Grigor Dimitrov Ready To Renew ‘Special relationship’ With The Grass At Queen’s - UBITENNIS
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Grigor Dimitrov Ready To Renew ‘Special relationship’ With The Grass At Queen’s

The 27-year-old will will be gunning for glory in London this week.

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Grigor Dimitrov (zimbio.com)

LONDON: Some defeats have a silver lining and for Grigor Dimitrov at the French Open it was that the grass swing was soon approaching.

 

Earlier this month the world No.6 bowed out of the third round at Roland Garros in straight sets. Losing to Spanish veteran Fernando Verdasco. It is the eighth year in a row that the Bulgarian has failed to reach the fourth round of the tournament. The only consolation was his overall performance on the clay this year.

“This clay court season hadn’t got the way I wanted it to. At the same time I felt that I have improved on a couple of things.” Dimitrov told reporters at Queen’s on Sunday.
“I tried to be as positive as I could after finishing the French Open.” He added.

Seeking to return back to winning ways, the 27-year-old is targeting a second title at the Fever-Tree Championships in London. The venue is one that brings happy memories for Dimitrov. This year will be his tenth appearance at The Queen’s Club, where he won his first and so far only title on the grass back in 2014.

“I felt I had a great transition from surfaces (clay to grass), which is very nice. It also feels very good for the body.” He explained. “I feel that I can slide a little bit and the service is improving a lot. All these improvements mean a lot to me.”

Happily naming himself as a title contended at the ATP 500 event, Dimitrov is aware of the obstacles that could stand in his way. All of the top eight players are ranked in the world’s top 20. Furthermore, former grand slam champions Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka are unseeded in the draw. Should all go to plan, Dimitrov could face Djokovic in the second round as the Serbian aims to return back to his best.

“Queen’s have been a tremendous success over the years for me, so of course I’m going to expect a lot from myself.” Said Dimitrov, who has won 15 out of 23 matches played at the tournament.
“Every round matters a lot. It is just simple as that. I think obviously it’s going to be a tough battle either way.
“Obviously some of the players that are unseeded has had a great success (at the tournament) over the years, but at the same time it’s time to play. Time to step up the game.”

Ironically the potentially tough start to the tournament may be a blessing in disguise. Reflecting on the contenders for this year’s title, Dimitrov believes a triumph in London could play a pivotal role in taking his career to the next level.

“A lot of things in life are about timing. Maybe this is the time that in order for me to get to that next step I need to go through those kind of players to succeed.

A special relationship

Almost four years have passed since his memorable run to the Wimbledon semi-finals. Since then Dimitrov has been ranked as high as third in the world and won the 2017 ATP World Tour Finals. Becoming the first Bulgarian in history to do so. Nevertheless, his love for the green surface has remained unchanged.

“I guess I have a special relationship with the grass.  It’s always been a surface of mine that I always wanted to do well on and I know how limited our time (on the tour) is out there.” He said.
“Grass is very unpredictable and you always gotta be ready. It’s as simple as that. You gotta stay in the games, be more persistent when the other guy is serving. It’s up to you to seize that moment.”

Dimitrov will be hoping to seize the moment on Tuesday when he starts his campaign at Queen’s. His first opponent will be world No.28 Damir Dzumhur.

“It’s entirely up to me to make the right decisions on the court. Follow my instincts because sometimes that is all you need to do on the grass.” He concluded.

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France’s Lucas Pouille To Undergo Surgery

The 26-year-old has suffered another setback to his plans for a return to the Tour.

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Lucas Pouille (photo by chryslène caillaud, copyright @Sport Vision)

Two-time Grand Slam quarter-finalist Lucas Pouille says he is hopeful that he will be able to play tennis again this season after announcing plans to undergo surgery.

 

The world No.58 confirmed on Tuesday morning that he will be having an operation on his right elbow later this month in Paris. Pouille has only managed to play one match this year on the ATP Tour due to the injury, which was at the Indian Wells Challenger tournament where he lost in straight sets to Noah Rubin.  The issue has been bothering the Frenchman since last October when he shut down his season early after the Shanghai Masters.

“It’s never an easy decision to take, but I will get surgery on my right elbow this month in Paris. After new medical exams, it appeared it was the best solution in order to finally be able to play pain-free. I still hope to play before the end of the season.” Pouille said in a statement.

Pouille initially looked to be on track to making a return to action after participating in the Ultimate Tennis Showdown in June. An exhibition tournament created by Serena Williams’ coach Patrick Mouratoglou. However, he lost two matches to Feliciano Lopez and Elliot Benchetrit before being forced to withdraw from the competition due to his elbow.

In recent days the coach of the former world No.10,  Loic Courteau, said they will not be travelling to the US Open next month. Although it is unclear if Courteau’s comments were made before or after the decision to undergo surgery was made.

“I will not be in New York, for the good reason that Lucas… is not going to play the tournament,” he told French television.

Pouille has won five ATP titles so far in his career and has earned more than $7 million in prize money. He is currently the eighth highest ranked French player on the ATP Tour.

Pouille’s ATP titles breakdown

2018 1 Montpellier (Indoor/Hard)
2017 3 Vienna (Indoor/Hard)
Stuttgart (Outdoor/Grass)
Budapest (Outdoor/Clay)
2016 1 Metz (Indoor/Hard)

 

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US Open Must Allow Entourages Of Three Or Four People, Says Thiem

The world No.3 says he is feeling good ahead of the return of professional tennis next month.

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Dominic Thiem has come out against proposals to restrict the number of coaching staff that can travel to this year’s US Open amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

This year’s New York major will be held behind closed doors for the first time in history and will be implementing a series of measures to help minimise the threat posed by the virus. Part of their plan is to limit how many people a player can bring with them to the tournament. It was originally reported that only one team member per player would be allowed to travel, but it has emerged that the limit has since been extended to three.

Speaking about the limits, three-time Grand Slam finalist Thiem said the idea of only allowing one member of his team to travel with him would be a risk for some players on the Tour.

*”I do not think so. Three or four people must be allowed. It would be extremely risky to travel without your own physio. You need a local coach for this,’ Thiem told The Kronen Zeitung newspaper on Sunday.

Thiem last played a match on the ATP Tour at the Rio Open in February where he lost in the quarter-finals. However, throughout the lockdown he has still managed to maintain his match fitness by participating in numerous tournaments. In total he has played 24 matches across three different countries, including one named after him called Thiems 7.

“Right now I feel very good,” he said. “I have played a lot of exhibition games in the last two months and I am not tired at all. I really wanted to play tennis again, since my start of the year was very good.’
“During This period of confinement at home I have been crushing myself a lot in the physical aspect and already when I returned to training. I have decided to improve the backhand and the serve a little more.”

The ATP Tour will resume next month with Thiem hoping that he can continue his form generated from earlier this year. At the Australian Open he reached the final for the first time in his career before getting edged out by Novak Djokovic. Although when he returns, tournaments will not be the same as before due to the ongoing pandemic with strict safety measures and reduced crowds in place.

“When the circuit returns, the matches will be exactly the same as we had previously, but the atmosphere will be different,” he said.
“All tennis players will miss playing tournaments where many people travelled to see us every day. In New York, Paris or Melbourne there are between 60,000 and 70,000 people every day in the facilities. That previous life we ​​had will not be the same and we may have to get used to this new normal for a few years.”

Thiem is one of only four men to have already made more than $1 million in prize money so far this year on the ATP Tour.

*NOTE: Since the publication of this article quotes have been edited following a translation mix-up.

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Nick Kyrgios Slams Thiem Over Defence Of Controversy-Stricken Adria Tour

The world No.40 has accused the Austrian of lacking an ‘intellectual level’ to understand his view.

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Australian star Nick Kyrgios has continued his public criticism of the Adria Tour by taking aim at two-time French Open finalist Dominic Thiem.

 

The 25-year-old has repeatedly hit out at the exhibition event, which Thiem participated in. Organised by world No.1 Novak Djokovic, the event took place in Belgrade and Zadar before it was scrapped following an outbreak of COVID-19 among both players and coaching staff. Djokovic, Grigor Dimitrov and Borna Coric all got infected. The outbreak came after the Adria Tour was criticised for a lack of social distancing and players attended various public events together. Although at the time, all of their actions were done in accordance with local regulations. Something the Serbian Prime Minister now admits was a mistake.

However, Thiem has called out Kyrgios over his vocal criticism of fellow Adria Tour competitor Alexander Zverev. The German attended a party in southern France less than a week after the COVID-19 outbreak despite issuing a statement saying he would go into self-isolation.

“It was his mistake, but I don’t why a lot of people want to interfere. Kyrgios has done a lot of mistakes. It would be better for him to come clear instead of criticising others,” Thiem told Tiroler Tageszeitung.

Continuing to defend the actions of his fellow players, Thiem also jumped to the defence of Djokovic. Who has been under heavy criticism over the event with some going as far as questioning his position as president of the ATP Players Council.

“He didn’t commit a crime. We all make mistakes, but I don’t understand all the criticism. I’ve been to Nice and also saw pictures from other cities. It’s no different from Belgrade during the tournament. It’s too cheap to shoot at Djokovic.”

The comments have now been blasted by Kyrgios, who stands by his previous criticism of players. Accusing Thiem of lacking an ‘intellectual level’ to see his point of view.

“What are you talking about @ThiemDomi? Mistakes like smashing rackets? Swearing? Tanking a few matches here or there? Which everyone does?” Kyrgios wrote on Twitter.
“None of you have the intellectual level to even understand where I’m coming from. I’m trying to hold them accountable.”
“People losing lives, loved ones and friends, and then Thiem standing up for the ‘mistake,'” he added.

The COVID-19 pandemic has killed more than 500,000 people worldwide and some players have voiced concerns over travelling to America which has recently seen a rise in cases. On Wednesday Alexi Popyrin became the first player to say he won’t play the US Open due to health concerns.

The ATP Tour is set to resume next month but it is unclear as to what events Thiem and Kyrgios will be playing in.

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