Kyle Edmund Relishing Underdog Status And Andy Murray's Return To Queen’s - UBITENNIS
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Kyle Edmund Relishing Underdog Status And Andy Murray’s Return To Queen’s

The British No.1 gives an update about his knee injury ahead of the Fever-Tree Championships.

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Kyle Edmud (photo by Chryslène Caillaud, copyright : @Sport Vision)

LONDON: Embarking upon the grass season this year, Kyle Edmund finds himself facing different barriers to that of 12 months ago.

 

A lackluster clay swing saw the British No.1 win two matches in six tournaments played. Then to add further to his woes, a recurrence of a knee injury forced him to quit the French Open. In total, Edmund has managed to win 11 out of 21 matches this season and is currently just inside the world’s top 30 at 29th.

“It’s gone as well as I would like it to go,” Edmund commented about his ongoing rehab on Sunday. “It is always a process like even after this week, I have to continue to get it better. I’m happy with how it has improved.”

Edmund is hoping that he will be able to turn his fortunes around this week at the Fever-Tree championships. A tournament where he made his debut back in 2013 at the age of 18. He doesn’t appear to be too troubled by his recent injury woes with training going according to plan. Dismissing suggestions that he is taking a risk because of the upcoming Wimbledon Championships. The ultimate tournament for British players such as Edmund.

“We already knew the problem so it was just about training and getting the plan together. Trying to stick to it as best as we can and try to improve it. Get it stronger.” He said.
“I want to play this week and feel like I am in the best state to play. If I wasn’t in a state to play, I wouldn’t. But I feel like I am in a position to do so.”

Unfortunately for the 24-year-old, he has been given a stern test at The Queen’s Club. Awaiting him in the first round will be top seed Stefanos Tsitsipas. A player who already has won two ATP titles and reached the semi-finals of the Australian Open this season. Edmund’s only win over top-20 opposition so far in 2019 was against Milos Raonic at the Miami Masters.

“He’s (Tsitsipas) has played a lot, won a lot. At the same time, it is almost like an ideal situation where there is no pressure on me to do well. Everything is on him. Also here you get support from the crowd.” Edmund previewed.
“There are quite a few positives, but at the same time it’s a tough match.”

Life in the shadows

The underdog status is a blessing in disguise for the former world No.14, who was seeded seventh in the draw last year. Besides having nothing to lose when he plays Tsitsipas, the return of Andy Murray has eased the attention of the home crowd on him. Murray will play in the doubles draw alongside Feliciano Lopez in what will be his first test on the tour since undergoing hip resurfacing surgery.

“It’s nice just to see him back in terms for him. In terms for me, nothing changes as in start to play better, play more freely or anything like that. It is just nice to see him back.” He commented about Murray’s return.
“I just carry on with my own business and schedule.”

Edmund has had conversations with the three-time grand slam champion in recent weeks. Although he doesn’t know the full details about Murray’s current health.

“I think he just wants to be on court and playing after being off for so long. It’s always a positive sign. I’ve not spoken to him in any detail, but from what I read it sounds like he’s happy and positive about where he is at compared to last year. That’s a good step.”

One possibility for Murray, who will not be playing any singles matches until later this year at best, is contesting the Davis Cup. The revamped competition features 18 teams taking part over a week in November. Britain was one of two countries to receive a wild card into the finals.

“It would be amazing to see him there. He has just been out for so long.” Said Edmund.
“He was the guy who put us through to the (2015) final and won it. Of course, it was a team effort, but he was a very big part of that.”

What Murray does in the near future remains to be seen, but Edmund’s focus remains on himself. Insisting that he is continuing to gain confidence on the grass as he gets older.

“I had my best grass-court season last year, played some good matches. For me, I learned a lot more about my movement rather than striking the ball or the way it is played.” He concluded.

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Tour Suspension Will Benefit Novak Djokovic More Than Nadal And Federer, Claims Woodbridge

The former world No.1 doubles player explains why he thinks Djokovic will benefit more than his rivals.

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Australian tennis great Todd Woodbridge believes the current suspension of tennis could have a silver lining for Novak Djokovic and his bid to claim the greatest of all time honour.

 

On Wednesday it was confirmed that all professional tennis tournaments have been suspended until at least July due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The decision came shortly after Wimbledon was forced to axe their event for the first time since 1945. Prior to the suspension, Djokovic started 2020 unbeaten by winning 18 matches in a row. During that period he guided Serbia to the ATP Cup title, won a record eighth Australian Open title and triumphed at the Dubai Tennis Championships.

Now with the tour being brought to a halt, some are speculating as to what the implications could be on the prestigious Big Three. A trio featuring Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. Between them they have won 52 out of the last 60 grand slam tournaments.

Woodbridge believes Djokovic is in the best situation because of his age. At the age of 32 he is younger than both Nadal (33) and Federer (38). Although neither of those players are planning to retire from the sport just yet.

“Because of the uncertainty, it makes it hard to see how the three can dominate when they come back because of the age of Roger and Rafa,” Woodbridge told Yahoo Sport Australia.
“It also puts more pressure on Rafa and it changes all of those storylines that were on the table for 2020.
“For Novak, it may come at a good time in his career to actually rejuvenate him again, give him another big burst.
“So if anything, this period helps him the most.”

The biggest question mark surrounds Federer, who recently underwent knee surgery and will turn 39 in August. However, the Swiss Maestro has recently confirmed that he intends to play the 2021 season after pledging to return to the court in Halle. One of the grass-court tournaments that has been cancelled this year.

“We experience difficult times, however, we will arise from it strengthened. Already today I am glad and excited about my return to Halle next year.” He said.

Although Woodbridge believes the suspension will hinder Federer’s dream of extending his record-breaking grand slam tally of 20 titles. He last won a major at the 2018 Australian Open. However, since then Federer has only reached a grand slam final in one out of seven attempts.

“The less match play that you get in this period at that age, it’s so much harder to come back and recover once you start again.” Woodbridge explained.
“So I really think that post-2020 will be a new era of people trying to create records because it’ll have really have broken up a great period in tennis.
“It has stopped the potential, I think, of Federer winning one or two more.
“It becomes very highly unlikely for him.”

Djokovic heads the world rankings with a 370-point lead over second place Nadal. Federer is currently in fourth position behind Dominic Thiem.

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Grigor Dimitrov – ‘Tennis Is A Microscopic Thing In The World Right Now’

The world No.19 speaks out about how he is coping during the tour suspension.

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Former grand slam semi-finalist Grigor Dimitrov has become the latest player to urge the governing bodies of tennis to make a united decision regarding when play will resume again.

 

The ATP and WTA Tours are currently suspended until June due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Although it is likely that the suspension will be extended further with rumours that Wimbledon will be cancelled for the first time since the second world war later this week. Dimitrov’s last tournament was at the Acapulco Open in Mexico, where he reached the semi-finals before losing in straight sets to eventual champion Rafael Nadal.

“Tennis is a microscopic thing in the world right now. The ATP supervisors I’ve talked to in recent days have a variety of theories, but for the time being, we can really only guess if we’re being honest.” Tenniskafe quoted Dimitrov as saying during an interview with bTV.
“The tournaments are cancelled, but we have a big luxury in tennis – there is always next week. Yes, it is very difficult right now, you have seen the Olympics cancelled. The only thing that is at the forefront is to go through this situation we are in, and then start rebuilding. “

The world No.19 is currently residing in California during the lockdown. Describing the situation where he is as ‘more casual’ compared to other parts of the world. California is where the Indian Wells tennis tournament was set to take place earlier this month before it was cancelled.

“In my opinion all federations and players, no matter what rank they are, must come together and make a general decision. Because it’s really not easy at the moment to talk to everyone about points, tournaments, competitions … But now other things are really more important – to be safe, to be healthy and to go through this thing.” He said.

During the suspension, the 28-year-old is keeping himself busy in other ways. Recently he has signed up for an online course with Harvard Business School. Becoming the latest of a series of players to do so. He also manages to keep in touch with his fellow rivals on the tour thanks to the world of social media.

“One of the first players I wrote to was Fabio (Fognini) because he was in Italy. Everyone is on Instagram, we know everyone what they do every minute.”

When the restrictions related to the pandemic comes to an end, Dimitrov has vowed to return back to Europe as he outlines the first thing he would do.

“I just want to go back to Europe. Whether it will be in Bulgaria or in Monaco – I do not know. I certainly want to go home, gather all my relatives and just spend time together. I’ve been in the US for over a month now. As things currently look, there will certainly be another two months. Hopefully it will be faster, but I just want to go home and be with my loved ones.” He concluded.

In the fight against Covid-19 in his home country, Dimitrov has made a donation to a hospital in Haskovo. The city where he was born.

Dimitrov has started the 2020 season with a win-loss record of 7-5. Besides his run to the semifinals in Acapulco, he also reached the second round at the Australian Open and Rotterdam. He has been ranked as high as third in the world.

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Tennis Could Be Suspended For ‘A Long Time,’ Warns Millman

The top 50 player isn’t expecting to play on the tour anytime soon.

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Australian player John Millman has indicated that he believes the current suspension of the ATP Tour is all but certain to be extended in the coming weeks.

 

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, both the ATP and WTA Tour have been suspended until at least June 8th. Although those in change of both of those governing bodies have previously admitted they are uncertain as to when play will resume. ATP chairman Andrea Gaudenzi has said that ‘it is unknown at this time’ as to when men’s tournaments will resume. Meanwhile, Steve Simon has echoed a similar view during an interview with The Tennis Channel.

Speaking about the current situation, world No.43 Millman said the sport is in a difficult situation due to its global reach with both tournaments and players based around the world. For example the Australian started his season by playing four tournaments in four different countries across three continents within five weeks.

“We’re going to have to be pretty unified in terms of our recovery process before the tour can resume,” Millman told The Age.
“Maybe the tournament location has got the COVID-19 situation under wraps and then manage to contain it, but if someone’s flying in from South America, say, and their country hasn’t got a hold of it, then the tournament can’t (go ahead).
“You can’t have the tournament going when only certain players can get there. I think that’s
where the problems lie.”

The 30-year-old didn’t speculate as to when he and his rivals will be returning to the court, but believes it could be a while. During the coming week the fate of Wimbledon will be decided at an emergency meeting. The All England Club is pondering the motion of cancelling this year’s tournament. A move that has never been taken during peacetime. Wimbledon has been scrapped a total of 10 times during the first and second world wars.

“It’s almost like we have to have a vaccine or the virus has to run its course before there’ll be any let-up there.” Millman commented.

Besides trying to maintain fitness, many players like Millman are in a difficult situation financially due to a lack of income. He has managed to earn $290,705 on the tour this year before the suspension. This is the 44th highest total on the men’s tour. In total, 131 players have surpassed the $100,000 mark. Although the earnings don’t take into account travel costs, coaching, accommodation and so on.

“I just can’t see us playing tennis for a long time and now it’s a matter of trying to stay (the) fight, trying to scrape by a little bit while not much is coming in,” he said.
“You’re used to a bit of money coming in and obviously that’s not the case anymore. Yeah, it’s tough. It’s just not easy. You try and make do.
“But I don’t want to be a sob story, that’s for sure, because I know Australians are doing it a lot tougher than me.”

Millman reached the third round of the Australian Open earlier this year before losing to Roger Federer in a five-set thriller.

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