‘Lucky To Be On The Court Right Now’ - Grigor Dimitrov Struggling With After-Effects Of COVID - UBITENNIS
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‘Lucky To Be On The Court Right Now’ – Grigor Dimitrov Struggling With After-Effects Of COVID

The world No.19 opens up how the virus has affected him both physically and mentally.

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Grigor Dimitrov at the 2018 Laver Cup in Chicago (photo Instagram @lavercup)

Bulgarian tennis star Grigor Dimitrov continues has said he is not yet ready to compete at the highest level in tennis as he continues to suffer from fatigue after being diagnosed with COVID-19.

 

The former top-10 player tested positive for the virus a month ago after withdrawing from the controversy-stricken Adria Tour, which was criticised over its policy towards anti-COVID measures. It was during the time of the event where founder Novak Djokovic, Borna Coric, Viktor Troicki and some coaching staff also contracted the virus. All have now tested negative for the since then.

Dimitrov returned to action over the weekend at the Ultimate Tennis Showdown in France, where he lost both of his matches to Feliciano Lopez and Richard Gasquet. Speaking to Tennis Majors, the world No.19 admits that he is not finding his recovery easy.

“Clearly I’m not ready to compete at the highest level right now,” Dimitrov told Tennis Majors.
“The movement is getting better, everything else is kind of going in the right direction but it’s still not easy to recover.
“The virus was hard on me so I stayed home for about a month.
“I was not breathing well, was not feeling well. (I was) tired, you know, all the symptoms, had no taste, no smell.
“Everything you could possibly think of so it was no fun.”

One of the biggest issues Dimitrov is currently facing concerns fatigue on the court. He says at the moment there are times where he needs to ‘completely shut down’ and recover from physical activity. According to a report published by the World Health Organisation in February, the average time for somebody to recover from a mild case of COVID-19 is roughly two weeks. However, more severe cases could require up to six weeks to recover.

“In a way I’m lucky to be on the court right now,” he said.
“You don’t know. One day I feel really well and I have four hours to be out but then all of a sudden I need to completely shut down and take a nap, or just rest.”

It wasn’t just the physical issues the 29-year-old had to contend with. Dimitrov admits he found coping with the virus mentally tough and experienced some ‘bad thoughts’ during his time in isolation.

“Of course (there are mental struggles). I mean, you’re alone 20 days for about 24 hours … so of course a lot of things are going through your head,” he said.
“It doesn’t matter how mentally strong you are, I think as a person, an athlete or anything, it’s inevitable to get some bad thoughts in your head so I had to deal with that too.
“This thing is real. If we take the right precautions and everybody is safe, things will get better quicker.
“But it’s a strange time so you have to work not only on your physical but on your mental aspect as well.”

The ATP Tour has been suspended since March 9th due to the Virus, but officials are set to resume proceedings next month. The Tour was initially set to start at the Citi Open in Washington but has since been cancelled. Instead the first tournament will be at the Western and Southern Open which will start on August 24th in New York.

Dimitrov has won eight ATP titles so far in his career and is a three-time Grand Slam semi-finalist.

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Nadal survives three-set marathon with Shapovalov in Rome

Rafael Nadal saved match points to edge out Denis Shapovalov in Rome.

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Rafael Nadal (@atptour - Twitter)

The King of Clay needed three sets and over three hours to claim the win and avoid an upset.

 

Rafael Nadal needed three hours and 27 minutes to beat the Canadian Denis Shapovalov 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 at the Italian Open in Rome hitting 29 winners while his counterpart hit 46 unforced errors in the loss.

To everyone’s surprise it was the world number 14 who came out with the faster start earning two breakpoints in the first service game of the match with a stunning forehand winner.

He would break to take an early 1-0 lead and continued to have momentum earning another break and the Spaniard found himself staring at 3-0 defecit.

At 4-1 the world number three would get one of the breaks back but it wasn’t enough as the Toronto native would break one more time at 5-3 on his fourth breakpoint of the game to take the first set.

Once again we saw some really strong play from the Canadian in the beginning of the second set we saw history repeat itself when the world number 14 held serve and get the early break this time with his powerful forehand.

Nadal was fighting to stay in the set and the match and managed to earn a breakpoint but it was quickly saved with a big ace from Shapovalov. The very next game the Canadian had a chance to get another break but this time the Spaniard would deny him the opportunity.

After the world number three held serve he went on the attack looking to go back on serve and after three chances would get the break back. He would end up winning five games in a row and would take the second set to send it to a decider.

The third set remained on serve until 2-1 when the Canadian had a chance to break and he would take to jump out to a 3-1 lead. The break didn’t hold as Nadal came storming back the very next game breaking the world number 14 to love and equaling the set at 3-3.

The set and the match would ultimately be decided by a tiebreaker and in that breaker is when the Spaniard would take over winning it 7-3 to book his spot in the quarterfinals.

He will next face either Alexander Zverev or Kei Nishikori on Friday for a spot in the semifinals.

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Novak Djokovic Moving Into A ‘Good Trajectory’ After Reaching Rome Quarter-Finals

Novak Djokovic admitted that he is on a good trajectory after reaching the last eight in Rome.

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Novak Djokovic has said that he is on a ‘good trajectory’ after moving into the Rome Quarter-Finals.

 

The world number one moved into the last eight in the Italian capital with a comfortable 6-2 6-1 victory over Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.

Despite being broken in the first game, Djokovic rallied back to break on five occasions as he cruised past the Erratic Spaniard.

After 1 hour and 11 minutes, Djokovic’s overall game was too much for Davidovich Fokina as the Serb progressed to his 15th quarter-final in Rome.

After the match in his on-court interview the top seed admitted he is on a good trajectory as he builds momentum towards Roland Garros, “I thought I played well,” Djokovic told the ATP website.

“He started well and broke my serve in the first game. I made some errors, but I managed to break back right away and establish the control and consistency on the court. I think from the back of the court I was just a bit more solid than him.

“He made some unforced errors and double faults in key moments, which obviously helped me get that necessary break forward. I thought I played better, at least 20 or 30 per cent better, than I did against Fritz a few days ago. I am on a good trajectory and hopefully tomorrow will be even better.”

The real test for Djokovic will come tomorrow when he faces top 10 opposition in the last eight.

It will either be Monte-Carlo champion Stefanos Tsitsipas or Madrid finalist and home favourite Matteo Berrettini next up for the world number one.

Djokovic was well aware of the form either of his possible opponents are in heading into tomorrow’s showdown, “My next match will be against a Top 10 player, so it is going to be a battle,” Djokovic explained.

“Both of these guys are in great form. Tsitsipas won Monte-Carlo and Berrettini is just coming off the final in Madrid. I am obviously going to do my best to win that match, whoever I play against.”

In the other result in Rome today, Reilly Opelka reached the quarter-finals with a 7-6(6) 6-4 win over Aslan Karatsev.

The American hit 18 aces as he will now face Felix Auger-Aliassime or Federico Delbonis on Friday.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas sets up blockbuster third round match against Matteo Berrettini in Rome

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Stefanos Tsitsipas edged past Marin Cilic 7-5 6-2 to advance to third round at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. 

 

Tsitsipas has improved his win-loss record to 28-7 this season, equalling Andrey Rublev for most match wins after Rublev beat Jan-Lennard Struff 6-7 (7-9) 6-1 6-4 earlier today. 

Tsitsipas had to save two break points in the ninth game to hold serve after four deuces. The 2021 Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters winner earned his crucial break in the 12th game to win a hard-fought first set 7-5. 

Tsitsipas was in control of the match and cruised to a 6-2 win in the second set with two breaks in the second and eighth games. 

“Sometimes I need to adjust my game and Marin is someone I respect a lot. I knew he was going to come out here and play his best tennis. He made move a lot. It was quite tricky to adjust to that at the beginning, but towards the very end of the first set I stayed calm and stayed calm and resilient. I had to play deep on the returns and find solutions from the baseline rallies. That worked well for me from 6-5”, said Tsitsipas. 

Tsitsipas set up a blockbuster third round match against last week’s Madrid Mutua Open finalist Matteo Berrettini, who beat John Millman 6-4 6-2 in front of fans, who will return on Thursday. Tsitsipas enjoyed the atmosphere on the Pietrangeli Stadium. 

“The Pietrangeli Stadium is very beautiful. It’s one of the best courts on tour. I feel like the Pietrangeli here is great. We are surrounded by trees in the city and it’s very quiet which is very important for tennis. Honestly, I can’t wait for the fans to come and fill in the stadium”, said Tsitsipas. 

Berrettini missed three consecutive break points in the third game of the opening set and earned his first break in the ninth game to take a 5-4 lead. The Rome-native star served out the first set at 15. Berrettini earned two consecutive breaks to race out to 4-0 lead. Millman saved a break point to hold serve in the fifth game, but Berrettini never looked back in his next two service games to claim the second set 6-2. 

Berrettini has improved with his each appearance in the Rome tournament, reaching the second round in 2018, the third round in 2019 and the quarter final in 2020. 

Tsitsipas beat Berrettini in their only head-to-head match at the 2019 Australian Open. 

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