Pat Cash Exclusive: Novak Djokovic Is Better Than Nadal and Federer - UBITENNIS
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Pat Cash Exclusive: Novak Djokovic Is Better Than Nadal and Federer

The 1987 Wimbledon champion talks about his famous climb in the stands, and reminisces on the glory days of the Davis Cup. Also: the match point against Lendl in New York and that Swedish teenager who never missed; what makes the Big Three stand out and how his body would have coped in today’s game; his stance on vaccines, similar to Nole’s.

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UbiTennis brings you one more exclusive interview during the tours’ hiatus, and, as usual, Hall-of-Famer Steve Flink joins the party.

 

This time, our guest is none other than Pat Cash, the 1987 Wimbledon champion. Now 55 years old (his birthday was six days ago), the Aussie’s best results in the other Slams are two finals at his home tournament (in 1987 and 1988, on two different surfaces), a semi-final at the US Open (in 1984), and a fourth round at the French Open (in 1988). Throughout his career, he won seven titles in singles, twelve in doubles, and two Junior Slams (Wimbledon and the US Open, both in 1982 as a 17-year-old). He also reached the fourth spot in the rankings in May of 1988 and was a member of two Davis Cup-winning teams, in 1983 and in 1986. He now coaches an 18-year-old American, Brandon Nakashima, currently ranked 220th in the world, the second-best among those born in 2001.

Minute 01 – Introduction

04 – Pat Cash recalls training in Milan with an unknown Swede: “He didn’t miss a shot for 20 minutes, I got scared because I thought my level wasn’t good enough. Turns out that his name was Mats Wilander.” 

06 – However, Pat actually beat Wilander five times out of nine meetings (four while he was a Top 10 player), so Steve asked him why he felt so comfortable against him. 

11 – “I knew I’d lose that final against him in Melbourne as soon as I opened the ball cans…” Would Wilander agree? 

12 – The other loss in an Australian Open final, the year before against another Swede, Stefan Edberg. “We ran into each other during the night…” 

15 – “It’s sad to walk through Melbourne Park’s hallways and look at the pictures of every Australian Open champion without seeing myself among them…” 

16 – Cash suffered countless injuries – would he have fared better today? “I never thought Nadal would make it past the age of 28…” 

22 – That 1984 US Open semifinal, perhaps the best Super Saturday ever. He lost after failing to convert a match point against Lendl: “I just copied Mac’s tactics!” 

25 – McEnroe himself had something to say to Pat the day after… 

27 – The kerfuffle with a journalist who asked him about waving his middle finger during the Lendl match… 

29 – The 1987 Championships – one set lost against Schapers before steamrolling past Forget, Wilander, Connors and Lendl. 

31 – “I never felt as much as pressure as I did in the Davis Cup…” 

34 – Wimbledon again. “Borg and Connors were the only ones who could win the Championship from the baseline, Lendl and Wilander just didn’t have my serve-and-volley skills.” The post-winning banter of his friends…  

36 – “I had a good psychologist… the grass was replanted for the final, I had never played on such a slippery surface, but it’s important to be able to adapt, and I was more agile than Ivan.” 

38 – His famous climb in the stands on Centre Court, the first ever. 

44 – Davis Cup vs ATP Cup vs Laver Cup. “Agassi and Sampras ruined the Davis Cup. Madrid was the wrong city for the finals, in Australia would have packed the arena!” “The Laver Cup is an exhibition but it somehow got the best available week…” 

58 – The Coronavirus. “My girlfriend and my son had it, I didn’t have any symptoms…” Vaccination or not? 

1:05 –Djokovic, Federer and Nadal. “They’re not normal people! Federer would have been exceptional in every era, while Rafa and Novak…” Federer is the most entertaining to watch, but who is the best? Can you be the best ever if you’re not the best in your time?

1:10  “The Slams are not everything!” The case for Laver and Rosewall. 

1:12 – Tennis and technology. “Nadal took the game to a whole new level with his topspin and endurance. Djokovic has no flaws; he’s even become good at the net!” 

1:13 – Who would he pay to watch among the Fab Four? His favourite player is a certain hot-headed Italian… 

1:14 – Federer’s head-to-head with Rafa, and the Swiss’s incredible streaks in the Slams. “You can’t learn to play like him!” 

1:17 – Who’s the best musician among himself, John McEnroe, Mats Wilander, Yannick Noah? “Noah is a professional, you can’t really compare! However, the real rockstar was Vitas Gerulaitis.” Partying with the Stones… 

1:19 – How’s coaching? Pat tells us about his Academies all over the planet. “My way of thinking about the game is different now, and some of my strokes are better than they were in ’87!” 

1:24 – The differences in coaching men and women. What to tell them after a defeat, and who needs more support. His new protégé, Brandon Nakashima. 

1:30 – The 109 titles won by Connors, as compared to Federer’s and Laver’s. The WCT Finals, and partying with Gerulaitis.

Translated by Tommaso Villa

 

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Andrey Rublev and Stefanos Tsitsipas advance to the semifinal in Hamburg

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Fifth seed and 2019 Hamburg finalist Andrey Rublev hit 30 winners in his 6-2 7-5 win over Roberto Bautista Agut in 1 hour and 31 minutes to reach the semifinal at the European Open in Hamburg at the renovated Am Rothenbaum venue. 

 

Rublev earned an early break in the opening game, as Bautista Agut missed a backhand down the line. Rublev went up a double break to take a 4-1 lead with a backhand winner. Bautista Agut pulled one break back in the sixth game for 2-4. Rublev broke for the third time in the seventh game to open up a 5-2 lead and closed out the first set in the eighth game with a backhand volley after 34 minutes. 

Rublev went up a break in the third game at deuce to take a 2-1 lead. Bautista Agut broke back to draw level to 2-2. Rublev converted his third break point in the fifth game and held serve at love to take a 4-2 lead. Bautista Agut broke back for the second time to draw level to 4-4. Rublev broke Bautista Agut at 5-5 30-40 with two forehands at the net and sealed the win in the 12th game, when Bautista Agut hit a backhand return into the net. 

Rublev will face either Ugo Humbert or Casper Ruud in the semifinal.  

“Roberto is one of the most consistent players on Tour. It’s really tough to beat him. You need to play at an amazing level and be really fit. He never gives you an easy match. I am really pleased as I played well, even in the first set, in the spite of the score. There were long games and I am happy to get through the second set”, said Rublev. 

Stefanos Tsitsipas recovered from 3-5 in the tie-break of the tie-break in his 7-6 (7-5) 6-2 over Dusan Lajovic in 1 hour and 38 minutes to reach the semifinal. 

In the opening set Tsitsipas saved a break point in the fifth game and two more chances in the seventh game. The first set went on serve en route to the tie-break. Tsitsipas rallied from 3-5 down in the tie-break by winning four consecutive points to take a 7-5 lead after 57 minutes. 

The second set started with three straight breaks. Tsitsipas opened up a 3-1 lead with a forehand winner. The Greek player broke twice in a row to open up a 5-1 lead. Tsitsipas missed out on two match points on Lajovic’s serve at 5-1 and Lajovic held serve after three deuces. Tsitsipas closed out on his third match point to clinch his 21st win in 29 matches this year. 

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Steve Flink: “Djokovic Will Be Happy About The French Open Draw”

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The American journalist joined UbiTennis CEO Ubaldo Scanagatta to comment on the draw of the Parisian Slam. Is Nadal still the favourite? Halep is the one to beat in the women’s draw, while nobody had it worse than Thiem.

 

Even though the US Open is barely over, another Major, the Roland Garros, is fast approaching. Along with it, Ubaldo Scanagatta and Steve Flink’s recap videos are coming back as well, starting with the draw of the tournament, which will be played for the first time between September and October. Here’s the video:

00:00 – The men’s draw. Scanagatta: “We have two bonafide blockbusters in the first round, i.e. Murray vs Wawrinka and Thiem vs Cilic”. Who got the easier path, Djokovic or Nadal?

02:10 – “Zverev is a very good clay-courter, I’d like to see him face Nadal in the quarter finals…”

04:40 – Thiem got by far the hardest draw – will he be able to survive meetings with Cilic and Ruud before facing one between Murray, Wawrinka and Auger Aliassime before potentially squaring off with Schwartzman and Nadal? “Let’s not forget that he hasn’t played on clay yet…”

07:35 – “Nadal played well below his usual level against Schwartzman in Rome, he’ll have to find his rhythm in the opening rounds.” Is there anyone that could challenge him early on?

08:40 – What about Djokovic – who could be a foil for the Serbian’s ambitions?

18:30 – The underdogs: “I don’t see Medvedev going far, I wouldn’t be surprised if Fucsovics beat him.”

20:00 – The daily capacity was slashed from 11,500 people to 5,000, and now to 1,000 – how will the event look like?

23:15 – Murray vs Wawrinka: “I feel like the Brit has a slight edge, but it’s going to be a battle.”

25:45 – Thiem vs Cilic – can the Croat summon his 2014 self? “Perhaps on fast surfaces, not so much on clay…”

26:45 – Goffin vs Sinner: “The Italian ran out of gas against Dimitrov, but Goffin’s performance in Rome was even worse. We know that Sinner already has several Top 10 wins…” How will the Americans and Aussies fare?

31:35 – The women’s draw. “It feels a bit like the US Open, so many withdrawals!” Osaka, Andreescu and Barty are out, so who can beat Simona Halep?

33:10 – “The Romanian won in Prague and in Rome, while the second seed, Pliskova, retired against her in the Italian final, so we shall have to wait to ascertain her fitness level.” Was skipping hardcourts a wise choice on Halep’s part?

34:55 – Could Serena make a run for it?

36:40 – The top half of the draw seems to be more competitive, thanks to the presence, besides Halep’s, of Bertens, Voundrosova, Svitolina, and Mertens. Who will come out of the bottom half? Kvitova’s struggles on the surface.

41:15 – Are we in for a Williams-Azarenka rematch? There are many Americans – what are their chances?

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Elina Svitolina reaches her first semifinal in six months in Strasbourg

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Number 2 seed and two-time Grand Slam champion Elina Svitolina secured her spot in her first semifinal in six months at the Internationaux in Strasbourg with a 6-4 6-3 win over two-time WTA title winner Jil Teichmann after 1 hour and 23 minutes. Svitolina came back from a break down in each set.

 

Teichmann earned an early break in the opening game of the match. The Swiss player was not able to convert tw points for 4-2 in the first set and dropped her serve. Teichmann did not convert two game points in the eighth game and Svitolina broke back to draw level to 3-3. Svitolina did not convert two break points in the eighth game, but she broke serve on her first set point. 

Svitolina won eight of the first 10 points of the second set to open up a 2-0 lead with an early break. Teichmann reeled off three consecutive games with two consecutive breaks to take a 3-2 lead. Teichmann did not convert another break point at 3-3 after three deuces. Svitolina converted her fourth break point in a four deuce game in the eighth game to win the second set 6-3. 

“I was fighting to stay in and to get the win, and I think I got rewarded. That was really good today, because I don’t let the bad games change my mindset”, said Svitolina. 

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