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.
Borna Coric Still Feels Shoulder Pain Seven Months Into His Comeback
Playing professionally with niggles is never ideal but it is a price the Croat is willing to pay.
The phrase ‘no pain, no gain’ is one that world No.28 Borna Coric can closely relate to.
Exactly 12 months ago Coric was in the middle of a lengthy hiatus from the sport due to a serious right shoulder issue which required him to undergo surgery. He didn’t play a match between March 2021 – March 2022 and previously admitted he contemplated if he would be able to return to the sport again.
Fortunately the 25-year-old was able to resume his career and enjoyed a breakthrough moment during his comeback by winning his first Masters 1000 title at the Western and Southern Open in August. It was at that tournament where he scored three wins over top 10 players. Since then, he suffered a loss to Jenson Brooksby in the second round of the US Open before winning two out of his three matches played at the Davis Cup.
Seeking to break back inside the world’s top 20 for the first time since October 2019, it appears that Coric’s injury woes are behind him. However, things are never as simple as they look.
“I do feel good. I can play tennis and extra training, way more than I was before the surgery,” Coric told reporters earlier this week. “Still I have sometimes a little pain and I need to manage that. But I can play. A little bit of pain, sometimes I think that’s fine.
“I’m not very young anymore so I need to be ready to have some pain sometimes, If that’s what it takes, I’m fine with it.” He added.
Coric is currently playing at the Japan Open where he is the eighth seed in the draw. On Tuesday he began his campaign with a straight sets win over Thanasi Kokkinakis to record his first-ever win in Tokyo.
He will play his second round match on Thursday against Brandon Nakashima, who has Japanese heritage from his father’s side but is playing an ATP event in the country for the first time in his career. Nakashima defeated Shintaro Mochizuki 6-3, 6-2, in his opening match earlier this week.
“The love for tennis here (in Tokyo) is a thing to experience,’ Coric wrote on Instagram.
Coric has won ATP titles in three separate continents but is yet to be triumphant in Asia.
Carlos Alcaraz and Rafael Nadal, A Spanish Dominance
Ubitennis looks at the biggest movers in this week’s ATP Pepperstone rankings.
Let’s start from the title winners of last week.
Marc-Andrea Husler paid a most worthy tribute to the retirement of his fellow countryman Roger Federer by winning the ATP 250 in Sofia and showcasing a style which thrilled all net game lovers. As a result, he soars to his career highest of No. 64. Yoshihito Nishioka tops his excellent second part of season by securing his second career title in Seoul and moving up to No. 41, his best ranking ever. Finally Novak Djokovic consolidated his chances to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals in Turin thanks to his win in Tel Aviv.
A few comments:
- Rafael Nadal overtakes Casper Ruud. The two Spaniards are towering over the rest of the pack.
- Hubert Hurkacz and Taylor Fritz both gain one position since Jannik Sinner, former title holder in Bulgaria, had to withdraw in the semifinal due to an ankle injury, and failed to defend the points he had earned in 2021 in Sofia.
- Marin Cilic is back in the top 15 players of the world, after reaching the final in Tel Aviv.
NITTO ATP FINALS RACE TO TURIN
Alcaraz, Nadal, Ruud and Tsitsipas are already qualified for the ATP Finals scheduled in Turin from 13 to 20 November; Djokovic is another likely contender in the star-studded event, since, as a Grand Slam winner, he just needs to be ranked in the top 20 in order to qualify.
Six places are yet to be conquered, including the 2 reserves, which means that 9 players will be battling to book their ticket to Turin in the next weeks. 2021 ATP Finals winner Sasha Zverev, still grounded by injury, is not among them.
2500 points are at stake in the upcoming weeks featuring one ATP Masters 1000, two ATP 500 and two ATP 250.
This is the week of the ATP 500 Astana Open in Nur-Sultan and of the Japan Open in Tokyo, which have just kicked off. Alcaraz, Ruud, Tsitsipas, Medvedev, Rublev, Hurkacz, Fritz and Djokovic are out for the glory and the points, whereas Sinner and Berrettini are in the pits. Berrettini will be back on the tour the following week in Florence.
INTESA SANPAOLO NEXT GENERATION FINALS
Qualifying for the Next Gen Finals in Milan from 8 to 12 November is going to be a tough battle. Alcaraz and Sinner are likely not to take part in the event and all the other players are so close that anything could happen.
This week seven players in the top 100 are celebrating their career highest.
A double applause for the two winners of Seoul and Sofia: Yoshihito Nishioka and Marc-Andrea Husler.
Article written by By Roberto Ferri for ubitennis.com, translated by Kingsley Elliot Kaye
Playing Clay Events After Wimbledon Was A Mistake, Says Diego Schwartzman
The former French Open semi-finalist is seeking to win his first title since March 2021 at the Tel Aviv Open this week.
Diego Schwartzman will likely reevaluate his schedule for next year after admitting that part of his plans for this summer backfired.
The world No.17 enters into the final quarter of the season with 31 wins against 22 losses on the Tour but is yet to win a title. Although he did reach back-to-back finals back in February in Argentina and Brazil. He has won two out of eight matches against top 10 opposition, defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas at the ATP Cup and Felix Auger-Aliassime in Barcelona.
Reflecting on his performance, Schwartzman admits that his decision to return to European clay after playing at Wimbledon was a mistake. He lost his second match in Gstaad to Pablo Carreno Busta and then his first in Hamburg to Emil Ruusuvori.
“It’s difficult to play at the same level every tournament, I’ve made a bad decision playing clay tournaments after Wimbledon, I didn’t have time to rest,” he said during his pre-tournament press conference at the Tel Aviv Open. “I paid the price and had some bad losses. But I started to feel much better in USA hard court season, lost to Stefanos Tsitsipas who reached the final in Cincinnati and to Frances Tiafoe at the US Open. Now I am feeling very good, I really love playing indoor tournaments.”
The 30-year-old has headed straight to Tel Aviv from the Laver Cup where Roger Federer played the last match of his career. Despite Schwartzman’s Team World winning the title for the first time, his only contribution to the tie saw him lose 6-1, 6-2, to Tsitsipas.
Retirement was very much the topic of conversation during the Laver Cup with others such as Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic questioned by reporters about their plans in the sport. As for Schwartzman, he stayed coy about how much longer he would continue playing after saying in the past he might stop at the age of 33.
“33 — is a good age to retire, isn’t it? South Americans are in different situations compared to European players. We travel too much, and sometimes we are not coming back home for 2-3 months, while Europeans can fly home every week. It’s tough,” he said.
“As for Roger — he’s a special player, I think he is just the greatest in our sport.”
The Argentine is seeded third this week in Israel and will begin his campaign against Arthur Rinderknech who defeated qualifier Marius Copil in his opening match.
Miomir Kecmanovic saves six match points to beat Daniel Evans in Tokyo
Novak Djokovic Storms Past Van De Zandschulp To Reach Astana Quarters
Billie Jean King Praises Grand Slam Semi-Finalist Nadia Podoroska For Coming Out
Roger Federer’s Legacy Will Be Greater Than Nadal And Djokovic, Says Berdych
Nick Kyrgios Relishing Double Duty And Local Culture At Japan Open
Roger Federer To Make Last-Minute Decision Over Laver Cup Participation, Says Coach
Juan Martin Del Potro Reveals Physical And Mental Trauma From Tennis Retirement
Should Roger Federer Become A Super Coach? Djokovic And Murray Give Their View
Andy Murray Calls For Earlier Start To Davis Cup Ties After Great Britain Loses Late-Night Thriller
Carlos Alcaraz Is Playing At 60% Of His Potential, Says Coach Ferrero
(VIDEO EXCLUSIVE) ITF President David Haggerty ’Satisfied’ With Davis Cup Format Despite Issues
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(VIDEO EXCLUSIVE) Elena Rybakina’s Wimbledon Win Was Good But The Level Wasn’t Great
(VIDEO EXCLUSIVE): Novak Djokovic Battles Past Norrie, Faces Kyrgios In The Final
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