Marcos Baghdatis’ Final Words As A Tennis Player - UBITENNIS
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Marcos Baghdatis’ Final Words As A Tennis Player

This week marks the end of an era for one of the most well-known figures within men’s tennis.

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photo by Roberto Dell'Olivo

WIMBLEDON: Taking to the number two show court Marcos Baghdatis knew that this could be the end for him on Thursday.

 

Almost 15 years after getting his maiden main draw grand slam win at the 2004 US Open, the Cypriot elected to choose The All England club as the place to say goodbye. It was the first tournament he saw on TV, watching Andrew Agassi win his maiden grand slam title back in 1992. Something Baghdatis was unable to emulate as a player, but he did reach the 2006 Australian Open final. Becoming the first and only player from his country to ever do so.

“Every year I come here (to Wimbledon), it’s a beautiful memory.” Said Baghdatis.
“I felt it was time to stop, to give priority to other things in my life. I cannot thank enough the tournament for supporting me and giving me a wildcard. Giving me the chance to say good-bye to the fans and to the sport that I love in this great event.”

After defeating Canada’s Brayden Schnur in his opening match, the second round was much more difficult. His opponent was 17th seed Matteo Berrettini. 11 years younger than Baghdatis, the Italian has only ever lost two tour-level matches to a player ranked lower than him. Furthermore, Berrettini won all five of his meetings with wild cards heading into the match.

The evening match went according to paper with the Italian dropping serve only once on route to a 6-1, 7-6(4), 6-3, triumph. Nevertheless, the crowd roared and cheered the Cypriot on from the start until the very end.

“I didn’t want to leave the court. It was a nice farewell. It felt amazing. I want to thank everybody for staying and giving me that last emotion.”

https://twitter.com/Wimbledon/status/1146845062132895744

The loss denied the 34-year-old a chance to get his 50th win over a top 20 player before he retired. Nevertheless, Baghdatis’ achievements are ones that have inspired his entire region. Between 2003-2016 he won 36 consecutive Davis Cup matches. A benchmark that has been achieved by no other player in the history of the competition. At his best, he was ranked eighth in the world and finished 12 straight seasons ranked in the top 100. As for trophies on the ATP Tour, he claimed four titles in Beijing, Zagreb, Stockholm, and Sydney over a four-year period.

“Marcos is one of the most gifted, most positive people you’ll ever meet. He shows it on the court. He has this vibe where it kind of feels like life is more important than tennis, which I love to see.” Stefanos Tsitsipas said in a tribute.
“I believe he’s underrated. He deserved more. But things worked this way. The fact that he did semifinals Wimbledon, finals in Australian Open, was a big thing not just for him but also for his country. He came from a really small country, with zero history in tennis, with zero tradition in that sport.”

The ending of Baghdatis’ career on July 4th was on the 15th anniversary of one sporting event that inspired his career. A strange, but fitting coincidence. As he ventures into the world outside of professional tennis, the 34-year-old hopes his career will have an impact on those in his country.

The 4th of July, 2004, Greece won the European Championship in soccer, and that’s the impact that tournament gave me. The impact that I can believe in myself and I can achieve anything.’ He reflects.
“And I’m retiring on the 4th of July, 2019. And I think that says everything. I leave a legacy behind, the same legacy I got from the team of 2004 in Portugal, I leave this legacy behind to some kids in Cyprus or Greece.”

From next week, Cyprus will have one only one player with an ATP ranking. That is Petros Chrysochos, who is currently 506th in the world.

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US Open Must Allow Entourages Of Three Or Four People, Says Thiem

The world No.3 says he is feeling good ahead of the return of professional tennis next month.

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Dominic Thiem has come out against proposals to restrict the number of coaching staff that can travel to this year’s US Open amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

This year’s New York major will be held behind closed doors for the first time in history and will be implementing a series of measures to help minimise the threat posed by the virus. Part of their plan is to limit how many people a player can bring with them to the tournament. It was originally reported that only one team member per player would be allowed to travel, but it has emerged that the limit has since been extended to three.

Speaking about the limits, three-time Grand Slam finalist Thiem said the idea of only allowing one member of his team to travel with him would be a risk for some players on the Tour.

*”I do not think so. Three or four people must be allowed. It would be extremely risky to travel without your own physio. You need a local coach for this,’ Thiem told The Kronen Zeitung newspaper on Sunday.

Thiem last played a match on the ATP Tour at the Rio Open in February where he lost in the quarter-finals. However, throughout the lockdown he has still managed to maintain his match fitness by participating in numerous tournaments. In total he has played 24 matches across three different countries, including one named after him called Thiems 7.

“Right now I feel very good,” he said. “I have played a lot of exhibition games in the last two months and I am not tired at all. I really wanted to play tennis again, since my start of the year was very good.’
“During This period of confinement at home I have been crushing myself a lot in the physical aspect and already when I returned to training. I have decided to improve the backhand and the serve a little more.”

The ATP Tour will resume next month with Thiem hoping that he can continue his form generated from earlier this year. At the Australian Open he reached the final for the first time in his career before getting edged out by Novak Djokovic. Although when he returns, tournaments will not be the same as before due to the ongoing pandemic with strict safety measures and reduced crowds in place.

“When the circuit returns, the matches will be exactly the same as we had previously, but the atmosphere will be different,” he said.
“All tennis players will miss playing tournaments where many people travelled to see us every day. In New York, Paris or Melbourne there are between 60,000 and 70,000 people every day in the facilities. That previous life we ​​had will not be the same and we may have to get used to this new normal for a few years.”

Thiem is one of only four men to have already made more than $1 million in prize money so far this year on the ATP Tour.

*NOTE: Since the publication of this article quotes have been edited following a translation mix-up.

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Nick Kyrgios Slams Thiem Over Defence Of Controversy-Stricken Adria Tour

The world No.40 has accused the Austrian of lacking an ‘intellectual level’ to understand his view.

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Australian star Nick Kyrgios has continued his public criticism of the Adria Tour by taking aim at two-time French Open finalist Dominic Thiem.

 

The 25-year-old has repeatedly hit out at the exhibition event, which Thiem participated in. Organised by world No.1 Novak Djokovic, the event took place in Belgrade and Zadar before it was scrapped following an outbreak of COVID-19 among both players and coaching staff. Djokovic, Grigor Dimitrov and Borna Coric all got infected. The outbreak came after the Adria Tour was criticised for a lack of social distancing and players attended various public events together. Although at the time, all of their actions were done in accordance with local regulations. Something the Serbian Prime Minister now admits was a mistake.

However, Thiem has called out Kyrgios over his vocal criticism of fellow Adria Tour competitor Alexander Zverev. The German attended a party in southern France less than a week after the COVID-19 outbreak despite issuing a statement saying he would go into self-isolation.

“It was his mistake, but I don’t why a lot of people want to interfere. Kyrgios has done a lot of mistakes. It would be better for him to come clear instead of criticising others,” Thiem told Tiroler Tageszeitung.

Continuing to defend the actions of his fellow players, Thiem also jumped to the defence of Djokovic. Who has been under heavy criticism over the event with some going as far as questioning his position as president of the ATP Players Council.

“He didn’t commit a crime. We all make mistakes, but I don’t understand all the criticism. I’ve been to Nice and also saw pictures from other cities. It’s no different from Belgrade during the tournament. It’s too cheap to shoot at Djokovic.”

The comments have now been blasted by Kyrgios, who stands by his previous criticism of players. Accusing Thiem of lacking an ‘intellectual level’ to see his point of view.

“What are you talking about @ThiemDomi? Mistakes like smashing rackets? Swearing? Tanking a few matches here or there? Which everyone does?” Kyrgios wrote on Twitter.
“None of you have the intellectual level to even understand where I’m coming from. I’m trying to hold them accountable.”
“People losing lives, loved ones and friends, and then Thiem standing up for the ‘mistake,'” he added.

The COVID-19 pandemic has killed more than 500,000 people worldwide and some players have voiced concerns over travelling to America which has recently seen a rise in cases. On Wednesday Alexi Popyrin became the first player to say he won’t play the US Open due to health concerns.

The ATP Tour is set to resume next month but it is unclear as to what events Thiem and Kyrgios will be playing in.

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Roger Federer Eyeing Olympic Glory At The Age Of 39 In 2021

The Swiss tennis star isn’t ready to step away from the sport just yet.

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20-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer has vowed to play at next year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo after undergoing two surgeries on his knee.

 

The former world No.1 hasn’t played a competitive match since his semi-final loss to Novak Djokovic at the Australian Open in January. Since then he had twice undergone arthroscopic surgeries which is a minimally invasive procedure that is used to diagnose and treat problems with the joints. Federer announced shortly after having the procedure done for a second time that he will not be returning to the Tour again this year.

Despite the setbacks, the 38-year-old has vowed to return to action at the start of 2021 with Olympic glory one of his main targets. He is already a two-time Olympic medallist after winning gold in the men’s doubles back in 2008 followed by silver in the singles draw at the 2012 London Games.

“My goal is to play Tokyo 2021. It’s a wonderful city. I met my wife in my first Olympics in 2000. It’s a special event for me,” Federer said on Monday during the launch of ‘The Roger’ shoe with Swiss brand ON.
“I had two surgeries and I can’t hit at the moment, but I’m very confident I will be totally ready for 2021.
“I do miss playing in front of the fans, no doubt. Now, I think if tennis comes back we know it won’t be in a normal way where we can have full crowds yet.”

Federer will be 39 when he returns to action, but is yet to speculate as to when he may close the curtain on his record-breaking career. He is currently the second oldest man in the top 200 on the ATP Tour after Croatia’s Ivo Karlovic, who is 41.

Besides the Olympics, the Swiss Maestro is also setting his eye on Wimbledon where he has claimed the men’s title a record eight times. However, he hasn’t won a major title since the 2018 Australian Open. The Grass-court major has been cancelled this year for the first time since 1945 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Of course I miss Wimbledon, of course I would like to be there currently playing on Centre Court for a place in the second week,” he said.
“Clearly, one of my big goals, and that’s why I do recovery work every day and work so hard, and why I’m preparing for a 20-week physical preparation block this year, is because I hope to play at Wimbledon next year.”

Even though he is not playing for the rest of the year, Federer incredibly still has a chance of qualifying for the ATP Finals due to recent changes in the rankings calculations. Due to the pandemic, players are now allowed to use their best results at 18 tournaments based on a 22-month period instead of 12 months. Something that could enable him to remain inside the top eight until the end of 2020 depending on how his rivals fair.

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