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Paul Jubb Goes On Tour, But Money Can Wait

Before his last year at the University of South Carolina, NCAA Champion Paul Jubb decided to play ITFs and Challengers full-time as amateur

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Paul Jubb at Ilkley 2019 (photo Vanni Gibertini)

It’s almost incredible to say it, but the main attraction at the Ilkley Trophy, the most important Challenger tournament of the British grass court season, is a 19-year-old kid who is the worst ranked player in the draw at n. 576 and before last week had never won a match at this level. But Paul Jubb owes his fame to the NCAA title conquered a few weeks ago in Lake Nona, Florida, when he brought home the prestigious individual national title for the University of South Carolina.

 

Since he is almost a “local player” (he was born in York but he moved to Hull at the age of three to live with his grandma Valerie after both his parents passed away), the stands were almost packed on Centre Court at the Ilkley Lawn Tennis and Squash Club as Paul was playing his third round match with Austrian Dennis Novak, seasoned pro ranked n. 117. Jubb lost quite easily in two sets, the same way he had lost to the same player just a week earlier in Nottingham, but after the match, he had to spend quite some time taking selfies in the grounds as many spectators wanted a piece of him.

After postponing his press commitment to the end of the tournament, the new NCAA champion was glad to sit down with the reporters to talk about his newly changed life, now that he is embarking on a journey that will eventually lead him to become a professional tennis player. But not for at least another year: “I haven’t really thought about turning pro – said Jubb – I knew that I was going to take some time off until Christmas to play some pro tournaments, to improve my ranking, but I never really thought about turning pro”. So he will forego the €2,180 prize money for the third round reached in Ilkley, but most importantly the £45,000 first round prize money for the Championships, where he has been granted a wild card for the main draw. “It’s going to be something I’ve never experienced before; I’ll take it all in and enjoy it. I will consider the match to be a success if I am able to come off the court and feel I have done everything I can. It will also be awesome to see my grandma in the crowd cheering me up: she has been the biggest rock in my life, she has done everything for me, always made sure I stayed on the right path”.

During these “school holidays”, Paul is training at the LTA National Tennis Centre in Roehampton, and he is still deciding what the setup of his team is going to be as he is about to start playing the pro tournaments for the rest of the year: “I still haven’t made up my mind yet. These few tournaments would be about getting the feel for the right people to work with. Of course, I am used to my coaches in the States, Head Coach Josh Goffi and Assistant Coach Kyle Bailey, who have been incredible to me, but obviously I will need to find a different solution. But I have been in constant contact with the LTA ever since I started attending university in the States, I won Nationals when I was 15 so I have worked with them before and they are allowing me to train at the National Training Centre and have access to all of their facilities”.

Like any self-respecting boy growing up in Hull, Paul started playing football (or soccer, if you are reading from the USA) and for a certain period of time he kept playing both tennis and football: “But as I was growing up – Jubb explains – tennis started taking up much of my time and football started fading away. There were talks, when I was very young, to have me go for tryouts at Hull City, but you can’t really play two sports at that level. I was a mid left, a lot of speed on the wings, and that is reflecting on my game, as mobility is my best asset”.

And like any self-respecting young tennis prospect, he also had posters of tennis champions in his bedroom. “Initially I really loved watching Nadal play, but as I was growing up, I found myself being more drawn towards Djokovic, as I consider my game modeled on his”.

After his imminent Wimbledon debut, where he will experience his first contact with the big tennis stage (and especially for a Brit, that could turn out to be as brutal as it is fascinating), Paul Jubb will immerse himself into the anonymous grind of ITF Futures played on precarious courts in improbable locations, just to build ranking and experience as a base for when, after graduation, he will become a pro and will start playing not only for points but also for fistfuls of dollars or euros.

 

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Fabio Fognini Hits Out At ‘Inexplicable’ Disqualification From Barcelona Open

The world No.27 has protested his innocence after losing his temper over a call made by an official.

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Italy’s Fabio Fognini describes the decision to kick him out of the Barcelona Open on Wednesday as a ‘shock’ and has vowed to look further into the matter.

 

The 33-year-old was taking on Spanish qualifier Bernabe Zapata Miralles in the second round of the tournament where he was trailing the match 0-6, 4-4. After losing his temper, the world No.27 is said to have been verbally abusive towards a lines official and was subsequently defaulted from the match for his behaviour. The incident occurred over a line call decision which Fognini didn’t agree with.

On court, he tried to protest his innocence by telling the umpire ‘I didn’t say anything’ but it failed to overturn the decision. Leaving Fognini fuming as he broke his racket on purpose.

Speaking to reporters afterwards, the Italian continued to protest his innocence in the match and said he would ‘investigate’ the matter. It is unclear what he is referring to but players are allowed to make an appeal against any fine if they feel it is unjust.

“I’m really surprised with the ATP, especially the chair umpire and the supervisor, because I was here to play tennis, I was here to fight in the match, and even if I was losing, doesn’t matter,” he said. “But what they did to me was something inexplicable, so I’m going to investigate it, but nothing more, I paid for something that I didn’t do, that’s the first and clearest thing that everybody has to know.”

Zapata Miralles said he was initially unaware of what was going on in his clash with Fognini as he was focusing on closing out the match. Barcelona is only the seventh ATP main draw he has played in so far in his career.

“I was on the other side of the court, I wasn’t listening to be honest,” Tennis Majors quoted the 24-year-old as saying afterwards. “When I saw the referee on the court, I asked the umpire what’s going on. But I was focused on my work on the court, I was thinking on the next point, the next game, on things I had to focus on.”

Fognini has never previously been defaulted from a tennis match but he is no stranger to controversy. At the 2017 US Open he was fined $24,000 for insulting a female chair umpire and at the 2019 Wimbledon Championships he was heard saying ‘I wish a bomb would explode on this club.’ He later apologised for his remarks.

Zapata Miralles will play compatriot Pablo Carreno Busta in the third round.

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Matteo Berrettini beats Marco Cecchinato in all-Italian match in Belgrade

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Number 2 seed Matteo Berrettini beat Marco Cecchinato 6-4 6-3 after 1 hour and 21 minutes in an all-Italian match to advance to the quarter finals at the Serbia Open in Belgrade. 

 

Berrettini broke serve three times and saved all three break points he faced showing that he is returning to his best form after an abdominal injury, which forced him ahead of his fourth-round match at the Australian Open. 

Berrettini saved three break points in the fourth game before earning his first break at 30 in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead. Berrettini dropped just five points in his final three service games to win the first set 6-4. 

Berrettini went up a set and a break at 15 and never looked back in his next service games. He sealed the match 6-3 with his third break in the ninth game. 

This year Berrettini earned three top 15 wins to lead Italy to the ATP Cup in Melbourne. Last week he lost his opening match against Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters. 

“Confidence is something that goes away, it comes back. For sure I know that is my level. I know that I can play that kind of tennis. I work hard to be there, to be in good shape. It was obviously a shame. I work hard to be there, to be in good shape. It obviously was a shame. I was sad about my injury, but I know that I can play well on clay, on grass and on hard-court”, said Berrettini. 

Berrettini set up a match against Serbia’s Filip Krajnovic, who eased past Nikola Milojevic 6-1 6-1. Berretini defeated Krajinovic in their only previous head-to-head match in the Budapest final in 2019. 

“It’s going to be very tough. He is top 10, he is a huge champion. He is very tough to play against. I played him once in the final of an ATP Tour event and he beat me, so I know how to play. It’s going to be very tricky, very tough, but I will give my best playing on my court. We see how it goes”, said Krajinovic. 

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Felix Auger Aliassime battles back to beat Lorenzo Musetti in Barcelona

Felix Auger-Aliassime reached the third round in Barcelona, where he will meet Denis Shapovalov.

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Felix Auger-Aliassime (@BATennisCom - Twitter)

The Canadian needed three sets and over two hours to get the win and set up a third round encounter with his good friend Denis Shapovalov.

 

Felix Auger Aliassime needed two hours and five minutes to beat the Italian Lorenzo Musetti 4-6, 6-3, 6-0 hitting nine aces in the win and setting up his next match with fellow Canadian Denis Shapovalov.

“It’s not always easy, to be honest, now I’m sitting here, I am happy that I won but things were difficult at some point in the match, I was facing breakpoints in the second set again and things got tight so trying to stay calm, trying to find solutions that was the main goal, I mean there was some ups and downs but in the end, I’m happy with the way the match ended, sometimes your not playing your best tennis but you gotta believe and have courage and fight through”.

The Italian got off to a great start earning a breakpoint in the opening game of the match but the Montreal native was able to save it and hold serve. At 1-1, the world number 20 was under pressure once again but hung in to save the breakpoint.

The Canadian got his first breakpoint of the match at 2-1 but this time it was the Italian who would do a good job of saving it. The very next game the world number 87 went back to work trying to get the early break and this time he was able to pull it off with a superb lob to take a 3-2 lead.

He would serve out the first set to take it 6-4 and a comeback was required if the Canadian didn’t want to be upset at the hands of the Italian.

The world number 87 kept it going in the beginning of the second set earning more breakpoints in the opening game but the Canadian would save both and hold serve.

The very next game the number 10 seed would set up two breakpoints with a stunning forehand winner and would break for the first time in the match to take a 2-0 lead.

The next game the Canadian struggled on serve and the Italian earned two more breakpoints and broke right back to go back on serve. At 3-2 the Montreal native would have another chance to break but the world number 87 would save it again.

At 4-3 the Italian started to get tight and the world number 20 earned three more chances to break and this time would break through to take a 5-3 lead and serve out the second set to send it into a decider.

Clearly the momentum was with the Canadian and he would earn three more breakpoints in the opening service game of the third set and broke to take a 1-0 lead.

After consolidating the break he would earn three more breakpoints and break once more to go up a double break. At the changeover Musetti called for the trainer and took a medical timeout to have work on his lower back.

The Canadian didn’t give in and after holding serve once again he would earn more breakpoints and break one more time and would serve out the match to win the decider with a 6-0 bagel.

As mentioned this win sets up a match with Denis Shapovalov on Thursday with both players meeting a total of four times and each player has two wins.

After the match Auger Aliassime spoke about the matchup and gave Ubitennis his thoughts.

“I feel like we played quite a lot lately and the past year so It’s always a challenge to play him, hopefully, I can play a good match, we can have a great battle but it’s always a tough task so I’ll try to rest and get ready as good as I can for the match tomorrow”.

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