Marcos Baghdatis Ready To Bow Out Of Wimbledon With No Regrets - UBITENNIS
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Marcos Baghdatis Ready To Bow Out Of Wimbledon With No Regrets

Why retirement is a time for celebration for the former top-10 player.



Marcos Baghdatis - Wimbledon 2018 (photo Roberto Dell'Olivo)

WIMBLEDON: Finalising his preparations for his 14th main draw appearance at Wimbledon, Marcos Baghdatis admits that there is a strong chance that tears will be flowing over the coming days.


It will be at The All England Club where his career will come to a close after almost 15 years on the ATP Tour. Setting milestones that had previously never been achieved by anybody in his home country. He is the only Cypriot to have ever contested either the semi-final or final of a grand slam. Doing so at the 2006 Australian Open, where he finished runner-up. A former world No.1 junior, he would go on to rise to a best of eighth on the professional tour and win a quartet of ATP titles.

Now aged 34 and ranked 138th in the world, the time has come for Baghdatis to end his time as a player. He was given the ability to do so at Wimbledon after being handed a wildcard into the main draw.

“It wasn’t a sudden decision. I would have never taken such a sudden decision to leave a sport I love.” Baghdatis explained on Sunday.
“It’s been coming for a while with my team and my wife and everything came this year. The news of us (my family) expecting a third child and me not being happy about where I have been (on the tour) over the past 18 months.”

The selection of Wimbledon as the venue of his farewell tournament wasn’t random. His first ever memory of watching tennis on the TV was Andre Agassi winning the title back in 1992. His first ever at grand slam level.

“The first ever match I saw on the TV was Andre Agassi against Goran Ivanisevic in the final back in 1992. I was seven-years-old.” Baghdatis recounts.
“I’ve had some great runs here, even though I never reached the final as I did at the Australian Open. My results here are much more consistent.’
“It’s the most historical place to play tennis and I can not be more grateful to be able to retire here.”

Baghdatis’ best result at Wimbledon occurred 13 years ago when he defeated Lleyton Hewitt on route to the semi-finals. 12 months later he also reached the quarter-finals. Heading into this year, he has won 21 matches at the tournament. Making it his second most successful grand slam after the Australian Open.

Whilst relishing in a career that many others would have loved to achieve, Baghdatis’ achievements took place in the shadows of the Big Four. A quartet of players who have dominated men’s tennis for almost two decades. Winning every Wimbledon title between them for the past 16 years.

“I do feel privileged to play with them not once or twice, but many times. To compete and win against them,” he said.

Impressively, the only member of the Big Four to not suffer a loss to Baghdatis is world No.1 Novak Djokovic. Who dominates their head-to-head 8-0.

“I was very close (to winning) a lot of times. We had some great battles.” The world no.138 reflects.
“He kind of has the same game as me, but a bit better. Maybe that is the reason (why I have never beaten him). I couldn’t find a way to disrupt his game.”

Baghdatis vs Big Four
Djokovic 0-8
Federer 1-7
Nadal 1-9
Murray 3-5

Whilst he may not have reached the level of success as the likes of Federer and Co, the 34-year-old has few regrets about his career. On the ATP Tour he has scored 348 wins, 22 of those were against top 10 opposition.

“If I did things differently, my life might have been different. I don’t think I would have changed anything. I am very happy with my life in general.” He explained.
“I could have done better for sure, but anybody could say that.”

Baghdatis’ final tournament will get underway on Tuesday at Wimbledon. His first round opponent will be Canada’s Brayden Schnur, who came through qualifying. Regardless of the outcome, the infectious smile on Baghdatis’ face will remain. Something he is known for and will be missed by both fans and rivals in the sport.

“I’m looking forward to the future. For me, there is life after tennis. I enjoyed this long journey so much and I think there are more exciting times after tennis.”



Casper Ruud beats Alexander Bublik to win his first indoor match in St. Petersburg



Norway’s Casper Ruud came back from one set down to beat Alexander Bublik 6-7 (3-7) 6-4 6-2 at the St. Petersburg Open to win his first win at an indoor ATP Tour tournament.


Bublik got the first break in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead. Ruud broke staright back to draw level to 4-4. The first set went on serve until the tie-break which Bublik sealed 7-3 on his first set point. Ruud earned the only break in the third game to win the second set 6-3.

Ruud reeled off the final five games from 1-2 with two consecutive breaks in the fifth and seventh games to set up a second round match against Italy’s Salvatore Caruso, who rallied from one set down to beat his compatriot Thomas Fabbiano 2-6 6-3 6-3.

Mikhail Kukushkin came back from 2-4 down in the first set to beat 2017 St. Petersburg champion Damir Dzumhur 7-6 (7-2) 6-2 to secure his spot in the quarter finals.

Russian qualifier Egor Gerasimov cruised past Adrian Mannarino 6-3 6-1.

Marton Fucsovics came back from 1-5 down in the first set and fended off five set points to beat Alexey Vatutin 7-5 6-1 setting up a match against Borna Coric.

Joao Sousa cruised past Jozef Kovalik 6-2 6-3 6-2 6-3 without dropping a set to set up a second round match against second seed Karen Khachanov.



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Roger Federer On Davis Cup And Olympic Plans For 2020

The 38-year-old has provided some insight about his schedule for next year.



World No.3 Roger Federer has played down the chances of him playing in next year’s Davis Cup finals despite having representatives from Kosmos contact his team.


Federer is the only member of the Big Three to not be playing in this year’s team tournament, which has undergone a controversial revamp. For the first time in its 119-year history, the finals will take place over one week and feature 18 teams playing in a neutral location. The ties will feature two singles matches and one doubles in what will be a similar format to that of the football World Cup.

Efforts have been made to try and persuade the Swiss Maestro to play in the event. Gerard Pique, who is the founder of Kosmos, recently told Eurosport that attracting Federer to the event is one of his top priorities. Kosmos is the key financial backer of the Davis Cup revamp.

“Our main objective now is to see if he can play in 2020 if Switzerland qualify and he can join us and play Davis Cup.” Pique told Boris Becker on Eurosport.
“This would be great news, but right now as you can understand we are really focused on this event for this year because it will be the first time and want everything to be perfect.”

However, trying to get the Swiss player on board isn’t as easy as that. The 38-year-old once said the new structure has been made for ‘the future generation of players’ and not him. He has also warned against the Barcelona F.C player turning the event into the ‘Pique Cup.’ A term that bemused the Spaniard.

“It’s normal that he (Pique) has to say that. Regarding wildcards you can always talk like that. It is also normal for him to be questioned over and over again and to talk to my management from time to time.” Federer told the Swiss newspaper Tages-Anzeiger.
“But I do not necessarily plan on doing that, I do not necessarily have to play the Davis Cup. There are also no talks in progress, although in between it has been generally discussed.”

Since 1999, Federer has represented Switzerland in 27 Davis Cup ties. Although his last appearance was back in 2015. Along with Stan Wawrinka he helped guide his country to their first and only title in the tournament in 2014.

ATP Cup and Olympic duty

The new ITF-backed Davis Cup is facing rivalry from the ATP, who has brought back their team tournament for the first time since 2012. The ATP Cup is set to launch in January and will take place across three cities in Australia. The event has a prize money pool of $15 million and up to 750 ranking points up for grabs.

“I just hope that the Davis Cup Finals and then the ATP Cup will go well. Then you sit together and see how it goes on. Whether there should be these two cups forever, or whether there could be changes that would do the tennis good.” Said Federer.
“34 of the top 35 have confirmed for the ATP Cup, it also takes place on a good date. The Davis Cup should not be happy.” He added.

It also remains to be seen if Federer will play in the upcoming Tokyo Olympic Games. Under current rules a player is required to play a certain number of Davis Cup ties within an Olympic cycle, which he hasn’t. However, he can potentially enter via appeal or a wild card. Something he will likely get.

“I planned 2020 season till Wimbledon so far, I already brought The Olympics up in the Team, they said, it‘s your decision, it‘s your career, I also talked with Mirka about it, I have a feeling that I will make a decision very soon.“

Federer, who is a four-time Olympian, hasn’t played an event in Japan since winning the 2006 Tokyo Open. Although he could be persuaded to return to the country in the near future by his sponsor Uniqlo. A Japanese clothing manufacturer that signed a 10-year deal with Federer worth millions.

Federer at the Olympic Games
-Sydney 2000 – fourth place in the singles
-Athens 2004 – reach round two in both singles and doubles
-Beijing 2008 – win Olympic gold in the doubles with Stan Wawrinka. Lost in the quarter-finals of the singles tournament.
-London 2012 – clinches a silver medal in the singles.
-Rio 2016 – did not play

In the immediate future, Federer’s focus is on the Laver Cup, which he co-founded. The third edition of the event will take place this weekend in Geneva, Switzerland.

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Mikhail Kukushkin beat Italian Next Gen star Jannick Sinner in St. Petersburg



Mikhail Kukushkin beat 18-year-old Italian Next Gen rising star Jannick Sinner 6-3 7-6 (7-4) after 1 hour and 40 minutes. Kukushkin fended off nine of the eleven break points he faced.


Sinner, who turned 18 last month and received a wild-card to take part at the next November’s ATP Next Gen Finals in Milan, did not convert three break points in the first game, but Kukushkin saved them to hold his first game.

Kukushkin, who won his only title in St.Petersburg in 2010, was the first to break serve in the fourth game to open up a 4-1 lead. Sinner earned three break points but Kukushkin fended them off. Sinner saved a break point in the eighth game but Kukushkin served out the opening set on his first set point.

Kukushkin went up a break in the third game of the second set to take a 2-1 lead, Sinner converted his second break-back point to draw level to 2-2. Kukushkin got a break lead for the second time but Sinner rallied from the break down for the second time to draw level to 4-4. Sinner earned set point at 5-4 to force a decider, but Kukushkin saved it to draw level to 5-5. Kukushkin got a mini-break in the tie-break to win the tie-break 7-4.

Adrian Mannarino, who won his first ATP Tour title in s’Hertogenbosch, beat Stefano Travaglia 7-5 6-2 after 1 hour and 19 minutes. Travaglia held his first two service games at love and broke serve to open up a 4-1 lead. Mannarino converted his first break-back point for 3-4. Both players held their serve to draw level to 5-5. Travaglia saved a break point, but he made two double faults to drop his serve in the 11th game for 5-6. Mannarino served out the first set on his first point.

Travaglia saved a break point at the start of the second set, but Mannarino converted his second chance.

Travaglia earned two break-back points in the second game but did Mannarino saved them to open up a 2-0 lead. Mannarino went up a 3-0 lead. The Frenchman saved a break point in the sixth game to race out to a 5-1 lead and sealed the win on his first match point.


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