Andy Murray Capable Of Staging Another Successful Comeback, Says Former Tennis Greats - UBITENNIS
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Andy Murray Capable Of Staging Another Successful Comeback, Says Former Tennis Greats

Tim Henman recently had a hitting session with Murray and Boris Becker explains why Wimbledon needs him in their tournament this year.

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Three-time grand slam champion Andy Murray is ‘hitting the ball well’ as his comeback to the tour gains momentum, according to Tim Henman.

The former world No.1 has been sidelined from action since the Davis Cup finals in November due to what was initially diagnosed as bruising around the pelvic area. Although Murray has since said his slow recovery from the problem could be linked to the hip resurfacing surgery he underwent last year. It is believed that the discomfort he has been experiencing in recent time in the groin area is related to soft tissue growing around his metal hip. The medical term is called heterotopic ossification, which is defined as an abnormal growth of bone in the non-skeletal tissues.

Despite admitting a couple weeks ago that he may be forced to undergo another operation to correct the issue, for the moment it appears that Murray will not be taking that option. Instead, he is hoping for a return to the tour in the near future. All tournaments on the ATP Tour have been suspended until the end of April due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Something Henman believes could be a blessing in disguise.

“In the grand scheme of things, this just gives him a bit more time keep getting fitter, stronger and faster,” Henman told The Glasgow Times.
“I was with Andy earlier in the week in London and watched him practice and he’s really hitting the ball well and he’s building his strength up all the time.
“The fact that things have been delayed, in the context of what he’s been through, I don’t think it’s too serious..”

Since the 2017 Wimbledon Championships, Murray has only been able to play singles in 15 tournaments on the ATP Tour (including one at Challenger level). The majority of his absence was due to a troublesome hip injury, which he underwent two surgeries on within as many years.

“He’s been out for so long, although he’s obviously had his moments where he’s been back playing, but it’s really been two-and-a-half years so if he’s got to wait another six weeks or so, I don’t think it’s the end of the world for him.” Henman stated.
“It’s very difficult for everyone because there’s so much uncertainty but you have to take that cautious approach so no tournaments for six weeks. It’s very sad for those events affected, the players, the fans, the sponsors and everyone else but it’s really out of everyone’s control.”

Elaborating further, the former world No.4 believes nobody should be writing Murray off just yet. Henman never won a major title during his career, but is still regarded as one of Britain’s greatest players in the Open Era. Winning 11 ATP title from 28 finals and earning just over $11.6 million in prize money. He is also a six-time grand slam semi-finalist.

“He’s 32-years-old and he’s not getting any younger and that’s where it’ll be hard because time isn’t on his side. But it’s amazing to come back and win a tournament on the tour – to win Antwerp like he did last year was an incredible achievement and I think he can get back playing even better than that.” He commented on Murray.
“To compete over seven matches over five sets like he’ll need to do to win grand slam titles will be very, very difficult but as I’ve seen time and time again with Andy, if you say to him he can’t do something, he certainly likes to prove people wrong.”

‘Wimbledon needs Andy’

Sir Andy Murray of Great Britain is pictured during day four of ATP Fever-Tree Championships tennis tournament at Queen’s Club in west London on June 20, 2019.

Also weighing in on the likelihood of a triumphant return, Boris Becker has told The Mirror that he believes Murray still has what it takes to challenge the best in the world. Last year he scored wins over top 20 players Matteo Berrettini and Stan Wawrinka.

“He has to be patient – which is very tough when you have missed so much tennis.” Said Becker.
“He has to build up his physical condition again but he can only do that by getting on the practise courts and playing in tournaments.
“The more tournaments he plays, the more he will play the top guys on a regular basis.”

The German said he hopes to be seeing the Brit playing at his home grand slam later this year. Which is scheduled to get underway on June 29th, but that could potentially change due to the Coronavirus outbreak.

“I think Andy needs Wimbledon – and Wimbledon needs Andy just as much.” Becker stated.
“It is always more fun when the home fans have a favourite to get behind – and as a great Wimbledon champion, Andy is a big part of the tournament.
“I would say we really missed him last year, although he did play doubles.
“We all want to see him in the singles this year because it would be good for the championships.”

So far in his career, Murray has won 46 ATP titles and spent 41 consecutive weeks as world No.1. He is the only player in the Open Era to have won back-to-back Olympic gold medals in singles.

It is unclear as to what tournament Murray may start his return.

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Olympic Qualification Is Not the Only Goal For French Veteran Gael Monfils

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Gael Monfils (image via https://twitter.com/atptour)

Gael Monfils admits he doesn’t have too many years left on the Tour but this doesn’t mean his targets are any less ambitious. 

The 37-year-old has enjoyed a rapid rise up the rankings over the past 12 months following battles with injury. At his lowest, he was ranked 394th last May but is now in 40th position. As a result, he is closing on securing a place in the Olympic Games which is being held in his home country of France for the first time since 1924. The tennis event will be staged at Roland Garros. 

“When I was 400, I was thinking the Olympics would be great, but it’s going to be tough,” Monfils told reporters on Tuesday. 
“There are younger players playing well. If I don’t qualify, I don’t mind. It will just mean I’m very close to the ranking I want to be. That ranking will allow me to find another goal.”

Monfils is already a three-time Olympian but has never won a medal at the event. He reached the quarter-finals of the singles tournament twice in 2008 and 2016. 

Another goal of Frenchmen is the Wimbledon championships which concludes just three weeks before the Olympics begin. The proximity of these tournaments will be a challenge to all players who will be going from playing on clay to grass and then back to clay again. 

“I really want to go and play Wimbledon. I don’t have so many Wimbledons to play in the future. The Olympics is one goal, not the only goal.” Monfils states.
“My dream is of course to be part of the Olympics. I played three times at the Olympics. I’d like to be there again. But I also really want to do well in Wimbledon this year. To reach my goal, it has to be including Wimbledon.” He added. 

Monfils is currently playing at the Monte Carlo Masters where he beat Aleksandar Vukic in his opening match. In the next round, he will take on Daniil Medvedev in what will be their first meeting since 2022. He leads their head-to-head 2-1. 

Medvedev has openly spoken about his roller-coaster relationship with playing on the clay. He admits it is not his favourite surface but how much of a factor could this be in his upcoming clash with Monfils?

“Of course, it’s not his favourite one, but he’s still Daniil Medvedev, and whatever the surface, it’s always very complicated to play him,” Monfils concludes. 

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Matteo Berrettini wins in Marrakech displaying quality tennis

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Matteo Berrettini - Marrakech 2024 (photo X @ATPTour_ES)

Matteo Berrettini defeats Roberto Carballes Baena in straight sets, 75 62, and proves that his comeback is well grounded  

If life is often considered a continuous narrative, it may be no coincidence that today Matteo Berrettini’s comeback journey intersescted Carballes Baena, a player he had faced twice in straight tournaments, Florence and Naples in October 2022, shortly before plunging into his annus horribilis, an injury-plagued 2023.

Just like resuming the story from where it was left.

Carballes Baena, the defending champion, got off to a sharper start, holding serve with ease and earning a first break point in the second game. Berrettini averted the threat by hammering down three serves but lost his service two games later.

Doubts on the Italian’s recovery from his energy-draining semifinal may have been starting to come afloat. However Berrettini broke back immediately, unsettling the Spaniard’s consistency with changes of pace and alternating lifted and sliced backhands.

The next six games neatly followed serve. Figures witness how close the match was. After 45 minutes the scoreboard read 5 games all, and stats reported 27 points apiece.

The eleventh game was to be crucial. Carballes Baena netted two forehands, while trying to hit through the Italian’s skidding spins and conceded a break point. Berrettini followed up two massive forehands with a delicate, unreachable drop shot and secured the break.

Carballes Baena was far from discouraged, and fired two forehand winners dashing to 0 40  with the Italian serving for the set.

Berrettini was lucky to save the first break point with a forehand that pinched the top of the net, and trickled over. Then he hit two winning first serves to draw even. Then again two first serves paired with their loyal forehand winner: Berrettini’s copyright gamepattern sealed a 59 minute first set.

The match seemed about to swing round at the very start of the second set when Carballes Baena had three break points and was winning all the longer rallies. Once more Berrettini got out of trouble thanks to his serve. Carballes Baena’s disappointment turned into frustration after he failed to put away two quite comfortable smashes and lost his service immediately after.  

Unforced errors were seeping into the Spaniard’s game and when Berrettini won a 16-shot rally with a stunning crosscourt forehand on the stretch and went on to grab a two-break lead, the match appeared to have taken its final twist.

Berrettini did not falter when serving for the match at 5 2, despite an unforced error on the first point. Three first serves chauffeured him to two match points.

Carballes Baena only succeeded in bravely saving the first, well steering the rally. But the 2021 Wimbledon finalist produced a massive serve out wide and joyfully lifted his arms to the sky, for a most emotional victory. It means so much to a player whose talent and career have been incessantly diminished by injuries.

It’s been a tough last couple of years” Matteo Berrettini said, holding the trophy. “Thanks to my team I was able to overcome all the tough moments my body didn’t allow me to play. I thank you and all the people that made my comeback possible: all my friends and my family, the people that were with me all the time when I was sad, injured and I didn’t think I could make it.”

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Andrey Rublev Reflects On Recent Struggles Ahead Of Monte Carlo Title Defence

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Andrey Rublev admits he continues to struggle to maintain his emotions on the court after his disqualification from a tournament earlier this year.

The Russian world No.6 hopes to get back on track after a disappointing American swing where he won just one out of three matches played. In Indian Wells, Rublev beat ex-No.1 Andy Murray before falling in straight sets to Jiri Lehecka. Then in Miami, he lost his opening match against Tomas Machac. 

“At Indian Wells, I was so focused on trying to control my movements that I was completely stuck,” the 26-year-old recently commented
“I had no energy left, I had no strength. And in Miami, I exploded. I could no longer control myself, my actions, my nerves. I felt paralyzed, I couldn’t move.”

As to why Rublev felt so paralyzed, he acknowledges it could be linked to an incident that happened earlier in the season. At the Dubai Tennis Championships he was defaulted from his semi-final clash against Alexander Bublik for unsportsmanlike conduct after he was accused of saying an obscenity in his native language at an official. He then successfully appealed against the penalty and retained the ranking points and prize money he earned, barring a fine of $36,400 for a code violation.

“Maybe what happened in Dubai remains in my mind,” said Rublev. 

Rublev’s focus now switches to his title defence at the Monte Carlo Masters. It is the only Masters 1000 event he has won so far in his career. 

“I feel better. These last two weeks I have been training a lot. But it’s one thing to train well, it’s another to play well in a match.” He evaluated of his current form. 

Rublev has yet to defend a Tour-level title so far in his career. Should he do so, he will become only the fifth player in the Open Era to win multiple Monte Carlo trophies. 

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