John Isner Clears The Air And Is Ready For The Miami Open - UBITENNIS
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John Isner Clears The Air And Is Ready For The Miami Open

The world No.28 spoke about a variety of topics ranging from prize money to the absence of the Big Three from the first Masters 1000 event of the season.

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After skipping the first grand slam of the year due to family reasons and losing his second match in Acapulco John Isner spoke to the media ahead of his campaign at the Miami Open.

 

Isner is a former champion back in 2018 and says he is thrilled to be back despite the fact the setting is different with less fans and less prize money. Not to mention the series of top players who have decided to opt out of the first Master 1000 series event of the season.

“I have good memories at this tournament in 2018 at Crandon Park and very good memories in 2019 as well at the first year of the Hard Rock Stadium,” said Isner.
I’ve always liked playing here. It’s good to be back after a two-year break which has been unfortunate for us players and it’s unfortunate that we don’t have the full Miami fans back in full force but next year we will have that”.

The former top 10 player went on to add, ” everything has been different in tennis and all sports really, at least we do have some fans in the stands this year to provide a neat little atmosphere and looking forward to be playing in front of them”.

Isner a few weeks back had gone on Twitter to voice his displeasure about the cut in prize money. In February he described the ATP as a ‘broken system’ and called for a ‘true audit’ of tournaments to be taken in order to establish the read financial impact of the pandemic. He also questioned the fairness in players having their prize money cut whilst others working at the ATP have not had a reduction in pay.

“It’s not what we are a custom to but we know that the tournaments don’t have the ticketing revenue that they are used to having so our prize money is going to take a hit because of that,” Isner commented on the topic.
“For the players is not so much about the prize money we don’t want to make it about that, it’s about tour structure that the players would like to have more knowledge of as to why decisions are made, again it’s not about the money, of course, we would love to play for a bigger purse but there’s a bit of uncertainty about how those numbers came into play, we’re all here to play and compete”.

The American also mentioned ” It’s about the system of the ATP and what goes into the decision of the prize money being so low not about the actual prize money itself, we understand with the loss of ticketing revenue, some players are questioning why it was down so much and the tour has implemented a strategy that is keeping the lower rounds pretty similar and the quarters, semis, and finals have been chopped quite a bit, the top players have the game have taken the big hit as far as the prize money is concerned, there’s always going to be things players are unhappy about, recently the tour has been more transparent with them, understand the process a bit more”

In the world of tennis right now it seems there has been more issues on the men’s side as the women’s side of things has been pretty normal with only Serena Williams pulling out due to a oral surgery and Isner touched on that as well.

” It’s an unfortunate situation the tour is in right now with only one stand-alone event in America due to the fact Indian Wells is postponed so most players in Europe it doesn’t fit their schedule too well, Roger, Rafa, and Thiem and you said 31 of the top 100 are out so it’s a big commitment to come over here for just one tournament and immediately go back to Europe, for the older guys, for the three greatest players we have ever seen it probably doesn’t make sense for them, the calendar has taken a big hit as well we know that so I think the main reason why is because it’s a stand-alone event not because of the prize money and more of a schedule conflict”.

Despite the fact he hasn’t played a lot of tennis so far this season the American did confirm to Ubitennis how he is feeling coming into the tournament.

” I actually feel alright, I was able to play Acapulco last week and play a couple of matches, one was good, one was not so good, to be able to get a couple matches before this tournament under my belt was pretty crucial because I haven’t played that much in the last year, it’s been a year since the tour shut down and it’s also good be back in Miami, it’s a place where I’ve had many good experiences so I would say this isn’t the best I’ve ever played but hopefully I can get this tournament started and get some momentum for myself and see what I can do, physically I’m healthy, mentally I feel pretty fresh, I just need to get off to a good start and see what I can do from there”.

He did also confirm his schedule going forward after Miami and does indeed plan to play the big tournaments in Europe during the clay season.

” I plan on playing the clay-court stuff, I missed the clay-court season in 2019 so I want to go over there and be a part of that, I entered Monte Carlo and Madrid and Rome, and of course I’ll play the French Open so if I go to Monte Carlo I’ll go back home go to Madrid and Rome and come back home in between so I don’t spend too much time over there and away from the family, I do plan on playing a full clay court season so I can my shot at the big events and see how I do”.

Isner was also asked if he thinks the tour should have done a better job at putting multiple events in the same location or close by due to the fact travelling during a pandemic can be quite difficult with all the restrictions.

” I do feel they could have made that easier on the players but again I don’t know the ins and outs of all that, I don’t know the financial repercussions of all that, keeping all the players in one area, seems players would have appreciated it as well to have a cluster of events in one specific area instead of traveling all over the world, one of the big issues is were always at risk of contracting the virus and being in a two-week lockdown in a city far away from home and that’s a risk that a lot of players have been willing to take and to do that in an environment where the money is less is very risky on our part and players have had to endure that before and it’s certainly unfortunate but again I can’t speak as to why it wasn’t done, I don’t know about those discussions behind closed doors”.

He would go on to say ” I don’t think our leadership is trying to sabotage our sport by any means, they are trying to do their best as they can for our sport and naturally some players have questions about that but the important things is we still believe in our product on the ATP tour and I know the WTA believes in their product as well, this will all eventually pass and things will become normal again and our sport will be in a lot better shape”.

Isner also gave his take on vaccine rollout and if he plans to get the shot and when he would do it and he doesn’t seem to have any immediate plans to get it done.

” No I haven’t gotten vaccinated yet and I haven’t thought about it so I think I should be last in line to get vaccinated so most important anyone at risk and older gets vaccinated before I do so I am not in any hurry to get that done that’s for sure”.

He concluded by talking about being at an event where the the big three are not playing and what it feels like for him.

” It probably hasn’t happened in the last 12 years, it’s got a different feel to it but if you look at the draw itself is so deep, there are so many good players, so many good unseeded players, so many good matches, it’s a good test to see how people will perceive this tournament because those three guys won’t be playing forever, I think it’s a unique opportunity for a lot of players to try and do well in this event without them in the field but also a unique opportunity to showcase all the players that aren’t Roger, Rafa, or Novak so were looking forward to a great event here and hopefully fans will tune in as much as they can from home and hopefully they enjoy it”.

The American enters the event as the number 18 seed and with that a first round bye and will face another American in the second round Mackenzie Mcdonald who needed three sets today to get past the Canadian Vasek Pospisil in the first round.

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Nadal survives three-set marathon with Shapovalov in Rome

Rafael Nadal saved match points to edge out Denis Shapovalov in Rome.

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Rafael Nadal (@atptour - Twitter)

The King of Clay needed three sets and over three hours to claim the win and avoid an upset.

 

Rafael Nadal needed three hours and 27 minutes to beat the Canadian Denis Shapovalov 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 at the Italian Open in Rome hitting 29 winners while his counterpart hit 46 unforced errors in the loss.

To everyone’s surprise it was the world number 14 who came out with the faster start earning two breakpoints in the first service game of the match with a stunning forehand winner.

He would break to take an early 1-0 lead and continued to have momentum earning another break and the Spaniard found himself staring at 3-0 defecit.

At 4-1 the world number three would get one of the breaks back but it wasn’t enough as the Toronto native would break one more time at 5-3 on his fourth breakpoint of the game to take the first set.

Once again we saw some really strong play from the Canadian in the beginning of the second set we saw history repeat itself when the world number 14 held serve and get the early break this time with his powerful forehand.

Nadal was fighting to stay in the set and the match and managed to earn a breakpoint but it was quickly saved with a big ace from Shapovalov. The very next game the Canadian had a chance to get another break but this time the Spaniard would deny him the opportunity.

After the world number three held serve he went on the attack looking to go back on serve and after three chances would get the break back. He would end up winning five games in a row and would take the second set to send it to a decider.

The third set remained on serve until 2-1 when the Canadian had a chance to break and he would take to jump out to a 3-1 lead. The break didn’t hold as Nadal came storming back the very next game breaking the world number 14 to love and equaling the set at 3-3.

The set and the match would ultimately be decided by a tiebreaker and in that breaker is when the Spaniard would take over winning it 7-3 to book his spot in the quarterfinals.

He will next face either Alexander Zverev or Kei Nishikori on Friday for a spot in the semifinals.

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Novak Djokovic Moving Into A ‘Good Trajectory’ After Reaching Rome Quarter-Finals

Novak Djokovic admitted that he is on a good trajectory after reaching the last eight in Rome.

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Novak Djokovic has said that he is on a ‘good trajectory’ after moving into the Rome Quarter-Finals.

 

The world number one moved into the last eight in the Italian capital with a comfortable 6-2 6-1 victory over Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.

Despite being broken in the first game, Djokovic rallied back to break on five occasions as he cruised past the Erratic Spaniard.

After 1 hour and 11 minutes, Djokovic’s overall game was too much for Davidovich Fokina as the Serb progressed to his 15th quarter-final in Rome.

After the match in his on-court interview the top seed admitted he is on a good trajectory as he builds momentum towards Roland Garros, “I thought I played well,” Djokovic told the ATP website.

“He started well and broke my serve in the first game. I made some errors, but I managed to break back right away and establish the control and consistency on the court. I think from the back of the court I was just a bit more solid than him.

“He made some unforced errors and double faults in key moments, which obviously helped me get that necessary break forward. I thought I played better, at least 20 or 30 per cent better, than I did against Fritz a few days ago. I am on a good trajectory and hopefully tomorrow will be even better.”

The real test for Djokovic will come tomorrow when he faces top 10 opposition in the last eight.

It will either be Monte-Carlo champion Stefanos Tsitsipas or Madrid finalist and home favourite Matteo Berrettini next up for the world number one.

Djokovic was well aware of the form either of his possible opponents are in heading into tomorrow’s showdown, “My next match will be against a Top 10 player, so it is going to be a battle,” Djokovic explained.

“Both of these guys are in great form. Tsitsipas won Monte-Carlo and Berrettini is just coming off the final in Madrid. I am obviously going to do my best to win that match, whoever I play against.”

In the other result in Rome today, Reilly Opelka reached the quarter-finals with a 7-6(6) 6-4 win over Aslan Karatsev.

The American hit 18 aces as he will now face Felix Auger-Aliassime or Federico Delbonis on Friday.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas sets up blockbuster third round match against Matteo Berrettini in Rome

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Stefanos Tsitsipas edged past Marin Cilic 7-5 6-2 to advance to third round at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. 

 

Tsitsipas has improved his win-loss record to 28-7 this season, equalling Andrey Rublev for most match wins after Rublev beat Jan-Lennard Struff 6-7 (7-9) 6-1 6-4 earlier today. 

Tsitsipas had to save two break points in the ninth game to hold serve after four deuces. The 2021 Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters winner earned his crucial break in the 12th game to win a hard-fought first set 7-5. 

Tsitsipas was in control of the match and cruised to a 6-2 win in the second set with two breaks in the second and eighth games. 

“Sometimes I need to adjust my game and Marin is someone I respect a lot. I knew he was going to come out here and play his best tennis. He made move a lot. It was quite tricky to adjust to that at the beginning, but towards the very end of the first set I stayed calm and stayed calm and resilient. I had to play deep on the returns and find solutions from the baseline rallies. That worked well for me from 6-5”, said Tsitsipas. 

Tsitsipas set up a blockbuster third round match against last week’s Madrid Mutua Open finalist Matteo Berrettini, who beat John Millman 6-4 6-2 in front of fans, who will return on Thursday. Tsitsipas enjoyed the atmosphere on the Pietrangeli Stadium. 

“The Pietrangeli Stadium is very beautiful. It’s one of the best courts on tour. I feel like the Pietrangeli here is great. We are surrounded by trees in the city and it’s very quiet which is very important for tennis. Honestly, I can’t wait for the fans to come and fill in the stadium”, said Tsitsipas. 

Berrettini missed three consecutive break points in the third game of the opening set and earned his first break in the ninth game to take a 5-4 lead. The Rome-native star served out the first set at 15. Berrettini earned two consecutive breaks to race out to 4-0 lead. Millman saved a break point to hold serve in the fifth game, but Berrettini never looked back in his next two service games to claim the second set 6-2. 

Berrettini has improved with his each appearance in the Rome tournament, reaching the second round in 2018, the third round in 2019 and the quarter final in 2020. 

Tsitsipas beat Berrettini in their only head-to-head match at the 2019 Australian Open. 

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