A decade seems like a long time ago, but it is hard for Roger Federer to forget the final of the Wimbledon Championships that year.
The Swiss superstar was the top seed in the tournament, bidding to win the men’s title for the sixth year in a row. Something that had only ever been achieved by Great Britain’s William Renshaw during the 1890s. His opponent in the final was the king of clay Rafael Nadal. During a match marred by the poor weather, Federer was just two points away from claiming the title. Only to be denied by Nadal, who broke in the 15th game of the deciding set to close the match out 9-7 after four hours and 50 minutes of pulsating action.
“I think it was one of the hardest losses I ever had, no doubt about it. I was so close to making it six in a row.” Federer said during his press conference on Sunday.
“The initial reaction was, Okay, got to win it again next year, ’09, and I did, in an epic one against Roddick. That was beautiful after the heartbreak in ’08.
“It was a great match for many reasons. It also made me more human potentially, the loss under the circumstances. But it was a great match to be part of.”
Many still regard that match as the greatest in the Federer-Nadal rivalry. The two have locked horns 38 times on the tour with Nadal leading their head-to-head 23-15. The 2008 final was a roller coaster of emotion for both men. Although the 36-year-old admits that he tries to forget about the loss.
“I think for me it was one of the matches I tried to sort of forget a little bit. I remember it being dark. I remember the passing shot down the line. I remember the things I said pretty much vaguely. I hardly remember there were rain delays, to be honest.” He reflected.
“Funny enough, I think once that match was over, all you remember is certain things, and you sort of need to move on.”
Back on Centre Court
Fast forward 10 years and the draw is identical. Once again, Federer is the top seed ahead of Nadal. Placing the two on a collision course for the final. Although Nadal’s recent record at The All-England Club has been far from spectacular. He last reached the quarter-finals of the tournament in 2012. Since then, Nadal has only won back-to-back matches at Wimbledon on two out of five occasions. Not counting 2016 when he withdrew due to a left wrist injury.
“I think Rafa is one of the big favourites,” Federer said shortly after his loss to Borna Coric in Halle.
“When Rafa is healthy, anything is possible for him.”
On Monday Federer opens up his campaign on Centre Court in what is becoming something of an unofficial tradition. It is the eighth year that Federer has played his opening match on the premier court. This time round he takes on Dusan Lajovic. A 28-year-old Serbian who has defeated Juan Martin del Potro and took Alexander Zverev to five sets earlier this year. However, both of those occasions were on the clay.
“If I think of tomorrow (Monday), I think it remains a little bit nerve-wracking in all honesty.” The world No.2 said about playing on Centre Court.
“It’s a big deal. I mean, besides the history and the mythical place that it is, you cannot also practice on it. When you come out, there’s a bit of uncertainty for both players, from a very quiet week and site that we’ve seen this week, it’s just packed everywhere. The entire atmosphere changes at Wimbledon, and you realize the eyes are on you. That naturally makes you a bit nervous I believe.”
Heading into this year’s championship, Federer has won 91 out of 102 matches played at Wimbledon. Since 2003, he has only failed to reach the second week once back in 2013.
Federer is scheduled to start his match at 13:00 GMT on Monday. He is bidding to become the first male player in history to win a ninth Wimbledon title in singles competition.
REPORT: Grigor Dimitrov Appoints New Coach
The former ATP Finals champion appears to have found a new mentor.
Former top 10 player Grigor Dimitrov has found a replacement following the departure of Radek Stepanek, according to one Bulgarian news source.
TennisKafe.com has reported that the world No.20 is now working alongside Christian Groh. A German-born coach who has worked with a number of top players on the men’s tour. Including Tommy Haas and Taylor Fritz. It is his work with Haas that Groh is best known for. During their 24 months together, he guided him from outside the top 200 to 11th in the ATP rankings.
The development comes a month after the 28-year-old stated that he was in no hurry to find a new mentor on the tour. Back in May he ended his collaboration with Dani Vallverdu after almost three years working together. He made the decision shortly before he exited the world’s top 50 for the first time since 2012.
“I’m not in a panic right now to find a coach. I always think that when I don’t have someone beside me, it’s hard to train. However, in the past months, I have done things myself that I have not done.” Dimitrov told reporters in November.
“You need to have freedom, to find yourself, to become closer to yourself.” He added.
Despite Stepanek stepping away, Dimitrov is still in contact with eight-time grand slam champion Agassi. Agassi is not a coach to the Bulgarian, but has agreed to a sort of consultation role where the two talk with each other regularly.
Dimitrov has experienced a roller coaster run on the tour this season with a win-loss record of 22-21. At one stage he failed to win back-to-back matches at six consecutive tournaments over the summer. However, his form surged during the last quarter of 2019 where he reached the semi-finals at both the US Open and Paris Masters.
Neither Dimitrov or Groh has yet confirmed their new partnership on the tour. Groh has recently been working as a consultant for the United States Tennis Association (USTA).
Heading into the new season, the first test for the duo will be at the ATP Cup in Australia. As well as playing, Dimitrov is the captain of the Bulgarian team.
Groh’s coaching CV
- 2011: Michael Berrer
- 2012-2013: Tommy Haas
- 2014: Bradley Klahn and Taylor Fritz
- 2015: Tommy Haas and Taylor Fritz
- ATP/WTA Players and United States Tennis Federation Player Development since 2015
Since the publication of this article, Ubitennis has received some additional details on Dimitrov’s work with Groh. The editor of TennisKafe.com, Borislav Orlinov, confirmed it was Dimitrov’s manager (Georgi Stoimenov) who revelled the two will be working together. They are currently training in Monte Carlo, but will head to Australia before the New Year.
Dominic Thiem signs up to defend his Barcelona title
Defending champion Dominic Thiem has signed up to play at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell in 2020. The 26-year-old Austrian player will make his sixth main draw appearance in Barcelona, where he won the title last year beating Danil Medvedev.
Thiem reached the round of 16 as a qualifier in his debut at this event in 2014. One year later Thiem lost in the first round in 2015 and did not play in 2016.
The player from Wiener Neustadt lost the 2017 final to 11-time Barcelona champion Rafael Nadal. In 2018 Thiem was beaten by Stefanos Tsitsipas in the quarter final. In last April’s edition Thiem lifted the title without dropping a set. He beat Nadal in the semifinal before claiming a win over Medvedev in the final.
Thiem tied with Djokovic for ATP Tour-lead with five titles. He won his biggest title at Indian Wells Masters 1000 beating five-time champion Roger Federer and joined his compatriot Thomas Muster as second Austrian player in history to win an ATP Masters 1000 title. Thiem claimed three more titles in Kitzbuhel, Beijing and Vienna and beat Novak Djokovic in five sets to advance to his second consecutive Roland Garros final. Thiem saved two match points against Federer in Madrid Masters 1000 quarter final before losing to Novak Djokovic in semifinal.
Late Replacement Tomljanovic To Face Maria Sharapova In Abu Dhabi
The order of play for the first day of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship have been confirmed.
There has been a change made to the line-up for next week’s Mubadala World Tennis Championship with Ajla Tomljanovic making a last-minute entry.
Tomljanovic, who achieved a ranking best of 39th back in April, will be making her debut at the three-day exhibition event. Which will feature a women’s match for the third time in a row. The Australian has been called in to replace French Open semi-finalist Amanda Anisimova, who has been forced to pull out due to injury.
“It’s really disappointing to have to withdraw from the Mubadala World Tennis Championship,” Anisimova said in a press release. “I was looking forward so much to coming to Abu Dhabi and I hope to make the trip in the future.”
The 26-year-old will take on five-time grand slam champion Maria Sharapova on the opening day of the event. Who hasn’t played on the WTA Tour since her first round loss at the US Open due to a shoulder problem. Sharapova will also be making her debut at the Zayed Sports City’s International Tennis Centre. The two players have never faced each other on the tour.
“I’ve heard amazing things about Abu Dhabi and the championship, and I’m really looking forward to playing in front of this crowd against Maria.” Said Tomljanovic, who will be the first Australian to play at the event. “It will give the perfect challenge ahead of a big season.”
Tomljanovic’s clash with Sharapova is set to be the final match to take place on the opening day of the event. They are only the fourth and fifth woman to ever play in the competition, which has hosted a men’s tournament since 2009. Jelena Ostapenko (2017), Serena Williams (2017 and 2018) and Venus Williams (2018) are the only other WTA players to have taken part.
The full order of play for the opening day has been confirmed by the organisers. Prior to Sharapova’s match, two men’s quarter-finals will take place. ATP Finals champion Stefanos Tsitsipas will play Gael Monfils with the winner booking a clash against Novak Djokovic. Then world No.4 Daniil Medvedev takes on South Korea’s Hyeon Chung. The winner of that match will play Rafael Nadal.
“The 12th edition of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship is fast shaping up to be the most exciting in the event’s history. We are looking forward to providing our spectators with a dynamic combination of world-class tennis and family fun in what is an unmissable event,” said John Lickrish, CEO of Flash Entertainment.
The Mubadala World Tennis Championship takes place between December 19-21.
Marcos Baghdatis Lands First Coaching Role With Top 10 Player
Entry List For The Australian Open Announced
The 2019 ATP Tour Review
REPORT: Grigor Dimitrov Appoints New Coach
Dominic Thiem signs up to defend his Barcelona title
‘I Wasn’t Rude’ – Ubitennis Founder Defends Himself Following Run-In With Nadal In London
At His Best Novak Djokovic Is Better Than Federer And Nadal, Says Mouratoglou
Rafael Nadal To Play For ‘A Few More Years,’ Says Former Coach
Dominika Cibulkova announces her retirement from tennis
Roger Federer Outlines Schedule For Next Year With Open Mind Of Playing In His 40s
(VIDEO) Davis Cup Round-Up: Rafael Nadal Leads Spain To Victory
(VIDEO) Davis Cup Day 2: Historic Day For Canada As Spain Prevail In Late-Night Thriller
(VIDEO) Roger Federer, Alexander Zverev Guide Europe To Laver Cup Glory
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