Andy Murray On Track For Wimbledon Return, But It Will Be Into Uncharted Territory - UBITENNIS
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Andy Murray On Track For Wimbledon Return, But It Will Be Into Uncharted Territory

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Andy Murray (zimbio.com)

Less than 48 hours before the start of the Wimbledon Championships, a grounded Andy Murray is not getting carried away about his chances at the tournament.

The former world No.1 is hoping to feature in the main draw of a grand slam for the first time in almost 12 months. A hip injury resulted in a lengthy absence from the tour that was ended at the start of June. At Queen’s, Murray fell in three sets to Nick Kyrgios. A week later in Eastbourne, he scored a win over Stan Wawrinka before falling to Kyle Edmund. Those three matches sums up Murray’s 2018 season so far.

“Through all of this I have to view it, very much day by day, just as a process.” The British No.2 said about playing at Wimbledon.
“I’m practicing at a high level, a high intensity every day with some of the best players in the world. That’s really positive for me as part of getting better, to compete again.
“In other sports when you come back, you don’t tend to come back and be competing against the best in the world immediately, like, for five sets or three sets, whatever.”

Barring any last-minute setbacks, Murray believes he will play at his home grand slam. A tournament he has won on two previous occasions. He has only missed wimbledon once since making his debut back in 2005. Even more impressive is the fact he has reached the quarter-finals or better every year since 2008.

Regardless of his past record, the 31-year-old knows that this will be a Wimbledon like no other. He will be under the watchful eye of the British public, but in a different format. Expectations of him winning are sparse. Instead, the hope for him is to win just a couple matches at best.

“I think in the past that’s something that I would have maybe taken for granted a little bit. Whereas right now, with where I’m at, my recovery, I’m very aware of how I’m feeling each day, very aware of how my hip is.” He said about setting goals. 
“I chat to my team lots about it. I’m spending lots of time working with my physios and stuff, trying to get stronger and those sorts of things.”

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It is still very much of a learning process for the three-time grand slam champion on the tour. It has been almost six months since he has undergone surgery, but the road to recovery continues. Murray admits that he still experiences certain issues with his movement. For him, playing at Wimbledon will be somewhat like an experiment for him and his team.

“Sometimes in practice you might feel really good, and then you get on the match court and you’re pushing yourself a few percent harder. You notice other things that you’re maybe struggling with, as well. You learn a lot from competing.”

With a fresh perspective and new mindset, Murray hasn’t got his eyes on the silverware or even going far in the tournament. The hype surrounding him in his home country is different to other years. It is a somewhat unfamiliar feeling, but not necessarily a bad one.

“Wimbledon for me is obviously special for a lot of reasons. I always want to be here competing.” Murray explained.
“It feels a little bit odd coming into the tournament this year. Normally like at this stage I feel really nervous, lots of pressure, and I expect a lot of myself around this time of year. I’ve always loved that and enjoyed that in a way. It has been difficult, but enjoyed it, whereas this year it feels very, very different.”

In the first round he will take on France’s Benoit Paire. A player who has demonstrated moments of brilliance as well as mental fragility throughout his entire career. Paire recently took a set off Roger Federer at The Gerry Weber Open in Halle.

“He’s a tricky guy to play against because of his style. He does hit a lot of dropshots, he serve-volleys. He’s unorthodox with his shot selection and stuff. He can be quite up and down, too, at times.” Murray said of the Frenchman.

Murray is set to play his first round match at Wimbledon on Tuesday.

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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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