Novak Djokovic Labels Nadal Odds-On Favourite For French Open Glory Despite Rome Triumph - UBITENNIS
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Novak Djokovic Labels Nadal Odds-On Favourite For French Open Glory Despite Rome Triumph

The world No.1 weights up his chances of adding to his Grand Slam tally in Paris.

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Novak Djokovic may have just won a record breaking 36th Masters 1000 title at the Italian Open but he is staying grounded about his chances at Roland Garros.

 

The 17-time Grand Slam champion clinched his latest title on Monday following a 7-5, 6-3, win over Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman at the Foro Italico. Improving his almost flawless record on the ATP Tour this season to 31-1. The only loss he suffered was at the US Open when he was disqualified after accidentally hitting a ball at a lines judge.

Given his dominance on the Tour in 2020 Djokovic is being tipped to win the upcoming French Open for only the second time in his career after 2016. Although he faces a challenge from Nadal, who has won the tournament a record 12 times and has more ATP clay court titles than any other player in the Open Era.

“I cannot hope for Rafa not being in the finals. I can hope for myself being in the final and fighting for the trophy,” Djokovic told reporters during a virtual press conference. “I mean, that’s probably the player that has the highest chance of being in the final in French Open.’

Unlike Djokovic, 34-year-old Nadal has only played three matches heading into Paris after opting not to travel to America due to concerns related to the travelling during the COVID-19 pandemic. In Rome the Spaniard scored wins over Pablo Carreno Busta and Dusan Lajovic before suffering a surprise quarter-final loss to Schwartzman. A player who had had a winning 9-0 head-to-head record against prior to their match.

“It’s Nadal. Even though he lost this week, I still think a lot of people will agree, he’s the No. 1 favourite. The record that he has there and the history of his results you just can’t put anybody in front of him,” Djokovic argues.
“But Diego definitely showed that Nadal is beatable on clay. The conditions that they played on, obviously heavy clay, not much bounce, humid, night session, we are going to have that, as well, in Paris.”

This year’s French Open is taking place later in the year than usual due to the pandemic which halted the ATP Tour for five months. Due to it being held at a different time of the year, Djokovic says he is preparing himself for the possibility of lengthy rain delays. At the tournament only the Philippe-Chatrier Court has a roof.

“I think I have to be physically ready because there might be a lot of interruptions. If I don’t get to play on centre court all the time, which is the only court with a roof, obviously I have to be ready that I have to deal with those kinds of things, or maybe not playing for a half a day or a day,’ the Serbian explains.
“But I feel good. Of course, this (winning the Italian Open) gives me even more confidence that is absolutely necessary for a Grand Slam.”

Since winning his maiden French Open title Djokovic is yet to reach the final again. He lost in the quarter-finals twice followed by the semi-finals last year.

The French Open main draw will start next Monday.

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Updated Entry Lists For Vienna And Nur-Sultan

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The indoor season continues on the ATP World Tour with the Erste Bank Open in Austria and the new Astana Open in Kazakhstan.

 

The Erste Bank Open in Vienna is an ATP 500 and one of the biggest events of the hard-court indoor season. Having a prize money of $ 1.409.510, it regularly shows a very high-level entry list. This year, seven of the top-10 players are committed to play, as Dominic Thiem, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev are just some of the stars in the entry list. Word’s number one Novak Djokovic has received a Wild-Card and will compete as well. John Isner and Fabio Fognini have withdrawn from the main draw.

With the Swiss Indoors Basel cancelled for this year, the Astana Open, an ATP 250 tournament, will be the second event of the week. France’s Benoit Paire, Serbia’s Miomir Kecmanovic and USA’s Tennys Sandgren will be some of the main draw’s seeds. Richard Gasquet, Laslo Djere and Juan Ignacio Londero have pulled out and they have been replaced by Federico Delbonis, Radu Albot and Egor Gerasimov.

NEWS: Matteo Berrettini and Milos Raonic have withdrawn from Vienna; Taylor Fritz and Hubert Hurkacz have replaced them. Jannik Sinner has pulled out from qualifying.

NEWS: Jannik Sinner has been given a Wild-Card in the main draw of Vienna.

ATP 500 Vienna (AUT, Hard indoor), entry list:
Thiem, Dominic (AUT)
Tsitsipas, Stefanos (GRE)
Medvedev, Daniil (RUS)
Rublev, Andrey (RUS)
Schwartzman, Diego (ARG)
OUT Berrettini, Matteo (ITA)
Monfils, Gael (FRA)
Shapovalov, Denis (CAN)
Goffin, David (BEL)
Carreno Busta, Pablo (ESP)
OUT Fognini, Fabio (ITA)
Khachanov, Karen (RUS)
Wawrinka, Stan (SUI)
OUT Raonic, Milos (CAN)
Dimitrov, Grigor (BUL)
Garin, Cristian (CHI)
Auger-Aliassime, Felix (CAN)
OUT Isner, John (USA)
Coric, Borna (CRO)
Lajovic, Dusan (SRB)
Ruud, Casper (NOR)
Nishikori, Kei (PR, JPN)
Anderson, Kevin (PR, RSA)
WC Djokovic, Novak (SRB)
WC Novak, Dennis (AUT)
WC Sinner, Jannik (ITA)
(WC)
(SE)
Alternates:
IN De Minaur, Alex (AUS)
IN Krajinovic, Filip (SRB)
IN Fritz, Taylor (USA)
IN Hurkacz, Hubert (POL)

Alt.1 Struff, Jan-Lennard (GER)
Alt.2 Basilashvili, Nikoloz (GEO)
Alt.3 Evans, Daniel (GBR)


ATP 500 Vienna, Qualifying:
OUT Fritz, Taylor (USA)
OUT Hurkacz, Hubert (POL)
Struff, Jan-Lennard (GER)
OUT Opelka, Reilly (USA)
OUT Pella, Guido (ARG)

Basilashvili, Nikoloz (GEO)
OUT Evans, Daniel (GBR)
Pella, Guido (ARG)
Humbert, Ugo (FRA)
OUT Cilic, Marin (CRO)
OUT Ramos-Vinolas, Albert (ESP)

Sonego, Lorenzo (ITA)
Edmund, Kyle (GBR)
OUT Querrey, Sam (USA)
(WC)
(WC)
(WC)
(ALT)
(ALT)
Alternates:
IN Nishioka, Yoshihito (JPN)
IN Bedene, Aljaz (SLO)

OUT Lopez, Feliciano (ESP)
OUT Davidovich Fokina, Alejandro (ESP)
OUT Sinner, Jannik (ITA)

IN Pospisil, Vasek (CAN)

IN Herbert, Pierre-Hugues (FRA)
OUT Monteiro, Thiago (BRA)
OUT Caruso, Salvatore (ITA)

IN Balasz, Attila (HUN)
OUT Novak, Dennis (AUT)
IN Giron, Marcos (USA)
IN Gombos, Norbert (SVK)

IN Jung, Jason (TPE)
OUT Karlovic, Ivo (CRO)
OUT Istomin, Denis (UZB)

OUT Rodionov, Jurij (AUT)
Alt.1 Diez, Steven (CAN)
Alt.2 Ferreira Silva, Frederico (POR)
Alt.3 Broady, Liam (GBR)

ATP 250 Nur-Sultan (KAZ), entry list:
Paire, Benoit (FRA)
Kecmanovic, Miomir (SRB)
Mannarino, Adrian (FRA)
Millman, John (AUS)
Sandgren, Tennys (USA)
Bublik, Alexander (KAZ)
OUT Gasquet, Richard (FRA)
OUT Andujar, Pablo (ESP)
OUT Simon, Gilles (FRA)
Paul, Tommy (USA)
Thompson, Jordan (AUS)
Verdasco, Fernando (ESP)
Tiafoe, Frances (USA)
Vesely, Jiri (CZE)
OUT Londero, Juan Ignacio (ARG)
Norrie, Cameron (GBR)
Travaglia, Stefano (ITA)
Moutet, Corentin (FRA)
OUT Djere, Laslo (SRB)
WC Seppi, Andreas (ITA)
WC Popko, Dmitry (KAZ)
WC Skatov, Timofey (KAZ)
(SE)
(SE)
Alternates:
IN Albot, Radu (MDA)
IN Delbonis, Federico (ARG)
IN Gerasimov, Egor (BLR)

IN McDonald, Mackenzie (USA)
IN Kukushkin, Mikhail (KAZ)
IN Harris, Lloyd (RSA)
IN Duckworth, James (AUS)

Alt.1 Ruusuvuori, Emil (FIN)
Alt.2 Sugita, Yuichi (JPN)
Alt.3 Hanfmann, Yannick (GER)


ATP 250 Nur-Sultan, Qualifying:
OUT Harris, Lloyd (RSA)
Hanfmann, Yannick (GER)
OUT Duckworth, James (AUS)
Ruusuvuori, Emil (FIN)
Sugita, Yuichi (JPN)
Popyrin, Alexei (AUS)
Karatsev, Aslan (RUS)
Dzumhur, Damir (BIH)
Donskoy, Evgeny (RUS)
Polmans, Marc (AUS)
OUT Jung, Jason (TPE)
Ivashka, Ilya (BLR)
Safwat, Mohamed (EGY)
Gulbis, Ernests (LAT)
Alternates:
OUT Ito, Tatsuma (JPN)
OUT Ofner, Sebastian (AUT)

IN Istomin, Denis (UZB)
OUT Diez, Steven (CAN)
OUT Ymer, Elias (SWE)

IN Troicki, Viktor (SRB)
IN Broady, Liam (GBR)

Alt.1 Lestienne, Constant (FRA)
Alt.2 Purcell, Max (AUS)

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‘I Love Tennis Because Of Him’ – Argentine Football Sensation Praises Roger Federer

The forward for Juventus F.C. Speaks out about the 20-time Grand Slam champion as well as other topics concerning the world of tennis.

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Roger Federer is used to various public figures praising him for his record-breaking career with his latest compliment coming from a star of Argentinian football.

 

Paulo Dybala, who has played for Serie A club Juventus since 2015, says he always tries to watch tennis because of him. The 26-year-old spoke out about the Swiss Maestro during a video Q and A session with the Tennis Channel for whom he is currently an ‘athlete analyst’ for. When asked ‘who was the player that made you fall in love with the game?’ he replied with Federer.

“Well at home, we used to watch a lot of sports, the TV was always on, and the sport we watched the most was football, followed by tennis,” Dybala said. “I always had a lot of admiration and respect. I liked Roger Federer’s style… I believe that I and many people have him as a tennis reference. We try to watch his matches, he has a style and elegance that makes everyone want to be like him. I always tried to watch him play so I love tennis because of him.”

Although Federer isn’t the only tennis player to have drawn praise from Dybala, who was part of his country’s national football team for the 2018 World Cup. He also speaks about his ‘great relationship’ with Diego Schwartzman. Schwartzman recently broke into the world’s top 10 for the first time in his career after reaching the semi-finals of the French Open.

“I have a great relationship with Diego, I have known him for years,” he said. “We always talk and I am very happy with what he is achieving.’
“I text him after some of his matches to congratulate him for what he has done.”

It was at the French Open this year where Rafael Nadal won the tournament for a historic 13th time in his career after defeating Novak Djokovic in straight sets. Dybala says that there are ‘no words’ to describe the latest achievement by the world No.2.

“Rafael Nadal won Roland Garros in a match in which he gave no chance to Novak Djokovic,” Dybala reflected. “I think it was more than well-deserved to win his 13th Roland Garros in his career. Something amazing. He matched Roger Federer with 20 Grand Slams. There are no words for this player, no words.”

Dybala is currently dating Oriana Sabatini who is the niece of 1990 US Open champion Gabriela Sabatini.

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Dan Evans On The Look Out For New Coach

The 30-year-old has come to a surprise decision to end his current coaching agreement despite achieving a career ranking high earlier this year.

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British No.1 Dan Evans is making a big change to his team after confirming that he will part ways with coach Mark Hilton at the end of the season.

 

The world No.35 reunited with Hilton just last year after also previously working with him prior to his drugs ban in 2017. Under his guidance Evans has achieved several wins over top 10 players, reached his first ever semi-final of an ATP 500 event in Dubai and peaked at a ranking best of 28th in March.

“I want to take this opportunity to thank Mark for his work and efforts over the past 12 months and we are both excited for what is next for each of our respective careers,” Evans said.

Evans’ announcement came on the same day he ended his five-match losing streak on the Tour. In the first round of the European Open on Tuesday he defeated Italy’s Salvatore Caruso in three sets. Making it his first win since the US Open when he defeated Brazil’s Thiago Seyboth Wild.

Hilton will now return to working for the British LTA. A former player himself he reached the semi-finals of the 2009 Wimbledon boys doubles championships and peaked at a ranking high of 202 on the ATP Tour in singles. His best performance at a Grand Slam occurred at Wimbledon when as a wild card he stunned Spain’s Albert Costa in the first round of the 2004 tournament. Besides Evans, he has also previously worked with the likes of Liam Broady and Kyle Edmund.

“After discussing our plans for 2021, Dan and I have made the mutual decision to part ways at the end of November,” Hilton said in a statement.
“Both of us are very proud of our collaboration this year, helping Dan achieve a career-high ranking of number 28, seven wins over top-20 players and reaching his first ATP 500 semi-final.
“I’m looking forward to taking the experience I have gained over the last three years at the highest levels of the ATP Tour and re-investing that back into the LTA’s Performance Team for the benefit of our British players and coaches.”

It is unclear as to who may step in as Evans’ next coach. The Brit will return to action on Wednesday when he plays Frances Tiafoe in the second round.

Evans’ win-loss for 2020 currently stands at 14-11 on the ATP Tour.

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