‘The Hardest Place To Beat Him’ - Alexander Zverev Ready For Clash With Djokovic At ATP Cup - UBITENNIS
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‘The Hardest Place To Beat Him’ – Alexander Zverev Ready For Clash With Djokovic At ATP Cup

The world No.7 outlines what he needs to do in order to beat the 17-time Grand Slam champion.

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Germany’s Alexander Zverev admits he will have his work cut out when he lock horns with Novak Djokovic at the ATP Cup later this week in what could be a crucial match.

 

Both players enter the upcoming tie with their country already recording 2-1 wins over Canada. Although Serbia is currently at their top of the Group because they have dropped the fewest sets so far in the tournament. With only one team being able to qualify for the semi-final stage, the upcoming encounter will decide if it will be team Zverev or team Djokovic.

Looking ahead to the clash, Zverev believes his next nemesis will be an even tougher opponent than normal due to the fact they will play in Melbourne Park. The venue of the Australian Open which Djokovic has previously described as a second ‘home’ for him after winning the Melbourne major a record eight times so far in his career.

“I think we both played a typical kind of first match of the season, both against Denis — still, it’s going to be interesting,” Zverev previewed. “He’s still the world No. 1. I think this is the court he feels most comfortable on in the world, so I think beating him here is definitely the most difficult place to beat him.”

The 23-year-old German has beaten Djokovic twice before on the Tour in 2017 and 2018. Although he trails 2-4 in their overall head-to-head. Their most recent clash took place in November at the ATP Finals where the 17-time Grand Slam champion triumphed 6-3, 7-6(4). Despite the high-profile of both players, they are yet to play a match against each other which has gone the full distance.

So what will be key for Zverev to win in Melbourne? In his view he just simply has to ‘step up his game.’

“I think generally when you play Novak, you have to step up your game, same way when you play Roger or Rafa,” he said.
“I really have to go for bigger shots and at some stages also be patient. You have to learn how to manage yourself in a way. I think that’s very important.’
“Against him, you know that you’re going to run a lot. You know that he’s going to take initiative of the point that he can. You know that he’s going to change direction the most that he can, especially against tall players like me.”

With a lot at stake this week at the team competition, Zverev says he hopes to guide his country to the team title. Branding the event as important as the Davis Cup which has gone under various transformations in recent years.

“Winning a team event, winning something for your country it’s one of the biggest things in our sport,” he stated. “ I think the ATP Cup is just as big as the Davis Cup right now, with the new format that the Davis Cup is having, so it’s — we want to go match by match.”

Germany will face Serbia on Thursday.

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Grigor Dimitrov Blames Poor Monte Carlo Performance On ‘Big Infection’

The 29-year-old reveals the reason behind his error-stricken performance at the Monte Carlo Country Club on Thursday.

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Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov said he simply ‘didn’t play’ in his latest match at the Monte Carlo Masters after winning just two games against Rafael Nadal.

 

The world No.17 fell 6-1, 6-1, to the 20-time Grand Slam champion in less than an hour on Thursday. He won 48% of his first service points and 32% of his second, as he hit 32 unforced errors. A dismal performance from Dimitrov who had beaten Jan-Lennard Struff and Jeremy Chardy earlier in the tournament.

Whilst it was never going to be easy playing somebody of Nadal’s calibre, Dimitrov has revealed that he had been troubled by an issue away from the court. He has been suffering from a ‘big infection’ in his tooth which has had an impact on his preparation for the match.

“I’ve been struggling with a massive tooth problem for the past four or five days,” he said. “I have a big infection in my tooth. It’s been hard. I haven’t been able to sleep well or eat well or anything like that.’
“I was bearing it for a while this whole week.”

It is another case of bad luck for Dimitrov on the Tour this season. At the Australian Open he reached the quarter-finals in what was his best Grand Slam performance since the 2019 US Open. However, in his last eight showdown with Russia’s Aslan Karatsev he was hindered by a back injury.

“It’s straight to the doctor’s, unfortunately,” he commented on his tooth. “Very, very unpleasant moment. It is what it is.’
“At least I’m glad it happened on a home soil so I can go see my dentist and figure this problem as soon as possible.Hopefully it’s not too serious and I’ll be able to come back as soon as possible.”

Speaking in his press conference, Nadal said he ‘felt sorry’ for his opponent who ‘played a bad match.’ During the match the world No.3 wasn’t aware of Dimitrov’s problem but was told about it afterwards.

“I wish him all the best. He’s a great guy, a good friend. I just hope the situation is to improve as soon as possible,” he said.

Nadal, who is seeking a record 12th title in Monte Carlo, will play Russia’s Andrey Rublev next.

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Dan Evans Fires Back At ‘No Manners’ Musetti

30-year-old Evans says he is not happy with recent comments the Italian has said about him.

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British No.1 Dan Evans has branded fellow player Lorenzo Musetti ‘disrespectful’ after recording the most high-profile win of his career at the Monte Carlo Masters on Thursday.

 

The world No.33 stunned Novak Djokovic 6-4, 7-5, in what is his first ever win over a member of the prestigious Big Three. A trio that consists of Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. What is even more remarkable is that Evan’s victory took place on the clay. A surface which he hadn’t won a Tour match on since 2017 prior to this week.

Speaking to reporters following his win over the world No.1, Evans was questioned about what was the difference between his match against Musetti last week and his performance in Monte Carlo. Prompting the Brit to hit out at the Italian who is dubbed as one of the rising stars of the Tour.

“How he spoke last week was embarrassing,” Evans said. “Let’s not talk about Musetti in my press conference.
“Last week he said some things in the Italian press about me that was disrespectful.
Musetti, if he apologises, I will answer. He’s a good tennis player, but he’s got no manners.”

The fallout between the two started last week after Musetti won their match at the Sardegna Open. Saving four match points in the final tiebreaker en route to the victory. Afterwards, the 19-year-old accused his rival of disrespecting him on the court.

“There are respectful experienced players on the court,” he said. “Others like Evans, they try to use my youth to (win) matches.
“But it’s all experience for me. Evans disrespected me. I don’t want to be treated like a young man.”

Whilst the two tennis players are unlikely to be friends anytime soon, Evans did praise the recent performance of his rival. Musetti is the youngest player in the top 100 on the men’s Tour and is one of only two players aged 19. The other is compatriot Jannik Sinner.

“He played very well last week. I wasn’t good enough. I didn’t take the match points. It’s just tennis. Yeah, he could do with learning some manners.” He concluded.

Evans is through to the quarter-finals of a Masters 1000 tournament for the first time in his career. Awaiting him in the next round is 11th seed David Goffin who defeated Alexander Zverev in his third round match.

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New Setback Forces Dominic Thiem Out Of Belgrade

The Austrian tennis star has written a blog post on his website titled ‘my knee hurts!”

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Dominic’s Thiem’s return to the Tour has been postponed for a second time due to a physical problem which he recently visited a doctor about.

 

The US Open champion has confirmed that he is currently suffering from pain in his knee and has decided to pull out of next week’s Belgrade Open. An ATP 250 event which will be headlined by world No.1 Novak Djokovic. It is unclear as to what kind of injury Thiem is suffering from or when the pain started. Earlier this year he confirmed that he had been suffering from a long-standing foot issue which gives him intermittent pain. Although there is no indication that these are linked in anyway.

“2021 just doesn’t want to get going. Unfortunately I will have to cancel my start at next week’s tournament in Novak Djokovic’s hometown Belgrade,” Thiem wrote in a statement. “My knee hurts and I went to see a doctor. It is not a big issue but I need to take care of it. I am definitely not fit enough to play next week.”

Earlier this month Thiem delayed his expected return to the Tour at this week’s Monte Carlo Masters because he was ‘not 100% yet.’ In a blog post on his website the Austrian admitted that he had ‘a lot of work to do’ and ‘tough weeks’ ahead. Thiem hasn’t played a match since the Dubai Tennis Championships after deciding to take a break from the sport in order to reset himself.

The hope for the world No.4 is that he will be back on track and ready to play at the Madrid Open which will begin on April 30th with the ultimate goal remaining to be back to full fitness at the French Open. Thiem’s most successful Grand Slam where he has reached finals in 2018 and 2019.

“I want to be completely fit at the beginning of May and play proper tennis,” he states.
“There is something positive, though: Coach Nicolas Massu arrived in Austria yesterday, we are going to continue my program even though at the moment we have to be careful. In the meantime I have also been working on my physical fitness with sports scientist Mike Reinprecht.’
“There is no doubt, the big goal till the summer are the French Open – in Paris I must be at my best.”

So far this season Thiem has only won back-to-back matches in one out of four tournaments played. Doing so at the Australian Open where he reached the fourth round before losing to Grigor Dimitrov. Since then he has suffered second round losses in Doha and Dubai. His win-loss record for 2021 currently stands at 5-4.

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