Steve Flink: “Why would Djokovic fake an injury when he’s two sets up?” - UBITENNIS
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Steve Flink: “Why would Djokovic fake an injury when he’s two sets up?”

A preview of the second week of the Australian Open, from the physical issues bothering Djokovic and Nadal to the Russian trio in the quarter finals. Was the Osaka vs Muguruza match-up an early final?

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We are over halfway through the 2021 Australian Open, and Ubitennis veterans Ubaldo Scanagatta and Steve Flink have met on Zoom for the usual recap of what has happened so far, as well as for a preview of what’s to come in the last few days of the Happy Slam. Here’s their friendly debate:

 

VIDEO SCHEDULE

0:00 – Fognini was beaten by Nadal – could he have poached a set away from the Spaniard?

4:30 – “Fognini staged a great comeback against Rafa in New York in 2015, but this time the French Open champion came firing out of the gate…”

7:00 – Berrettini’s retirement: the right choice? “Just like Stefan Edberg in the 1990 final against Lendl…” Will the walkover give Tsitsipas more of a chance against Nadal?

10:30 – Three Russians in the quarter finals of a Major for the first time ever – can Karatsev keep going?

14:40 – His next opponent will be Grigor Dimitrov: “He surely has more to lose in this match…” The Bulgarian just beat Dominic Thiem – did the intense Kyrgios match weigh on the Austrian?

16:20 – The Medvedev-Rublev derby: will the world N.4 have the edge once again? “He needs to keep his emotions in check – they almost cost him the match against Krajinovic…”

20:50 – Djokovic vs Zverev: what’s the status of the Serbian’s fitness?

26:10 – Predicting the men’s semi-finals…

29:00 – The women’s draw: is Barty the overwhelming favourite in the top half of the draw? The great performance of American up-and-comers like Brady and Pegula.

32:10 – The world N.1 will face Muchova, who has survived a tough draw so far – will this help the Czech?

35:30 – A look at Serena Williams’ showing against Sabalenka: “Her experience prevailed in the key moments.” Up next, a rematch against Halep, who beat her handily in the 2019 Wimbledon final – were the match to go the distance, who would come out on top?

39:00 – Naomi Osaka struggled against Muguruza, coming back from the brink of defeat – is she still the favourite to win it all?

Transcript by Antonio Flagiello; translated and edited by Tommaso Villa

Interviews

“We Hope to Convince Federer to Play”: the Presentation of the 2022 Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters

Director Zeljko Franulovic talked about next year’s tournament, scheduled from April 9-17

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Stefanos Tsitsipas - ATP Montecarlo 2021 (ph. Agence Carte Blanche / Réalis)

The 2022 Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters will take place from April 9-17, so it’s difficult to guess what the pandemic situation will be in six months. At the moment, however, the prevalent hypothesis is that all spectators will need a Covid Pass or to bring proof of a negative test before being allowed in the Montecarlo Country Club at Roquebrune, France. If some players will refuse the vaccine, then they will need to be tested regularly in accordance to the rules devised by the French government.

 

Other than that, there will be no surprises when it comes to the event’s logistics, since the Country Club has already added a new players lounge and a new press room in the past few years. In 2020 the tournament was cancelled, while in 2021 it took place behind closed doors (while still being televised in 113 countries); the last edition staged with a crowd, in 2019, sold 130,000 tickets, constituting 30% of the total revenue – another 30% came from the sponsors, 30% from media rights (a number that tournament director Zeljko Franulovic hopes to see increase) and 10% from merchandising.

While it’s early days to know whether the tournament will operate at full capacity, Franulovic has made it clear that the organisers are already planning to provide a better covering for the No.2 Court, whose roof has not been at all effective in the past in the event of rain.

The tournament’s tickets can be bought on the official website of the event, but Franulovic has already vowed to reimburse immediately every ticket “if the government and the health authorities should decide to reduce the tournament’s capacity.”

Ticket prices have increased by 2 to 3 percent as compared to 2019, ranging from £25-50 for the qualifiers weekend, £32-75 for the opening rounds, £…-130 for the quarterfinals and semifinals, £65-150 for the final, £360-1250 for a nine-day tickets. Franulovic claims that the prices are in line with those of the other Masters 1000 tournaments.

Finally, Franulovic supports Andrea Gaudenzi’s decision to create a fixed prize money for the next decade. While tournaments like Madrid and Rome are trying to increase their duration from 8 to 12 days, the Monte-Carlo director has claimed that he prefers to remain a week-long event, especially because his is not a combined tournament. As for the players who will feature, Franulovic hopes to convince Roger Federer to participate: “I’m certain that he will give everything he has to be able to stage another comeback on the tour, ma no one knows where he’ll play. However, I think that on the clay he should opt for best-of-three events like Monte-Carlo and Rome rather than the French Open.”

For this and more information, you can watch the video above.

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Grand Slam

US Open, Steve Flink: “Djokovic’s loss had more to do with fatigue than pressure”

A recap of the last Major of 2021, from Raducanu’s triumphant journey to Berrettini and Zverev’s improvements. What was Rod Laver’s prediction for the men’s finals?

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The 2021 US Open was historical from many points of view, starting with the full-capacity crowd coming back to Flushing Meadows. On court, we witnessed Djokovic’s bid for a Calendar Year Grand Slam fall short against Daniil Medvedev in the final, while Emma Raducanu took the tennis world by storm, winning as a qualifier and without dropping a set. These were just some of the topics of the tournament recap by Hall-of-Famer Steve Flink and Ubitennis CEO Ubaldo Scanagatta. Here’s their chat:

 

00:00 – Emma Raducanu’s historical feat: “She had an easier draw than Fernandez, who had to defeat many great players, but she was very impressive nonetheless!”

06:18 – Barty and Osaka’s premature exits: “Hadn’t she lost to Rogers, Barty would have won the whole thing…”

09:35 – Was Fernandez too tired during the final?

20:17 – The Canadian defeated Aryna Sabalenka, who once again missed out on a big chance: “She seems to have a split personality…”

25:24 – The men’s final – how distant was Djokovic from his best form?

28:59 – “Djokovic is the best at handling the pressure, I don’t think that was the main reason behind his defeat…”

35:05 – Was the crowd actually on Nole’s side or did they just want to witness history being made?

39:16 – What was the secret behind Medvedev’s winning tactics?

41:50 – Djokovic fell short of the Grand Slam in a similar way to Serena Williams – how similar are their performances?

50:16 – Rod Laver’s prediction for the final…

52:25 – Who is the best claycourt player, Djokovic or Federer?

55:05 – Carlos Alcaraz won over the hearts of the crowd – how quickly will he reach the Top 10?

56:29 – Is Zverev on the right track to win a Major? What about Berrettini and Sinner?

62:48 – The Canadians: who will have a better career between Shapovalov and Auger-Aliassime?

Transcript by Giuseppe Di Paola; translated and edited by Tommaso Villa

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Grand Slam

US Open, Steve Flink on the Murray-Tsitsipas Controversy

A recap of the first week of the last Major of 2021: will Djokovic clinch the Grand Slam? Who will win the women’s title with Barty and Osaka out of the picture?

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The 2021 US Open has reached its halfway point, with many wonderful five-setters and a few upsets. Ubitennis CEO Ubaldo Scanagatta discussed the events of the first week with Hall-of-Fame tennis writer Steve Flink, from the elimination of Barty and Osaka to the toilet break controversy involving Stefanos Tsitsipas, from Alcaraz’s breakout performance to the chances of Novak Djokovic to complete a Calendar Year Grand Slam. Here’s their chat:

 

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