Grand Slam Champs Dominic Thiem, Andy Murray Vow To Keep Fighting Despite Setbacks - UBITENNIS
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Grand Slam Champs Dominic Thiem, Andy Murray Vow To Keep Fighting Despite Setbacks

The two players are struggling to get back to their best on the Tour with 2024 likely to be a crucial year for both.

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The pictures have been approved for editorial use and are available free of charge if they are used for announcements and coverage in the press and media for the „Erste Bank Open 2022“ at the Erste Bank Wiener Stadthalle, quoting the source and copyright (© e-motion/Bildagentur Zolles KG/Martin Steiger).

Dominic Thiem says he sees this season as his ‘final chance’ to climb the rankings to a position where he wants to be. 

The Austrian claimed the biggest title of his career at the 2021 US Open where he beat Alexander Zverev in the final. However, the following year he sustained a wrist injury during the summer that sidelined him from the Tour for months. Since then he has struggled to find the consistency in his form that has taken him to a ranking high of No.3 in the world. 

Thiem is currently ranked 90th in the ATP standings and has been outside the top 50 since April 2022. He started this season by losing in the first round of the Brisbane International to Rafael Nadal after coming through two rounds of qualifying. Then at the Australian Open, he lost his opening match to Felix Auger-Aliassime in five sets. 

“I see this as my last chance. If I make it, it can happen quickly,” Thiem told newspaper Der Standard on Tuesday.
“I’ve been back for two years now since the injury, and I finished 2022 on 100 or so and last year on 98. If I finish the year on 100 again, you have to think about whether it’s still worth it.
“I’ve been in rankings for two years now that I don’t want to be in. Of course that weighs on me … I’ve been chasing the feeling of really being able to play tennis in a match again for a long time. And the way I expect myself to.”

Thiem has also made changes to his coaching team after parting ways with Benjamin Ebrahimzadeh. He has yet to announce who will be replacing him. 

Like Thiem, this season is likely to be significant for Andy Murray and his future. The former world No.1 and three-time Grand Slam winner is currently going through a rough period on the Tour with a series of disappointing losses. He is currently 0-3 this year with first round losses to Grigor Dimitrov (Brisbane), Tomás Martín Etcheverry (Australian Open) and Benoit Paire (Open Sud de France). 

Earlier this week, a BBC journalist wrote an article asking when Murray should retire from the sport. in one section he wrote ‘at what point does bravely soldiering on start to damage his legacy?’ Something that prompted the Brit to hit back on social media. 

“Tarnishing my legacy? Do me a favour,” Murray wrote in reply on X, formerly known as Twitter.
“I’m in a terrible moment right now, I’ll give you that. 
“Most people would quit and give up in my situation right now. But I’m not most people and my mind works differently. 
“I won’t quit. I will keep fighting and working to produce the performances I know I’m capable of.”

There has been various speculation about when the 36-year-old might retire from the sport but at the moment he intends to keep fighting on the Tour. Since the start of the US Open, he has lost nine out of 13 matches played and the last time he achieved back-to-back wins was at the Canadian Open in August. 

Thiem and Murray have won 63 ATP titles between them with Murray winning 46 of those.

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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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