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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.



Roger Federer Eyeing Olympic Glory At The Age Of 39 In 2021

The Swiss tennis star isn’t ready to step away from the sport just yet.



20-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer has vowed to play at next year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo after undergoing two surgeries on his knee.


The former world No.1 hasn’t played a competitive match since his semi-final loss to Novak Djokovic at the Australian Open in January. Since then he had twice undergone arthroscopic surgeries which is a minimally invasive procedure that is used to diagnose and treat problems with the joints. Federer announced shortly after having the procedure done for a second time that he will not be returning to the Tour again this year.

Despite the setbacks, the 38-year-old has vowed to return to action at the start of 2021 with Olympic glory one of his main targets. He is already a two-time Olympic medallist after winning gold in the men’s doubles back in 2008 followed by silver in the singles draw at the 2012 London Games.

“My goal is to play Tokyo 2021. It’s a wonderful city. I met my wife in my first Olympics in 2000. It’s a special event for me,” Federer said on Monday during the launch of ‘The Roger’ shoe with Swiss brand ON.
“I had two surgeries and I can’t hit at the moment, but I’m very confident I will be totally ready for 2021.
“I do miss playing in front of the fans, no doubt. Now, I think if tennis comes back we know it won’t be in a normal way where we can have full crowds yet.”

Federer will be 39 when he returns to action, but is yet to speculate as to when he may close the curtain on his record-breaking career. He is currently the second oldest man in the top 200 on the ATP Tour after Croatia’s Ivo Karlovic, who is 41.

Besides the Olympics, the Swiss Maestro is also setting his eye on Wimbledon where he has claimed the men’s title a record eight times. However, he hasn’t won a major title since the 2018 Australian Open. The Grass-court major has been cancelled this year for the first time since 1945 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Of course I miss Wimbledon, of course I would like to be there currently playing on Centre Court for a place in the second week,” he said.
“Clearly, one of my big goals, and that’s why I do recovery work every day and work so hard, and why I’m preparing for a 20-week physical preparation block this year, is because I hope to play at Wimbledon next year.”

Even though he is not playing for the rest of the year, Federer incredibly still has a chance of qualifying for the ATP Finals due to recent changes in the rankings calculations. Due to the pandemic, players are now allowed to use their best results at 18 tournaments based on a 22-month period instead of 12 months. Something that could enable him to remain inside the top eight until the end of 2020 depending on how his rivals fair.

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Next Gen Star Alexei Popyrin Fears He May Be Forced To Play US Open Despite Health Concerns

Like many other lower ranked players on the Tour, the 20-year-old finds himself in a tough situation.



One of Australia’s rising stars has said he is worried that he may have to play at the US Open against his will or risk losing a chunk of ranking points.


Alexei Popryin has raised his concerns about travelling to the New York major in August amid a surge of COVID-19 cases in some areas of the country. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention there were 52,228 New Cases of the virus on July 5th compared to 24 hours before. Furthermore, the governor of New York recently announced that people travelling from 16 different states in America are now required to self-quarantine for 14 days if they visit the city. According to USA Today this ruling applies to roughly 48% of the entire American population.

Despite the concerns, the organisers of the US Open have insisted they will be able to hold the tournament in a safe manner and will be implementing various restrictions. Including holding the event without fans for the first time and conducting frequent testing of players. However world No.103 Popryin admits that he still has his concerns about attending.

“There are talks regarding the US Open but I really don’t want to go with the situation in America right now,” Popyrin said at the Ultimate Tennis Showdown over the weekend.
“But we have to see if we would be forced to go because of ranking points.
“If the ranking points won’t be frozen, then most of us would be forced to go play cause our ranking will drop and we wouldn’t have any say in it.
“But if the rankings are frozen, then I am staying here.
“I will stay in Europe where it’s safe with my family.”

Popryin has a considerable amount of points to defend in New York after reaching the third round there last year. Therefore, if he skips the event he faces dropping further down the rankings. Something which will then impact on his chances of entering the bigger tournaments later in the year. Usually the cut off for Grand Slam tournaments is around 105.

It is still to be announced as to what will happen with the ranking points system at the US Open and if there will be any adjustments made due to the pandemic. Although organisers will likely be against any idea to remove them from the event as it is a key factor to attract players to take part.

Another player to voice their concerns about the US Open is France’s Benoit Paire, who has said he would not attend the event if it was taking place today. Speaking to RMC Sport the world No.22 said he would rather not go to the event if he meant that he would be ‘taking a risk’ with his health.

“Going to the United States would be at risk of catching it. I am a great professional and I am one of those who would always like to play tennis, but your health is the most important thing,” he said.
“If going there is taking the risk of catching the disease and staying quarantined when I return, I prefer not to go, really.’
“It looks like if we play the US Open, we will have to sacrifice not to play the Mutua Madrid Open or the Masters 1000 in Rome.”

Meanwhile, world No.3 Dominic Thiem recently told Austrian media that he believes a final decision regarding the Grand Slam will be made within a week. Something that is yet to be confirmed by officials.

Should it go ahead, the US Open will start on August 31st.

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REPORT: Former Spanish Tennis Star In Talks To Coach Alexander Zverev

A former world No.3 could be returning to the Tour later this year in a new position.



Tennis sensation Alexander Zverev could soon be mentored by somebody whose career he ended last year at the Madrid Open.


Spanish newspaper Marca have reported that the world No.7 is set to enter in a 15-day trial with former French Open finalist David Ferrer where the two will get to know each other better. Ferrer has reportedly travelled to Monte Carlo to start working alongside Germany’s top player. Should everything go well, the two could start a formal partnership in September ahead of the European clay-court swing of the Tour, which has been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Both men are already fairly familiar with each other after facing off nine times on the ATP Tour, including three times last year. Zverev was the last player Ferrer played against at the Madrid Open before officially retiring from the sport at the age of 37.

“He’s the most respectful guy for me on Tour, and one of the most loved people on the Tour as well,” Zverev told reporters in the Spanish capital following their match.

Whilst never winning a Grand Slam, Ferrer achieved numerous accolades throughout his career. Including spending 4914 consecutive days in the world’s top 50, winning 27 ATP titles and achieving a ranking high of No.3 back in 2013. Overall, he has played 1011 matches on the ATP Tour (including Grand Slams) which is more than John McEnroe.

Should Ferrer receive the green light, Zverev will be the first high-profile player he will be responsible for. The Spaniard had previously hinted at his desire to enter coaching with his long time objective being to captain the Spanish Davis Cup team. He is also currently serving as the tournament director of the Barcelona Open.

“I would be very proud to be able to be (Davis Cup captain),” Ferrer told Marca in April 2019. “I also understand that this is very far away and there are players who are ahead. First, I have to train as a professional in teaching (coaching).”

Neither Ferrer or Zverev has publicly commented on the report. At present Zverev is coached on the Tour by his father who guided him to the semi-finals of the Australian Open in January.

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