John Isner Hits Out At ‘Arrogant’ Lleyton Hewitt In Row Over Coach Gimelstob - UBITENNIS
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John Isner Hits Out At ‘Arrogant’ Lleyton Hewitt In Row Over Coach Gimelstob

The American No.1 has criticised calls for his mentor to be removed from the ATP Board.

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World No.10 John Isner has slammed Lleyton Hewitt’s call for his coach Justin Gimelstob to be removed from the ATP Board after he was arrested for alleged assault.

 

Gimelstob is under police investigation after being accused of attacking venture capitalist Randall Kaplan as he walked down the street in West Los Angeles along with his wife and child. Kaplan, who is a former friend of Gimelstob, has claimed that he was hit 50 times during the attack and has since filed for a restraining order. The former tennis player, who works as a commentator and coach, is currently on a $50,000 bail and has taken leave from The Tennis Channel.

“Justin asked Tennis Channel for a leave of absence while he works through this issue. As he is a longtime, valued member of our network family, we of course granted it to him. We believe that in today’s climate, perhaps more than ever, it’s important to recognize due process and the fact that there are multiple sides to every story. We don’t want to rush to immediate judgment, and will follow this closely as more detail comes to light.” A statement from the network reads.

As well as the assault claims, The Telegraph has since outlined a series of other incidents involving the 41-year-old. Including one occasion in 2017 where he had to be ‘restrained by players, officials and spectators’ after trying to choke an opponent at a paddle tennis tournament in America. He has also been previously accused of making homophobic remarks, as well as domestic violence against his ex-wife. Although his lawyer, Shawn Holley, has denied this in a statement sent to metro.co.uk.

“Mr. Gimelstob unequivocally and absolutely denies ever engaging in domestic violence or homophobic behaviour of any kind. Any suggestions to the contrary are false.” Said Holley.

In the wake of the controversy, former world No.1 Lleyton Hewitt has called for Gimelstob to be removed from the ATP Board. Gimelstob has been part of the seven-member board since 2008 and represent players from the Americas region. He has been previously mentioned as a potential successor to ATP CEO Chris Kermode.

‘Innocent until proven guilty’

Responding to Hewitt, Isner has defended Gimelstob. A long-time member of his coaching team. During one stage of Isner’s career, Gimelstob accompanied him on the tour for a three-year period before it was halted by family issues facing the former player.

“Of course Justin is very close to me, as a friend and as a coach,” Isner told reporters on Tuesday, according to ESPN. “But even if he wasn’t, at the current time I would still support him because he’s innocent until proven guilty. We’ll know the facts soon enough. It might not be a popular opinion, but as of now, I have to give Justin benefit of doubt.”

Isner, who won his maiden Masters title in Miami earlier this year, then went on to take a swipe at Hewitt. Bringing up an incident the Australian was involved in during the 2001 US Open. Hewitt, who was 20 at the time, attracted criticism after suggesting during his match against James Blake that the official penalised him because he had a similar skin colour to Blake. He was foot-faulted twice during the third set of the match by a black linesman. Afterwards Hewitt insisted that ‘there was nothing racial said out there’ and Blake gave him the benefit of the doubt.

“I don’t think [Justin] should take a leave right now,” Isner commented on Gimelstob’s position on the ATP Board.
“We don’t know the facts yet. Hewitt doesn’t know the facts, either. He’s the guy who was involved in his own nasty situation with James Blake [at the 2001 US Open], and I’m not calling for his head, or for him to step down from working with Tennis Australia. He’s being arrogant.”

Gimelstob is out on bail until his hearing on December 12th.

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Fabio Fognini and Simone Bolelli beat Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares to reach the quarter final in the Australian Open doubles tournament

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This year’s Sydney Tennis Classic finalists Simone Bolelli and Fabio Fognini knocked out Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares 6-3 6-7 (7-9) 6-3 to reach the quarter finals in the quarter finals at the Australian Open. 

 

The Italian doubles team, who won the Australian Open doubles title in 2015, wasted three break points in the 10-minute opening game. Murray and Soares earned two breaks in the second and sixth games to race out to a 5-1 lead. Bolelli and Fognini saved three break points and pulled back one of the two breaks in the seventh game for 2-5, but Murray and Soares closed out the first set 6-3 on their sixth set point.   

Both players went on serve in the second set en route to the tie-break. Fognini and Bolelli saved a match point before closing out the tie-break on their second set point with a backhand winner. 

Bolelli and Fognini saved a break point in the second game of the third set before breaking twice in the seventh and ninth games to seal the win. The Italian team backed up their second-round win over second seeds Ivan Dodig and Marcelo Melo. 

The Italians set up a quarter final match against last year’s Australian Open finalists Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury. 

Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis overcame Ariel Behar and Gonzalo Escobar 6-4 4-6 6-4 in the third round. The Aussie team had beaten Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic 7-6 (8-6) 6-3 on Kia Arena. 

Kyrgios and Kokkinakis earned their first break in the ninth game to take the first set 6-4. Behar and Escobar broke in the third game to take a 2-1 lead. Kokkinaks and Kyrgios broke straight back in the seventh game before holding serve to draw level to 4-4. Behar and Escobar sealed the second set 6-4 with their second break in the 10th game.

The home team broke in the fifth game and sealed the third set on the first match point. 

“The way Kokkinakis is playing right now, he is obviously very confident after the last month, which is amazing to see. I feel like we are locked in, it’s probably the best doubles we have played together. Another win at the Australian Open, you are not going to take that for granted. I definitely think that we have got a good shot at winning this”, said Kyrgios. 

US Open semifinalists John Peers and Filip Polasek cruised past Kevin Krawietz and Andreas Mies 6-1 6-2. Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos won 85% of their first serve points in their 7-5 7-5 win over Pablo Andujar and Pedro Martinez with a break in each set.

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Madison Keys reaches the quarter finals at the Australian Open for the third time

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Madison Keys cruised into the third quarter final of her career at the Australian Open with a 6-3 6-1 win over last year’s Indian Wells champion Paula Badosa after 69 minutes on Rod Laver Arena. 

 

Keys advanced to her eighth career quarter final at Grand Slam level, the first at the Australian Open since 2018 and the first Grand Slam quarter final since the 2019 French Open. 

Keys, who had just recorded 3 of her 19 previous wins over top 10 players at Grand Slam level, dropped just five points on serve and hit 16 winners to 8 unforced errors in the opening set. 

Keys converted her second break point and held her service game to open up a 3-0 lead. Badosa fended off a total of five break points in the fourth and sixth games of the first set. Keys held her final three service games easily to close the first set 6-3. 

Both players traded breaks in two multi-deuce games before Keys won the next five games with three breaks of serve to close out the second set 6-1. 

Keys has extended her record this year to ten wins in her eleven matches played in 2022.  

“I am really happy with how I played today. I think I served a lot better than I did in the last match. I think I returned well. I had a lot of opportunities to try to move forward. I think just my mindset really let me play play that good tennis. That’s really what I have been trying to focus on, just giving myself the opportunity to allow myself to play tennis like I did today. I think it obviously gets harder just because you get tighter and it’s bigger moments. Even in the finals in Adelaide, I started incredibly nervous and I felt that. Just acknowledging it, accepting it, not trying to fight it and pretend that it’s not happening has been probably the best thing that I have done”, said Keys. 

Keys set up a quarter final against last year’s Roland Garros champion Barbora Krejcikova, who beat two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka 6-2 6-2. Keys praised Krejcikova during the post match interview. 

“I think Barbora is making tennis look easy. It seems like no matter what people are doing. She quickly figures it out and has another game plan to quickly implement. I think the other thing about her is that she is also an incredible doubles player. She moves forward so naturally that I feel like if you give her the opportunity, she is just on top of you all of a sudden, then she is at the net. Obviously, it’s not easy to pass her.  An incredibly difficult match-up”, said Keys. 

Keys said that she has changed her approach to tennis and this has helped her to come back this year. The US player won the Adelaide 2 title beating Alison Riske in the final.  

“My biggest mindset change is just trying to enjoy tennis, take some of that internal pressure that I was putting on myself. It was freezing me. I felt like I could not play at all. Just taking that away and putting tennis into perspective: that it’s a sport, something that when I was little, I enjoyed doing and loved doing it. I was letting it become this dark cloud over me. Just trying to push all of that away and leave that  behind last year and start fresh this year”.  

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Marin Cilic takes down Andrey Rublev to reach the fourth round at the Australian Open

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Marin Cilic upset world number 6 Andrey Rublev 7-5 7-6 (7-3) 3-6 6-3 after 2 hours and 37 minutes to advance to the fourth round at the Australian Open in Melbourne. 

 

Cilic went into the match with just one win in his previous 15 matches against top 10 players and had lost his previous four head-to-head matches against Rublev. 

The Croatian player recorded just his second top 10 win since 2018. That year he reached his first final at the Australian Open finishing runner-up to Roger Federer. 

Cilic earned the first break in the fourth game to take a 3-1 lead. Rublev pulled back on serve in the seventh game to draw level to 4-4. Cilic earned his second break in the 12th game. 

The second set went on serve en route to the tie-break. Cilic got two mini-breaks to take a 5-2 lead. Rublev pulled one break back for 3-5, but Cilc fired down a powerful serve to earn a set point and sealed the tie-break 7-3. 

Rublev saved three break points to hold serve in the first game of the third set. Cilic broke serve in the third game and held serve to take a 3-1 lead. Rublev came back by winning five consecutive game with two breaks in the sixth and eighth games to take the third set 6-3. 

Cilic earned a break point in the fourth game of the fourth set, as Rublev hit a forehand into the net. The Croatian player converted it to open up a 3-1 lead and held serve with his 20th ace. 

Cilic brought up two match points in the ninth game with a slice and sealed the win with an ace down the middle. 

Cilic was strong on serve and fired 24 aces, as he won 85% of his first serve points. 

“It’s incredible. I enjoyed every single second of the match. Andrey is an incredible match. We have played several times in the past and it is always difficult. I had so much fun and I played great tennis. The conditions in the evening were a bit cooler and allowed me to go more for my shots and I was really lining up a lot of them, especially the returns, it was really going well for me today. I am feeling excited, I am playing amazing and I am just looking forward to the next match, which gets tougher and tougher with the opponents, but I will try to give it my best”, said Cilic.

Cilic has improved his head-to-head record to 2-4 against Rublev and will take on Felix Auger Aliassime, who beat Daniel Evans 6-4 6-1 6-1.

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