Extending Masters Events To 12 Days Gives Less Down Time To Players, Says Andy Murray - UBITENNIS
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Extending Masters Events To 12 Days Gives Less Down Time To Players, Says Andy Murray

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Andy Murray (GBR) - Credit: AELTC/Edward Whitaker

Three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray says he ‘is not a massive fan’ of the move by the ATP to increase the length of Masters 1000 tournaments in Madrid and Rome to 12 days. 

Last summer the governing body of men’s tennis confirmed that from 2023 the two European clay-court events will have their sizes increase from eight-day, 56-player draws to 12-day, 96-player draw tournaments. The move is part of the ATP’s ‘OneVision’ strategic plan which they say is designed to take tennis to a new height.  

This year the Shanghai Masters will also be extended followed by events in Cincinnati and Canada from 2025. Indian Wells and Miami already operate on a two-week schedule. Supporters of the plan say this will provide more playing opportunities for the lower-ranked players to participate in this category of events. 

However, Murray still has his reservations about the new format. Speaking to reporters following his loss to Andrea Vavassori in the first round of the Madrid Open, the former world No.1 says top players now have less time to unwind during what is already a packed calendar that begins in January and ends in November.

“I’m not a massive fan of it but I’m also open to change and trying new things and seeing how it works out for the ATP and for the players,” said Murray. 
“If I think back to before when I did really well in these tournaments, for the top players you’d be arriving on like the Thursday, Friday before the event, and it was two-and-a-half weeks from when you might arrive here (in Madrid) till the final in Rome.’
“Now that is four weeks. Quite a long and big change for players. In terms of like time to switch off and everything, I think it just reduces that a little bit.”

35-year-old Murray has played in more than 100 Masters 1000 main draw events in his career, winning a total of 14 titles. He has beaten every member of the Big Three at least once in the final of these events. 

“We’ll see whether it’s a beneficial thing for the tour in years to come,” he continued about the 12-day format.
“I have heard (from) a lot of players just over the years about the tennis season being very long and everything. I don’t think that this necessarily shortens it for the players. It’s just a little bit more time at tournaments, a little bit more time on the road. I’m not sure about it.”

Murray is currently on a four-match losing streak and is yet to register a win on the clay this season. A frustrating situation for the Brit who started 2023 in encouraging form with runs to the third round of the Australian Open and the final in Doha. 

He is yet to confirm his palms for the upcoming French Open which begins at the end of May. Murray has only played at the Grand Slam only once since 2018. Whilst he may have doubts over his abilities on the clay, when it comes to the grass it is the opposite. 

“I would like to play (at the French Open) purely because I don’t know if I’ll get another opportunity to play again. Whilst I feel fit and healthy, I would like to give it a go,” he said. 
“But I also have ambitions of competing for Wimbledon titles. I know that sitting here today that probably doesn’t sound realistic, but I do believe that that’s a possibility. I obviously want to do the right thing there.”

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Wrist Injury Threatening To End Holger Rune’s Olympic Dream

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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

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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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image via x.com/wimbledon

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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