Gerard Pique Hits Back At Federer Amid Feud Over Team Tournaments - UBITENNIS
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Gerard Pique Hits Back At Federer Amid Feud Over Team Tournaments

The football player has big plans for the Davis Cup with or without the backing of the Swiss Maestro.

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Kosmos founder Gerard Pique has insisted that he has always been respectful towards Roger Federer before playing down the significance of him missing the revamped Davis Cup finals.

 

For the first time in the history of the 119-year-old competition, the finale will feature 18 teams in a week-long competition starting this year. Structured in a similar way to that of the football World Cup. Barcelona footballer Pique has emerged as a key figure in the Davis Cup following a large scale multi-million dollar investment from his company. Kosmos has pledged to invest $3 billion over a 25-year period.

The radical overhaul has been controversial with numerous figures voicing their opposition to it. However, both Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have signed up for the event. Leaving Federer as the only member of the top three not to. Instead, the Swiss player will embark upon an exhibition tour across South America. However, Pique has another explanation.

“My perception is that having the Laver Cup in September, both he (Federer) and his environment perceive the Davis Cup as a competition for them,” He on Spanish radio programme El Larguero.

The Laver Cup, which involves Europe taking on the rest of the world in a three-day competition, was co-founded by Federer’s Team8 management company. Since its inaugural edition in 2017, it has been held in the Czech Republic, America and Switzerland.

There is a war of words going on between Federer and the Spaniard. The world No.3 has previously said that he has held no talks regarding playing in the Davis Cup. Contradicting what Pique has previously said.

“We started talking to his agent,” he stated.
“I think it was a close relationship, we talked about inviting Switzerland to one of the two guest selections.
“Then we were surprised by the statements he made.
“I wouldn’t mind if Federer came and wanted to change something from the Champions League.”

Officially Federer hasn’t retired from the Davis Cup. However, he has previously cast doubt on him returning to the event. Speaking to reporters at the Shanghai Masters he said his presence in the team competition is ‘more likely no than yes.’

Besides the Federer fiasco, Pique is staying upbeat over the future of the Davis Cup. The inaugural event is being held at the Caja Magica, which is the same venue as the Madrid Open. Whilst the new format is yet to be tested, organisers are already planning to one day make the competition lasts longer with more teams. An intriguing aim given the constraints of what is an already packed ATP calendar.

“It is a long-term project. It’s the tennis world cup and the idea is, over time, to go to a two-week competition and 24 teams.” Pique revealed.

The 2019 Davis Cup finals will get underway on November 18th.

Pique’s full interview (in Spanish) with El Larguero can be watched below

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Kaia Kanepi upsets Angelique Kerber to reach the second round at the Australian Open

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Former world number 15 Kaia Kanepi came back from one break down in the second set to beat 2016 champion Angelique Kerber 6-4 6-3 in 1 hour and 20 minutes at the Australian Open in Melbourne. Kanepi leads to 3-2 in her five head-to-head matches against Kerber after beating her German rival in Sydney in 2009 and Wimbledon in 2011. 

 

The Estonian player has beaten a seed in the first round of a Grand Slam tournament for the ninth time in her career. 

Kanepi, who dropped out of the top 100 to world number 115, hit 31 winners to 21 unforced errors. Kerber made 19 unforced errors to 18 winners. 

Kanepi earned a break in the fourth game of the opening set to take a 4-1 lead. Kerber broke back in the seventh game for 3-4, but Kanepi closed out the first set 6-4 with a break in the 10th game. 

Both players traded breaks in the fifth and sixth games to draw level to 3-3. Kanepi won the final three games including a break in the eighth game to take a 6-3 lead.

Roland Garros semifinalist Tamara Zidansek came back from one set down to beat Aranxta Rus 3-6 6-4 7-6 (10-8) in the super tie-break in 2 hours and 26 minutes. Zidansek missed three match points as she was serving at 5-4 in the third set. Zidansek raced out to a 5-0 lead in the super tie-break, but she dropped seven of the next eight points to trail 6-7. Zidansek converted her fourth match point to close out the super tie-break 10-8. Zidansek will face British player Heather Watson. The Slovakian player beat her British opponent 2-6 6-2 7-6 (7-4) in Adelaide first round last week. 

Ana Konjuh rallied from losing the first set to beat Shelby Rogers 4-6 6-3 7-5. Konjuh was not able to convert four match points as she was serving at 5-4 in the third set, but she won the final eight points to claim her first Grand Slam main draw win since Wimbledon 2017. 

Konjuh set up a second round match against 2019 Australian Open semifinalist Danielle Collins, who cruised past qualifier Caroline Dolehide 6-1 6-3 after 66 minutes. Danish teenager Clara Tauson beat Australian player Astra Sharma 6-3 6-4 in 1 hour and 20 minutes setting up a second round match against Anett Kontaveit. 

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Emma Raducanu beats Sloane Stephens to book her berth in the Australian Open second round

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British teenage star Emma Raducanu beat Sloane Stephens 6-0 2-6 6-1 in a battle between US Open champions after 1 hour and 45 minutes to reach the second round at the Australian Open in Melbourne. 

 

Raducanu, who became the first qualifier to win a Grand Slam title at the US Open last year, played her first match against Stephens, who claimed the US Open trophy in 2017. 

Raducanu has extended her Grand Slam main draw record to 11-1. Stephens, who married Jozy Altidore on New Year’s Eve, was playing her first match in 2022. The US player reached the Australian Open semifinal in 2013. 

Raducanu broke three times and dropped only four points to win a one-sided first set in just 17 minutes. The young Brit hit seven winners and committed two unforced errors to Stephens’ eight.

Stephens bounced back by breaking serve on her fifth opportunity after consecutive double faults from Raducanu in a 12-minute first game of the second set to take a 2-0 lead. Stephens broke twice in the fifth and seventh games and drew unforced errors from Raducanu to seal the second set 6-2. 

Raducanu earned a double break with two backhand returns to race out to a 4-0 lead. The teenager ended a 17-shot rally with a crosscourt dropshot on her third match point. 

“Both me and Sloane put everything out there and it was a very good match. We had some good rallies and I am happy to come through against such  a great champion. I went out there and I played a great first set. I executed my game plan pretty well and was making very little unforced errors, but of course because Sloane she was fighting back in the second set. Her defensive skills were pretty inspiring for me to ty and replicate myself later on. So we got into some good rallies. She turned it around. Then in the third set I am just glad I could regroup and make less errors again and play some good tennis”, said Raducanu.  

Raducanu will take on last year’s Charleston WTA 500 finalist Danka Kovinic, who beat Jan Su Jeong 6-3 2-6 6-4 in 3 hours and 9 minutes. 

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Alex De Minaur recovers from one set down to beat Lorenzo Musetti at the Australian Open

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Alex De Minaur rallied from one set down to beat Lorenzo Musetti 3-6 6-3 6-0 6-3 in 2 hours and 32 minutes on Kia Arena in Melbourne reaching the second round at the Australian Open. 

 

De Minaur earned an early break in the third game to take a 2-1 lead. Musetti won five consecutive games from 1-3 to seal the opening set 6-3 with two breaks in the sixth and eighth games. 

De Minaur went up an early break in the fourth game at love. Musetti saved three break points at love to hold serve in the sixth game before breaking back in the seventh game. De Minaur got for the second time in the eighth game to seal the second set 6-3. 

The Australian player won a one-sided third set by taking a bagel with three breaks in 21 minutes. Museetti won just five points in the third set. 

Musetti saved two break points in the fourth game. De Minaur converted his second break point in the ninth game to close out the fourth set 6-3.  The Aussie won 28 out of 40 points at the net and hit 21 winners. 

De Minaur set up a second round match against Poland’s Kamil Majchrzak, who beat Andreas Seppi 6-1 6-1 7-5. Majchrrzak won all three singles matches he played for Poland at the ATP Cup. 

“It doesn’t get much better than this. I have some great memories on this court, playing in front of my home fans. There is no place I would rather be, that’s for sure. The most important thing is I stayed positive throughout the whole match. I am not allowed to get negative on court, make sure to tell me off”, said Alex De Minaur. 

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