Novak Djokovic Triumphs At ATP Awards Alongside Rising Stars Tsitsipas And De Minaur - UBITENNIS
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Novak Djokovic Triumphs At ATP Awards Alongside Rising Stars Tsitsipas And De Minaur

The winners of the 2018 ATP World Tour Awards have been announced.

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Comeback kid Novak Djokovic is the biggest winner at this year’s ATP World Tour Awards presented by Moët & Chandon.

 

Djokovic, who reclaimed the world No.1 position on Monday, has been voted the comeback player of the year following his stellar second part of the season. The Serbian returned to action in January after missing six months of the tour due to an elbow injury. After a mixed start to the season, where he underwent further surgery on his elbow in February, he has become a dominant force. Since June he has won four titles, including two at grand slam tournaments. Overall, he has won 31 out of 33 matches played on the tour since Wimbledon. His only losses was to Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas at the Rogers Cup and Karen Khachanov at the Paris Masters.

The 31-year-old has also secured the year-end No.1 position. It is the fifth time he has done so in his career and the first since 2015. In May he was ranked 22nd in the world. Djokovic’s coach, Marian Vajda, was also recognized for his achievements on the tour. Vajda reunited with Djokovic back in April. He has been voted Coach Of The Year by his peers.

20-time grand slam champion Roger Federer has once again topped the fans’ favourite category. It is the 16th consecutive year that he has been given the accolade, which is determined by popular vote. Federer currently has a Twitter following of 12.3 million people and a Facebook fan base of 14.6 million. A recent survey by YouGov named him the most popular tennis personality in the UK.

Rafael Nadal received the Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship award for the first time since 2010. An award that is given to players with the ‘highest level of professionalism and integrity’ that also promote tennis through off-court activities. Nadal only played in nine tournaments in 2018, but won five of those. Including a record 11th French Open trophy.

Next Gen duo recognised

As well as familiar faces, rising stars of the tour also shined. 20-year-old Tsitsipas was named Most improved player after setting a series of milestones for his country. The world No.15 has become the first Greek player to reach the last 16 of a grand slam (Wimbledon) and the First Greek man to win a ATP title. He is also the highest ranked player from his country in the history of the ATP rankings.

Meanwhile, Alex de Minaur is the first Australian to be named most improved player of the year since Mark Philippoussis back in 1995. De Minaur started the season at 209th in the world, but has climbed to a current ranking high of 31st. He has featured in two ATP Finals in Sydney and Washington.

Both Tsitsipas and de Minaur are playing in this week’s Next Gen Finals in Milan. Should they win their matches on Friday, they will play each other in the final on Saturday.

Full list of winners

  • ATP World Tour No. 1 – Novak Djokovic
  • Comeback Player of the Year – Novak Djokovic
  • ATP World Tour No. 1 Doubles Team – Oliver Marach & Mate Pavic
  • Most Improved Player of the Year – Stefanos Tsitsipas
  • Newcomer of the Year – Alex de Minaur
  • Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award – Rafael Nadal
  • Arthur Ashe Humanitarian of the Year – Tommy Robredo
  • ATP Coach of the Year – Marian Vajda
  • ATPWorldTour.com Fans’ Favourite (Singles) – Roger Federer
  • ATPWorldTour.com Fans’ Favourite (Doubles) – Mike Bryan & Jack Sock
  • Ron Bookman Media Excellence Award – Sue Barker
  • ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Tournament of the Year – BNP Paribas Open (Indian Wells)
  • ATP World Tour 500 Tournament of the Year – Fever-Tree Championships (Queen’s Club)
  • ATP World Tour 250 Tournament of the Year – Intrum Stockholm Open (Stockholm)

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Demoralized Alex De Minaur Says He Is Mentally Struggling After French Open Loss

Less than a month after achieving his best ever result in a Grand Slam, the 21-year-old is ‘not happy’ with his form at the moment as he tries to get the spark back.

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Australia’s top player says he needs to take a ‘long hard look in the mirror’ after crashing out in the first round of the French Open.

 

Alex de Minaur, who was the 25th seed in the men’s draw, fell in straight sets to Italian qualifier and former semi-finalist Marco Cecchinato. The loss continues his lacklustre record at Roland Garros where he has only won one match in four appearances. Although the Australian admits that he is at a loss following his most recent defeat at the clay court major.

“I’m going through probably this rough patch, and everyone has it, but at the moment it’s what I’m dealing with,” he said.
“I’m not happy with where I am, not happy with what I’m showing on court. So it’s a little bit demoralizing in itself that I can’t come out and play the tennis that I want to and that I know I can.”

The mood of the 21-year-old is a stark contrast to that of a couple weeks ago at the US Open. In New York de Minaur achieved a new milestone in his career after reaching the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam for the first time in his career before getting knocked out by Dominic Thiem. The person who went on to win the men’s title.

It is the mental part of his game that de Minaur says he is struggling with the most. Echoing similar comments from David Goffin following his loss to Jannik Sinner in Paris. For the world No.27 he believes the only way to get out of his slump is to win matches. De Minaur also lost in the first round of the Italian Open to Germany’s Dominik Koepfer prior to Roland Garros.

“I’m not one to make excuses. At the end of the day, I just didn’t perform the way I wanted to. I’ve had two matches where I missed out on countless opportunities. And I believe that is what I needed to gain some confidence and some momentum,” De Minaur reflected on his current form.
“It’s a pity because a sport like tennis is very based on results, everything. Mentally, it’s a lot based on results. So you can do all the right things and be training well, be feeling physically fit, feeling mentally well, but if you go into a match and you’re not getting those results, then it almost feels like nothing of that counts.”

It is unclear as to what the next move for De Minaur will be as he refuses to rule out the possibility of taking a short break from tennis ahead of the new season. He has now lost in the first round in three out of his four most recent tournaments since the Tour restarted back in August.

“It’s bizarre because I’m basically coming off my career best in a Grand Slam. So obviously there are a lot of things that I need to just clear my head out and almost just maybe not putting as much pressure on myself, that’s probably one of the things,” he said.
“I don’t know what I’m going to do but hopefully whatever I decide to do, it will help me out and I can get back to where I want to be.”

As de Minaur exits France, his conqueror Cecchinato will play Argentina’s Juan Ignacio Londero in the second round.

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Alexander Zverev Motivated To Prove Critics Wrong As He Eyes Deep Run At French Open

The German tennis star weighs up his chances of glory at Roland Garros.

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Alexander Zverev at the US Open 2020 (photo Twitter @usopen)

Playing in his first match since narrowly missing out on his maiden Grand Slam trophy Alexander Zverev returned back to winning ways on Sunday evening at the French Open.

 

Zverev, who is seeded sixth in this year’s draw, recovered from a 2-5 deficit to defeat Austria’s Dennis Novak 7-5, 6-2, 6-4 Court Philippe Chatrier, whose roof remained open despite it drizzling with rain. The match was a test for Zverev due to a number of reasons. Not only did he have to contend with the cold and breezy conditions, it was his first competitive match on the clay and his first since losing to Dominic Thiem in the US Open final 14 days ago.

“Conditions are obviously very different than the US Open. First of all, we play on a different surface. Then we play in very cold temperatures,” Zverev told reporters.
“I’m happy to get through because Dennis is somebody that plays well on this surface. He can beat good players.”

A lot has changed for Zverev when it comes to playing in the majors since his last Roland Garros appearance. This year he has already reached the semi-finals of the Australian Open, as well as the final in New York. A big turnaround for a player who was once criticised for not shining when it comes to playing in the major tournaments. Although the French Open is still the only Grand Slam where he has reached the quarter-finals twice.

“I’m probably the third-best player this year when it comes to slam results after Novak and after Dominic,” he said.
“I obviously do want to win one, win more than one. I was two points away on multiple occasions in New York. That obviously was very upsetting, and in a way frustrating, but at the same time I know how close I’ve gotten. I had one hand on the trophy, but I do believe that I can win them now. “

The question is will Roland Garros be the place where he will win his first major title? When asked what he did between the US Open and now to address any issues with his second serve, the witty German played down any negatively by replying ‘I was on a boat doing nothing at all. Then I came here (Paris) to practice.’

Jokes aside Zverev is becoming a more prominent contender for the biggest titles of the sport. Although he admits that doing so at the French Open this year will be hard work for him.

“Obviously it’s not going to be the easiest slam for me with how the conditions are, with how the preparation was for me. But we’ll see how it goes now, the French Open and the following years to come, as well,” he stated.

Up next for Zverev will be a second round meeting with either France’s Pierre-Hugues Herbert or American qualifier Michael Mmoh.

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Stan Wawrinka Crushes Below-Par Murray In French Open Showdown

The clash of the former Grand Slam champions turned out to be a one-man show.

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Stan Wawrinka’s much talked about first round clash with Andy Murray failed to live up to expectations as the former French Open champion powered his way to a comprehensive victory.

 

The 16th seed was rarely troubled throughout his dominating 6-1, 6-3, 6-2, victory on the Philippe-Chatrier Court, which was played without the roof unlike earlier matches. Wawrinka’s largely one-sided performance saw him break his lacklustre opponent six times as he hit 42 winners to 27 unforced errors. Avenging his loss to Murray in the final of the European Open last year and narrowing his head-to-head deficit to 9-12.

“It was obviously an extremely tough draw. Even if I played very well it would have been no guarantees that I win that match,” Murray said afterwards.
“I also didn’t play well. I served like under 40% first serves in the court, which that’s just not good enough, really, against anyone, and especially someone as good as Stan. You want to be serving in the 60%, that sort of region. You won’t see many players serve under 40% the rest of the tournament. That’s just not good enough.”

Sunday’s encounter was the first time the two have locked horns with each other in Paris since the 2017 semi-finals where Wawrinka prevailed. Since that meeting, both players have experienced a roller coaster journey with each having their own injury setbacks. Especially for Murray, who has undergone two hip operations and hadn’t played a competitive match on the clay for three years.

35 minutes was all that it took Wawrinka to clinch the opening set with 23 of those occurring over the first three games. In cold and damp conditions both players struggled at times but the world No.17 had the ability to hit through some slow balls and punish Murray for not hitting deep enough into the court. Despite dominating the opener Wawrinka only managed to get 33% of his first serves in.

Extending his stronghold by breaking midway through the second frame Wawrinka continued to tame Murray. The Brit showed little emotion on the court and at times unusually looked to be contempt with how the match was going. There were glimmers of world class shots from the former world No.1 but they were too inconsistent to turn around his fortunes. Meanwhile, Wawrinka continued to thrive in the conditions as he clinched a two-set lead with a forehand winner.

Closing in on victory, he continued to frustrate his opponent early on in the third set. After breaking a tentative Murray once again, he then came back from a 0-40 deficit in the following to open up a 2-0 lead. From then on the outcome of the match was a foregone conclusion as Wawrinka sealed victory with the help of an ace down the centre of the court six games later.

“For sure I wasn’t expecting that. I know Andy so well, we known each other so well for many, many years, had some amazing matches together,” Wawrinka commented on his latest victory.
“We practiced the first day I arrive here, and it was a tough practice .So I was expecting a tough match. I was really focused with a champion like Andy, even if the scoreboard is one-sided like today, you have to keep focus.
“You never know what can happen. I’m really happy with what I have done on the court. Great to be back, great to feel that way, and looking forward for the next match.”

Wawrinka will play Germany’s Dominik Koepfer in the second round who recently reached the quarter-finals of the Italian Open before losing to Novak Djokovic.

I saw him play last week. So I expect he’s in full confidence. He won a lot of matches against some top guys. So it’s going to be interesting match,” Wawrinka previewed.
“I never played or practice with him, so it’s gonna be a completely different match. Hopefully I can keep playing well.”

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