Jack Sock Cliches Maiden Masters Title In Paris To Qualify For Nitto ATP Finals - UBITENNIS
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Jack Sock Cliches Maiden Masters Title In Paris To Qualify For Nitto ATP Finals

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Jack Sock (zimbio.com)

Jack Sock has ended America’s seven-year wait for a Masters 1000 champion after fighting his way past qualifier Filip Krajinović 5-7, 6-4, 6-1, in the final of the Rolex Paris Masters.

 

The showdown at the AccorHotels Arena was a milestone occasion for both men. At stake for 25-year-old Sock was the chance to win his first Masters 1000 title and end the season as the highest ranked American player for the first time in his career. Meanwhile, Krajinović was hoping to become the first qualifier to win the Paris title and the second Serbian to win a Masters trophy after Novak Djokovic.

On paper, Sock was the clear favourite, but it was the Serbian underdog that prevailed early on. Prior to Paris, Krajinović had only ever won one main draw match in a Masters event. His surge follows what has been a successful year on the Challenger tour, where he clinched five titles. During three of those tournaments he didn’t drop a single set. It was a clash of fine margins during the opening set with both players trading breaks. At the pressure moment Sock buckled, hitting a double fault on set point to reward the 7-5 lead to the world No.77.

“I just talked to myself a little bit and just said ‘keep hanging in there like you have done all week.’” Sock told Sky Sports about losing the first set. “ I have been down 5-1 in my first match in the third set and I came back from that. So, this was miniscule compared to that.”

Battling from behind, the American refused to give up hope of winning the title and qualifying for the season-ending Nitto ATP Finals. A double break during the early stage of the second start triggered the start of his comeback. The shots his opponent was making early in the match was no longer landing in. Enabling Sock to level the clash at a set apiece.

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Continuing to turn the match around, the world No.22 moved into the lead during the early stages of the decider. Back-to-back winning passing shots secured the crucial break as he moved to a 2-1 lead. Prompting a huge roar and fist clench from him. From then on, it was a one-way show for Sock, who clinched the biggest title of his career after a Krajinović backhand landed out.

“This week is an incredible moment for me, especially the way it started. Being down in my first match and being able to battle through that one.“ He said during the trophy ceremony.

Sock’s triumph in Paris has ended a run of 69 consecutive Masters trophies being won by a European player. He is the first American to win a title in the category since Andy Roddick in 2010 (Miami) and the first in Paris since Andre Agassi back in 1999.

There is also reason for celebration for runner-up Krajinović. The Serbian will now rise to a ranking high of 33 following his breakthrough week in Paris. Moving him closer to being seeded in a grand slam tournament for the first time in his career next year.

“This is the best week of my life. I will never forget this moment in my life. Coming from the qualies to the final is a dream come true for me.” Said the 25-year-old Serbian.

London’s calling

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For the seventh consecutive year Sock has improved his year-end ranking to 9th. Placing him inside the top-10 for the first time. His reward is the final spot in the ATP Finals in London, overtaking Pablo Carreno Busta. It seemed only suitable that the milestone should have happened in Paris. A city where he has achieved some of the biggest results in his career.

“I love Paris.I have had amazing moments at the French Open. A lot of firsts here in Paris.” Stated Sock.
“There has been a lot of firsts. The French Open was my first, fourth round of a slam. Now my first Masters series (title) in Paris. This will now be my first time in the top-10 and now my first time in making London at the year-end finals.’
“So, there is a lot going on right now emotionally. I just can’t wait to enjoy it with my team.” He added.

After exceeding expectations in Paris, Sock now has his eyes on creating a shock at the O2 Arena. He will be the first player from his country to play in the event since Mardy Fish in 2011.

“If I keep playing good tennis, anything can happen. I feel comfortable, very comfortable on the court. I feel very confident in my game.” He explained about his London chances.
“I snuck into the last spot and I got nothing to lose. So I’m going to go out there and swing big and play my tennis.”

Sock exits Paris with €853,430 in prize money and 1000 ranking points.

 

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US Open Must Allow Entourages Of Three Or Four People, Says Thiem

The world No.3 says he is feeling good ahead of the return of professional tennis next month.

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Dominic Thiem has come out against proposals to restrict the number of coaching staff that can travel to this year’s US Open amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

This year’s New York major will be held behind closed doors for the first time in history and will be implementing a series of measures to help minimise the threat posed by the virus. Part of their plan is to limit how many people a player can bring with them to the tournament. It was originally reported that only one team member per player would be allowed to travel, but it has emerged that the limit has since been extended to three.

Speaking about the limits, three-time Grand Slam finalist Thiem said the idea of only allowing one member of his team to travel with him would be a risk for some players on the Tour.

*”I do not think so. Three or four people must be allowed. It would be extremely risky to travel without your own physio. You need a local coach for this,’ Thiem told The Kronen Zeitung newspaper on Sunday.

Thiem last played a match on the ATP Tour at the Rio Open in February where he lost in the quarter-finals. However, throughout the lockdown he has still managed to maintain his match fitness by participating in numerous tournaments. In total he has played 24 matches across three different countries, including one named after him called Thiems 7.

“Right now I feel very good,” he said. “I have played a lot of exhibition games in the last two months and I am not tired at all. I really wanted to play tennis again, since my start of the year was very good.’
“During This period of confinement at home I have been crushing myself a lot in the physical aspect and already when I returned to training. I have decided to improve the backhand and the serve a little more.”

The ATP Tour will resume next month with Thiem hoping that he can continue his form generated from earlier this year. At the Australian Open he reached the final for the first time in his career before getting edged out by Novak Djokovic. Although when he returns, tournaments will not be the same as before due to the ongoing pandemic with strict safety measures and reduced crowds in place.

“When the circuit returns, the matches will be exactly the same as we had previously, but the atmosphere will be different,” he said.
“All tennis players will miss playing tournaments where many people travelled to see us every day. In New York, Paris or Melbourne there are between 60,000 and 70,000 people every day in the facilities. That previous life we ​​had will not be the same and we may have to get used to this new normal for a few years.”

Thiem is one of only four men to have already made more than $1 million in prize money so far this year on the ATP Tour.

*NOTE: Since the publication of this article quotes have been edited following a translation mix-up.

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Nick Kyrgios Slams Thiem Over Defence Of Controversy-Stricken Adria Tour

The world No.40 has accused the Austrian of lacking an ‘intellectual level’ to understand his view.

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Australian star Nick Kyrgios has continued his public criticism of the Adria Tour by taking aim at two-time French Open finalist Dominic Thiem.

 

The 25-year-old has repeatedly hit out at the exhibition event, which Thiem participated in. Organised by world No.1 Novak Djokovic, the event took place in Belgrade and Zadar before it was scrapped following an outbreak of COVID-19 among both players and coaching staff. Djokovic, Grigor Dimitrov and Borna Coric all got infected. The outbreak came after the Adria Tour was criticised for a lack of social distancing and players attended various public events together. Although at the time, all of their actions were done in accordance with local regulations. Something the Serbian Prime Minister now admits was a mistake.

However, Thiem has called out Kyrgios over his vocal criticism of fellow Adria Tour competitor Alexander Zverev. The German attended a party in southern France less than a week after the COVID-19 outbreak despite issuing a statement saying he would go into self-isolation.

“It was his mistake, but I don’t why a lot of people want to interfere. Kyrgios has done a lot of mistakes. It would be better for him to come clear instead of criticising others,” Thiem told Tiroler Tageszeitung.

Continuing to defend the actions of his fellow players, Thiem also jumped to the defence of Djokovic. Who has been under heavy criticism over the event with some going as far as questioning his position as president of the ATP Players Council.

“He didn’t commit a crime. We all make mistakes, but I don’t understand all the criticism. I’ve been to Nice and also saw pictures from other cities. It’s no different from Belgrade during the tournament. It’s too cheap to shoot at Djokovic.”

The comments have now been blasted by Kyrgios, who stands by his previous criticism of players. Accusing Thiem of lacking an ‘intellectual level’ to see his point of view.

“What are you talking about @ThiemDomi? Mistakes like smashing rackets? Swearing? Tanking a few matches here or there? Which everyone does?” Kyrgios wrote on Twitter.
“None of you have the intellectual level to even understand where I’m coming from. I’m trying to hold them accountable.”
“People losing lives, loved ones and friends, and then Thiem standing up for the ‘mistake,'” he added.

The COVID-19 pandemic has killed more than 500,000 people worldwide and some players have voiced concerns over travelling to America which has recently seen a rise in cases. On Wednesday Alexi Popyrin became the first player to say he won’t play the US Open due to health concerns.

The ATP Tour is set to resume next month but it is unclear as to what events Thiem and Kyrgios will be playing in.

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Roger Federer Eyeing Olympic Glory At The Age Of 39 In 2021

The Swiss tennis star isn’t ready to step away from the sport just yet.

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20-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer has vowed to play at next year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo after undergoing two surgeries on his knee.

 

The former world No.1 hasn’t played a competitive match since his semi-final loss to Novak Djokovic at the Australian Open in January. Since then he had twice undergone arthroscopic surgeries which is a minimally invasive procedure that is used to diagnose and treat problems with the joints. Federer announced shortly after having the procedure done for a second time that he will not be returning to the Tour again this year.

Despite the setbacks, the 38-year-old has vowed to return to action at the start of 2021 with Olympic glory one of his main targets. He is already a two-time Olympic medallist after winning gold in the men’s doubles back in 2008 followed by silver in the singles draw at the 2012 London Games.

“My goal is to play Tokyo 2021. It’s a wonderful city. I met my wife in my first Olympics in 2000. It’s a special event for me,” Federer said on Monday during the launch of ‘The Roger’ shoe with Swiss brand ON.
“I had two surgeries and I can’t hit at the moment, but I’m very confident I will be totally ready for 2021.
“I do miss playing in front of the fans, no doubt. Now, I think if tennis comes back we know it won’t be in a normal way where we can have full crowds yet.”

Federer will be 39 when he returns to action, but is yet to speculate as to when he may close the curtain on his record-breaking career. He is currently the second oldest man in the top 200 on the ATP Tour after Croatia’s Ivo Karlovic, who is 41.

Besides the Olympics, the Swiss Maestro is also setting his eye on Wimbledon where he has claimed the men’s title a record eight times. However, he hasn’t won a major title since the 2018 Australian Open. The Grass-court major has been cancelled this year for the first time since 1945 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Of course I miss Wimbledon, of course I would like to be there currently playing on Centre Court for a place in the second week,” he said.
“Clearly, one of my big goals, and that’s why I do recovery work every day and work so hard, and why I’m preparing for a 20-week physical preparation block this year, is because I hope to play at Wimbledon next year.”

Even though he is not playing for the rest of the year, Federer incredibly still has a chance of qualifying for the ATP Finals due to recent changes in the rankings calculations. Due to the pandemic, players are now allowed to use their best results at 18 tournaments based on a 22-month period instead of 12 months. Something that could enable him to remain inside the top eight until the end of 2020 depending on how his rivals fair.

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