‘Give Him A Little Break’ - Rivals Djokovic, Nadal Rally Around Alexander Zverev - UBITENNIS
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‘Give Him A Little Break’ – Rivals Djokovic, Nadal Rally Around Alexander Zverev

The two grand slam champions speak out about the German player’s recent performance on the tour.

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Alexander Zverev (photo by Chryslène Caillaud, copyright @Sport Vision)

MADRID: With 1000 points to defend at this week’s Madrid Open, Alexander Zverev faces a stern test during what has been a turbulent season both on and off the court.

 

Since winning the ATP Finals in November, the German has only reached the quarter-finals or better in two out of eight tournaments. Doing so in Acapulco, where he finished runner-up to Nick Kyrgios, as well as a quarter-final appearance in Munich. Overall, he has won 11 out of 19 matches played heading into this week (excluding the Davis Cup).

“I’m happy with how things are improving. I’m happy I’m starting to play better and starting to feel more confident and I think every week that I play is going to get better and better.” Zverev said earlier this week.

Away from this tour, Zverev has also endured a tough time. He is currently in a legal battle with his former manager Patricio Apey, who is arguing his contract with the player is still valid. On top of that, he recently separated from his girlfriend Olga Sharypova.

Zverev’s 2019 record
Australian Open – R4
Acapulco – RU
Indian Wells – R3
Miami – R2
Marrakech – R2
Monte Carlo – R3
Barcelona – R2
Munich – QF

Despite his roller coaster journey in recent months, two of Zverev’s prime rivals have backed him to regain his form. He is the only active player outside of the Big Four to win three or more Masters 1000 titles. Overall, Zverev has 10 ATP trophies to his name.

“He won this tournament (Madrid) last year and he possesses the quality and as a player, he possesses the game that will get him in a position to win any tournament on any surface, really. He has proven that.” Novak Djokovic said of the world No.4.
“I think you guys have to give him a little break. I know the expectations are high. But, look, he’s a great guy. He loves the sport. I have known him for a long time. And he’s dedicated. He’s got a good team of people around him. He has won some big events. He’s proven that he belongs to the top and he is still there.”

Guided by Ivan Lendl on the tour, some are wondering what needs to be done to help Zverev overcome his current demons. He is not the first player to experience problems. Rafael Nadal is also experiencing a troublesome 2019, which is partly due to injury as well as a recent bout of illness.

In Nadal’s eyes, Zverev doesn’t require any advice from him. Instead, he outlined that the process is different for every player.

“I’m nobody to tell him what he needs. He has a great team around him, family around him. And probably he will receive the right advice for everything, for his education, for his tennis and for all the things that really matter in his life.” He said.
“Tennis is just a part of the life of all of us. There are a lot of things that are more important than tennis in this world and that’s it. It is not a drama, to lose a couple of matches. He’s a great player and he will fight for the most important things.”

Zverev starts his title defense in Madrid on Wednesday against David Ferrer, who is retiring from the sport this week. He will be hoping the lightning doesn’t strike twice after losing to the Spaniard in Miami earlier this year.

Points Zverev is defending for the rest of the clay swing

– Madrid: 1000 (champion)
– Rome: 600 (runner-up)
– Roland Garros: 360 (quarter-finalist)
TOTAL = 1960 points

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REPORT: Former Spanish Tennis Star In Talks To Coach Alexander Zverev

A former world No.3 could be returning to the Tour later this year in a new position.

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Tennis sensation Alexander Zverev could soon be mentored by somebody whose career he ended last year at the Madrid Open.

 

Spanish newspaper Marca have reported that the world No.7 is set to enter in a 15-day trial with former French Open finalist David Ferrer where the two will get to know each other better. Ferrer has reportedly travelled to Monte Carlo to start working alongside Germany’s top player. Should everything go well, the two could start a formal partnership in September ahead of the European clay-court swing of the Tour, which has been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Both men are already fairly familiar with each other after facing off nine times on the ATP Tour, including three times last year. Zverev was the last player Ferrer played against at the Madrid Open before officially retiring from the sport at the age of 37.

“He’s the most respectful guy for me on Tour, and one of the most loved people on the Tour as well,” Zverev told reporters in the Spanish capital following their match.

Whilst never winning a Grand Slam, Ferrer achieved numerous accolades throughout his career. Including spending 4914 consecutive days in the world’s top 50, winning 27 ATP titles and achieving a ranking high of No.3 back in 2013. Overall, he has played 1011 matches on the ATP Tour (including Grand Slams) which is more than John McEnroe.

Should Ferrer receive the green light, Zverev will be the first high-profile player he will be responsible for. The Spaniard had previously hinted at his desire to enter coaching with his long time objective being to captain the Spanish Davis Cup team. He is also currently serving as the tournament director of the Barcelona Open.

“I would be very proud to be able to be (Davis Cup captain),” Ferrer told Marca in April 2019. “I also understand that this is very far away and there are players who are ahead. First, I have to train as a professional in teaching (coaching).”

Neither Ferrer or Zverev has publicly commented on the report. At present Zverev is coached on the Tour by his father who guided him to the semi-finals of the Australian Open in January.

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Father Of Dominic Thiem Condemns Criticism Of Novak Djokovic’s Role In Adria Tour Fiasco

Wolfgang Thiem has come to the defence of the world No.1 before suggesting that COVID-19 cases among players at charity events are worth it.

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The father of world No.3 Dominic Thiem has said it is ‘too cheap’ to blame Novak Djokovic over the outbreak of COVID-19 at the controversial Adria Tour.

 

Wolfgang Thiem lent his support behind the 17-time Grand Slam champion during an interview with Austrian newspaper Die Presses on Friday. The Adria Tour, which was founded by Djokovic, was cancelled following an outbreak of the virus during the Zadar leg of the event in Croatia with Grigor Dimitrov being the first player to confirm a positive test. Shortly after, Djokovic and Borna Coric also tested positive as well as some coaching staff. Viktor Troicki also contracted COVID-19, but only played the first leg of the Tour in Belgrade.

Throughout the Belgrade and Zadar events organisers were criticised for a lack of social distancing being applied. Players were seen playing basketball matches, attending nightclubs and interacting with the public. Although all of those actions were in line with local government rules.

“I do not approve of what happened on the Adria Tour, but condemning Djokovic and saying he screwed it up is too cheap for me,” Wolfgang commented.
“Of course the dance at the disco was not optimal, but Djokovic basically did nothing wrong. They just got a little sloppy, they were euphoric,” he continued.

Djokovic, who has been at the centre of the criticism, is yet to publicly speak about the incident. On Friday it was confirmed that both him and his wife Jelena have now tested negative for the virus. 10 days after they were first diagnosed.

As for Thiem, his father said the Austrian tennis star will be donating his money from the event to charity. Although he did not say how much that would be or which cause it would go towards. It comes just days after Djokovic donated 40,000 euros to the Serbian town of Novi Pazar, who has been hit hard by the pandemic.

Speaking about the outbreak of COVID-19 among players, Wolfgang has suggested that it is worth it if it meant raising money for charity.

“I prefer that there be a few more cases of coronavirus and be able to raise a few thousand euros for a childhood cancer clinic,” he explained.

Since the Adria Tour, Thiem has played at the Ultimate Tennis Showdown (UTS) in France. He has undergone five COVID-19 tests in recent days with all of them testing negative for the virus. The 26-year-old withdrew from the UTS on Wednesday to focus on the upcoming Thiem 7 event in Kitzbuhel which will start on July 7th.

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‘Coronabros Stay In Your Basement’ – John Isner Plays Down Concerns Over COVID-19 Threat

The world No.21 believes players have to ‘learn and adapt’ to the virus.

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America’s top tennis player have said the world ‘can’t come to a complete standstill’ due to the Coronavirus pandemic as he hit back at criticism concerning an upcoming exhibition tournament he is participating in.

 

John Isner weighed in on the debate following a comment from freelance writer Ben Rothenberg whom on Twitter voiced concerns that Atlanta and West Virginia is staging tennis events with crowds despite a rise in cases. The world No.21 is set to play in the DraftKings All-American Team Cup in Atlanta, which will feature the eight top male players in the country. Officials plan to allow 450 people to attend the event on each day, which is estimated to be around 30% of the stadium’s maximum capacity.

“Ben, your concerns are valid, but, as someone who covers our sport for a living it would be nice if you would be supportive of WTT and Atlanta with their efforts to put on safe events instead of posting spooky headlines like this one that are factually incorrect,” Isner said making reference to an article Rothenberg posted.

Other Twitter users have also questioned the decision to allow fans to attend the event. Georgia, which is the state Atlanta is in, officially reported 2946 daily cases of the virus on July 1st. The highest amount within 24 hours since the pandemic began. Furthermore, Reuters News Agency reports that there was a record rise of more than 47,000 cases on Tuesday in America.

Nevertheless, Isner has dismissed calls for the event to be held behind closed doors or even cancelled. Branding his online critics as ‘coronabros’ before saying he wants to go on and live his life.

“You coronabros can stay in your basement all you want. I choose to live my life and play/promote the sport I love in a safe manner,” he said.

Unsurprisingly Isner has now been accused of downplaying the severity of the virus, which has killed more than 500,000 people worldwide. Including 130,000 in his home country alone. Challenged by one Twitter user who said she lost a family member due to the virus, Isner replied:-

“I’m incredibly sorry to hear that. I, in no way, was downplaying the effect of the virus, but I understand that perception can be reality.”

It is not fully understood by what he means with the phrase ‘perception is a reality’. Although he did like one tweet which said ‘the virus is much less lethal than the first models predicted. It’s now close to the flu.’ Although some medical experts have a differnt view on the perspective. White House coronavirus advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci has recently said the virus is “very different” from other outbreaks such as Ebola and HIV.

“We may not have a vaccine for a while and the world can’t come to a complete standstill. The reality is, we are going to have to learn and adapt to this virus in the safest manner possible,” he says.

The DraftKings All-American Team Cup in Atlanta will take place this weekend.

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