Alexander Zverev Eyes Improvement And Grand Slam Breakthrough In 2018 - UBITENNIS
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Alexander Zverev Eyes Improvement And Grand Slam Breakthrough In 2018

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A meteoric rise up the ATP Emirates Rankings has left Alexander Zverev hungry for more.

The German 20-year-old has enjoyed a breakthrough season that has seen him climb to a ranking high of third in the world. During 2017 he won five ATP titles, including two at Masters 1000 level. Zverev’s trophy tally has only been passed by two players this year. Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

Despite the success, there continues to be one area of the sport he struggles with, the grand slam tournaments. He is yet to reach the second week of a major with his best run being to the fourth round at Wimbledon.

“You don’t win the Grand Slams by thinking about what might be ahead. You think about one match at a time and that’s how you compete at your best,” Zverev told hopmancup.com.
“The Grand Slams are the biggest stage. It’s the reason why I play. That’s why we all play. That’s why we work hard in the off-season. That’s what every kid dreams of, playing in and winning Grand Slams.”

Scoring seven wins over six different top 10 players in 2017, few can dispute Zverev’s talent on the tour. Many have already tipped him to be the next superstar of the men’s game after the era of the big four comes to an end. An unsurprising occurrence considering he is at least four years younger than any other player currently ranked in the top 10.

Zverev will start his new season at the Hopman Cup alongside Angelique Kerber. It was at the exhibition event last year where he edged out Federer in three close tiebreakers. For some the tournament is a chance to settle into the new season and have fun. On the other hand, Zverev has no plans to take it easy.

“I love coming back here. It’s my third year now. The city is awesome and I’ve been to a few beaches and I’ve really enjoyed my time here.” He said.
“But now it’s time to focus. The Australian Summer is about to start and there are a few big tournaments coming up. It’s time to get to work.”

Not complacent with the achievements he has already achieved, the German is eager to improve his performance further. Zverev is currently coached by Juan Carlos Ferrero. A former world No.1 who won the 2003 French Open.

“I’m happy with my improvement and how I’ve progressed. But at the same time I don’t want to stop here, I have new goals and want to keep improving.” He stated.

Aiming to break new ground in 2018, Zverev takes his inspiration from a group of players that are also his biggest rivals on the tour.

“Roger [Federer] plays and practices like it’s a Grand Slam final every time. He works to his absolute limit. That’s why guys like him, Nadal, Djokovic and Murray are the best players in the world,” he explained.

The Hopman Cup will get underway on Saturday.

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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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Krejcikova Comes Alive With Her Serve To Win 12th Grand Slam Title At Wimbledon

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image via x.com/wimbledon

It must have seemed like the whole world was against her when Barbora Krejcikova served for the match for a third time against crowd favorite Jasmine Paolini.

But Krejcikova was only going for her 12th Grand Slam title. She was well prepared.

So, she released her patented way-out-wide serve to the smallish Paolini’s backhand, and the best the Italian could do was get her racket on the ball enough to return the serve far off the court, long and wide.

ARMS UP FOR A CHAMPION

The weight of the world was gone as Krejcikova threw her arms over her head and calmly walked to the net to greet the Wimbledon runner-up.

Now, Krejcikova was half-way home to a career Grand Slam in singles. She already owns a career Grand Slam in doubles among her dozen Grand Slam titles that also include one mixed doubles Grand Slam title.

She has won the hard ones, the French Open on clay and Wimbledon on grass.

At 28 years old, anything must look possible to this 5-10 Czech.

KREJCIKOVA COMES THROUGH UNDER PRESSURE

Paolini simply was out played in a second straight Grand Slam final, on clay and on grass. Now she faces the real tests, two straight Grand Slam tournaments on hard surfaces that might not be overly friendly to the 5-4 Paolini.

But there it was, a 6-2, 2-6, 6-4 victory for Krejcikova on Wimbledon’s famed Center Court.

After what might be called a throw-away second set for Krejcikova, she came alive in the third set, pinning Paolini to the deep corners while nailing low hard-hit balls to both corners.

Krejcikova got off to 40-0 starts on her first four service games of the decisive set and ended all four with service winners to take a 5-3 lead (with the aid of the only service break of the third set). She yielded only one point in those four service games, a double fault at 40-0 that was followed by an ace.

Of course, it was the serve again that saved the day for Krejcikova and gave her set points two and three, then sealed the deal for a spot in Wimbledon history.

James Beck was the 2003 winner of the USTA National Media Award  for print media. A 1995 MBA graduate of The Citadel, he can be reached at Jamesbecktennis@gmail.com. 

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Jasmine Paolini’s Wimbledon Run Hailed By Italian Prime Minister

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Image via x.com/twitter

The Prime Minister of Italy has praised Jasmine Paolini for lighting up the hearts of others during her Wimbledon run. 

Paolini missed out on her first Grand Slam title to Barbora Krejcikova, who prevailed in three sets to capture her second major trophy. Despite her defeat, she has made history at the tournament by becoming the first female player from her country to reach the final. Until this year, she had never won a Tour-level main draw match on the grass. 

Whilst disappointed about missing out on the biggest title of her career, Italian Premier Giorgia Meloni posted a tribute to Paolini on social media just moments after the final had concluded.

“Proud of Jasmine Paolini,” The Agenzia Nazionale Stampa Associata (ANSA) quotes Meloni as saying. 

“The first Italian tennis player to reach the final of the prestigious Wimbledon tournament. 

“Despite the defeat, you lit up the hearts of the Italian people, succeeding in conveying grit and passion to all of us who supported you”. 

Paolini is the first player ranked outside the top five to reach the final of both Wimbledon and the French Open within the same year since the ranking system was introduced in 1975. She is also only the fourth female player in the Open Era to have reached her first two Grand Slam finals in the same year at Roland Garros and Wimbledon after Chris Evert (1973), Olga Morozova (1974) and Steffi Graf (1987). 

Should she win three or more matches at the US Open later this year, she will also set a new Open Era record for the most Grand Slam wins achieved by an Italian female player in a single season. 

“The last two months have been crazy for me. I want to thank my team, and my family. They always support me and I wouldn’t be here without them. The crowd have been amazing. I received a lot of support. Just incredible to feel the love from them, I enjoy it so much.” Paolini said following her Wimbledon defeat. 

The 28-year-old will rise to a ranking high of No.3 on Monday. 

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