Marin Cilic Completes Perfect Day For Croatia In Davis Cup Final - UBITENNIS
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Marin Cilic Completes Perfect Day For Croatia In Davis Cup Final

Marin Cilic and Borna Coric give Croatia a 2-0 lead over France in the Davis Cup final in Lille.

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Marin Cilic (zimbio.com)

It was six sets set out of six for Croatia as Marin Cilic completed a perfect day in Lille for the visitors as they lead France 2-0 after the first day of the Davis Cup Final.

The world number seven defeated Jo-Wilfred Tsonga 6-3 7-5 6-4 to give Croatia a 2-0 lead after the first day of the Davis Cup final.

In the opening rubber in-form Borna Coric cruised past Jeremy Chardy 6-2 7-5 6-4 to give the Croats the early lead. The French team have never won a clay court Davis Cup final on home soil.

Ivan Dodig and Mate Pavic can win the Davis Cup for Croatia with a win over Roland Garros champions Pierre-Hughes Herbert and Nicolas Mahut tomorrow.

The former US Open champion started his match with Tsonga in the best possible fashion, with the intensity visible right from the start.

Even though he has hardly played in 2018, the Frenchman matched Cilic’s intensity in the early stages and looked up for the fight.

In the end the Croatian’s massive returning was the key as he broke in the sixth game to silence the fiery Lille crowd. Despite wasting a set point on the eighth game, the Croatian sealed the opening stanza on his own deal in 38 minutes.

https://twitter.com/DavisCup/status/1066009102906740742

The second set was much better from Tsonga as he used his athleticism to try and fight in the match as he aimed to break Croatia’s consecutive set run. 

Even though a couple of break points were created, Tsonga couldn’t break down the intimidating serve of Cilic as the Croatian was much more composed than he has been this season.

Just like the match before a critical break in the eleventh game broke the French spirit down and Cilic successfully gained a 2 sets to love lead.

Physicality was a big problem for Tsonga as it seemed it had hit Noah what a poor decision it was to pick Chardy and Tsonga in the team.

A double fault sealed another break for Cilic and the veteran wasn’t about to let this lead slip. Another big smash sealed the match and a comfortable 2-0 lead after day one in Lille.

Tsonga fell to tears as Cilic basked in glory on what could be a crucial day in Croatia’s bid to win a first Davis Cup title since 2005.

Coric Cruises Past Chardy

Earlier in the day, Croatia took a 1-0 lead after an in-form Borna Coric cruised past Jeremy Chardy 6-2 7-5 6-4. Despite a decent start from Chardy he couldn’t keep up with the big-hitting Croat consistently after Coric broke in an 11 minute game to begin the match.

Too many missed first serves saw Coric build on his early momentum as his devastating forehands sealed an early double break lead. As Chardy found his rhythm at the end of the set, Coric’s defence continued to remain firm and after 37 minutes he earned his reward by taking the first set.

Although he’s not a regular pick for the Davis Cup team, Chardy was giving a good account of himself in the second set as he served much better. The world number 40 showed more aggression on his serve but the problem was that there was a lack of pressure being put on Coric’s serve.

Eventually the Croat weathered the Chardy storm to break in the eleventh game and serve out a 2 sets to love lead. Even though Coric had treatment on his fatigued thighs in the third set, the damage was already done to Chardy.

https://twitter.com/DavisCup/status/1065991513241468930

The world number 12 would break early in the third and seal a comfortable first rubber for Croatia in Lille. After the match Coric expressed his delight at victory, “I was very aggressive, I was very calm and I didn’t lose my nerve in the second set. I had a few break points in the second but didn’t take them, but I stayed calm and that was the key I think. I served really well in the important moments.”

Tomorrow’s doubles will see Pierre-Hughes Herbert and Nicolas Mahut take on Ivan Dodig and Mate Pavic. Should Croatia win a well-balanced doubles match then they will lift their first Davis Cup title for 13 years.

 

Davis Cup

EXCLUSIVE Interview With US Davis Cup Captain Mardy Fish: “If Davis Cup Fails, We All Fail”

Mardy Fish takes the reins of the US Davis Cup team and feels very strongly about the new format for the competition: “If you love Davis Cup you have to support it, even with this format”

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After Jim Courier’s resignation from the role of US Davis Cup Captain last September after the defeat in the 2018 semifinal against Croatia, the USTA decided to take their time and make some changes to the duties required by the role. Following Courier’s suggestion that “the new captain should be someone closer in age to the players”, the United States Tennis Association decided to trust former world no.7 Mardy Fish with this important responsibility, also making him a key figure in the Player Development Program, expanding the role of captain into a year-round presence at tournaments around the world to provide a bigger support to players.

While we were covering the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, Mardy found the time to talk to Ubitennis over the phone from his house in California and provided some insight into this new adventure for him.

What can you tell us about your first few months in your new role?

It’s been a fun few months, adjusting from the role of peer to the other players to that of captain. I have found a lot of respect towards me from the other players and this is obviously a great thing. I have always been a huge fan of Davis Cup, I have always said yes whenever I had the opportunity to play it, and it’s an honor to be in this role.

You retired a few years ago from professional tennis: how do you feel about getting back on the road now that your life is structured in a different way?

My life at home has been quite established, with my wife and my two kids, but I have been doing a bit of personal traveling for some exhibitions and for golfing. This role will not require a lot of traveling, I will just do what I need to create some camaraderie in the team: I have spent a few days in Indian Wells, from Tuesday to Saturday, I will be a few days in Miami, then I won’t be around much for the European season and I will travel again to tournaments in the summer. I just need the players to know that they have my support and the support of the USTA if it’s needed.

What do you think about the new formula for the Davis Cup?

I think it’s too early to tell right now, we will find out how it goes. On paper the formula sounds awesome, the time was right for a change, although I’m not sure if it was necessary to make it as drastic as this. I know there are some people that feel very strongly against this new formula, but this means that people are passionate about Davis Cup, they really care about it.
The date in the calendar for the Finals is quite tough though. But at the end of the day, if it’s Davis Cup the majority of players will find a way to participate and I’m convinced we will get an excellent field.
As far as the US Team is concerned, I don’t foresee any availability issue from our players, especially the younger ones: they are very excited about playing for the USA, the National Team is in a lot of conversations among our players. I can’s speak for other countries, I know some of them have pledged not to play with the new format, but what we need to remember is that we are all responsible for Davis Cup: if Davis Cup fails, we all fail, we are all together on the same boat. For example, the Australian players are all very passionate about Davis Cup, they love it, and that is fantastic. But if they don’t support it, it’s not going to work.

With the new formula, a team getting to the final will need to play six ties in seven days: how important do you think it will be to have a ‘long bench’?

I think it will be important to bring players who play only singles and other players who play only doubles. I believe that teams that only have one or two players, as it could be for Russia, and relying on them to play both singles and doubles could get into a bit of a situation should they get to the business end of the competition, because their players may get there quite tired. We are lucky in that sense because we can have someone like Jack Sock who could play doubles leaving the singles guys free to worry about the singles.

Tennis politics have recently made the headlines with Chris Kermode not being renewed as the ATP CEO. What is your take on this?

I have spoken to some of the guys who are in the Players’ Council and once again I need to stress that they do what they do because they act with passion. They are passionate about tennis, they act out of love for the game even if their ranking is not high. I know Kermode personally from when he was the Tournament Directors at the Queen’s Tournament and everything was perfect for me; I don’t have direct experience with him at the helm of the ATP, I had already retired when he took the reins of the organization.

A few weeks ago the ITF decided the composition of the Round Robin phase of the Davis Cup Final and the US team will be in the same group as Italy and Canada. Can you tell us about these teams?

Well, Canada has the right mix of experience and youth: Denis Shapovalov and Felix Auger Aliassime are going to be there for a long time, and Milos [Raonic] will be able to give them all the support they need. Similarly, Italy has an established core of players such as Fabio Fognini and Andreas Seppi that will be supplemented by Marco Cecchinato, whom I know him anyway because he is was my opponent in my last match ever at the US Open.
I am very confident about our chances in this group: we have three top 60 players who are still 21 years old or younger, who are Tiafoe, Fritz and Opelka. Tiafoe has just reached the Quarterfinals of the Australian Open, and that’s not a result that you can improvise, you need to beat good players to get there. They will be the core of our team for the years to come, and they will be helped by more established veterans like John [Isner] or Sam [Querrey].

 

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Davis Cup

BNP Paribas Ends Their 17 Year Sponsorship With Davis Cup

BNP Paribas will no longer sponsor the Davis Cup after 17 years.

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Gerard Pique and David Haggerty (@TennisReporters - Twitter)

BNP Paribas have ended their 17 year title sponsorship with the Davis Cup as they rebrand to the world cup of tennis. 

The move was announced in a press release as BNP Paribas look to focus on sponsoring the Fed Cup as well as the junior and wheelchair events.

It is clear that the move has been finalised due to the Davis Cup’s new 18 team format which will be tested in November this year in Madrid.

Although there has been criticism of the new event this is the first time a sponsorship has been dropped from the Davis Cup and the banking company’s intent.

Head of communications, Bertrand Cizeau, explained his decision, “We decided with the ITF to conclude the ‘Davis Cup by BNP Paribas’ partnership as the competition format evolves,” Cizeau explained.

“During 17 years, we have been happy alongside fans, players and local audiences, all around the world, and to have fuelled their passion during unforgettable matches.”

The move is certainly stunning to the ITF but their president David Haggerty did thank BNP Paribas for their contribution, “BNP Paribas has made a vast contribution to the success of the Davis Cup as a title sponsor over the past 17 years,” Haggerty said.

“We are proud of the great work we have achieved together for Davis Cup, and we look forward to continuing our relationship across a number of properties from the grassroots to the top of the game.”

The dedicated partner will continue to work with the ITF with a variety of schemes and projects including developing the Junior and Wheelchair events.

However with talk of a 12 team Fed Cup event similar to the Davis Cup one, would BNP Paribas stop its partnership with the Fed Cup and how would that impact the ITF?

As for David Haggerty he will now aim to rebrand the competition into the ‘Davis Cup, World Cup Of Tennis,’ as many see this as a significant change in the history of the competition that has now gone on for 118 years.

 

 

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Davis Cup

Davis Cup Finals Tournament Director Asks For Patience Ahead Of November Edition

Davis Cup Finals tournament director Albert Costa is asking for patience as he believes the tournament will be an overwhelming success

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Davis Cup Finals Tournament Director Albert Costa has asked fans for their patience ahead of November’s edition. 

The new format will see 18 teams compete in Madrid in November for the Davis Cup trophy with many people criticising the reforms.

However tournament director Albert Costa has asked tennis fans for patience as he believes in time the Finals will be a success, “After all, it’s one of the great competitions in the world of sports, very attractive, unique and novel for everyone, and for the players it will be a very attractive format,” Costa explained in an interview with Radio Marca.

“I do not see that it will go wrong, people have many expectations, that the first year is complicated and there may be some doubt, but I think it will be a success, I have no doubt. It comes out as we hope we will have patience and we will organize the second edition in a better way, but we do not contemplate that it does not go well.”

The Spaniard is also looking ahead to the future and is in current discussion to make the Fed Cup a combined event with the Davis Cup in the future, “The Federation Cup is a two-year project, we will see if it is viable, but we have it in our heads,” Costa explained.

“We are still negotiating and talking with the ATP to do a joint event and then a larger one of men and women, it is a project but it is not a reality yet. There are opinions for everyone, the changes always generate doubts and we have to show that the competition is attractive to everyone.”

The Davis Cup Finals takes place on the 18th-24th of November with a weakened field expected as Roger Federer, Dominic Thiem, Juan Martin Del Potro and Alexander Zverev will all not participate in Madrid.

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