EXCLUSIVE: Borna Coric On Motivation, Shoulder Pain And His Admiration For Cilic - UBITENNIS
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EXCLUSIVE: Borna Coric On Motivation, Shoulder Pain And His Admiration For Cilic

The world No.28 spoke to Ubitennis following his quarter-final loss at the Japan Open about an array of topics.



Borna Coric - US Open 2020 (via Twitter, @usopen)

Borna Coric first burst onto the scene as a teenage sensation tipped by many to be the next big thing in tennis. 

At the age of 19, he became the youngest player to finish the 2015 season inside the world’s top 50 on the ATP Pepperstone rankings. The following year he became the youngest player in eight years to contest a World Tour Final and the youngest in a decade to reach a Masters 1000 quarter-final in Madrid.

Over the coming years, Coric has won three ATP titles so far in his career with the most prestigious occurring this summer at the Cincinnati Masters. He has also reached the final of another five tournaments, as well as the quarter-finals of the 2020 US Open. 

There have also been challenges for the Croat throughout his career. A troublesome shoulder issue resulted in him undergoing surgery and missing 12 months of the Tour between 2021-2022. Despite the setback, he was determined to return to action as soon as he was able to. 

“I just like tennis and I want to compete with the guys on the Tour. I like my lifestyle,” he said during a interview with Ubitennis in Tokyo.
“This was my main motivation, I knew I could come back and I just needed to work hard.”

Since starting his comeback from injury, the 25-year-old has won 16 matches against 10 losses on the Tour. Besides Cincinnati, he also reached the quarter-finals of the Hamberg Open and won a Challenger tournament in Italy. Slowly making progress towards a place inside the top 20 once again, Coric admits that he still has some pain in his shoulder but it is something he has grown accustomed to. 

“There are going to be times when my shoulder is going to be hurting a little bit. I know I can not injure it more, it’s just going to be hurting a little bit and then the next morning it’s going to be aching. That’s pretty much it,” he explains. 
“The only thing which I need to deal with is the pain. It is not going to get worse and I can’t damage anything. It is just going to be there sometimes.’
“As long as it’s not too often and like it was before I had surgery, it’s fine.”

Playing the Big Four, love for Wimbledon 

Image via https://twitter.com/borna_coric

Whilst he is yet to crack the top 10, Coric is one of a few players who has beaten three members of the Big Four multiple times in his career. He leads Rafael Nadal 3-2 in their head-to-head and has beaten both Andy Murray and Roger Federer twice. The only member of the group he is yet to get the better of is Novak Djokovic who he has lost to in all four of their encounters.

Nevertheless, Nadal and Djokovic remain the players to beat in Grand Slam events. Between them, they have won three out of the four Grand Slams this year. Carlos Alcaraz won the US Open. 

“Back then it was mostly physical and also a bit of the mental side,” Coric said of the last time he played a member of the Big Four at a major.
“At the end of the day I haven’t played against them for a very long time in the Grand Slams so let’s see what happens next time. Maybe I play better, maybe I play worse. I’m not sure. I think I’m better physically than in 2015/2016 but you never know.”

Interestingly when it comes to Coric’s favourite Grand Slam and surface, his answer comes as a surprise to some. As a junior, he won the US Open boy’s title and the tournament is where he achieved his best result on a professional level. However, it is another tournament which he has labelled as the most special. 

“It will probably be Wimbledon just because of the grass. It’s very special but probably the least chance I have of winning (out of the Grand Slams) because I am not as good on grass as the other surfaces and I didn’t play Wimbledon for the last three years. At the same time, it’s my favourite tournament and it has been my dream to win since I was a kid.” He said. 

Coric has only ever won one match at Wimbledon but he hasn’t played there since 2018. 

The last Croat to reach the final at SW19 was Marin Cilic in 2017 who has been somewhat of an Achilles heel for Coric over the years. He has a losing 0-8 record against Cilic who is almost nine years older than him. 

“He just knows my game very well. Two times I felt like I was very close, I was unlucky. The other six times he was just playing great.” Coric said of his compatriot. 
“When he plays at his best he’s right up there as the top five in the world.
“He’s my very good friend and we live in the same building and train a lot together.”

The full interview between Coric and Andras Ruszanov can be listened to below.


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



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



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.


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.


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.


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



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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