‘If You Don’t Want To Play, Stay At Home’ - Dominic Thiem's Advice To Benoit Paire - UBITENNIS
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‘If You Don’t Want To Play, Stay At Home’ – Dominic Thiem’s Advice To Benoit Paire

The Austrian speaks out about the world No.35 who has been hit with fines for unsportsmanlike conduct and banned from playing a top event later this year.

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Dominic Thiem (@RolandGarros - Twitter)

US Open champion Dominic Thiem says he is perplexed by the behaviour of one of his peers who recently got himself excluded from the Olympics.

 

The world No.4 has spoken out about French player Bernoit Paire who described the Tour as ‘sad, boring and ridiculous’ earlier this year. Paire has been a vocal critic of the COVID-19 restrictions which has been implemented within the sport and openly admitted that he struggles playing behind closed doors. Describing the Monte Carlo Masters as a ‘cemetery’ following his first round exit. Paire has also been issued with fines for unsportsmanlike conduct related to spitting on the court and was even accused of tanking during one of his matches.

Life on the Tour is far from perfect with 27-year-old Thiem also admitting he has struggled with ‘bubble life.’ He recently took a break from the sport in order to ‘reset’ and will be returning to action at the Madrid Open this week. In a recent interview with El Pais, the Austrian said he doesn’t understand Paire’s antics as he gives his own advice.

“I don’t understand. If you don’t want to play, you stay at home. If you are not motivated, nobody forces you to play,” he said.
“I think what I did was better: I took some time, I cancelled my participation in three or four tournaments, and at some point the motivation returns. Once you hit the track, I think you should be able to compete, even if you are not 100 percent. But if you don’t feel like playing, you better take a vacation.”

Thiem admits that the current situation he and others face on the Tour are tough. Branding each trip he makes to a tournament as ‘complicated’ due to the various travel restrictions each country has in place. Players in Madrid this week are only allowed to travel from their hotel to the tennis venue and back whilst participating in the tournament.

“It is not easy, of course. It is difficult for everyone because we are used to playing with crowded stands and to travel freely from one city to another without difficulties,” Thiem explained. “Now we play in empty enclosures and every trip is a complication. Life in the bubble is not fun at all. I understand that there are many players who find it difficult, but I also think that this will not last forever, that at some point things will return to normal.”

Paire’s behaviour has cost him a chance of being selected to play at the upcoming Olympic Games in Tokyo. The French Tennis Federation has barred him from the Games for repeated incidents of ‘deeply inappropriate behaviour’ but said they will offer him support if he wishes to receive any. The decision was made following a proposal put forward by technical director Nicolas Escude in consultation with France’s Davis Cup captain Sebastien Grosjean.

Thiem, who has a first round bye, will play his first match in Madrid against either Marcos Giron or Pablo Andujar. Meanwhile, Paire takes on Nikoloz Basilashvili in his first round match.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas ‘Happy’ To Follow In Grandfather’s Footsteps At Olympics

The Greek speaks out about carrying his family’s legacy at the Games.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas never met his grandfather but the two of them do have something in common – they are both Olympians.

 

The world No.4 has already created history in Tokyo by winning his first round match against Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber on Sunday to become the first male player from his country to win a singles match since 1924. Greece has won two medals at the Games but both of them were during its inaugural edition back in 1896.

Tsitsipas’ debut in Tokyo enables him to continue his family legacy of playing in the sporting extravaganza. His grandfather was Sergei Salnikov who played football for the Soviet Union during the 1950s. In 1956 Salnikov was part of the team who won Olympic gold in Melbourne. After retiring from the sport, he went on to manage the FC Spartak Moscow and the Afghanistan national team before passing away in 1984 aged 58.

“I’ve never had the opportunity to meet him. But my mom told me stories of his career and how he got it…. He kind of inspires me in a way,” said Tsitsipas. “I know what kind of athlete he was, with all the achievements and all the trophies. I’m proud of him.
“It’s something good, a legacy that is being carried on in the family. I’m happy to be the next in the family to be competing at the Olympics.”

It isn’t just a medal in the singles Tsitsipas has his eyes on, he will also be bidding for success in the mixed doubles alongside Maria Sakkari. The two previously paired up at the 2019 Hopman Cup where they finished second in their group.

“We have already played once (together), and we had great success,” Sakkari told reporters on Monday. “We know each other really well, and we are much better players two-and-a-half years later, and we are both really pumped to play together. Of course, I cannot predict that we will get a medal. We will try our best and I think we give ourselves the best chance we can.”

Tsitsipas will return to action tomorrow in the men’s singles where he will play Frances Tiafoe in the second round.

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Carlos Alcaraz reaches his first ATP Tour final in Umag

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Spanish Next Gen star Carlos Alcaraz secured a spot in his first ATP tour-level final with a 6-2 7-6 (7-3) at the Plava Laguna Croatia Open in Umag. 

 

Alcaraz has become the youngest ATP Tour finalist since 18-year-old Kei Nishikori won the Delray Beach title in 2008. 

Alcaraz broke twice to open up a 4-0 lead and held his next service games to close out the first set 6-2. 

Ramos Vinolas came back from a break down three times in the second set, when Alcaraz served for the match. Alcaraz battled through the second-set tie-break to clinch the win after two hours. 

Alcaraz set up a final against Richard Gasquet, who battled past German qualifier Daniel Altmeier 7-6 (7-2) 3-6 6-3 after three hours and 11 minutes. 

Gasquet has become the second oldest finalist in tournament history. The 35-year-old saved seven of hi sten break points, but he converted just just 3 of his 17 break points.  

Gasquet rallied from a break down twice to draw level to 4-4 before winning the tie-break 7-2. Altmeier converted his third break point in the eighth game to win the second set 6-3. Altmeier saved three break points in the second game, before Gasquet converted his second break point in the sixth game to win the second set 6-3. 

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Novak Djokovic Cruises Past Dellien In Olympics Opener

Novak Djokovic’s bid for a historic golden slam continued in Tokyo.

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Novak Djokovic (@ITFTennis - Twitter)

Novak Djokovic cruised past Hugo Dellien 6-2 6-2 to open his bid for a gold medal at the Olympics.

 

The world number one’s bid to achieve the golden slam is on after thrashing the Bolivian in humid conditions.

A perfect start for the Serbian who is looking to achieve the one thing he is yet to achieve and that’s win a gold medal.

Next for Djokovic will be Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff.

In 32C temperatures, Djokovic was looking to start his campaign off against Bolivian veteran Hugo Dellien.

The slow paced courts would suit Dellien as he engaged in some long rallies with the world number one early on.

Despite creating three break points in the fourth game, Djokovic would fail to break early on.

However Djokovic increased his level mixing up the pace and depth of his shots to create angles for simple winners.

On his fifth break point Djokovic would break for a 4-2 lead and the top seed would break for a second time as Dellien had no answers for the Serb’s defensive skills. First set to Djokovic in 33 minutes.

A similar pattern evolved in the second set only this time Djokovic did get a break in the fourth game, breaking to love.

Accurate serving and construction of points gave Djokovic an easy first round match as another break secured the match and sealed his spot into the second round.

A fine performance in tough conditions gave Djokovic’s bid for history the best possible start.

Next for Djokovic will be Jan-Lennard Struff who beat Thiago Monteiro 6-3 6-4.

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