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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Diego Schwartzman Receives Threats On Social Media Following Shock Davis Cup Defeat

The world No.15 is the latest player to speak out about recieving abusive messages on social media.

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The weekend has been an emotional rollercoaster for Diego Schwartzman, who suffered ‘one of the worst’ losses of his career before helping secure victory for his country in their Davis Cup tie against Belarus.

 

On Saturday the world No.15 was stunned by unranked 18-year-old Daniil Ostapenkov who is yet to play a professional match on the pro Tour. Ostapenkov is currently ranked 63 in the world on the junior circuit. The comprehensive victory shocked the Argentinian team who was hosting the tie at the Buenos Aires Lawn Tennis Club.

Despite the shock upset, Schwartman managed to redeem himself the following day when he defeated Alexander Zgirovsky 6-1, 6-2. That victory handed his country an unassailable 3-1 lead in their tie and secured their place in the 2022 Davis Cup qualifiers which will take place next March.

Not only playing Davis, but in Buenos Aires, with a lot of people you don’t see, it’s not easy. My level can be and has to be much better. After the game on Saturday I had a difficult day in the spirit of being able to get up and enjoy with the group,” La Nacion quoted Schwartzman as saying.
“The most normal thing was that we won the series. It’s what everyone expected. But when you have a very difficult day at work like it was on Saturday and then you win, it excites you because you have some internal things withheld.”

Between those two matches, Schwartzman revealed that he was trolled on social media by some people unhappy about his loss in the tie. The 2020 French Open semi-finalist said he received criticism and even threats from some asking him to leave his home country. Something he admits affected him at times.

“It was one of the worst days of my career,” Schwartzman commented on his loss to Zgirovsky. “I lost to an unranked, inexperienced player. All that already affects (me) a lot. Although 80 or 90 percent of the people are always encouraging (me), there was a minority who criticized me with bad intentions.’
“I received threats, insults and requests not to return to Argentina. More or less, it affects (me)”.

Schwartzman is not the first player to speak out about online abuse. During the US Open Shelby Rogers said she was expecting to receive ‘death threats’ following her loss to Emma Raducanu who went on to win the title. Sloane Stephens has also previously spoken out about being the victim of racism online.

The 29-year-old says he has previously tried to interact with those who have trolled him on social media to find out why they are doing so.

Sometimes I start to answer some messages and I ask those people if they realize what they are sending,” Schwartzman said during his press conference. “The vast majority apologize and say they had not realized it. But at the moment it hurts. That very ill-intentioned criticism is the only bad thing about social networks.”

Schwartzman has won four ATP titles and earned more than $10M in prize money so far in his career.

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Spanish Veteran Feliciano Lopez Addresses Future On The Tour

23 years after he played his first main draw match on the ATP Tour, Lopez says his longevity in the sport has been achieved with the help of of some luck.

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Feliciano Lopez of Spain is pictured during the semi-final of ATP Fever-Tree Championships tennis tournament at Queen's Club in west London on June 20, 2019.

Feliciano Lopez has dismissed any speculation that he could retire in the coming weeks after saying he is taking life on the Tour in his stride.

 

The 39-year-old Spaniard is currently the second oldest player in the world’s top 200 after Roger Federer, who is a year older than him. Lopez made his ATP Tour debut at the 1998 Barcelona Open which was before the birth of Jannik Sinner and Carlos Alcaraz. In June he became the 10th active player to record his 500th win on the Tour.

Currently ranked 111th in the world, some are starting to wonder how much longer Lopez will continue playing. So far this season he has achieved a win-loss record of 9-19 with his best performance being a run to the quarter-finals of the Mallorca Open which was held on the grass. It was in Mallorca where he defeated Karen Khachanov who is the only top 30 player he has beaten so far in 2021.

I play year-by-year, the last 6-7 years have been like this, a tennis player at that age cannot think about extending his career. After turning 30 I have been lucky, I have obtained the best results of my career,” Lopez told reporters on Friday.
It is not very common for players my age, at (almost) 40 years to continue playing in the best tournaments.” He added.

Throughout his career, Lopez has impressively played in a record 78 consecutive Grand Slam tournaments dating back to the 2002 French Open. During that period he has reached the quarter-finals of a major tournament on four occasions.

“I don’t play to break records, what makes me most excited is to continue playing Grand Slams. For me, maintaining that record (78 consecutive Grand Slams played) is very nice, but more to follow. Being competitive,” he commented on the milestone.
“It is difficult for someone to overcome it because it is 20 years in a row without missing a great one. I have had continuity and enormous luck. Those of my generation are practically all retired.”

Away from the court, the former world No.12 is the current tournament director of the Madrid Open. Making him one of a few players historically to both be playing on the Tour and managing a tournament at the same time. Recently it was confirmed that Madrid will continue hosting it’s combined event until at least 2030 following a renewed agreement between the city council and the Madrid trophy promotion.

Lopez has won a total of seven ATP titles so far in his career and has earned more than $18M in prize money.

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ATP Moves Closer To Staging Five More 12-Day Masters 1000 Events After Board Approval

Changes are coming to the men’s Tour which includes a brand new ‘profit-sharing formular’ for players.

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Masters tournaments in North America, Europe and Asia are set to be expanded over the coming months after the ATP Board recently approved some ‘key aspects’ of their strategic plan.

 

In a letter issued to players, ATP chairman Andrea Gaudenzi said an agreement has been reached concerning a variety of topics, which include the expansion of various Masters 1000 events. It is understood that the plan is for Rome, Madrid, Canada, Cincinnati and Shanghai to be increased to 12-day events instead of just one week. Putting them more in line with Indian Wells and Miami. Tennis.com reports that under the new structure, ATP 250 events will also take place during the second week of those tournaments and they could receive a subsidy from the ATP Tour, provided by extra fees paid by the Masters tournaments.

Masters 1000 events are the third highest-ranked category events in men’s tennis after Grand Slams and the ATP Finals in terms of prize money and ranking points on offer. The series was first introduced back in 1990 but it wasn’t until 2009 that the name ‘Masters 1000’ was born. The number represents how many ranking points the winner receives.

Besides the proposed changes to the Masters series, the Board has also given a green light to “a new Profit-Sharing formula” and “long-term prize money levels.” The prize money increase is reportedly said to be 2.5 percent of a base level, plus a bonus pool with a 50 percent share of the collective profit of the Masters events.

“This represents significant progress for our sport and the way our player and tournament members operate under the equal partnership of the ATP Tour. It is only through the spirit of this partnership, transparency, and alignment of interests that we can truly maximise your potential and switch our focus to the competition we face in the border sports and entertainment landscape,” Gaudenzi wrote in his letter to players.

Part of the plan also include making changes to ATP Media, who are in charge of broadcasting the events. At present it is currently jointly owned by the Tour and each of the Masters 1000 events. However, in the future it has been proposed that those tournaments trade in their ownership rights for shares in ATP media. Exact details about this process have not been publicly disclosed and it is unclear if all of the tournaments would agree to such a move.

The ATP also wants to create a ‘Tennis Data Innovations’ which will be an independent entity.

All of these proposed changes are still subject to further agreement around additional matters. The ATP have been working on details of their strategic plan for the past 18 months.

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