Denis Shapovalov: "The goal was just to stay inside the top 50 at the start of 2018" - UBITENNIS
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Denis Shapovalov: “The goal was just to stay inside the top 50 at the start of 2018”

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Denis Shapovalov ended the 2018 season ranked world number 27th after an impressive season, in which he reached three semifinals in the Madrid Masters 1000 tournament, Delray Beach and Tokyo. He scored 35 wins to become the youngest player since Rafael Nadal and Richard Gasquet in 2005 to enter the top 30.

The Canadian teenager born in 1999 in Tel Aviv to Tessa and Viktor Shapovalov is the youngest player in the top 100 and the only player born in 1999 besides this year’s Next Gen ATP Finals runner-up Alex De Minaur. Shapovalov beat De Minaur in the 2016 Wimbledon Junior final.

He made a major breakthrough in July 2017 became the youngest player ever to reach a Masters 1000 semifinal at the Montreal Rogers Cup, where he beat Juan Martin Del Potro, Rafa Nadal and Adrian Mannarino before losing to Alexander Zverev.

Shapovalov reached the third round at the US Open in 2017 and became the third youngest player in history in the last 25 years to break into the top 50 after Lleyton Hewitt and Rafael Nadal.

After skipping the 2018 next Gen ATP Final in Milan due to exhaustion Shapovalov will start his preparation for the 2019 season, where he is aiming to reach the top 20. He will start the 2019 season in Auckland.

“For me the goal was just to stay inside the top 50 at the start of the 2018 season. To be able to finish the year at the 27th position, it’s huge for me. It’s pretty inspiring and motivating to keep going forward, so that next year I can keep growing and keep improving my ranking”, said Shapovalov.

Shapovalov’s mother Tessa played for the Russian tennis team and moved from Russia to Tel Aviv with Denis’ father when the former Soviet Union was collapsing. The family moved to Canada before Denis’ first birthday. Denis started playing tennis at the Richmond Hill Country Club, where his mother got a job as a tennis coach two weeks after arriving in Toronto from Tel Aviv.

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Rafael Nadal, The Aussies Slayer

Another routine straight-sets victory for Rafael Nadal who will face

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Rafael Nadal at the 2019 Australian Open (photo Roberto Dell'Olivo)

After playing his first round against an Australian (James Duckworth) who “went on court with the determination [not] to play tennis the way that I understand tennis”, Rafael Nadal in his second round got to play an Australian (Matthew Ebden) who plays a more “traditional” kind of tennis, that is where you do not hit with all your might whatever fuzzy yellow round thing happens to be in your striking range.

Sporting his brand new sleeveless “New York City taxi” yellow shirt with chequered black and white finishing on its neck and sleeves, Nadal continued the “cruise control leitmotiv” of this 2019 Australian Open where all the top seed have sailed unscathed and hardly challenged through the first three days of the tournament. On the other hand, Matt Ebden could be defined a “college-type” player, if it weren’t for the fact that he never went to college but indeed he is studying for his commerce degree while living the pro life on tour. His game style is quite versatile, he knows how to do everything, and he does everything “all right”, but does not possess a weapon capable of hurting Nadal or taking the rally in his own hands. The quick hard courts at Melbourne Park, although with not as quick playing conditions on Wednesday night due to the low temperature, would encourage an aggressive approach to take the game out of Rafa’s hands, but unfortunately for him Ebden never found the way to lead the rallies, neither from the baseline nor approaching the net.

Three break points for the Aussie at 3-3 in the first set where the only moments of uncertainty during the whole 1-hour 56-minute match. After Ebden ditched into the net a not too difficult backhand volley to squander the last of those three break point, an 11-3 run by Nadal ended the first set in favor of the Spaniard and the rest of the match was just another Rafa monologue.

The match was a bit more logical tonight – debuted Nadal in his post-match press conference, just a few minutes before midnight – He is not an easy opponent. It has been a very positive victory for me. I [am] happy the way I played. I started a little bit slow, especially on the return side, serving I think was good from the beginning. Then I saved that game in the 3-All. After that things changed. I think I played well“.

When questioned about the level of his game by the Spanish press, Nadal explained that “since I haven’t played a lot recently I am missing a point of reference to understand how well I am playing. The feelings are good, I believe I am hitting the ball well, but I can’t say more than that because I have not played in a while“.

The Spaniard’s third round opponent will be another Australian player, the 19-year old n.27 seed Alex de Minaur, who (as Nadal himself put it) is “half Spanish” since he moved to Alicante with his family when he was 5 and has both Australian and Spanish nationality. “He is a very tough opponent, who has won seven matches in a row this year, so he is confident right now. Some people may say that we have similar games, but although we both like playing from the baseline, the way we hit the ball, the style of our shots are quite different“.

 

 

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Roger Federer Delivers His Verdict On The Much Debated Australian Open Balls

They have been described as ‘terrible,’ but what does the 20-time grand slam champion think?

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Roger Federer believes time will tell if the brand new Australian Open balls are a hit with him following recent criticisms of the product from players on the tour.

Dunlop has become the new ball provided for the tournament after signing a five-year deal. Taking over from Wilson, who was the previous supplier. The balls were issued to all of the tournaments leading up to the grand slam, which generated a mixed response from players. Bernard Tomic described them as ‘terrible’ and ‘pretty cheap.’ Meanwhile, at the Sydney International, John Milman told The Sydney Morning Herald said it was ‘really tough to generate (pace) off the ball.’ Describing them as ‘dead.’

“The balls are really shit … so I’ve got to factor that in for next week in Melbourne, just remember how bad the balls are in cold conditions like that.” Milman said last week.

Weighing in on the debate, Federer said that he understands the points some of his fellow players have made. This year is the 20th consecutive time he has played at the Australian Open. An all-time record tied with Lleyton Hewitt.

“They definitely play a touch different to the ones we’ve had the last couple years.” Federer said following his second round win over Dan Evans.
“I do see what they’re saying. At night the spin is not taking off tremendously. I definitely have to go through a minor adjustment from Perth, which was a faster court.”

Nevertheless, the world No.3 isn’t going as far as criticising the piece of equipment. Arguing that it is too early in the tournament for him to give a proper assessment of the ball. Australian Open director Craig Tiley previously said that he believed players would be happy with the ‘quality, standard and consistency of play of the new AO Dunlop ball in a wide variety of conditions.’

“It’s still early in the tournament to exactly tell you how it feels exactly. I still feel like you can serve your way out of trouble from the baseline. You can spin and slice, all that stuff we saw today.” Federer concluded.
“It’s hard to out-spin guys here. As they changed the finals also to a night session, and the semis are also night sessions, I just feel like it’s really important to have fast enough courts for night session conditions as the main matches are being played there. If you keep it slow, slow, at night the ball doesn’t move.” He added.

Federer will play Taylor Fritz is the third round and will be attempting to get his 97th main draw win in the tournament.

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WATCH: Fans Fight Over Aryna Sabalenka’s Headband Before Security Takes Item Away

Watch the moment two tennis fans lose it over a headband!

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It is traditional for a player to celebrate their victory by throwing some of their unwanted items into the crowd. However, at the Australian Open Belarus’ Aryna Sabalenka got more than she bargained for.

The 11th seed moved into the third round of the tournament on Wednesday following a 6-3, 6-4, win over Great Britain’s Katie Boulter. Recording her seventh win of the season. Shortly after her victory, she threw her headband into the crowd at the Melbourne Arena. Inadvertently creating a tug of war between two stubborn tennis fans. Resulting in them both being escorted off the premises!

https://twitter.com/JeddZetzer/status/1085438472863633408

Following the both bizarre and funny showdown between the two spectators, many are wondering who the winner was. Ironically, it was neither. According to Sporting News, security escorted both women away and then took the item from them as they couldn’t agree as to who should get it.

I guess you can’t win them all!

The two ladies involved in the tussle (image via https://twitter.com/standardsport)

 

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