Mats Wilander Addresses Andy Murray Wild Card Criticism As Ex-Coach Lendl Speaks Out - UBITENNIS
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Mats Wilander Addresses Andy Murray Wild Card Criticism As Ex-Coach Lendl Speaks Out

The former world No.1 had previously implied that it was wrong for Murray to have used a wild card to play at the French Open this year.

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Former Swedish tennis star Mats Wilander says he is ‘100 per cent‘ pulling for Andy Murray after previously criticising him for using a wild card to play at the French Open.

 

Wilander, who won seven Grand Slam titles during his career, accused the former world No.1 of ‘thinking about himself’ following his first round loss at Roland Garros. Murray was brushed aside 6-1, 6-3, 6-2, by Stan Wawrinka in what was his joint-worst loss at a major in terms of games won. Speaking shortly after Murray’s performance, Wilander questioned if it was right for the Brit to have taken a wild card into the tournament which could have been given to a younger player. Prompting backlash from some over his comments.

‘I worry about Andy Murray. I would love to hear him say why he is out there, giving us a false sense of hope that he going to come back one day,’ said Wilander who was commentating for Eurosport at the time.
‘I keep getting a little bit disappointed, is it his right to be out there doing that? Why? I did it and I shouldn’t have, it was the biggest mistake I did in my career. I think Andy Murray needs to stop thinking of himself and start thinking about who he was. Does he have a right to be out there taking wildcards from the young players?’

Murray, who has been blighted by injury trouble in recent years, responded by uploading a screenshot of the comments on his Instagram story with the caption ‘love this.’ The 33-year-old has undergone two hip surgeries and has only played in four majors since the start of 2018.

https://twitter.com/josemorgado/status/1310381239057121281

Speaking on Eurosport’s Tennis Legends podcast earlier this week, Wilander acknowledged that his view on Murray got him in ‘a little bit of trouble.’ Nevertheless, the Swede has insisted that he fully backs the former world No.1.

“I’m pulling for him 100 percent. He has deserved it,” he said. “I think the interesting question is passion. Does Andy have the passion? And I think he does. I am 100 percent sure. But are you supposed to show it every time you go on court?”

Speaking on the same podcast as Wilander, former coach Ivan Lendl says he disagrees with the previous comments and argued that the history of wild cards doesn’t justify that they should be handed out to younger players. Lendl has worked with Murray during two separate periods. Between 2012-2014 he guided him to winning Wimbledon, the US Open and an Olympic gold medal.

“I think players like Andy Murray or Pete Sampras, before he won his last US Open, everybody was asking me, shouldn’t Pete Sampras retire? And I said, Pete Sampras has earned the right to retire when he wants to retire,” the 60-year-old commented.
“Let’s go a little bit back in the history of wild cards. The wild cards in general were given to the sponsors to get attractive players for the tournament. It turned somewhat towards young players, which is fine as well. But it’s nowhere written that it needs to be a young player, not somebody older.’
“To me, Andy Murray has earned the right to play when he wants to play, as long as he has a passion for it.”

After another season marred by injury, as well as the COVID-19 pandemic, Murray has only managed to play in four tournaments this year. Overall, he has won three out of seven matches played with his best run being at the Western and Southern Open where he defeated Alexander Zverev en route to the third round.

Murray is currently ranked 19th in the world.

Murray’s 2020 season

Western and Southern Open, New York
R1: Def Frances Tiafoe USA 7-6(6), 3-6, 6-1
R2: Def Alexander Zverev GER 6-3, 3-6, 7-5
R3: Lost to Milos Raonic CAN 2-6, 2-6

US Open, New York
R1: Def Yoshihito Nishioka JAP 4-6, 4-6, 7-6(5), 7-6(4), 6-4
R2: Lost to Felix Auger-Aliassime CAN 2-6, 3-6, 4-6

French Open, Paris
R1: Lost to Stan Wawrinka SWI 1-6, 3-6, 2-6

Bett1Hulks Indoors, Cologne
R1: Lost to Fernando Verdasco ESP 4-6, 4-6

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Alexander Zverev Secures Place In ATP Finals With Indian Wells Win

Zverev will be seeking to win the season-ending extravaganza for the second time in his career.

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Alexander Zverev (GER) Credit: AELTC/Edward Whitaker

Germany’s Alexander Zverev has become the fourth player to officially qualify for the ATP Finals after reaching the third round of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.

 

The world No.4 defeated America’s Jenson Brooksby 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, in his second round match on Sunday which pushed him over the points threshold to secure his spot in the end-of-season event. It is the fifth year in a row he has qualified for the ATP Finals which he won back in 2018. He is one of only three German players to ever win the title after Boris Becker and Michael Stich.

This year’s tournament will take place in Turin, Italy for the first time in history after being held at The O2 Arena in London for more than a decade. Only the eight highest ranked players are eligible to play in the round-robin tournament which has on offer up to 1500 rankings points for an undefeated champion.

“My first time in Turin. I’ve been to London four times before. London is obviously very special to me because I won there, as well. I think the stadium is incredible, one of the most special events that we had,” Zverev told reporters on Sunday.
“But I also love playing in Italy. I had great success in Italy. I won my first Masters in Rome. I’m looking forward to being there. I’m looking forward to playing in front of the Italian fans. It’s going to be a great week.”

The 24-year-old approaches the final quarter of this season with four titles already won this year. He has won two Masters 1000 trophies, an ATP 500 event in Mexico and a gold medal in singles at the Tokyo Olympic Games. Zverev, who has recorded seven wins over top 10 players, also reached the semi-finals at both the French Open and US Open.

Zverev joins Novak Djokovic, Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas as the players who have qualified for the ATP Finals so far. It is the third straight season the quartet has qualified for the event.

This year’s ATP Finals will get underway on November 14th. Medvedev is the defending champion.

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Denis Shapovalov Advances After Pospisil Retires In Indian Wells

The battle of the two Canadians didn’t go as planned…

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Denis Shapovalov (CAN) Credit: AELTC/Edward Whitaker

Vasek Pospisil faced off against his fellow Canadian Denis Shapovalov in the second round of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells and it was the world number 13 who got the win after the Vernon native pulled out due to an injury whilst trailing 0-3.

 

It was a rough start for Pospisil who seemed to struggle with his serve in the opening game of the match and double-faulted twice in a row to give the early break and Shapovalov had no issues consolidating the break.

Shapovalov continued to apply pressure on the Pospisil serve and after saving two breakpoints the world number 68 pulled up after a serve and stopped play, calling for the trainer. He ended up taking a medical timeout off the court and a couple of minutes later returned to court. Pospisil was broken once again and the following game after a couple of returns decided to call it quits.

” It was pretty awful…and if I’m being honest I am shaking a bit…It really sucks I hope it’s nothing serious…He’s a great guy he’s a real warrior he’s fought back from some injuries surgeries to such a great level.” Shapovalov said of his compatriot.

Shapovalov will face 19th seed Aslan Karatsev in the next round after the Russian thrashed Salvatore Caruso 6-2, 6-0.

In the other results of the day sixth seeed Casper Ruud dominated Roberto Carballes Baena 6-1, 6-2, Roberto Bautista Agut beat the Argentine Guido Pella 7-5, 6-3 and Sebastien Korda won an all American battle with Frances Tiafoe 6-0, 6-4.

Finally, Diego Schwartzman needed three sets to beat another American in Maxime Cressy winning 6-2, 3-6, 7-5.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas Sidesteps Question Over Vaccination Status

The Greek also jokes that he will be having less bathroom breaks in Indian Wells due to one particular reason.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas has declined to confirm if he has received a COVID-19 vaccination despite previously saying he planned to do so later this year.

 

The world No.3 was questioned about the vaccination during his pre-tournament press conference at Indian Wells on Wednesday. Earlier this year Tsitsipas came under fire after saying he doesn’t see a reason why somebody his age needs to be vaccinated and expressed concerns over the potential side effects. He also added that young people catching COVID-19 is a good thing as it helps build up their immunity. Prompting criticism from various people, including a spokesperson for the Greek government.

However, in recent weeks Tsitsipas has changed his stance on the issue and recently told Antenna TV that he will have his first dose by the end of this year. When asked by a reporter in Indian Wells if he has had it yet, the French Open finalist declined to answer.

I’m sorry but I’m not able to provide any of my medical records,” he said.

Player vaccination rates in tennis are becoming a growing issue amid reports that the Australian Open may only allow fully vaccinated players to participate due to a health mandate which has been implemented by the local government. There is yet to be a formal announcement by Tennis Australia regarding their entry requirements. However, The Age newspaper reports that there is a ‘strong likelihood’ that only vaccinated players will be allowed entry by Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton.

Tsitsipas’ immediate focus is on this week’s BNP Paribas Open where he is the second seed behind Daniil Medvedev. Speaking about the conditions, the 23-year-old joked it was ‘very dry’ and therefore he will be having less bathroom breaks during matches. Referring to the recent criticism he has received from some of his peers over the timing of breaks he takes.

“It’s very dry here,” Tsitsipas said.
“That is good for me because I sweat less, which makes for less bathroom breaks, which makes for less complaints. So a very good sign so far,” he added with a smile.

The hope for Tsitsipas is that he will be able to build on his recent experience at the Laver Cup where he helped Europe secure their fourth consecutive title. The event provides players with the opportunity to work alongside each other in a team format. Something Tsitsipas relished but he is ready to get back to singles duty.

“I think team competitions are necessary for our sport and we don’t get to be united a lot,” he said. “We always kind of focus on ourselves and our things and environment and that is what you usually see on Tour. Players doing their own thing. Not much socialising.
“At the Laver Cup, we all get to have dinners together and all get to hang out with each other. Of course, though, we all have our competitiveness and if we get stuck around we might share too much with one another, that is the mentality behind it.”

Tsitsipas is yet to win a main draw match in Indian Wells. He will start his 2021 bid against either qualifier Roberto Marcora or Spain’s Pedro Martinez.

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