Franulovic talks about the present and the future of the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters - UBITENNIS
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Franulovic talks about the present and the future of the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters

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Director Franulovic, what does it mean for you to have an Italian winner in your tournament after 50 years ?

 

“For me it was an amazing result. Italian fans love Monte-Carlo. They are knowledgeable and warm like in football. It was fantastic to have an Italian winner after Pietrangeli”.

 Would you have imagined one year ago that two Italian players would fight for one of the qualifying spots for the ATP Finals in London and that one of the two players would win your tournament ?

 “No, I would have not expected it. As I always say you can never say anything in sport because everything is cyclical. Fognini won our tournament. Berrettini made a big breakthrough and went on to reach the US Open semifinals and has now a good chance to qualify for the ATP Finals in London. Sonego has also achieved good results. Sinner is now coming to the fore..”

 It’s the first time after decades that Italian tennis is doing better than French tennis. How do you explain that ?

 “I don’t think it’s a problem of facilities, because French tennis can rely on the income from Roland Garros. It’s simply a matter of players. Italy has a new generation of young players. France has remained still and has not produced new tennis players after the generation of Tsonga and Gasquet, who are no longer young. I don’t think it’s an organisation problem, but simply because sport in cyclical.

 How has the Country Club changed since you became the Tournament Director in 2005 ?

 “A lot has changed, but we cannot expand the Country Club for obvious reasons. We have done everything possible to improve the comfort of players, the quality of our service for media starting from the new press room. The biggest difference is at communication level. Social media, like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter did not exist in 2005. Everything has changed and the Country Club looks a different place compared to the venue of 2005”.

What about the line-up of players of the 2020 edition. Are you still dreaming to have Federer in Montecarlo ?

 “It’s very unlikely, if you look at his schedule, it is more restricted due to anagraphic reasons. I think it will be even more restricted. He will play the Grand Slam tournaments and the tournaments, which he likes visiting with his family. All the other big players starting from Nadal and Djokovic are expected to take part in our tournament”

 Will Next Gen players take over the “Old” Gen ? Danil Medvedev is the hottest player at the moment ?

 “I expected that this could happen two years ago. It did not happen, but it is clear that it is going to be more likely every year. I did not expect that Medvedev would be the first player to produce a major impact on the ranking. I expected that Tsitsipas, Shapovalov would take over and instead….

 

Another question from a tennis fan, how can the Davis Cup live together with the ATP Cup on too close dates ?

 

“The two team events are too close, but before giving my opinion I would wait to see how they will work. I am sure that if they should not work well, the ATP and the ITF will be open to find an agreement. I think that the ATP will be more willing to take a step back, because the Davis Cup is more than 100 years old, like our tournament and it’s the only event run by the ITF.

 

Does the new Davis Cup convince you ?

 

“The old formula felt the burden of the years. The world has changed compared to the times when I played with Panatta and Bertolucci. Players had to travel to South America three days after playing at the Australian Open. It is no longer manageable. When I played tennis travels were more complicated, but they were not so long”.

 

 

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Lorenzo Sonego and Liudmila Samsonova lift the titles in Perugia

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Lorenzo Sonego and Liudmila Samsonova won the Zzz Quill Tennis Tour in Perugia. Sonego followed up his Italian title won the previous week in Todi with a 3-6 7-6 (7-1) 6-4 win over Croatia’s Viktor Galovic (world number 269 and number 7 seed) in the final of the Perugia tournament.

 

“Galovic started very well. It was difficult to adjust to his game and improve during the match. I maintained the right attitude and I managed to win the title. I enjoyed two fantastic weeks in Todi and Perugia. This confirmed my good work in training in the past two weeks. I gave my best and I am confident for the rest of the season”, said Sonego.

World number 117 Liudmila Samsonova won the women’s title came back from one set down to beat world number 307 Stefania Rubini 4-6 6-4 7-6 (8-6) in the women’s final after saving two match points.

“I won a very tough final with a lot of ups and downs. I am happy that I played many matches. It was one of my goals on the eve of the tournament. I showed that I am able to keep the level of my tennis high, when I play focused”, said Samsonova.   

 

 

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[EXCLUSIVE] Brandon Nakashima: “I Love Federer, But My Game Resembles More Djokovic’s”

Nakashima speaks to UbiTennis about his liveliest memory of training with Nadal at Wimbledon. The duels he had with Lorenzo Musetti and Tseng Chun-Hsin, the high praise for Sebastian Korda and Hugo Gaston. Why he doesn’t like clubbing and what his new coach Pat Cash has been advising him to do.

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The latest instalment of UbiTennis’ video series sees Ubaldo Scanagatta and Steve Flink speak with Brandon Nakashima. An 18-year-old American tennis star born on August 3, 2001, who goes by the nickname B-Nak.

 

He is at No.220 in the ATP Rankings (with a career best at 218) and is second-best among those who were born in 2001, trailing only Jannik Sinner. His surname is of Japanese origin, but it was his Vietnamese maternal grandfather who initiated him to the game of tennis when he was three. He is 1.85 metres tall and weighs 78 kilograms. He was born in San Diego, and his father Wesley was also born in California – his parents are both pharmacists. He played for the University of Virginia, where he was the Freshman of the Year for the Atlantic Coast Conference, before moving on to the pros.

Since Delray Beach, in February, he’s been working with Pat Cash, immediately reaching the quarter finals and beating four Top 100 players. His best shot is his two-handed backhand, and his favourite player is Federer. A superb athlete, he is considered the best American prospect. He is self-described as shy, but he actually isn’t that much, once he gets going. He loves sushi, but also admits to having a sweet tooth. Given the status of some of his victims, it can be assumed that he’s already better than his ranking.

VIDEO SCHEDULE

Minute 00:00: Introduction and recap of his highest-profile wins.

03:40: His behaviour during the Covid-19 pandemic: “I wear a mask whenever I’m outside. I’ve been trying to stay cautious as much as possible in public areas”. He also appreciates the chance of being able to train at some local private courts.

05:07: The special relationship with his grandfather: “My mom’s dad is from Vietnam. He first started to get me out on the court when I was about three and a half years old, just feeding me balls at a local park and from that time onward I started practicing more and more everyday”.

06:45: Bonding with his main coach, Pat Cash, during the pandemic.

07:38: Cash claims he noticed immediately Brandon’s “extraordinary racquet control” – does he think that this is his best quality too?

08:42: Their first meeting: “We had a couple of mutual friends; at the time I had just turned pro and I was looking for a good coach…”

11:53: His idols growing up: “I always liked to watch Federer play, but I think now my game is more similar to Djokovic’s”.

12:40: The experience of hitting with Nadal: “A couple of years ago I was playing the junior Wimbledon tournament…”

14:36: His thoughts on the best future prospects…

17:20: His transition as a pro aged only 17: “It was crucial on and off the court for me to go to college and to then play a full season at 17 [Editor’s Note: at the University of Virginia], it helped my game and made me mature as a person. I’d advise most players to go to college and get that experience…”

19:45: Recapping his best junior Slam results.

21:25: Developing his game with Pat Cash: “During these training blocks here in California, we definitely decided to work a lot on the transition and net game to add more variety into my game…”

23:55: What are his current plans? “It’s tough to plan tournaments right now since we don’t know when or if they’re even starting…”

25:35: How does he feel about the issue of playing behind closed doors? “It will be interesting, everybody is so used to people watching, so I think most players will find it maybe a little weird at the beginning…”

26:47: His off-court life: “I try to relax and have fun. I like playing other sports, on days off I play golf with friends or relax at home watching TV, just getting the mind away from tennis. I don’t like going to dance or clubs, it never was my type of feeling of going out; I like a more chill state with my friends.”

30:04: His knowledge of tennis history.

31:30: Where does Brandon see himself in 2022/23? “The goal is to keep improving my results and my rankings, and maybe…”

33:20: After the Big Three era, who is his pick to become the next world N.1?

36:10: Pat Cash’s most frequent tip: “I have to train to get ready for the Slams…”

Article written and translated by Tommaso Villa

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Prague set to host new WTA Tournament next August

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Prague will host a new WTA tournament from 10 to 15 August. It will be one of of the WTA tournaments to be held after the coronavirus pandemic. The Prague Open will be held on the Sparta clay court in Prague with a prize money of $ 225.000.

 

The Prague Open will feature the top two Czech players Karolina Pliskova and Petra Kvitova.

Kvitova has won two Wimbledon titles and is currently ranked world number 12. She won a Czech exhibition tournament last May behind closed doors at a time when Czech Republic was already easing measures against the spread of coronavirus.

“The WTA was looking for venues and organizers to quicly prepare for a quality tournament in these strange times. We took advantage of the references we had obtained from the first tournament of the post coronavirus era, which took place on the Sparta courts and turned out to be a  success”, said Ivo Kaderka, Director of the Czech Tennis Federation.

Up to 2000 fans a day will be able to attend the Prague tournament.

“We are already in talks with the top Czech players. We will prepare mobile stands with a capacity of 2000 seats”, said tournament director David Trunda.

Tournament spokesman Karel Tejkal said that the Prague event is not a postponed version of last May’s Prague Open which did not take place because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

 

“This is a new tournament that is now part of the provisional WTA schedule for this year”, said Tejkal.

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