Frances Tiafoe Reflects On Grass-Court Milestone At Queen’s - UBITENNIS
Connect with us

ATP

Frances Tiafoe Reflects On Grass-Court Milestone At Queen’s

The world No.62 reveals the secret behind his successful start to the grass season.

Avatar

Published

on

LONDON: Almost four months on from winning his maiden ATP title, Frances Tiafoe is now breaking new territory on the grass courts.

 

The Next Gen star progressed to the quarter-finals of the Fever-Tree Championships with a 6-4, 2-6, 6-4, win over Argentina’s Leonardo Mayer. Making the tournament his best ever run on the grass at a professional event. He did so with the help of 10 aces and 23 winners, as well as 30 unforced errors.

“The grass wasn’t my favorite surface at all in the past. I’ve had unbelievable preparation, staying here (in London) after French Open, practicing on grass for a couple weeks and practicing at the LTA with a bunch of great players. It’s paying off, luckily.” Tiafoe said after the match.

It was a far from straightforward encounter. In the decider Tiafoe saw four break points come and go before clinching a 4-3 at the expense of a Mayer forehand error. The sole break was enough to secure the victory as he closed the match out with the help of a body serve.

“I thought it was a really good match. I played him once before in Shanghai in the quallies, last-round quallies. So I knew it was going to be tough today.” He commented about Mayer.
“I came out playing great. In the second set I had a little lapse, but third set was extremely tight and I was happy to get through.”

Tiafoe’s route into tennis is far from ordinary. His parents fled to America in order to escape the civil war in Sierra Leone. They only managed to enter the country by coming through the Green Card Lottery. A system where the US government allocated a total of 55,000 visas worldwide to countries with low immigration rates to America. Tiafoe learned to play tennis at a club in Maryland, where his father worked as a maintenance man before becoming a on-site custodian. During his childhood, he would stayed with his father, who was given accommodation on site.

Those childhood moments resulted in Tiafoe becoming one of his country’s biggest talents on the tour. At the age of 20 he has already played in nine grand slam main draws and reached three ATP finals (including one in the doubles). It was at this year’s Delray Beach Open where he got a breakthrough on the tour. Becoming the youngest American man to win a title since Andy Roddick back in 2002.

“It’s been a really good year for me. I’ve won a lot of matches unexpected. I started the year pretty poor.” Tiafoe evaluated about his season so far.
“I’m starting to just really enjoy it (the tour), take expectations off. Obviously a ton of young guys my age, Americans, have a lot of expectations. I kind of just went back to what I did best, enjoying the sport I love and whatever happens happens.”

Reflecting on his encouraging start on the grass, the 19-year-old confirmed that he is taking a different approach to this period of the year compared to what he has done in the past. In 2017 he only managed to win one out of four matches played on the surface.

“I’m trusting my movement a little more. Trying to get ahead of rallies more, leaning into my shots a little more instead of being more proactive than reactive.” He explained.

Awaiting Tiafoe in the quarter-finals at Queen’s will be France’s Jeremy Chardy, who defeated Daniil Medvedev 7-6(6), 6-3. Prior to this week, Chardy has already won 9 out of 10 matches played since the French Open.

“So far he’s been having an unbelievable grass court season. He won a big challenger. Made finals last week in ‘s-Hertogenbosch. Obviously he’s feeling good.” He concluded about his upcoming opponent.
“I will Try and slow him down, try and get it done on Friday.”

ATP

Novak Djokovic Confirmed For Olympics But Del Potro Pulls Out After Medical Advice

The Serbian will be bidding to win gold in Tokyo later this year for the first time in his career.

Avatar

Published

on

This year’s Olympic tennis tournament has been given a boost after officials confirmed world No.1 Novak Djokovic will be playing at the Games.

 

The 19-time Grand Slam champion had been contemplating whether to play at the event or not amid ongoing COVID-19 conditions. Djokovic previously said he would reconsider travelling to Tokyo if fans weren’t allowed to attend. Since that comment, organisers have given the green light for up to 10,000 domestic fans to attend Olympic venues. Although foreign fans are banned from attending this year due to the pandemic.

Amid questions over Djokovic’s participation, the Serbian Tennis Federation has told Sportski Zurnal that he has pledged to play. It will be the fourth time the 34-year-old has represented his country in the Olympics. So far in his career, Djokovic has only won one medal which was bronze back in 2008. He also finished fourth in 2012.

“Novak has confirmed his desire to participate in the Olympic Games and we have already sent a list with his name on it to the Olympic Committee of Serbia. It will be forwarded from there,” the Tennis federation told Sportski Zurnal.

As it currently stands Djokovic is on course to achieve the calendar ‘golden slam.’ A rare achievement where a player wins all four Grand Slam titles, as well as the Olympics, within the same year. In singles competition the only person to have ever achieved this was Stefi Graf back in 1988.

“Everything is possible, and I did put myself in a good position to go for the Golden Slam,” Djokovic said after winning the French Open
“But, you know, I was in this position in 2016 as well. It ended up in a third-round loss in Wimbledon. This year we have only two weeks between the first round of Wimbledon and the finals here, which is not ideal because you go from really two completely different surfaces, trying to make that transition as smooth as possible, as quickly and efficiently as possible.
“So obviously I will enjoy this win and then think about Wimbledon in a few days’ time. I don’t have an issue to say that I’m going for the title in Wimbledon. Of course, I am.”

Del Potro’s comeback delayed again

There is less positive news for Juan Martin del Potro, who was the player who beat Djokovic to win a bronze medal back in 2012. The Argentine hasn’t played a competitive match on the Tour since June 2019 due to a troublesome knee injury. Back in March the former US Open champion said playing at the Olympics again was motivating him during his rehabilitation.

However, since then progress has been slower than what Del Potro would have liked. As a result, he has been advised not to play in the event and continue his recovery.

Delpo won’t be able to play the Olympics Games. The knee rehab is going well according to the doctor’s plan but he suggested Juan Martin to go on with his rehab process and training, and skip Tokyo 2020,” a statement from Del Potro’s communication team reads.

Since 2010, the former world No.3 and two-time Olympic medallist has undergone eight surgeries.One on his right wrist, three on his left wrist and four on his knee. He has won a total of 22 ATP titles so far in his career.

The Olympic Tennis event will start on July 24th at the Ariake Coliseum.

RELATED STORY: Why Are So Many Tennis Players Skipping The Olympics?

Continue Reading

ATP

Vasek Pospisil dispatches James Ward in Eastbourne

Vasek Pospisil is into the second round at Eastbourne.

Avatar

Published

on

Vasek Pospisil (@TennisCanada - Twitter)

The Canadian won his first match on grass of the year beating the local favourite James Ward.

 

Vasek Pospisil is through to the second round of the Viking International ATP 250 in Eastbourne after beating the Brit James Ward in straight sets 6-4, 6-4 in one hour and 13 minutes on court number two.

“It was a good match, I played pretty well, I thought I served well and he is a tough opponent on grass because he has a tough first serve but I was pretty sharp and played well when I needed to and happy to get the win”.

It was the Canadian who had the first chance to break at 1-1 and he got the early break and that one break was good enough for him to serve out the first set.

The second set was much of the same and actually was identical to the first with the world number 66 getting the break to take a 2-1 lead but faced a breakpoint when consolidating the break.

Again that one break was enough for him to serve out the match and book his spot in the next round. This is Pospisil’s first win since the month and after the match, he spoke about how the last couple of months have been for him.

“It was good I just took a break from the tour just to refresh the mind and the body and I hadn’t seen my family in nine months so it was a good reset and I felt I needed a break to kinda be excited about touring and the covid conditions and now I’m back and I am happy to be back and I am playing well so it was a nice break.”

Pospisil will now face Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in the next round after the Spaniard beat the Swede Mikael Ymer in straight sets 7-5, 6-1.

Continue Reading

ATP

Daniil Medvedev Searching For Confidence Boost Ahead Of Wimbledon

The two-time Grand Slam finalist says he is not the same player as he was two years ago when he last played Wimbledon.

Avatar

Published

on

When it comes to playing on the grass this year Daniil Medvedev admits that the biggest issue for him might concern the mental side of the sport as opposed to the physical side.

 

The world No.2 kicked-off his grass swing last week in Halle where he was stunned in the first round by Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic disrupting the Tour in 2020, that was the first time the Russian had played a match on the surface in almost two years. Short on matches, Medvedev is back in action this week in Mallorca after taking a wildcard into the tournament.

“I like to play on grass, I just need to get some confidence in my game on the surface, because we didn’t play [on it] for two years. Two years ago, I was not the same player as I am right now,” Medvedev told atptour.com. “It is tough for me to say where I see myself, but I know I can play very good on this surface. I just need to find the right balance.”

Since he last played at Wimbledon, Medvedev surged on the ATP Tour by winning six titles with all of them being on a hardcourt. Furthermore, he also reached the final of the US Open in 2019 and the Australian Open this year. He is the first player outside of the Big Four to be ranked in the world’s top two since July 2005.

Despite his previous success on the grass, Medvedev admits he remains wary about playing on the surface and the conditions he may face.

“When I started playing on grass, I played in Challengers and even in [ATP] Tour tournaments on the outside courts, not on the central courts, and I can tell that the central courts are quite slow,” he said. “Especially the match I played with Gilles Simon at Queen’s [Club], we had rallies of 40 shots every second point. That is what makes it a little bit tougher.
“When I practise on practice courts, I feel like I am playing so good as the ball is so fast. Then I come onto the centre court to play the match, and the ball just stops after the bounce, and you have to adapt your game, so it can be tough. But I know I can play really well on grass.”

In Mallorca Medvedev has a bye in the first round. His opening match will be against either South Africa’s Lloyd Harris or France’s Corentin Moutet.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending