Should Daniil Medvedev hire super coach Marat Safin? - UBITENNIS
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Should Daniil Medvedev hire super coach Marat Safin?

Could a potential partnership with Marat Safin help Daniil Medvedev in the future?



Daniil Medvedev (@WeAreTennis - Twitter)

World number two Daniil Medvedev is enjoying a very good week in Miami.

In fact, he is one win away from securing the world number one ranking once again.

Victory tonight against defending champion Hubert Hurkacz, will mean that Medvedev will kick off April next week, in pole position going into the third Masters event of the year, in Monte Carlo.

Which ironically, is home for the 26-year-old Russian.

This week he has blown away the likes of former world number one, Britain’s Andy Murray in straight sets.

As well as Spain’s Pedro Martinez and American Jenson Brooksby, and is yet to drop a set.

It’s safe to say Medvedev has been in inspired form.

And why? He looks motivated to claim back what he sees as rightfully his…the world number one name tag.

As well as the fact that the reigning US Open champion knows that he underperformed in California, after going down in three sets to Gaël Monfils.

But how can he improve?

Well, Medvedev is seen by some as incredibly strong on hard-courts but weak on the likes of clay and grass.

If he is to improve on these surfaces, he’s going to need a mentor.

Now, how awesome would it be if he recruited one of his idols in Marat Safin.

A former world number one, if anyone knows the kind of pressure Medvedev will face when the whole of the ATP Tour wants to beat you, it’s Safin.

Ironically, both players have appeared in a total of four Grand Slam finals.

They also share the similarity of both having won the US Open.

For Safin, his maiden Grand Slam victory came in New York way back in the year 2000 against home hope, Pete Sampras.

Think how hard a challenge that was for the then 20-year-old Russian.

But he had balls of steel to beat Sampras in his prime. A player who was world number one, riding high with seven Wimbledon titles and 13 Grand Slam titles to his name.

He would later go on to win his 14th and final major in 2002 at the US Open.

However, case and point is that Safin beat a player nine years his senior, and one of the best of all time, in his first ever Grand Slam final.

That shows how well Safin knows tennis and can handle nerves on the biggest stages in the world.

The only difference now is that he finished his career with two Grand Slams, and was therefore two for two in major finals.

Medvedev has won one, being last year’s US Open against Novak Djokovic and has lost the other three. Two against Rafael Nadal and another to Djokovic.

Like Safin, Medvedev also has a natural affinity for hard-courts.

Both have enjoyed success at the Australian Open and US Open. Medvedev with two final appearances at each. Safin with three Australian Open finals and one US Open.

Safin’s final Grand Slam title coming at the 2005 Australian Open, which was more or less the last time a man other than Roger Federer, Nadal or Djokovic would win a major over 15 years.

With Murray and Stan Wawrinka three times each, Marin Cilic, Juan Martin Del Potro, Dominic Thiem, and of course Medvedev one apiece, breaking the mould.

So, what can Safin add?

After that history lesson, you can see some clear parallels in their careers.

Yes, Safin also was not successful on clay or grass, like the current day Medvedev, but that doesn’t mean that he can’t help the modern-day Russian sports star.

If anything, the 42-year-old is seen as one of the legends of the game, and is often referenced by Federer as someone that pushed the Swiss to the limit, and got the best out of him in the early stages of his career.

That’s how highly Safin is rated within the game.

So, just think if that knowledge and experience was tapped into to help Medvedev to finally conqueror two surfaces he has struggled with in recent years.

We’ve seen Murray work with legend Ivan Lendl for a third time now. As well as both Cilic and Djokovic turning to Croatian and former Wimbledon champion, Goran Ivanišević.

Kei Nishikori has had Michael Chang in his corner for nearly a decade. Whilst Nadal has experienced stunning success with former world number one Carlos Moyá, his own idol.

Federer himself has former world number four, Ivan Ljubičić. Although, not a Grand Slam champion himself, the knowledge of a former top ten player can prove invaluable, especially in high pressure match situations.

Overall Verdict – James Spencer (Twitter @jspencer28)

For Medvedev to stay at the top of the sport and become one of the best of all time, he may well need a man like Safin to help him to achieve this goal.

Of course, he got there without a super coach which was all the more impressive, and worthy of respect.

However, if he wants to challenge Nadal on clay, and Djokovic on grass, recruiting someone with experience, and know-how, could well prove the catalyst to help him make the minor adjustments needed to become a major force on those surfaces.

Sometimes converting weaknesses into our greatest strengths is the most fulfilling journey of all.

With both the clay and grass-court seasons on the horizon, now might be the perfect time for Medvedev to give one of his idols a call.


Wrist Injury Threatening To End Holger Rune’s Olympic Dream



Holger Rune will have a second medical opinion on Monday before deciding if he is fit enough to play at the Olympic Games, according to his team. 

The Danish world No.17 recently retired from his quarter-final match at the Hamburg Open due to a knee injury. The hope at the time was that his withdrawal would be just a precautionary measure ahead of the Olympics. However, he is also dealing with a second issue that appears to be more serious.

According to TV 2 Sport, Rune has been struggling with a wrist issue and underwent a scan on Sunday which his mother Aneke says ‘doesn’t look promising.’ Aneke is also the manager of her son’s career. Rune’s Olympic dreams now rest on the outcome of a second medical expert that he will visit tomorrow who has a better understanding of the sport. 

“Unfortunately, it does not look promising after the first medical opinion after the review of the scan of the wrist,” Aneke Rune told TV 2 Sport.

“We are waiting for two tennis-specific doctors who will give a second opinion tomorrow (Monday). Tennis wrists look different from regular wrists, so we’ll hold out hope for one more day.” 

Rune is one of three Danish players entered into the Olympic tennis event along with Caroline Wozniacki and Clara Tauson. The country has only won one medal in tennis before which was at the 1912 Games when Sofie Castenschiold won silver in the women’s indoor singles event. 

So far this season, the 21-year-old has won 27 matches on the Tour but is yet to claim a title. He reached the final of the Brisbane International and then the semi-finals of three more events. In the Grand Slams, he made it to the fourth round of the French Open and Wimbledon. 

It is not known when a final decision regarding Rune’s participation in Paris will be made.

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Hubert Hurkacz Undergoes ‘Knee Procedure’ Ahead of Olympic Bid



Poland’s top player on the ATP Tour is not giving up on his dream of winning a medal at the Olympic Games despite recently undergoing a medical procedure.

World No.7 Hubert Hurkacz suffered a knee injury during his second round clash at Wimbledon against France’s Arthur Fils. In the fourth set tiebreak of their clash, Hurkacz dived for a shot but landed badly on his knee and required on-court medical attention. He then played two more points before retiring from the match. 

In a social media post published on Wednesday, the  27-year-old confirmed he underwent a procedure on his knee earlier this week but didn’t provide any further details.  Although Hurkacz has stated his intention to play at the upcoming Olympic Games in Paris, where the tennis event will be held on the clay at Roland Garros. 

“I had a knee procedure this Monday, but I’m feeling better already and my team and are dedicating extensive time each day to the rehab process.” He wrote on Instagram. 

“It’s a dream for every athlete to represent their country at the Olympics, and I want to make sure I am fully fit and ready before making the final decision to step on court. The aim is not only to participate, but to win a medal for my country.”

So far this season Hurkacz has won 34 out of 48 matches played on the Tour. He won the Estoril Open in April and was runner-up to Jannik Sinner in Halle. 

The Olympic tennis event is scheduled to begin a week Saturday on July 27th. Poland is yet to win a medal in the event but expectations are high with women’s No.1 Iga Swiatek also taking part. 

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Motivation, Pressure And Expectations – Novak Djokovic Targets History At Wimbledon



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Novak Djokovic has broken numerous records throughout his career but he still feels the pressure of trying to make history in the sport. 

The world No.2 is through to his 10th Wimbledon final where he will play Carlos Alcaraz, who beat him at this stage of the tournament 12 months ago. There is plenty on the line for the Serbian who could equal Roger Federer’s record for most men’s titles won at SW19 and break the overall record for most major singles won in the sport if he triumphs over the Spaniard. Djokovic currently has 24 Grand Slam trophies to his name which is the same as Margaret Court, who won some of her titles before the Open Era started. 

“Obviously I’m aware that Roger [Federer] holds eight Wimbledons. I hold seven. History is on the line.” Djokovic said on Friday after beating Lorenzo Musetti.

“Also, the 25th potential Grand Slam. Of course, it serves as a great motivation, but at the same time it’s also a lot of pressure and expectations.”

Coming into Wimbledon, there had been doubts over Djokovic’s form after he underwent surgery to treat a knee injury he suffered at the French Open. However, he has defied the odds to reach the final. His run has also seen him beat Alexi Popyrin and Holger Rune before getting a walkover in the quarter-finals from Alex de Minaur, who sustained an injury during the tournament. Then on Friday, he overcame a spirited Musetti in three sets. 

Despite the challenge, Djokovic has insisted that his expectations to do well are always high no matter what the situation is. During what has been a roller-coaster first six months of the season, he is yet to win a title this year or beat a player currently ranked in the top 10. Although he will achieve both of these if her beats Alcaraz on Sunday. 

“Every time I step out on the court now, even though I’m 37 and competing with the 21-year-olds, I still expect myself to win most of the matches, and people expect me to win, whatever, 99% of the matches that I play.” He said.

“I always have to come out on the court and perform my best in order to still be at the level with Carlos [Alcaraz] or Jannik [Sinner] or Sascha [Zverev] or any of those guys, Daniil [Medvedev]. 

“This year hasn’t been that successful for me. It’s probably the weakest results the first six months I’ve had in many years. That’s okay. I had to adapt and accept that and really try to find also way out from the injury that I had and kind of regroup.”

Djokovic hopes that a Wimbledon win will help turn his season around like it has done in the past for him. 

“Wimbledon historically there’s been seasons where I wasn’t maybe playing at a desired level, but then I would win a Wimbledon title and then things would change.” He commented.

“For example, that was the case in 2018 when I had elbow surgery earlier in the year, dropped my rankings out of top 20, losing in fourth round of Australian Open, I think it was quarters of Roland-Garros, and just not playing the tennis that I want to play. Then I won Wimbledon and then won US Open and then later on became No.1 very soon.”

Meanwhile, 21-year-old Alcaraz is hoping to stop Djokovic in his tracks. Should he defend his title at Wimbledon, he would become the first player outside the Big Three to do so since Pete Sampras more than 20 years ago. He has won their only previous meeting on the grass but trails their head-to-head 3-2. 

“I’m sure he knows what he has to do to beat me,” said Alcaraz.

“But I’m ready to take that challenge and I’m ready to do it well.”

When the two players take to the court to play in the Wimbledon final, Djokovic will be 15 years and 348 days older than Alcaraz. Making it the largest age gap in a men’s Grand Slam final since the 1974 US Open. Whoever is victorious will receive £2,700,000 in prize money. 

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