Former Top 10 Player Nicolas Almagro Announces Retirement - UBITENNIS
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Former Top 10 Player Nicolas Almagro Announces Retirement

It is the end of an era for the Spaniard as he embarks upon a new challenge in the sport.

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Nicolas Almagro (photo copyright @Gianni Ciaccia)

Nicolas Almagro has confirmed that this week will be his last taste of competitive tennis before he quits the sport for good.

 

The 33-year-old announced his decision in a special press conference at the Murcia Club de Tenis 1919. Venue of the Murcia Open, which is a Challenger event currently taking place. Almagro has missed large chunks of the tour in recent months due to a left knee injury and is currently without a ranking. The last match he won was at the Metz Open back in September 2017. Since then he has only been able to participate in seven tournaments, including this week.

“I want to do it here, in my Club, with my family, my friends, in my city and in this wonderful tournament that is the Murcia Challenger Open.” Punto de Break quoted Almagro as saying.
“I have given everything to tennis and tennis has given everything to me,” he added.

At the height of his career, the Spaniard was once ranked ninth in the world and finished every season inside the world’s top 35 between 2006-2013. On the ATP Tour he won 13 titles with all of them occurring on the clay. In total, he has won 279 matches on the clay, which is the third highest among active players (per atptour.com). Only Rafael Nadal and David Ferrer have won more.

A four-time grand slam quarter-finalist, Almagro’s later career was marred heavily by injury. He made headlines during the 2017 French Open when he was consoled on court by Juan Martin del Potro after injuring his knee.

In the Davis Cup, he achieved a win-loss of 8-4 for Spain. Playing in every tie during 2012 when Spain reached the final before losing 3-2 to the Czech Republic. He also played in the team event in 2008 and 2010.

In his farewell tournament, the former world No.9 will play in both singles and doubles alongside Puerto Rico’s Juan Antonio Marin at the Murcia Open. Almagro hasn’t won a Challenger title since 2015.

“It hurts me to participate only in the first edition, but I will give my best and I hope to be playing all week,” he said.

During his 16-year career, the Spaniard has achieved 19 wins over top 10 players, including Nadal, and has earned just over $10.7 million in prize money.

Almagro will remain involved in tennis beyond his retirement. On the same day as his announcement, it was confirmed that he has been appointed the new director of the La Manga Club. A tennis academy located in his home city of Murcia.

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(VIDEO) Novak Djokovic Makes Tearful Tribute To Mentor Kobe Bryant After Australian Open Win

The world No.2 pays his respect to ‘one of the greatest athletes of all time’ on the Rod Laver Arena.

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Novak Djokovic posing for a photo ahead of his quarter-final match with Milos Raonic at the Australian Open (image via https://twitter.com/AustralianOpen)

World No.2 Novak Djokovic shed tears following his quarter-final win over Milos Raonic after paying tribute to NBA legend Kobe Bryant.

 

The 16-time grand slam champion took to the Rod Laver Arena wearing a green zip-up top. On the top right of his jacket with Bryant’s initial along with the numbers 8 and 24. The jersey numbers Bryant worn throughout his 20-year NBA career with the LA Lakers. A love heart was also placed under the numbers on Djokovic’s top.

“’I don’t know what we could say. It really caught us by surprise.” An emotional Djokovic said during his on-court interview with John McEnroe on Tuesday.
‘He was one of the greatest athletes of all time, he inspired myself and many other people around the world. I had that fortune to have a personal relationship with him over the last 10 years.’
‘When I needed some advice and support, he was there for me. He was my mentor, my friend, it’s just heartbreaking to see what has happened to him and his daughter. It’s unbelievable.’

Bryant was killed on Sunday in a helicopter crash that also claimed the life of his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others. As an athlete, he achieved numerous milestones. Including being named the 2008 NBA Most Valuable Player and two-time NBA Finals MVP. He was also a two-time Olympic gold medallist and played in 18 All Star Games.

Just days before Bryant’s death, Djokovic spoke about their friendship during an interview with ESPN. Praising him for the support he received during his elbow injury and fall in the rankings during 2017 and the start of 2018. Reflecting on the conversations the two have had, he said he received some ‘valuable guidance.’

“Kobe has been one of my mentors,” Djokovic told ESPN. “I’ve had several phone conversations with him and also of course when we see each other live in the past couple of years. When I was going through the injury with my elbow and struggling to mentally and emotionally handle all of these different things that were happening to me and dropping in the Rankings and then having to work my way up, he was one of the people who was really there for me to give me some very valuable advice and guidelines to kind of believe and trust in myself, trust the process that I’ll be back.”

Djokovic will play Roger Federer in the semi-finals of the Australian Open.

The tribute can be watched below (from 00:30 to 01:40)

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Dominic Thiem reaches his first quarter final at the Australian Open

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Dominic Thiem eased past Gael Monfils 6-2 6-4 6-4 after 1 hour and 50 minutes on the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne to reach the quarter final at the Australian Open. Thiem has extended his winning streak to 6-0 in his head-to-head matches against Monfils.

 

He fought back from two sets to one down to beat Australia’s Alex Bolt in the second round, but he won eight of his past nine sets to advance to the quarter finals.

Thiem got two breaks in the first set and never faced a single break point in the entire match. The Austrian player converted his fourth break point after three deuces, as Monfils missed a backhand volley wide. Thiem started the third set with an early break in the first game, as Monfils hit an inside-out forehand wide from the middle of the court wide. Thiem won his next service games and held his final game at love.

Thiem will face Rafael Nadal in a re-match of last year’s Roland Garros final.

“I think that I played my best match so far at this year’s Australian Open. It’s a very good feeling. The score looks way easier than the match was. I think I was lucky to make an early break in each set and I was managing to hold my serve well. I am so happy because I am in the quarter final here for the first time”, said Thiem.

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Alexander Zverev tops Andrey Rublev to set Australian Open quarter final against Stan Wawrinka

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Alexander Zverev beat his friend Andrey Rublev 6-4 6-4 6-4 in one hour and 37 minutes to reach the quarter final at the Australian Open for the first time in his career and his third at Grand Slam level.

 

Zverev broke serve once in each set. The German player has not dropped a set at this year’s edition of the Australian Open.

Zverev ended Rublev’s 15-match winning streak. Rublev had not lost a match since October, winning four matches at the Davis Cup last November and back-to-back titles in Doha and Adelaide.

In the opening set Zverev earned his first break at 3-3, as Rublev hit a forehand into the net. He held his serve to consolidate the break and wrapped up the first set after 29 minutes, when Rublev hit a crosscourt backhand wide.

Zverev started the second set with an immediate break in the first game of the second set and closed it out with a hold at love with an ace after 29 minutes.

Zverev broke serve for the third time in the match in the ninth game of the third set to take a 5-4, when Rublev made a groundstroke error, and sealed the win with a forehand volley.

“It feels amazing. I played some great matches against some great opponents. This is Andrey’s first loss of the season, having won two tournaments and getting through to the fourth round with unbelievable tennis. I have known Andrey since we were ten years old. I think he will be top 15, top 10 very soon. I am just happy and I hope I can continue”,said Zverev.

Zverev will face Stan Wawrinka in the quarter final. The German star beat Wawrinka twice in their previous two head-to-head matches in St. Petersburg 2016 and Miami 2017.

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