Alex De Minaur: "I grew up watching Hewitt on television" - UBITENNIS
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Alex De Minaur: “I grew up watching Hewitt on television”

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Alex De Minaur has become the second player to qualify for the semifinals of the Next Gen ATP Final at Milano Fiera after beating 2017 finalist Andrey Rublev 4-1 3-4 (5-7) 4-2.

“It was great. I knew coming in it was going to be a really tough match and I was going to have to play some really good tennis and not leave too many balls short because his forehand is seriously one of the most dangerous weapons out there on the ATP Tour. It’s not over yet. I am very happy with my win today and it’s been a great year, but tomorrow’s another day and you have to get back out there and keep doing the same”,said De Minaur after the match against Rublev.

 De Minaur started the Next Gen Finals week in Milan with a 4-1 4-1 4-2 win over Italian wild card Liam Caruana, who is ranked world number 622.

“I could not think of a better start to my tournament. I played against Caruana in juniors funnily enough a while back, and it was actually in Italy as well. The best thing was just to be really intense”,said De Minaur to Tennis Talks.

The world number 31 will face Taylor Fritz on Thursday evening. They have never met on the ATP Tour, but De Minaur beat Fritz at the ATP Challenger Tour tournament in Surbiton earlier this year.

Australia’s Alex De Minaur reached a career-high of world number 31 after starting the year at world number 210 in the ATP Ranking. He is the only teenager in the 2018 ATP Next Gen Finals field and the Number 1 Australian player in the ATP Ranking.

Alex was born in Sydney to a Spanish mother Esther and a Uruguayan father Anibal. Alex spent the first five years of his life in Australia before moving to Alicante in Spain. The family returned to Australia, when he was 13 years old, and went back to Spain three years later. De Minaur spends his time between Australia and Spain. Alex speaks English, Spanish and French.

De Minaur reached a career-high ranking of number 2 in the junior ranking and won the 2016 Australian Open boys’ doubles title alongside Blake Ellis.

“I started playing tennis at the age of 4. My mother signed me up for lessons and I soon enjoyed it. I watched tennis matches on TV dreaming to become a tennis player one day. I transformed my passion into a job. I have been guided by my current coach Adolfo Gutierrez since I was eight years old. He has helped me grow as a player. He played an important role when I became a professional player. I definitely wasn’t expecting this. It has been a great year. I have played some unbelievable tennis. I want to continue working hard to develop my athletic training and my strength. It’s only way to keep up with the best players in the world”.

He started the 2018 season by reaching the semifinal in Brisbane and the final in Sydney. He was the youngest player to reach semifinals in consecutive weeks since Rafa Nadal at the 2005 Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters and Barcelona Open.

Last August Alex saved four match points in the second set tie-break against last year’s ATP Next Gen Finals runner-up Andrey Rublev in the semifinal of the Citi Open ATP 500 in Washington en route to reaching the final.

“I did not really expect to reach this ranking so quicky. At the start of the year I and my team had set the goal to reach the top 100, but the year has gone extremely well. I reached my first final in Washington against Alexander Zverev. I am proud to be here in Milan for the Next Gen Finals. I am enjoying every second of it”.

De Minaur works with Australian legend Lleyton Hewitt, who is Alex’s mentor during Grand Slam tournaments and Davis Cup ties.

“Lleyton Hewitt is a fantastic person. It’s a great bonus to be advised by such a great player. I grew up watching him on television. He has always been my idol. It’s a dream come true to have him as a mentor. My teammates welcomed me as an important of the Davis Cup team. The t-shirt of the Australian team has a magic power. I have a good relationship to Nick Kyrgios. He is like an elder brother. He has suffered from some injuries but he will return to his best form”, said De Minaur to the Italian sports daily La Gazzetta dello Sport.

De Minaur provided his opinion on the innovative rules introduced at the Next Gen ATP Finals.

“With this format every single point counts, so you have gotta be there point and point out and try to take care of your service games, and not get into many of those awkward sudden death deuces, because that can only mean trouble. Just play aggressive and have some fun here”,reflected De Minaur.

Hewitt enjoys watching football outside the tennis court.

“I really like football. My favourite team is Real Madrid. My mother is a longtime fan of this sport. I cannot follow all the matches becuse of the jetleg. This passion emerges from my latin origin. I also like playing golf. I would be a golfer if I was not a tennis player.”

 

 

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Alexander Zverev: “My coach won’t stop crying until next year”

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Zverev has been very consistent during the Masters 1000 season winning the third title of his career in the series at the Madrid Mutua Open in the Caja Magica one year after his wins in Rome and Toronto. He also lost two Masters 1000 finals in Miami to John Isner and in Rome to Rafa Nadal. During the 2018 season Zverev also won two more tournaments at ATP 250 level in Munich and Washington.

During an interview with the BBC Zverev thanked all the people who are working with him and helped him win at the ATP Finals at the O2 Arena in London.

“My dad has been coaching me for most of my life. I think he is the best tennis coach. He won’t stop crying until next year probably but that’s fine. He also probably doesn’t understand what I am saying but it’s fine. Thanks to Ivan Lendl for joining the team. I think it’s working out all right for now. Hopefully it stays like that. Nobody can probably see it but I have actually put on muscle. I was skinnier before than I am now”, said Zverev.

Zverev congratulated with Novak Djokovic and talked about his relationship to the Serbian world number 1 player, who qualified for the final without dropping a set during the whole week.

I really can’t believe it. It’s the biggest title I have ever won. Firstly I want to congratulate Novak and we may never have seen the tennis he has played in the last few months before. He barely lost a match but thankfully he did me to. We had many talks on life, not only about tennis, but al different types of subjects. Huge congratulations to Djokovic’s team. Finishing as world number one after having surgery, I don’t know if it has been done before. You are one of the best teams on tour, so good luck for next year”, said Zverev.

 

 

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Mike Bryan and Jack Sock lift their third doubles title as a team in 2018 at the Nitto ATP Finals in London

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Mike Bryan and Jack Sock came back from one set down to edge Frenchmen Pierre Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut 5-7 6-1 13-11 in just over 90 minutes after a dramatic tie-break in the doubles final at the Nitto ATP Finals in a packed O2 Arena in London. They have clinched their third doubles title in their eighth together as a team.

The US team crowned an impressive season adding the ATP Finals title to the wins achieved at Wimbledon and at the US Open. They became the first doubles team to win these two Grand Slam titles since Jonas Bjorkman and Todd Woodbridge.

Bryan and Sock converted three of their ten break points and saved six of the eight chances they faced.

The opening set featured six deuce deciding points in twelve points went on serve until the seventh game when Mahut earned the first break to take a 4-3 lead with a lob. Bryan and Sock broke straight back in the eighth game on their fifth break point after a double fault from Mahut.

Herbert and Mahut broke serve again in the 11th game to take the 6-5 edge before fending off four break points in row to seal the first set on the deciding point.

Bryan and Sock went up a double break in the second and sixth games to cruise through to winning the second set 6-1 forcing the match to the Tie-Break.

After a series of mini-breaks Herbert and Mahut fended off three match points in the tie-break at 9-6 to draw level to 9-9 keeping their chance alive. The 2018 Rotterdam and French Open champions earned their own match point at 11-10. Sock and Bryan reeled off three points to save the match point and clinch the tie-break 13-11 on their sixth match point after 1 hour and 31 minutes, when Herbert made a double fault.

Forty-year-old Bryan won his fifth doubles title at the ATP Finals in his career after the four previous wins in 2003, 2004, 2009 and 2014 achieved together with his twin brother Bob Bryan. He has become the sixth player in history to win multiple year end titles with at least 2 different partners. Only John McEnroe and Peter Fleming won more doubles titles in the history of this event with their seven consecutive triumphs from 1978 to 1984 at the Madison Square in New York.

Sock is the first player to reach the year-end final in doubles and semifinals in singles (2017) since McEnroe back in 1984. He has also become the oldest champion in the ATP Finals history. Bryan and Sock began their partnership in another London venue last June. Bryan has lifted his 121st title in his legendary career. His impressive collection includes 18 Grand Slam doubles titles and the Olympic doubles gold medal in London 2012.

They were presented with the title by ATP Executive Chairman Chris Kermode and Nitto President Hideo Takasaki.

Mahut and Herbert were bidding to be the first French champions since 2005. The French team ended the season with a win-loss record of 23-11.

“This is how you want to start a partnership and end one. To win here is just an epic experience. To finish a great year off  the right way, winning here against some of the best teams in the world. The way we did, it came down to the wire. It was pretty exciting. I have real memories with Jack. We are closing the book on our partnership because Bob is coming back.We are always going to be great friends and hang out in the off season. We are going to spend our off-season training together”, said Mike Bryan. 

 

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‘If You Win a Grand Slam, It’s A Good Season’ – Roger Federer On 2018 And His Off-Season Goals

The Swiss player has named two improvements he would like to make to his game ahead of the next season.

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20-time grand slam champion Roger Federer has said that he is contempt with his performance this year despite experiencing a slight dip in form during the second half.

The 37-year-old officially ended his season on Saturday after bowing out in straight sets to Alexander Zverev at the ATP Finals in London. This year the Swiss player has won four titles on the tour, including the Australian Open in January. Overall, he has achieved a win-loss record of 48-10.

“(Pete) Sampras once upon a time said, ‘If you win a slam, it’s a good season.’” Reflected Federer, who held the world No.1 ranking for a total of eight weeks during 2018.
“So started great. I played super well in Australia again. So obviously I can’t wait to go back there in a couple of months.”

Despite the success, he has also suffered his share of disappointment. Prior to his last tournament of the year, Federer had only won two out of six matches against top 10 players. He also suffered a surprise loss to Kevin Anderson at Wimbledon before falling in the fourth round at the US Open. Making it the first time he has only reached one grand slam semi-final out of four since 2013.

“The second half of the season could have been better maybe.” Admitted Federer. “I also have high hopes to always do well. So I’m happy I gave myself opportunities again in that second half of the season.”
“I maybe lost a couple too close matches that could have changed things around for me a little bit.” He added.

Work to be done in the off-season

Fortunately, the positives overweight the negatives for the Swiss veteran, who is the oldest player currently in the world’s top 100. In September he celebrated the 20th anniversary of his debut on the ATP Tour at the Grand Prix de Tennis de Toulouse in France.

“I’m very proud that at 37 I’m still so competitive and so happy playing tennis. From that standpoint, as disappointed as I might be about this match if I take a step back, I’m actually very happy about the season.” He told reporters after his loss to Zverev on Saturday.

Federer will now embark upon the off-season where he is expected to conduct his usual preparation in Dubai. During a recent interview with newspaper Tages-Anzeiger, he has outlined two areas of his game that he wants to improve on. His forehand and his play at the net.

“As far as tennis is concerned, I would like to find my way back to the net more often,” he said.
“And of course I want to whip the forehand right again.
“Then there is the condition training with Pierre (Paganini).
“Of course, deciding whether to play on clay or not has an impact on the training program.”

Federer will return to action at the Hopman Cup, which will get underway on December 29th.

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