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, Dominic Thiem and Roberto Bautista Agut secure their spot in the semifinals at Thiem’s 7 tournament

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Andrey Rublev edged Casper Ruud 6-2 3-6 10-4 at the Thiem’s 7 tournament in Kitzbuhel. After losing the first set Ruud came back to win the second set forcing the match to the third set. Rublev won the super tie-break when Ruud made a double fault on the match point. Rublev needed a win from Dominic Thiem against Jan Lennard Struff to secure his spot in the semifinal.

 

Thiem beat Struff 6-4 7-6 (7-3) to score his third consecutive win at this tournament after defeating Casper Ruud and Andrey Rublev in the first two days.

The first set went on serve until the 10th game, when Thiem converted on his first break point at 5-4 to clinch the first set in 30 minutes. In the second set Thiem did not convert two break points at 3-2 and another chance at 4-3. It came down to the tie-break. Thiem earned a mini-break to take a 2-1 lead and held on his serve to create three match point at 6-3. The home player converted on his first chance, as Struff’s backhand sailed long. Thiem set up a semifinal clash against Roberto Bautista Agut.

The Spanish player converted five of his six break points and won 73% of the rallies of the rallies in his service game in his 6-0 6-1 win over Dennis Novak to get the second point in his round robin group and secure his spot in the semifinals in the Group B.

Bautista Agut won 5 of the 7 games of the match before Novak earned his only game of the match by holding his first service game in the second set. Bautista Agut won five consecutive games to win the second set 6-1.

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Alexander Zverev and Nick Kyrgios pull out of Berlin exhibition tournament

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Alexander Zverev and Nick Kyrgios have withdrawn from the exhibition bett1 ACES tournament in Berlin. Both players were expected to join Dominic Thiem in the tournament, which will take place in the Steffi Graf Stadium from 13 to 15 July and in the Hangar 6 from 17 to 19 July. Caroline Garcia has pulled out from the women’s tournament due to a knee injury and will be replaced by Anastasija Sevastova.

 

“I was planning to play in Berlin this month, but I have made the decision to stay put and train with my team and not play any tournaments at the moment. It’s never nice to miss the chance to play, but I will be back soon”, said Zverev on the social media.

Zverev updated his fans on his latest news on his twitter account.

“I wanted to update you on a few things. First, on Friday I took my third test for Covid-19 and I am happy to say it also came back negative. Secondly, I am going through a trial period with David Ferrer on my team. I could not be more excited to get to work. I can’t wait for the tour to be back”, said Zverev.

Berlin organizers doubt that Zverev will play in Berlin. Last week Edwin Weindorfer said that he was considering refusing to allow Zverev to play in Berlin and warned he would have zero tolerance of any player who parties during the exhibition tournament.

“Zverev’s management said that he is not planning to play in any tournament at the moment. We are obviously disappointed, because he would have had a good opportunity to play in front of his fans”, said Weindorfer.

 Dominic Thiem, Jannik Sinner and Jan Lennard Struff in the men’s field and Elina Svitolina, Petra Kvitova, Kiki Bertens and Andrea Petkovic are the top names of the Berlin tournament.

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Donna Vekic Splits With Coach, Disputes The Reason Behind Move

The world No.24 has questioned a statement from her ex-coach concerning the reason behind his departure.

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Croatia’s top women’s player has been left searching for a new mentor on the Tour after parting ways with her coach after more than two years.

 

Donna Vekic has confirmed that she is no longer working with Torben Beltz, who previously guided Angelique Kerber to two of her Grand Slam titles. Under Beltz’s guidance, the world No.24 reached three WTA Finals as well as the quarter-finals of her first Grand Slam at the 2019 US Open. Last year the 24-year-old also broke into the top 20 for the first time in her career.

News of the split was confirmed by Beltz after the German coach posted a statement on his Instagram account. In it, he cites ‘different views’ in practicing and scheduling as the reason behind them going separate ways.

“Unfortunately Team Donna and I had different views in setting up the practice and tournament schedule for the restart of the tour which is why we will go separate ways! Thanks Donna for the last 2.5 years, it was a great ride and I always enjoyed our time together. Good luck for you in the future. Ready for a new adventure,” Beltz wrote.

However, it appears that there is more to it than what Beltz has said. Taking to Twitter, Vekic called him out by questioning his view on why the two split. Although she didn’t comment on why the decision was made.

“Well this is the first time I’m hearing of different views in practice and tournament schedules…?” She wrote on Twitter.

The separation comes after what was a mixed start to the season for Vekic prior to the Tour suspension. In her first five tournaments she only won back-to-back matches in Adelaide and at the Australian Open. Her 2020 win-loss record currently stands at 5-5.

So far in her career Vekic has earned more than $4.2 million in prize money which is the fourth highest tally ever made by a female Croatian player. Petra Martic holds the record with $5,128,866 in earnings.

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