Alexander Zverev Has ‘A Lot Of Room For Improvement,’ Says New Coach Ferrer - UBITENNIS
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Alexander Zverev Has ‘A Lot Of Room For Improvement,’ Says New Coach Ferrer

The former French Open finalist provides insight into his current work with the tennis star.

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It took three separate calls to persuade former top 10 player David Ferrer to join the team of world No.7 Alexander Zverev.

Just a year after ending his professional career, the Spaniard finds himself back on the Tour in a new capacity in what is his first top-level coaching job. After travelling to Monte Carlo for a trial period, it was confirmed that Ferrer will be on Zverev’s team for at least the rest of 2020. Although getting him to join in the first place was a tough task.

There were other proposals, but Zverev called me three times to ask if I could be his coach,” Ferrer said during an interview with Punto de Break. The first two I told him that I couldn’t, that I had other things in mind, but during confinement (lockdown) he called me a third time. I liked that, that he was the one who contacted me, he encouraged me to try.”

Both men are fairly familiar with each other after facing off nine times on the ATP Tour, including three in 2019. Zverev was the last player Ferrer played against at the Madrid Open before officially retiring from the sport at the age of 37. Following that match the German described his new coach as ‘one of the most loved people on the Tour.’

Ferrer isn’t the only person guiding the 23-year-old on the Tour. He is also mentored by his father who is a former player himself and won two gold medals at the 1985 summer Universiade. Under the new arrangement, Ferrer outlines the area that he is solely responsible for at present.

”I am the one who designs all the exercises. When I am not present, I contact his father and tell him about everything I want to do,” he explains.
“In this sense, Sascha is learning a lot from me and his father also really likes the pattern that I wanted to bet on.’
“I don’t know if I’m the head coach or not, to this day I don’t care, I don’t have egos for that. What I can tell you is that I do the exercises.”

In recent years Zverev has been one of the players tipped to take over the reign of the Big Three in the future. His resume currently features 11 ATP titles that include three at Masters level and one in the ATP Finals. He first broke into the world’s top three back in 2017 when he became the youngest player to do so for a decade (Novak Djokovic 2007).

Although it hasn’t all been smooth running for the German who has only won one ATP tournament over the past 18 months. Doing so at the 2019 Geneva Open on clay. Although in January he achieved his best Grand Slam result so far with a run to the semi-finals of the Australian Open.

“I think he has a lot of room for improvement mentally and tennis too,” Ferrer commented. “Maybe in playing more forward, or certain technical aspects that he can polish.’
“We are talking about a player who is already very good, but by improving certain tennis and mental aspects he can win Grand Slams and be very high. You always need to evolve and improve in your game, this is what motivates me the most, that even knowing everything that has already won, we know that it can still be better. I believe it 100
%.”

Zverev experienced a short lived return to competitive tennis this week at the Western and Southern Open in New York. Seeded fifth in the tournament, he crashed out in his opening match to Andy Murray. Zverev served for the win at 5-4 in the decisive set but then got broken twice in a row.

The truth is that Murray played at a great level in the first set, it surprised me,” Ferrer commented on the match.
“Then at 5-4 and service (for the match) came that moment where the tension prevented him from closing and cost him the game. It’s the first game so I can’t make an assessment yet. His attitude was good, I’m not worried.”

The next test will be at the US Open where Ferrer says he expects to see ‘more surprises’ in the early rounds than normal following the Tour break. Once again Novak Djokovic will be the favourite to win the title as Zverev chases after his maiden major trophy. Although his new coach explains that it is an ongoing process that shouldn’t be rushed.

“We know that the higher you are, the more pressure you have, especially if you are young and have already won important things, people will always ask you to take the next leap,” he said.
“What the team has to achieve is that the player is as calm as possible and goes step by step.’
“We just started, I don’t want to venture out and talk too much either. What worries me now is that he improves mentally and tennis, that will be what leads him to have options to win important titles, whether they are Grand Slams, Masters 1000 or whatever.”

Zverev will play Kevin Anderson in his first round match at Flushing Meadows.

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Jack Draper Wins In Stuttgart, Potentially Faces Andy Murray in Round Two

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Jack Draper – ATP Monaco di Baviera 2024 (foto via Twitter @atptour)

Britain’s Jack Draper tight first round win headlined the opening day’s results at the Boss Open 2024 in Stuttgart – and possibly faces a second-round match with Andy Murray who takes on Marcos Giron tomorrow.

Less than 24 hours from the last ball being hit at Roland Garros, the ATP Tour had already switched surfaces onto the grass, and 22-year-old Draper was well tested but ultimately came through in two tie-breakers over Sebastian Ofner.

The sixth seed’s 7-6, 7-6 win contained just one break of serve each, both coming in the second set, as serve dominated proceedings on the faster grass courts in Germany.

While the Austrian won 75% on his first serve, Draper won a whopping 89% behind his first delivery as well as hitting eight aces. These kind of service stats will surely take him far during the grass court season.

“I thought it was a really good match,” Eurosport quoted Draper saying after his match. 
“Both of us played really clean tennis, executing really well.
“When it came down to it, I’m glad I competed really well and got over the line – it’s good to be back on the grass as well.”

There were also wins for Germany’s Yannick Hanfmann who won 6-3, 6-3 over wildcard Henri Squire, while compatriot Dominik Koepfer won in three sets over China’s Zhizhen Zhang 4-6, 7-6, 7-6. 

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Carlos Alcaraz Still Owns A Magical Racket

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The legend of Carlos Alcaraz and his magical racket lives on.

The 21-year-old Spaniard executed one magical shot after another with his racket and legs  Sunday afternoon in the French Open final. That bit of magic spelled defeat for Germany’s Alexander Zverev.

This was a final to remember, one of the great matches of all the Grand Slams. It just wasn’t in the cards for the 26-year-old Zverev to finally win a Grand Slam title.

HE HAD IT, THEN HE DIDN’T

Both players seemed to play a game of “he had it and then he didn’t.”

Alcaraz appeared to have everything under control in the first set, but Zverev rushed through the second set and then made a comeback from 5-2 down in the third set to win five straight games.

Zverev had everything going for him when he started the fourth set with a two-set advantage. It appeared that all the 6-6 Zverev had to do was to continue playing his masterful game of big serves and mighty ground strokes.

But Zverev couldn’t get started in the fourth set until he was down 4-0. So much for a smooth and easy ride to a Grand Slam title. By then, the magic of Alcaraz was heating up.

MAGIC OF ALCARAZ HEATING UP

Zverev still had his chances, even when he fell behind 2-1 in the fifth set. He had to feel pretty good about his chances when he took a triple break point lead against Alcaraz’s serve and appeared ready to even the set at 2-2. Even after Carlos came up with a winner to bring the  game score to double break point.

Zverev still was ready to even the entire match.

That’s when everything seemed to go haywire for the German, while all the while, Alcaraz was able to repeatedly come up with his magical shots as the Spaniard made critical shots that looked almost impossible to make.

ALCARAZ HEADED FOR GREATNESS

Everything for Zverev was lost in the magical racket of Alcaraz.

What was then initially called a game-ending Alcaraz double fault and a 2-2 deadlock quicky reversed itself and Alcaraz stayed alive by winning the next three points while taking a 3-1 advantage.

Zverev did get back to a 3-2 deficit and had a break point in the sixth game, but that was it for the hopes of Zverev. The last two games went rather easily in favor of Alcaraz to wrap up a 6-3, 2-6, 5-7, 6-1, 6-2 victory for Alcaraz.

That moved the Spaniard to a higher level of success on the ATP Tour. He became the youngest man to win Grand Slam titles on all of the different surfaces, clay, grass and hard courts.

Carlos Alcaraz and his magical racket appear to be headed for greatness.

James Beck was the 2003 winner of the USTA National Media Award  for print media. A 1995 MBA graduate of The Citadel, he can be reached at Jamesbecktennis@gmail.com. 

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Tsitsipas Brothers Hit With Trio Of Fines At French Open

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Stefanos Tsitsipas and his brother Petros have been fined more than 20,000 euros for multiple violations of the coaching rules at this year’s French Open. 

The brothers received a financial penalty during three different matches that they played in. Two of those were in the second and third rounds of the men’s doubles tournament. Furthermore, Stefanos was also penalised during his singles quarter-final match against Carlos Alcaraz, which he lost in straight sets. According to French newspaper L’Equipe, all three of those fines were issued as a result of coaching rules being broken.

Ironically, coaching is allowed during matches at the French Open but certain rules must be followed. ‘Verbal’ coaching can only be issued from the coaches and their team if they are sitting in the designated player’s box. Instructions must be limited to a few words and can only be given if the player is in the same half of the court as their coach. Although non-verbal coaching is allowed regardless of what side the player is on. Finally, players can’t start a conversation with their coach unless it is during a medical break, a bathroom break or when their opponent is changing clothes.

However, the Tsitsipas brothers have been found in violation of these rules, which is likely due to their animated father in the stands who is also their coach. Apostolos Tsitsipas has been given coaching violations in the past at other events, including the 2022 Australian Open. 

The value of the fines are €4,600 and €9,200 for the Tsitsipas brothers in the doubles, as well as an additional €7,400 just for Stefanos in the singles. In total, the value of their fines is €21,200. However, the penalty is unlikely to have an impact on the duo whose combined earnings for playing in this year’s French Open amount to roughly €495,000. 

So far in the tournament, the highest single fine to be issued this year was against Terence Atmane who hit a ball out of frustration that struck a fan in the stands. Atmane, who later apologised for his actions, managed to avoid getting disqualified from the match. Instead, he was fined €23,000. 

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