Mubadala World Tennis Championships In Quotes: Ruud’s Goal, Alcaraz’s Memories Of Ferrero And Norrie’s Expectations   - UBITENNIS
Connect with us

ATP

Mubadala World Tennis Championships In Quotes: Ruud’s Goal, Alcaraz’s Memories Of Ferrero And Norrie’s Expectations  

During this year’s exhibition tournament in the Middle East, Ubitennis asked an array of questions to some of those participating. 

Published

on

For over a decade the Mubadala World Tennis Championships has been a regular fixture in the tennis off-season. 

Starting in 2009, the annual event has featured some of the biggest names in men’s tennis with previous winners including Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray. Since 2017, organizers have also held an exhibition women’s match with this year’s clash seeing Ons Jabeur ousting 2021 US Open champion Emma Raducanu in three sets. 

As for the men’s tournament, four out of the six participants this season are currently ranked in the world’s top 10. Ahead of the final day of action, Ubitennis quizzed some of those players in Abu Dhabi about a variety of topics ranging from their experience of the tournament to their ultimate goal in the sport. 

Borna Coric had fun but not as much as his team

Coric came in as a late replacement for Frances Tiafoe who was forced to pull out due to an unspecified injury. Playing in the tournament for the first time, he suffered back-to-back defeats to Andrey Rublev in the quarter-finals and then Cameron Norrie in the fifth place play-off. 

Reflecting on his experience, the Croat has only good things to say about the city. Even though he was unable to explore it as his team did. 

“I enjoyed my time here. It is a very nice city. I haven’t done much to be honest because I arrived in the late afternoon and practised on my first day. Then I had a couple of things to do with the tennis side so I couldn’t really do much. My team went to the Ferrari World and the mosque so they had a much better time than me.”

Ruud slowly adjusting

Does Casper Ruud ever rest? After playing at the ATP Finals in Turin, he traveled across South America to play in a series of exhibition matches against 22-time Grand Slam winner Rafael Nadal. Ruud, who played 73 ATP Tour matches in 2022, unsurprisingly had issues adjusting to the conditions in the Middle East after playing across Europe and South America. 

“The court is a little bit different and it took some time for me to get used to it because I have been playing mainly indoors in recent weeks. Especially in South America where I was playing exhibition matches against Rafa (Nadal) indoors. Took me a bit longer to get used to the warmer weather but I’m feeling a bit better day by day.”

On Sunday, Ruud defeated world No.1 Alcaraz 6-1, 6-4, to win the third-place play-off. 

Norrie aiming high 

After reaching his first Grand Slam semi-final in July, Cameron Norrie is hungry for even more. This year he has won titles in Delray Beach and Lyon, as well as finishing runner-up at two other events. However, Norrie is far from satisfied with his performance. 

“I think last year wasn’t a surprise because I felt good and I had a really good year. This year has been good but I do wish I could have done a bit better. But I think that is just how my expectations change. I finished 10th or 11th last year. So it is tough to finish around the same this year with Wimbledon not awarding points. Maybe I could have been a bit better this year. Overall, it was a good year with a lot of good wins. My expectations (for 2023) go up and up so I am going to have to fulfill those.”

This week the Brit lost to Stefanos Tsitsipas before beating Coric at the exhibition event. 

Alcaraz vividly remembers watching his mentor plays

Juan Carlos Ferrero has been the driving force behind Carlos Alcaraz’s meteoric rise in the sport which has seen the youngster end 2022 as world No.1 despite being only 19. Unsurprisingly he has been named Coach of the Year by the ATP.

There is a strong bond between the two but does Alcaraz remember much of Ferrero as a competitive player? 

“I don’t remember too much about the first time I watched Juan Carlos Ferrero play in real life. I watched a lot of videos of him playing at his best level at his best tournaments. However, I don’t remember much about watching him in real life or on TV.”

In all fairness to Alcaraz, he was just nine when Ferrero retired from professional tennis in 2012. 

Ruud: Give me a Grand Slam, not the No.1 spot

Ruud has been agonizingly close to the two biggest milestones in tennis – becoming world No.1 and winning a Grand Slam. The two-time major finalist is currently ranked No.3 in the world and is 1000 points behind leader Alcaraz. But if he could choose, which one would he pick?

“It has to be to win a Grand Slam for me. The Grand Slam trophy is something you can keep forever. Whilst the No.1 position is something you can have temporarily but you can not have it forever. Ok, you can have the career-high No.1 ranking forever but to me, the biggest goal for me and many other players is to try to win a Grand Slam.”

The Mubadala World Tennis Championships concluded on Sunday with Stefanos Tsitsipas defeating Rublev 6-2, 4-6, 6-2, in the final. 

Note: all questions asked by Ubitennis were during the players’ press conferences by Andras Ruszanov who is the founder of www.db4tennis.com

ATP

Carlos Alcaraz In Doubt For Madrid Open Title Defence

Published

on

Carlos Alcaraz admits that he is not certain if he will be ready in time to play at next week’s Madrid Masters.

The 20-year-old is yet to play a clay tournament in Europe due to a forearm injury which ruled him out of both Monte Carlo and Barcelona. He hurt his right arm whilst training shortly before the Monte Carlo event began. 

It is the latest in a series of injury issues that has affected Alcaraz throughout his young career. Since the start of 2023, he has also been derailed by issues with his abdominal, hamstring, post-traumatic arthritis in his left hand and muscular discomfort in his spine. 

“My feeling isn’t right, but it is what it is. Now I’m fully focused on recovery and I have a little more time,” Alcaraz told reporters in Barcelona on Monday.
“My goal is to try and go to the Madrid Open, but at the moment nothing is certain. I was given specific recovery times and I’ve respected them, but I haven’t felt good. I don’t want to get ahead of myself.
“I can’t say I’ll be 100% in Madrid, but that’s my intention. We’ll train and do everything we can so that the feelings improve so I can play a match … It’s also a very special tournament for me.”

Alcaraz has won the past two editions of the Madrid Open, which is classed as a Masters 1000 event. In 2022 he defeated Alexander Zverev in the final and then 12 months later he beat Jan-Lennard Struff in the title match.

The setback comes after what has been a steady start to the year for Alcaraz who has reached the quarter-finals or better in four out of five tournaments played. He successfully defended his title in Indian Wells and then reached the semi-finals in Miami. 

Should he not play in Madrid, it is likely that the Spaniard will lose his No.2 spot to Jannik Sinner who is just over 100 points behind him in the standings. He will still have the chance to play a clay-court event before the French Open with Rome taking place early next month. 

Continue Reading

ATP

Olympic Qualification Is Not the Only Goal For French Veteran Gael Monfils

Published

on

Gael Monfils (image via https://twitter.com/atptour)

Gael Monfils admits he doesn’t have too many years left on the Tour but this doesn’t mean his targets are any less ambitious. 

The 37-year-old has enjoyed a rapid rise up the rankings over the past 12 months following battles with injury. At his lowest, he was ranked 394th last May but is now in 40th position. As a result, he is closing on securing a place in the Olympic Games which is being held in his home country of France for the first time since 1924. The tennis event will be staged at Roland Garros. 

“When I was 400, I was thinking the Olympics would be great, but it’s going to be tough,” Monfils told reporters on Tuesday. 
“There are younger players playing well. If I don’t qualify, I don’t mind. It will just mean I’m very close to the ranking I want to be. That ranking will allow me to find another goal.”

Monfils is already a three-time Olympian but has never won a medal at the event. He reached the quarter-finals of the singles tournament twice in 2008 and 2016. 

Another goal of Frenchmen is the Wimbledon championships which concludes just three weeks before the Olympics begin. The proximity of these tournaments will be a challenge to all players who will be going from playing on clay to grass and then back to clay again. 

“I really want to go and play Wimbledon. I don’t have so many Wimbledons to play in the future. The Olympics is one goal, not the only goal.” Monfils states.
“My dream is of course to be part of the Olympics. I played three times at the Olympics. I’d like to be there again. But I also really want to do well in Wimbledon this year. To reach my goal, it has to be including Wimbledon.” He added. 

Monfils is currently playing at the Monte Carlo Masters where he beat Aleksandar Vukic in his opening match. In the next round, he will take on Daniil Medvedev in what will be their first meeting since 2022. He leads their head-to-head 2-1. 

Medvedev has openly spoken about his roller-coaster relationship with playing on the clay. He admits it is not his favourite surface but how much of a factor could this be in his upcoming clash with Monfils?

“Of course, it’s not his favourite one, but he’s still Daniil Medvedev, and whatever the surface, it’s always very complicated to play him,” Monfils concludes. 

Continue Reading

ATP

Matteo Berrettini wins in Marrakech displaying quality tennis

Published

on

Matteo Berrettini - Marrakech 2024 (photo X @ATPTour_ES)

Matteo Berrettini defeats Roberto Carballes Baena in straight sets, 75 62, and proves that his comeback is well grounded  

If life is often considered a continuous narrative, it may be no coincidence that today Matteo Berrettini’s comeback journey intersescted Carballes Baena, a player he had faced twice in straight tournaments, Florence and Naples in October 2022, shortly before plunging into his annus horribilis, an injury-plagued 2023.

Just like resuming the story from where it was left.

Carballes Baena, the defending champion, got off to a sharper start, holding serve with ease and earning a first break point in the second game. Berrettini averted the threat by hammering down three serves but lost his service two games later.

Doubts on the Italian’s recovery from his energy-draining semifinal may have been starting to come afloat. However Berrettini broke back immediately, unsettling the Spaniard’s consistency with changes of pace and alternating lifted and sliced backhands.

The next six games neatly followed serve. Figures witness how close the match was. After 45 minutes the scoreboard read 5 games all, and stats reported 27 points apiece.

The eleventh game was to be crucial. Carballes Baena netted two forehands, while trying to hit through the Italian’s skidding spins and conceded a break point. Berrettini followed up two massive forehands with a delicate, unreachable drop shot and secured the break.

Carballes Baena was far from discouraged, and fired two forehand winners dashing to 0 40  with the Italian serving for the set.

Berrettini was lucky to save the first break point with a forehand that pinched the top of the net, and trickled over. Then he hit two winning first serves to draw even. Then again two first serves paired with their loyal forehand winner: Berrettini’s copyright gamepattern sealed a 59 minute first set.

The match seemed about to swing round at the very start of the second set when Carballes Baena had three break points and was winning all the longer rallies. Once more Berrettini got out of trouble thanks to his serve. Carballes Baena’s disappointment turned into frustration after he failed to put away two quite comfortable smashes and lost his service immediately after.  

Unforced errors were seeping into the Spaniard’s game and when Berrettini won a 16-shot rally with a stunning crosscourt forehand on the stretch and went on to grab a two-break lead, the match appeared to have taken its final twist.

Berrettini did not falter when serving for the match at 5 2, despite an unforced error on the first point. Three first serves chauffeured him to two match points.

Carballes Baena only succeeded in bravely saving the first, well steering the rally. But the 2021 Wimbledon finalist produced a massive serve out wide and joyfully lifted his arms to the sky, for a most emotional victory. It means so much to a player whose talent and career have been incessantly diminished by injuries.

It’s been a tough last couple of years” Matteo Berrettini said, holding the trophy. “Thanks to my team I was able to overcome all the tough moments my body didn’t allow me to play. I thank you and all the people that made my comeback possible: all my friends and my family, the people that were with me all the time when I was sad, injured and I didn’t think I could make it.”

Continue Reading

Trending