Roger Federer Says Having 'High Goals' Motivates Him To Continue Playing - UBITENNIS
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Roger Federer Says Having ‘High Goals’ Motivates Him To Continue Playing

The world No.8 gives his own assessment of where his current game is after winning his opening match in Halle.

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Roger Federer (image via https://twitter.com/atptour)

Roger Federer says he has less pressure at this week’s Noventi Open but his ultimate goal remains winning the tournament once again.

 

The 39-year-old played his first match on the grass since 2019 on Monday when he ousted Ilya Machenko in two closely contested sets. It was the first time he had played a competitive match on the surface in over 700 days but soon found his footing. Winning 75% of his first service points and remaining unbroken throughout the match. Halle is only Federer’s fourth tournament since he returned to the Tour after having two knee surgeries last year.

“I actually got used to the grass very quickly. I feel it’s very much a mindset playing on this surface,” Federer said during his press conference on Monday.
“Everybody else is in the same boat. I mean, nobody has played for two years on the grass (due to the pandemic) so from that standpoint it is not a huge disadvantage for me.”

Federer is hoping that he will be able to capitalise on the momentum he recently gained from the French Open. In Paris he scored wins over Denis Istomin, Marin Cilic and Dominik Koepfer to reach the fourth round before withdrawing from the tournament. It was the first time he had won back-to-back matches on the Tour since January 2020.

“This week I think I have a little less pressure because I was able to play three matches in Paris. It’s not like I have to chase matches per say,” he said.
“Winning is nice, it gives me two matches here (in Halle) and hopefully more. The goal is clearly to try and win again.”

Since making his debut back in 2000, Federer has achieved a win-loss record of 69-7 in Halle (including his first round match win this year). He has won the tournament a record 10 times and is currently the defending champion. In 2019 he defeated Belgium’s David Goffin to win.

Despite his success in Germany, Federer’s ultimate hope is that this week will help him reach top form in time for Wimbledon. Ever since he began his comeback, the former world No.1 has stated that his goal is to peak in time for the Grand Slam. He will not be the overwhelming favourite to win the Wimbledon title given his absence from the Tour in recent months but Federer still has high expectations.

“At Wimbledon I want to go deep. Clearly that’s a goal for me. The season starts around now but I have been focused this week, the preparation and recovering from Paris,” Federer stated.
“They (my goals) are always high, they have to be high otherwise I wouldn’t be playing. I think anything I get in Halle in terms of matches is positive for Wimbledon.”

As to where his current form is, Federer is confident that he can reach full throttle sooner than later with Wimbledon starting in just two weeks time.

I feel that my serve is there. I just need to get my footwork right. The right intentions on the court, known what to do when. That aggressive baseline game, I need to make sure it works automatically. I hope I can get there this week, otherwise I have practice next week,” he concluded.

Federer faces a potentially tricky second round encounter in Halle where he will play either Miami Open champion Hubert Hurkacz or Felix Auger-Aliassime who reached the final in Stuttgart last week.

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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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Brandon Nakashima shocks John Isner to reach first ATP final in Los Cabos

Brandon Nakashima stunned John Isner to reach the final in Los Cabos.

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Brandon Nakashima (@AbiertoLosCabos - Twitter)

The American became the youngest American to reach a final outside the US since Andy Roddick back in 2001.

 

Brandon Nakashima booked his spot in the final beating an out of sorts John Isner 7-5, 6-4 in one hour and 28 minutes firing 12 aces and winning 82% points with his first serve.

“It’s always going to be tough playing against him, It’s always so hard to return his serve and try to get into the rallies with him but I tried to get back as many returns as I could and there was blocking or chipping the return or hitting over it and just try to mix it up a lot while getting different looks and I knew when I had the opportunities and when I got close in games I knew I had to take advantage of that as much as possible so luckily I was able to do it and of course taking care of my service games was important as well”.

For the first six games of the opening set, neither player had an issue holding serve but at 3-3, it was the San Diego native with the first chance to break but was denied by the world number 39’s big serve.

At 5-4, the world number 134 had two more chances to break and he got the crucial break and served out the first set.

Winning the first set seemed to invigorate the 19-year-old and he earned an early chance to break in the first game of the second set and broke to take a 1-0 lead. Once again that one break was enough to serve out the match and seal the victory.

After the match, Nakashima spoke about becoming the first American player to reach a final outside the US since Andy Roddick back in 2001.

“It feels great and it’s a big accomplishment for me and of course all the Americans, we like to play in the US but it’s nice to see that I am playing well outside the US and luckily it’s not too far from my home here so I have been enjoying it here a lot both on and off the court and really looking forward to playing tomorrow again”.

Nakashima will face the number one seed Cameron Norrie in the final and can feel confident as the last time these two players met, the American beat him.

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