Andrey Rublev leads the new generation of Russian tennis - UBITENNIS
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Andrey Rublev leads the new generation of Russian tennis

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Andrey Rublev is one of the most talented players of the golden generation of Russian tennis, who is following in the footsteps of tennis legends Marat Safin, Yevgeny Kafelnikov, Nikolay Davydenko.

 

Andrey Rublev, Danil Medvedev and Karen Khachanov are the first Russian trio to reach the top 20 since Safin, Kafelnikov and Youzhny in 2005.

Medvedev improved to his career-high of world number 5 after a dream 2019 season in which he reached his first Grand Slam final at the US Open and won two consecutive Masters 1000 tournaments in Cincinnati and Shanghai. Rublev won back-to-back titles in Doha and Adelaide in 2020 and enjoyed a career-high of number 14 in the ATP Ranking. Khachanov won his first Masters 1000 in Paris Bercy 2018 and reached the semifinal at the ATP Masters 1000 in Montreal at the ATP 500 in Beijing in 2019 and is ranked world number 15.

Rublev reflected on the success of Russian tennis in the past two season in an interview to Tennis Magazin and hopes that the new generation will be able to continue the glorious tradition.

Kafelnikov triumphed in two Grand Slam tournaments at the 1996 French Open and at the 1999 Australian Open. Safin won two Grand Slam titles at the US Open in 2000 beating Pete Sampras and at the Australian Open in 2005 defeating Lleyton Hewitt.

“At that time tennis was huge in Russia. Everyone knew Russia who Kafelnikov and Safin were. The time was incredible. I hope that one day we can raise Russian tennis back to this level”, said Rublev.

Rublev reached the round of 16 at last January’s Australian Open before losing to his close friend Alexander Zverev. With his titles Rublev won two consecutive titles in Doha and Adelaide becoming the first player on the ATP Tour since 2004 to win two consecutive titles in the first two weeks of the year. He started the year with 11-match win streak overall dating back to the Davis Cup Finals in Madrid last November.

“Maybe I was lucky, but I am very happy with my results. I still have a lot of potential for improvement. I want to make full use of this”, said Rublev.

Rublev started his career following the example of his mother Marina Marenko, who trained Anna Kournikova. Andrey’s father was a former professional boxer, who turned restaurateur. His sister Arina is also a tennis coach. Andrey is coached by former Spanish player Fernando Vicente. His heroes at the start of his career were Marat Safin, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Grigor Dimitrov and Milos Raonic. Andrey’s hobbies include boxing, basketball and music. Outside tennis he practiced boxing and basketball and is a fan of Mike Tyson. He made his professional debut in 2015 at the age of 17 and played his first appearance at Grand Slam level at the 2015 US Open as a qualifier. He won his first ATP title in doubles at the 2015 Kremlin Cup. At the 2017 US Open Rublev beat Grigor Dimitrov in straight sets and David Goffin in the fourth round before losing to eventual champion Rafael Nadal in the quarter finals. Rublev finished runner-up to Hyeon Chung in the first edition of the Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan.

Rublev reached the final in Doha in January 2018 losing to Gael Monfils bu he was sidelined by a serious back injury.

“I was really disappointed. I did not even watch tennis. My fellow colleagues were playing and I was sitting on the sofa. I had no chance to do anything”.

In 2019 Rublev achieved his second win over a top 10 player by beating Dominic Thiem in the quarter finals in Hamburg. The Moscow player lost to Nikoloz Basilashvili in the final.

“It looked like that 2019 would be my worst year, but in the second half I turn around the season. 

Rublev achieved the biggest win of his career in Cincinnati when he beat Roger Federer in straight sets in the third round before losing to Danil Medvedev in the quarter final.

“I cannot think about winning a Grand Slam title, but I can play against top players. I was lucky to reach the quarter finals at the US Open. In 2019 I felt that I really deserved the result that I achieved. I reached the fourth round and this reflected my tennis level”.

At the US Open he beat Nick Kyrgios in straight sets to reach the Round of 16 at a Grand Slam tournament for the second time before losing to Matteo Berrettini in straight sets. Federer was impressed by the level of tennis reached by Rublev in Cincinnati.

“I think that Rublev will achieve something special in his career”, said Federer in Cincinnati.

Last September lost to Fabio Fognini in straight sets at the China Open in Beijing. On his 22nd birthday Andrey won his second ATP title at the Kremlin Cup in Moscow beating Adrian Mannarino in straight sets in the final.

 

“I am grateful to my parents did everything for me. They sacrified a lot of things to help my career. Tennis is a very expensive start. For them it was not easy, because they were not sure, that the plan would pay off”.

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Victoria Azarenka Survives Three-Set Battle With Pegula In Berlin

Azarenka is one of two seeded players left in the draw along with Belinda Bencic.

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Victoria Azarenka is into the semifinals of the Bett1 Open after outlasting America’s Jessica Pegula 6-2, 5-7, 6-4.

 

The two-time Australian Open champion won 70% of her first service points and broke Pegula six times en route to the victory. It is only the second time Azarenka has reached the last four of a WTA tournament this season after the Doha Open back in March. This week she is bidding to reach her first Tour final on the grass since 2010 and win her first title on the surface at the age of 31.

“I’m really happy that I made it out, I played really well at the beginning of the match,” said Azarenka. “In the second set she played some good shots and I felt like I slowed down but I was glad I was able to turn it around”.

The number seven seed got off to a great start earning three chances to break in the opening game of the match and getting the early break. At 4-2 she earned the double break when the American produced a poor service game and double faulted on breakpoint. Enabling Azarenka to take the opener in just 26 minutes.

The beginning of the second set was identical to the first with the world No.16 earning three more breakpoints and breaking to take an early lead. However, Pegula fought back to earn three chances to break but Azarenka saved all three and held serve. The set stayed on serve until 4-3 when the American had another chance to break. This time a poor service game from the Belorussian gave up the break of serve.

At 6-5 with Azarenka serving to stay in the middle set Pegula found herself at set point and clinched the set after the world number 16 hit another unforced error.

Into the decider and again just like the first two sets it was the 31 year old who broke in the opening service game of the set but the world number 26 responded by breaking right back the very next game and the next two games followed suit with two breaks of serve.

At 3-3 the Azarenka had three more breakpoints and got the break once again but this time the break was enough for her to serve out the match. After the match Azarenka spoke about losing the momentum in the second set and how she was able to get it back and push through.

” I paid too much attention on the things that I didn’t take opportunities and matches on grass can go fast with one or two breaks and it’s more difficult and hopefully I can stop putting myself into too much trouble”. She said.

Azarenka will next face Russian qualifier Liudmila Samsonova who stunned Madison Keys in three sets – 7-6, 2-6, 7-6.

Elsewhere, Alize Cornet also continued her amazing run by beating the number six seed Garbine Muguruza 4-6, 6-3, 7-6, and Belinda Bencic booked her spot in the final four beating another Russian Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-4, 4-6, 7-6.

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David Goffin Out Of Wimbledon Following Halle Accident

It has been reported that the unfortunate injury he suffered is ‘more serious’ than a sprain.

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David Goffin has been forced to withdraw from Wimbledon after suffering an ankle injury during the Noventi Open earlier this week.

 

The former top 10 player was taking on Corentin Moutet in Halle where he slipped on the grass and subsequently hurt his right ankle. Forcing the Belgian to retire from the match at the start of the third set. Providing an update on Goffin’s health, agent Martin Roux said he is unsure how long he will be absent from the Tour for.

“Yes, David has officially withdrawn from Wimbledon following his ankle injury in Halle. For the moment we do not know more about the exact duration of unavailability, ” Roux told lesoir.be. “He is of course disappointed to miss a Grand Slam tournament, especially since he had recovered well on grass before his injury. “

Elaborating further, Roux confirmed Goffin’s injury is ‘more serious’ than a sprain and tests are ongoing to assess the extent of the damage which has been caused to the ankle. It is not the first time he has suffered a freak accident on the court. During the 2018 Rotterdam Open he hurt his eye after a tennis ball rebounded into his face, forcing him to pull out of Marseille and Indian Wells that year.

“David told me that it was more serious than a minor sprain, after exams in Belgium.”Roux added. “The ankle has not yet deflated (stopped swelling). David realizes that ice and bandages won’t be enough to play. The ligaments must be affected in one way or another. The idea is to do new exams at the end of the week in order to then have a healing protocol, especially since after Wimbledon the Olympic Games will arrive quickly. These are now his next goals. “

The 30-year-old has achieved a win-loss record of 14-13 so far in 2021 and won his fifth ATP title in Montpellier. He has also reached the semi-finals in Antalya and quarter-finals in Monte Carlo. However, recently Goffin has struggled on the Tour with Halle being the fifth tournament in a row where he has failed to win back-to-back matches.

Goffin is currently ranked 13th in the world.

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Dominic Thiem Follows Nadal In Olympic Games Snub

The world No.5 says his decision is related to his performance on the Tour so far this season.

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Dominic Thiem training at the 2021 Lyon Open (photographer Sammy Dancyger - Owned by Sport Plus Conseil - GM Sports Consulting)

Austria’s Dominic Thiem has pulled out of the Olympic Games in order to focus on his title defence at the US Open later this year.

 

The 27-year-old issued a statement on Thursday saying he was ‘not ready’ to play in Tokyo following what has been a roller-coaster start to the season. Thiem enters Wimbledon with a win-loss record of 9-8 and recently lost in the first round of the French Open. His best results so far this year were reaching the last 16 of the Australian Open and the semi-finals of the Madrid Open.

“Hi everybody, I have some sad news to share with you all. After talking with my team and analysing the situation I have taken the very difficult decision to withdraw from competing in the Tokyo Olympics,” the 27-year-old Austrian wrote on Twitter.
“For me, like all athletes, taking part in the Olympics and representing my country is a huge honour and that makes this decision even tougher.
“However, 2021 did not start as expected and I don’t feel ready to play my best in Tokyo.
“My goal is to work hard the coming weeks, give my best at Wimbledon and keep training and hopefully defend my US Open title.”

Thiem, who also skipped the 2016 Olympics, had previously said that his views on the multi-sport event have changed over recent time. During one interview with Tennis Deutschland he said it would be a ‘dream’ to play at the Olympics and he would ‘definitely play’ at the event if he had the chance to. Thiem is coached on the Tour by Nicolas Massu who won a gold medal back in 2004.

The world No.5 says he hopes to be able to play at the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris where the tennis tournament will be held at Roland Garros. The same venue as the French Open.

On the same day as Thiem’s announcement on Thursday, Rafael Nadal was another player to confirm he would not be travelling to Tokyo, as well as Wimbledon, in order to recover from the clay season. The Spaniard said he wants to take a break from the Tour in order to preserve his body and prolong his career on the Tour.

The Olympic tennis event will take place between July 24th – August 1st. Andy Murray is the defending champion in the men’s tournament.

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