Roger Federer: "I was a little bit shocked to know that we are going to lose Andy Murray at some point" - UBITENNIS
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Roger Federer: “I was a little bit shocked to know that we are going to lose Andy Murray at some point”

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Twenty-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer is bidding to win the 100th title of his career at the Australian Open in Melbourne. “King” Roger triumphed in the past two editions of the “Happy Slam” at Melbourne Park beating Rafael Nadal in the epic 2017 five-set clash and Marin Cilic last year.

 

Last October Federer won his 99th title at the Swiss Indoor Open in Basel in front of his home fans.

“99 is an incredible number. I am so close to my 100th title. I will give it a go. Every tournament I go to, people might talk about it. I am not trying to look far ahead. If I made 100 at the Australian Open, I would take it. I would gladly accept it and I will give it I have ”, said Federer during the press conference ahead of the Australian Open.

Federer won the Australian Open six times in his career.

“I love watching highlights, with all the music, it’s very emotional. I can’t believe it’s been 20 years, plus juniors, plus qualifying, so it’s been more actually. How good it was to win another five-set thriller in the final last year. It was epic. It was unbelievable. It was a great event and I played great tennis”.

 Federer is looking ahead at a new season with confidence after a good period of training during the off-season.

 “I think I was probably even able to work a bit harder than I thought I was going to. I did not miss any sessions. I was seeking confirmation that my level of play was good from practice. In the off-season I felt great. I think I added on top of it. I came out it actually strong. I am very happy with my preparation thus far. I am super excited that it’s just a day away now from my next match”, said Federer.

Federer showed his support for his British rival Andy Murray, who announced his retirement from tennis due to hip injury.

“I guess everybody can understand where he comes from. At some point when you feel like you are never going to get back to 100 percent, you have had the success that Andy has had, you can understand the decision. I was disappointed and sad, a little bit shocked, to know now that we are going to lose him at some point. But we are going to lose everybody at some point. It’s just now that it’s definite. I hope he can play a good Australian Open, and he can keep playing beyond that, really finish the way he wants to at Wimbledon. That’s what I hope for him. It’s a tough one, but one down the road he can look back on and be incredibly proud of everything he has achieved”,said Federer.

Novak Djokovic will make his debut against US qualifier Mitchell Krueger. The world number 1 player ties Federer’s record of six titles at the Australian Open. In the build-up to the first Grand Slam tournament of the year the Serbian star was beaten by eventual champion Roberto Bautista Agut in the semifinal of the Qatar Open in Doha.

Djokovic has a special relationship to the Australian Open and the city of Melbourne.

“I have had lots of success in Australia in the past. I think it’s also due to that support that I get from the Serbian community, but also people internationally that come to support all the tennis players during the next couple of weeks..They call it the Happy Slam for a reason. There is a lot of vibes and a good buzza round the city. The people of Australia love sport and nurture sporting values. They love their tennis. During these four weeks, you can see a lot of tennis on TV. Everybody follows it. As a tennis player, it’s a great honour and pleasure to be here”, said Djokovic during the pre-tournament press conference.

He made his debut in 2005 as a qualifier losing to Marat Safin. Three years later he won his first Grand Slam title in Melbourne after rallying from a set down against Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the final after clinching wins over Lleyton Hewitt, David Ferrer and Roger Federer. He is bidding to win a record-breaking seventh title in this year’s edition which starts on Monday.

“Historically, the Australian Open has been my most successful Grand Slam. Back in 2008, it was my first Grand Slam trophy that I won. That obviously served as a great springboard for my career. It opened a lot of doors for me. It allowed me to believe in myself that I can actually win the biggest tournaments in the world and challenge the best players in the world”, said Djokovic.

Djokovic also paid tribute to his rival and friend Andy Murray. Both players were born in 1987 and have met on the tennis court many times since the junior tournaments.

“Obviously to see him struggle so much and go through so much pain, it’s very sad and it hurts me as his long-time friend, colleague and rival. I have nurtured a very good relationship with him on and off the court. I am proud to have that kind of relationship that will go on hopefully for many more years, regardless of whether we get to play against each other or not, whether he continues playing whatever happens. I will carry beautiful memories from the court on and off the court with him. It’s sad for me and the sport, because Andy is a very respected and likeable guy around the locker room. He is a great champion. He is legend of this sport, without a doubt. He has had it all”.

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Fabio Fognini Hits Out At ‘Inexplicable’ Disqualification From Barcelona Open

The world No.27 has protested his innocence after losing his temper over a call made by an official.

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Italy’s Fabio Fognini describes the decision to kick him out of the Barcelona Open on Wednesday as a ‘shock’ and has vowed to look further into the matter.

 

The 33-year-old was taking on Spanish qualifier Bernabe Zapata Miralles in the second round of the tournament where he was trailing the match 0-6, 4-4. After losing his temper, the world No.27 is said to have been verbally abusive towards a lines official and was subsequently defaulted from the match for his behaviour. The incident occurred over a line call decision which Fognini didn’t agree with.

On court, he tried to protest his innocence by telling the umpire ‘I didn’t say anything’ but it failed to overturn the decision. Leaving Fognini fuming as he broke his racket on purpose.

Speaking to reporters afterwards, the Italian continued to protest his innocence in the match and said he would ‘investigate’ the matter. It is unclear what he is referring to but players are allowed to make an appeal against any fine if they feel it is unjust.

“I’m really surprised with the ATP, especially the chair umpire and the supervisor, because I was here to play tennis, I was here to fight in the match, and even if I was losing, doesn’t matter,” he said. “But what they did to me was something inexplicable, so I’m going to investigate it, but nothing more, I paid for something that I didn’t do, that’s the first and clearest thing that everybody has to know.”

Zapata Miralles said he was initially unaware of what was going on in his clash with Fognini as he was focusing on closing out the match. Barcelona is only the seventh ATP main draw he has played in so far in his career.

“I was on the other side of the court, I wasn’t listening to be honest,” Tennis Majors quoted the 24-year-old as saying afterwards. “When I saw the referee on the court, I asked the umpire what’s going on. But I was focused on my work on the court, I was thinking on the next point, the next game, on things I had to focus on.”

Fognini has never previously been defaulted from a tennis match but he is no stranger to controversy. At the 2017 US Open he was fined $24,000 for insulting a female chair umpire and at the 2019 Wimbledon Championships he was heard saying ‘I wish a bomb would explode on this club.’ He later apologised for his remarks.

Zapata Miralles will play compatriot Pablo Carreno Busta in the third round.

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Matteo Berrettini beats Marco Cecchinato in all-Italian match in Belgrade

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Number 2 seed Matteo Berrettini beat Marco Cecchinato 6-4 6-3 after 1 hour and 21 minutes in an all-Italian match to advance to the quarter finals at the Serbia Open in Belgrade. 

 

Berrettini broke serve three times and saved all three break points he faced showing that he is returning to his best form after an abdominal injury, which forced him ahead of his fourth-round match at the Australian Open. 

Berrettini saved three break points in the fourth game before earning his first break at 30 in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead. Berrettini dropped just five points in his final three service games to win the first set 6-4. 

Berrettini went up a set and a break at 15 and never looked back in his next service games. He sealed the match 6-3 with his third break in the ninth game. 

This year Berrettini earned three top 15 wins to lead Italy to the ATP Cup in Melbourne. Last week he lost his opening match against Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters. 

“Confidence is something that goes away, it comes back. For sure I know that is my level. I know that I can play that kind of tennis. I work hard to be there, to be in good shape. It was obviously a shame. I work hard to be there, to be in good shape. It obviously was a shame. I was sad about my injury, but I know that I can play well on clay, on grass and on hard-court”, said Berrettini. 

Berrettini set up a match against Serbia’s Filip Krajnovic, who eased past Nikola Milojevic 6-1 6-1. Berretini defeated Krajinovic in their only previous head-to-head match in the Budapest final in 2019. 

“It’s going to be very tough. He is top 10, he is a huge champion. He is very tough to play against. I played him once in the final of an ATP Tour event and he beat me, so I know how to play. It’s going to be very tricky, very tough, but I will give my best playing on my court. We see how it goes”, said Krajinovic. 

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Felix Auger Aliassime battles back to beat Lorenzo Musetti in Barcelona

Felix Auger-Aliassime reached the third round in Barcelona, where he will meet Denis Shapovalov.

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Felix Auger-Aliassime (@BATennisCom - Twitter)

The Canadian needed three sets and over two hours to get the win and set up a third round encounter with his good friend Denis Shapovalov.

 

Felix Auger Aliassime needed two hours and five minutes to beat the Italian Lorenzo Musetti 4-6, 6-3, 6-0 hitting nine aces in the win and setting up his next match with fellow Canadian Denis Shapovalov.

“It’s not always easy, to be honest, now I’m sitting here, I am happy that I won but things were difficult at some point in the match, I was facing breakpoints in the second set again and things got tight so trying to stay calm, trying to find solutions that was the main goal, I mean there was some ups and downs but in the end, I’m happy with the way the match ended, sometimes your not playing your best tennis but you gotta believe and have courage and fight through”.

The Italian got off to a great start earning a breakpoint in the opening game of the match but the Montreal native was able to save it and hold serve. At 1-1, the world number 20 was under pressure once again but hung in to save the breakpoint.

The Canadian got his first breakpoint of the match at 2-1 but this time it was the Italian who would do a good job of saving it. The very next game the world number 87 went back to work trying to get the early break and this time he was able to pull it off with a superb lob to take a 3-2 lead.

He would serve out the first set to take it 6-4 and a comeback was required if the Canadian didn’t want to be upset at the hands of the Italian.

The world number 87 kept it going in the beginning of the second set earning more breakpoints in the opening game but the Canadian would save both and hold serve.

The very next game the number 10 seed would set up two breakpoints with a stunning forehand winner and would break for the first time in the match to take a 2-0 lead.

The next game the Canadian struggled on serve and the Italian earned two more breakpoints and broke right back to go back on serve. At 3-2 the Montreal native would have another chance to break but the world number 87 would save it again.

At 4-3 the Italian started to get tight and the world number 20 earned three more chances to break and this time would break through to take a 5-3 lead and serve out the second set to send it into a decider.

Clearly the momentum was with the Canadian and he would earn three more breakpoints in the opening service game of the third set and broke to take a 1-0 lead.

After consolidating the break he would earn three more breakpoints and break once more to go up a double break. At the changeover Musetti called for the trainer and took a medical timeout to have work on his lower back.

The Canadian didn’t give in and after holding serve once again he would earn more breakpoints and break one more time and would serve out the match to win the decider with a 6-0 bagel.

As mentioned this win sets up a match with Denis Shapovalov on Thursday with both players meeting a total of four times and each player has two wins.

After the match Auger Aliassime spoke about the matchup and gave Ubitennis his thoughts.

“I feel like we played quite a lot lately and the past year so It’s always a challenge to play him, hopefully, I can play a good match, we can have a great battle but it’s always a tough task so I’ll try to rest and get ready as good as I can for the match tomorrow”.

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