Paolo Bertolucci: "I really believe that Federer will continue in 2021" - UBITENNIS
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Paolo Bertolucci: “I really believe that Federer will continue in 2021”

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Former Davis Cup champion and 1977 Hamburg winner Paolo Bertolucci talked in an interview to the Italian OA Sport website about the tennis calendar changes due to the coronavirus pandemic, which is affecting the world of sport.

 

Bertolucci said that the decision to cancel Wimbledon and the entire grass season was inevitable.

“I agree with the decision of the ATP to cancel all the tournaments until the grass season. I think that it may be unlikely for the season to resume in 2020. In my opinion tennis has taken the right decision. It was the sport to stop everything, first by blowing the European clay season and then cancelling the grass season too. I believe it would take a miracle if the tennis season will resume with the US hard-court tournaments. It is much more likely that tournaments will be cancelled until at least September. I absolutely do not hope so, but, if the epidemic continues in this way and they cannot find an effective solution in a short term, I think it is difficult to start over. It is true that tennis is not a contact sport, but it about players, who move from one continent to another every week. Travel is the real problem, not so much the game itself. You could opt for closed doors or for a distancing of spectators, but I find that hard. Starting the hard-court season seems an extremely optimistic idea. Doing it in Asia in October is something more realistic, but in the end i would not be surprised if the whole season was cancelled”, said Bertolucci.

Roger Federer was aiming at Wimbledon and the Olympic Games in Tokyo, but both events will not be held this year. Bertolucci thinks that Federer will continue his career in 2021.

“I really believe that Federer will continue in 2021. At what levels it is difficult to say. At his age, every age counts. While skipping does not make a difference for young people, when you start to cross the 30-32 threshold every year, it gets more and more complicated, even more if get close to 40. This is mainly true for him, a little less for Nadal, even less for Djokovic. It is true that they are great champions and will be able to better manage all these months of inactivity, but inevitably they will pay. On the other hand, young people who would have needed to play many games to accumulate experience will not be able to do it, but I still believe that the gap will decrease”.

 Tsitsipas and Thiem have the potential to take over the top three in the future.

“Thiem has more experience and has been playing at such a high level for five years. Tsitsipas has a good story and comes from a country without a tennis tradition. The Greek player has the potential to win titles on all surfaces. I also like Shapovalov, but he has a risky playing style. Auger Aliassime is a good prospect. Italian fans can have hopes for Berrettini and Sinner. All depends on injuries, because many players will not be able to be consistent at these levels, although they are talented.”

Bertolucci thinks that 2019 Next Gen ATP champion Jannik Sinner will continue his rise in the future after his breakthrough season last year.

“He would have needed to play a lot in 2020, but he is so young that he can even afford to lose a year. He will watch many matches and study tactically. I know he watches one match after another. I have never seen an Italian player reach this level at the age of 18. He must certainly work on every aspect, but he has enormous margins for improvement. He must physically improve, raise the percentage of first serves and the percentage of returns, he must learn to learn new offensive solutions and to know areas of the court that he has not frequented so far. In my opinion he is more suitable for hard court, but he can also play well on clay and on grass, but these are things that he will discover only later in a few years”.

Bertolucci thinks that Matteo Berrettini has the potential to confirm the excellent results that propelled him to his career high of world number 8.

 “Matteo had not so many points to defend in the first half of 2020. The priority for him was to solve his physical problem. For this reason the injury was not a big problem, as he would have had to defend the points that he won in 2019. He worked very hard. I don’t know if he will be able to repeat the results he achieved last year, but he has not reached the top eight by chance”.

 

According to Bertolucci, Italy has a good chance to win the Davis Cup with a full team.

 

“Italy would have a good chance to win this event with the best times. There are not so many teams, which can boast two players, who are close to the top 10 and a good doubles team formed by Fognini and Bolelli. It is necessary that the two singles players are in good shape. Unfortunately that was not the case last year. Italy can win the Davis Cup, if Fognini and Sinner are in form”.

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Felix Auger Aliassime set to grab headlines at the Ultimate Tennis Showdown

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Canadian Next Gen star Felix Auger Aliassime has signed up to play at the Ultimate Tennis Showdown. The 2019 Miami Masters 1000 semifinalist, who has been practicing at the Moratoglou Academy in Southern France, will play his first competitive tennis match since the coronavirus lockdown.

 

The Ultimate Tennis Showdown will feature competitive matches between some of the best professional players and will be streamed live into the homes of millions of fans from around the world.

The tournament will start on 14-15 June with the match between David Goffin and Alexei Popyrin. The list of players, who have confirmed that they play in France in mid-June, also features Benoit Paire, Dustin Brown and Lucas Pouille.

Throughout a five-week period starting on 13th June, the Mouratoglou Academy-hosted series will feature ten UTS events per weekend that will broadcast into the homes of fans around the world. A grand total of 50 matches will be played in a round-robin format among the ten competitors.

For the first time, millions of tennis fans are not only watching a gripplingly entertaining match between two of the world’s best tennis players live, but spectators play a role in what unfolds. They interact with the players and can ask questions at changeovers, see what’s happening behind the scenes in the lives of players, and hear every word exchanged between coaches and players.

“The idea behind the highly entertaining tennis platform came about when renowned coach Patrick Moratoglou and tech entrepreneur Alex Popyrin were brainstorming new ways of revoulutionizing the way tennis is played, watched and appreciated. UTS organizers are viewing this challenge as a window of opportunity. Aligned with local social distance requirements, the Mouratoglou Academy will host an invitation-only showdown series for five consecutive weeks starting on 13th June featuring real tennis matches between many household names in tennis, such as David Goffin, Fabio Fognini, Alexei Popyrin, Benoit Paire, Lucas Pouille and Dustin Brown”,wrote organisers.

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Severin Luthi: “For Roger, it is not necessary to be hitting balls too much”

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Paul Annacone talked to Roger Federer’s coach Severin Luthi in Tennis Channel’s Coaching in the Bigs’ series.

 

Luthi and Annacone coached Federer together for four years from 2010 to 2013.

Annacone asked Luthi how Federer was doing during the lockdown.

“For Roger, it is not necessary to be hitting balls too much. The volley challenge that he put up on social media was more for fun, there is no stress on him to practice a lot as there is time for tournaments to start”, said Luthi.

Luthi was asked whether there was anything about Roger Federer that most fans don’t know.

“Roger is a funny and nice guy. He is funnier than most people might think. Not too many people know that. Most people only know how good he is in tennis”.

Annacone said that most people don’t know how hard Roger works on the court.

“It’s almost unfair that Roger makes things look so easy. What you see is what you get from him. Most people don’t know how hard and smart he works so that we get to watch his magical stuff on the court”, said Annacone.

 Luthi said that Federer is still working very hard at 38.

“What’s fascinating for me is that he is still doing that stuff at 38. He is asking himself those questions. You need to analyse and ask yourself the right questions. You need to look forward again. He steps up for the next game and next practice. I have learnt a lot of things from him”, said Luthi.

Federer did not convert two championships points in the epic Wimbledon final against Novak Djokovic last July and lost the match in five sets.

“Sometimes you win matches you should not. Sometimes you lose matches you shouldn’t. It is all about not getting too negative on yourself. You would get a second chance”.

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Novak Djokovic accepts that playing in front of empty stands is the only solution to continue the tour

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Novak Djokovic talked about the problems tennis players are facing in this difficult period in a recent interview to three-time Grand Slam champion Guga Kuerten. The Serb said that he cannot imagine the idea of playing behind closed doors.

 

The interview was part of a promotion for Kuerten’s “Vencendo Juntos” programme to raise 10 Million Brazilian Real to help 35000 Brazilian families affected by the Covid-19 outbreak. Djokovic and Roger Federer have agreed to show their support for the initiative.

“I honestly don’t dream to play in front of empty stands, but it looks like that it’s going to be the reality of tennis. We have probably to accept that if we want to continue the tour, then we have to be playing in restricted conditions that will at least allow us to play and compete. Of course it is not ideal. Of course, I play for me and my family. My opinion is that I personally don’t play tennis for me only. Of course, I play for me and my family. I feel like tennis gives me so much joy and I love playing it and of course, I practice. I don’t need to have people there every practice. I think the advantage of tennis in these circumstances compared to many other sports is that you can play national level tournaments if countries between themselves allow people and players to travel between the countries”, said Djokovic.  

Tennis players are going through a lot of challenges in this difficult period.

“We have earned enough money to have comfortable lives. We are lucky and grateful to have this life, but 95% of tennis players and also the people in the world, but also the people in the world, but we are talking about tennis now, they are fighting. This is the reality. Especially those in the lowest positions. They do not have the opportunity to compete and earn money. For many of those players, this is about surviving, continuing to play professional tennis or quitting. I have spent a lot of time in the last two months helping the Serbian Tennis Federation organize a tour. I also spend a lot of time talking to the ATP and the Council, trying to understand the players, with the ATP, with the President and player representatives, about the best ways to help lower-ranking players. I hold myself accountable not only because I am the President of the ATP Council but also as one of the best players in the world and someone was very successful in tennis and made a lot of money from it. I need to be present as much as I can, be available to contribute in any way possible. I spoke with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal there was a lot of communication. I am very happy with how the world of the men’s tennis responded in these difficult times”, said Djokovic.

Djokovic said that he would like to visit Rio de Janeiro to play an exhibition match with Kuerten. The Serb visited Rio de Janeiro in November 2012 for the opening of a tennis court in the Rocinha part of the city, one of the largest slums in South America.

“I remember the day we played at Macaranazinho. I remember Rio well. I remember well. It was one of the best days of my life”, said Djokovic.

 Djokovic showed his appreciation for Guga Kuerten.

“Guga is one of the most charismatic players to have been involved in tennis and today he showed why. Brazilian tennis has a great spirit and big soul. Serbia is a small country but it has a lot of common with Brazil. We are very emotive people”, said Djokovic.

 

Djokovic started the 2020 season with an unbeaten streak of 18 wins and claimed three titles at the inaugural edition of the ATP Cup in Australia, the Australian Open in Melbourne and Dubai.

 

The Serbian star saved two match points to beat Roger Federer in an epic five-set Wimbledon final last July. He won his 17th Grand Slam title in Melbourne by beating Dominic Thiem.

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