Bubble Life Far From Perfect For Dominic Thiem At ATP Finals - UBITENNIS
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Bubble Life Far From Perfect For Dominic Thiem At ATP Finals

The world No.3 opened up about the restrictions placed on him and the other players following his opening win on Sunday.

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US Open champion Dominic Thiem has said living in a bubble on the tour can be ‘rough’ and mentally testing following his opening match at the ATP Finals.

 

The 2019 runner-up has shed light on what the situation is like for players at the season-ending event following his three-set win over Stefanos Tsitsipas. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the tournament is taking place behind closed doors for the first time. Players risk getting disqualified if they leave their ‘bubble’ without legitimate reason. A rule that has also been applied to other tournaments.

Thiem says the biggest difficulty he faces is the absence of fans cheering him on during matches. A total of 242,883 fans attended The ATP Finals across eight days in 2019.

“Physically, I think it has been the easiest year for a long time. Today was my 30th match on the Tour (this season) which is not a big number,” Thiem said during his press conference.
“Mentally it is tough because you get so much energy from the fans. If you have a huge win like today you have an atmosphere from like several thousand people which brings so much positive energy and all of this is missing.’
“You have to instead bring it up yourself in matches. That’s exhausting.”

To highlight the extent organisers are going to in order to maintain the bubble, players are not allowed to walk from their hotel to the court. Even though it is less than 500 meters separating the two venues.

“The first and second floors (of the hotel) are for us players so we cannot come in touch with people outside of tennis which I think makes it a very safe environment,” Thiem explains.
“But it’s pretty rough because every day we get like two or three minutes of fresh air and no sun at all.”

Whilst it is debatable that the no walking policy might be somewhat too excessive, Thiem and his peers remain grateful that the event is still going on amid the pandemic. Earlier this year the virus resulted in the Tour being suspended for more than five months with Wimbledon being cancelled for the first time in the Open Ear.

“We are all still grateful that these big events are still happening and that we can still do our job. So as long as this strange situation goes on I guess we will have to deal with it,” he concluded.

Thiem will play Rafael Nadal and Andrey Rublev later this week in the tournament. It is his fifth consecutive appearances at the ATP Finals which is the longest active streak on the Tour.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas ‘Happy’ To Follow In Grandfather’s Footsteps At Olympics

The Greek speaks out about carrying his family’s legacy at the Games.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas never met his grandfather but the two of them do have something in common – they are both Olympians.

 

The world No.4 has already created history in Tokyo by winning his first round match against Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber on Sunday to become the first male player from his country to win a singles match since 1924. Greece has won two medals at the Games but both of them were during its inaugural edition back in 1896.

Tsitsipas’ debut in Tokyo enables him to continue his family legacy of playing in the sporting extravaganza. His grandfather was Sergei Salnikov who played football for the Soviet Union during the 1950s. In 1956 Salnikov was part of the team who won Olympic gold in Melbourne. After retiring from the sport, he went on to manage the FC Spartak Moscow and the Afghanistan national team before passing away in 1984 aged 58.

“I’ve never had the opportunity to meet him. But my mom told me stories of his career and how he got it…. He kind of inspires me in a way,” said Tsitsipas. “I know what kind of athlete he was, with all the achievements and all the trophies. I’m proud of him.
“It’s something good, a legacy that is being carried on in the family. I’m happy to be the next in the family to be competing at the Olympics.”

It isn’t just a medal in the singles Tsitsipas has his eyes on, he will also be bidding for success in the mixed doubles alongside Maria Sakkari. The two previously paired up at the 2019 Hopman Cup where they finished second in their group.

“We have already played once (together), and we had great success,” Sakkari told reporters on Monday. “We know each other really well, and we are much better players two-and-a-half years later, and we are both really pumped to play together. Of course, I cannot predict that we will get a medal. We will try our best and I think we give ourselves the best chance we can.”

Tsitsipas will return to action tomorrow in the men’s singles where he will play Frances Tiafoe in the second round.

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Carlos Alcaraz reaches his first ATP Tour final in Umag

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Spanish Next Gen star Carlos Alcaraz secured a spot in his first ATP tour-level final with a 6-2 7-6 (7-3) at the Plava Laguna Croatia Open in Umag. 

 

Alcaraz has become the youngest ATP Tour finalist since 18-year-old Kei Nishikori won the Delray Beach title in 2008. 

Alcaraz broke twice to open up a 4-0 lead and held his next service games to close out the first set 6-2. 

Ramos Vinolas came back from a break down three times in the second set, when Alcaraz served for the match. Alcaraz battled through the second-set tie-break to clinch the win after two hours. 

Alcaraz set up a final against Richard Gasquet, who battled past German qualifier Daniel Altmeier 7-6 (7-2) 3-6 6-3 after three hours and 11 minutes. 

Gasquet has become the second oldest finalist in tournament history. The 35-year-old saved seven of hi sten break points, but he converted just just 3 of his 17 break points.  

Gasquet rallied from a break down twice to draw level to 4-4 before winning the tie-break 7-2. Altmeier converted his third break point in the eighth game to win the second set 6-3. Altmeier saved three break points in the second game, before Gasquet converted his second break point in the sixth game to win the second set 6-3. 

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Novak Djokovic Cruises Past Dellien In Olympics Opener

Novak Djokovic’s bid for a historic golden slam continued in Tokyo.

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Novak Djokovic (@ITFTennis - Twitter)

Novak Djokovic cruised past Hugo Dellien 6-2 6-2 to open his bid for a gold medal at the Olympics.

 

The world number one’s bid to achieve the golden slam is on after thrashing the Bolivian in humid conditions.

A perfect start for the Serbian who is looking to achieve the one thing he is yet to achieve and that’s win a gold medal.

Next for Djokovic will be Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff.

In 32C temperatures, Djokovic was looking to start his campaign off against Bolivian veteran Hugo Dellien.

The slow paced courts would suit Dellien as he engaged in some long rallies with the world number one early on.

Despite creating three break points in the fourth game, Djokovic would fail to break early on.

However Djokovic increased his level mixing up the pace and depth of his shots to create angles for simple winners.

On his fifth break point Djokovic would break for a 4-2 lead and the top seed would break for a second time as Dellien had no answers for the Serb’s defensive skills. First set to Djokovic in 33 minutes.

A similar pattern evolved in the second set only this time Djokovic did get a break in the fourth game, breaking to love.

Accurate serving and construction of points gave Djokovic an easy first round match as another break secured the match and sealed his spot into the second round.

A fine performance in tough conditions gave Djokovic’s bid for history the best possible start.

Next for Djokovic will be Jan-Lennard Struff who beat Thiago Monteiro 6-3 6-4.

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