Andy Murray Backs Trio Of Rising Stars To Take Over From Djokovic And Co - UBITENNIS
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Andy Murray Backs Trio Of Rising Stars To Take Over From Djokovic And Co

Are these the player’s who will become the future headline acts of men’s tennis?

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Andy Murray at the 2019 Australian Open (photo Roberto Dell'Olivo)

Three-time grand slam champion Andy Murray believes there will eventually be changes occurring at the top of men’s tennis, but not for a while.

 

Murray, who is on the comeback from his second hip operation, has issued a time frame of between 18 months and two years until the reign of the Big Three is truly tested. A group consisting of Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic. The trio currently occupies the top end of the rankings with the youngest being Djokovic at the age of 32. Between them, they have won 259 ATP titles, including 54 at grand slam level.

“I can see something happening in the next couple of years. Maybe the next 12-18 months I don’t quite see it. But in 18 months to two years I think we’ll see some changes up there,” Murray said during an interview with atptour.com.
“I think it will mainly come from the younger ones. That’s not to say that some of the older guys couldn’t potentially win a Slam. I just don’t see one of them becoming dominant. Potentially some of the younger guys get up to the top four or five in the world and stay there for a long period.”

One of the player’s Murray has tipped to become the next big thing is Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime. The 18-year-old cracked the top 25 earlier this year. Becoming the youngest player on the men’s tour to do so since Lleyton Hewitt back in 1999. He is yet to win a title, but has contested three ATP Finals since February and reached the semi-finals of the Miami Masters.

Besides Auger-Aliassime, the Brit has also lent his backing behind Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev. 20-year-old Tsitsipas recently broke into the world’s top five for the first time. Meanwhile, Zverev is the reigning ATP Finals champion.

“I like Felix. I like his game; physically he’s very strong and he looks good mentally,” Murray said. “He’s still young so he’ll need a little time. Tsitsipas has a really nice game; he’s a good athlete and his personality is great. He’s fun to watch. He has an all-round game that allows him to play well on all surfaces, which is important if you want to get up there and stay up there.
“Obviously Zverev has a lot of potential and he’s won the most of the young guys. If you have a few bad months it’s easy for people to forget that and start writing you off. But he’s a young guy who can improve a lot.
“They would be the three right now. But there could be 17-, 18-year-olds out there who I haven’t seen play much who could break through.”

Singles campaign gaining momentum

Murray will play singles at the Western and Southern Open next week for the first time since January. When he said that he could be forced to retire due to persistent hip pain. However, his latest operation has so far been a success with him playing in a series of doubles tournaments. Winning the Fever-Tree Championships with Feliciano Lopez.

On Sunday it was confirmed that the 32-year-old will head to Asia to play more singles tournaments next month. Confirming that he would play at both the Zhuhai Open, which starts on September 23rd. The week after he will also feature in the draw at the China Open in Beijing.

“As I look to play more singles events later in the year, I’m happy to announce I’ll be playing at the inaugural Zhuhai Championships in the week of Sept 23.” Murray wrote on Facebook.
“I have always enjoyed playing in China and Zhuhai is meant to be a great city. It’s close to Macau and Hong Kong, with an impressive stadium and I can’t wait to experience it..”

There is still no confirmation about Murray’s plans during the US Open, however, it is possible that he could just focus on the doubles.

At the Western and Southern Open, Murray will play Richard Gasquet in the first round.

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Year-End No.1 Not A Priority For Rafael Nadal, Says Murray

Murray spoke about his rival as he gives a update on his current form.

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Three-time grand slam champion Andy Murray believes rival Rafael Nadal is not focusing on the prospect of ending the season as world No.1.

 

Murray spoke about the big three during an extensive interview with The Times. A group compromising of Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer. The Brit is currently on the comeback from hip resurfacing surgery and recently reached the quarter-finals of the China Open. His best run on the ATP Tour so far this season. Currently ranked 289th in the world, Murray admits that he still has a way to go to the top. However, the 32-year-old is drawing inspiration from some of his rivals.

“If I do get up there, I’m not going to be focusing on ranking targets. You look at what Roger [Federer], Rafa [Nadal] and I guess Novak [Djokovic], to a certain extent, are doing to give themselves a chance to play longer.” Murray told The Times.
“Right now, Rafa could be fighting to finish number one in the world and it’s not a priority for him. I would like to be competitive in the big events against the best players. I’m not there yet, but I’m closer than I was a month ago, and much closer than a couple of months ago,” he said.

Nadal is currently closing in on the world No.1 spot despite not playing since winning the US Open. On Monday Djokovic’s lead over him will be reduced to 320 points after the Serbian lost in the third round of the Shanghai Masters. Then on November 4th he is guaranteed to return to the top spot before the ATP Finals. Even more significant is that Nadal has no ranking points to defend for the rest of the season compared to 1600 for Djokovic.

Murray’s comments on Nadal echoes what the Spaniard has previously said. During the US Open in September, the king of clay stated that returning to the top was ‘not his main goal’ with his health being top priority.

“I don’t compete for it. I just do my way. If I am able to be No.1 doing it my way, great. But I always say the same: today is not my main goal.” He explained.
“Of course, it’s great to be in that fight. But for me personally, it’s not really a fight. I just try be competitive the weeks that I need to compete, or the weeks that I want to compete.’
“With my age and with my goals, I cannot lose energy or time to follow the No.1. I need to think about my career in a different way.
‘For me, my main goal is play as long as possible and compete, being competitive. Sometimes if you need to follow the No.1, you are going to lose years of your career.”

Nadal is set to return to action in November at the Paris Masters. Meanwhile, Murray returns to the court tomorrow at the European Open where he will play Kimmer Coppejans in the first round.

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Danil Medvedev beats Stefanos Tsitsipas in Shanghai semifinal to reach his sixth consecutive final

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Danil Medvedev reached his ninth final this year and his sixth consecutive title match after beating Greek Next Gen star Stefanos Tsitsipas 7-6 (7-5) 7-5 after 1 hour and 38 minutes in the semifinal of the Shanghai Rolex Masters.

 

The 23-year-old Russian player has now beaten his 21-year-old Greek rival in all their five head-to-head matches. Medvedev has reached his third Masters 1000 final after finishing runner-up to Rafael Nadal and winning the Cincinnati final last August. In an impressive hard-court season Medvedev lost the US Open final in five sets against Rafael Nadal and won the indoor tournament in St. Petersburg. Since losing to David Goffin the Moscow player has won 28 of his last 31 matches. He has become the 16th player in the Open Era to reach six consecutive finals.

Medvedev hit 25 winners to 18 unforced errors and saved four of the five break points.

Tsitsipas earned three break points at 4-4 in the opening set. Medvedev saved them with two serves and a forced error from Tsitsipas. The first set came down to the tie-break where both players stayed neck and neck until 5-5. The first 10 points of the tie-break went on serve. Medvedev got the decisive mini-break in the 11th game, when Tsitsipas made a forehand error. Medvedev closed out the first set after a backhand error from Tsitsipas.

In the second set Tsitsipas wasted game points at 1-1. Medvedev got the break in the third game of the second set with a backhand down the line winner. He consolidated the break by holding his serve with three service winners. Tsitsipas broke back at 15, when Medvedev was serving for the match. Medvedev broke for the second time in the 11th game with a forehand return before sealing the win in the 12th game with three service winners. Medvedev has become the 13th player since 1990 to reach three consecutive Masters 1000 finals.

“I think it’s a great achievement. I am proud of myself. Hopefully I can get the win tomorrow. It’s actually quite crazy. Here I had a lot of opportunities. to lose sets. I was close to losing a lot of them, especially with Vasek Pospisil with five set points. I think that’s also the confidence and the dynamic I am going through”, said Medvedev.

Tsitsipas was bidding to reach his second consecutive final after finishing runner-up to Dominic Thiem in Beijing.

 

 

 

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Alexander Zverev beats Roger Federer in Shanghai to reach his eighth Masters 1000 semifinal

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Alexander Zverev battled past Roger Federer 6-3 6-7 (7-9) 6-3 in 2 hours and 4 minutes to reach his eighth Masters 1000 semifinal and the first since Shanghai last year.

 

The German star has moved up to seventh in the ATP Race to London after reaching two consecutive semifinals in Beijing and Shanghai and has a good chance to qualify for his third consecutive ATP Finals.

Zverev hit 43 winners (including 17 aces) to 23 unforced errors and faced three just three break points in the entire match. He dropped his serve twice and broke four times.

Zverev did not convert five match points in the final stages of the second set.

Zverev dropped three points in his service games and hit 11 winners to 6 unforced errors. The Hamburg native earned a break at 3-2 and held his next service games to close out the first set with four service winners in the ninth game after 27 minutes.

Both Federer and Zverev traded breaks in the second and third games of the second set and held their serve in the next seven games to draw level to 5-5. Zverev broke serve in the 11th game with a forehand winner, when Federer was serving in the 11th game. Zverev wasted three match points on serve in the 12th game and was broken by Federer, who drew level to 6-6 to set up a tie-break.

Federer saved match points at 5-6 and 6-7 in the tie-break and closed out the second set with an ace.

Zverev held at 15 in the first game with a service winner in the first game and broke serve in the second game after a forehand error from Federer.

Zverev held serve at love in the third game to build up a 3-0 lead. He earned two break points in the fourth game, but Federer saved them. The Swiss player fended off another break point at 1-4 with a forehand winner. Zverev held serve at love to build up a 5-2 lead.

Zverev closed out the match with a hold at 15, as he was serving for the match in the ninth game, to set up a semifinal against either Dominic Thiem or Matteo Berrettini.

Zverev adds to his ATP Race to London ranking with 2615 points to take seventh place ahead of  Roberto Bautista Agut.

“Finally starting to kind of play the way I should play, I was really playing really defensive the whole year, and I was not with a lot of confidence. He will always find a way. He will always make it tricky for you like he did today with me, and always got to play your best tennis to have a chance. I knew if I am going to keep playing the way I played the first two sets, I am going to have a chance in the third set as well”, said Zverev after the match.

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