Endorsed By Federer And Nadal, Teenage Star Jannik Sinner Shines At Australian Open - UBITENNIS
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Endorsed By Federer And Nadal, Teenage Star Jannik Sinner Shines At Australian Open

With praise coming from some of the biggest names in tennis, the teenager rallied through his opening match at Melbourne Park.

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Despite his young age, Italian rising star Jannik Sinner is already being compared to the likes of greats such as Novak Djokovic.

 

At the age of 18, the world No.82 is the youngest player currently ranked inside the top 200 on the ATP Tour. A breakthrough he secured at the end of 2019 following his triumph at the Next Gen Finals, which he won as a wild card. Now in the full limelight of the world’s media, Sinner has a new task of trying to cope with the high expectations placed upon his shoulders.

Although it didn’t seem like he was experiencing any difficulty during his opening match at the Australian Open on Tuesday. Participating in the main draw of a grand slam for only the second time in his career, Sinner eased to a 7-6 (7-2) 6-2 6-4 win over Australia’s Max Purcell in a rain-interrupted match. Despite the delay, the youngster proved too good for his opponent as he broke five times in total and won 68% of his service points.

“He hits such a nice ball and he’s mentally so stable on the court,” Purcell told the Australian Associated Press.
“It motivated me to take my tennis a little bit more seriously.
“Not that I wasn’t, but there are a few one per centers where I could get more on top of.
“He showed you that one week here or one week there can really change how your year goes.
“He is flying and the sky’s the limit for him.
“I said to my manager at Wimbledon last year when (Sinner) was outside 200, I had a bet that he’d finish the year inside the top 75 and he finished up 78, so I thought I called that pretty well.”

The rapid rise of Sinner has caught the attention of the big guns. This time last year he was ranked outside the top 500 with no professional titles of any sort to his name. However, since then, he has triumphed in two Futures and Three Challenger events. As well as the Next Gen Finals. An impressive performance for somebody who during their junior years was also a top level skier in Italy.

Trying to pinpoint what it is about Sinner that has got everybody talking, Federer believes his movement on the court is a huge asset. The Swiss Maestro has hit with him in both Rome and Monaco.

“He has great footwork for a big guy, because we forget how tall he is,” Federer said on Monday.
“He can play like most of the best movers in the game right now, he can also play open stance and closed stance, which I think is a huge advantage for movement for the future.”

19-time grand slam champion Rafael Nadal is another top figure to predict a bright future for Sinner following a training session they had. The Spaniard was 17 when broke into the world’s top 100 and 19 when he won his first grand slam. Sinner is the youngest player to be in the ATP year-end top 80 since Nadal back in 2003.

“I practiced with him the other day. He has a good character on court. He’s positive.” Said Nadal.
“I see him having a great tennis career. He has everything to achieve a great tennis career. The only thing that he needs to do, in my opinion, is having the right people around and work.”

Others to praise Sinner include John McEnroe, who has hailed him as one of the best talents he has seen over the past decade on the men’s tour.

Whilst he is on the right path to the top, there are also warnings about placing too much pressure on Sinner. For the youngster, he has vowed to take it all in his stride and gradually improve his tennis. He currently coached by Ricardo Piatti.

“I just try to play week after week better. That’s my goal.” Sinner stated on Tuesday in his press conference.
“And then after, obviously if I play better, the ranking will be better, for sure.’
“But I’m not thinking so much about the ranking. We are just trying to make match after match good, trying to play better, and then we will see. I don’t want to rush this.”

Sinner will play Marton Fucsovics in the second round.

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‘On This Surface I’m Only Inferior To Nadal’ – Pablo Carreno Busta Fires Warning at French Open

The world No.18 explains why he has very high expectations for Paris this year.

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Pablo Carreno Busta in action against Alexander Zverev during a men's singles Semifinal match at the 2020 US Open. (Photo by Simon Bruty/USTA)

Pablo Carreno Busta believes he has what it takes to pose a serious threat at this year’s French Open following his recent success in North America.

 

The world No.18 heads into Paris less than a month after reaching the semi-finals of the US Open for the second time in his career. Carreno Busta boasted a two-set lead over Alexander Zverev to close in on his first major final before the German fought back to clinch the match. Prior to the run, he also won the men’s doubles title at the Western and Southern Open alongside Alex de Minaur.

Taking to the court at Roland Garros on Monday, Carreno Busta eased to a 6-3, 6-2, 7-5, win over Australia’s John Milman in the first round. Producing 34 winners and breaking his opponent eight times en route to the win in the night-time encounter. Speaking to reporters afterwards, the 17th seed believes he has what it takes to go deep in the draw.

“I have a very high level, on this surface I am not inferior to anyone, except perhaps Rafa,” EFE quoted Carreno Busta as saying.
“If I am one hundred percent and I am brave and aggressive I am dangerous and it is not easy for them (other players) to beat me. It is what I have to try to do.”

It was at Roland Garros where the 29-year-old made his Grand Slam debut back in 2013. Since then his best run in the tournament was to the quarter-finals in 2017. Overall, Carreno Busta has won 11 out of 18 main draw matches played but has only managed to progress to the second week once in his seven previous attempts.

The next test for the Spaniard will be Argentina’s Guido Pella, who defeated Italy’s Salvatore Caruso 7-6(6), 6-7(4), 7-5, 6-4, in his opening match. Pella achieved a ranking high of 20th last year and his only title was on the clay was in Sao Paulo.

“It will be a very difficult game, perhaps more than today (Monday),” he previewed.
“I have to face the game the same, be solid and aggressive. It will be long, but I have played matches like that.”

Regardless of what happens over the coming days, Carreno Busta says he is happy to be playing once again following the break. The ATP Tour was stopped for five months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Which is why the French Open is taking place later than usual in trickier conditions due to the cooler weather.

“It has been a very complicated year for all of us, there were moments when we did not know if we were going to be able to play. The important thing is that we are playing,” he states.

Carreno Busta is one of three Spanish players to be seeded in the men’s draw this year along with Nadal (2) and Roberto Bautista Agut (10).

Carreno Busta’s French Open record

2013 – R1
2014 – R1
2015 – R2
2016 – R2
2017 – QF
2018 – R3
2019 – R3

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Felix Auger-Aliassime Blasts Own Performance After French Open Misery

The Canadian says he didn’t play good enough in what was his main draw debut at the event.

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Rising star Felix Auger-Aliassime said he failed to ‘step up’ after crashing out in the first round of the French Open.

 

The 19th seed struggled to find a range throughout his 7-5, 6-3, 6-3, loss to Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka in what was his first ever main draw appearance at Roland Garros at the age of 20. A below-par Auger-Aliassime produced six double faults and hit 58 unforced errors During what was a frustrating encounter. The Canadian also had 13 chances to break the Nishioka serve but only managed to convert twice.

“He played good. Also, I wasn’t good, and I could have been better on many of those opportunities,” the world No.22 said after the match.
“I give him credit and I take responsibility for that because I just felt like there were too many times where I just didn’t step up and played a decent point.”

Trying to find an explanation for his latest defeat on the Tour, Auger-Aliassime admits that he is unable to provide a specific reason. It is his fourth first round loss at a Grand Slam.

“The issue wasn’t technically. The issue could have been mentally, tactically,” he reflected.
“You always see what you could do better but when you’re in the moment you try your best. You try to win, but sometimes it’s not enough, you’re not good enough on the day.’
“Now it’s past me and I’ve got to accept that. It’s not easy. It’s tough. I felt like today I was just not playing good enough.”

Monday’s loss caps off what has been a somewhat disappointing clay court swing for the Next Gen star. Since reaching the fourth round of a Grand Slam for the first time at the US Open, Auger-Aliassime has only won one match in three tournaments played on the clay. Doing so at the German Open against Lorenzo Sonego.

“I had some good moments last clay-court tournaments in juniors, challengers, etc. This year there have been three tournaments, three complicated tournaments for me,” he said.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve played on clay, I haven’t had time to adjust and train.
“I could have done better, there was no reason. It’s obvious to everyone and myself that I haven’t been able to adapt and do what it takes to play better and win matches.”

Auger-Aliassime is the youngest player currently ranked inside the top 50 on the ATP Tour. The French Open was only his sixth appearance in a Grand Slam main draw.

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Marin Cilic Undeterred By French Open Loss But Wary Of The Next Generation

The former Grand Slam winner was in a reflective mood following his exit from Roland Garros.

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Despite a brief stay at this year’s French Open an upbeat Marin Cilic believes there are more positives than negatives when it comes to his current form.

 

The former top 10 player crashed out in the first round on Monday to recently crowned US Open champion Dominic Thiem. The showdown saw the Austrian prevail in straight sets to hand Cilic his earliest loss in the tournament since 2016. A bitter pill to swallow for a player who reached back-to-back quarter-finals in 2017 and 2018.

Although Cilic, who turned 32 on Monday, believes there is a silver lining to his latest match and he has ironically gained some confidence. It is the second time he has lost to Thiem in as many months after also doing so in New York.

“I feel that I’m not playing too bad. I’m feeling that I’m playing quite good,” Cilic told reporters.
“The match I played against Dominic at the US Open, the last two sets were really high quality. I was not far from extending it to a fifth set.’
“Here (at Roland Garros) I felt that I played still quite well considering it’s the first round, obviously I was gonna be a bit rusty but I felt I played quite solid.”

Whilst there are positives, questions are starting to mount about if Cilic has what it takes to once again be a contender at the major tournaments. He is currently ranked 40th in the world and was last inside the top 10 in February 2019. Furthermore, it has been more than two years since he won an ATP title with his last triumph occurring on the grass at the Queen’s Club.

It isn’t just the Big Three that is posing a threat, it is also the resurgence of the Next Generation of players. Both Alexander Zverev and Daniil Medvedev have reached a major final and Stefanos Tsitsipas is a former semi-finalist. All of those players are under the age of 25.

“In the last 12 months you can see that these youngsters, there are so many. I was looking the other day to see how many under the age of 25 there are in the top 50 and there are 18,” Cilic said.
“You have that great generation that came up (the ranks) and are getting more experience. They are playing better and better. Seeing possibilities with their game that they can go forward in these tournaments.”

Whilst in the larger view the Big Three remain the dominant forces on men’s tennis, Cilic believes a shift in power is starting to gradually happen. Which he admits is going to hinder his own chances of winning titles again in the future.

It is definitely becoming tougher to win these kinds of tournaments and you have to at the top of your game to win a grand slam,” he concluded.

Cilic’s win-loss record for the season now stands at 12-8.

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