Rising Star Casper Ruud Eyes Bigger Goals Following ATP Cup Scalps - UBITENNIS
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Rising Star Casper Ruud Eyes Bigger Goals Following ATP Cup Scalps

Will the former junior world No.1 make a major breakthrough this year?




Casper Ruud (image via twitter.com/atpcup)

Sunday at the ATP Cup was one filled with mixed emotions for Norwegian star Casper Ruud.


Taking to the courts in Perth, the 21-year-old scored the highest-profile win of his career to date in comprehensive fashion. Facing world No.12 Fabio Fognini, Ruud eased to a 6-2, 6-2, win in just over an hour. Scoring his second win over a top 20 player in three days after his triumph against John Isner on Friday. In his latest match, he won 80% of his first service points without facing a single break point.

“Of course I’m very, very happy and excited about beating another top-20 player and the way I did it also.” Ruud said afterwards. “I played a very good match.The score was more comfortable than against Isner. It was a very long match against John.’
“But today of course was a very tough match because you’re playing a good player, but the score was a little bit more comfortable. That was also very exciting for me.”

Despite his best efforts, the win wasn’t enough to secure Norway an overall victory in the tie. Ruud and Viktor Durasovic was edged out in straight sets by the experience pairing of Fognini and Simone Bolelli in the decisive doubles match. Leaving them third in Group D ahead of their crucial clash with Russia.

Regardless of how the Norwegians fair in the next tie, the limelight has been shined on Ruud and his potential in the sport. Last year he became only the second man from his country to contest an ATP Final at the Houston Open where he lost to Christian Garin. Coincidentally the first Norweigan to do so was his father, Christian back in 1995. Reflecting on his latest victories on the tour, Ruud believes it is down to an improvement in his mental approach to the game.

“I think it’s a lot mental because I felt like over the last two, three years I have been playing some very good tennis at some points, but I think every year you grow up a little bit more and you feel more mature.” He explained.
“I think this year is a year where I have been working a lot on my mentality. Coming out here (Perth), beating two top 20 players at the beginning of the year is a great confidence, of course. And also, feedback to me saying that maybe I belong in this level and I belong around these guys.”

Currently at a career ranking best of 54th in the world, the Next Gen star is on the verge of cracking the top 50. One the goals he has set for 2020. However, he admits that he needs to work harder if he wishes to remain among the best of the world for the rest of the season.

“I think if I’m able to crack the top 50 now and stay in the top 50 for the whole year and hopefully even higher, I think I will be very happy with the year.” Said Ruud.
“There are so many good players these days. You have to be a little bit realistic.”

The next test comes in the form of world No.5 and US Open finalist Daniil Medvedev on Tuesday. Who has also scored wins over Fognini and Isner at the ATP Cup. It will be the first ever meeting between the two players.

“I watched the whole match against Isner. Great two wins for him.” Medvedev said of Ruud during his press conference.
“It’s going to be fun to play him. Of course, I have some things in my mind already talking about tactics. But looking forward. Hopefully I can show good game. If I do it, I think I’ll have my chances.”

A Norwegian player is yet to break into the world’s top 30 on the ATP Tour.


‘He Needs To Bulk Up’ – Tennis Great Cast Doubt On Alex De Minaur’s French Open Chances

John Newcombe believes it will be a few more years before the world No.27 reaches his peak.




One of Australia’s most decorated Grand Slam champions of all time believes compatriot Alex de Minaur still has a way to go before he poses a threat at the French Open.


Former world No.1 John Newcombe believes the 21-year-old needs to improve on his physicality before reaching his peak on the surface. De Minaur comes into the Grand Slam high in confidence after reaching the quarter-finals of the US Open in what was his best performance at a major so far in his career. He was knocked out of the tournament by eventual winner Dominic Thiem.

Although De Minaur’s preparations for the clay took a blow last week after he lost the first round of the Italian Open to German qualifier Dominik Koepfer. The world No.27 had a set and 3-0 lead over Koepfer before losing. He is not playing in any tournament this week leading up to Roland Garros.

“I’d have to see the draw, how it comes out, but it will be hard work for him,” Newcombe told the Australian Associated Press about de Minaur’s chances in Paris.
“He’s going to have to do a hell of a lot of work. If he got to the quarters, it would be a terrific effort.
“He’s not going to be physically where he needs to be, just bulking up a bit, until he’s 25, 26.
“But he’s got a good all-court game and he understands the game well, so there’s no reason he can’t be a pretty good late maturer (on clay).”

This year’s clay-court major will be the fourth time the Australian has played in the main draw. In his three previous appearances, de Minaur has only won one match which was against Bradley Klahn last year.

During a recent interview with atptour.com, the Next Gen star gave little away about his expectations for the clay this year given the revised schedule. The French Open is taking place just two weeks after New York due to the COVID-19 pandemic which brought the sport to a five-month standstill earlier this year.

“Realistically, you never know until you step out and play matches. It’s a very quick turnaround, something that has never happened to play such an important event after a slam. I’m taking it all in, doing as best as I can and we will have to see,” he said.

De Minaur has won three ATP titles and has scored four wins over top 10 players so far in his career. He is currently the only player from his country ranked in the world’s top 40 on the ATP Tour.

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Novak Djokovic claims his 36th Masters 1000 title in Rome




Novak Djokovic came back from 0-3 down in the first set to beat Diego Schwartzman 7-5 6-3 after 1 hour and 53 minutes in the final of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia at the Foro Italico in Rome. Djokovic claimed his fifth title in the Eternal City and his 36th Masters 1000 trophy and his 81st career title. Djokovic has become the oldest Rome champion. 


The World number 1 player extended his record in 2020 to an impressive record of 31 wins in 32 matches, including four titles at the Australian Open, Dubai, the Western and Southern Open in New York and Rome. 

Djokovic dropped his serve three times and earned five breaks of serve. 

Djokovic wasted a game point and dropped his serve, when he netted his backhand. Schwartzman hit four service winners in the second game to consolidate the break for 2-0. 

Djokovic made a backhand error to face a break point in the third game. Schwartzman earned his second break to open up a 3-0 after 18 minutes, as Djokovic netted another backhand.  Djokovic earned a break point chance and conveted it after a double fault from Schwartzman. 

Djokovic held serve at 15 with an ace in the fifth game to claw his way back to 2-3. The Serbian star forced an error from Schwarzman to earn a breka point in the sixth game and got the break, when the Argentine netted a forehand. Djokovic held serve at 15 to take a 4-3 in the seventh game. Schwartzman hit a forehand down the line winner at 30-15 in the eighth game and held serve with a service winner to draw level to 4-4. 

Djokovic saved a break point in the ninth game with a volley winner and held serve to take a 5-4 lead. Schwartzman saved a set point with a forehand winner and drew level to 5-5 after two deuces with a backhand the line winner. 

Djokovic held serve after a deuce to take a 6-5 lead forcing Schwartzman to serve to stay in the set for the second time. Djokovic converted his third set point to win the opening set 7-5 after 70 minutes. 

Schwartzman earned an early break at the start of the second set. Djokovic got the break back to draw level to 1-1 when Schwartzman sent a forehand wide. 

Djokovic hit a winner at the net to hold serve in the third game. Schwartzman hit four winners in the fourth game to draw level to 2-2.

Djokovic saved two break points in the fifth game and held serve with a service winner to take a 3-2 lead. Schwartman held serve with a drop shot. Djokovic won his service game at love to take a 4-3 lead and broke serve at love in the eighth game with a backhand down the line winner. Djokovic held serve at love to close out the final. 

“”It was a great week. A very challenging week. I don’t think I played my best tennis throughout the entire week, but I think I found my best tennis when I needed it the most in the decisive moments today, yesterday and in every match. That definitely makes me very satisfied and proud that I managed to find that fifth gear when it was most needed. Turning to Paris, I could not ask for a better tournament here in Rome. Another big title and i super pleased with it”, said Djokovic. 

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Stan Wawrinka Parts Way With Long-Time Coach Norman

Stan the man is on the look out for a new coach for the first time in almost a decade.




It is the end of an era for three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka after he announced his split from coach Magnus Norman.


The former world No.3 confirmed on Monday that the two have decided to end their collaboration with ‘mutual consent’ following eight years working together on the Tour. Norman was last with Wawrinka at the Italian Open last week where the Swiss player lost his opening match to rising star Lorenzo Musetti. It is unclear as to exactly when the decision was made.

“After 8 great years together Magnus Norman and I have decided to part ways by mutual consent. We have had an amazingly strong, enjoyable and hugely successful partnership. We reached the height of this sport together and I want to thank him for helping me win everything that I could ever dream of winning,” Wawrinka said in a statement posted on Instagram.

44-year-old Norman is a former world No.2 player himself who reached the final of the French Open back in 2000. During his coaching career, he guided Wawrinka to various milestones in his career that includes 13 ATP titles with three of those being at Grand Slam level. The Swede has also been recognized by the ATP for his work with Wawrinka after winning the inaugural Coach of the Year award back in 2016.

“He’s been a great coach, friend and mentor and will always be a dear friend,” Wawrinka said in a tribute.
“I want to publicly thank him for all his hard work, dedication and commitment in making me a better player over the years. Winning three grand slams have been a life changing experience for me and I could not have done that without him. I wish him all the best in his next chapter in his life.”

The announcement from the world No.17 comes a week before the French Open starts. Wawrinka has been training on the clay for the past few weeks after deciding against travelling to North America to play in the US Open. Instead, he played in a couple Challenger events and won a trophy in Prague last month. Overall, he has achieved a win-loss record of 15-3 so far in 2020.

It is unclear as to who will be replacing Norman in Wawrinka’s team.

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