Jannik Sinner: "I wanted to give a present for my coach's birthday" - UBITENNIS
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Jannik Sinner: “I wanted to give a present for my coach’s birthday”

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Jannik Sinner reached the final as a wild card at the Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan after a four-set win over Miomir Kezmanovic in the semifinal. The world number 95 scored his third win this week after beating Frances Tiafoe and Mikael Ymer in the first two round robin matches. Despite a defeat against Ugo Humbert the 18-year-old Italian player finished at the top of the round-robin Group B.

 

Sinner’s win was the perfect birthday present for his coach Riccardo Piatti, who turned 61 on Friday.

“The Milan crowd is unbelievable. Fans are fantastic. I wanted to give a present for Riccardo’s birthday. I hope that I will be able to offer him another present after the final. I didn’t feel so well at the beginning. Kezmanovic was playing very good and very aggressive. I have never had this kind of feeling, so I am happy. My next opponent Alex De Minaur played an unbelievable season. He is a very solid player. He has won three ATP tournaments. I will just try my best”, said Sinner.

 Sinner is the rising star of Italian tennis and is the youngest player in the top 100 of the ATP Ranking. The player from Sesto Pusteria in Sudtyrol, who was born on 16th August 2001, became the youngest Italian player in history to win a Challenger tournament in Bergamo last February. He followed up with several ITF Futures tournaments in Trento and Santa Margherita di Pula and a second Challenger title in Lexington last August. He is one of the eleven players in the world to win at least two ATP Challengers before they turned 18.

“Something changed in Bergamo. I played good there, I gained confidence and have kept going”, said Sinner.

 Sinner started his sports career in skiing but chose tennis at the age of 13 and left home in 2014 to train in Bordighera. Jannik is grateful to his parents for allowing him to leave home as a child and pursue his dream. Jannik started playing tennis at the age of seven because his father really liked tennis. Jannik’s first idol growing up was Roger Federer. He credits Riccardo Piatti, Massimo Sartori (the coach of Andreas Seppi and a member of Sinner’s coaching team) and his first coach Heribert Mayr for helping him grow as a player.

Sinner started the year ranked world number 551 and made a huge step forward in his career under the guidance of Riccardo Piatti and Andrea Volpini at the Piatti Tennis Centre in Bordighera. Piatti previously coached Ivan Ljubicic, Milos Raonic, Richard Gasquet and Borna Coric and is now working with Maria Sharapova, who will train in Bordighera during the off-season to prepare for the 2020 season.

“Jannik comes from a family with a great culture of work. His father serves as a chef in a chalet in Val Pusteria and his mother works as a waitress in the same place. His elder brother Mark works in Brunico. They have always supported their son’s choices. Jannik is the son every family would dream to have”, said Riccardo Piatti.

Sinner has made his first experience on the ATP Tour last April at the Hungarian Open in Budapest, where he notched his first ATP Tour level win over Mate Valkusz. One week later he reached his second career ATP Challenger final in Ostrava, before losing to Kamil Majchrzak in the title match.

Last May Sinner scored his first ATP Masters 1000 win at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome beating Steve Johnson before losing to Stefanos Tsitsipas in the second round. Later this year he qualified for his first Grand Slam Main Draw by winning three matches at the US Open qualifying tournament. He lost to three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka in four sets in the first round at Flushing Meadows.

During the autumn indoor season Jannik became the youngest male tennis player in five years to reach the semifinal at an ATP Tour tournament in Antwerp after beating Gael Monfils. He then received another wild card to play in the main draw of the Erste Bank Open in Vienna, where he won his opening match against German veteran Phillip Kohlschreiber to break into the top 100 for the first time in his career.

“I think I have improved everything. We are just improving day after day. That’s our main goal and the results will come. I have to commit myself to improve. In all matches the head is the only thing you can control. Many times you do not control your shots or the opponent, but the head is always with you. The victories give confidence. When I beat Monfils in Antwerp, I understood where I can go. The defeats serve to learn. Among my best matches, I put the loss in four sets against Stan Wawrinka in the first round of the US Open. It was a test to understand at what point I was and I played well”.

The main goals of the Next Gen Finals are to promote a new generation of tennis players and inspire young fans. Many young children are packing the stands of the Palalido Allianz Cloud creating a thrilling atmosphere inside the indoor arena in the heart of Milan. Sinner is aiming at becoming an inspiration for younger Italian players, who are dreaming to follow in the footsteps.

“The young generation is growing and that’s important for tennis. I am trying my best. The younger guys in Italy are all improving a lot, so hopefully I am giving them a little bit of inspiration. I enjoy the spotlight. I think it’s something new. The fans are just trying to cheer for me. Sometimes guys as me are coming up and asking for photos or autographs. It’s strange but it feels good”,concluded Sinner.

 

 

 

 

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Novak Djokovic Voted Greatest Men’s Champion In Open Era

The world No.1 thrashed Federer in the final round of voting conducted by a top sports network.

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Despite the world of tennis being halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Novak Djokovic is still being recognized for his contribution to the sport.

 

A public poll conducted by Eurosport has named the world No.1 the greatest men’s champion in the Open Era (since 1969). The findings follow a series of polls conducted by the television network which ask their viewers to vote between two names in a knock-out format. In Djokovic’s quarter he received more votes than both Rod Laver and Rafael Nadal.

Then in the final Djokovic took ‘the lion’s share’ of votes when going head-to-head with Roger Federer. Eurosport said a total of 900,289 votes were cast and Djokovic’s one-sided triumph over the Swiss in the final round equated to ‘6-0, 6-1’ in tennis terms. However, the organisation hasn’t provided a full breakdown of votes for every round.

Compared with his Big Three rivals, Djokovic still trails them in terms of Grand Slam and ATP titles won so far in their careers. However, he is the youngest of the trio and is the only member to have a winning head-to-head record against the other two. He leads Nadal 29-26 and Federer 27-23. During a recent interview with Ubitennis.net Pat Cash said he believes Djokovic is the best player out of the three based on his winning record.

“Who is the best player of the lot? It’s Djokovic. It’s clear. This guy is a freak. They had a big head start and he has caught up with them. It’s just hard to go past the reality of head-to-head wins,” Cash told ubitennis.net.
“I know everybody says Federer is the greatest player of all time, but he’s not even the second greatest in his own era.
“That’s hard to believe. If you are the best of all time, you should at least have a head-to-head record against your number one rival or number two rival.
“Surely, that would be the very first factor, I would say.”

Djokovic started 2020 by winning 18 matches in a row before the Tour was suspended. He has already won titles at the ATP Cup, Australian Open and Dubai Tennis Championships. Earning more than $4 million in prize money for those triumphs alone.

The poll breakdown

QUARTER-FINALS
Nadal def McEnroe
Federer def Becker
Djokovic def Laver
Sampras def Borg

SEMI-FINALS
Federer def Sampras
Djokovic def Nadal

FINAL
Djokovic def Federer

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REPORT: ATP To Hold Zoom Meeting With Players Concerning Future Of 2020 Season

Details of a confidential meeting concerning the governing body of men’s tennis have been published by a leading Spanish newspaper.

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In just over a week’s time the likes of Roger Federer and Co will know for certain what the future of the 2020 season will look like.

 

Spain’s top sporting newspaper Marca have confirmed that player’s have been sent emails from the ATP Tour inviting them to attend a zoom meeting. It is set to be held on Wednesday June 10th at 16:00 CET where they will be discussing the future plans of the men’s Tour. It is unclear how the WTA is addressing the situation or if they will take a similar approach.

All professional tennis tournaments have been either suspended or cancelled since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. At present the Tour is suspended up until July 31st, but it is unclear as to what will occur beyond that date. Both the US Open and French Open are hoping to hold their tournaments later this season.

There has been no official word for the ATP to confirm the upcoming meeting, however it has emerged that it was meant to be kept confidential. Something that is no longer possible due to the Marca article.

The most significant aspect regarding the upcoming call will be surrounding the North American Tour and what events will or will not take place. For example the Rogers Cup in Canada has already cancelled their women’s event, but they are still hoping to stage the Men’s equivalent. There are also questions over the future of tournaments in Cincinnati, which is a Masters 1000 event, and the Citi Open in Washington.

“The chance of having 7,500 people a night at the beginning of August is extraordinarily low,” Citi Open tournament director Mark Ein told Tennisnow.com last month. “We haven’t ruled anything out at this point, but the chance of being able to pack a stadium, if you’re being realistic, is extremely low.
“Really we’re focused on scenarios where our hope would be that we can play it with some number of fans. We’re really thinking of hundreds to a thousand [fans].”

The New York Times has reported that the United States Tennis Association is considering moving the Washington event to the same venue of the US Open. Minimising the amount of travel that player’s would be required to do. It is understood that both the ATP and WTA are considering that proposal.

Another factor that will likely be discussed will be how different the Tour may look. There have been talks about potentially staging events behind closed doors, including the US Open, due to the ongoing pandemic. Furthermore, a more pressing matter will be travel requirements and if player’s will be exempt from going through quarantine when entering a new country.

In regards to coaches, it has been reported that they have been invited to attend a separate zoom meeting on June 18th. Torben Beltz, who is the coach of women’s player Donna Vekic, recently disclosed some of the approaches being considered by the WTA. Speaking to the Advantage Podcast, Beltz said the ideas include limiting players to only having one person travelling with them. It is still unconfirmed if this would occur or if the ATP would consider a similar approach.

ATP Tour chief Andrea Gaudenzi had previously said on May 11th that yesterday (June 1st) would be the deadline for making a decision regarding playing tournaments in August. However, they are yet to issue any statement concerning their plans.

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Rafael Nadal Commits To The French Open On One Condition

The king of clay looks ahead to Roland Garros with both optimism and caution.

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World No.2 Rafael Nadal has cautiously confirmed that he will head to the French open later this year to defend his title once again.

 

Nadal, who has won the clay-court major a record 12 times, will have to wait until September to play at Roland Garros due to the ongoing suspension of the Tour due to COVID-19. Officials originally planned to host the event between the end of May and June. Instead, it is currently scheduled to get underway on September 27th with final plans concerning the tournament yet to be finalized.

Speaking to French radio over the weekend Nadal has insisted that he will only play at the event as long as it is safe to do so and the conditions are the same for all players. It is still unclear as to how many fans will be able to attend the event with French Tennis Federation president Bernard Giudicelli saying he wanted ‘as many as possible.’ However, the final decision will be up to the government.

“I do not see the future from a professional point of view, but from a medical and health point of view,” the Spaniard said.
“As for Roland Garros, if it is possible to play in optimal conditions and in total safety, if everyone can play, if we are all together, yes, I will be there. But today we have to take precautions and be responsible with the right decisions to guarantee the safety and health of everyone in tennis.”

Nadal faces a potentially critical period later this year should the US Open get underway in September ahead of the French open as planned. As the defending champion at both of those events, he will be tasked with defending a total of 4000 points within five weeks. A far from ideal scenario for anybody.

Although it could be expected that if push comes to shove, Nadal would most likely favor the French Open over the other given his emphatic record. In Roland Garros, he has only ever been defeated twice. Losing to Sweden’s Robin Soderling in 2009 and Novak Djokovic in 2015. Overall he has a win-loss record of 93-2 at the event.

It is currently unclear as to when the Tour will get going again with all professional tournaments either suspended or canceled until at least July 31st. When play resumes, one possibility is that the action could take place behind closed doors to follow suit to other sports. Although Nadal admits that the situation will be less than ideal for him.

“It is possible. Football is being played behind closed doors. But if you ask me if I like it, the answer is no. Nothing can replace the presence of the public and the energy it generates.” He stated.

On the upside, Nadal is slowly returning to practice thanks to relaxation in lockdown rules in his native Spain. He aims to be fully ready for the resumption of the tour whenever that will occur.

“I feel good. Like the rest, I have not been able to leave the house in two months. Luckily, I had weight training machines at home to train and keep myself physically fit,” Nadal commented on his current fitness routine.
“Little by little I have resumed training several days a week, but not all seven. It has been a gradual and very slow recovery that we have done with care and caution. The objective is to be ready for the day when we return to play tennis, but we still don’t know that. “

Nadal started 2020 with a win-loss record of 13-3 before the Tour suspension.

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