Radek Stepanek Stays Silent Amid Rumours Of Coaching Partnership With Djokovic - UBITENNIS
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Radek Stepanek Stays Silent Amid Rumours Of Coaching Partnership With Djokovic

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Newly retired Radek Stepanek has said he is in the process of finding ’the right path’ as speculation about a potential collaboration with Novak Djokovic mounts.

The 38-year-old announced his retirement from professional tennis last week after 21 years on the tour. During his career, the Czech rose to a high of eighth in the world and won five ATP titles. In the doubles, he won a total of 15 titles, including two at grand slam level. Stepanek has been marred by injury problems within recent years with the back becoming his most recent problem.

“I have fought until my last breath but it’s time to go now,” he said about his retirement.

No longer a player, there is a chance that the former world No.8 could be making a return back to the tour soon, but as a coach. Earlier this year Serbian media reported that he was a contender to join Novak Djokovic’s coaching team. Djokovic is currently guided by Andre Agassi, who is balancing the role with other commitments he has.

Darren Cahill, who is Simona Halep’s mentor, recently confirmed that he has discussed the idea with Agassi. According to Cahill, who was commentating for ESPN, Stepanek’s potential role could see him managing Djokovic during the non-grand slam weeks of the year.

There has been no official word regarding the potential appointment of Stepanek, who didn’t mention the role in an interview with Idnes.cz. Asked about what his plans for the future were, he said he would take his time to think about what to do next.

“Now for a few days I’ll disappear. And I think what I’ll do next.” Said Stepanek. “For years, I hurried from the match to the hotel, from the hotel to the airport. I was in a hurry. Now I have plenty of time to find the right way forward (for me).”

The prospect of the two working together would come as no surprise. Earlier in the year Djokovic described the Czech as one of his ‘best friends’ on the tour. Praising him for his longevity on the tour. Stepanek was also once named as a potential coach for Nick Kyrgios.

“We know each other well. We practise many times. Great guy. Very interesting guy.” Djokovic said in January.

Stepanek has also insisted that he will not change his mind about retirement. Branding his decision as ‘irreversible.’

“No. I can imagine myself playing an an exhibition (match). But not back on the professional tour. I am convinced that my decision is irreversible.” He said about retirement.

With there being no timeframe set out, it remains to be seen is Stepanek will join forces with the Serbian. Djokovic will start his 2018 season at the Doha Open. The tournament will start on January 1st.

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Matteo Berrettini cruises through to the second round with a straight set over Vasek Pospisil

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Last year’s US Open semifinalist Matteo Berrettini beat Canada’s Vasek Pospisil 6-3 6-1 6-3 on the Suzanne Lenglen Court to reach the second round at Roland Garros. 

 

Berrettini broke twice in the fifth game at deuce to take a 3-2 lead with a forehand passing shot on the break point. The Italian player broke for the second time at 15 to close out the first set 6-3. 

and ninth games to win the opening set 6-3. Pospisil hit 4 winners to 11 unforced errors in the opening set. 

The world number 8 player went up a double break to race out to a 4-0 lead. Pospisil saved three break points in the sixth game and held his serve for 1-5, but Berrettini served out the set at 30 in the seventh game. 

In the third set Pospisil saved three break points in the first game. Berrettini fended off the only break point of the match in the second game with a service winner. 

Pospisil fended off two more opportunities in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead. Berrettini won the final four games from 3-3 with a double break in the seventh and ninth games to seal the third set 6-3. Berrettini won 69 % of his first serve points. 

Berrettini set up a second round match against South Africa’s Lloyd Harris, who beat Australia’s Alexei Popyrin 6-4 6-4 7-6 (9-7). 

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‘On This Surface I’m Only Inferior To Nadal’ – Pablo Carreno Busta Fires Warning at French Open

The world No.18 explains why he has very high expectations for Paris this year.

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Pablo Carreno Busta in action against Alexander Zverev during a men's singles Semifinal match at the 2020 US Open. (Photo by Simon Bruty/USTA)

Pablo Carreno Busta believes he has what it takes to pose a serious threat at this year’s French Open following his recent success in North America.

 

The world No.18 heads into Paris less than a month after reaching the semi-finals of the US Open for the second time in his career. Carreno Busta boasted a two-set lead over Alexander Zverev to close in on his first major final before the German fought back to clinch the match. Prior to the run, he also won the men’s doubles title at the Western and Southern Open alongside Alex de Minaur.

Taking to the court at Roland Garros on Monday, Carreno Busta eased to a 6-3, 6-2, 7-5, win over Australia’s John Milman in the first round. Producing 34 winners and breaking his opponent eight times en route to the win in the night-time encounter. Speaking to reporters afterwards, the 17th seed believes he has what it takes to go deep in the draw.

“I have a very high level, on this surface I am not inferior to anyone, except perhaps Rafa,” EFE quoted Carreno Busta as saying.
“If I am one hundred percent and I am brave and aggressive I am dangerous and it is not easy for them (other players) to beat me. It is what I have to try to do.”

It was at Roland Garros where the 29-year-old made his Grand Slam debut back in 2013. Since then his best run in the tournament was to the quarter-finals in 2017. Overall, Carreno Busta has won 11 out of 18 main draw matches played but has only managed to progress to the second week once in his seven previous attempts.

The next test for the Spaniard will be Argentina’s Guido Pella, who defeated Italy’s Salvatore Caruso 7-6(6), 6-7(4), 7-5, 6-4, in his opening match. Pella achieved a ranking high of 20th last year and his only title was on the clay was in Sao Paulo.

“It will be a very difficult game, perhaps more than today (Monday),” he previewed.
“I have to face the game the same, be solid and aggressive. It will be long, but I have played matches like that.”

Regardless of what happens over the coming days, Carreno Busta says he is happy to be playing once again following the break. The ATP Tour was stopped for five months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Which is why the French Open is taking place later than usual in trickier conditions due to the cooler weather.

“It has been a very complicated year for all of us, there were moments when we did not know if we were going to be able to play. The important thing is that we are playing,” he states.

Carreno Busta is one of three Spanish players to be seeded in the men’s draw this year along with Nadal (2) and Roberto Bautista Agut (10).

Carreno Busta’s French Open record

2013 – R1
2014 – R1
2015 – R2
2016 – R2
2017 – QF
2018 – R3
2019 – R3

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Marton Fucsovics upsets Danil Medvedev in four sets at Roland Garros

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Hungary’s Marton Fucsovics upset last year’s US Open finalist Danil Medvedev 6-4 7-6 (7-3) 2-6 6-1 after 3 hours and 17 minutes in cold weather conditions on Monday evening to reach the second round at Roland Garros. Fucsovics won 70% of his net points and broke serve six times. 

 

Fucsovics converted his second break point at deuce in the ninth game to take the first set 6-4. Both players traded breaks in the first two games of the second set. Fucsovics broke serve in the third game to take a 2-1 lead. Medvedev broke straight back to draw level to 3-3. Both players traded breaks in two deuce games to draw level to 4-4. 

Medvedev went up a mini-break in the tie-break of the second set, but he could not hold his lead and dropped two consecutive service points to trail 3-6. Medvedev was frustratred and  broke his raquet. He received a point penalty and lost the second set. 

Medvedev got a double break in the first and fifth games to win the third set 6-2. Fucsovics went up a break to take a 2-0 lead and held serve with a serve and volley in the fourth game for 3-1 lead. The Hungarian player got a double break in the sixth game, when Medvedev missed a backhand wide. 

Medvedev reached the semifinal at the 2020 US Open, but he was beaten by Ugo Humbert in the first round in Hamburg. The Russian player has lost his first round match in all four appearances at Roland Garros. 

“It’s one of my biggest wins. First time I beat a top-10 player, especially in a Grand Slam. I really wanted to show that I am a very good player. I also want to be in the top 10”, said Fucsovics. 

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