'I Can Compete With Anyone’ - Denis Shapovalov Growing In Confidence After Roller-Coaster 2020 - UBITENNIS
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‘I Can Compete With Anyone’ – Denis Shapovalov Growing In Confidence After Roller-Coaster 2020

The world No.12 reflects on his season and explains why he is yet to plan anything for next year.

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Heading into his final tournament of the year in the Bulgarian capital of Sofia Denis Shapovalov believes he has what it takes to be among the best in the world on a consistent basis.

 

A run to the quarter-finals of the US Open aided the Canadian to crack the world’s top 10 for the first time in his career at the age of 21. Becoming only the second male player from his country to do so after Milos Raonic. Following his New York breakthrough, Shapovalov reached the semi-finals of tournaments in Rome and St. Petersburg. Bringing his win-loss record to 17-14 so far this year.

“I am really happy with my game, and I feel definitely I improved and definitely feel that my level is with these guys,” Shapovalov said.
“I feel like I am close to it and if I’m not able to reach the top 10 (by the end of) this season, I will definitely try to go for it next season. But the important thing is that I feel that my level is with these guys and I am able to compete with anyone.”

Currently ranked 12th in the world, Shapovalov has had a slight lull in his form on the tour in recent weeks. In his past two tournaments he lost his opening match to players ranked lower than him. In Cologne he fell to world No.58 Gilles Simon and then was stunned by world No.153 Jurij Rodionov in Vienna. Rodionov is the lowest ranked player to have beaten him this year.

“I am getting a little bit physically tired and have some issues. But I think I played really well after the season came back (from the COVID-19 break),” he explained.

Shapovalov is the top seed in Sofia this week, followed by compatriot Felix Auger-Aliassime. Another rising star who is a year younger than him. Canada currently has four players in the ATP top 100 with three of those being in the top 25.

The first test for the top seed will be a meeting with Radu Albot. A 30-year-old player from Moldova who has never played Shapovalov on the Tour before.

“I think anyone in the draw is very difficult. Every tournament this year has been very strong. Definitely, there are no easy matches. But I have been practising well, and I feel really well, so I am excited to get going,” he stated.

After this week, Shapovalov will have some much needed rest before beginning his off-season training. Although he admits to being unsure about his plans for the start of 2021 due to the uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The ATP Tour is set to kick-off in Australia but it is still unclear as to what tournaments, besides the premier Australian Open, will go ahead. Officials are still awaiting official confirmation from local government officials.

“It is impossible for me to say what I’m going to do because nobody knows what is going on,” he said.
“There is no information for the players and it is tough to plan anything now.’
“I understand they are trying their best. There are some issues with the government. It is difficult for players. I honestly got no idea what I am going to do.”

Shapovalov will play his first round match at the Sofia Open on Tuesday.

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Gael Monfils Joins Forces With Former Long-Time Coach Of Dominic Thiem

Will the Frenchman return to his best form with the help of his new mentor?

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Tennis star Gael Monfils will start the 2021 season with a new team setup after confirming the appointment of a new coach.

 

The former US Open semi-finalist has paired up with the renowned Gunther Bresnik who is best known for his time spent working alongside Dominic Thiem for over a decade until their split in 2019. Thiem is now coached by Nicolas Massu. Bresnik is the former Davis Cup captain of Austria and has worked with numerous top names such as Ernests Gulbis, Jerzy Janowicz, Boris Becker and Henri Leconte.

Monfils has been training with Bresnik during the off-season but only now has it been confirmed that the two have formed an agreement to work together. However, over the coming weeks Monfils will be guided by another Austrian. Co-coach Richard Ruckelshausen will work with the world No.11 in Australia and has been appointed as the captain of the French ATP Cup team.

“I’ve known Gaël for a long time,” Bresnik told krone.at on January 9th. “With Ernests Gulbis and Stefan Lochbihler’s son, he worked on his shape here in Spain (during the off-season).”

The 34-year-old will be looking to get back on top form following what was a roller-coaster 2020. Monfils started last year by winning 16 matches within a three-month period. However, following the pause in tennis due to the COVID-19 pandemic he struggled to regain that form. Ending the season with three consecutive first round losses.

Monfils had been working with Liam Smith. The upcoming Australian Open will be his 54th appearance in a Grand Slam main draw. He has only reached the quarter-finals at the Melbourne major once which was back in 2016.

So far in his career Monfils has won 10 ATP titles and has been ranked as high as sixth in the world.

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Andy Murray won’t travel to Australia

Andy Murray will miss next month’s Australian Open after testing positive for COVID-19 a couple of weeks ago.

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Andy Murray (@the_LTA - Twitter)

Andy Murray has made it official, he won’t be making the trip down under after working with Tennis Australia to find a viable solution to make it work.

 

“We’ve been in constant dialogue with Tennis Australia to try and find a solution which would allow some form of workable quarantine, but we couldn’t make it work.”

Murray was scheduled to fly to Australia with one of charter flights but due to a positive Covid test wasn’t able to make the flight and put his tournament in jeopardy.

Although he missed the chartered flights there was still a small chance he would play but had to workout an agreement with Tennis Australia to make it work. However it didn’t work and was gutted with the news.

“I want to thank everyone there for their efforts, I’m devastated not to be playing out in Australia. It’s a country and tournament that I love.”

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‘If I knew, I Wouldn’t Come’ – Victor Troicki Slams Hard Quarantine In Melbourne

Troicki, who will head the Serbian ATP Cup team next month, says his career has been thrown into ‘chaos.’

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Former top 20 player Victor Troicki says his ‘Grand Slam is failing’ after implying that he felt that he was misled about the quarantine rules ahead of the Australian Open.

 

Troicki, who is currently ranked 202nd in the world, is among 72 players who have been placed in a strict quarantine where they are not allowed to leave their room for a 14-day period. Those affected have all been deemed as a ‘close contact’ of somebody who tested positive for COVID-19. A series of positive tests was detected on flights en route to the country.

34-year-old Troicki travelled to Australia from Doha after successfully qualifying for the Australian Open with wins over Cedrik-Marcel Stebe, Ulises Blanch and Jurij Rodionov. This year’s two qualifying tournament’s took place in the Middle East due to the pandemic.

“If I knew, I wouldn’t come,” Troicki told Sportski Zurnal earlier this week.
“Total chaos, horror as far as everything is concerned. I’m locked up for 14 days, I can’t leave the room. No training, nothing. My Grand Slam is failing, I can’t get ready for five sets in the room.”

In recent days there has been some dispute over whether players knew about the conditions regarding going into a strict quarantine. Carlos Martinez, who is the coach of Daria Kasatkina, told UbiTennis that players were initially under the impression that sections of a plan would have to be isolated if there was a positive case and not the entire plane. Ultimately the decision was up to the Australian health authorities.

“Tennis Australia was doing a great job in my opinion. The only thing that was a bit unclear was about the quarantine when somebody gets infected on the plane. They were talking like they were going to make sections inside the plane so if they found somebody in a section (who tests positive) they would isolate those people,’ said Martinez.
“But in the end the government didn’t want to do this and they preferred to isolate all on the plane because it was safer for everyone.”

Amid the debate over whether Troicki and his peers knew the full story or not, Spain’s Paula Badosa has become the first Australian Open player to contract the virus during quarantine. She had previously criticised the procedure before later apologising.

As for Troicki, he says the current situation is creating ‘chaos’ in his career.

“All preparations are failing,” he said. “Two weeks of lying in bed, it is certain that I will have to get back in shape for the next month and a half. All this is creating chaos in my career.”

Troicki is the team captain of the Serbian ATP Cup team. The tournament will start a week prior to the Australian Open on February 1st.

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