Paris Masters Daily Preview: Young Standouts Sinner and Alcaraz Play for the First Time - UBITENNIS
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Paris Masters Daily Preview: Young Standouts Sinner and Alcaraz Play for the First Time

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Carlos Alcaraz on Tuesday in Bercy (twitter.com/BNPPARIBASOPEN)

Wednesday delivers a pretty loaded schedule in Paris, with 14 of 16 second round singles matches to be decided.  They include six of the world’s top 10, as well as four of the five players jockeying to place themselves in qualifying position for the ATP Finals, which start just one week from Sunday.  Novak Djokovic and Casper Ruud already advanced to the third round on Tuesday evening, who will join them? 

 

While Djokovic will not be in singles action on Wednesday, he will play his second round doubles match.

Each day, this preview will analyze the most intriguing matchup, while highlighting other notable matches on the schedule.  Wednesday’s play gets underway at 11:00am local time.

Jannik Sinner (8) vs. Carlos Alcaraz – Fourth on Court 1

20-year-old Sinner had a fantastic October, taking two titles (Sofia, Antwerp) and reaching the semifinals last week in Vienna.  The Italian has now won five events since last November.  And he is currently in the eighth and final qualifying position for Turin, though Hubi Hurkacz and Cam Norrie are both within 105 points of Sinner’s current point tally.  18-year-old Alcaraz is now 16-6 since July, a run highlighted by his first ATP tournament win in Umag, and his Major quarterfinal debut in New York.  And the Spaniard owns victories over Andy Murray, Matteo Berrettini, and Stefanos Tsitsipas.  This will be the first of what is expected to be many career meetings between two of the sport’s most likely candidates to compete for Major titles in years to come.  Based on how confident Sinner currently feels on indoor hard courts, I like his chances of starting this rivalry off with a win.

Other Notable Matches on Wednesday:

Grigor Dimitrov (16) vs. Karen Khachanov – Khachanov was the champion here three years ago, but hasn’t won a title since.  And Dimitrov hasn’t won a title since the ATP Finals this month four years ago.  Their only previous encounter was last October in Vienna, which went to Grigor in straight sets.

Andrey Rublev (5) vs. Taylor Fritz – Fritz has won nine of his last 11 matches, while Rublev went just 1-2 in back-to-back tournaments in his home country.  Earlier this year in Dubai, Rublev defeated Fritz 6-3, 6-1.

Stefanos Tsitsipas (3) vs. Alexei Popyrin (LL) – Popyrin is replacing Lloyd Harris in the draw.  Tsitsipas was one of many top players upset last week in Vienna by Frances Tiafoe. 

Filip Polasek and John Peers (6) vs. Novak Djokovic and Filip Krajinovic (WC) – Polasek and Peers were champions last month in Indian Wells.  Djokovic and Krajinovic took out Luke Saville and Alex de Minaur on Monday.

Sascha Zverev (4) vs. Dusan Lajovic – Zverev is now 51-13 on the year, and is 5-0 in finals.  And he’s 3-0 against Lajovic, which includes a straight-set victory this past February at the Australian Open.

Daniil Medvedev (2) vs. Ilya Ivashka – This will be Medvedev’s first match since his bizarre defeat in Indian Wells at the hands of Dimitrov, where he forfeited a huge lead, up a set and two breaks.  Ivashka won his first ATP title this summer in Winston-Salem.  They’ve never played at tour-level, but Medvedev has beaten Ivashka three times in lower-level tournaments.

Marin Cilic vs. Sebastian Korda – Cilic was the runner-up two weeks ago in Moscow, and the champion last week in St. Petersburg.  Korda survived a third-set tiebreak on Monday against Aslan Karatsev.  Back in March, Korda upset Cilic in Acapulco.

Wednesday’s full Order of Play is here.

Correction: a previous version of this article stated Jannik Sinner made the final last week in Vienna. This has been corrected to state he reached the semifinals.

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Dominic Thiem Rules Federer Out Of GOAT Debate

The Austrian puts forward his theory on who should be regarded as the best player in history.

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Dominic Thiem; e-motion/Bildagentur Zolles KG/Martin Steiger, 27.10.2022

The honour of which player deserves to be regarded as the greatest of all time (GOAT) should be decided based on one factor, according to Dominic Thiem. 

 

The former world No.3 has weighed in on the debate by suggesting that the argument should be settled by the number of Grand Slam titles a player has won as they are the most prestigious tournaments in the sport. In tennis, the four major tournaments are the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open. 

Thiem’s GOAT criteria have therefore ruled Roger Federer out of contention. The Swiss maestro was at one stage the frontrunner due to the numerous records he has broken throughout his career. However, he retired from the sport last year with 20 Grand Slam trophies under his belt which is less than both Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic who are currently on 22 each. 

“In my opinion, the Grand Slam titles should be the defining criteria when determining the best of all time, they are the four most important tournaments in tennis,” Eurosport quotes Thiem as saying. 
“Everything else is fine, but it’s not the same. The Slams are what counts, so the GOAT will probably be the one with the most Grand Slams.”

Others will argue that more factors should be taken into account in the subjective debate. For example, Federer has won 103 ATP titles which are more than his two rivals, Djokovic holds the record for most weeks as world No.1 and Nadal has won more tournaments on clay than any other player in history. Furthermore, there is the players’ win-loss rate on the Tour and their records against the top 10 players. 

Recently at the Australian Open Djokovic won the men’s title for a historic 10th time in his career. An achievement that has been hailed by Thiem who was runner-up to the Serbian at Melbourne Park in 2021. 

“I am not very surprised, Djokovic still looks young,” he said. “Physically and mentally, because of the way he moves on the court. It’s like he was 25 years old.
“We have to be honest, he is the best, so his victory was not very surprising.”

Thiem has won one Grand Slam title which was at the 2020 US Open when he became the first man in the Open Era to come back from two sets down to win in the final. He has also been runner-up at the French Open twice, as well as the Australian Open once. 

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Novak Djokovic’s Australian Open Injury ‘Hard To Believe’ In The Eyes Of His Opponent

Some details surrounding Djokovic’s battle with a hamstring issue ‘doesn’t make sense,’ according to Enzo Couacaud.

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Image via Adelaide International Twitter

The only man to take a set off Novak Djokovic during the Serbian’s run to a historic 10th Australian Open title believes there are unanswered questions over his injury. 

 

France’s Enzo Couacaud took a set off the world No.1 before losing their encounter in the second round at Melbourne Park. At the tournament Djokovic was dealing with a hamstring problem which he picked up at the Adelaide International earlier this year. Throughout the tournament, he was wearing strapping on his leg and there was uncertainty about if he would be able to continue playing in the Grand Slam event. 

Despite the issue, Djokovic claimed a record-equalling 22nd Grand Slam title by disposing of Stefanos Tsitsipas in straight sets in the final. Afterwards his coach, Goran Ivanisevic, claimed that 97% of players would not have played if they were in a similar situation. The exact diagnosis of Djokovic’s injury hasn’t been addressed by his team but Australian Open director Craig Tiley said he suffered a 3mm tear. 

However, Couacaud has questioned the significance of the injury to begin with. During an interview with Tennis Actu, the world No.172 believes that some of the details appear to be ‘far-fetched’ as he draws parallels with Rafael Nadal, as well as footballer Kylian Mbappe.  

“Novak claimed he was playing with an injury, a big injury,” said Couacaud. “When athletes are injured in combat sports, they often can’t continue. When Rafael Nadal is injured, he can’t run. Kylian Mbappe, for example, is out for two weeks.
“And those are the greatest athletes, not those who don’t have access to top-notch care. It is therefore difficult to believe that only one man in the world can continue with an injury.
“When you take the examples of Nadal or Mbappe, but especially Rafa, with an injury to Wimbledon, he couldn’t even serve. When you see the greatest who can’t set foot on the pitch and another who wins a Grand Slam by playing every day for 15 days. It still seems a bit far-fetched.
“There are little things that don’t make sense to me. I was always told not to stretch with an injury. You saw Novak stretching all the time. You say to yourself, either they have a new method in Serbia, or it’s weird. Little things like that, he has his staff, but I’m too far to judge the authenticity of anything. It is true that it seems hard to believe.”

It is not the first time Djokovic has faced accusations that he has in some way exaggerated the significance of an injury. He encountered a similar situation during the 2021 Australian Open where he suffered an abdominal injury. After winning the tournament, he confirmed that he sustained a tear in the region. 

Speaking to journalists at Melbourne Park last month, the tennis star once again hit back at his critics and claimed that he was being singled out. 

“I leave the doubting to those people – let them doubt,” Tennis Majors quoted Djokovic as saying in Serbian following his fourth round win over Alex de Minaur. “Only my injuries are questioned. When some other players are injured, then they are the victims, but when it is me, I am faking it. It is very interesting… I don’t feel that I need to prove anything to anyone.
“I am not really interested at this point what people are thinking and saying. It is fun, it is interesting to see how the narrative surrounding me continues, narrative that is different compared to other players that have been going through similar situation. But I am used to it, and it just gives me extra strength and motivation. So I thank them for that.”

Djokovic has won 93 ATP titles during his career which is the fourth-highest tally in history. Only Ivan Lendl (94), Roger Federer (102) and Jimmy Connors (109) have won more. 

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Nick Kyrgios Admits Assaulting Former Girlfriend But Avoids Prosecution

The tennis star says he ‘deeply regrets’ how he reacted during an argument with his former partner.

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Nick Kyrgios (AUS) playing against Felix Auger-Aliassime (CAN) in the third round of the Gentlemen's Singles on No.1 Court at The Championships 2021. Held at The All England Lawn Tennis Club, Wimbledon. Day 6 Saturday 03/07/2021. Credit: AELTC/Jonathan Nackstrand

Nick Kyrgios will not be charged with assault despite pleading guilty to shoving over his former girlfriend following an argument. 

 

The Wimbledon finalist attended court on Friday after he was accused by his former partner, Chiara Passari, of assaulting her during an incident that took place on January 10th 2021. Kyrgios was initially charged following an argument which took place outside of Passari’s apartment in the inner-city Canberra suburb of Kingston. 

At a hearing at the ACT Magistrates Court, it was revealed that Kyrgios’ ex-girlfriend was standing in front of an Uber car door which prevented him from closing it before he pushed her over. When she fell to the ground, he was heard saying ‘seriously.’ In the minutes leading up to what happened, Kyrgios told Passari “leave me the f*** alone” and to “just f***ing piss off” when he was asked to get out of the car and calm down. He had called for an Uber ride following their argument. 

Passari, who didn’t report the incident to the police until 10 months after it happened, suffered a grazed knee and hurt her shoulder as a result of her fall, according to her legal filing. Kyrgios apologized for his actions two days later when the two met at a Canberra cafe. Unknown to him at the time, that conversation was recorded by Passari. The two continued their relationship for some months before breaking up. 

Magistrate Beth Campbell has ruled in Kyrgios’ favour despite him owning up to his actions. In her verdict, Campbell said the seriousness of the matter was ‘low’ and the tennis star was not likely to re-offend again. 

“You acted in the heat of the moment,” she said.
“I am dealing with you in the same way I would deal with any young man in this court. You are a young man who happens to hit a tennis ball particularly well.”

During the hearing, evidence was heard from Kyrgios’ psychologist, Sam Borenstein, who said his mental health issues were ‘recurrent’ and he has suffered from thoughts of self-harm. Although Borestein says his condition has improved in recent times. Furthermore, Kyrgios’ lawyer, Michael Kukulies-Smith, said there was “a relationship between the mental health and the offending – even though he no longer suffers it to the same extent today.”

In a statement issued following the court’s decision, Kyrgios said he reacted ‘in a way he regretted’ and apologized for his actions. He went on to attribute what happened to his mental health condition at the time. 

“I respect today’s ruling and I am grateful to the court for dismissing the charges without conviction,” he said.
“I was not in a good place when this happened and I reacted to a difficult situation in a way I deeply regret. I know it wasn’t OK and I am sincerely sorry for the hurt I caused.
“Mental health is tough. Life can seem overwhelming. But I have found that getting help and working on myself has allowed me to feel better.”

Before his guilty plea, Kyrgios had argued that the charge should be dropped on the grounds of his mental health but that appeal was withdrawn when the court found that he is not currently suffering from a major depressive illness. 

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