Dominance Of Tennis’ ‘Big Three’ Will Lessen In 2021, Says Former World No.1 - UBITENNIS
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Dominance Of Tennis’ ‘Big Three’ Will Lessen In 2021, Says Former World No.1

A former French Open champion believes the probability of other players winning major titles next year is increasing.

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Men‘s tennis has been largely dominated by a trio of players over the past decade but their stronghold is starting to weaken, according to one former tennis star.

 

Juan Carlos Ferrero believes the likes of US Open champion Dominic Thiem and others will prove to be more of a threat to the trio heading into the new season. The Big Three compromises of Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. Between them, they have won 57 Grand Slam titles and have spent 878 weeks as world No.1. A position Ferrero also held back in 2003.

“Djokovic and Nadal have shown us this year that they still have the ambition and the body to compete for the biggest titles in our sport. If they win some more Grand Slam titles it would not be a surprise, but I feel that in 2021 there will be other favourites, other players with increasingly good chances to win Slams, not just Djokovic and Nadal as it has been before. Thiem would be one of those guys for sure,” Ferrero told Tennis Majors.

This year the Big Three won two out of the three major titles with Djokovic triumphing at the Australian Open and Nadal at the French Open. Although there have been glimmers of others starting to establish themselves as a formidable force in the sport. Besides Thiem’s triumph in New York, Daniil Medvedev closed out his season by winning back-to-back titles in Paris and at the ATP Finals in London. Meanwhile, Andrey Rublev won five Tour titles this season which is more than any other player.

“I still consider them (the Big Three) favourites, but not as much as before. I think people see that players like Thiem, Tsitsipas or Zverev already have good chances of winning against them as well,” the 2003 French Open champion commented.

Whilst both Djokovic and Nadal are expected to continue their reigns in 2021, there are questions looming over injury-hit Federer. This Swiss maestro hasn’t played a competitive match since January due to a right knee injury. He is currently training in Dubai with hopes that he will be ready to play at the Australian Open which has been delayed until February 8th.

Another player Ferrero will be keeping an eye on in the new season will be 17-year-old Carlos Alcaraz, who he has been working with since 2019. The Spanish rising star has made a significant breakthrough within the past 12 months by rising over 300 places in the world rankings. This year he has become only the fifth player in history to have won three Challenger titles before their 18th birthday. Others to achieve the milestone include Djokovic and Richard Gasquet.

Alcaraz’s rise was formally recognized on Monday when he was named the ATP Newcomer of the Year. Despite being the youngest player in the world’s top 200, the Spaniard has been backed to break the top 50 by his mentor.

“That is our desire and our objective,” Ferrero stated. “We are indeed working hard in preseason in order to be able to compete with the best and reach that goal. If he stays hungry like he is now and if we are able to compete normally throughout the year, I think Carlos can rise to top 50.”

The 2021 ATP season is set to start on January 5th with two ATP 250 tournaments in Delray Beach, America and Antalya, Turkey.

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Filip Krajinovic To Skip Australian Open If Required To Quarantine For More Than Five Days

The world No.34 says he ‘sees no reason’ why vaccinated players should have to go through a long quarentine in Australia.

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Image via twitter.com/atptour (Alexander Scheuber)

The second highest-ranked Serbian player in men’s tennis says it would be ‘unacceptable’ for organisers of the Australian Open to require players to quarantine for more than a week if they have been fully vaccinated.

 

Filip Krajinovic has become the first player to publicly state that they will not be prepared to travel to Melbourne at the end of this season if they have to go through strict quarantine measures once again. All the players who participated in this year’s Australian Open were required to be quarantined in a designated hotel for 14 days upon arrival in the country. During their stay they were allowed to use training facilities but that was the only time they could leave the premises unless there was an emergency.

There is no final decision regarding the travel requirements for the 2022 tournament but there are concerns that unvaccinated players may not be allowed to enter the country. The Victorian government recently issued a mandate ordering all essential workers to be vaccinated, including athletes. However, the regional government will not have the final say concerning tennis players arriving in the country with the national government being the ones in charge of that decision.

“They are very rigorous there and honestly, if I have to be in quarantine for 14 days after arriving in Melbourne, I will not go to Australia,” Krajinovic told Serbian newspaper Blic.
“I was vaccinated, I did everything in my power to protect myself and the people around me, so I really see no reason to sit there for 14 days in a room.’
“If they (the organisers) say that after arrival I need, say, five days to be in isolation, that’s OK for me, but anything beyond that is unacceptable to me. With the season ending late, I will have 20 days to get ready and go. Charter flights will be organized again and the last one is planned for December 28 for the players and that is the final date when I can go to Australia. I will see what the final decision from Melbourne will be, so I will cut what is the best thing to do.”

Earlier this week Victoria’s Sports minister Martin Pakula urged players to be vaccinated because it give them ‘the best opportunity to play in the Australian Open.’ It is expected that if unvaccinated players are allowed to attend, they will be subjected to stricter restrictions. This might include a longer quarantine period upon arrival and limitations of where they can go during their stay.

Last year, all of those players had to do their 14 days of quarantine. Right now there looks like there will be different rules for people who enter this country who are vaccinated as against unvaccinated and I don’t think the tennis will be any exception to that.” Pakula told the Sports Entertainment Network (SEN).
“In terms of what rules apply for people to enter Australia, whether unvaccinated people are allowed in at all, I don’t the answer to that yet. That’s going to be the subject of discussion at national cabinet and among the federal cabinet … those rules are not set by state governments.” He added.

Krajinovic is currently ranked 34th in the world and has a win-loss record this season of 18-18. At the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells he reached the second round before falling in straight sets to Daniil Medvedev. His best run so far this year was at the Hamburg Open where he reached the final.

“When we look at the whole of 2021, I played one final, one semifinal, there were good victories, but also worse results,” the 29-year-old commented.

Krajinovic is currently without a coach but is currently in ‘negotiations’ with somebody without elaborating further about who that person is.

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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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