Daniil Medvedev Wins ATP Finals In Epic As London Waves Goodbye To Premier Event - UBITENNIS
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Daniil Medvedev Wins ATP Finals In Epic As London Waves Goodbye To Premier Event

The 24-year-old has become the first player in history to win the season-ending championship by defeating the three highest ranked players in the world.

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Russia’s 11-year wait for an ATP Finals champion has ended after Daniil Medvedev staged a marathon comeback to defeat Dominic Thiem and win the biggest title of his career to date.

 

The world No.4 was on the verge of losing in straight sets before fighting back to prevail 4-6, 7-6(2), 6-4, in what was a thrilling encounter at The O2. Emulating his clash with Rafael Nadal that took place on the previous day, Medvedev refused to back down as he eventually wore down Thiem both mentally and physically. Hitting a total of 37 winners to 28 unforced errors and saving three out of the four break points he faced.

“What a match. This was maybe one of my best victories. I mean, two hours and 42 minutes, three sets against an amazing player like Dominic,” Medvedev said during the trophy ceremony.
“Dominic, congratulations already for what you have achieved in your career. I think your name is already in the history books,” he added.

In what was a repeat of this year’s US Open semi-final, Medvedev proved troublesome for Thiem from the onset. Two games into the match he was forced to save two break points during a marathon 10-minute opening service game. There was little to distinguish between the two players until a lacklustre service game from Medvedev three games later. Trailing 0-40, Thiem clinched five points in a row to get the crucial break for 3-2. Prompting his rival, who hit a double fault whilst facing a break point, to drop his head in frustration. Continuing to weather the storm, the world No.3 carefully manoeuvred his way to clinching the opener. Doing so with a stroke of luck after a shot from the Austrian brushed the top of the net before flying past his rival. Prompting laughter from both men as they walked to their seats.

As the two engaged in some gut-busting baseline rallies, Thiem continued to pile the pressure but struggled to get the desired breakthrough. At 3-3 in the second set he had a duo of break point opportunities but was unable to convert. Triggering an uncharacteristic outburst of sheer anger from Thiem.

Medvedev’s resistance eventually paid off after almost two hours of battling when he turned his fortunes around in a crucial tiebreaker. After going down a mini break, out of nowhere he won seven straight points to force proceedings into a decider. Applying pressure onto Thiem, Medvedev benefitted from three consecutive unforced errors before sealing the tiebreaker with an ace.

The match was very much like a boxing bout with both players dealing blows to the other. Three games into the decider, Thiem was in danger of getting broken as a series of errors saw him fall behind 0-40. Despite the blips, he regained composure to hold and nudge ahead 2-1. However, Medvedev launched another offensive two games later and this time he changed the dynamic of the match completely. A volley at the net saw him break Thiem for the very first time to move ahead 3-2.

Medvedev’s sole breakthrough was enough to see him over the line. Approaching the closing stages of the marathon clash, he worked his way to championship point after a Thiem shot landed just centimetres beyond the baseline. Then victory was his after a 132 mph serve out wide forced his rival to return the ball into the net.

Life in the bubble is not easy for anybody but I think we manage it quite good. It’s a fun time and of course I am happy with my last two tournaments,” Medvedev commented on a season which has been marred by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I’m thankful for everything that has happened here. Even though many players have said it is not perfect, it is a really tough job to do tournaments nowadays.”

Runner-up Thiem is left waiting another year to win the tournament for the first time. Twelve months ago, he also reached the final before losing in three sets to Stefanos Tsitsipas.

“I’m disappointed but at the same time I am proud of my performance throughout the week,” he commented.
“Daniil really deserved it (the title). It was an amazing match and congratulations to you for another amazing year in general.’
“I hope that we will have many great matches to come and today was a pleasure even though I lost.”

Sunday’s showdown also marked the end of London’s reign of hosting the season-ending extravaganza since 2009. During that period the event has welcomed 2,803,967 fans to the event. Although this year’s edition took place behind closed doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic. From 2021 the ATP Finals will be played in Turin to make it the first time the competition has ever been held on Italian soil.

“I always said before this tournament that it would be an amazing story if here in London the first champion would be Russian and so would the last,” Medvedev said.
“I have a lot of thanks to (2009 champion) Nikolay Davydenko for being an inspiration for many kids, such as me, by winning here and I hope to continue to do his job.”

Medvedev is the fifth different player to have won the ATP Finals within as many years.

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Alexander Zverev Ditches Federer’s TEAM8 Management Firm To Return To His ‘Roots’

Zverev speaks out about his ‘short and long term strategies going forward.’

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German tennis star Alexander Zverev has confirmed his departure from TEAM8 as he set out his coaching plans for the season ahead.

 

The world No.7 posted a statement on Instagram saying that he no longer wants to be represented by the management firm, which was co-founded by Roger Federer and his agent Tony Godsick. Zverev says part of his decision was because he wanted his family to take a greater role once again. Instead, he will be managed by his brother Misha, who is the captain of the German ATP Cup team, as well as Sergei Bubka.

“I have decided to go back to the roots and have my family help me with my coaching, as well as Mischa and Sergei Bubka with my management,” Zverev wrote.
“I want to thank TEAM8 for the great work and tremendous experience, but we both feel that it’s the right decision to have my family take on a bigger role once again.”

Zverev’s announcement comes less than two weeks after it was confirmed he will no longer be working with David Ferrer. A former world No.3 player who joined his camp last year. Ferrer confirmed that the ending of their partnership was on mutual terms and there was no conflict between the two. The Spaniard said his role as tournament director of the Barcelona Open and family commitments contributed towards his decision.

Last year the 23-year-old broke new territory in his career by reaching the final of the US Open which he lost in five sets to Dominic Thiem. Zverev also won two ATP titles in Cologne. However, his on-court success was overshadowed by events in his personal life. He has been accused of mental and physical abuse by his former girlfriend Olga Sharypova, which Zverev has denied. Meanwhile, it was revealed that another former partner of his is pregnant with his child.

Heading into the Australian Open, Zverev is likely to face more scrutiny over the domestic abuse allegations after it was confirmed that a new account from Sharypova will be published in the coming weeks. New York Times journalist and freelance writer Ben Rothenberg confirmed that a second interview will be released before the start of the Melbourne major. It is unknown as to what the interview will entail but there has been a prior reference to one ‘incident’ in China.

Zverev’s Instagram statement in full

“What a year 2020 has been, for the whole world and for myself. I reached my first Grand Slam final without my parents and brother being court-side due to them contracting COVID-19. An almost 2 year long legal dispute with my former agent finally came to a successful resolution, so I have spent a lot of time thinking about my short and long term strategies going forward. For this reason and because of the ongoing worldwide restrictions, I have decided to go back to the roots and have my family help me with my coaching, as well as Mischa and Sergei Bubka with my management. I want to thank TEAM8 for the great work and tremendous experience, but we both feel that it’s the right decision to have my family take on a bigger role once again.”

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Hubert Hurkacz Aims To Build On Delray Beach Triumph

The best way to start the season for the world No.35.

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Hubert Hurkacz (image via https://twitter.com/DelrayBeachOpen)

Poland’s Herbert Hurkacz says he hopes to play at an even higher level over the coming weeks after winning the Delray Beach Open title on Wednesday.

 

The world No.35 eased to a 6-3, 6-3, win over Sebastian Korda in the final to claim only the second title in his career after Winston Salem back in 2018. Hurkacz, who was the fourth seed in the tournament, didn’t drop a set all week en route to becoming the first Polish player in history to win the title. In the final he won 68% of his service points and broke Korda four times overall.

“It feels great. It is great to win the title and I am so happy about that. This Is a great start to the season,” Hurkacz said afterwards.
“I am happy that I am improving and we (my team) are doing good stuff with C.B (coach Craig Boynton), and things are working. So I am really pleased with this result.”

The 23-year-old is hoping to improve on what was a challenging 2020 season for him. After reaching the semi-finals of the Auckland Open in January last year, he could only win back-to-back matches in two out of his next 12 tournaments prior to Delray Beach. His best Grand Slam result was reaching the third round of the 2019 Wimbledon Championships.

Seeking to break new territory in 2021, Hurkacz will today start his 24-hour journey to Australia which begins with a 5am departure from America this morning. His coach Craig Boynton also currently worked with Steve Johnson and previously mentored Jim Courier.

“It’s the beginning of the season and I still need to work on a couple of things, but I hope I can play even better in Australia,” Hurkacz stated.

Hurkacz is only the second Polish player to have won an ATP Tour title in the Open Era after Wojciech Fibak. At present he is the only player from his country ranked inside the top 100 on the Tour.

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Cristian Garin Out Of Australian Open Following Fall

The South American tennis star will not travel to Melbourne due to both injury and the travel restrictions implemented.

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Chile’s Cristian Garin has become the third top 30 player to pull out of the men’s draw at next month’s Australian Open.

 

The world No.22 has confirmed that he will not be travelling to the Grand Slam after suffering a fall in which he hurt his wrist a week ago. Announcing his decision on Instagram, Garin said the limitations in place at the tournament which wouldn’t allow him to travel with his physio played a factor. This year’s Australian Open is taking place amid strict COVID-19 rules which requires players to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival and limits the number of team members they can bring. The majority of players will be spending their quarantine in Melbourne but the top names will be in Adelaide following a recent deal secured by Tennis Australia.

I am very sad to report that a week ago I suffered a fall, which left me with a lot of pain in my left wrist (sprain),” Garin wrote on his Instagram story. “It has been very difficult for me to play the last days and given the restrictions of the tour, they do not allow me to travel with my physiotherapist, which makes it impossible to find a good recovery. Unfortunately I will not be able to play this year in Australia, which is something very difficult for me to accept. I hope to return in good condition and with the best energy for the tour in South America.”

photo via – https://www.instagram.com/garincris/

Garin kicked-off his season on Saturday at the Delray Beach Open where he was the top seed. However, he lost his opening match in straight sets to Christian Harrison who went on to reach the semi-finals. It is only the second tournament he has played since the French Open in October.

The setback comes after the 24-year-old confirmed that he has started working with Franco Davin back in November. A tennis coach known best for his work with Juan Martin del Potro. Davin has also previously worked with Grigor Dimitrov and Kyle Edmund.

The withdrawal of Garin follows that of Roger Federer and John Isner. Former champion Federer has pulled out due to his ongoing recovery from a right knee injury. Although one Australian Open official believes his decision was due to another factor. Meanwhile, Isner has opted not to travel to Australia because he didn’t want to spend an extended time away from his family.

The Australian Open will start on February 8th.

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