Roger Federer vs. Jack Sock: ATP World Tour Finals Match Preview - UBITENNIS
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Roger Federer vs. Jack Sock: ATP World Tour Finals Match Preview

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(Roger Federer – photo via zimbio.com)

World No. 2 and overwhelming favourite, Roger Federer will begin his campaign for a record seventh title at the ATP World Tour Finals with a meeting with the recent Paris Masters champion Jack Sock in London on Sunday. Will it be another straightforward victory for the Fed Express or will Sock upset him to continue his winning streak?

With French and US Open champion Rafael Nadal nursing a knee injury that could prevent him from giving his 100% at the event, Swiss maestro Federer is the pundits pick to claim his eighth trophy of the season at the O2 in the British capital. After all, the master even by his own lofty standards, has had a year to remember which included a fifth Australian Open crown, a record breaking 8th Wimbledon and three Masters trophies. He would love to add another silverware to his fast growing trophy cabinet by triumphing in the city that has been the most successful for his career.

Federer is coming into the tournament on the back of successive title wins in Shanghai and Basel, where he defeated Rafael Nadal and Juan Martin Del Potro respectively in the finals. In China, the 36-year-old was simply outstanding as barring a minor blip against the in-form Del Potro in the semis, he raced through the field and not even Nadal was able to find a way past him.

A week after his triumph in Shanghai, Federer played in his home town of Basel and despite suffering from fatigue, he was successful in thwarting the challenge of Del Porto to secure his 8th title at a place where he was once a ball boy. Federer then made an extremely sensible decision to opt out of the Paris Masters to get himself fully charged up for the all important World Tour Finals, a tournament that is dubbed as the ‘Fifth Grand Slam’. Although, his decision was heavily criticized by the organizers of the Paris Masters, Roger cited back trouble as the official reason behind the move. However, fans and experts alike knew it was a smart move by him as he wanted to remain injury free for a full blooded assault on the title in London.

On the other hand, in the absence of Federer and Nadal (who left the tournament midway citing knee issues), Sock took full advantage of the situation as he picked up the biggest trophy of his career by winning the Paris Masters. With Nadal withdrawing from the event and Argentine Del Potro losing early, Sock realized that it was his best chance to become the first American winner of a Masters trophy since Andy Roddick, who won in Miami back in 2010.

You never know what luck has in stores for you – the phrase proved perfectly apt for Sock as in the finals he met an opponent called Filip Krajinovic who was ranked No. 77 at that point of time and was virtually unheard of before the advent of the tournament. Still, Sock had to put his little known adversary away and he did so in some style and in the process, qualified for the season ending finale.

Head-to-head: The pair has met thrice in the past with Federer winning all three of those matches in straight sets. In their most recent meeting that took place earlier this year in Indian Wells, the duo played out an entertaining tie-breaker in the opening set before Sock’s complete annihilation in the second. Which Federer won with a margin of six games to one. In all probability, this match could see a similar result as a fresh Federer is generally an ominous sign to his challengers. Right after winning in Shanghai, Roger had stated that the World Tour Finals was one of his big goals in 2017 and he will leave no chance whatsoever in achieving that goal.

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Wrist Injury Threatening To End Holger Rune’s Olympic Dream

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Holger Rune will have a second medical opinion on Monday before deciding if he is fit enough to play at the Olympic Games, according to his team. 

The Danish world No.17 recently retired from his quarter-final match at the Hamburg Open due to a knee injury. The hope at the time was that his withdrawal would be just a precautionary measure ahead of the Olympics. However, he is also dealing with a second issue that appears to be more serious.

According to TV 2 Sport, Rune has been struggling with a wrist issue and underwent a scan on Sunday which his mother Aneke says ‘doesn’t look promising.’ Aneke is also the manager of her son’s career. Rune’s Olympic dreams now rest on the outcome of a second medical expert that he will visit tomorrow who has a better understanding of the sport. 

“Unfortunately, it does not look promising after the first medical opinion after the review of the scan of the wrist,” Aneke Rune told TV 2 Sport.

“We are waiting for two tennis-specific doctors who will give a second opinion tomorrow (Monday). Tennis wrists look different from regular wrists, so we’ll hold out hope for one more day.” 

Rune is one of three Danish players entered into the Olympic tennis event along with Caroline Wozniacki and Clara Tauson. The country has only won one medal in tennis before which was at the 1912 Games when Sofie Castenschiold won silver in the women’s indoor singles event. 

So far this season, the 21-year-old has won 27 matches on the Tour but is yet to claim a title. He reached the final of the Brisbane International and then the semi-finals of three more events. In the Grand Slams, he made it to the fourth round of the French Open and Wimbledon. 

It is not known when a final decision regarding Rune’s participation in Paris will be made.

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Hubert Hurkacz Undergoes ‘Knee Procedure’ Ahead of Olympic Bid

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Poland’s top player on the ATP Tour is not giving up on his dream of winning a medal at the Olympic Games despite recently undergoing a medical procedure.

World No.7 Hubert Hurkacz suffered a knee injury during his second round clash at Wimbledon against France’s Arthur Fils. In the fourth set tiebreak of their clash, Hurkacz dived for a shot but landed badly on his knee and required on-court medical attention. He then played two more points before retiring from the match. 

In a social media post published on Wednesday, the  27-year-old confirmed he underwent a procedure on his knee earlier this week but didn’t provide any further details.  Although Hurkacz has stated his intention to play at the upcoming Olympic Games in Paris, where the tennis event will be held on the clay at Roland Garros. 

“I had a knee procedure this Monday, but I’m feeling better already and my team and are dedicating extensive time each day to the rehab process.” He wrote on Instagram. 

“It’s a dream for every athlete to represent their country at the Olympics, and I want to make sure I am fully fit and ready before making the final decision to step on court. The aim is not only to participate, but to win a medal for my country.”

So far this season Hurkacz has won 34 out of 48 matches played on the Tour. He won the Estoril Open in April and was runner-up to Jannik Sinner in Halle. 

The Olympic tennis event is scheduled to begin a week Saturday on July 27th. Poland is yet to win a medal in the event but expectations are high with women’s No.1 Iga Swiatek also taking part. 

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Motivation, Pressure And Expectations – Novak Djokovic Targets History At Wimbledon

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image via x.com/wimbledon

Novak Djokovic has broken numerous records throughout his career but he still feels the pressure of trying to make history in the sport. 

The world No.2 is through to his 10th Wimbledon final where he will play Carlos Alcaraz, who beat him at this stage of the tournament 12 months ago. There is plenty on the line for the Serbian who could equal Roger Federer’s record for most men’s titles won at SW19 and break the overall record for most major singles won in the sport if he triumphs over the Spaniard. Djokovic currently has 24 Grand Slam trophies to his name which is the same as Margaret Court, who won some of her titles before the Open Era started. 

“Obviously I’m aware that Roger [Federer] holds eight Wimbledons. I hold seven. History is on the line.” Djokovic said on Friday after beating Lorenzo Musetti.

“Also, the 25th potential Grand Slam. Of course, it serves as a great motivation, but at the same time it’s also a lot of pressure and expectations.”

Coming into Wimbledon, there had been doubts over Djokovic’s form after he underwent surgery to treat a knee injury he suffered at the French Open. However, he has defied the odds to reach the final. His run has also seen him beat Alexi Popyrin and Holger Rune before getting a walkover in the quarter-finals from Alex de Minaur, who sustained an injury during the tournament. Then on Friday, he overcame a spirited Musetti in three sets. 

Despite the challenge, Djokovic has insisted that his expectations to do well are always high no matter what the situation is. During what has been a roller-coaster first six months of the season, he is yet to win a title this year or beat a player currently ranked in the top 10. Although he will achieve both of these if her beats Alcaraz on Sunday. 

“Every time I step out on the court now, even though I’m 37 and competing with the 21-year-olds, I still expect myself to win most of the matches, and people expect me to win, whatever, 99% of the matches that I play.” He said.

“I always have to come out on the court and perform my best in order to still be at the level with Carlos [Alcaraz] or Jannik [Sinner] or Sascha [Zverev] or any of those guys, Daniil [Medvedev]. 

“This year hasn’t been that successful for me. It’s probably the weakest results the first six months I’ve had in many years. That’s okay. I had to adapt and accept that and really try to find also way out from the injury that I had and kind of regroup.”

Djokovic hopes that a Wimbledon win will help turn his season around like it has done in the past for him. 

“Wimbledon historically there’s been seasons where I wasn’t maybe playing at a desired level, but then I would win a Wimbledon title and then things would change.” He commented.

“For example, that was the case in 2018 when I had elbow surgery earlier in the year, dropped my rankings out of top 20, losing in fourth round of Australian Open, I think it was quarters of Roland-Garros, and just not playing the tennis that I want to play. Then I won Wimbledon and then won US Open and then later on became No.1 very soon.”

Meanwhile, 21-year-old Alcaraz is hoping to stop Djokovic in his tracks. Should he defend his title at Wimbledon, he would become the first player outside the Big Three to do so since Pete Sampras more than 20 years ago. He has won their only previous meeting on the grass but trails their head-to-head 3-2. 

“I’m sure he knows what he has to do to beat me,” said Alcaraz.

“But I’m ready to take that challenge and I’m ready to do it well.”

When the two players take to the court to play in the Wimbledon final, Djokovic will be 15 years and 348 days older than Alcaraz. Making it the largest age gap in a men’s Grand Slam final since the 1974 US Open. Whoever is victorious will receive £2,700,000 in prize money. 

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