Dominic Thiem Hopes To Emulate Murray In Grand Slam Title Hunt - UBITENNIS
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Dominic Thiem Hopes To Emulate Murray In Grand Slam Title Hunt

The 26-year-old has vowed to focus on his form and not where he is in the ATP rankings.

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Dominic Thiem - Australian Open 2020 (via Twitter, @AustralianOpen)

It was third time unlucky for Dominic Thiem at the Australian Open on Sunday, but the Austrian has drawn more motivation than ever following his latest loss.

 

The world No.4 was denied the Melbourne title by the formidable Novak Djokovic, who won the major for a record eighth time. It was a case of so near, but so far for Thiem who lead the match by two sets at one stage before losing in five. Making it the third time he has lost in the final of a grand slam after settling for runner-up twice at the French Open over the past two years.

Despite the heartbreak, Thiem is confident that he is heading in the right direction. Last season he was one of only two players to win five titles on the ATP Tour. Coincidentally the other was rival Djokovic.

“On the one hand it was Final defeat a disappointment, on the other hand a huge motivation for the next big tournaments.” Thiem told reporters about his Australian Open run.
“The first two lost (grand slam) finals were clear against Rafael Nadal in Paris (French Open). I was far away then.’
“This time it was close, it could have been different, I can blame myself. I’ve never been so close.”

The hope for Thiem is that he can follow in the footsteps of former world No.1 Andy Murray. The Brit clinched his first major title in his fifth appearance in a grand slam final at the 2012 US Open. However, he admits that it will be far from easy. Not only does he have to deal with the prestigious Big Three, those trying to succeed the trio are also gathering momentum in the sport.

“Andy Murray lost four Grand Slam finals before winning three and becoming number one in the world. I take him as a role model.” He said with a smile.
“But I may also lose the next two Grand Slam finals. (Rafael) Nadal has to be hit on the clay, Djokovic is the best on hard court, and (Roger) Federer can still Win Wimbledon.’
“Behind them, I will also have to consider Alexander Zverev, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Daniil Medvedev.”

Now ranked as fourth in the world, Thiem is on the verge of breaking into the world’s top three. Something that hasn’t been achieved by an Austrian player since Thomas Muster back in 1997. Muster and Thiem briefly joined forces with each other earlier this year before they went their own ways.

“Of course, the top 3 would be nice, but it’s not my main goal. Rather, I want to continue the level I played in Australia, then that should come about with the ranking by itself.”

Whilst remaining grounded about his ranking prospects, Thiem’s former mentor believes he has what it takes to rise to the top. Gunter Bresnik was an instrumental figure throughout the majority of his career until last April. When he was replaced by former Olympic champion Nicolas Massu, who has been Thiem’s principle coach ever since.

“In the short term he will be number 3, in the long term he will be number 1,” he told ServusTV.
“Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer would have seen Thiem as the future number one years ago.
“The top three [and] top five – because I don’t want to exclude [Andy] Murray and [Stan] Wawrinka – he has beaten everyone during their prime.
“Hats off to the boy. He has what it takes and he will confirm it.”

Currently just 85 points behind Roger Federer, Thiem will have a crack to trying to break into the top three in less than two weeks time. His next tournament is scheduled to be the Rio Open, which will get underway on February 17th. A week before Federer’s next tournament in Dubai.

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Novak Djokovic Opens Up About Wimbledon Points Removal

The world No.1 states that he will always support the views of his peers.

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Novak Djokovic (Roberto Dell'Olivo)

By Kingsley Elliot Kaye

In his press conference following his win over Yoshihito Nishioka at the French Open, Novak Djokovic expressed his views about the ATP decision to remove points from Wimbledon.

 

Negatively affected by such a decision – he will drop 2000 points – the world No.1 praised the ATP’s stance and called for players’ unity.

“I think collectively I’m glad that players got together with ATP, the governing body of the men’s tennis, and showed to the Grand Slam that when there is a mistake happening, and there was from the Wimbledon side, then we have to show that there are going to be some consequences. So I support the players, unification always. I have always done that. I will always do that.” He said.

Djokovic criticized the lack of communication between the parties involved, in particular with regard to a document of recommendation by the English Government which contained diverse options. Had it been discussed by the All England Club with ATP and players, a compromise may have been reached.

“I think it was a wrong decision. I don’t support that at all. But, you know, during these times, it’s a super sensitive subject, and anything that you decide, it’s unfortunately going to create a lot of conflict, a lot of separation instead of unification.” He continued.

Djokovic also mentioned other suggestions coming from WTA and ATP, that possibly men’s and women’s players from Belarus, Ukraine, and Russia could play together at some exhibition event during the slam or something like this and prize money could go to the victims in Ukraine. There were different ideas, but there was never really a strong communication coming from Wimbledon.

He stressed that removing the points from Wimbledon, therefore not allowing players to earn or to defend points, is a decision that affects everyone, a lose-lose situation for everyone, as he called it.

Nonetheless, the charm and prestige of Wimbledon shall rest unaltered and its meaningfulness extends far beyond: “A Grand Slam is still a Grand Slam. Wimbledon for me was always my dream tournament when I was a child. You know, I don’t look at it through the lens of points or prize money. For me, it’s something else.”

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Injury-Hit Borna Coric Reacts To First Grand Slam Win In 16 Months

The Croat admits he was unsure how his shoulder would hold up in his opening match at Roland Garros.

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Borna Coric - US Open 2020 (via Twitter, @usopen)

Borna Coric said he is relieved that his body managed to hold up during his opening win at the French Open on Sunday.

 

The former world No.12 spent almost three hours on the court before defeating Spain’s Carlos Taberner 3-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-1, in what was his first Grand Slam match of any kind since the 2021 Australian Open. Paris is only the seventh tournament Coric has played in since returning to the Tour following a year-long absence due to shoulder surgery. The 25-year-old is yet to win back-to-back matches this season.

It does feel great. I didn’t know what to expect in terms of my shoulder because I’ve never been in the fourth set, fifth set (of a match) for one-and-a-half years,” said Coric.
“So it was also kind of worrying for me, I didn’t know what to expect, I didn’t know how I’m going to feel and how my whole body is going to behave in those later sets. Obviously I’ve been practicing it, but it’s really never the same.”

Impressively the Croat produced a total of 54 winners against 39 unforced errors in his latest match in the French capital. Furthermore, he won 76% of his first service points and 53% of his second.

“The last few weeks haven’t been very easy, I lost many tight matches. I mean, I was also quite happy with my tennis, but I was just losing,” he reflected.

Coric was once tipped to be the future of men’s tennis after rising quickly up the ranks at a young age. In 2014 he was the youngest player to end the season in the top 100 and a year last he was the youngest to do so in the top 50. He has recorded a total of nine wins over top five players, including Roger Federer, as well as winning two Tour titles.

In the second round at Roland Garros Coric will take on the formidable Grigor Dimitrov who has been ranked as high as third in the world. He will enter the clash as the underdog given his ongoing comeback from injury. At present Coric’s principal focus is on his body but that will change in the coming weeks.

Until Wimbledon my health needs to come first and after Wimbledon I can kind of try to switch in my mind so I can start playing more and more tournaments. I can train more and I can focus more on the tennis rather than on my shoulder,” he explains.

Coric has reached the third round of the French Open on four previous occasions.

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Felix Auger Aliassime Wins First Ever Roland Garros Match In Five Sets

Felix Auger-Aliassime earned his first ever victory at Roland Garros.

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Felix Auger-Aliassime (@MatchPointCAN - Twitter)

The Canadian found himself down two sets to none but fought back to pull off the comeback in a thrilling five set victory.

 

Felix Auger Aliassime is into the second round of the French Open for the first time in his career after battling back to beat the Peruvian qualifier Juan Pablo Varillas in five sets 2-6, 2-6, 6-1, 6-3, 6-3 in three hours and 14 minutes.

The Montreal native finished the match serving 14 aces and hitting 52 winners in a match that featured a lot of long rallies from behind the baseline.

“It was a dream for me to play here, it was an honor and my first time on Phillipe Chatrier and my first win at Roland Garros and I had to work hard to get it and credit my opponent he played very well today.”

The Peruvian started the match by breaking the number nine seed right out of the gate and at 3-1 managed to turn that break into a double break as he served out the first set with ease.

The first two games of the second went on serve but again the world number 122 seemed to play better as the Canadian looked stunned, searching for answers.

The Lima native once again took an early lead to take a 3-1 lead and again that seemed like enough for the Peruvian as he served out the second set and was one set away from an improbable upset.

The third set is where the Canadian started to turn things around and his groundstrokes seemed to have more precision. At 2-1 it was the Montreal native who got the first break of serve.

After consolidating the break the world number nine was hungry for more and turned that break into a double break and it looked like the match was turning in his favour.

The Canadian served out the third set to send it to a fourth looking to send it to a decider.

The Montreal native rode the momentum from winning the third into the fourth set where after holding the opening service game got the early break once again taking a 2-0 lead.

At 5-3 with the Peruvian looking to stay in the set, Auger Aliassime managed to get another break to win the set and send the match to a fifth set.

The fifth set stayed on serve until 4-3 when the Canadian had four chances to break and at the fourth time of asking he was able to break and serve out the match to complete the comeback.

After the match in his on court interview he was asked about the adjustments he made in the third set to turn the match around and pull off the win.

“I tried to give myself some more space and a little more time, my opponent at the beginning was playing very quick, aggressive, and flat so I tried a couple things and I also served better and after that it was easier.”

The Canadian will next face either Aslan Karatsev or Camilo Ugo Carabelli in the next round.

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