Team Europe Leads Heading into Sunday's Final Day at Laver Cup - UBITENNIS
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Team Europe Leads Heading into Sunday’s Final Day at Laver Cup

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-Geneva, Switzerland

Team Europe is in a familiar spot after Saturday’s play at the Laver Cup but the event is certainly nowhere close to being locked up just yet. Thanks to hometown hero Roger Federer and World No. 2 Rafael Nadal, the Euro squad leads Team World 7-5 heading into Sunday’s final day.

Europe led after Saturday at both previous Laver Cups in 2017 & 2018. The score heading into Sunday was the same last year in Chicago.

In the first match of the night session, Nadal continued his fine play from the summer defeating a rusty Milos Raonic 6-3, 7-6. The reigning US Open champion has now won 29 of his last 30 matches. The only loss coming to Federer in the Wimbledon Semi-Finals.

The Canadian started off well mustering up eight break point chances in Nadal’s first three service games. Only problem, he wasn’t able to convert any. Nadal hit some blistering forehands throughout the match including several down the line for winners and his traditional fist pumps were widely on display.

Raonic, who’s dropped to No. 24 in the World, made 28 unforced errors in the match and his net play which has been one of his strengths was shaky on the dark Laver Cup court. He won just 20 of 39 points at the net.

Raonic also admitted after the match his absence from the tour was because of a torn left glute. In fact he tore the same glute twice, once in Montreal and once the week before the US Open.

In Saturday’s doubles finale, the team of American Jack Sock and partner Nick Kyrgios stayed undefeated as a duo all-time in Laver Cup play (3-0) knocking out Nadal and Stefanos Tsitispas 6-4, 3-6, 10-6. It was a big win for Team World who would have been down 9-3 instead of 7-5 heading into Sunday.

During the day session Federer gave his team the lead after a thrilling come from behind victory over Kyrgios 6-7, 7-5, 10-7. Both players played some high level tennis with just a few points separating the two players.

Kyrgios fired 14 aces in the match and lost just eight points on his first serve. Federer’s serve was on the mark as well firing at 67-percent for his first serve percentage.

Federer was in some trouble in the second set but managed to get out of a couple of jams. At 5-5 he forced Kyrgios to win three straight points before breaking him to go up 6-5. He followed that up with a solid service game giving him the middle set.

The crowd obviously in favour of the 20-time Grand Slam winner was electric and made for a fantastic atmosphere. Federer afterwards saying it was louder in the crowd than any ATP Tour event he can remember. The emotion of the match did get to Kyrgios at one point as he threw down his racquet in disgust going down 4-2 in the third set super tiebreak.

“He played well. I’m not gonna sit here and just continually say he’s the best, he’s the best, the best” said a dejected Kyrgios.”Yeah he’s good at tennis, he played unbelievable he was way too good for me today.”

In the first match of the day, John Isner and Alexander Zverev battled it out with the American coming away with a 6-7, 6-4, 10-1 victory. Both players also served well including 14 aces from Isner. The World No. 20, who had just one win in seven previous meetings with the German including a loss at last years Laver Cup in Chicago, roared with jubilation after securing the victory. The super tiebreak score was the most lopsided in the events history.

On Sunday, each match win will be worth 3 points starting with Doubles beginning at Noon local time. “Fedal” will reunite as Federer and Nadal take on Isner & Sock in the opening contest. The World No. 2 & No. 3 players played just once before that coming at the 2017 Laver Cup in Prague. They defeated Sock & Sam Querrey at that event.

That will be followed by the first singles match of the day featuring the highly anticipated Nadal vs Kyrgios matchup. Their first meeting since the Australian won in Acapulco. Federer vs Isner would be the third singles match followed by Zverev vs Raonic if necessary.

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Grigor Dimitrov – ‘Tennis Is A Microscopic Thing In The World Right Now’

The world No.19 speaks out about how he is coping during the tour suspension.

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Former grand slam semi-finalist Grigor Dimitrov has become the latest player to urge the governing bodies of tennis to make a united decision regarding when play will resume again.

 

The ATP and WTA Tours are currently suspended until June due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Although it is likely that the suspension will be extended further with rumours that Wimbledon will be cancelled for the first time since the second world war later this week. Dimitrov’s last tournament was at the Acapulco Open in Mexico, where he reached the semi-finals before losing in straight sets to eventual champion Rafael Nadal.

“Tennis is a microscopic thing in the world right now. The ATP supervisors I’ve talked to in recent days have a variety of theories, but for the time being, we can really only guess if we’re being honest.” Tenniskafe quoted Dimitrov as saying during an interview with bTV.
“The tournaments are cancelled, but we have a big luxury in tennis – there is always next week. Yes, it is very difficult right now, you have seen the Olympics cancelled. The only thing that is at the forefront is to go through this situation we are in, and then start rebuilding. “

The world No.19 is currently residing in California during the lockdown. Describing the situation where he is as ‘more casual’ compared to other parts of the world. California is where the Indian Wells tennis tournament was set to take place earlier this month before it was cancelled.

“In my opinion all federations and players, no matter what rank they are, must come together and make a general decision. Because it’s really not easy at the moment to talk to everyone about points, tournaments, competitions … But now other things are really more important – to be safe, to be healthy and to go through this thing.” He said.

During the suspension, the 28-year-old is keeping himself busy in other ways. Recently he has signed up for an online course with Harvard Business School. Becoming the latest of a series of players to do so. He also manages to keep in touch with his fellow rivals on the tour thanks to the world of social media.

“One of the first players I wrote to was Fabio (Fognini) because he was in Italy. Everyone is on Instagram, we know everyone what they do every minute.”

When the restrictions related to the pandemic comes to an end, Dimitrov has vowed to return back to Europe as he outlines the first thing he would do.

“I just want to go back to Europe. Whether it will be in Bulgaria or in Monaco – I do not know. I certainly want to go home, gather all my relatives and just spend time together. I’ve been in the US for over a month now. As things currently look, there will certainly be another two months. Hopefully it will be faster, but I just want to go home and be with my loved ones.” He concluded.

In the fight against Covid-19 in his home country, Dimitrov has made a donation to a hospital in Haskovo. The city where he was born.

Dimitrov has started the 2020 season with a win-loss record of 7-5. Besides his run to the semifinals in Acapulco, he also reached the second round at the Australian Open and Rotterdam. He has been ranked as high as third in the world.

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Tennis Could Be Suspended For ‘A Long Time,’ Warns Millman

The top 50 player isn’t expecting to play on the tour anytime soon.

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Australian player John Millman has indicated that he believes the current suspension of the ATP Tour is all but certain to be extended in the coming weeks.

 

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, both the ATP and WTA Tour have been suspended until at least June 8th. Although those in change of both of those governing bodies have previously admitted they are uncertain as to when play will resume. ATP chairman Andrea Gaudenzi has said that ‘it is unknown at this time’ as to when men’s tournaments will resume. Meanwhile, Steve Simon has echoed a similar view during an interview with The Tennis Channel.

Speaking about the current situation, world No.43 Millman said the sport is in a difficult situation due to its global reach with both tournaments and players based around the world. For example the Australian started his season by playing four tournaments in four different countries across three continents within five weeks.

“We’re going to have to be pretty unified in terms of our recovery process before the tour can resume,” Millman told The Age.
“Maybe the tournament location has got the COVID-19 situation under wraps and then manage to contain it, but if someone’s flying in from South America, say, and their country hasn’t got a hold of it, then the tournament can’t (go ahead).
“You can’t have the tournament going when only certain players can get there. I think that’s
where the problems lie.”

The 30-year-old didn’t speculate as to when he and his rivals will be returning to the court, but believes it could be a while. During the coming week the fate of Wimbledon will be decided at an emergency meeting. The All England Club is pondering the motion of cancelling this year’s tournament. A move that has never been taken during peacetime. Wimbledon has been scrapped a total of 10 times during the first and second world wars.

“It’s almost like we have to have a vaccine or the virus has to run its course before there’ll be any let-up there.” Millman commented.

Besides trying to maintain fitness, many players like Millman are in a difficult situation financially due to a lack of income. He has managed to earn $290,705 on the tour this year before the suspension. This is the 44th highest total on the men’s tour. In total, 131 players have surpassed the $100,000 mark. Although the earnings don’t take into account travel costs, coaching, accommodation and so on.

“I just can’t see us playing tennis for a long time and now it’s a matter of trying to stay (the) fight, trying to scrape by a little bit while not much is coming in,” he said.
“You’re used to a bit of money coming in and obviously that’s not the case anymore. Yeah, it’s tough. It’s just not easy. You try and make do.
“But I don’t want to be a sob story, that’s for sure, because I know Australians are doing it a lot tougher than me.”

Millman reached the third round of the Australian Open earlier this year before losing to Roger Federer in a five-set thriller.

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Jamie Murray Speaks Out On Wimbledon Dilemma

The two-time mixed doubles champion shares his thoughts about the current situation and the problems that could arise.

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Former world No.1 doubles player Jamie Murray says he is unsure how much longer Wimbledon can be delayed this season ahead of a crucial meeting on its future next week.

 

The All England Club is set to hold an emergency meeting to make a final decision as to what to do with this year’s tournament. Including the possibility of cancelling the event for the first time since 1945. The tennis calendar has been brought to a standstill due to the covid-19 pandemic. There have been more than 500,000 cases of Coronavirus worldwide, according to John Hopkins University.

Speaking about Wimbledon’s potential decision during an interview with BBC Scotland’s The Nine, Murray admits that organisers face a difficult decision. Saying it would pose as a big challenge for them to reschedule the event. Both the ATP and WTA are currently reviewing their calendars with the French Open now taking place a week after the US Open.

“I don’t know how long they could push it back,” said Murray.
“They’re desperate to have their event on, it’s still over three months away and a lot can change in that time,” he added.

Murray has featured in the doubles main draw at Wimbledon every year since his debut back in 2006. He has won the Mixed doubles trophy twice in 2007 (with Jelena Jankovic) and 2017 (with Martina Hingis). The 34-year-old currently has a doubles ranking of 34th.

“For them, optics don’t necessarily look great, I guess, if there’s sporting events all over the world getting cancelled and they’re trying to crack on with things.” He commented on the scheduling difficulties.
“There’s a lot of other stakeholders, a lot of other tournaments to consider. Even things like daylight for the tournament. Once the tournament gets put back, there’s less and less daylight. When you play at Wimbledon normally, you can play until 10 at night.”

The UK is currently in a lockdown with members of the public only allowed to leave their houses for specific reasons. Furthermore, 1.5 million people have been advised to self-isolate for 12 weeks. The government is hopeful that they can flatten the spread of the disease within this period, which is extremely close to the Wimbledon start date.

According to AFP News, any decision to scrap this year’s tournament is likely to have a massive financial impact. Between 2017-2018 Wimbledon made an estimated pre-tax profit of $52 million with over 90% of that invested back into British tennis. Furthermore, the BBC could also suffer a big blow. It is reported that the broadcaster pays in the region of $72 million for the TV rights.

It is unclear as to what day the decision will be made next week. Since its creation in 1877, Wimbledon has been cancelled a total of 10 times before. All of which happened during the first world war (1915-1918) and second (1940-1945). The event has never been delayed or scrapped during peacetime.

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