Roberto Bautista Agut: "The tough times made me more focused and motivated " - UBITENNIS
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Roberto Bautista Agut: “The tough times made me more focused and motivated “

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Roberto Bautista won seven of his nine ATP titles between 2016 and 2019 and reached a career-high number 9 a the end of last year.

 

Just days before Roberto was due to represent Spain at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, Joaquin became a quadriplegic after suffering a fall while he was cleaning the family’s house stables. He could no longer move from the neck down and required an artificial breathing machine. Roberto won the Davis Cup at the Caja Magica in Madrid last November just a few days after his father passed away as a consequence of a tragic accident.

One year earlier Roberto’s mother Esther unexpectedly died in her sleep at the age of 52. Roberto started playing tennis at the age of five when his mother singed him up to play on the weekends.

“My mother passed away in 2018. I was at the club to train at, when I got a call after practice. I found out my mother went to sleep and did not wake up. It was 100% unexpected. She was very young, only 52 years old, but she was suffering a lot of stress from taking care of my father. My father fell while he was cleaning our horse stables and became paralyzed. It was days before the Rio Olympics, which I almost decided to skip, but I ended up going in the end. My father was in the bed in the next room when my mother passed away. It was an incredibly tough four years. My father became quadriplegic and could not move move from the neck down. He used an artificial breathing machine since he could not do it himself. We had two people, plus my mother, who took care of my father 24 hours a day”

The Spanish star honoured his parents in his upload to Behind the Raquet, that tennis player Noah Rubin started to give players the players a platform to share their stories.

“My parents wanted me to make my dreams come true no matter the situation. I kept playing and fought harder than I ever did. That was my way of making it worth it. I played some of my best tennis during this horrible time. I was there for my family as much as I could, but I could not throw away what I have worked all my life for. I wanted to keep working, and harded than ever”.

 During 2019 Bautista Agut advanced to his first Grand Slam quarter final at the Australian Open and his first Grand Slam semifinal at Wimbledon (losing to Novak Djokovic). The Spaniard earned the second win of his career over Novak Djokovic en route to his ninth ATP Tour title in Doha. He beat Djokovic for the third time to reach the quarter finals in Miami. He advanced to two consecutive Masters 1000 quarter finals in Montreal and Cincinnati.

Bautista was in Madrid for the Davis Cup, when his father died. He returned home to Castellon to assist his ailing father. After his father’s funeral Roberto returned to Madrid to help his team against Canada the following day.

“These tough moments made me stronger and more powerful. It gave me a strength others did not have. Through all the tough times I had at home and did not want to travel because I was so tired, it made me more focused and motivated. I did everything I could to fight hard on the court to show my mother and father that the hard work was worth it”.

 Nadal paid tribute to Bautista Agut’s resilience during tough times.

“What Roberto did today is something out of this planet. Roberto has been an inspiration to all of us”, said Nadal.

 Bautista Agut played football for Villareal until he was 14 before focusing on his tennis career.

“Soccer has always been a passion of mine. When I was younger I played for Villareal until I was 14. It was not an easy decision but I am very happy that I am playing tennis. I miss playing for a team a lot but looking back I am lucky I chose tennis. It was difficult to leave all my friends on the team and to lose a dream of yours. It is not easy to make a life decision like that at 14. I don’t regret it but after a couple of years of tennis practice I could never have imagined the sacrifices you needed to make to become a pro tennis player”.

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Singapore Champion Alexi Popyrin Dedicates Maiden ATP Title To Family

The world No.114 battled back from a set down to become the fifth active Australian player to win an ATP singles title.

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Rising star Alexi Popyrin has claimed the biggest title in his career to date after triumphing in the final of the Singapore Open on Sunday.

 

The 21-year-old battled back from a set down to defeat world No.46 Alexander Bublik 4-6, 6-0, 6-2, in what was his first ever final on the ATP Tour. Popryin, who had never got past the quarter-final stage of a Tour event prior to this week, managed to turn his fortunes around with the help of an emphatic service display. During the second set he dropped no points behind serve and only one in the third. Overall, the Australian produced 11 aces and broke Bublik five times en route to victory.

A former junior world No.2 who won the 2017 French Open boys’ title, Popyrin has become the fifth active player from Australia to have won an ATP title. The other four are Nick Kyrgios, Alex de Minaur, Bernard Tomic and John Millman. During the trophy ceremony Popyrin said the breakthrough was a result of hard work as he paid tribute to his family.

“I’ll definitely have very fond memories of Singapore now, I’ll definitely remember this for the rest of my life,” he said.
“We put a lot of hard work in the pre-season and it’s paying off in the start of the year I’ve had. In Australia I felt really good so it’s just good to see all the hard work paying off.
“My family behind the scenes, they’ve sacrificed so much for me and to finally win a tournament just shows how much hard work they put in with me also. This is for them 100 per cent.”

Prior to Bublik, Popyrin also scored a win over former US Open champion Marin Cilic in the semi-finals. The breakthrough continues what has been an encouraging start to the season for the Next Gen star. At the Murray River Open in Melbourne he took Grigor Dimitrov to three sets before losing in the third round. Then at the Australian Open he knocked out top 20 player David Goffin.

Meanwhile, Bublik is left wondering what might have been. It was the second time the Kazakh has reached a Tour final this season after Antalya where he had to retire due to injury.

“His first final, his first title, I have four finals, which hurts now but just congratulate you and next time we’ll see if we can face in the final,” Bublik said.

Popyrin will rise to a ranking high of 82nd when the standings are updated on Monday.

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Aryna Sabalenka could face Garbine Muguruza in the Round of 16 in Doha

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Top seed Elina Svitolina, defending champion Aryna Sabalenka, this year’s Australian Open finalist Jennifer Brady, last year’s finalist Petra Kvitova and Karolina Pliskova will headline the 2021 edition of the Doha Qatar Open. 

 

Svitolina, who has been handed a bye in the opening round, could face Amanda Anisimova in the second round. The Ukrainian player lost to Anisimova at this stage of last year’s edition of this tournament. The young US player was recently tested positive to covid-19 and skipped the 2021 Australian Open. 

Svitolina is projected to play a quarter final match against either Victoria Azarenka or Svetlana Kuznetsova and a semifinal against Aryna Sabalenka. 

Sabalenka could face a blockbuster Round of 16 clash against 2020 Australian Open finalist and two-time champion Garbine Muguruza. Sabalenka won three titles in Doha, Ostrava and Linz and picked up where she left off last year by winning the first tournament of the 2021 season in Abu Dhabi. Muguruza will first face a tough opening match against Veronika Kudemertova. 

Sabalenka has been drawn in the same section as Maria Sakkari, Madison Keys and Belinda Bencic, who finished runner-up to Iga Swiatek in this week’s final in Adelaide. 

Third seed Petrka Kvitova is set to face a second round match against Anastasya Pavlyuchenkova. Who will open her campaign against a qualifier. Kvitova will be looking to bounce back from the disappointment at the Australian Open, where she lost to Sorana Cristea in the second round. 

Jennifer Brady, who finished runner-up to Naomi Osaka in the final of the Australian Open last week, will take on Estonia’s Anett Kontaveit in the first round. The winner of this match will clash against three-time Grand Slam champion Angelique Kerber. 

Karolina Pliskova could face 2020 Australian Open quarter finalist Ons Jabeur in the second round and Kiki Bertens in the quarter final. Jabeur reached the quarter final in Doha last year after scoring wins over Brady and Pliskova. Bertens has not player a match since last October’s Roland Garros, where she lost to Martina Trevisan in the quarter final. The Dutch player underwent surgery on her left Achilles tendon and missed the Australian Open. 

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Cagliari to host the Sardegna Open next April

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The Sardegna Open will start the European clay season in the week of 5 April.

 

Players will have two opportunities to play in ATP 250 tournaments in Europe in the week before the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters, following an announcement of a single-year licence awarded to the Any Tech 365 Andalucia Open in Spain. 

The Cagliari tournament adds to the calendar of tournaments in Italy after the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome, the Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan and the Nitto ATP Finals in Turin. 

The tournament will take place at the Cagliari Tennis Club and will be broadcast by the federal tennis TV Channel Supertennis. “The addition of this ATP tournament to the already very rich programme of major international events in Italy reflects the confidence in the contry’s organisational skills we enjoy around the world. When the ATP invited us to present our candidacy to organise an ATP 250 event in that week we did not hesitate to do so. It’s also a great opportunity to promote the appeal of the Sardinia region as a tourist destination during difficult times”, said Italian Tennis Federation President Angelo Binaghi.

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