Novak Djokovic, Juan Martin Del Potro To Make Laver Cup Debut - UBITENNIS
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Novak Djokovic, Juan Martin Del Potro To Make Laver Cup Debut

The two players are set to face off against each other in the team competition.

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Novak Djokovic (zimbio.com)

Twelve-time grand slam champion Novak Djokovic will join forces with Roger Federer later this year to play in the second edition of the Laver Cup.

The 31-year-old is set to play in the team tournament for the first time where he will be hoping to help secure a second consecutive title for Team Europe. The Laver Cup is a team competition where players from Europe takes on the rest of the world. Similar to that of Golf’s Ryder Cup. It was created by a partnership formed between Roger Federer’s TEAM8 management company, Brazilian businessman Jorge Paulo Lemann, and Tennis Australia.

“I’m very excited about playing the Laver Cup in Chicago later this year and helping to defend the title for Team Europe,” Djokovic said.
“I love the whole concept of ‘rivals becoming teammates’ and can’t wait to join Roger Federer in Team Europe under the leadership of our inspirational captain, Bjorn Borg, one of the most accomplished players in tennis history.
“Roger and I have played so many tough matches, and he is such a great champion so it will be a unique experience being part of the same team and perhaps even playing doubles together.
“I watched the Laver Cup on TV last year and it looked amazing. All the players competed with such passion and the team spirit was extraordinary – everyone was working together, cheering for each other and even coaching from the bench during matches. I can’t wait to be part of that experience.”

Team Europe captain Bjorn Borg has hailed Djokovic’s decision to play in the event. Selecting him as the Captain’s pick. Last year, Borg guided his team to a 15-9 victory.

“Novak is one of the great champions of our game and I’m thrilled he will be joining Team Europe at the Laver Cup this year. He is a true team player and we’ve seen how much he thrives in that environment.“ He said.

The 2017 inaugural Laver Cup was hosted at the O2 Arena in Prague, the Czech Republic. Organisers said a total of 83,273 people attended the five sold-out sessions of the event. A total of nine of the world’s top 20 players at that time participated. Including Rafael Nadal, Alexander Zverev and Marin Cilic.

Another player set to make their debut this year will be Juan Martin del Potro. The former US Open champion was set to play last year, but withdrew from the event. Saying that he wasn’t fully fit to play.

“I have had some of the best moments of my career as part of a team so of course I’m excited to join Team World for the Laver Cup,” del Potro said.
“Although I wasn’t able to play last year, I watched the Laver Cup a lot on the TV and it was very special to see players who normally compete hard against each other and are rivals all year on the tour, join together in one team.
“This is a unique new event for world tennis and one I’m looking forward to being part of.”

This year’s Laver Cup will take place in Chicago at the United Centre. It will be held between September 21-23.

ATP

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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