Marin Cilic: "I feel honoured to play for my nation" - UBITENNIS
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Marin Cilic: “I feel honoured to play for my nation”

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This year’s Australian Open finalist Marin Cilic will lead a strong Croatian team against Kazakhstan in Varazdin in the Davis Cup quarter final this weekend.

 

It’s the first time that Varazdin will host a Davis Cup tie since 2010, when Croatia beat Ecuador in the World Group first round.

“I have enjoyed playing for my country since 2016. I have played most of the ties and we managed to get to the finals in 2016 and that was probably the best atmosphere I have ever experienced. Unfortunately, we have not won the title whic is a pity, but again we in a very good situation this year. We are back in the quarter finals and looking ahead. I am getting always very inspired and very honoured to play for my nation”, said Cilic.

Coric has a 34-16 win-loss record in his Davis Cup appearances and finished runner-up in the Davis Cup Final against Argentina in 2016. Croatia has won just two of its past two seven Davis Cup ties on home soil, but the home team will also feature Borna Coric, who reached the semifinals in Indian Wells (losing to Roger Federer in a close match) and the quarter final in Miami.

“I have been very solid in the last few years playing in the last few years playing in the Davis Cup and also played a lot of matches in singles and doubles, and now with Borna playing well, it’s not as much pressure on me.

Croatia reached the quarter final after beating Canada in the first round in Osijek last February. Kazakhstan will play for the second time in their last ten Davis Cup ties. They have reached the quarter final for the fifth time and are bidding to win a Round of 8 tie for the first time.

“Kazakhstan has been so solid over the last several seasons. It could be a surprise for people from outside, but we know they are a solid team and so passionate about representing their own country, so we are taking this tie very seriously”, said Cilic.

 

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Roberto Bautista Agut’s wife expects first child

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Last year’s Davis Cup champion Roberto Bautista Agut has announced the news on Instagram that he and his wife are expecting their first child. This news is a message of hope in the mid of this tragic period affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

 

The Spanish player has revealed that his wife will give birth to their first child next September around the end of the US Open, if everything is going according to plan.

Bautista Agut got married to Ana Bodi Tortosa n 30th November 2019, a few days after Roberto’s father passed away during the Davis Cup Finals at the Caja Magica in Madrid, where Spain beat Canada. Shortly after his father died, an emotional Bautista Agut helped Spain win the Davis Cup.

Bautista Agut has won nine ATP titles and finished runner-up to Andy Murray at the Shanghai Masters 1000 tournament in 2016.

“My wife is pregnant and our son will be born next September if all goes well, by the end of the US Open or early Roland Garros. The doctors have told us not to go the hospital. We will have time to follow up ”, said Bautista Agut.

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Angelo Binaghi: “Rome Masters could take place in September or October”

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Italian Tennis Federation President Angelo Binaghi confirmed in a conference call with the Italian News Agency that there is a plan to reschedule the Rome Internazionali d’Italia later this year after the tournament was suspended due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

 

“There is a good chance that the Rome Masters will be held in 2020. We are in touch with the ATP. Tennis is lucky, because it is not a contact sport and is played outdoors. This means that it will be possible to reschedule Masters 1000 tournaments, once the problemi s solved. Our goal is to hold the Rome Masters between September and October, before or after the French Open. Of course we would love to play in Rome, but are willing to organise the tournament elsewhere at any venue or any surface. All clay tournaments should be rescheduled in the same period. We are open to hold the Rome tournament indoors. It would not be the first time that the Rome tournament is moved to another venue. Nicola Pietrangeli won the Internazionali d’Italia in Turin in 1961, but our priority would be September/October. This period may be better than May, when the tournament is normally held”

Binaghi commented on the cancellation of Wimbledon.

 “It was an inevitable decision. The coronavirus will peak in Great Britain two weeks after Italy. It is possible to hold a grass tournament in June and July”.  

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Matteo Berrettini: “I am not optimistic that the tennis season will resume this summer”

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Last year’s US Open semifinalist Matteo Berrettini and his Australian girlfriend Ajla Tomljanovic talked to 18-time Grand Slam champion Chris Evert on Instragram live. Tomljanovic was 13 years old, when she moved to Florida to train at Chris Evert’s Academy in Boca Raton.

 

“We are happy to spend time together. We often play in the same tournaments, but tennis is the priority.

Berrettini said that he idolized Roger Federer, whe he grew up, but he also respects Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, who share the last 13 Grand Slam titles together.

“Roger is tennis. He can do whatever he wants. It’s easy. He is my idol. I can talk about him for two years. He makes it look like he born like that. Novak is a machine. For me, he is the worst to play. I remember playing playing in London at the tour finals, had nearly 70% of my first serves in the second set and still lost the set 6-1. I could not hold my serve. He has an amazing return. His backhand is really good. Nadal’s intensity is unbelievable. It does not matter if the score is 5-0 and 0-5”, said Berrettini.

Berrettini also talked about the current suspension of the tennis season due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I am not optimistic that the tennis season will resume this summer. Europe and the United States are getting through a difficult period. I fear that the current season will be cancelled. I am in good shape and I am training every day”.

Berrettini looked back to the 2019 season and admitted that he was surprised about reaching a top-10 spot in the ATP Ranking.

“I was surprised how quickly I improved my ranking. I changed my training after losing in the first round in Monte-Carlo. Fabio Fognini’s title gave me extra motivation to improve my tennis. I won two titles in Budapest and Stuttgart and reached the final in Munich. I did not expect to reach the semifinal at the US Open and achieve good results on grass, apart from the match against Roger Federer. That day I was too emotional. I thank  him for giving me a lesson”.

Berrettini talked about the relationship to his coach Vincenzo Santopadre.

“I met Vincenzo for the first time when I was 14 and I spend more time with him than my family. I started training with him for fun. He did not put pressure on me until I was 20 years old. He knew that tennis is a marathon, but not a sprint. He helped me to improve my physical training.”

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