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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Stan Wawrinka battles past Andreas Seppi in five sets to reach the third round in Melbourne

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Former Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka rallied from losing the first set to beat Andreas Seppi 4-6 7-5 6-3 3-6 6-4 after 3 hours and 36 minutes reaching the third round for the first time in three years.

 

Wawrinka went up an early break in the second game to take a 3-0 lead. Seppi broke back in the fifth game and held his serve to draw level to 3-3. Seppi broke for the second time with his forehand after two deuces in the 9th game and served out the first set at 15 in the 10th game.

Wawrinka earned three break points at 2-3 in the second set, but Seppi saved them. The Italian player saved another break point chance with his backhand at 3-4, before breaking serve in the ninth game.

Wawrinka broke back in the 10th game, when Seppi was serving for a two-set lead at 5-4 in the second set, and earned his second consecutive break in the 12th game to win the second set 7-5.

In the third set Wawrinka earned two break points with a forehand return. The Swiss player converted his second chance with a crosscourt forehand return winner and held his next service games to win the third set 6-3.

Seppi saved four break points in the seventh game of the fourth set before breaking serve in the eighth game. After going down a break at 3-4 in the fifth set, Wawrinka claimed two consecutive breaks in the 8th and 10th games to seal the win. Wawrinka secured his spot in the third round, where he will face Chile’s Alejandro Tablio 6-4 6-3 6-3.

“It was a tough five-setter that could have gone either way. I kept fighting and I am super happy to get through. The match against Isner will be tough. He is a very dangerous player. You don’t get a lot of opportunities. You need to stay strong, be aggressive, try to make him play as much as possible. That’s it. Stay positive all the match”,said Wawrinka.

 

 

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Andrey Rublev overcomes Yuichi Sugita to reach the third round at the Australian Open

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Number 17 seed and this year’s Doha and Adelaide champion Andrey Rublev extended his winning streak to ten consecutive matches with a 6-2 6-3 7-6 (7-5) win over Japan’s Yuichi Sugita after 1 hour and 53 minutes.

 

Rublev won 38 of his 42 first-service points and 8 of his 10 net points. Rublev earned two consecutive breaks in the seventh and ninth games to win the second set. Both players held serve in the third set. Sugita saved the only break point in the 12th game to hold his serve. Rublev sealed the tie-break 7-5 on his second match point.

The 22-year-old Russian player has dropped just three sets in ten matches and won back-to-back titles in Doha and Adelaide in the first two weeks of the 2020 season.

Rublev hit 20 aces and dropped only four first serve points and never faced a break point.

“The back injury was really tough. Even when I already started to play, I was feeling that I was still not there. Even when I came back after the back injury, it took me four, five months to start again to feel I am here, I am playing tennis again. I started telling to myself: “Try to enjoy, you are on court. Then, when the wrist injury happened, at the beginning it was even worse. Finally, when I play my first tournament, and actually I lost my first match, it was in Halle, I was 7-6 in the third against Mats Moraing. Inside I was feeling that even though I lost, I was a little bit happy that I am here. I am playing. I am enjoying it. From that time, I started to play better and better every week”.  

Rublev set up a third-round match against David Goffin, who beat Pierre Hughes Herbert 6-1 6-4 4-6 1-6 6-3. Rublev earned two breaks of serve in the second and sixth games to win the first set 6-1. The Belgian player went up a double break in the fifth and seventh games to take a 5-2 lead. Herbert pulled one break back in the eighth game at love for 3-5. Goffin served out the second set in the 10th game. Goffin got an early break in the third game to take a 2-1 lead. Herbert broke back in the sixth game to draw level to 3-3. Herbert sealed the third set 6-4 with a break in the 10th game. Herbert earned two breaks to race out to a 4-0 lead. Goffin got one break back in the fifth game at deuce, but he dropped his serve for the third time to lose the fourth set 1-6.

In the fifth set Herbert broke serve in the third game to take a 2-1 lead, but Goffin broke straight back in the fourth game to draw level to 2-2. Both players traded breaks in the sixth and seventh games. Goffin sealed the win with a break in the eighth game to seal a thrilling win after 3 hours and six minutes.

Ernests Gulbis beat Aljaz Bedene 7-5 6-3 6-2 in 2 hours and 20 minutes. Gulbis saved all eight break points and broke four times. Gulbis sealed the first set with a late break at 6-5. The Latvian player got another break in the fifth game to clinch the second set 6-3 and raced out to a 6-2 win in the third set with two breaks of serve.

Gael Monfils came back from losing the first set to beat Croatian veteran Ivo Karlovic 4-6 7-6 (10-8) 6-4 7-5. Monfils dropped his serve in the first game of the opening set. Karlovic missed a set point in the tie-break of the second set. Monfils earned two breaks in the third and fourth games to close out the match.

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Daniil Medvedev Eyes Further Improvement Despite Straight Sets Win At Australian Open

The world No.4 rates his performance so far in the grand slam tournament.

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Daniil Medvedev (image via https://twitter.com/AustralianOpen)

Fourth seed Daniil Medvedev believes he is yet to reach full throttle at the Australian Open after cruising into the third round of the tournament with a straight sets victory.

 

The US Open runner-up eased to a 7-5, 6-1, 6-3, win over Spanish qualifier Pedro Martinez Portero. Who was playing in the main draw of a grand slam for only the second time in his career at the age of 22. Dropping serve only one during the match, Medvedev blasted 19 aces and 40 winners past his rival. He also won 74% of his first service points.

Through to the last 32 in Melbourne Park for the second year in a row, the 23-year-old still believes that he could improve further on the court. Earlier in the week he also defeated Frances Tiafoe, who was a quarter-finalist at the Australian Open last year.

“I think there are still some things to improve. I think I could be more aggressive few moments of the match.” Said Medvedev.
“At the same time when you win three sets, you don’t want to discuss too much your level or something.’
“Of course, my next match is going to be completely different, so I’m happy with the win and happy to finally win in three sets without a tiebreak.”

As well as battling Martinez on the court, Medvedev was also forced to temporarily halt his match due to a nose bleed. Which occurred during the second set when he was leading 5-0. The Russian insisted that his bleed was not tension related and is something he has gotten used to.

“Let’s say it happens maybe two times a year or maybe once.” He said.
“I remember it actually happened last year Australian Open in first round. I think it was the only time last year, so it can happen sometimes but it’s nothing.”

Medvedev is one of a group of players who have been tipped to break the dominance of the Big Three in grand slam tennis this year. A group consisting of Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer. Last year he won 59 matches on the ATP Tour, which was more than anybody else.

Despite the high expectations, the world No.4 is playing down the hype surrounding him. Branding the Australian Open as ‘just another slam.’ It was during the last major at New York, where he reached his first final before losing to Nadal in three sets.

“I don’t know about other people, but for me, it’s just another slam where I have to win round by round again and again, where I had two tough rounds in my opinion in terms of games, especially the first one against Frances.” He stated.
“So I just take it as any new tournament, as an ATP one, any tournament I play. I just take it round by round. I try to win my matches.”

This year, Medvedev is seeking to go beyond the round round in Melbourne for the first time in his career.

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