UBITENNIS EXCLUSIVE: Jan Satral Interview - UBITENNIS
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UBITENNIS EXCLUSIVE: Jan Satral Interview

I interviewed Jan Satral, the World No. 337 at the Los Angeles Futures in January.

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Satral has been as high as No. 136 in Singles and represented the Czech Republic in Davis Cup. In 2017, the 27-year-old had a disappointing year and plummeted down the rankings. Now he’s back, looking for a better 2018. The interview was conducted in Czech and translated by the author, recorded shortly after Satral advanced to the semifinals, where he ultimately lost.

Congratulations on your win, how did you feel in your match today?

Thank you. I haven’t really gotten comfortable. I am winning my matches, but I’m not satisfied with my level of play here. However, it is the first week of the season and I’m glad that I’m winning. Today it was a little bit better than last time, and that’s all I can ask for.

You played against Lebedev, a player that has no ranking and plays college tennis, was he better or worse than you expected?

I knew that despite not having a ranking that he’s a good player. He came through qualifying and got to the quarterfinals, so I expected him to be good. It’s tough for me to play in America, where I don’t know many of the players. In Europe, I play mostly against the same guys, and I know what to expect. It’s a little bit tougher here, but I think I dealt with it well. He’s definitely good enough and you’ll see him climb the rankings soon.

Last year you dropped significantly in the rankings, was that due to injury?

I wasn’t really injured, but I had a bad start to the season. I put a lot of pressure on myself. I was around Top 150 and didn’t have much to defend the first half of the season, so I felt like I needed to make a push towards Top 100. I took some bad losses and got down on myself mentally. It really got in my head, that I wasn’t reaching my goals. I felt demotivated and that was reflected in my matches.

You’re through to the semifinals, possibly playing Christopher Eubanks in the final. You’ve played him once before, how do you feel about that match-up?

Obviously, first, we both need to win our matches. I remember playing him at US Open qualifying, I had no idea who he was. He’s very tall, very young with a good serve, but I got through that match. He plays very aggressively and it’s a good match-up. I’d rather play him than Sarkissian, whose game is more about keeping the ball in. I feel like if I can win my semifinal, I could beat him in the final.

Two years ago, you played the Round of 64 at US Open against Gael Monfils. What playing differences did you see and how did you feel playing against someone of his caliber?

That was most likely the best form of my career, that part of the season. I was very confident, as I won my first round after qualifying for a slam for the first time. I had no idea what to expect from a player like Monfils, I’ve never played that good a player before. I think I performed well, but he was just on another level. His movement, his serve, were impeccable. I had to work hard to win every point.

Why did you decide the start your season in the United States?

After I missed the cut-off for Australian Open qualifying, which was my goal toward the end of last season, to try and salvage my ranking, it was my coach’s decision. The European tournaments are on a very high level, and flying to Asia or Australian for a tournament or two is also not great. The plan is to play two Futures here, win some matches, take a week off and try the Challenger circuit. It was a very straightforward decision.

What are your goals for 2018?

Well, I hope to make Roland Garros qualifying and get comfortable on the court again. It’s tough to be playing for the big tournaments for a couple of years and then fall down to the Futures level. I have to fight and make it back to my past level. I need to get to a place where I play the slam qualifying and make Challenger main draws.

Do you feel more comfortable on hard courts or clay?

I’m fine with both, I can get used to them very quickly. I can adjust my game to the surface and have pretty even results on both.

What do you think about Radek Stepanek becoming Novak Djokovic’s coach?

It’s probably the best thing that could have happened to him at this point. He had to end his long and successful career due to injury, but he and Djokovic are pretty good friends. He is also struggling at the moment, and I think that Stepanek can help him adjust to the tour, he knows everybody on tour. It was a good move by Djokovic, and perhaps a start of a successful coaching career for Stepanek.

Overall, many Czech players had a poor 2017, why do you think that was?

Many went down in the rankings, but many of them were also plagued with injuries. Berdych, Rosol, and Pavlasek were all injured, and they will have a tough time coming back. Berdych was in Top 10 for an incredibly long time and I believe he can get back in there if he stays healthy. I hope the rest of the guys will stay healthy and get back on track.

 

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Daria Kasatkina And Alejandro Davidovich Fokina Lead Calls For VAR In Tennis

There have been calls for VAR to be introduced into the sport.

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Daria Kasatkina and Alejandro Davidovich Fokina have called for VAR to be implemented in tennis.

The calls have came after Andrey Rublev was disqualified from his semi-final with Alexander Bublik in Dubai.

As Bublik lead 6-5 in the final set, Rublev shouted in the face of an umpire allegedly swearing in Russian which was picked up by one of the officials.

This saw Rublev be disqualified from the event with Bublik reaching the final in Dubai.

However as a result of the incident players have called for a VAR review system with the video showing inconclusive proof of whether Rublev did swear in Russian.

Leading the calls for such innovation are Daria Kasatkina and Alejandro Davidovich Fokina as the duo called for VAR to be introduced on twitter, “So you can just disqualify a player, take away all his points and money, without even checking the video? What a joke, yet another confirmation that we need VAR in tennis and an electronic appeal system in all tournaments,” Kasatkina said on social media.

VAR has been implemented in football and also a similar system in rugby with mixed results.

It’s clear though that more technology would help umpires identify whether a grounds for disqualification would be necessary.

So far VAR has been trialled at the Next Gen Finals and the Nitto ATP Finals.

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Casper Ruud Overcomes ‘Tough Start’ To Set De Minaur Final In Acapulco

Casper Ruud is into his first ATP 500 final after defeating Holger Rune in three sets.

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Casper Ruud is into his second consecutive final in Mexico after defeating Holger Rune 3-6 6-3 6-4 in Acapulco.

The Norwegian had to overcome an electric start from Rune to prevail in 2 hours and 24 minutes.

It was a clinical performance from Ruud who is now into his second consecutive final in Mexico after reaching the final in Los Cabos last week.

Speaking after the match Ruud admitted it was a tough start but he’s pleased to be in another final, “It was a tough start,” Ruud told the ATP website.

“Holger just came out firing bullets from the forehand, from the backhand and I had not too much time to play my game. I was frustrated at times, especially at the end of the first set, beginning of the second.

“I didn’t really feel like I got to play any points how I wanted to, so there was some frustration towards myself, towards my box, because I didn’t feel like we were doing the right thing.

“But luckily with one break in the second, it turned around a bit and in the third set it got a little physical. I think maybe Holger seemed like he was struggling a little bit and started firing even more and a couple of games it went in and he broke me, which is frustrating.

“Some unforced errors crept up on him and I served really well in the last game to close it out.”

Ruud is now into his first ATP 500 final in Acapulco where he will face defending champion Alex De Minaur.

De Minaur overcame Jack Draper after the Brit retired at 4-0 down in the deciding set.

Heading into Saturday’s final, De Minaur leads the head-to-head 1-0 although that was in a completely different scoring format in the Next Gen Finals.

Whatever happens on Saturday, Ruud will return to the world’s top ten.

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Andrey Rublev Disqualified In Dramatic Dubai Semi-Final

Andrey Rublev was disqualified from his semi-final in Dubai.

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Andrey Rublev was disqualified from his semi-final with Alexander Bublik after being accused of swearing in Russian.

The event took place in Dubai where Rublev had more than enough opportunities to win the match having been 4-2 40-0 up in the deciding set.

However Bublik came back into the match as he caught up with Rublev in what was turning into a fascinating contest.

The score was at 6-5 Bublik when Rublev’s frustrations boiled over when he allegedly told the official at the side of the court that he was a ‘f****** moron’ in Russian.

One of the officials on the sidelines at the side of the court reported the incident and the supervisor ruled that Rublev should be defaulted.

The incident below means that Rublev will now lose all his ranking points and prize money, resulting in Rublev exiting the world’s top five.

An ending that didn’t warrant the dramatic contest and after the match Bublik agreed that the consequences, “I highly doubt Andrey said something crazy,” Bublik was quoted by Sports Illustrated.

“He’s not this kind of guy. But I guess that’s the rules. That’s what they did, they just follow the procedure.”

Bublik will hope for a smoother finish to the final when he takes on Ugo Humbert for the title.

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