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Boris Becker talks about the possible successors of the Big 3 and the impact of the coronavirus crisis on tennis

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Six-time Grand Slam champion Boris Becker talked about the possible successors of the Big three and the possible impact ofthe current crisis on tennis due to the coronavirus pandemic on Eurosport Germany’s Vocal Podcast.

 

Becker hopes that the new generation will be able to take over, when Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are still at the top.

“Federer, Nadal and Djokovic are incredibly strong and have been doing so consistenly for almost 15 years. On the other hand, the young players might not be good enough. In my generation, there were 20 and 21-years old players who won Grand Slam tournaments. I would like to see this change happening while the big three are still strong, not when they are old and fragile and have retired from tennis. If the US Open or Roland Garros still take place this year, I would like to see another final between Nadal against Thiem. Maybe then the Austrian will win. I would like to see that”.

Becker talked about his involvement in the world of tennis and his passion for this sport.

“I hope that I can remain in the tennis business, my favourite sport, for a long time. Either as a coach or as a TV expert. I still enjoy it very much; I really love this sport. I really enjoy dealing with the young players and chatting with them about tennis. I also enjoy discussing tennis with Roger, Rafa and Novak. I hope it will stay that way for a long time.”.

The former Wimbledon champion is concerned about the future of tennis players during the coronavirus crisis.

“I am concerned about the profession of the tennis player. Not about the first hundred players of the world, who hopefully have enough money in their accounts and don’t need next week’s prize money, but the thousand players, who also call themselves tennis pros, they have nothing to work for at the moment. If this break lasts any longer, they will have to look for another job. They have to feed themselves and pay the rent. On the other hand, I see this is an opprtunity for the three big federations. They all face the same situation. There is no tennis. So, you have to think: Can there be so many tournaments in the future ? Or should every major tournament be held as so-called combined event for men and women over ten days ? That means fewer jobs for the thousands who are involved”.

Becker, who previously worked with Novak Djokovic, has not ruled out a return to coaching. Under Becker’s guidance Djokovic claimed six-time Grand Slam titles.

“I would not rule out the possibility of becoming a coach again. In the current situation, it’s not possible because I am responsible for the men’s Team Germany, but nothing is eternal. If there are players who interest me, who allow me to coach and want to be open with me, then that’s something I could definitely consider. The problem is that it is very time-consuming. As a coach of Novak Djokovic, I spent 25 to 30 weeks with him. I have a family and I have other professional projects that I need to manage, but I don’t want to rule it out completely”.

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Roberto Bautista Agut overcomes Dominik Koepfer in three sets in Hamburg

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Nine-time ATP Tour champion Roberto Bautista Agut came back from a break down in the third set to beat last week’s Rome quarter finalist Dominik Koepfer 6-3 3-6 6-3 in 2 hours and 4 minutes at the European Open in Hamburg. The nine-time ATP Tour winner converted on 7 of his 17 break points.  

 

Koepfer, who was the only player to win a set against Novak Djokovic last week in Rome, got an early break to take a 2-0 lead. Bautista Agut won five consecutive games with two consecutive breaks to take the first set 6-3. 

Koepfer earned an early break to open up a 3-1 lead in the second set. Five consecutive breaks followed, before Koepfer sealed the second set with an unreturned serve after saving two break points in the 10th game. 

Koepfer came back from 0-2 down in the third set by winning three consecutive games to take a break lead at 3-2. Bautista Agut won four consective games with a double break in the sixth and eighth games to win the third set at 6-3. 

Bautista Agut set up a quarter final against last year’s finalist Andrey Rublev, who overcame Tommy Paul 6-1 3-6 6-2 in 1 hour and 37 minutes. The Spaniard leads 2-1 in his three head-to-head matches against his younger Russian rival.

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Aryna Sabalenka comes back from one set down to beat Anna Blinkova in Strasbourg

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World number 12 and this year’s Doha champion Aryna Sabalenka came back from a set down to edge past Anna Blinkova 1-6 6-4 6-2 reaching the quarter final at the Internationaux de Strasbourg. 

 

Sabalenka qualified for the quarter final in Adelaide and Dubai in 2020, but she scored just three wins across the US tournaments in Lexington, the Western and Southern Open and at the US Open. 

Blinkova came through the qualifying round in Rome, where she beat Jil Teichmann and Aliona Bolsova before losing to eventual finalist Karolina Pliskova in the Round of 16. 

Blinkova went up a double break to take a 4-0 lead. Sabalenka held serve at love in the fifth game to win her first game. Blinkova served out the first set 6-1 with her third break. 

Sabalenka got her first break at the start of the second set to take a 1-0 lead. Blinkova broke straight back in the second game to draw level to 1-1. Both players went on serve until the seventh game, when Sabalenka got a crucial break to take a 4-3 lead after a marathon game that went to three deuces. Sabalenka held her next two service games to take the second set 6-4. 

Sabalenka earned an early break in the third game to open up a 3-1 lead. She broke again in the seventh game for 5-2 at deuce and served out the win on her second match point. Sabalenka hit 27 winners to 32 unforced errors. 

Sabalenka set up a quarter final match against Katerina Siniakova, who beat Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-2 6-4. Siniakova broke twice to take a 5-1 lead. Alexandrova pulled the break back at love in the seventh game, but Alexandrova came back from 15-30 to break serve in the 10th game closing out the first set 6-4. The second set went on serve until the 10th game when Siniakova converted her third break point at deuce to close out the match. 

Former Roland Garros champion Jelena Ostapenko advanced to the quarter final after Kiki Bertens was forced to retire due to an Achilles tendon injury from the match at 2-6 6-4 4-2. Ostapenko will face Japan’s Nao Hibino, who beat Zarina Diyas 7-5 6-3. 

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Stefanos Tsitsipas beats Daniel Evans to reach the second round in Hamburg

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Last year’s ATP Finals champion Stefanos Tsitsipas cruised past Daniel Evans 6-3 6-1 in 59 minutes to set up a second round match against Uruguay’s Pablo Cuevas. 

 

Tsitsipas forced a forehand error from Evans to get a break for 3-1 and sealed the first set at love with a forehand volley winner. 

The Greek player broke serve in the third game of the second set with a forehand return and a a foehand approach. Tsitsipas broke three times in a row to win the second set 6-1. 

Tsitsipas hit 17 of his 24 winners off the forehand wing and won 14 of his points at the net. 

“It’s very satisfying to be playing that level of tennis, as I have missed playing on clay. It helps for my confidence. I have watched this tournament on TV since I was very young and I am delighted to have gotten off to a strong start”, said Tsitsipas. 

Chile’s Christian Garin beat German wild card Yannick Hanfmann 6-2 7-6 (7-3) to become the first player to reach the quarter final in Hamburg. Garin broke twice in a row in the sixth and eighth to win the first set 6-2. 

The South American player went up a break at deuce to take a 3-1 lead in the second set. Yanfmann converted his third break-back point in the ninth game to draw level to 5-5. The German player earned another break in the 11th game to take a 6-5 lead earning a chance to serve for the set. Garin broke straight back sending the second set to the tie-break. Hanfmann took a 3-1 lead, but Garin reeled off six consecutive points to win the tie-break 7-3. 

Benoit Paire withdrew from his first round match against Casper Ruud as he was a set and a break down at 4-6 0-2. The Frenchman revealed after the match that he has tested positive for the coronavirus twice since arriving at the tournament. Paire claimed that he had been told the rule in Germany is different to that in Paris, where positive players have been withdrawn from the French Open qualifying round due to covid-19. 

“The only negative test was yesterday but I was positive in two consecutive tests. The ATP has to explain to me what the rule is. In Paris some are negative, but because the coach is positive they can’t play. Here in Germany you are positive and can play”, said Paire.  

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