Gutsy Feliciano Lopez Turns Around Turbulent Season By Winning Second Queen’s Title - UBITENNIS
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Gutsy Feliciano Lopez Turns Around Turbulent Season By Winning Second Queen’s Title

The 37-year-old tour veteran has won his first ATP title since 2017.

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LONDON: Feliciano Lopez’s dream week at the Fever-Tree Championships has concluded with a fairytale ending after the wild card prevailed in a marathon battle to claim the title on Sunday.

 

The 37-year-old Spaniard required a tiring two hours and 49 minutes to overcome Gilles Simon, who played the longest match in the tournament’s history since records began earlier in the week. The dramatic encounter saw numerous changes of momentums as both players engaged in some gut-busting rallies from both the baseline and at the net. In the match of fine margins, Lopez eventually prevailed 6-2, 6-7(4), 7-6(2). Saving six out of the seven break points he faced and triggering a large outburst of cheers from the crowd at Queen’s.

“I don’t know how I did that.” The world No.113 said during his on-court interview.
“The whole match was very exciting. I took the early set but then he got better and better. It was tough for me to find a way to win points.
“He was coming up with unbelievable shots and I was a bit desperate.
“I thought the best moment of my career was when I held this trophy in 2017 but it’s not. It’s right now.”

After playing three matches on the court yesterday, it initially appeared as if Lopez would cruise toward his second trophy at the tournament after 2017. During the opening set, the wild card rallied to a double break advantage with little difficulty. Grabbing the first break with the help of two consecutive Simon errors, before sealing his second with the help of a volley at the net. Taking advantage of some mixed play that was coming from across the court, he closed the opener with a 137 MPH serve.

Despite taking the lead, history shows that winning the title at Queen’s is never easy. Prior to this year, seven out of the past eight champions have done so after dropping the opening set. At one stage it appeared as if Simon could follow that trend after fighting his way through the second frame. After exchanging breaks between the two players, the Frenchman managed to turn his fortunes around in the tiebreak. Returning a Lopez serve deep towards the baseline and forcing the error from the Spaniard to revive his title dreams.

With all to play for, a dramatic decider took place. The first four games saw both players face and save break points valiantly. Electrifying the packed 9000-capacity crowd in London. With neither player budging, it was only fitting that another tiebreaker would decide who would win the trophy. It was a duo of errors that cost Simon. A double fault placed him behind 2-4, before a forehand volley into the net on the following point that guided Lopez to glory.

“It was long today. It was long every day. It was tough for Feli and he has another final to play in a few minutes.” Simon said moments after the final.
“It’s tough right now after such an amazing effort to try and stay in this match and come back.
“It’s such an honour and pleasure to play here and have the chance to win the final.”I don’t know how long I can stay on tour. Feli is still fit and he’s a bit older than me so I hope I’ll have the chance to come back again.”

Prior to this week, Lopez had only won three matches on the ATP Tour this season. He is the first wild card to win Queen’s since Pete Sampras back in 1999.

There will be no time for the new champion to rest. He will return to the court alongside Andy Murray in a bid to add the doubles trophy to his collection. Something that was also last achieved by Sampras.

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Rival Backs Dominic Thiem To Win Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award

Only two players have won the award since 2004.

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For the past 15 years only two players have managed to get their hands on the prestigious Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award, but one player thinks there could be a brand new winner this year.

 

Diego Schwartzman has lent his support behind world No.4 Dominic Thiem. The award recognizes those who have conducted the highest level of professionalism and integrity on the ATP Tour throughout the season. Established in 1977, Roger Federer has won the honour in 13 out of the past 15 years. The only other player to triumph during that period was Rafael Nadal, who won it in 2010 and 2018.

“I think Thiem can win it, he showed throughout the year a competitiveness and a respect with everyone that was spectacular,” Schwartzman told ole.com. “On top of that he is having great years of his career and this season was even better for the achievements he had.’
“He has a good chance of winning it.” He added.

Schwartzman, who reached the quarter-finals of the US Open earlier this year, has also been shortlisted for the award. Along with regular nominees Federer and Nadal. Only once has an Argentinian player won the title, which was José Luis Clerc back in 1981. At that time it was known as the ATP Sportsmanship award before getting renamed in 1996.

“I learned first (of getting nominated) through social networks rather than the official designation that the ATP sends you by mail.” The 27-year-old revealed.
“It is more spectacular than anything for the players I have next to me. It is a very important prize that recognizes a little what you do off the court, not only hitting the ball.”

Whilst he is dreaming of winning the honour himself, Schwartzman is just happy that he has been nominated.

“If I won this award, it would be spectacular. Now I am on that payroll that is very good and represents the values ​​that I try to maintain on a day-to-day basis and that (my coaching teams over the years) have taught me. It is very nice to be recognized for that. “ He concluded.

The four nominees for the Stefan Edberg Award was shortlisted by the ATP. However, it will be the players who will decide the winner. The result will be revealed later this month.

Multiple winners of the Stefan Edberg/ATP Sportsmanship award

Roger Federer – 13
Stefan Edberg – 5
Pat Rafter – 4
Alex Corretja – 2
Todd Martin – 2
Paradorn Srichaphan – 2
Rafael Nadal – 2

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Kei Nishikori In Doubt For The Australian Open

Asia’s highest ranked male tennis player is contemplating when he should return to the tour following surgery.

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Kei Nishikori (photo by chryslène caillaud, copyright @Sport Vision)

World No.13 Kei Nishikori is refusing to rule out the prospect of skipping the first grand slam event of 2020 as he continues his recovery from surgery.

 

Nishikori hasn’t played a match on the tour since his third round loss at the US Open back in September. A month later he underwent a procedure on his right elbow in a move that brought his season to an early end. Currently undergoing rehabilitation, it is unclear as to when the Japanese player believes he will return to the ATP Tour.

“The prospect of a return from surgery on right elbow in January. Maybe February. In the second half of next year I want to be able to play well.” Nikkan Sports quoted Nishikori as saying.
“I don’t want to overdo it,” he added.

The Australian Open will get underway on January 20th in Melbourne. Should he miss the grand slam, it will be the second time he has done so in the last three years. Nishikori also withdrew from the 2018 edition due to a wrist injury. In January he reached the quarter-finals and therefore has 360 points to defend next year.

During his time away from the court, the 29-year-old has been kept busy making changes to his team. Recently it was confirmed that he has started working alongside Max Mirnyi, who is a former world No.1 doubles player. Mirnyi, who has won 10 grand slam titles in men’s and mixed doubles, will be working full-time with Nishikori alongside existing coach Michael Chang.

“I’m getting closer to retirement. I want to be cured and come back to play good tennis in the second half of next year.” Nishikori stated.

Despite the injury setback, Nishikori has enjoyed success in 2019. Reaching the quarter-finals in three out of the four grand slam tournaments. The first time he has ever done that in his career. He also claimed his 12th ATP title at the Brisbane International. Overall, he won 29 out of 43 matches played.

Nishikori will turn 30 on December 29th.

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Family Of Venezuelan Doubles Star Launches GoFundMe Page For Cancer Treatment

Roberto Maytin was playing on the Challenger tour less than a month ago, but now faces a new battle.

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One of Venezuela’s highest ranked players on the ATP Tour is facing challenges off the court after being recently diagnosed with cancer.

 

Roberto Maytin, who currently has a doubles ranking of 136th, is undergoing treatment for testicular cancer Non-Seminoma. Non-seminomas are made up of different types of tumour, such as teratomas, embryonal tumours, yolk sac tumours and choriocarcinomas. Maytin’s brother Ricardo has launched a GoFundMe page to help cover the costs. The tennis player made $19,441 in prize money this season, which doesn’t factor into account numerous expenses such as travel, accommodation and paying for his coaching team.

“If life gives you a chance to live longer, I think nobody would miss the opportunity. In this plane, we all want to be (alive) for years however we forget that we are with a 50% chance of leaving at any time every day.” The fundraising page reads.
“My brother was diagnosed with testicular cancer NO Seminoma, at 30 years old. He now faces a crucial match that life has put him for growth as an individual, as a man and as an athlete. He is forced to undergo 4 stages of aggressive chemotherapy in order to heal at all and leave no trace of a Cancer that has been moving for months causing some damage.”

A former top 25 junior player, Maytin is one of only two players from his country to be ranked inside the top 200 in either singles or doubles on the men’s tour. This season he has won four Challenger titles across America. However, he has only played in one ATP Tour event since the start of 2018. He achieved a ranking high of 85th in the doubles back in 2015.

Once a student at Baylor University in Texas, Maytin formed a successful partnership with former world No.2 doubles player John Peers. Together they earned All-American honours with a win-loss of 36-5 and reached the quarter-finals of the 2011 NCAA tournament.

Maytin is also a regular fixture in his country’s Davis Cup team. Since 2007 he has played 15 ties and won 10 out of 16 matches played.

“I am also clear that the family is the gift of God for each one of us, so in this way and in whatever way I will put my desire and my energy so that my Brother Roberto Maytin, a Venezuelan professional tennis player, is back to the courts, which is where he belongs as soon as possible.”

Almost $25,000 has been raised so far to fund Maytin’s treatment. Click here to visit his GoFundMe page.

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