Casper Ruud Rewrites Norwegian Tennis History With Maiden Title In Buenos Aires - UBITENNIS
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Casper Ruud Rewrites Norwegian Tennis History With Maiden Title In Buenos Aires

The 21-year-old has achieved a series of new milestones to become the youngest ever winner of the Argentina Open.

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Next Gen star Casper Ruud has become the first player from Norway to win a title on the ATP Tour after easing to a straight sets victory at the Buenos Aires Open on Sunday.

 

The 21-year-old rallied to a comprehensive 6-4, 6-1, win over Pedro Sousa in just 71 minutes. Sousa, who also created some history for his country by becoming only the third Portuguese man to contest an ATP final in the Open Era, received a bye in the semi-finals following the withdrawal of top seed Diego Schwartzman. Throughout the final Ruud was impressive behind serve as he won 84% of his first service points and didn’t face a single break point. Unlike his rival who he broke twice in the opening set and once in the second.

“Buenos Aires will always be a special place for me, especially now after my first win here.” The rising star said afterwards.
“Now I will enjoy the last hours in Buenos Aires as much as I can, then I have to catch the flight to Rio (Open) for it is a new week tomorrow.’
“The show must go on”, next week I have to be ready again, so I want to celebrate tonight, but nothing more than that, says Ruud just after the win.”

Becoming the fourth player born in 1998 to win an ATP title, he paid tribute to his rival following their clash in the final. Sousa, who only managed to enter the tournament thanks to a lucky loser vacancy, was playing in his first ATP title match at the age of 31. The world No.145 looked at times to be struggling on the court with heavy strapping around one of his calves.

“First of all, I would like to congratulate Pedro, his team and his coach, Ruben. I know them well, I’ve trained and played a lot with them over the last three or four years. So it’s very nice to see you (Pedro) take big steps and do a good job. I hope to meet you for many more years. I’m still young, so like I said, I hope to meet you for many more years.” Rudd said during the trophy presentation.
“I also want to thank my team, my coach this week, Pedro and my physical coach Marcel, who has helped me a lot. Without them, it would have been very difficult for me to come here and play the way I do.”

During his time in Argentina, Ruud dropped just one set in five matches played this week. Doing so against Juan Ignacio Londero on Saturday. His maiden ATP title comes after what has been a mixed start to 2020. After scoring wins over John Isner and Fabio Fognini at the ATP Cup, he lost his opening matches at the next two tournaments.

As a result of his latest triumph, Ruud will rise to No.34 in the world rankings on Monday. Becoming the highest ranked Norwegian player in history. The previous record was held by his father, Christian, who peaked at 39th back in 1995.

“It is absolutely fantastic, I have no words. This is a great top for us, for Casper and for the team and everyone who has been waiting for this for several years.” The director of the Norwegian Tennis Federation Øivind Sørvald told nrk.no.
“One thing is to go a few rounds in a tournament, but to play through four rounds to the finals and win it, that’s a huge feat,” he added.
“This is one of the biggest sports in the world, and when you win a tournament, you have marked yourself well and are noticed.

Ruud exits the tournament with 250 ranking points and $102,535 in prize money.

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Updated Entry Lists For Great Ocean Road Open and Murray River Open

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The two ATP 250 tournaments will be played in Melbourne just before the Australian Open.

 

The Melbourne Summer Series will start with an updated schedule to give more time to the quarantined tennis players to get ready. Three men’s tournaments will take place in the first week: the ATP Cup and two ATP 250 events, where the entries are reserved for the players who are already in Australia.

Melbourne-1 and Melbourne-2 are scheduled to happen from the 1st to the 7th of February with a special format: the main draws have been expanded to 56 players and the qualifying tournament has been cancelled. That should give the chance to compete to the players who could not practice at all during the hard quarantine.

David Goffin, Karen Khachanov, Hubert Hurkacz, Jannik Sinner, Feliciano Lopez and many more players are committed to play the Great Ocean Road Open (Melbourne-1). Stan Wawrinka, Grigor Dimitrov, Felix Auger-Aliassime and Borna Coric lead the field for the Murray River Open (Melbourne-2).

Great Ocean Road Open (AUS, Hard), entry list:
Goffin, David (BEL)
Khachanov, Karen (RUS)
Hurkacz, Hubert (POL)
Sinner, Jannik (ITA)
Basilashvili, Nikoloz (GEO)
Opelka, Reilly (USA)
Kecmanovic, Miomir (SRB)
Bublik, Alexander (KAZ)
Sandgren, Tennys (USA)
Querrey, Sam (USA)
Thompson, Jordan (AUS)
Djere, Laslo (SRB)
Bedene, Aljaz (SLO)
Andujar, Pablo (ESP)
Pospisil, Vasek (CAN)
Lopez, Feliciano (ESP)
Koepfer, Dominik (GER)
Cuevas, Pablo (URU)
Travaglia, Stefano (ITA)
Caruso, Salvatore (ITA)
Delbonis, Federico (ARG)
Anderson, Kevin (RSA)
Monteiro, Thiago (BRA)
Herbert, Pierre-Hugues (FRA)
Martinez, Pedro (ESP)
Gombos, Norbert (SVK)
Balazs, Attila (HUN)
Mager, Gianluca (ITA)
Kwon, Soonwoo (KOR)
Carballes Baena, Roberto (ESP)
Hanfmann, Yannick (GER)
Martin, Andrej (SVK)
Lu, Yen-Hsun (TPE)
Uchiyama, Yasutaka (JPN)
Seppi, Andreas (ITA)
Majchrzan, Kamil (POL)
Ivashka, Ilya (BLR)
Dellien, Hugo (BOL)
Dzumhur, Damir (BIH)
O’Connell, Christopher (AUS)
Stebe, Cedrik-Marcel (GER)
Laaksonen, Henri (SUI)
Alcaraz, Carlos (ESP)
Van de Zandschulp, Botic (NED)
Cressy, Maxime (USA)
Coppejans, Kimmer (BEL)
Safiullin, Roman (RUS)
Vilella Martinez, Mario (ESP)
Torpegaard, Mikael (DEN)
Vukic, Aleksandar (AUS)
Haase, Robin (NED)
Stakhovsky, Sergiy (UKR)
(WC)
(WC)
(WC)
(WC)
Alternates:
Alt.1 Harris, Andrew (AUS)
Alt.2 Purcell, Max (AUS)
Alt.3 Mott, Blake (AUS)
Alt.4 Kubler, Jason (AUS)
Alt.5 Nam, Ji Sung (KOR)

Murray River Open (AUS, Hard), entry list:
Wawrinka, Stan (SUI)
Dimitrov, Grigor (BUL)
Auger-Aliassime, Felix (CAN)
Coric, Borna (CRO)
Ruud, Casper (NOR)
Fritz, Taylor (USA)
Humbert, Ugo (FRA)
Evans, Daniel (GBR)
Sonego, Lorenzo (ITA)
Mannarino, Adrian (FRA)
Cilic, Marin (CRO)
Ramos-Vinolas, Albert (ESP)
Kyrgios, Nick (AUS)
Gasquet, Richard (FRA)
Paul, Tommy (USA)
Fucsovics, Marton (HUN)
Tiafoe, Frances (USA)
Simon, Gilles (FRA)
Chardy, Jeremy (FRA)
Norrie, Cameron (GBR)
Vesely, Jiri (CZE)
Berankis, Ricardas (LTU)
Giron, Marcos (USA)
Gerasimov, Egor (BLR)
Cecchinato, Marco (ITA)
Moutet, Corentin (FRA)
Londero, Juan Ignacio (ARG)
Albot, Radu (MDA)
Ruusuvuori, Emil (FIN)
Kukushkin, Mikhail (KAZ)
Harris, Lloyd (RSA)
Coria, Federico (ARG)
Ymer, Mikael (SWE)
Sugita, Yuichi (JPN)
Duckworth, James (AUS)
Sousa, Pedro (POR)
Popyrin, Alexei (AUS)
Daniel, Taro (JPN)
Polmans, Marc (AUS)
Nagal, Sumit (IND)
Bolt, Alex (AUS)
Mmoh, Michael (USA)
Ferreira Silva, Frederico (POR)
McDonald, Mackenzie (USA)
Machac, Tomas (CZE)
Troicki, Viktor (SRB)
Ymer, Elias (SWE)
Halys, Quentin (FRA)
Muller, Alexandre (FRA)
Gojo, Borna (CRO)
Tomic, Bernard (AUS)
Kokkinakis, Thanasi (AUS)
(WC)
(WC)
(WC)
(WC)
Alternates:
Alt.1 Harris, Andrew (AUS)
Alt.2 Mott, Blake (AUS)
Alt.3 Kubler, Jason (AUS)
Alt.4 Smith, John-Patrick (AUS)
Alt.5 Ebden, Matthew (AUS)

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Next Gen Star Carlos Alcaraz Praises ‘Idol’ Nadal

The rising star talks Nadal, Ferrero and his hopes for the future.

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Growing up in Spain is unsurprising that Carlos Alcaraz is inspired by the achievements of tennis legend Rafael Nadal.

 

The 17-year-old tennis star is labelled as one of the most promising youngsters on the ATP Tour following a breakthrough 2020 season where he won a trio of Challenger titles. Becoming the second-youngest player in history to do so after Richard Gasquet. It was also during the same season where he became the youngest player to win an ATP 500 match since the series began in 2009 and he ended the year ranked 136th in the world.

Finding his footing on the Tour, Alcaraz is hoping that he will be able to follow in the footsteps of his idol Nadal who has won 20 major titles so far in his career. The teenager believes the mentality of his compatriot is one that can serve as an example for everybody to follow.

Rafa is my idol,” Alcaraz told itftennis.com. “His hunger, his attitude. It doesn’t matter if he plays a first match or a final, his level of concentration is the same. He wants to win every match.
“His mentality is an example for anyone, a tennis player or any person. He motivates everyone because he never surrenders. Everyone wants to be the best, no matter if you´re an athlete, a football player, a doctor, a journalist… everyone has an objective in life.”

Alcaraz is currently preparing for the Australian Open after successfully qualifying for the tournament earlier this month. In Doha he scored wins over Filip Horanský, Evgeny Karlovskiy and Hugo Dellien. It is the first time he has qualified for a grand Slam main draw in his career. An impressive achievement for a player who is also currently studying for his Segundo de Bachiller exams and driving test.

Guiding the tennis prodigy on the Tour is Juan Carlos Ferrero. A former world No.1 player who won the 2003 French Open. The two have been working together since 2019.

“I’m very proud to have Juan Carlos as a coach,” said Alcaraz. “He has great experience and knowledge and I’m very proud to be able to learn from him.
“He contributes to my knowledge in a way that other coaches probably wouldn’t be able to. He understands the situations that I’m living now, because he experienced them in the past. He knows how to manage the pressure.”

It remains to be seen just how successful Alcaraz will become but the expectations are high. He is already the youngest player ranked in the world’s top 600 and the only player born in 2003 to be inside the top 400.

“I don’t focus on the records or if I’m the youngest player,” he stated. “I want to improve every day and to focus on my objectives. My aims in 2021 are to play at Roland Garros, to be in the top 100 and to finish the season in the top 50.”

Alcaraz is set to return to competitive tennis next week.

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Dominic Thiem Training At ‘High Level’ Despite Absence Of Coach Massu

The manager of the US Open champion has given an update on his current condition ahead of the first Grand Slam of 2021.

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Dominic Thiem will play the Australian Open without his principal coach Nicolas Massu after it was confirmed that he is unable to find a way to travel to the region.

 

Massu, who has been part of the Austrian’s team since 2019, was unable to travel to Australia earlier this month after testing positive for COVID-19. An unfortunate situation that also affected former world No.1 Andy Murray. Thiem had originally hoped that his mentor would be able to join him at a later date but that is no longer possible under strict regulations set out by Australian health officials. All players and their teams are required to quarantine for 14 days in a hotel before they are allowed to play a professional match in the country.

The absence of Massu has been confirmed by Thiem’s manager Herwig Straka who is currently in Adelaide with the tennis player. Straka is a top tennis official who also sits on the ATP Board of Directors and is in charge of the Vienna Open.

Dominic’s father Wolfgang leads the training and is in contact with Nico a lot. Although he is now negative, he will still not make it to the Australian Open,” he told neue.at.

Fortunately for Thiem he has avoided the fate of many of his peers who have been forced to go into a strict quarantine after being declared a close contact of somebody who tested positive for COVID-19. All 72 players who have been affected are staying in Melbourne. Thiem is among the top three players in the world who have been allowed to quarantine in Adelaide under a deal struck by Tennis Australia.

The training is going well and it is at a very high level. In his room he passes the time with series shows, computer games and reading,” Straka commented.

The 27-year-old is bidding to go one step better at the Australian Open than 12 months ago where he finished runner-up to Novak Djokovic. In that final he led the match by two sets to one before losing. Since then Thiem has broken new territory by winning his maiden major title at Flushing Meadows in New York.

‘Like a student’

Providing a glimpse into what it is like staying in Adelaide, Straka says he still had ‘much to do’ during the two-week period as he drew parallels between the current conditions and when he was studying. He studied law and Business before going into the sports industry.

“Since there is no room service for security reasons, we have to make the beds, do laundry and cook ourselves. A washing machine, a microwave and a stove are available in the room. It feels like back in the college days.”

Some have said Thiem and Co are receiving preferential treatment from Tennis Australia with their current living conditions. In a recent interview with UbiTennis, doubles player Marcelo Demoliner said ‘the top tennis players always had these extras, we (the players) are kinda of used to it.’’ Craig Tiley, who is the head of Tennis Australia, has also previously conceded that those in Adelaide are getting a better deal.

Although Thiem’s manager has played down just how significant the difference in treatment is between the two bubbles.

“It’s not that much better in Adelaide. The few advantages are that the player’s team can be bigger, that it doesn’t get so jammed during training times and that the rooms have a balcony,” he said.

Later this week Thiem will return to professional tennis by taking part in a one-day exhibition. Then he heads to Melbourne where will be leading the Austrian team in the ATP Cup which will be captained by his father Wolfgang.

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