 13 of them.

“I was able to train, practice, prepare, and then you get to the tournament, and then I play three games, the problem came back.” Berdych explained during a press conference about his decision.
“You put all the negative stuff on the one side, and then the positive is to go on court, fight, win the match, and there was no chance to achieve that. There is really no point to continue.”

Playing in the shadows on the Big Four contingent, the Czech still managed to establish himself as a household name. Albeit on a smaller scale. As of this week, he is ranked as the 11th highest-earning player on the ATP Tour in history with more than $29 million in prize money. His achievements include winning 13 ATP titles and spending 794 consecutive weeks in the top 100. At his peak, he was fourth in the world rankings and finished seven seasons inside the top 10.

Like any other player, it hasn’t always been a smooth journey for Berdych. One example was during the 2012 Australian Open where he was booed off the court after defeating Nicolas Almagro during what was a bad-tempered encounter. However, fortunately, most of his career has been free from controversy.

“Do I have any regrets? No, I think even the bad things or the negative experience that I went through or I experienced or I have done, I think they were there for the reason. I think without them, I wouldn’t be as good as I was.” Berdych stated.
“I think even the bad ones were there for a reason.”

Now he has stepped away from the sport for good, what does the future have in store? According to the Czech, he is in no intention of rushing into anything else soon. Although he admits that it may not be tennis-related.

“The plan is actually not to have any plans. The last 15, 20 years was so hectic and so demanding that I just need to just to breathe out easily after all those years.”

As the chapter closes on the career of one of the Czech Republic’s most successful male players in the Open Era, he leaves the sport with high respect from both his fans and fellow rivals. As for his legacy, he says that it is not for him to decide.

“I think I’m not the correct one to judge that. I was trying to do the best I possibly can, and I think this is something that you created with your achievement and with your behavior.” He concludes.

Berdych’s career in numbers

2 – number of Davis Cup titles won
4 – highest ATP ranking achieved
13– number of ATP titles
53 – number of wins over top 10 players
342 – number of losses on the ATP Tour
640 – number of wins on the ATP Tour
2002 – the year he turned pro
2019 – the year he retired
29,491,328 – career prize money (in US dollars)

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Jannik Sinner cruises through to the semifinal at the ATP Challenger in Ortisei

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Last week’s Next Gen ATP Finals champion Jannik Sinner beat his Federico Gaio 6-4 6-4 to reach the semifinals at the ATP Challenger in Ortisei in the Italian region of Sudtyrol.

 

During this week Sinner beat Lucas Miedler, Roberto Marcora and Federico Gaio without dropping a set. The 18-year-old player coached by Riccardo Piatti is projected to improve his ranking to world number 88 in the ATP Ranking and could reach the top 80 at world number 78 if he wins the Ortisei tournament. This position would rank Sinner as the sixth Italian best ranked player behind Matteo Berrettini, Fabio Fognini, Lorenzo Sonego, Marco Cecchinato and Andreas Seppi. This year Sinner won two Challenger tournaments in Bergamo and Lexington and reached two more semifinals in Ostrava and Mouilleron le Captif.

Sinner converted his third break point chance at deuce in the fourth game to take a 3-1 lead in the first set. Gaio broke back at 15 in the seventh game and held serve to draw level to 4-4. Sinner sealed the first set with a break at love in the 10th game with a double fault from Gaio. Sinner closed the match with the only break in the 10th game of the second set.

Sinner set up a semifinal against number 6 seed Antoine Hoang, who cruised past France’s Elliott Benchetrit 6-2 6-0. Earlier this year Sinner beat Hoang 6-4 5-7 6-1 in the qualifying round in Lyon.

Austria’s Sebastian Ofner beat this year’s Australian Open Junior champion Lorenzo Musetti 7-6 (7-5) 6-2. Ofner rallied from 1-5 down to draw level to 5-5 in the tie-break, but Ofner won the final two points to win the first set. Ofner broke twice in the first and fifth games to win the second set 6-2.

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ATP

Alexander Zverev Topples Medvedev To End Hopes Of Fedal Clash At ATP Finals

The defending champion survives, but knocks Rafael Nadal out of the competition.

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LONDON: Alexander Zverev has kept his chances of claiming a second consecutive ATP Finals title alive after downing Daniil Medvedev in a crucial match.

The world No.7 rallied to a 6-4, 7-6(4), victory in what was a must-win match for the German player. Who was on the brink of exiting the event as a result of Rafael Nadal’s win earlier in the day. The key to Zverev’s win was his trusted serve as he didn’t face a single break point in the 77-minute match. On top of that, he hit 21 winners and eight aces.

 

“This arena at The O2 is probably where I play my best tennis.” Said Zverev.
“The atmosphere here is something we (the players) don’t play in at all anywhere else in the world. This is so special to us.”

Resting on this match was the prospect of Roger Federer locking horns with nemesis Rafael Nadal for the 41st time. In order for that to occur, it was up to Medvedev to clinch a win. However, Zverev had his own plans as he extended his winning head-to-head record against the Russian to 5-1.

“He had nothing to lose. It was his last (ATP) match of the season and he could just enjoy the tennis, the atmosphere, and the stadium. And for me, it was a must-win situation to go through.”

It was a substandard Medvedev service game at the start of the match which would elevate Zverev to an early advantage as he broke instantly. Fortunately for the rowdy crowd at the 18,500 capacity arena, the Russian did manage to elevate the level of his game. Although it was still not good enough to derail Zverev from clinching the opener after just 33 minutes of play. A 141 mph serve down the center of the court from the 22-year-old forced another error from his rival to generate a set point chance. Zverev then converted after an attempted down the line shot from Medvedev backfired.

Despite clinching the lead, it was by no means a foregone conclusion for Zverev. Who had to contend with some stern play across the court. There was little difference between the two players throughout the second set. In the end, it would be a tiebreak that separated them. At the worst possible time, a Medvedev double fault enabled Zverev to break for 5-3. Once again in control of proceedings, he held his nerve to close the match out with an ace down the center of the court. Prompting a huge roar from Zverev as he paid tribute to his rival moments after.

“He was probably the best player in the world over the summer. Making it to six straight finals is unbelievable. You haven’t seen that (on the tour) for a long time.” He commented on Medvedev’s season.
“I think next year he is going to be very dangerous.”

Zverev finishes second in the Andre Agassi Group. He will play rival and friend Dominic Thiem in the semi-finals on Saturday. A player who he trails 2-5 in their head-to-head.

“Playing against your friend means you have both done incredibly well throughout the whole year and this week. It’s a great honor to play against him.” He reflected.

Should he defend his title this week, Zverev would become the first player outside of the Big Three to do so since Lleyton Hewitt (2001-2002).

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