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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Jannik Sinner continues his winning streak at the Sofia Open

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Jannik Sinner cruised past Portugal’s Nuno Borges 6-3 6-4 in 1 hour and 26 minutes to continue his winning streak at the Sofia Open, where he won two consecutive titles in 2020 and 2021. Sinner has extended his winning streak to 10-0 in Sofia.

 

Sinner converted his second break in the second game and held serve to earn a 3-0 lead. The Italian player held his next service games to close out the first set 6-3. 

Sinner went up a break in the third game to take a 3-1 lead and sealed the win on his first match point. 

“Today’s match was tough, as always at the beginning of the tournament. I served well in the important moment. I am happy. It is a special place for me. Here I won my first title. I hope to play well in the next round as well. I don’t think about it so much. I always try to improve in every match. At the end of the year we will see. Every challenge is important. I am happy for today”, said Sinner. 

Sinner set up a quarter final against Alexander Vukic, who came back from one set down to beat Fernando Verdasco 1-6 6-4 6-3. Verdasco broke three times to win the first set 6-1. 

Vukic broke serve in the ninth game to win the second set 6-4. The Australian player broke serve in the fifth and ninth game to close out the third set 6-3. 

Holger Rune came back from one set down to beat Lorenzo Sonego 6-7 (1-7) 6-4 6-3 at the Sofia Open ATP 250 Tournament in a hard-fought match reaching his sixth tour-level quarter final this season.

Rune hit 38 winners and won 85% of his first serve points against Sonego, who won his ATP Tour level in Metz last week. 

Sonego did not convert a break point in the second game of the first set. The Italian player saved a break point in the fifth game. The first set went on serve en route to the tie-break. Rune earned three mini-breaks to win the tie-break 7-1. 

Rune sealed the second set 6-4 with a break at deuce in the 10th game. The Danish player broke serve in the eighth game and closed out the win on his first match point. 

Rune is currently fourth in the ATP Race to Milan and is looking to qualify for the Intesa San Paolo Next Gen ATP Finals for the second consecutive year. The Danish player won his first ATP Tour title in Munich and reached the quarter final at Roland Garros before losing to Casper Ruud. 

Rune will face a quarter final against Ilya Ivashka. 

“I feel very good. Today was a tough match. Lorenzo won a title last week in Metz, so he had a lot of confidence. I took my chances, played well and stayed in the in the moment, so I am proud”, said Rune.  

Jan Lennard Struff cruised past Ugo Humbert 6-3 6-1 setting up a quarter final match against Lorenzo Musetti, who is seeking his first semifinal of the season. Kamil Majchrzak rallied from one set down to beat Oscar Otte 4-6 6-2 6-4 reaching his third quarter final of the season. Majchrzak will face Marc Andrea Huesler, who knocked out Pablo Carreno Busta 6-3 3-6 6-2 with three breaks of serve after 1 hour and 44 minutes.

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Lorenzo Sonego continues his winning streak with a victory over Barnabe Zapata Miralles in Sofia

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Lorenzo Sonego beat Barnabe Zapata Miralles 6-3 6-4 after 1 hour and 19 minutes to reach the second round at the Sofia Open. Sonego won 86% of his first serve points. 

 

Sonego broke serve in the second game at 30, but he missed a double break point in the third game. The Italian player dropped just three points in his next three service games to close out the first set 6-3.  

Sonego broke serve in the ninth game at love, as Zapata Miralles made a double fault. He made a double fault and a forehand error at 5-4, but he won four consecutive points to close out the second set on his first match point. 

Last week Sonego won his title in Metz without dropping a set. 

Sonego will face Danish Next Gen player Holger Rune in the second round. 

“I am really happy because today I was really aggressive on court. I played so well. I did my best thing today. I am really happy for that. Zapata is a big wall. He served really well, but I started so good today, with good variation. The key was my performance on serve, and to be aggressive on serve”, said Sonego. 

Lorenzo Musetti battled past Alexander Lazarov 6-7 (5-7) 7-6 (10-8) 6-2 after 2 hours and 42 minutes. 

The first set went on serve with no break points. Lazarov earned his mini-break at 4-2 to win the tie-break 7-5. Musetti saved two break points at 4-4. The Italian player wasted a set point at 5-4 on Lazarov’s serve and dropped his serve in the next game. Lazarov earned his chance to close out the match at 6-5, but he was broken at 30. Musetti went up a 4-1 lead in the tie-break, but Lazarov  won four consecutive points to take a 5-4 lead. Lazarov had the chance to close the match, but he dropped two points on serve.  Musetti sealed the tie-break on his fourth set point. 

Musetti earned two breaks and held his next service games to win the third set 6-2. 

Ilya Ivashka upset Grigor Dimitrov 6-3 7-6 (7-3) after 1 hour and 52 minutes to reach the quarter finals. Ivashka saved all seven break points he faced. Dimitrov saved two match points in the second set forcing the match to the tie-break. Ivashka earned two mini-breaks to take a 7-3 lead. 

Ivashka will face either Sonego or Rune in the quarter final. 

“It was a very tough match and I am very happy that I got the victory at the end. It is very hard to play against Grigor, especially at his home”, said Ivashka.  

Fernando Vedasco edged past Nikoloz Basilashvili 7-6 (7-1) 7-5 to set up a second round match against Alexander Vukic. 

Jan Lennard Struff came back from a set down to beat Dusan Lajovic 4-6 6-3 6-2. 

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Playing Clay Events After Wimbledon Was A Mistake, Says Diego Schwartzman

The former French Open semi-finalist is seeking to win his first title since March 2021 at the Tel Aviv Open this week.

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Diego Schwartzman (Roberto Dell'Olivo)

Diego Schwartzman will likely reevaluate his schedule for next year after admitting that part of his plans for this summer backfired. 

 

The world No.17 enters into the final quarter of the season with 31 wins against 22 losses on the Tour but is yet to win a title. Although he did reach back-to-back finals back in February in Argentina and Brazil. He has won two out of eight matches against top 10 opposition, defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas at the ATP Cup and Felix Auger-Aliassime in Barcelona. 

Reflecting on his performance, Schwartzman admits that his decision to return to European clay after playing at Wimbledon was a mistake. He lost his second match in Gstaad to Pablo Carreno Busta and then his first in Hamburg to Emil Ruusuvori. 

“It’s difficult to play at the same level every tournament, I’ve made a bad decision playing clay tournaments after Wimbledon, I didn’t have time to rest,” he said during his pre-tournament press conference at the Tel Aviv Open. “I paid the price and had some bad losses. But I started to feel much better in USA hard court season, lost to Stefanos Tsitsipas who reached the final in Cincinnati and to Frances Tiafoe at the US Open. Now I am feeling very good, I really love playing indoor tournaments.”

The 30-year-old has headed straight to Tel Aviv from the Laver Cup where Roger Federer played the last match of his career. Despite Schwartzman’s Team World winning the title for the first time, his only contribution to the tie saw him lose 6-1, 6-2, to Tsitsipas. 

Retirement was very much the topic of conversation during the Laver Cup with others such as Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic questioned by reporters about their plans in the sport. As for Schwartzman, he stayed coy about how much longer he would continue playing after saying in the past he might stop at the age of 33. 

“33 — is a good age to retire, isn’t it? South Americans are in different situations compared to European players. We travel too much, and sometimes we are not coming back home for 2-3 months, while Europeans can fly home every week. It’s tough,” he said. 
“As for Roger — he’s a special player, I think he is just the greatest in our sport.”

The Argentine is seeded third this week in Israel and will begin his campaign against Arthur Rinderknech who defeated qualifier Marius Copil in his opening match. 

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