Patrick McEnroe Backs Andy Murray To Crack Top 20 Once Again - UBITENNIS
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Patrick McEnroe Backs Andy Murray To Crack Top 20 Once Again

The 32-year-old shouldn’t be written off just yet, but will he still be able to challenge the likes of Roger Federer and Co?

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Andy Murray should be able to rise back up the world rankings but will find it hard to challenge the biggest names in the sport, according to Patrick McEnroe.

 

The former world No.1 hasn’t played a competitive match since the Davis Cup finals last November due to pelvic bruising in what is the latest of a series of injury setbacks to hamper the Brit. Murray has also undergone two hip surgeries since 2018 in a bid to continue his career. He is currently ranked 129th in the world, but he did win the European Open towards the end of last season in what was his first title since 2017.

Speaking about Murray’s chances for the future, McEnroe believes he should be able to rise back into the world’s top 20. Somewhere he hasn’t been since February 2018. Although the former American Davis Cup captain is less convinced that he will be able to rival the Big Three like he has done in the past. Murray is the only player outside of the Big Three to have held the No.1 position over the last 15 years.

“I would say he could get close but I think it’s going to be difficult for him to get back to the level he was at, in other words, right there with [Roger] Federer, [Rafael] Nadal and [Novak] Djokovic,” he told BBC Scotland.
“I do think he could probably get back to the top 20 or top 15. When he came back and won that tournament indoors [the European Open in Antwerp in 2019] that was a great sign.
“So if he could get back and be in the mix, that would be awesome and we would love to see that in the tennis world.”

McEnroe, who reached a ranking high of three in the doubles during his professional career, isn’t the only person to cast doubt on Murray’s chances against the trio. Greg Rusedski has also expressed a similar point of view during an interview with Sky Sports. The 46-year-old was the last British man to contest a grand slam final prior to Murray.

“The good news for him is that he’s had more of a rest at this point,” he said. “Hopefully his body comes back, but to challenge week in week out with Nadal, Federer, Djokovic, (Stefanos) Tsitsipas is going to be hard.
“Can he win matches? Can he possibly win a Tour event? Yes, he can do so. But to win Slams, that’s three out of five sets, seven matches, that’s a little bit difficult. It’s possible he can get to a quarter-final, fourth round, but to go all the way with the surgeries he’s had, that’s a big ask.
“But I hope he proves me wrong, like he’s done on several occasions.”

Murray has a losing head-to-head record against every member of The Big Three. Although he is the only player to have scored at least seven wins against each of them. He has defeated both Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic 11 times, as well as Rafael Nadal on seven occasions.

Due to the Tour shutdown it is unknown as to when Murray will be returning after going through rehabilitation. During a recent interview with CNN he stated his intention to play at the French Open if it goes ahead. The tournament is due to start during the end of September but the three-time grand slam champion has his doubts.

“I would definitely play on the clay if it goes ahead. I’m a bit sceptical whether it will,” said Murray.
“I would imagine tennis would be one of the last sports to get back to normality because you’ve obviously got players and coaches and teams coming from all over the world into one area. I would be surprised if they were back playing sport by September-time.”

Murray has won 46 ATP titles and spent 41 consecutive weeks as world No.1 so far in his career.

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Nadal survives three-set marathon with Shapovalov in Rome

Rafael Nadal saved match points to edge out Denis Shapovalov in Rome.

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Rafael Nadal (@atptour - Twitter)

The King of Clay needed three sets and over three hours to claim the win and avoid an upset.

 

Rafael Nadal needed three hours and 27 minutes to beat the Canadian Denis Shapovalov 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 at the Italian Open in Rome hitting 29 winners while his counterpart hit 46 unforced errors in the loss.

To everyone’s surprise it was the world number 14 who came out with the faster start earning two breakpoints in the first service game of the match with a stunning forehand winner.

He would break to take an early 1-0 lead and continued to have momentum earning another break and the Spaniard found himself staring at 3-0 defecit.

At 4-1 the world number three would get one of the breaks back but it wasn’t enough as the Toronto native would break one more time at 5-3 on his fourth breakpoint of the game to take the first set.

Once again we saw some really strong play from the Canadian in the beginning of the second set we saw history repeat itself when the world number 14 held serve and get the early break this time with his powerful forehand.

Nadal was fighting to stay in the set and the match and managed to earn a breakpoint but it was quickly saved with a big ace from Shapovalov. The very next game the Canadian had a chance to get another break but this time the Spaniard would deny him the opportunity.

After the world number three held serve he went on the attack looking to go back on serve and after three chances would get the break back. He would end up winning five games in a row and would take the second set to send it to a decider.

The third set remained on serve until 2-1 when the Canadian had a chance to break and he would take to jump out to a 3-1 lead. The break didn’t hold as Nadal came storming back the very next game breaking the world number 14 to love and equaling the set at 3-3.

The set and the match would ultimately be decided by a tiebreaker and in that breaker is when the Spaniard would take over winning it 7-3 to book his spot in the quarterfinals.

He will next face either Alexander Zverev or Kei Nishikori on Friday for a spot in the semifinals.

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Novak Djokovic Moving Into A ‘Good Trajectory’ After Reaching Rome Quarter-Finals

Novak Djokovic admitted that he is on a good trajectory after reaching the last eight in Rome.

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Novak Djokovic has said that he is on a ‘good trajectory’ after moving into the Rome Quarter-Finals.

 

The world number one moved into the last eight in the Italian capital with a comfortable 6-2 6-1 victory over Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.

Despite being broken in the first game, Djokovic rallied back to break on five occasions as he cruised past the Erratic Spaniard.

After 1 hour and 11 minutes, Djokovic’s overall game was too much for Davidovich Fokina as the Serb progressed to his 15th quarter-final in Rome.

After the match in his on-court interview the top seed admitted he is on a good trajectory as he builds momentum towards Roland Garros, “I thought I played well,” Djokovic told the ATP website.

“He started well and broke my serve in the first game. I made some errors, but I managed to break back right away and establish the control and consistency on the court. I think from the back of the court I was just a bit more solid than him.

“He made some unforced errors and double faults in key moments, which obviously helped me get that necessary break forward. I thought I played better, at least 20 or 30 per cent better, than I did against Fritz a few days ago. I am on a good trajectory and hopefully tomorrow will be even better.”

The real test for Djokovic will come tomorrow when he faces top 10 opposition in the last eight.

It will either be Monte-Carlo champion Stefanos Tsitsipas or Madrid finalist and home favourite Matteo Berrettini next up for the world number one.

Djokovic was well aware of the form either of his possible opponents are in heading into tomorrow’s showdown, “My next match will be against a Top 10 player, so it is going to be a battle,” Djokovic explained.

“Both of these guys are in great form. Tsitsipas won Monte-Carlo and Berrettini is just coming off the final in Madrid. I am obviously going to do my best to win that match, whoever I play against.”

In the other result in Rome today, Reilly Opelka reached the quarter-finals with a 7-6(6) 6-4 win over Aslan Karatsev.

The American hit 18 aces as he will now face Felix Auger-Aliassime or Federico Delbonis on Friday.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas sets up blockbuster third round match against Matteo Berrettini in Rome

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Stefanos Tsitsipas edged past Marin Cilic 7-5 6-2 to advance to third round at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. 

 

Tsitsipas has improved his win-loss record to 28-7 this season, equalling Andrey Rublev for most match wins after Rublev beat Jan-Lennard Struff 6-7 (7-9) 6-1 6-4 earlier today. 

Tsitsipas had to save two break points in the ninth game to hold serve after four deuces. The 2021 Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters winner earned his crucial break in the 12th game to win a hard-fought first set 7-5. 

Tsitsipas was in control of the match and cruised to a 6-2 win in the second set with two breaks in the second and eighth games. 

“Sometimes I need to adjust my game and Marin is someone I respect a lot. I knew he was going to come out here and play his best tennis. He made move a lot. It was quite tricky to adjust to that at the beginning, but towards the very end of the first set I stayed calm and stayed calm and resilient. I had to play deep on the returns and find solutions from the baseline rallies. That worked well for me from 6-5”, said Tsitsipas. 

Tsitsipas set up a blockbuster third round match against last week’s Madrid Mutua Open finalist Matteo Berrettini, who beat John Millman 6-4 6-2 in front of fans, who will return on Thursday. Tsitsipas enjoyed the atmosphere on the Pietrangeli Stadium. 

“The Pietrangeli Stadium is very beautiful. It’s one of the best courts on tour. I feel like the Pietrangeli here is great. We are surrounded by trees in the city and it’s very quiet which is very important for tennis. Honestly, I can’t wait for the fans to come and fill in the stadium”, said Tsitsipas. 

Berrettini missed three consecutive break points in the third game of the opening set and earned his first break in the ninth game to take a 5-4 lead. The Rome-native star served out the first set at 15. Berrettini earned two consecutive breaks to race out to 4-0 lead. Millman saved a break point to hold serve in the fifth game, but Berrettini never looked back in his next two service games to claim the second set 6-2. 

Berrettini has improved with his each appearance in the Rome tournament, reaching the second round in 2018, the third round in 2019 and the quarter final in 2020. 

Tsitsipas beat Berrettini in their only head-to-head match at the 2019 Australian Open. 

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