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”.
Anett Kontaveit beats Petra Martic to reach the final in Palermo
World number 22 Anett Kontaveit from Estonia upset number 1 seed Petra Martic 6-2 6-4 to reach the final at the Ladies Open in Palermo.
Martic has scored her third win in her seven matches against top 20 players after beating Belinda Bencic and Elina Svitolina.
Kontaveit avenged her defeat against Martic in their only previous match played in Dubai last February before the lockdown.
Kontaveit had to fight to hold her serve in the first game of the opening set at deuce and took control of the match by breaking in the fourth game to open up a 4-1 lead.
Martic won only 56% on her first serve in the opening set. Kontaveit came back from 0-30 down to hold serve in the seventh game before breaking for the second time in the eighth game to win the first set 6-2.
Martic earned an early break in the first game of the second set at deuce, but Kontaveit broke straight back to draw level to 1-1. The Estonian player saved a break point before holding serve to take a 2-1 lead. Kontaveit saved five of the six break points she faced. Kontaveit broke for the second time in the fourth game to open up a 4-1 lead. Martic held serve at 2-5 down before breaking serve at 15 in the ninth game to claw her way back to 4-5. The Croatian player received a medical time-out before Kontaveit for the third time in the tenth game at love to close out the second set 6-4.
Kontaveit will chase her second title in tomorrow’s final three years after winning in S’Hertogenbosch in 2017.
“I felt like I played a very good match today. I was quite aggressive, consistent, and I served especially well in the first set. It got a bit close in the end, but I played a good game at 5-4 and I am happy to be in the final”, said Kontaveit.
Petra Martic comes back from one set down to beat Ludmila Samsonova in Palermo
Top seed Petra Martic from Croatia came back from one set down to beat qualifier and world number 117 Ludmila Samsonova 5-7 6-4 6-2.
Martic saved six break points in the 10th game of the opening set, but Samsonova converted her third break point in the 12th game to win the first set 7-5.
Martic earned an early break in the first game to open up a 2-0 lead. Samsonova broke back at love in the eighth game to draw level to 4-4. Martic broke for the second time in the ninth game to win the second set 6-4. The Croatian player broke twice in the third and seventh games to close out the third set 6-2.
Martic will face world number 50 Aliaksandra Sasnovich from Belarus in the quarter finals. Sasnovich came through the qualifying round before beating Jasmine Paolini in straight sets.
Former top 30 Camila Giorgi rallied from losing the first set to beat Slovenian teenager Kaja Juvan 3-6 6-2 6-4 after 2 hours reaching her second WTA quarter final of the season. Before the outbreak of the Covid-19 outbreak Giorgi reached the top 8 in Lyon. Juvan qualified for the Main Draw at the Australian Open and beat five-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams in three sets at the Abierto Mexicano in Acapulco.
Giorgi started with an early break at deuce at the start of the first set and opened a 2-0 lead. Juvan broke twice to take a 4-3 lead. Giorgi dropped serve for the third time after a double fault on the set point.
Giorgi came back from 1-2 down by winning five consecutive games with two consecutive breaks in the fifth and seventh games.
Giorgi broke twice to race out to a 3-0 lead at the start of the third set. Juvan pulled one break back at love in the fourth game but Giorgi got another break to race out to a 5-1 lead. Juvan broke at 30, when Giorgi was serving for the match at 5-2. The Italian player earned two match points and sealed the win on her second chance.
“I think I was more solid in playing my game. I was moving more forward, so it was much for me. At the start of the match, I was making too many tactical mistakes because I was trying to finish points for no reason. I started to adopt better tactics in the second set and that’s when things started working for me”, said Giorgi.
Number 4 seed Anett Kontaveit from Estonia came back from one set down to beat Laura Siegemund 3-6 6-2 6-2 after 2 hours and 20 minutes booking her spot in the quarter finals at the Palermo Ladies Open.
The Estonian player has reached her third quarter final this year after the Australian Open and Dubai.
Kontaveit set up a quarter final against Elisabetta Cocciaretto, who became the youngest Italian player to reach the quarter final of a tournament since Sara Errani in 2006.
“I am quite happy about the way I was handling close situations, playing the close games and turning the close games around. I thought I actually handled that sort of pressure, that I didn’t think I would be used to, quite well”, said Kontaveit.
Andrea Gaudenzi recognizes the contribution of the Italian Tennis Federation in staging the Internazionali d’Italia
ATP President and former Italian tennis player Andrea Gaudenzi spoke in an interview to Italian TV channel Supertennis about staging the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome before the French Open and recognised the contribution of the Italian tennis Federation (FIT) in staging the tournament in the Italian capital.
The Rome ATP Masters 1000 and WTA Premier 5 tournaments will be held from 20th to 27th September one week before the French Open (27th September to 11th October).
“We are grateful to everyone, holding an event this year is difficult from an organizational and financial point of view. We thank the Italian Federation and those who organize the Challengers. Italy is making a great contribution. I think the players are waiting for the BNL Internazionali d’Italia. The Foro Italico is among the most beautiful venues in the world. Rome is splendid in September”, said Gaudenzi.
During his tennis career Gaudenzi scored wins over Roger Federer in Rome 2002, Pete Sampras in the first round of the 2002 French Open, Jim Courier in the 1994 US Open, Goran Ivanisevic, Thomas Muster, Michael Stich and Yevgeny Kafelnikov. Gaudenzi claimed three ATP titles in Casablanca in 1998, St. Poelten and Bastad in 2002. He graduated in law at the Bologna University and obtained a MBA with Honours at IUM.
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