Next Up for Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal At The French Open - Two Italian Prodigies - UBITENNIS
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Next Up for Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal At The French Open – Two Italian Prodigies

At one of the biggest tournaments in tennis Lorenzo Musetti and Jannik Sinner continue to impress. So much so that even the greats of the sport are wary about playing them.




Lorenzo Musetti (image via

A lack of experience failed to hold back Lorenzo Musetti from outlasting compatriot Marco Cecchinato in what was a roller-coaster encounter at the French Open.


The 18-year-old had never played a five-set match in his career before the tournament but still managed to prevail 3-6, 6-4, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, after more than three hours of play. It was an impressive performance for a player who had never played in the main draw of a Grand Slam before. The latest win has now moved Musetti into the fourth round of Roland Garros which makes him only the sixth male player since 2000 to reach the last 16 of a major on his debut.

“I was really satisfied at the end. It was a mix of tension and I was a little bit tired,” Musetti commented on his feelings afterwards. “I mean, it was my first time playing in the fifth (set).”

Born in the Italian city of Carrara, Musetti’s rapid rise on the Tour hasn’t gone unnoticed. He didn’t break into the world’s top 200 until September last year but is now currently ranked 76th. The youngster is yet to win an ATP trophy but has reached the semi-finals of tournaments in Acapulco and Lyon this season.

Billed as one of the future stars of the game, Musetti has an opportunity to show the world how much talent he has at the French Open where he is set to lock horns with Novak Djokovic on Monday. The two have previously trained together with the world No.1 telling reporters on Saturday that he ‘really likes’ how his younger peer plays.

“He’s got a lot of firepower from both forehand and backhand. He can play with a lot of spin. He’s got a great feel, come to the net. He can play short balls, drop shots. He can flatten out his serve. He can open up with a good kick and slice. He’s got really all-around game,” Djokovic said following his win over Ričardas Berankis.
“I know very much so that he is a big challenge to me. So there is no question I have to go out playing on a high level, because he will not have much to lose. I’m sure he’s gonna come out and really try to play tennis of his life playing on one of the two big courts.”

Of course Musetti isn’t the only rising star emerging from his country. Jannik Sinner is a year older than him and is the only player under the age of 21 in the top 20. It was at Roland Garros last year where he made waves reaching the quarter-finals on his debut in a milestone that was last achieved by Rafael Nadal. He already has two ATP titles to his name and played in the final of a Masters 1000 event in Miami.

Jannik Sinner (image via

Sinner joined his compatriot in the fourth round by beating Sweden’s Mikhail Ymer in straight sets. Making it the first time since 2006 two teenagers have reached the last 16 of the tournament. Next up for him is what many described as the ultimate challenge of Roland Garros – playing Nadal.

“In one way tough, tough to play against them (the Big Three). On the other way, I think it’s good that we play against them. It’s in one way a good test. I have played twice already against Rafa. This time is going to be a little bit different.” Said Sinner.

It will be the second French Open in a row Sinner has to play the Spaniard. In 2020 he was the only player to have a set point against Nadal in the tournament but was unable to convert that opportunity. Since then, they have clashed in Rome with the world No.3 prevailing 7-5, 6-4.

Jannik is not the best fourth round (match-up), without a doubt he’s a dangerous one,” admits Nadal. “He’s young. He’s a great player.’
“I need to be ready to play at very high level of tennis, to have chances to be in the quarterfinals, and I gonna fight for it.”

The two matches are very much a case of the Tour giants taking on the next generation of men’s tennis. Undoubtedly Djokovic and Nadal remain the heavy favourites to win their upcoming encounters. Although there is a general feeling that the rise of the two young Italians is something that will continue to blossom over the coming years.

Me and Jannik, I think we are the future of Italian tennis, and tennis in general,” Musetti proclaims. “Of course he’s a bit more forward than me (in my career).’
“I’m just living what he was living like last year, so we are growing up together. We are playing every week now together. I finally entered the Tour. That was my goal.”

Musetti and Sinner are two of only three players aged 19 or under currently in the ATP top 100. The other is world No.97 Carlos Alcaraz who lost in the third round of the French Open to Jan-Lennard Struff.


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 (Roberto Dell'Olivo)

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. 

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Laver Cup Daily Preview: Team Europe Goes for a Fifth Straight Laver Cup




The lineup for Day 3 (

Heading into Day 3, the 2022 Laver Cup is feeling extremely familiar.  Team Europe has an 8-4 advantage, and only needs two wins on Sunday to secure their fifth consecutive Laver Cup.  Team World needs to win three matches to pull off the upset and obtain their first. 


Sunday’s play gets underway in London at 12:00pm local time.  And each match on Sunday is worth three points.

Matteo Berrettini and Andy Murray (Team Europe) vs. Felix Auger-Aliassime and Jack Sock (Team World) – 12:00pm

Berrettini was victorious in both singles and doubles on Saturday, defeating Auger-Aliassime in singles, and teaming with Djokovic to overcome Sock and de Minaur in doubles.  So Matteo gained victories over both of his Sunday opponents on Saturday.  Murray lost to de Minaur in singles on Friday.  Andy and Jack are the most accomplished doubles players in this match, as Sock is pretty much Team World’s doubles specialist.  If he and Felix cannot pull of the victory on Sunday, it could be a pretty short day.

Novak Djokovic (Team Europe) vs. Felix Auger-Aliassime (Team World)

Like Berrettini, Djokovic won in singles and doubles on Saturday, comfortably dispatching of Tiafoe in singles.  While it was his first match in over two months, Novak showed no rust whatsoever.  Auger-Aliassime’s loss to Berrettini on Saturday will not help his confidence against the 21-time Major champion.

Novak and Felix have only played once before, and that occurred four months ago in Rome on clay.  It was a pretty tight affair, but Djokovic prevailed 7-5, 7-6(1).  And there’s not much evidence to support a different outcome on Sunday.  Novak is surely eager to re-assert his authority after missing so much of this season due to his vaccination status.

Stefanos Tsitsipas (Team Europe) vs. Frances Tiafoe (Team World) – If Necessary

Tsitsipas easily beat Diego Schwartzman on Friday, dropping just three games.  He is 3-2 against Tiafoe, and 3-1 on hard courts.  However, Frances claimed their most recent encounter, last fall in Vienna, which was also on an indoor hard court.

Casper Ruud (Team Europe) vs. Taylor Fritz (Team World) – If Necessary

Ruud defeated Sock on Friday, while Fritz defeated Norrie on Saturday.  If this match takes place, it will be their first career meeting.

The full Laver Cup schedule is here.

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Laver Cup Daily Preview: Novak Djokovic to Play Singles and Doubles on Saturday




The lineup for Day 2 (

In the wake of Roger Federer’s incredibly emotional retirement on Day 1, the focus of this event shifts to the rest of the competitors on Day 2.  And for the first time in the five-year history of the Laver Cup, Team World goes into Day 2 without a deficit.  With both Federer and Rafael Nadal replaced by alternates for Day 2 and Day 3, is this Team World’s opportunity to capture their first Laver Cup? 


Each day, this preview will look at all four scheduled matches, while taking an extended look at the most notable match of the day.  Saturday’s day session gets underway in London at 1:00pm local time, and the night session at 7:00pm.  And each match on Saturday is worth two points.

Matteo Berrettini (Team Europe) vs. Felix Auger-Aliassime (Team World) – 1:00pm

These two good friends have played four times, with Berrettini winning on three of those occasions.  Matteo’s wins came three years ago in the final of Stuttgart on grass, in the quarterfinals of last year’s Wimbledon, and a year ago in this event.  Auger-Aliassime’s only win occurred last summer in Cincinnati.  Matteo is coming off a quarterfinal run in New York, as well as three victories last week in Davis Cup.  Felix was upset in the second round of the US Open by Jack Draper, and went 2-1 in Davis Cup.

Cameron Norrie (Team Europe) vs. Taylor Fritz (Team World) – Second in the Day Session

Norrie was also an alternate in last year’s Laver Cup, but did not play.  Fritz was a part of Team World in 2019, when he went 1-1 in singles, defeating Dominic Thiem during Sunday’s play in a must-win match to keep his team alive.  Cam is now 45-22 on the year, while Fritz is 36-17.  Both men achieved their best-ever Major performances two months ago at Wimbledon.  They played each other just last week in Davis Cup, with Norrie prevailing after three tight sets.  Overall they have split 10 previous meetings.

Novak Djokovic (Team Europe) vs. Frances Tiafoe (Team World) – 7:00pm

Is Tiafoe ready to upset another member of “The Big Three” on Saturday?  He earned the biggest win of his career by taking out Rafael Nadal at the US Open, and defeated Nadal and Federer in doubles on Day 1 alongside Jack Sock.  Meanwhile, this will be the first match for Djokovic in over two months, since he won the Wimbledon final over Nick Kyrgios.  The unvaccinated Novak was unable to travel to North America for the hard court summer season.

Djokovic has only played seven tournaments this year, amassing a record of 23-5.  Tiafoe is 26-19, and is coming off his exciting semifinal run in New York.  Their only previous matchup was at the 2021 Australian Open, when Novak defeated Frances in four sets.  Frances is certainly the much more match-tough player on this day.  But despite his recent inactivity, Djokovic should still be considered the favorite.

Matteo Berrettini and Novak Djokovic (Team Europe) vs. Alex de Minaur and Jack Sock (Team World) – Second in the Night Session

Novak will have only a few minutes of rest ahead of this doubles match, so the length of his match with Tiafoe could impact the result here.  This will be Novak’s first time playing doubles since last year’s Davis Cup finals.  Berrettini played three doubles matches this past January at the ATP Cup, going 1-2.  De Minaur overcame Andy Murray in singles on Friday in what was a grueling contest, while Sock was defeated in singles and victorious in doubles.

The full Laver Cup schedule is here.

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