Simona Halep reveals that Justine Henin was her idol growing up - UBITENNIS
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Simona Halep reveals that Justine Henin was her idol growing up

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Last year’s Wimbledon champion Simona Halep and Justine Henin talked with tennis legends Mats Wilander and Boris Becker about the greatest moments of their careers on the Tennis Legends’ vodcast on the Eurosport website.

 

Halep was delighted to talk to her idol Henin. The Romanian star revealed that Justine Henin was her idol growing up. Henin won seven Grand Slam titles between 2003 and 2007 and the Olympic gold medal in Athens 2004. The Belgian player reached the world number spot in October 2003.

“It’s a pleasure to talk to my idol. Because I was growing up actually copying her, I have to admit. First of all, we have the same height and I thought: “I have a chance to do it. Even if I don’t have a one-handed backhand, I loved your backhand, Justine. I have also copied the movement, because she always had strong legs and she was playing very close to the baseline. I tried to copy that. It was not perfect because I was very far away from the baseline sometimes, but I had it in my mind and I knew it was the best thing to do when you are not very tall”, said Halep.

 Both Halep and Henin agreed that it was difficult to play against Serena Williams in big finals.

“Of course, I was scared of Serena. I think that at some point of my career, probably like Simona, I protected myself from that and took some distance. We all know this is the key”, said Henin.

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Rafael Nadal is eager to work hard during the off-season and get ready to a strong start to the 2021 season

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Rafael Nadal claimed his 13th Roland Garros title and his 20th Grand Slam trophy tying Rpger Federer’s record for most Grand Slam titles. For the 12th time in his career Nadal finished the year in the top-2. 

 

Nadal took part in just two tournaments this year due to the covid-19 pandemic winning two titles in Acapulco and at the French Open. 

Nadal started the 2020 seaosn at the ATP Cup, where he lost to Novak Djokovic in the final. The Mallorcan player reached the quarter final at the Australian Open for the 12th time in his career, before losing to Dominic Thiem in four sets 6-7 (3-7) 6-7 (4-7). 

Nadal won his first title of the year in Acapulco after beating all his five rivals (Pablo Andujar, Miomir Kecmanovic, Soonwoo Kwon, Grigor Dimitrov and Taylor Fritz) in straight sets. During the lockdown he spent six and a half months in Mallorca. 

After skipping the Western and Southern Open tournaments Nadal made his come-back at the Rome Masters 1000 tournament, where he lost to Diego Schwartzman in the quarter finals. Nadal travelled to Paris Roland Garros with three matches since March. 

Nadal did not drop a set en route to his 13th Roland Garros title for the fourth time after 2008, 2010 and 2017. His win over world number 1 Novak Djokovic in Roland Garros final marked the 999th win of his career and his 100th win at this tournament. 

“I played a very good final when I needed to play at my highest level, so something I am very proud of. I would love to finish my career being the player with more Grand Slams. I am a big fan of the history of sport. I respect that a lot. It means a lot to share this number with Roger”, said Nadal. 

The Spanish legend returned to Paris to take part at the Paris Bercy Masters 1000 tournament, where he lost to Alexander Zverev in straight sets in the semifinal. 

Nadal reached his first semifinal at the ATP Finals since 2015. After a straight set win over Andrey Rublev, Nadal lost to Dominic Thiem after two tie-breaks in the best match of this year’s edition of the ATP FInals. Nadal edged Stefanos Tsitsipas in three sets in the deciding round-robin match to advance the semifinal. Nadal lost to Danil Medvedev 3-6 7-6 6-3 in the semifinal. Medvedev pulled the break back the second set, before winning four consecutive games in the third set to beat Nadal for the first time in his career. 

“At the second set I was playing a little bit better than him. Then at 5-4 I think he played a good game and I didn’t. I played a bad game. That’s it, but I had a big opportunity and I lost it”. 

Nadal is eager to start his preparation for the 2021 season. 

“My goals remain the same. They are not easier or harder. I want to give 100% and every tournament and have a chance to fight for the title. My goals have always been the same. They are not easier or harder. I want to give 100% and every tournament and have a chance to fight for the title. My motivation has always been the same, year after year. The 2021 season will be very important, and I want to be ready for things I want to fight for. I will work hard during the off-season and get ready for a strong start”, said Nadal. 

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‘Tell Them Your Considering Working With A Dog’ – Andy Murray Says He Was Mocked For Hiring Female Coach

The former world No.1 believes former mentor Amelie Mauresmo was treated differently because of her gender.

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Andy Murray says he was ridiculed by some when rumours started to emerge that he was going to appoint a woman as his head coach.

 

The three-time Grand Slam champion was mentored by Amelie Mauresmo between 2014-2016 who herself is a former world No.1 on the women’s tour. Although Murray admits that his decision was one that was treated somewhat differently by both the media and those on the Tour. It still remains rare that a top player on the ATP Tour is coached by a female.

Speaking on Sky Sports’ Driving Force programme, Murray recounted the reception he received when news started to emerge that he was thinking about appointing a female member to his team. At the time he had just parted ways with Ivan Lendl, who guided him to two Grand Slam titles as well as a gold medal at the 2012 Olympic Games.

‘It was in the press that I was considering working with a female coach,’ Murray said.
‘I started getting messages from other players, from their coaches, saying “I can’t believe you’re playing this game with the media. You should tell them tomorrow you’re considering working with a dog.”

The 33-year-old believes Mauresmo was scrutinized more than any of his other coaches by the media. During their time together he won seven titles, including his first two on the clay. However, he failed to win Grand Slam trophies. The two ended their partnership with a ‘mutual agreement.’

“I never had experienced that before because I’d never worked with a female coach on the tour. And then it’s kind of spiralled from there that when I started working with her, yeah, there was negative press towards her,” he explains.
‘Every time I lost the match, which was never the case kind of, when I lost matches previously in my career, nobody questioned my coach. In tennis generally, it’s the individual that gets questioned. And that wasn’t the case when I was working with Amelie.
‘It’s one of my regrets that I didn’t win a Grand Slam when I was working with her. And for people, a lot of people, that was considered a failure because I didn’t do that.”

The experience failed to deter Mauresmo from continuing her work in men’s tennis. After Murray she coached fellow Frenchman Lucas Pouille until October this year when she stepped down from the role due to family-related issues. Mauresmo has also previously been selected to captain the French Davis Cup team but didn’t take the role because she wanted to work with Pouille instead.

“I feel like she was harshly judged by a lot of people just purely because she was a woman,” Murray concluded.

According to the ATP, only one member of the year-end top 20 have listed a female as part of their primary coaching team. Denis Shapovalov is coached by his mother Tessa, as well as Mikhail Youzhny.

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Danil Medvedev describes the win over Dominic Thiem at the ATP Finals as the toughest victory in his career

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Danil Medvedev has made history becoming the first player to beat the top three players in a single edition of the ATP Finals. The Russian player beat five-time ATP Finals champion Novak Djokovic in the round robin, Rafael Nadal in three sets semifinal and Dominic Thiem in a 3-set match after 2 hours and 42 minutes. 

 

“It’s amazing to beat the top 3 here. In the group I beat Novak, then Rafa in the semifinals and Dominic in the final. The best players in the world. It means a lot. It shows what I am capable of when I am playing good, when I am feeling good mentally, physically. I know what I am capable of. I just need to produce it more and more and hopefully more matches like this“, said Medvedev to the ATP Tour Website.

The Russian player is only the fourth player to achieve this feat at any single tournament since the start of the ATP Tour in 1990 following in the footsteps of Boris Becker in Stockolm in 1994, Novak Djokovic in Montreal in 2007, David Nalbandian in Madrid in 2007. 

“It was the toughest victory in my life because Dominic Thiem is a really tough player to play. That’s what I felt during the match. He was really close to winning in the second set. I managed to stay there. I managed to stay there. I felt in the third set that I was really tired physically, but I felt like he started to miss some balls, he started to run a little bit slower because he was tired. To make Dominic feel tired in a three-set match, not a five-set, I think it’s a great achievement. Dominic is playing today as one of the best players in the history of the sport, not yet by the titles and Grand Slams, but, as I say, playing with the form of today”, said Medvedev. 

With his win over Thiem in last Sunday’s final Medvedev has improved his winning streak to ten matches, that includes the two back-to-back titles in Paris Bercy Rolex Masters and the ATP Finals. He entered the Paris Bercy Masters 1000 tournament with a 18-10 win-loss record against top 10 opponents. Since the start of the Paris Bercy tournament Medvedev has scored seven matches against top 10 players. 

Medvedev followed in the footsteps of his idol Nikolay Davydenko, who won the first London edition of the ATP Finals. Medvedev ended the last chapter of the ATP Finals in London in the same way the tournament story started at the O2 Arena eleven years ago. 

“I was so surprised and so happy because Davydenko was one of my idols when I was growing up as I was actually already starting to play tennis. He was playing unbelievably”. 

The 24-year-old Russian player is the fifth player to win both the Paris Bercy and the ATP Finals titles in the same year after Boris Becker in 1992, Pete Sampras in 1997, Roger Federer in 2011, Novak Djokovic in 2013, 2014 and 2015.

Medvedev advanced to the Australian Open fourth round for the second consecutive year before losing to Stan Wawrinka in five sets. The Russian star did not drop a set en route to his second consecutive semifinal at the US Open last September before losing to Dominic Thiem, but he entered the Paris Bercy tournament with just three wins from his past eight matches and was bidding to win his first title in 13 months. 

“The tournaments I played before Paris were not bad. I was playing good tennis. I lost to Reilly Opelka in St. Petersburg. The same in Vienna. I was playing against Kevin Anderson, who is a tough opponent. I knew that my level might come back but maybe not this year. Finally, it was the case in Paris. I started playing better, started playing amazing. When you have this sort of confidence, you just need to know how to keep it. I know how to do it, especially looking back at last year where I reached six finals in a row. So now the question is how to find it faster sometimes. My level of game in the last two matches I won was just unbelievable. It can give me a lot for my future career. To beat Dominic the way he played today and to manage to beat him is probably the best victory of my life. This is a great boost of confidence for all the Slams coming up and all the tournaments. Hopefully I can continue this way”, concluded Medvedev. 

Medvedev has been ranked in top 5 each week since 19 August 2019. Medvedev, Karen Khachanov and Andrey Rublev became the first Russian trio in top 15 in the ATP Ranking since 1973.

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