Cory Gauff’s Wimbledon Fairytale Has Become Even More Extraordinary - UBITENNIS
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Cory Gauff’s Wimbledon Fairytale Has Become Even More Extraordinary

Once again the teenager has got everybody talking after staging an audacious comeback on the biggest court of the grass-court major.

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photo by Roberto Dell'Olivo

WIMBLEDON: Few expected that Cory Gauff could exceed the performance of what she produced during the first round of the Wimbledon Championships against Venus Williams. Then her third round match took place on Friday.

 

Despite being born in 2004, the American illustrated why she is tipped to become the new star of women’s tennis at the age of 15. Taking on Polona Hercog, who was contesting her 36th Grand Slam main draw, Gauff produced a display that exceeded her age. Both mentally and physically.

A three-set thriller saw the qualifier fight back from the brink of defeat. Down 3-6, 2-5, she staged an audacious comeback to prevail after two hours and 45 minutes of play. Saving a duo of match points in the second set, Gauff roared to a 3-6, 7-6(7), 7-5, win on Centre Court. Electrifying the British crowd who have seemingly adopted her as one of their own.

“I was just thinking I need to go for my shots. I can’t play pushing. Really, to be honest, I kind of just went out there and just hoped the ball went in the court.” Gauff reflected during her press conference.

To put into perspective Gauff’s achievement of reaching the fourth round at The All England Club. The last person who was younger than her to reach the last 16 of the tournament was Jenifer Capriati back in 1991.

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The most impressive thing about the latest performance was Gauff’s belief that she had what it took to turn her fortunes around. When asked if her confidence has increased during Wimbledon, she replied ‘my confidence has been the same the whole tournament.’ Showing little signs of being star struck by her rapid rise on the tour.

“When I was walking on the court, I kind of wasn’t nervous, but I was just like, Wow, I’m really on Centre Court. One of the most sacred courts in the world.” She said.
“When I was down 5-2, I was just like, I can fight back. Just need to hold serve, break, then we’ll see what happens from there.:

It is easy to forget how young Gauff actually is until you speak with her. A typical teenager with a bubbly personality, she started her Friday duty with the press by saying ‘please stream Erys by Jaden Smith.’ A huge fan of Smith, she later talked about being banned from buying hoodies for two months by her parents because she had too many, and the fact she is too young to buy a car with her Wimbledon prize money. Which currently tallies to more than $200,000.

There is a fear that it could be too much too young. Something that has previously happened to other rising stars of the past. Hence the use of the WTA Age Eligibility Rule, which limits Gauff to how many tournaments she can plan in. Something Roger Federer believes need changing in the future.

“I feel like you kind of have to experience the down moments to be able to experience the high. But I don’t think this is just a one-time thing. I won three matches now, so I think I kind of proved my own.”

The next challenger for the youngster will be seventh seed Simona Halep, who didn’t win her first main draw match on the WTA Tour until the age of 18. On paper, Gauff is the massive underdog, but few are ruling her out of causing another shock in the women’s draw.

“I watch her a lot obviously. I’ve never hit with her or anything or practiced with her. I don’t know how the ball would feel when I actually play, but I’m really familiar with how she plays just from watching her a lot.” She said.

Guaff has already shown she has what it takes to compete alongside the women’s elite. With a lot of loose and nothing to gain, it can be argued that Halep should be the more nervous of the two heading into their Monday clash.

This is one teenager who means serious business.

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Matteo Berrettini boosts his chance to qualify for the ATP Finals in London with win over Grigor Dimitrov in Vienna

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Matteo Berrettini boosted his chance to qualify for the ATP Finals in London with a 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (7-1) over Grigor Dimitrov in a match between two US Open semifinalists at the Erste Bank Open in Vienna. With this win Berrettini reached the third round at this ATP 500 event boosting his chance to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals in London.

 

Both players held serve in the first eight games of the first set. Dimitrov saved two break points in the ninth game of the opening set at deuce. Berrettini won his service game at 15, as he was serving to stay in the set.  They went on serve setting up a tie-break. Berrettini got a mini-break on the 11th game to win the tie-break 7-5.

Dimitrov saved a break point in the second game of the second set. The Bulgarian player fended off a match point forcing the second set to the tie-break. Berrettini cruised through to a a 7-1 lead in the tie-break setting up a third-round match against either Hyeon Chung or Hyeon Chung.

Berrettini will face the winner of the match between Hyeon Chung and Andrey Rublev.

Gael Monfils beat Austrian wild card Dennis Novak 2-6 7-5 6-3 setting up a re-match against Italian Next Gen star Jannik Sinner.

Sinner beat Monfils last week in Antwerp. The 18-year-old Italian player became the youngest ATP Tour semifinalist since Borna Coric in Basel in 2014.

Karen Khachanov was leading 6-3 4-6 4-1 when Marton Fucsovics was forced to retire. The Moscow player will face either Sam Querrey or Diego Schwartzman in the quarter final.

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Franulovic talks about the present and the future of the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters

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Director Franulovic, what does it mean for you to have an Italian winner in your tournament after 50 years ?

 

“For me it was an amazing result. Italian fans love Monte-Carlo. They are knowledgeable and warm like in football. It was fantastic to have an Italian winner after Pietrangeli”.

 Would you have imagined one year ago that two Italian players would fight for one of the qualifying spots for the ATP Finals in London and that one of the two players would win your tournament ?

 “No, I would have not expected it. As I always say you can never say anything in sport because everything is cyclical. Fognini won our tournament. Berrettini made a big breakthrough and went on to reach the US Open semifinals and has now a good chance to qualify for the ATP Finals in London. Sonego has also achieved good results. Sinner is now coming to the fore..”

 It’s the first time after decades that Italian tennis is doing better than French tennis. How do you explain that ?

 “I don’t think it’s a problem of facilities, because French tennis can rely on the income from Roland Garros. It’s simply a matter of players. Italy has a new generation of young players. France has remained still and has not produced new tennis players after the generation of Tsonga and Gasquet, who are no longer young. I don’t think it’s an organisation problem, but simply because sport in cyclical.

 How has the Country Club changed since you became the Tournament Director in 2005 ?

 “A lot has changed, but we cannot expand the Country Club for obvious reasons. We have done everything possible to improve the comfort of players, the quality of our service for media starting from the new press room. The biggest difference is at communication level. Social media, like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter did not exist in 2005. Everything has changed and the Country Club looks a different place compared to the venue of 2005”.

What about the line-up of players of the 2020 edition. Are you still dreaming to have Federer in Montecarlo ?

 “It’s very unlikely, if you look at his schedule, it is more restricted due to anagraphic reasons. I think it will be even more restricted. He will play the Grand Slam tournaments and the tournaments, which he likes visiting with his family. All the other big players starting from Nadal and Djokovic are expected to take part in our tournament”

 Will Next Gen players take over the “Old” Gen ? Danil Medvedev is the hottest player at the moment ?

 “I expected that this could happen two years ago. It did not happen, but it is clear that it is going to be more likely every year. I did not expect that Medvedev would be the first player to produce a major impact on the ranking. I expected that Tsitsipas, Shapovalov would take over and instead….

 

Another question from a tennis fan, how can the Davis Cup live together with the ATP Cup on too close dates ?

 

“The two team events are too close, but before giving my opinion I would wait to see how they will work. I am sure that if they should not work well, the ATP and the ITF will be open to find an agreement. I think that the ATP will be more willing to take a step back, because the Davis Cup is more than 100 years old, like our tournament and it’s the only event run by the ITF.

 

Does the new Davis Cup convince you ?

 

“The old formula felt the burden of the years. The world has changed compared to the times when I played with Panatta and Bertolucci. Players had to travel to South America three days after playing at the Australian Open. It is no longer manageable. When I played tennis travels were more complicated, but they were not so long”.

 

 

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Zeljko Franulovic: “The success of Italian players is very important for our tournament”

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The 114th edition of the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters was officially presented to the Italian media representatives today during a press conference at the Palazzo Giureconsulti in Milan near the Duomo cathedral. Every year the organisers of the Monte-Carlo Masters 1000 tournament hold their traditional press conference in Milan to promote their event among Italian fans.

 

The Monte-Carlo tournament is the first ATP Masters 1000 tournament of the European clay season. The next edition of the Monte-Carlo tournament will be held from 11th to 19th April at the historic Country Club clay court.

Zeljiko Franulovic, who won the Monte-Carlo tournament in 1970, has been working as Tournament Director since 2005, the year when Rafael Nadal won the first of his eleven titles at the Monte-Carlo Country Club. Franulovic looked back to another very successful edition of the famous Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters.

“The quality of players, a record number of spectators and TV viewers have contributed to the success of the past edition. Prince Albert opened the doors to players, who visited the Prince’s Palace in Monaco. Monte-Carlo loves tennis and players love this tournament. About 400 journalists from all over the world attended the tournament. Our tournament was broadcast in over 200 countries. Ten television channels, including Sky Italy, attended the tournament on site. This was a record for our tournament. We have improved our facilities in the Monte-Carlo Country Club by adding a new restaurant, a new interview room for media and a “Club de Loge”,said Zeljko Franulovic.

Last April Fabio Fognini won the first Masters 1000 tournament of his career by beating Serbia’s Dusan Lajovic 6-3 6-4. Fognini became the first Italian player to win the Monte-Carlo title since 1968, when Nicola Pietrangeli triumphed for the third time in his career.

 “The 2019 edition of our tournament was highlighted by the triumph of Italian tennis star Fabio Fognini. Next Gen players, like Stefanos Tsitsipas, Danil Medvedev and 18-year-old Canadian player Felix Auger Aliassime, Alexander Zverev have made their breakthrough this season. In Monte-Carlo Auger Aliassime was beaten by Alexander Zverev. Medvedev reached the semifinal after beating Novak Djokovic. This season has been particularly successful for Italian tennis players. The 2019 edition was very successful in terms of ticket sales with 135.650 spectators. No less than 40000 spectators came from Italy. I am very happy with the recent results of Italian players Fabio Fognini, Matteo Berrettini and Jannik Sinner. Berrettini continued his progress in the months after our tournament and reached the semifinal at the US Open. Italian Next Gen star Jannik Sinner has recently come to the fore breaking into the top 100 for the first time of his career at the age of 18 and I hope that he will be in the group of the best Next Gen players soon. The success of Italian players is very important for our tournament. The ticket sale for the 2020 edition is going well. Italian fans and Italian tennis clubs have shown their continuous support over the years. We suggest our loyal Italian fans should go on our official website to buy the still available tickets as soon as possible”.

 

The 2020 Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters promises to be another successful edition. The Draw Ceremony will be attended by defending champion Fabio Fognini on Friday 10th April. The Kids Day, which attracted 1700 children in 2019, will be held on 12th April (Easter’s Day). The calendar of events also features the Great Night of Tennis on Friday 17th April.

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