Federer Can Have Fun, Too - UBITENNIS
Connect with us


Federer Can Have Fun, Too



Roger Federer (zimbio.com)

By Cheryl Jones


Today could have been better for Roger Federer in his early match at the Gerry Weber Open. He did eke out a win, but it was almost an “eek” moment for the Swiss gentleman who has wowed the crowds here in Halle for more than the past fifteen years. American, Denis Kudla, who had managed to make it through the qualifying and the talented draw of the GWO to compete in today’s Semi-finals without dropping a set was Federer’s opponent. The final score was exactly the same as Federer’s yesterday results – 7-6, 7-5.

Kudla was the first American to make it to the semi-final round since James Blake in 2008. Even though the ATP rankings have him standing in at 109, he played with a confidence that belied his lowly ranking. Earlier in 2018 he had come to Melbourne for the Australian Open and qualified then lost a tedious five-setter to Austrian sensation Dominic Thiem in the second round. Today, he was neck and neck with the Number One player in the rankings.

Even though Kudla lost the match, he will most definitely remember today’s encounter. The first set was a dead heat with the two players exchanging shots that often seemed to bounce away from the turf in unexpected angles that defied the rules of trigonometry, geometry and billiards. One such bounce was so frustrating to Federer that in uncharacteristic fashion, he slammed a ball through the open roof of the stadium. (That brought a warning for the usually well-controlled Swiss player, but in the long run, it didn’t matter a whit.)

After the match, when he was asked about the moment of quasi-anger, Federer laughed and said, “So this doesn’t happen very much on live TV, but I actually think it’s quite funny and quite comical and it makes me smile on the inside and it gives us something else to talk about as well rather than only talking about break points and stuff. No, but it’s a tough court. There are a lot of bad bounces here. So you cannot be frustrated but I think in the second set, I was able to shake that off and just tell myself, ‘just don’t get too mad’. You know it’s going to happen, it happened to him, too. The last game at 0-15, I hit a return to the baseline, he can’t move to it because the ball basically bounced, I don’t know, sideways and he’s then down 0-30 instead of maybe going 15 all.” He finished up with, “I had a great run, couldn’t be happier right now. So, everything’s good really.”  

And Federer was correct, in the end, everything was good. He will move on to the Final tomorrow. Of course, there was another semi-final match. Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain faced Croatian, Borna Coric. It was a short affair, with Bautista Agut in the lead after five games, 3-2. Suddenly everything changed for the Spaniard when he slipped and injured his hip. It was an awkward situation for all concerned as it was apparent from his impact with the ground that it wasn’t a stumble, but a match-ending fall. It was unfortunate for the crowd that had been anxiously awaiting another exciting match. Instead, the two men shook hands and Bautista Agut retired and Coric was the victor.

Federer and Coric have faced each other twice in the past, and the Swiss player has come out on top each time. Sunday’s match could be competitive, but it is unlikely that the Croat will give the much more experienced Federer anything to fret about in his mental preparation for tomorrows contest. Before the stumble that left Coric the winner, Federer had already said that he had very little planned for the remainder of his Saturday except a well-deserved rest.

After his win in Stuttgart last weekend, Federer has been ready to add yet another notch in his win column, with his tenth victory in Halle. As with his other wins here, he has his usual plans to make a statement at Wimbledon. Why not? He has followed the Gerry Weber Open with wins in London in 2003, ’04, ’05, ’06 and 2017. He has chalked up eight wins at The Championships to his nine wins in the GWO.

It’s nice to have lofty goals, but as Federer has repeatedly said, “I only look at the match I’m playing and not an amorphous future match.” That’s easy for him to say, but difficult to imagine when watching the man I believe is the greatest tennis player ever to grace the courts anywhere or any time.

Grace is the name of his game. Tomorrow his “grace” will be put to a test, but as always, he will rise to the occasion and the throngs will flock to the stadium hidden in the countryside in Westfalen to pay homage to the man who will provide more than entertaining tennis. It will be a memorable occasion for all concerned, Federer and Coric too.



Team World One Win Away From Victory in Laver Cup

Team World take a huge 10-2 lead over Team Europe heading into the final day



Image via Laver Cup twitter

After losing the first four editions of the Laver Cup, Team World look set to win the event for a second time as the event reaches its conclusion tomorrow.


Team World Captain John McEnroe was thrilled with the day’s results but warned against complacency: “We’re just going to keep doing what we’re doing. The job’s not done but we’re pretty close.”

American duo Taylor Fritz and Frances Tiafoe both earned straight sets wins over Andrey Rublev and Hubert Hurkacz, while Felix Auger-Aliassime and Ben Shelton beat Hurkacz and Gael Monfils.

“I want to play well for the guys,” said Tiafoe after his singles victory. “I played really well tonight. Just being in a team environment is so foreign to us as tennis players, it’s such an individual sport.”

After winning his third singles match in three appearances at the Laver Cup, Fritz was also motivated to do well:

“Yesterday, all the guys played really well. I felt that and wanted to come out on court and show what I can do. That definitely motivated me. Any type of team environment, I feel like it always elevates my game. I feel like my record in team events is really strong because I have a team cheering for me. I get pumped up. I’m excited to play for them. It just adds more pressure and fire to it. I think I play better in those situations.”

The doubles was a typically dynamic and feisty affair, and after the match Shelton was full of praise for his partner:

“It’s amazing, when you play with a guy who serves and returns like Felix, is as athletic as him, and goes back for the overhead as strong as him, it’s a fun time,” said Shelton. “We call him ‘Laver Cup Felix’ because he turns into something special this week, just glad I got to share the court with him at least once.”

Auger-Aliassime returned the compliments: “The best comes out of me when I’m playing not only for myself but for team-mates. Ben carried me through the end of that match, it was tough for me to get it done.”

Casper Ruud, meanwhile, beat Tommy Paul for Europe’s only points so far.

Matches on the final day are worth three points each – meaning that Team Europe would have to win all four remaining matches to prevent Team World from winning the trophy.

T. Fritz def A. Rublev 6-2, 7-6
F. Tiafoe def H. Hurkacz 7-5, 6-3
F. Auger-Aliassime & B. Shelton def H.Hurkacz & G. Monfils 7-5, 6-4
C. Ruud def T. Paul 7-6, 6-2

Continue Reading


ATP RANKINGS UPDATE: Novak Djokovic, No.1 once more



After the US Open the Serbian champion reclaims top spot. Alexander Zverev is back in the Top 10


By Roberto Ferri

Don’t ever underestimate the heart of a champion”

Rudy Tomjanovich coined this maxim just after his Houston Rockets won the NBA championship in 1995. He was paying homage to Akeem Holajuwon. It perfectly suits the heart of Daniil Medvedev, who proved 99% of tennis fans in the world to be wrong, convinced as they were that he would lose the semifinal to former No 1 Carlos Alcaraz.

But his dream to win a second US Open, after his triumph in 2021, was shattered by another champion, whose heart and class is even greater: that’s Novak Djokovic, who affixes his seal on his return to No.1, equalling Margaret Court Smith’s record of 24 majors.

Djokovic dethroning Alcaraz is not the only change in the top 20: Sascha Zverev is back in the top 10 after almost one year and Ben Shelton, great protagonist of the Us Open, debuts in the top 20 best players in the world.

TOP 20

12de MinaurAustralia26851

A few comments:

Stefanos Tsitsipas, Andrei Rublev and Alexander Zverev gain 2 positions.

Ben Shelton devours 28 positions.

Sinner, Tiafoe, Norrie and Dimitrov lose one.

Casper Ruud and Karen Khachanov, runner up and semi-finalist respectively  at the 2022 US  Open, drop 4 positions.

One step forward for Fritz, de Minaur, Paul, Auger-Aliassime and Hurkacz.


From 12 to 19 November the 8 best players of the ranking based on the points earned in the ongoing solar season will be playing the Nitto ATP Finals in Turin.

Will Novak Djokovic succeed in winning a second straight title? He appears to be heading in the right direction.


Thanks to his triumph at the US Open the Serbian overtakes Alcaraz also in the Race to Turin.

Jannik Sinner holds fourth spot while Andrei Rublev overtakes Stefanos Tsitsipas and is now fifth.

The eighth position is occupied by Alexander Zverev.

Last year runner up, Casper Ruud is currently 10th. This means he would feature in Turin as a reserve.


The Next Gen Finals, dedicated to the best under 21s, (8 effectives and 2 reserves) of the season will take place this year in Gedda, Saudi Arabia.

The 2022 winner, Brandon Nakashima, will not be defending his title, since he was born in 2001.

PositionPlayerCountryPtsYOB ATP rank
6Van AsscheFrance597200469
12Llamas RuizSpain3702002133

Taking for granted that Alcaraz and, most likely Rune, will be playing the ATP Finals, we have included in the chart the 12 current top under 21s.


Besides Ben Shelton, other 11 players have achieved their career highest this week.

We tribute a double applause to the four players who are making their debut in the top 100.

The 25-year-old Croatian Borna Gojo, 22-year-old Australian Rinky Hijkata and the Swiss next gen Dominic Stricker all reap the reward for their brilliant runs at the US Open. Seyboth Wild, the Brazilian who stunned Medvedev in the first round of Roland Garros leaps to No.76 after winning the Challenger in Como last week.

Seyboth Wild76Brazil30

Translated by Kingsley Elliot Kaye

Continue Reading


COMMENT: Novak Djokovic Proves His Greatness At US Open



Love him, or hate him. But respect him.


No tennis player has ever been better than Novak Djokovic.

Even Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer have to take their hats off to Novak, and admire him.

Now that Rafa and Roger have left Djokovic on his own stage at least for now, tennis fans love Novak.


Djokovic’s performance on Sunday evening in the U.S. Open final was simply amazing. Daniil Medvedev also played his heart out, but Djokovic went one step further. He was sensational.

It was a thrill-a-minute three-set match. It lasted well into the night after starting at mid-afternoon. The second set alone lasted 104 minutes.

Djokovic was the winner, 6-3, 7-6 (5), 6-3, but New York still loves 2021 champion Medvedev.


At 36, the oldest U.S. Open men’s champion ever, Djokovic obviously has a special place in his heart for the number four. It’s the number of times he has won this tournament and the 24th time he has won a Grand Slam title.

The number 24 also was displayed prominently on the white jacket. Novak, his team members and family wore for the victory celebration as a tribute to the No. 24 jersey of deceased friend Kobe Bryant.

Djokovic lost his footing at least three times in the tight second set, stumbling to the surface once, apparently due to the length of the rallies.

Djokovic could look like he was almost completely wiped out of it physically one minute, and then play like Superman the next minute.


Both men played great tennis, especially in the thrill-a-second second set in which Medvedev gained one set point in the 12th game before Djokovic recovered to force a tiebreaker.

Medvedev appeared to be in charge after out-playing Novak to win one of his drop shots to take a 5-4 lead in the tiebreaker. The match may have been decided on the next three points, all won by Djokovic on errors by the 6-6 Russian.

The big question now is what happens next January in the Australian Open. Right now, Djokovic probably wants to play . . . and win what has been his favorite tournament as far as success. But things can change quickly for players in their mid-30s. Just ask Roger or Rafa.

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

Continue Reading