Boris Becker Criticises ‘Unidimensional’ Alexander Zverev For Lack Of Improvement - UBITENNIS
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Boris Becker Criticises ‘Unidimensional’ Alexander Zverev For Lack Of Improvement

The tennis legend and former coach of Novak Djokovic speaks out about the current form of the world No.6.

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Former world No.1 Boris Becker believes Alexander Zverev is experiencing difficulty on the tour because he has failed to build on his game in recent months.

 

The world No.6 crashed out in the fourth round of the US Open to Diego Schwartzman. Meaning that he has only managed to reach the quarter-finals of a grand slam once this season, which was also the case in 2018. The German has experienced a lacklustre past few months on the tour. After his first round loss at Wimbledon, he reached the semi-finals at Hamburg, quarter-finals in Washington and then lost his opening match at the Cincinnati Masters.

Weighing in on Zverev’s recent results, multiple grand slam winner Becker believes his fellow compatriot has become too predictable on the court. Making it easier for others to dismantle his game during matches. Although so far this season Zverev has achieved almost twice as many victories than losses on the tour (33-17).

“That he currently has problems with his serve is one thing. But for me, the game of Zverev is a bit too unidimensional and readable for the opponent.” Becker said on Eurosport earlier this week.
“The good players have studied him and know how to hurt Sascha Zverev. This is the point I have to criticize. He has not improved in the last 18 months. He is motivated, he is hard-working, has a good environment, but the way how he attacks the net and his position on the court are comparable to those 18 months ago.”

During his campaign in Flushing Meadows this year, Zverev struggled with his serve at numerous points. In total he hit 43 double faults in four matches played and only managed to win 50% of his second service points once. Doing so against Aljaz Bedene in the third round.

Zverev’s US Open stats

ROUND DOUBLE FAULTS FIRST SERVES WON SECOND SERVES WON
1 17 62% (50/81) 32% (15/47)
2 7 80% (84/105) 50% (21/42)
3 11 75% (72/96) 46% (26/57)
4 8 70% (55/79) 48% (19/40)

Besides his criticism, Becker notes that part of Zverev’s blips are connected to a series of events that has happened to him away from the court. Including a high profile legal battle he engaged in with his former manager. He is now represented by Team 8. A management company that was co-founded by Roger Federer.

“The second serve is the look in the soul of a tennis player. I had Yips, too and did not know how to play the second serve. I had to change my environment and that’s the problem of Sascha Zverev.” Becker explained.
“It started with the problems around his agent, then the split-up with his girlfriend and with his former coach Ivan Lendl. It creates a lot of restlessness and sometimes the tennis player is overwhelmed.”

The 22-year-old now heads to Asia for the next swing of the tour. He has contested 17 ATP finals, so far in his career, but none of them have taken place in the continent. Zverev will be hoping for a breakthrough ahead of his title defence at the ATP Finals in November should he qualify for the year-end event.

“The Grand Slam calendar is done for me. It’s not been the best, it’s not been the worst.” He said after his US Open exit. “Generally, my season so far has not been the best. Actually, Grand Slams were not actually worse than my season like they were last year and two years ago. I hope I can attack them next year.”

Zverev will head to the Laver Cup prior to playing his next ATP tournament at the China Open.

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Kei Nishikori Issues Fitness Update Ahead Of New Season

After a difficult season where he could only win two matches, the world No.41 is hoping to get back on track next year.

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Kei Nishikori (photo by chryslène caillaud, copyright @Sport Vision)

Former US Open finalist Kei Nishikori says he is eager to start competing against the best in the world again after what has been a troublesome season.

 

The 30-year-old has only been able to play four tournaments this year due to a combination of injury, the pandemic and illness. Nishikori underwent surgery on his shoulder in October 2019 which subsequently resulted in him missing the start of this season. Then he was forced to pull out of his planned return at the US Open after testing positive for COVID-19. Eventually he returned to action in Kitzbuhel during September but had to close his season early a few weeks later after injuring his shoulder at the French Open.

“We had a few tournaments (due to the pandemic) and my season came to an end when I was beginning to get my feel back,” Kyodo news quoted Nishikori as saying on Friday. “I really can’t wait for next year.”

Overall, Nishikori won just two out of six matches played on the Tour in 2020. Scoring wins over Spain’s Albert Ramos-Vinolas in Rome and Britain’s Dan Evans at Roland Garros. The highest ranked player he faced was No.22 Christian Garin, who he lost 6-0, 6-3, to in Hamburg.

Despite his setbacks, the Japanese player insists that he is now back on track and his shoulder is at ‘a decent level.

“(My shoulder) has recovered to a decent level. It’ll be definitely okay for next year,” Nishikori said. “I’ll prepare (for the Olympics) assuming that they will take place.”
“I couldn’t face top-10 ranked players this season. I want to compete at that level again as soon as I can.”

One of Nishikori’s goals for next year will be the Olympic Games which are taking place in Tokyo for the first time since 1964. The Games have to be postponed until next year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Nishikori is the only player from his country to have won an Olympic medal during the Open Era after winning bronze in 2016.

I think it’s hard for athletes and the public to think about the Olympics right now. I just want to prepare well,he said in reference to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nishikori has been ranked as high fourth in the world but is currently in 41st position. So far in his career he has won 12 ATP titles and earned more than $24 million in prize money.

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The ATP announces the nominees for the 2020 ATP Awards

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Nominees have been announced for the ATP Awards for all player-voted categories (Comeback Player of the Year, Most Improved Player of the Year, Newcomer of the year, Stefan Edberg Sportmanship Award) and Coach of the Year. 

 

The Fans’s Favourite Award and and the Arthur Ashe Humanitarian Award Award will be announced later this month. Fans can vote for their favourite singles player and doubles team through 11 December. 

Three-time winner and 20-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal will be up against 2020 Rome finalist and Roland Garros semifinalist Diego Schwartzman, US Open champion Dominic Thiem and John Millman in the Sportsmanship category. 

Schwartzman is among the nominees in the Most Improved player category and will be against Ugo Humbert, five-time ATP Tour titlist Andrey Rublev and 2020 Sofia ATP Tour champion and 2019 Next Gen ATP Tour champion Jannik Sinner. The Most Improved player of the Year reached a higher ATP Ranking by year’s end and showed an increasingly improved level of performance through the year. 

The nominees for the Comeback Player of the Year are Kevin Anderson, Andrey Kuznetsov, Vasek Pospisil and Milos Raonic. The Compeback Player of the Year has overcome a serious injury in re-establishing as one of the top players on the ATP Tour. 

The contenders for the Newcomer of the Year Award are Carlos Alcaraz (winner in three Challenger tournaments in Trieste, Barcelona and Alicante), Sebastian Korda (winner of his first Challenger title in Eckental), Lorenzo Musetti (title in Parma and third-round in Rome Masters 1000), Jurij Rodionov (first Challenger titles in Dallas and Morelos) , Emil Ruusuvuori (semifinalist in Nur Sultan) and Thiago Seyboth Wild (first title in Santiago de Chlle)

The Coach of the Year Award contenders are Juan Ignacio Chela (Diego Schwartzman), Gilles Cervara (Danil Medvedev), Nicolas Massu (Dominic Thiem), Riccardo Piatti (Jannik Sinner) and Fernando Vicente (Andrey Rublev). 

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French Legend Leconte Speaks Out On Upcoming Return Of Roger Federer

The Grand Slam finalist gives his view on Federer’s chances for 2021.

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A former star of French tennis says he is hopeful but wary that Roger Federer will be able to return to the pinnacle of sport next year.

 

Henri Leconte, who is a former French Open finalist that achieved a ranking high of No.5, admits that the Swiss Maestro may find it tough on the Tour given the rise of what he describes as the ‘younger generation.’ This season Dominic Thiem won his maiden Grand Slam title at the US Open at the age of 27. More recently Daniil Medvedev defeated both Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal en route to the ATP Finals title.

We want to believe it. We all want to believe it! It’s been a long and difficult year. Will the motivation still be there? Will this break, the fact of having been able to enjoy his family, have changed something or will he still have that renewed motivation that has always fascinated us?” Leconte told TennisActu.

Federer hasn’t played a competitive match since his semi-final loss at the Australian Open in January. Since then, he has been sidelined from action due to a right knee injury which required two surgical procedures. The second took place after the first failed to produce the desired results.

Despite the setbacks, 20-time Grand Slam champion Federer is eyeing a return to the Tour in 2021. He is currently the oldest player in the world’s top 100 and one of two to be aged 39. The other is Spain’s Feliciano Lopez.

No one can say it. We all wish him, we would like him to stop on a Grand Slam title but the train (momentum) is gone with this younger generation which has put in an extra speed,” said Leconte.
“I would like to believe it. Roger has done so many things, that’s why he makes us dream, we would like to see him at the top. It will be very, very hard. ..”

It is not the first time Federer has taken a lengthy break due to injury. He missed six months of the 2017 season due to another knee issue before returning to action the following year when he won the Australian Open.

Earlier this week it was confirmed that Federer will head into the new season being able to use his iconic ‘RF’ logo. He hasn’t been able to use the logo for the past two years after switching from Nike, which held the rights, to UNIQLO. However, he has managed to regain control of ownership which means he will be allowed to use it on his apparel once again.

“The RF cap is back,” Federer said in a video message to fans on Twitter.
“After a long wait and extensive fine-tuning, UNIQLO and I are extremely excited to announce the return of the RF hat in 8 fresh colours starting December 8th, 2020,” he also wrote.
“This hat has meant so much to me and to my fans over the years.
“It has given us a way to visibly connect, and I have appreciated the opportunity to thrive off this supportive energy.”

As it currently stands Federer’s first tournament is set to be the Australian Open. The tournament had been scheduled to start on January 18th but it is believed that the date has been delayed until February 8th due to travel and quarantine arrangements.

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