World No.2 Roger Federer has played down speculation that he may be retiring from the sport sooner than expected, following comments he made at the US Open on Tuesday.
The 20-time grand slam champion started his campaign in Flushing Meadows with a 6-2, 6-2, 6-4, win over Japan’s Yoshito Nishioka. Recording his 18th first round win at the tournament. Shortly after his triumph, Federer spoke about his 18-0 first round record at the tournament during an on-court interview with ESPN. Fans were caught off guard when the 37-year-old said ‘it’s almost time to retire.’
‘I’m very happy to be back here in New York healthy. The last couple of years have been difficult so it’s nice to be back feeling really good.” Federer started.
‘I’m happy I never stumbled at the first hurdle.
‘It’s almost time to retire… but not yet!
‘I’m happy I played well tonight.’
An inevitable frenzy among Federer fans surfaced on social media shortly after his comments. Although any possibility that he may be retiring soon has since been dismissed. Pressed further about his remarks during his press conference in New York, Federer stated that it was a joke. Telling journalists to ‘not write the word retirement’ when reporting on his endeavours.
“That was meaning like I never lost a first-round match here at the Open.” He explained.
“I won all my 18 (first round match at the US Open). You don’t know want could happen next year. I said maybe I could retire now, because I protect my 18 first-run wins here. That’s what I meant by it. It’s a total joke.”
Federer is the oldest player currently ranked in the ATP top 100 and the only one over the age of 37. Denis Shapovalov, who is the youngest player in the top 100, wasn’t born when the Swiss made his ATP World Tour debut at the 1998 Gstaad Open.
Against Nishioka, Federer hit 56 winners to 32 unforced errors and fired 14 aces. Recording his 337th win in the main draw of a grand slam tournament. Commenting on the conditions at the tournament this year, Federer has described the courts as ‘the slowest in years.’
“I feel it (the courts) plays very slow, to be honest. Probably centre court is maybe a bit faster than some of the outside courts. Armstrong, from I what heard, I feel like the practice courts, have a lot of bounce in them as well.” He said.
“This, to me, seems the slowest US Open we’ve seen in years. That’s my opinion there, which I don’t think necessarily is a bad thing.” Federer evaluated. “Usually it helps the top guys, the slower it is.”
Federer will play France’s Benoit Paire in the second round. Paire defeated Denis Novak in four sets during his opening match. Federer leads his French rival 6-0 in their head-to-head.
(VIDEO) Novak Djokovic Makes Tearful Tribute To Mentor Kobe Bryant After Australian Open Win
The world No.2 pays his respect to ‘one of the greatest athletes of all time’ on the Rod Laver Arena.
World No.2 Novak Djokovic shed tears following his quarter-final win over Milos Raonic after paying tribute to NBA legend Kobe Bryant.
The 16-time grand slam champion took to the Rod Laver Arena wearing a green zip-up top. On the top right of his jacket with Bryant’s initial along with the numbers 8 and 24. The jersey numbers Bryant worn throughout his 20-year NBA career with the LA Lakers. A love heart was also placed under the numbers on Djokovic’s top.
“’I don’t know what we could say. It really caught us by surprise.” An emotional Djokovic said during his on-court interview with John McEnroe on Tuesday.
‘He was one of the greatest athletes of all time, he inspired myself and many other people around the world. I had that fortune to have a personal relationship with him over the last 10 years.’
‘When I needed some advice and support, he was there for me. He was my mentor, my friend, it’s just heartbreaking to see what has happened to him and his daughter. It’s unbelievable.’
Bryant was killed on Sunday in a helicopter crash that also claimed the life of his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others. As an athlete, he achieved numerous milestones. Including being named the 2008 NBA Most Valuable Player and two-time NBA Finals MVP. He was also a two-time Olympic gold medallist and played in 18 All Star Games.
Just days before Bryant’s death, Djokovic spoke about their friendship during an interview with ESPN. Praising him for the support he received during his elbow injury and fall in the rankings during 2017 and the start of 2018. Reflecting on the conversations the two have had, he said he received some ‘valuable guidance.’
“Kobe has been one of my mentors,” Djokovic told ESPN. “I’ve had several phone conversations with him and also of course when we see each other live in the past couple of years. When I was going through the injury with my elbow and struggling to mentally and emotionally handle all of these different things that were happening to me and dropping in the Rankings and then having to work my way up, he was one of the people who was really there for me to give me some very valuable advice and guidelines to kind of believe and trust in myself, trust the process that I’ll be back.”
Djokovic will play Roger Federer in the semi-finals of the Australian Open.
The tribute can be watched below (from 00:30 to 01:40)
Dominic Thiem reaches his first quarter final at the Australian Open
Dominic Thiem eased past Gael Monfils 6-2 6-4 6-4 after 1 hour and 50 minutes on the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne to reach the quarter final at the Australian Open. Thiem has extended his winning streak to 6-0 in his head-to-head matches against Monfils.
He fought back from two sets to one down to beat Australia’s Alex Bolt in the second round, but he won eight of his past nine sets to advance to the quarter finals.
Thiem got two breaks in the first set and never faced a single break point in the entire match. The Austrian player converted his fourth break point after three deuces, as Monfils missed a backhand volley wide. Thiem started the third set with an early break in the first game, as Monfils hit an inside-out forehand wide from the middle of the court wide. Thiem won his next service games and held his final game at love.
Thiem will face Rafael Nadal in a re-match of last year’s Roland Garros final.
“I think that I played my best match so far at this year’s Australian Open. It’s a very good feeling. The score looks way easier than the match was. I think I was lucky to make an early break in each set and I was managing to hold my serve well. I am so happy because I am in the quarter final here for the first time”, said Thiem.
Alexander Zverev tops Andrey Rublev to set Australian Open quarter final against Stan Wawrinka
Alexander Zverev beat his friend Andrey Rublev 6-4 6-4 6-4 in one hour and 37 minutes to reach the quarter final at the Australian Open for the first time in his career and his third at Grand Slam level.
Zverev broke serve once in each set. The German player has not dropped a set at this year’s edition of the Australian Open.
Zverev ended Rublev’s 15-match winning streak. Rublev had not lost a match since October, winning four matches at the Davis Cup last November and back-to-back titles in Doha and Adelaide.
In the opening set Zverev earned his first break at 3-3, as Rublev hit a forehand into the net. He held his serve to consolidate the break and wrapped up the first set after 29 minutes, when Rublev hit a crosscourt backhand wide.
Zverev started the second set with an immediate break in the first game of the second set and closed it out with a hold at love with an ace after 29 minutes.
Zverev broke serve for the third time in the match in the ninth game of the third set to take a 5-4, when Rublev made a groundstroke error, and sealed the win with a forehand volley.
“It feels amazing. I played some great matches against some great opponents. This is Andrey’s first loss of the season, having won two tournaments and getting through to the fourth round with unbelievable tennis. I have known Andrey since we were ten years old. I think he will be top 15, top 10 very soon. I am just happy and I hope I can continue”,said Zverev.
Zverev will face Stan Wawrinka in the quarter final. The German star beat Wawrinka twice in their previous two head-to-head matches in St. Petersburg 2016 and Miami 2017.
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