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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Singapore Champion Alexi Popyrin Dedicates Maiden ATP Title To Family

The world No.114 battled back from a set down to become the fifth active Australian player to win an ATP singles title.

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Rising star Alexi Popyrin has claimed the biggest title in his career to date after triumphing in the final of the Singapore Open on Sunday.

 

The 21-year-old battled back from a set down to defeat world No.46 Alexander Bublik 4-6, 6-0, 6-2, in what was his first ever final on the ATP Tour. Popryin, who had never got past the quarter-final stage of a Tour event prior to this week, managed to turn his fortunes around with the help of an emphatic service display. During the second set he dropped no points behind serve and only one in the third. Overall, the Australian produced 11 aces and broke Bublik five times en route to victory.

A former junior world No.2 who won the 2017 French Open boys’ title, Popyrin has become the fifth active player from Australia to have won an ATP title. The other four are Nick Kyrgios, Alex de Minaur, Bernard Tomic and John Millman. During the trophy ceremony Popyrin said the breakthrough was a result of hard work as he paid tribute to his family.

“I’ll definitely have very fond memories of Singapore now, I’ll definitely remember this for the rest of my life,” he said.
“We put a lot of hard work in the pre-season and it’s paying off in the start of the year I’ve had. In Australia I felt really good so it’s just good to see all the hard work paying off.
“My family behind the scenes, they’ve sacrificed so much for me and to finally win a tournament just shows how much hard work they put in with me also. This is for them 100 per cent.”

Prior to Bublik, Popyrin also scored a win over former US Open champion Marin Cilic in the semi-finals. The breakthrough continues what has been an encouraging start to the season for the Next Gen star. At the Murray River Open in Melbourne he took Grigor Dimitrov to three sets before losing in the third round. Then at the Australian Open he knocked out top 20 player David Goffin.

Meanwhile, Bublik is left wondering what might have been. It was the second time the Kazakh has reached a Tour final this season after Antalya where he had to retire due to injury.

“His first final, his first title, I have four finals, which hurts now but just congratulate you and next time we’ll see if we can face in the final,” Bublik said.

Popyrin will rise to a ranking high of 82nd when the standings are updated on Monday.

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Alejandro Davidovich Fokina beats Hubert Hurkacz to reach the quarter final in Montpellier

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Alejandro Davidovich Fokina came back from 1-3 in the opening set and converted four of the ten break points to claim a 7-5 6-2 win over Hubert Hurkacz in 1 hour and 34 minutes at the Open Sud de France in Montpellier. 

 

Hurkacz went up a break in the fourth game at deuce to take a 3-1 lead. Davidovich Fokina broke back in the fifth game at 15 and held serve to draw level to 3-3. Hurkacz saved a break point in the seventh game to hold serve after two deuces. Davidovich Fokina converted his second break point in the 11th game to win the first set 7-5. 

Hurkacz saved three break points in the third game of the second set, but Davidovich Fokina broke twice in the fifth and seventh games at deuce to win the final four games from 2-2 securing his spot in the quarter final. 

The 21-year-old Spanish player set up a quarter final against Egor Gerasimov, who knocked out Aljaz Bedene 6-4 7-6 (7-4) after 1 hour and 51 minutes. Bedene converted his second break point at deuce in the first game. Gerasimov broke back in the fourth game to draw level to 2-2. Gerasimov closed out the first set 6-4 with a break on his opportunity in the 10th game.

Bedene went up a break in the third game of the second set to take a 2-1 lead. Gerasimov broke back in the 10th game to draw level to 5-5. Gerasimov earned five match points at 6-1 in the tie-break. Bedene saved the first three chances, but Gerasimov closed out the tie-break 7-4 on his fourth opportunity. 

Roberto Bautista Agut cruised past Gregoire Barrère 6-0 6-3. The Spanish player built up a 6-0 2-0 lead with four consecutive breaks. Barrère came back by winning three consecutive games to take a 3-2 lead with a break in the fourth game. Bautista Agut reeled off four consecutive games with two consecutive breaks to win the second set 6-3 

Dennis Novak came back from 3-5 down by winning the final four games in the second set to beat Dusan Lajovic 7-6 (7-5) 7-5 after 1 hour and 35 minutes. Novak set up a quarter final clash against German Peter Gojowczyk, who came back from one set down to beat Juri Vesely 6-7 (3-7) 7-4 (7-4) 6-3 after 2 hours and 28 minutes. Gojowczyk hit 17 aces and won 86 % of his first service points. Gojowczyk saved four break points in the ninth game. Vesely earned two mini-breaks to win the tie-brek 7-3. The second set went on serve en route to the the tie-break. Gojowczyk earned one mini-break to win the tie-break 7-4. The German player converted his only break point in the second game to seal the third set 6-3.

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John Isner not happy with the cut in prize money for Miami Masters

John Isner took to Twitter to raise some issues about the ATP and latest state of affairs in Tennis.

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John Isner (@usta - Twitter)

The American took to social media to vent his frustration saying it doesn’t make sense.

 

John Isner took to twitter today after hearing the news that the Miami Open will be cutting its prize money down with the singles champion only taking $300,110 with a first round loser only winning $10,000 in prize money.

Isner and many other players on tour believe the tournament should be forced to due an audit to truly reveal what their finances are and to see if they are hiding anything.

“How about a true audit to see how much tourneys are actually hurting and then a money formula after the event to reconcile?”

“Amazing we still don’t have this in a lot of our big events. How does that make any sense?” 

He also tweeted about the promoters saying the system the ATP uses is broken.

The American also spoke of the unfairness in the cuts the players are taking in comparison to the actual events.

“So players should take a 60% cut and 80% champions cut while ATP executives keep full salaries, benefits, and expense accounts? Make that make sense. Seems just a little bit hypocritical, don’t ya think?”.

Isner finally believes the players should benefit from the tournament not just in the short term but over a long tenure.

““Tennis is plagued by conflict and lack of transparency”

The tournament is scheduled for March 23rd at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami and the tournament has confirmed they won’t be doing a quarantine like the Australian Open.

The players will need to provide a negative PCR test to board a flight to the US and once they land they will be tested once again and isolate until a negative result is shown.

The players will only be allowed at the hotel and the venue and any player who doesn’t respect the rules will be subject to penalties and be withdrawn from the tournament.

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