Nick Kyrgios Is At Peace Off The Court And Shines When He Is On It In Miami - UBITENNIS
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Nick Kyrgios Is At Peace Off The Court And Shines When He Is On It In Miami

In a career affected by injury and controversy, there are signs that the Australian has finally found his equilibrium in the sport.

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Image via https://twitter.com/ATPTour_ES

During what has been a turbulent career Nick Kyrgios believes he is now ‘at peace’ and it is hard to dispute this claim considering the form he has illustrated at the Miami Open.

The Australian tennis star has for years been named as one of the most explosive and talented players in men’s tennis whose trajectory in the sport has been hindered by numerous issues. In recent years Kyrgios has had to contend with injuries with the most recent being a meniscus tear he sustained midway through 2021 in his left knee. Then there is also his at times controversial behavior on the court which has landed him thousands of dollars in fines and even at one stage a suspended ban back in 2019. Furthermore, he has also been criticized in the past for a perceived lack of commitment to the sport.

Away from the limelight, Kyrgios has also battled his own demons after speaking publicly about his battle with mental health in an Instagram post earlier this season. Perhaps an unsurprising revelation from a player who developed the tag of being a bad boy of the sport with many scrutinizing his behavior.

However, at the age of 26 there is hope that Kyrgios has finally found his equilibrium.

“I definitely feel like more often than not for most players if they are feeling at peace off the court, they are probably feeling more mentally clearer on the court and being able to process high-pressure situations better,” Kyrgios told reporters at the Miami Open on Sunday.
“I’d probably say that as of now when I’m in those high-pressure situations and the breakpoints are coming, I look at my team and I find motivation and peace in playing those big points. I definitely put more into those points effort-wise. I guess there is definitely a correlation.”

There is no doubt that Kyrgios can still challenge for Tour titles given some of the emphatic tennis he has produced at the Miami Masters so far. He kicked off his campaign with a straight sets win over France’s Adrian Mannarino. Then in the second round he thrashed world No.7 Andrey Rublev 6-3, 6-0, by dominating the match with his powerful serve and speedy play. Kyrgios’ latest win was on Sunday against Fabio Fognini who he dismissed 6-2, 6-4, with the help of a 82% winning rate behind his serve.

It is clear that the Australian has once again got himself in a position where he is considered among one of the world’s top players, even if his ranking suggests otherwise. Kyrgios is currently ranked 102nd in the world. Although the journey to get where he is currently hasn’t been an easy one.

“I felt like I constantly played so much under that mental stress and negativity that I genuinely just couldn’t function anymore with the pressures. I couldn’t function with the negativity,” he explains.
“Every day was just constant negativity from you guys (the media), from eventually my family, eventually from my friends, from everyone. There was no positivity, and it was just eating me up and I just genuinely hated my life.’
“It’s taken a long time and obviously I’m just towards a point where I’m just happy now. I don’t take anything for granted. I’ve got a beautiful girlfriend. My best friend is here (in Miami). I’m playing some great tennis.’
“I just try and stay in the moment, stay on my feet or in the present. I think of all those mistakes that I have made prior. There is no time for regret for me, and I just get on with it now. I just try and be positive, try and help others, and try and uplift.”

Even though Kyrgios’ tennis is on the up, it is important to take note of his general approach to life on the Tour. Whilst his peers have goals of reaching world No.1 and winning Grand Slam titles, for him those benchmarks are ones ‘something he does not value.’

“I felt like when I was young I wanted — my sole purpose was to get on the tour and show people that someone like me could compete at the highest level and beat all the best players in the world doing it my way,” said Kyrgios.
“I think that athletes always think when they are young that there is always a certain way to do it, like you have to be so professional, you have to do this, you have to do that, but you really don’t.’
“I think I’ve paved the way. I think that’s why a lot of people relate to me on the court, because they’re saying, Well, if this kid can do it, then they start believing.”

Kyrgios himself admits he is a hot and cold player who can produce a world-class win in one round and then fall apart in the next. Only time will tell if he will be able to keep up his surge of form this year. Outside of Miami, he also won the Australian Open doubles title with Thanassi Kokkinakis and reached the quarter-finals in Indian Wells where he took Rafael Nadal to three sets.

Awaiting the 26-year-old next in Miami is Italy’s Jannik Sinner who he describes as a player who is ‘going to do special things in the sport.’ It will be the first meeting between the two.

Undoubtedly Kyrgios is back on the Tour playing at his best but how long will it last for?

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Jack Draper Wins In Stuttgart, Potentially Faces Andy Murray in Round Two

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Jack Draper – ATP Monaco di Baviera 2024 (foto via Twitter @atptour)

Britain’s Jack Draper tight first round win headlined the opening day’s results at the Boss Open 2024 in Stuttgart – and possibly faces a second-round match with Andy Murray who takes on Marcos Giron tomorrow.

Less than 24 hours from the last ball being hit at Roland Garros, the ATP Tour had already switched surfaces onto the grass, and 22-year-old Draper was well tested but ultimately came through in two tie-breakers over Sebastian Ofner.

The sixth seed’s 7-6, 7-6 win contained just one break of serve each, both coming in the second set, as serve dominated proceedings on the faster grass courts in Germany.

While the Austrian won 75% on his first serve, Draper won a whopping 89% behind his first delivery as well as hitting eight aces. These kind of service stats will surely take him far during the grass court season.

“I thought it was a really good match,” Eurosport quoted Draper saying after his match. 
“Both of us played really clean tennis, executing really well.
“When it came down to it, I’m glad I competed really well and got over the line – it’s good to be back on the grass as well.”

There were also wins for Germany’s Yannick Hanfmann who won 6-3, 6-3 over wildcard Henri Squire, while compatriot Dominik Koepfer won in three sets over China’s Zhizhen Zhang 4-6, 7-6, 7-6. 

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Carlos Alcaraz Still Owns A Magical Racket

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The legend of Carlos Alcaraz and his magical racket lives on.

The 21-year-old Spaniard executed one magical shot after another with his racket and legs  Sunday afternoon in the French Open final. That bit of magic spelled defeat for Germany’s Alexander Zverev.

This was a final to remember, one of the great matches of all the Grand Slams. It just wasn’t in the cards for the 26-year-old Zverev to finally win a Grand Slam title.

HE HAD IT, THEN HE DIDN’T

Both players seemed to play a game of “he had it and then he didn’t.”

Alcaraz appeared to have everything under control in the first set, but Zverev rushed through the second set and then made a comeback from 5-2 down in the third set to win five straight games.

Zverev had everything going for him when he started the fourth set with a two-set advantage. It appeared that all the 6-6 Zverev had to do was to continue playing his masterful game of big serves and mighty ground strokes.

But Zverev couldn’t get started in the fourth set until he was down 4-0. So much for a smooth and easy ride to a Grand Slam title. By then, the magic of Alcaraz was heating up.

MAGIC OF ALCARAZ HEATING UP

Zverev still had his chances, even when he fell behind 2-1 in the fifth set. He had to feel pretty good about his chances when he took a triple break point lead against Alcaraz’s serve and appeared ready to even the set at 2-2. Even after Carlos came up with a winner to bring the  game score to double break point.

Zverev still was ready to even the entire match.

That’s when everything seemed to go haywire for the German, while all the while, Alcaraz was able to repeatedly come up with his magical shots as the Spaniard made critical shots that looked almost impossible to make.

ALCARAZ HEADED FOR GREATNESS

Everything for Zverev was lost in the magical racket of Alcaraz.

What was then initially called a game-ending Alcaraz double fault and a 2-2 deadlock quicky reversed itself and Alcaraz stayed alive by winning the next three points while taking a 3-1 advantage.

Zverev did get back to a 3-2 deficit and had a break point in the sixth game, but that was it for the hopes of Zverev. The last two games went rather easily in favor of Alcaraz to wrap up a 6-3, 2-6, 5-7, 6-1, 6-2 victory for Alcaraz.

That moved the Spaniard to a higher level of success on the ATP Tour. He became the youngest man to win Grand Slam titles on all of the different surfaces, clay, grass and hard courts.

Carlos Alcaraz and his magical racket appear to be headed for greatness.

James Beck was the 2003 winner of the USTA National Media Award  for print media. A 1995 MBA graduate of The Citadel, he can be reached at Jamesbecktennis@gmail.com. 

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Tsitsipas Brothers Hit With Trio Of Fines At French Open

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Stefanos Tsitsipas and his brother Petros have been fined more than 20,000 euros for multiple violations of the coaching rules at this year’s French Open. 

The brothers received a financial penalty during three different matches that they played in. Two of those were in the second and third rounds of the men’s doubles tournament. Furthermore, Stefanos was also penalised during his singles quarter-final match against Carlos Alcaraz, which he lost in straight sets. According to French newspaper L’Equipe, all three of those fines were issued as a result of coaching rules being broken.

Ironically, coaching is allowed during matches at the French Open but certain rules must be followed. ‘Verbal’ coaching can only be issued from the coaches and their team if they are sitting in the designated player’s box. Instructions must be limited to a few words and can only be given if the player is in the same half of the court as their coach. Although non-verbal coaching is allowed regardless of what side the player is on. Finally, players can’t start a conversation with their coach unless it is during a medical break, a bathroom break or when their opponent is changing clothes.

However, the Tsitsipas brothers have been found in violation of these rules, which is likely due to their animated father in the stands who is also their coach. Apostolos Tsitsipas has been given coaching violations in the past at other events, including the 2022 Australian Open. 

The value of the fines are €4,600 and €9,200 for the Tsitsipas brothers in the doubles, as well as an additional €7,400 just for Stefanos in the singles. In total, the value of their fines is €21,200. However, the penalty is unlikely to have an impact on the duo whose combined earnings for playing in this year’s French Open amount to roughly €495,000. 

So far in the tournament, the highest single fine to be issued this year was against Terence Atmane who hit a ball out of frustration that struck a fan in the stands. Atmane, who later apologised for his actions, managed to avoid getting disqualified from the match. Instead, he was fined €23,000. 

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