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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Raven Klaasen and Michael Venus secure their spot in the semifinal in the doubles tournament at the ATP Finals in London

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Raven Klaasen and Michael Venus beat Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo 6-3 6-4 in the evening’s double match securing their spot in the semifinal with a record of 2-0 in the Group Jonas Bjorkman.

 

Klaasen earned an early break with a forehand volley to open up a 3-1 lead. Venus and Klaasen dropped just four points on serve and did not face a break point. Venus held serve at 5-3 to close out the opening set 6-3 after 32 minutes.

Both teams held serve until the ninth game, when Venus got the first break at 4-4 with a half-volley winner, when Melo was serving on a deciding point. Kubot and Melo fended off two match points in the next game to force a deciding point and got their first break point of the match.

Venus sealed the win after 71 minutes with a big serve on their third match point in the 10th game. Klaasen and Venus won 86 % of their serve points.

US players Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury scored their first win in the Group Jonas Bjorkman at the Nitto ATP Finals, when they beat Ivan Dodig and Filip Polasek 3-6 6-3 10-6 in the Match Tie-Break. The US team improved their ranking to 1-1.

Dodig and Polasek earned the first break in the fourth game of the opening set to open up a 3-1 lead. They saved four consecutive break points in the ninth game, when they were serving for the first set at 5-3. Dodig and Polasek sealed the first set with a service winner after 33 minutes.

Ram and Salisbury did not convert break points in the most crucial moments of the first set. Ram and Salisbury earned their only break in the sixth game to take a 4-2 lead and did not face a single break point to win the second set 6-3 forcing the match to the third set.

Ram and Salisbury opened up a 3-0 lead with an early mini-break in the Match tie-break. Dodig and Polasek rallied to draw level to 5-5. Ram and Salisbury sealed the win on the first match point, when Polasek hit a backhand volley into the net at 9-6.

Dodig and Polasek, who won two titles in Cincinnati and Beijing, lost to Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo 10-5 in the Match Tie-Break in last Saturday’s first match.

 

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ATP Finals 2019 Day 3 Preview: A Must-Win Match Beckons For Roger Federer

Novak Djokovic plays Dominic Thiem for a commanding lead in the Bjorn Born Group, while Roger Federer faces Matteo Berrettini to stay out of last place.

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Djokovic completely dominated Berrettini on Sunday, allowing the debuting Italian just three games.  Matteo will likely need a win today to have any reasonable chance to advance to the semifinals. If advancement comes down to a tiebreak, he currently has no sets won and an extremely low percentage of games won.  With Federer’s 7-5, 7-5 loss to Thiem on Sunday, his situation is slightly less dire than Berrettini’s. But a loss today would make’s Roger’s likelihood of advancing extremely slim, especially with a match against Djokovic looming on Thursday.

 

Roger Federer (3) vs. Matteo Berrettini (8)

Their only previous meeting was four months ago in this same city.  On Manic Monday at Wimbledon, Federer crushed Berrettini 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 in just 74 minutes.  Matteo was open about how disappointing his performance was that day, as he was overwhelmed by playing the 20-time Major champion on Centre Court.  However, it’s worth noting Berrettini had played a dramatic five-set match just 48 hours prior where he saved match points to come back and defeat Diego Schwartzman.  Matteo should be much fresher for the rematch today, but will he again be overwhelmed by the occasion? The beating he sustained at the hands of Djokovic two days ago will not inspire much confidence.  And he’s facing a man who has only once failed to advance to the semifinals of this event in 16 career appearances. It would be quite surprising if Federer failed to prevail today.

Novak Djokovic (2) vs. Dominic Thiem (5)

The last time these two men faced off was in the semifinals of this year’s Roland Garros.  That match began on an absurdly-windy Friday in Paris, conditions Thiem handled much better than Djokovic.  Their match would take two days to complete, with Dominic taking it 7-5 in the fifth, ending Novak’s campaign to win his fourth consecutive Major.  Overall however Djokovic leads their head-to-head 6-3. Novak is 3-0 on hard courts, though they haven’t played on this surface since this event three years ago, when Djokovic won in three.  Thiem was impressive in taking it to Federer on Sunday, and Dominic’s hard court skills have drastically improved over the past two seasons. But on an indoor hard court, Djokovic remains a considerable favorite to be the only undefeated player in the Bjorn Borg Group by the end of play Tuesday.

 

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‘I Wasn’t Good Enough’ – Rafael Nadal Reacts To ATP Finals Loss

The Spaniard speaks out about his current form and if he plans to continue playing in London.

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LONDON: Rafael Nadal believes his losing start to this year’s ATP Finals was partly down to a lack of practice in recent weeks due to a series of injury issues.

 

The world No.1 enters the event without finishing a tournament since winning the US Open after suffering from issues with his left hand and abdomen. A familiar scenario for the Spaniard who has qualified for the ATP Finals 15 times, but has only been able to play in eight of them. In his opening match against the reigning champion, Alexander Zverev, he was unable to find a way to break down his opponent’s serve as he leaked a series of costly errors.

“Honestly, Sascha played well and I played bad,” Nadal said during his press conference.
“We can find reasons or excuses, but at the end of the day, what matters is that I need to play much better in the next two days after tomorrow. That’s the only thing.”
“We (my team) knew that it was going to be tough at the beginning because of the period of time since my injury until today is very short, but we are here trying, and that’s it.”

Indoor events have never been Nadal’s strong point. Incredibly on the surface, he has only managed to clinch the title in one out of 28 tournaments played. Doing so at the 2005 Madrid Masters. At the ATP Finals, he has reached the final twice in 2010 and 2013.

Nevertheless, there is a silver lining for the Spaniard. Whilst his form isn’t where he would like it to be, physically there are no blips yet. Meaning that he intends to continue fighting in the tournament.

“I have no complaint about my physical condition. No pain in my abdominals. That’s the only positive thing, honestly. That’s all,” said Nadal.
“I’m happy with the way my abdominal held, and hopefully I can continue like this because it’s true that I was not able to do a lot of practice and make a lot of effort on that part of the body since last Saturday.”

The optimism expressed by the 19-time grand slam champion is also one that comes with a caution. When asked if he will be able to play seven or more matches over the next two weeks due to his participation in the Davis Cup, there was a brief silence. Then he replied to the journalist ‘I can’t give you an answer.’

It is up in the air as to how Nadal will fair over the week or if he will even complete all of his round-robin matches due to his troublesome body. However, there is one guarantee. He is ready to fight to the very end.

“I’m staying positive. I’m staying competitive, something that I was not today. That’s the thing that I am more disappointed because knowing that I will not be at my 100% in terms of feelings, in terms of movement, in terms of confidence or hitting the ball, I needed my best competitive spirit this afternoon, and I was not there in that way.”

As a onseuqence of the loss, the 33-year-old has opened the door further for rival Novak Djokovic to snatch the year-end No.1 spot. Although should he go on to win the title, he would claim the sport regardless of how the Serbian performs.

Nadal is down, but he isn’t out yet. Awaiting him next will be a clash with Daniil Medvedev on Wednesday. A player who he leads 2-0 in their head-to-head with both of those wins occuring in 2019.

Nadal’s recent record at the ATP Finals

2018 First to qualify Withdrew on November 5 (ankle)
2017 First to qualify Withdrew after first match against David Goffin (knee)
2016 Points accumulated to qualify Wrist injury ended season on October 20
2015 Fifth to qualify Semi-final loss to Novak Djokovic
2014 Second to qualify Withdrew on October 24 (appendix surgery)
2013 First to qualify Final loss to Novak Djokovic
2012 One of a trio of first qualifiers Withdrew on October 25 (knee )
2011 Second to qualify Two group match losses
2010 First to qualify Lost to Federer in the final
2009 Second to qualify Three group match losses

Source: Sky Sports UK

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