[EXCLUSIVE] Alexei Popyrin: “I’m Not Going To The US Open, It’s Too Risky” - UBITENNIS
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[EXCLUSIVE] Alexei Popyrin: “I’m Not Going To The US Open, It’s Too Risky”

The young Aussie talks to UbiTennis about his career so far, spanning from his win against Dominic Thiem at the Australian Open to his recent participation in the Ultimate Tennis Showdown. He envisions himself as a future Top 10 player, but he knows how hard he’ll need to work.

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The latest exclusive interview brought to you by Ubaldo Scanagatta and Hall-of-Famer Steve Flink centres on one of the hottest prospects in tennis, the Australian Alexei Popryrin.

 

Born in 1999, he is currently ranked 103rd in the world, but his career best ranking is at N.87. A lanky 6ft5 power baseliner, he self-describes himself as “funny but shy,” meaning that it takes him a while to get going with strangers, but my impression during the interview was of a maturity level well beyond his years – he has a sense of purpose and clear objectives, and he’s also fully aware of the commitment they entail. A Sydney native, his family is Russian, while his tennis upbringing mainly happened between Spain and France. He had an outstanding junior career, winning the 2017 French Open while on a streak of four consecutive titles. Among the Next Gen studs, he has the peculiar distinction of being the only one who actually prefers long matches: he has an 8-6 record in the Slams, and he’s won at least a match in each of them, whereas he’s still finding his feet at the two-out-of-three level, where he is still required to play the qualies.

Here’s the interview:

VIDEO SCHEDULE

Minute 00: introductory statements.

01:09: The Ultimate Tennis Showdown: “An unbelievable experience, everyone is enjoying it! About the cards…”

04:13: A true citizen of the world, he talks about his globetrotting and diverse background…

05:51: Did he expect to climb the rankings more quickly?

10:20: His best win, against Thiem at the 2019 Australian Open: “To play an injured opponent is often very tricky!”

12:29: “The Australian media are very supportive; I don’t feel the pressure at all.” His relationship with his peer, Alex De Minaur, as well as with Nick Kyrgios…

16:15: His first-ever coach is 1980 Australian Open finalist Kim Warwick (who is still a member of his team). Warwick is noted in Italy for wasting 11 match points against Adriano Panatta at the
1976 Italian Open- did he ever tell Alexei about it?

21:03: His third-round encounter Matteo Berrettini at last year’s US Open: “Don’t remind me about what happened in the fourth set!”

26:06: “I’m not going to Flushing Meadows, the bubble is still very much up in the air. About the French Open’s plan to go for a 50-60% crowd capacity…”

31:11: His rapport with Pat Cash, who joined his team for the 2019 grass season but now coaches an American player, Brandon Nakashima.

Text translated by Tommaso Villa

Interviews

“We Hope to Convince Federer to Play”: the Presentation of the 2022 Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters

Director Zeljko Franulovic talked about next year’s tournament, scheduled from April 9-17

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Stefanos Tsitsipas - ATP Montecarlo 2021 (ph. Agence Carte Blanche / Réalis)

The 2022 Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters will take place from April 9-17, so it’s difficult to guess what the pandemic situation will be in six months. At the moment, however, the prevalent hypothesis is that all spectators will need a Covid Pass or to bring proof of a negative test before being allowed in the Montecarlo Country Club at Roquebrune, France. If some players will refuse the vaccine, then they will need to be tested regularly in accordance to the rules devised by the French government.

 

Other than that, there will be no surprises when it comes to the event’s logistics, since the Country Club has already added a new players lounge and a new press room in the past few years. In 2020 the tournament was cancelled, while in 2021 it took place behind closed doors (while still being televised in 113 countries); the last edition staged with a crowd, in 2019, sold 130,000 tickets, constituting 30% of the total revenue – another 30% came from the sponsors, 30% from media rights (a number that tournament director Zeljko Franulovic hopes to see increase) and 10% from merchandising.

While it’s early days to know whether the tournament will operate at full capacity, Franulovic has made it clear that the organisers are already planning to provide a better covering for the No.2 Court, whose roof has not been at all effective in the past in the event of rain.

The tournament’s tickets can be bought on the official website of the event, but Franulovic has already vowed to reimburse immediately every ticket “if the government and the health authorities should decide to reduce the tournament’s capacity.”

Ticket prices have increased by 2 to 3 percent as compared to 2019, ranging from £25-50 for the qualifiers weekend, £32-75 for the opening rounds, £…-130 for the quarterfinals and semifinals, £65-150 for the final, £360-1250 for a nine-day tickets. Franulovic claims that the prices are in line with those of the other Masters 1000 tournaments.

Finally, Franulovic supports Andrea Gaudenzi’s decision to create a fixed prize money for the next decade. While tournaments like Madrid and Rome are trying to increase their duration from 8 to 12 days, the Monte-Carlo director has claimed that he prefers to remain a week-long event, especially because his is not a combined tournament. As for the players who will feature, Franulovic hopes to convince Roger Federer to participate: “I’m certain that he will give everything he has to be able to stage another comeback on the tour, ma no one knows where he’ll play. However, I think that on the clay he should opt for best-of-three events like Monte-Carlo and Rome rather than the French Open.”

For this and more information, you can watch the video above.

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Grand Slam

US Open, Steve Flink: “Djokovic’s loss had more to do with fatigue than pressure”

A recap of the last Major of 2021, from Raducanu’s triumphant journey to Berrettini and Zverev’s improvements. What was Rod Laver’s prediction for the men’s finals?

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The 2021 US Open was historical from many points of view, starting with the full-capacity crowd coming back to Flushing Meadows. On court, we witnessed Djokovic’s bid for a Calendar Year Grand Slam fall short against Daniil Medvedev in the final, while Emma Raducanu took the tennis world by storm, winning as a qualifier and without dropping a set. These were just some of the topics of the tournament recap by Hall-of-Famer Steve Flink and Ubitennis CEO Ubaldo Scanagatta. Here’s their chat:

 

00:00 – Emma Raducanu’s historical feat: “She had an easier draw than Fernandez, who had to defeat many great players, but she was very impressive nonetheless!”

06:18 – Barty and Osaka’s premature exits: “Hadn’t she lost to Rogers, Barty would have won the whole thing…”

09:35 – Was Fernandez too tired during the final?

20:17 – The Canadian defeated Aryna Sabalenka, who once again missed out on a big chance: “She seems to have a split personality…”

25:24 – The men’s final – how distant was Djokovic from his best form?

28:59 – “Djokovic is the best at handling the pressure, I don’t think that was the main reason behind his defeat…”

35:05 – Was the crowd actually on Nole’s side or did they just want to witness history being made?

39:16 – What was the secret behind Medvedev’s winning tactics?

41:50 – Djokovic fell short of the Grand Slam in a similar way to Serena Williams – how similar are their performances?

50:16 – Rod Laver’s prediction for the final…

52:25 – Who is the best claycourt player, Djokovic or Federer?

55:05 – Carlos Alcaraz won over the hearts of the crowd – how quickly will he reach the Top 10?

56:29 – Is Zverev on the right track to win a Major? What about Berrettini and Sinner?

62:48 – The Canadians: who will have a better career between Shapovalov and Auger-Aliassime?

Transcript by Giuseppe Di Paola; translated and edited by Tommaso Villa

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Grand Slam

US Open, Steve Flink on the Murray-Tsitsipas Controversy

A recap of the first week of the last Major of 2021: will Djokovic clinch the Grand Slam? Who will win the women’s title with Barty and Osaka out of the picture?

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The 2021 US Open has reached its halfway point, with many wonderful five-setters and a few upsets. Ubitennis CEO Ubaldo Scanagatta discussed the events of the first week with Hall-of-Fame tennis writer Steve Flink, from the elimination of Barty and Osaka to the toilet break controversy involving Stefanos Tsitsipas, from Alcaraz’s breakout performance to the chances of Novak Djokovic to complete a Calendar Year Grand Slam. Here’s their chat:

 

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