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Tommy Haas May Still Continue Playing Amid Confusion Over Retirement

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Tommy Haas (zimbio.com)

Tommy Haas’ apparent farewell tour last year may not be the final chapter of his career, according to his management.

 

The 39-year-old has been hampered by injury in recent years. In total he has undergone nine surgeries prior to his latest comeback in 2017. In his latest season on the professional tour, the German rolled back the years with a shock win over Roger Federer at the Stuttgart Open. The victory over the 20-time grand slam champion was Haas’ last win on the tour.

“It wasn’t really only about winning and losing this time,” Haas recently told The Desert Sun about his latest comeback. “It was more of going back to these places one more time, really enjoying it, having my family there, really taking it in as a last time as a competitor at these events.
“The last match that I won on tour will be against Roger Federer, so I’ll take that any day.”

It appears that the curtain has been pulled down on Haas’ lengthy career, which has seen him win 15 ATP titles and claim a silver medal at the 2000 Olympic Games. He is now the tournament director of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells. One of the most prestigious combined events outside of the grand slam tournaments.

Despite heading into the world of retirement, the German has hinted that he could once again return to competitive tennis. In a statement obtained by Tennis Magazin, Haas has confirmed that his recent comments with The Desert Sun wasn’t his official retirement. Instead, he wants to ‘keep the option open’ in order to play in doubles tournaments. Following in the footsteps of Lleyton Hewitt, who played in the men’s doubles at the Australian Open earlier in the year.

“It is quite possible that my win against Roger Federer in June 2017 in Stuttgart was my last win in singles and my game against Jan-Lennard Struff in August 2017 in Kitzbühel was my last single match on the ATP tour,” he told Tennis Magazin. “But if I feel the tingling sensation again, I want to keep open the option to compete on the ATP tour in doubles.”

According to the manager of the former world No.2, Edwin Weindorfer, Haas is set to outline his future plans after the conclusion of the Indian Wells tournament.

“It is agreed with Tommy that after the tournament ends in March there will be a more concrete statement from him about his future plans.” said Weindorfer. “It is Tommy Haas’s concern to say goodbye to his many fans.”

On the doubles circuit there are currently eight top 100 players over the age of 40. The oldest is Daniel Nestor at 45.

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Fabio Fognini thinks that Novak Djokovic can improve Federer’s Grand Slam record

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Fabio Fognini said in an interview to Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport that his close friend Novak Djokovic could improve Roger Federer’s record of 20 Grand Slam titles.

 

Djokovic claimed his eighth Australian Open title and the 17th Grand Slam trophy of his career last January after beating Roger Federer in the semifinal and Dominic Thiem in the final. Last July Djokovic saved two match points to win an epic Wimbledon final against Roger Federer.

Djokovic is the second man in history to win a Grand Slam title in three different decades and the third man to win eight titles at a Grand Slam event (Nadal won 12 titles at Roland Garros, Federer lifted 8 Wimbledon trophies).

Federer is the most successful player with a record of 20 Grand Slam titles. The Swiss player is closely followed by Rafael Nadal, who won 19 Major titles (including 12 wins at Roland Garros).

Djokovic owns a 18-0 record in 2020 (including two three titles at the ATP Cup, Australian Open and Dubai) and extended his winning streak to 21 consecutive matches dating back to Davis Cup Finals last November

“I had a good chat with Nole. I also asked him about meditation, maybe it might come in handy. Djokovic and I have known each other since we were 14 and it was already clear that he would do great things. He already had an iron character. We speak often. Among the Big 3 he is the one who can overcome most of all, for the head, the body and the hunger he has. I think that he can improve Federer’s record”, said Fognini.

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Who were the best players never to win a Grand Slam title ?

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The ESPN.com website made a survey with top tennis experts to come up with a list of the best players, who were never able to win a Grand Slam title.

 

The list of candidates to join this list are Dominic Thiem (two time Roland Garros champion and 2019 Australian Open runner-up), Milos Raonic (Wimbledon finalist in 2016), Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (2008 Australian Open finalist) and Kei Nishikori (2014 US Open finalist).

The popular ESPN.com sports website restricts the survey to players, who have already retired from tennis.

The eight contenders are ranked alphabetically.

Guillermo Coria reached a career-high of world number 3. At Grand Slam level the Argentinian player reached the French Open final, two US Open quarter finals and won titles in Hamburg and Monte-Carlo. He was nicknamed the “Wizard” (the Magician) of red dirt.

“He was called the “King of Clay before Rafa. He was lightning fast, and he is still considered one of the best returners ever”, said tennis ESPN analyst Sam Gore.

Coria lost to Gaston Gaudio in the final of the 2004 French Open. The Argentine player served for the match twice and did not convert on two match points. He had a 31-match winning streak on clay between 2003 and 2004 and reached six of the eightclay-court Masters Series finals.

Nikolay Davydenko reached four Grand Slam semifinals (two each at the French and the US Opens and won three Masters series titles (Paris Bercy 2006, Miami 2008 and Shanghai 209) and the ATP Finals in London 2009. The Ukrainian player beat Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Juan Martin Del Potro at the 2009 ATP Finals in London to win the biggest title of his career. He was one of the most consistent players on the Tour and played 99 matches on the ATP Tour in 2006 and reached the quarter finals or better at 8 of 12 Grand Slam tournaments starting with the 2005 Australian Open. He lost to Roger Federer four times in a row in one quarter final and in three semifinals at Grand Slam tournaments.

David Ferrer reached the French Open final 2013 finishing runner-up to Rafael Nadal and quarter finals or better 17 times. He is the second best Spanish player with 27 titles behind his friend Rafael Nadal, who beat David 26 times in their 32 head-to-head matches.

“Ferrer gets it for his longevity and maximization of potential. Nobody in our body has squeezed their sponge like David, at least not for a very long time”, said Todd Matin, Chef Executive Officer of the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

Todd Martin reached two Grand Slam finals (Australian Open in 1994 and the US Open in 1999) and four other semifinals. At the 1999 US Open Martin produced a come-back win against Greg Rusedski in the fourth round after midnight en route to reaching the final.

In the 1996 Wimbledon semifinals Martin let slip a 5-1 lead slip away against Malivai Washington, who won the decisive fifth set 10-8. Washington then lost to Richard Kraijcek in the final.

Miroslav Mecir reached two Grand Slam finals at the 1986 US Open and at the 1989 Australian Open and the semifinals at the French Open, Wimbledon and at the Seoul Olympic Games in 1988. Mecir beat Wilander in the 1988 Wimbledon quarter finals. This was the only Grand Slam defeat for Wilander that year. Mecir was nicknamed the Big Cat.

“He was a great mover, especially for a man of his size. He could play on every surface”, said Mecir.

Argentina’s David Nalbandian reached the Wimbledon final in 2002 in just his second year on the ATP Tour and four other Grand Slam semifinals. He won the 2005 ATP Finals title with a win over Roger Federer after 8-6 in the fifth set.

“He had wonderful technique off both sides, a massive talent who had great feel, an excellent serve, and knew when to use the drop-shot”, said Tennis Commentator Annabel Croft.

Marcelo Rios reached the 1998 Australian Open final and three more Grand Slam quarter finals. He won the 1998 Grand Slam Cup. The Chilean player was the only world number 1 player, who never won a Grand Slam title and the first South American player to reach the world number 1 spot.

“Rios is the most talented player that I have seen first hand who did no twin a major. I watched him make so many players uncomfortable. He did it without playing outside himself or his abilities”, said Tennis Channel analyst Paul Annacone.  

Robin Soderling reached the final at Roland Garros in 2009 and 2010 and won the 2010 Masters 1000 title in Paris Bercy. He was the first player to beat Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros ending the Spaniard’s 31-match French Open winning streak. The Swedish player was forced to retire from professional tennis at the age of 31 after contracting a bout of mononucleosis. Soderling won titles on every surface but grass.

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Organisers still hope to stage Rome Masters next September

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The organisers of the Internazionali d’Italia still hope to stage their tournament later this year. They sent an email to ticket holders saying they are hopeful of holding their tournament next September. This is a good sign that shows their willingness to continue their tradition after a difficult year for Italy, one of the worst hit countries by the global coronavirus pandemic.

 

“Dear friends, as you may have already read in the media, in the middle of June ATP and WTA, the two associations that manage the world tennis calendar, should communicate when and with which program the International circuit of 2020 will restart. The hypotesis at the moment is that the Internazionali BNL d’Italia can take place in September, but we must wait for the ceratinty, linked to the extraordinary situation of the Coronavirus. We therefore hope to be able to give you more information on the tournament and on the use of the tickets purchased by you as soon as possible. We hope like you to be able to return to play, to participate and to cheer for our favourite players”.

Rafael Nadal won nine editions of the Rome Masters in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2018 and 2019. Last year the Spanish legend beat Novak Djokovic 6-0 4-6 6-1. The King of Clay beat Novak Djokovic in three finals in 2009, 2012 and 2019 and Roger Federer in 2006 and 2013. Djovovic won four titles in the Italian city in 2008, 2011, 2014 and 2015. Alexander Zverev won the first Masters 1000 title of his career beating Djokovic.

On the women’s side Karolina Pliskova won the Premier 5 tournament beating Joanna Konta. Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova were the most successuful players in the last decade. Williams won three titles in the Italian capital in 2013, 2014 and 2016. Sharapova triumphed in 2011, 2012 and 2015. Elina Svitolina beat Simona Halep in two consecutive finals in 2017 and 2018.

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