Zeljko Franulovic: “The success of Italian players is very important for our tournament” - UBITENNIS
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Zeljko Franulovic: “The success of Italian players is very important for our tournament”

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The 114th edition of the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters was officially presented to the Italian media representatives today during a press conference at the Palazzo Giureconsulti in Milan near the Duomo cathedral. Every year the organisers of the Monte-Carlo Masters 1000 tournament hold their traditional press conference in Milan to promote their event among Italian fans.

 

The Monte-Carlo tournament is the first ATP Masters 1000 tournament of the European clay season. The next edition of the Monte-Carlo tournament will be held from 11th to 19th April at the historic Country Club clay court.

Zeljiko Franulovic, who won the Monte-Carlo tournament in 1970, has been working as Tournament Director since 2005, the year when Rafael Nadal won the first of his eleven titles at the Monte-Carlo Country Club. Franulovic looked back to another very successful edition of the famous Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters.

“The quality of players, a record number of spectators and TV viewers have contributed to the success of the past edition. Prince Albert opened the doors to players, who visited the Prince’s Palace in Monaco. Monte-Carlo loves tennis and players love this tournament. About 400 journalists from all over the world attended the tournament. Our tournament was broadcast in over 200 countries. Ten television channels, including Sky Italy, attended the tournament on site. This was a record for our tournament. We have improved our facilities in the Monte-Carlo Country Club by adding a new restaurant, a new interview room for media and a “Club de Loge”,said Zeljko Franulovic.

Last April Fabio Fognini won the first Masters 1000 tournament of his career by beating Serbia’s Dusan Lajovic 6-3 6-4. Fognini became the first Italian player to win the Monte-Carlo title since 1968, when Nicola Pietrangeli triumphed for the third time in his career.

 “The 2019 edition of our tournament was highlighted by the triumph of Italian tennis star Fabio Fognini. Next Gen players, like Stefanos Tsitsipas, Danil Medvedev and 18-year-old Canadian player Felix Auger Aliassime, Alexander Zverev have made their breakthrough this season. In Monte-Carlo Auger Aliassime was beaten by Alexander Zverev. Medvedev reached the semifinal after beating Novak Djokovic. This season has been particularly successful for Italian tennis players. The 2019 edition was very successful in terms of ticket sales with 135.650 spectators. No less than 40000 spectators came from Italy. I am very happy with the recent results of Italian players Fabio Fognini, Matteo Berrettini and Jannik Sinner. Berrettini continued his progress in the months after our tournament and reached the semifinal at the US Open. Italian Next Gen star Jannik Sinner has recently come to the fore breaking into the top 100 for the first time of his career at the age of 18 and I hope that he will be in the group of the best Next Gen players soon. The success of Italian players is very important for our tournament. The ticket sale for the 2020 edition is going well. Italian fans and Italian tennis clubs have shown their continuous support over the years. We suggest our loyal Italian fans should go on our official website to buy the still available tickets as soon as possible”.

 

The 2020 Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters promises to be another successful edition. The Draw Ceremony will be attended by defending champion Fabio Fognini on Friday 10th April. The Kids Day, which attracted 1700 children in 2019, will be held on 12th April (Easter’s Day). The calendar of events also features the Great Night of Tennis on Friday 17th April.

Focus

Summer Success Comes At A Cost For Daniil Mdvedev In London

The 23-year-old serves as a reminder that a rapid rise in sport also come with consequences.

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LONDON: Coming into this year’s ATP Finals, it could be argued that there has been one stand out player on the tour and he isn’t a member of the Big Three.

 

Daniil Medvedev has enjoyed a sensational rise over the past six months to become one of the most formidable players in the sport. After Wimbledon, he reached the final of six consecutive events. Claiming Masters titles in Cincinnati and Shanghai, as well as winning the St. Petersburg Open. Overall, he has won 59 matches out of 78 played so far this year. More than anybody else on the ATP Tour. There is no doubt he has blossomed but has he peaked too early for the season-ending event?

Taking on Stefanos Tsitsipas in his opening match on Monday, the Russian was edged out in two tightly contested sets. Although he was unable to generate a single break point opportunity. Something that has only happened to him once before this season, which was when he played Nick Kyrgios. Before their latest clash, he lead the Greek 5-0 in their head-to-head.

“I think the general energy was not the way I wanted. I’m not talking only about physical. Mentally I was missing something.” Medvedev explained during his press conference.
“I didn’t have good enough energy to get the win today.” He added.

Since his Shanghai victory on October 16th, Medvedev has been unable to make any further dents on the tour. After missing two tournaments, he lost his opening match at the Paris Masters to Jeremy Chardy.

A slump like this was always inevitable given his run in recent weeks. Fortunately, there are no injury issues for the 23-year-old to worry about. On the other hand, he is struggling to find a way to solve his mental demons. Could it be tiredness after a long season or is it something more significant?

“I decided to take a break from Moscow in the end because I knew that my body needs rest if I don’t want to get injured,” Medvedev stated.
“It’s something more mental. I lost the momentum a little bit, but I will try my best to get it back.”

Unfortunately, time is not on his side this week at the ATP Finals. After a consequence of his loss, he faces two critical matches against defending champion Alexander Zverev and world No.1 Rafael Nadal. He may have to win both of those matches to qualify for the semi-final stage depending on how his rivals perform.

“I should say I’m quite confident that at one moment I will get it back. The other question is is it going to be this tournament or the next one?” The world No.4 concluded.

Medvedev is the first Russian player to feature in the end-of-season showdown since Nicolay Davydenko back in 2009.

Evene when his London journey comes to an end, there will be no rest for Medvedev. Next week he will lead his country in the revamped Davis Cup finals.

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Focus

ATP Finals 2019 Day 2 Preview: Rafael Nadal Begins Hunt For Elusive Title

Rafael Nadal competes to win this event for the first time, as well as secure the year-end No.1 ranking.

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It was just one week ago that Nadal regained the No.1 ranking from Novak Djokovic for the first time since 2018.  But with only a 640-point lead over Novak in the year-end race, he’ll likely need at least a few wins this week to still be holding that crown seven days from now.  Djokovic is certainly favored to reach the semifinals, and each round robin match win is worth 200 points, with a semifinal win worth 400 and a final win worth 500. Rafa is joined in the Andre Agassi Group by three players who are 23-years-old or younger.  Two of those players are making their ATP Finals debuts, while the other is the defending champion.

 

Daniil Medvedev (4) vs. Stefanos Tsitsipas (6)

These are the two debuting players in the Andre Agassi Group, and they aren’t exactly best friends.  Their first match was last year in Miami, when Medvedev had some heated comments for Tsitsipas after a testy match which consisted of a few extended toilet breaks and a let cord Tsitsipas winner for which Daniil said he received no apology.  But Medvedev has completely owned this rivalry, with a 5-0 record. Although, all their matches have been tight, with Tsitsipas claiming a set in four of the five. Since the end of the grass court season, Medvedev has been the best player in the world.  From July to October, he reached six straight hard court tournament finals, with three titles. During that 11-week span, he went 29-3. He leads the tour this season with 59 match wins. But all that tennis has taken a toll on Daniil, as he withdrew from his home tournament in Moscow due to exhaustion, and lost his opening round in Paris to Jeremy Chardy.  Tsitsipas had a great first half of the year, highlighted by reaching his first Major semifinal in Australia and winning two titles. But the second half wasn’t as impressive, with losses in the first round of both Wimbledon and the US Open. However, he’s improved his form since the Laver Cup, having not lost to a player outside the top 5 since that event. Stefanos will be hoping to catch Medvedev at less than his best today considering their head-to-head, though I expect Medvedev to be refreshed after playing only one match in the past month.  And he’ll surely be motivated in his ATP Finals debut against a player he’s clashed with in the past. Daniil should be favored to be victorious on Monday afternoon.

Rafael Nadal (1) vs. Sascha Zverev (7)

After pulling out of Paris just over a week ago with an abdominal injury he suffered during practice, Nadal’s participation at this tournament was in question, which has been a theme over the years.  This is Rafa’s 15th consecutive year qualifying for this tournament, yet this is only his ninth time playing.  The good news is if he’s healthy enough to play all three of his round robin matches this week, he won’t need to face Djokovic or Federer, as they were drawn in the other round robin group.  And just like Monday’s other singles matchup, this is a rivalry where one player owns a 5-0 record. Fortunately for Nadal, that head-to-head against Zverev is in his favor. Their first match was at Indian Wells in 2016, when Zverev had an easy volley on match point, but hit it into the net.  He wouldn’t win another game in that match, and still hasn’t gotten a win over Nadal. And though he was the champion here a year ago, 2019 has been a challenging year for Sascha. He’s experienced turmoil off the court within his team, and has failed to take his career to the next level. If Rafa is close to 100%, that should be enough to overcome a defending champion who is lacking confidence.

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Fed Cup

Captain Benneteau ‘Proud’ After France Seal First Fed Cup For 16 Years

Kristina Mladenovic won both the matches she was involved with to seal the Fed Cup title for France.

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Caroline Garcia And Kristina Mladenovic (@TennisAustralia - Twitter)

France’s Fed Cup captain Julien Benneteau expressed his pride after France edged out Australia 3-2 in the Fed Cup final. 

 

The visitors claimed their first Fed Cup title for 16 years in Perth after Kristina Mladenovic won both of the matches she was involved with.

It all started after Mladenovic produced one of the greatest wins of her career by edging out world number one Ash Barty 2-6 6-4 7-6(1) in the first match of the day.

Both players had convincing wins on day one and it was the Australian who started the strongest, claiming the first set 6-2.

However Mladenovic struck back in the second set with a crucial break at 5-4 as she closed out the set to force a decider.

There was a lot of momentum shifts in the deciding set but eventually the world number 40 dominated the tiebreak to seal a shock win and a 2-1 lead for France.

Australia hit back in the second rubber of the day as Ajla Tomljanovic produced a solid performance to defeat Pauline Parmentier 6-4 7-5.

After a convincing loss in day one, Tomljanovic produced stunning shot-making to redeem herself and score her first Fed Cup win as an Australian.

The deciding rubber was a highly-anticipated doubles match between Ash Barty and Sam Stosur taking on Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic.

All four players had a combined total of 13 doubles grand slam titles as Australia had a good start to the match but lacked clinical edge after that.

The French team took advantage as they won the last two games of the opening set and the first two games of the second set.

This allowed them to control the tempo and when Stosur hit a volley long, the celebrations could start as they sealed a 6-4 6-3 win.

https://twitter.com/FedCup/status/1193466101319053312

After the match, Captain Julien Benneteau expressed his pride at his French side, “I’m the proudest man on the planet right now,” Benneteau claimed.

“I’m so proud of my girls and the team, they deserve it because they fought for a long time for this title. It’s a dream for me. I tried to imagine that at the beginning of the year when I knew that I could have the best team with me on the court. Eight months later, here we are.”

The win means it’s France’s third Fed Cup triumph overall and their first since 2003, with Kristina Mladenovic winning all three of the matches she was involved with.

As for Australia, it was emotional scenes as Barty didn’t seem to have enough in the tank to edge the Aussies over the finish line.

This final also means its the last traditional final as the format will now to change a one-week 12 team contest which will take place next April in Budapest.

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