‘Losing Early Doesn’t Seem Like An Option’ - Taylor Fritz Aiming High Ahead Of US Open - UBITENNIS
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‘Losing Early Doesn’t Seem Like An Option’ – Taylor Fritz Aiming High Ahead Of US Open

The world No.24 says he has been ‘killing himself’ in practice ahead of the Grand Slam.

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American tennis star Taylor Fritz has proclaimed that he is currently in the best shape of his career ahead of his return to professional tennis next week.

 

The world No.24 has set his sights on becoming the highest ranked player in his country as well as what he hopes will be a breakthrough run in the upcoming US Open. Fritz started the 2020 season by winning nine out of 16 matches played prior to the Tour break due to COVID-19. In Acapulco he recorded his best run of 2020 so far by reaching the final before falling in straight sets to Rafael Nadal.

During the pandemic-related break, Fritz has kept himself in shape by taking part in an exhibition event, as well as the World TeamTennis Cup. Although these matches are somewhat different to what he will encounter on the ATP Tour, the 25-year-old remains full of confidence heading into the New York bubble. For the first time the Western and Southern Open will take place in the same venue as the US Open.

“It’s tough to set expectations right now, but my expectations are so high. If I don’t do really well at both tournaments, I’ll be disappointed,” Fritz told The Olympic Channel.
“I’m fully expecting to go in and go deep in both. Losing early just doesn’t seem like an option for me, even though I know it is because you have bad days, you know… things happen. But that would be really disappointing. My expectations are very high.”

A former US Open boy’s champion, Fritz is currently at a ranking best of 24th in the world. His resume so far consists of five appearances in ATP Finals with his only title triumph occurring on the grass at Eastbourne last year. Although in the Grand Slams he is yet to progress beyond the third round in 15 appearances.

Nevertheless, Fritz is confident that his hard work done in recent weeks will pay off for him. Saying that he has been ‘absolutely killing himself’ with his training schedule. He is currently coached on the Tour by David Nainkin and Paul Annacone. Annacone is best known for his work with former world No.1 Pete Sampras.

“I’ve really stepped it up with this being the first time ever that we’ve had more than a month of not playing tournaments. I really feel like I’ve made big strides in my fitness on my game in the last two months,” said Fritz.
“I’ve been having three-hour practices and then some days go and do tennis again or go and do gym (a second time). It just depends if it’s like a double gym day or a double tennis day. I’ve just been absolutely killing myself these last couple weeks.”

Closing in on his top 20 debut, the fast-serving American is not setting a limit on how high he believes he can rise. It seems like the surge in confidence from Fritz is also echoed by Annacone.

“I know I’m in by far the best shape my life. Paul last week said that it was the best week of practice we’ve ever had. I can just see the difference in my body and tennis.”

This year’s US Open will be unlike any other due to the pandemic. There will be no fans, players will be subjected to regular COVID-19 testing and restricted as to where they can go to in the city. Some players have voiced concern that the conditions could have a negative impact on them. However, Fritz believes the element of seclusion could be an advantage for him.

“The good news about the bubble is it suits people like me who love to just stay in the (hotel) room and just watch shows and do nothing. I actually think it’s going to give me a bit of an advantage,” he commented.
“I think staying in the room and ordering in every night and relaxing… I don’t mind it. It will be more boring, but it’s actually not going to be too different to what I normally do at a tournament anyway.”

Fritz will start his campaign at the Western and Southern Open against a qualifier. If he wants a deep run, he could have to play Christian Garin in the second round followed by Daniil Medvedev.

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Andy Murray Surging In Confidence After Reaching First ATP Quarter-Final Since 2019

The 34-year-old believes he is getting better with every match played on the Tour as he eyes a spot in the final later this week.

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Andy Murray (image via https://twitter.com/ATPTour_ES)

Former world No.1 Andy Murray says he is starting to gain more belief in his game after reaching the quarter-finals of the Moselle Open on Wednesday.

 

The three-time Grand Slam champion rallied to a 6-3, 6-3, win over Canada’s Vasek Pospisil in the French city. Murray dropped serve only once at the start of the second set but broke his opponent four times en route to the victory. It is the first time he has registered back-to-back wins on the ATP Tour since Wimbledon and it is the first time he has reached a quarter-final since winning the 2019 Antwerp Open.

Murray showed glimmers of his best tennis recently at the US Open where he took Stefanos Tsitsipas to five sets in the first round before losing. However, in his following tournament on the Challenger circuit he lost in the second round to world No.154 Roman Safiullin. Despite the mixed performances, the Brit says his fitness continues to improve and he believes he is heading in the right direction.

“For me, this period of the last few years has been the most I have played really,” Murray said following his win over Pospisil.
“My body feels good and I am starting to gain just a little bit of confidence with each match, starting to see the points and how I want to play them, which is great.
“There have been times in the past year where I have been a little bit confused and not seeing how the points are developing which was always a strong part of my game.
“It made me feel quite uncomfortable on court when I was feeling that way, so I am starting to get that back and the results are coming, my tennis is getting better.”

The 34-year-old, who now plays on the Tour with a metal hip after undergoing two operations, is targeting a return back into the world’s top 100 for the first time since 2018. He came agonisingly close in July when he reached 102. At present, he is currently ranked 113 but will climb at least four places following his run in Metz this week.

In the next round Murray will play either top seed Hubert Hurkacz or former top 10 player Lucas Pouille. Both players are likely to be a stern challenge for the three-time Grand Slam champion who is hoping to reach the final for the first time since 2007.

“I would love to get another opportunity to play here in the final, but there is a lot of tennis to be played before then potentially against the number one seed in the next round,” he reflected.
“It is not going to be easy if I want to reach the final, but I am playing well and have an opportunity.”

Murray has won 42 ATP titles and has earned more than $62M in prize money so far in his career.

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Diego Schwartzman Receives Threats On Social Media Following Shock Davis Cup Defeat

The world No.15 is the latest player to speak out about recieving abusive messages on social media.

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The weekend has been an emotional rollercoaster for Diego Schwartzman, who suffered ‘one of the worst’ losses of his career before helping secure victory for his country in their Davis Cup tie against Belarus.

 

On Saturday the world No.15 was stunned by unranked 18-year-old Daniil Ostapenkov who is yet to play a professional match on the pro Tour. Ostapenkov is currently ranked 63 in the world on the junior circuit. The comprehensive victory shocked the Argentinian team who was hosting the tie at the Buenos Aires Lawn Tennis Club.

Despite the shock upset, Schwartman managed to redeem himself the following day when he defeated Alexander Zgirovsky 6-1, 6-2. That victory handed his country an unassailable 3-1 lead in their tie and secured their place in the 2022 Davis Cup qualifiers which will take place next March.

Not only playing Davis, but in Buenos Aires, with a lot of people you don’t see, it’s not easy. My level can be and has to be much better. After the game on Saturday I had a difficult day in the spirit of being able to get up and enjoy with the group,” La Nacion quoted Schwartzman as saying.
“The most normal thing was that we won the series. It’s what everyone expected. But when you have a very difficult day at work like it was on Saturday and then you win, it excites you because you have some internal things withheld.”

Between those two matches, Schwartzman revealed that he was trolled on social media by some people unhappy about his loss in the tie. The 2020 French Open semi-finalist said he received criticism and even threats from some asking him to leave his home country. Something he admits affected him at times.

“It was one of the worst days of my career,” Schwartzman commented on his loss to Zgirovsky. “I lost to an unranked, inexperienced player. All that already affects (me) a lot. Although 80 or 90 percent of the people are always encouraging (me), there was a minority who criticized me with bad intentions.’
“I received threats, insults and requests not to return to Argentina. More or less, it affects (me)”.

Schwartzman is not the first player to speak out about online abuse. During the US Open Shelby Rogers said she was expecting to receive ‘death threats’ following her loss to Emma Raducanu who went on to win the title. Sloane Stephens has also previously spoken out about being the victim of racism online.

The 29-year-old says he has previously tried to interact with those who have trolled him on social media to find out why they are doing so.

Sometimes I start to answer some messages and I ask those people if they realize what they are sending,” Schwartzman said during his press conference. “The vast majority apologize and say they had not realized it. But at the moment it hurts. That very ill-intentioned criticism is the only bad thing about social networks.”

Schwartzman has won four ATP titles and earned more than $10M in prize money so far in his career.

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Spanish Veteran Feliciano Lopez Addresses Future On The Tour

23 years after he played his first main draw match on the ATP Tour, Lopez says his longevity in the sport has been achieved with the help of of some luck.

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Feliciano Lopez of Spain is pictured during the semi-final of ATP Fever-Tree Championships tennis tournament at Queen's Club in west London on June 20, 2019.

Feliciano Lopez has dismissed any speculation that he could retire in the coming weeks after saying he is taking life on the Tour in his stride.

 

The 39-year-old Spaniard is currently the second oldest player in the world’s top 200 after Roger Federer, who is a year older than him. Lopez made his ATP Tour debut at the 1998 Barcelona Open which was before the birth of Jannik Sinner and Carlos Alcaraz. In June he became the 10th active player to record his 500th win on the Tour.

Currently ranked 111th in the world, some are starting to wonder how much longer Lopez will continue playing. So far this season he has achieved a win-loss record of 9-19 with his best performance being a run to the quarter-finals of the Mallorca Open which was held on the grass. It was in Mallorca where he defeated Karen Khachanov who is the only top 30 player he has beaten so far in 2021.

I play year-by-year, the last 6-7 years have been like this, a tennis player at that age cannot think about extending his career. After turning 30 I have been lucky, I have obtained the best results of my career,” Lopez told reporters on Friday.
It is not very common for players my age, at (almost) 40 years to continue playing in the best tournaments.” He added.

Throughout his career, Lopez has impressively played in a record 78 consecutive Grand Slam tournaments dating back to the 2002 French Open. During that period he has reached the quarter-finals of a major tournament on four occasions.

“I don’t play to break records, what makes me most excited is to continue playing Grand Slams. For me, maintaining that record (78 consecutive Grand Slams played) is very nice, but more to follow. Being competitive,” he commented on the milestone.
“It is difficult for someone to overcome it because it is 20 years in a row without missing a great one. I have had continuity and enormous luck. Those of my generation are practically all retired.”

Away from the court, the former world No.12 is the current tournament director of the Madrid Open. Making him one of a few players historically to both be playing on the Tour and managing a tournament at the same time. Recently it was confirmed that Madrid will continue hosting it’s combined event until at least 2030 following a renewed agreement between the city council and the Madrid trophy promotion.

Lopez has won a total of seven ATP titles so far in his career and has earned more than $18M in prize money.

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