Carlos Alcaraz Sheds Light On Seeking Advice From Agassi, Dealing With Defeat - UBITENNIS
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Carlos Alcaraz Sheds Light On Seeking Advice From Agassi, Dealing With Defeat

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After recently rubbing shoulders with Andre Agassi during his time in Las Vegas, Carlos Alcaraz has revealed that he received some tips from the American tennis great. 

The two attended that Netflix Slam earlier this month. An exhibition match between Alcaraz and Rafael Nadal that the world No.2 won in three tightly contested sets. Agassi was part of the commentary team for the event which was the first tennis match in history to be broadcast live on Netflix. Away from the camera, Alcaraz took the opportunity to seek some advice from the eight-time major champion. 

“I ask him for a few tips, a few things about how he was doing during his career, how he dealt with the pressure or how he stayed at the high- rank or the high intensity during almost his whole career,” Alcaraz told The Tennis Channel on Sunday.
“He told me that ‘you have to give your 100% every day, or if you feel at your 80%, you have to give you 100% of that 80%. He told me the importance of every day. You cannot miss nothing in a day.”

At the age of 20, Alcaraz has already clinched 12 ATP titles with two of those being at Grand Slam tournaments. He holds the records for the youngest ATP No.1 in the Open Era, the youngest Miami Open champion and the youngest Madrid Open winner. In total, he has won more than 160 matches on the Tour so far in his career. 

However, there is always room for improvement with Agassi recently pointing out an area of the Spaniard’s game that needs to be worked on.

“I do get a little concerned for him sometimes when he’s on the static side. When his feet don’t have to move as much sometimes he doesn’t know where to direct that energy and he gets set a little too early, not quite the same conviction on his shots when he can be in control of the point.” Tennis majors quoted Agassi as saying. 
“I still question if Carlos has figured out what he’s going to rely on to create that consistent pressure for his opponent that gives him the highest percentage of locking something down. He might serve, volley he might his first ball drop, he can do all of it.”
“He’s going to find it, he’s only 20. It’s going to be beautiful when he does. I hope it’s soon and often.”

The title drought

Alcaraz is currently playing at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells where he is the defending champion. He is seeking to win his first title of any sort since triumphing over Novak Djokovic at Wimbledon last year. In recent months, things haven’t gone entirely his way on the Tour but alarm bells aren’t ringing just yet. 

“I always try to think about the positive things, even if I lose, there are always positive things,” he explains.
“I try to think about it and really focus on the next practice to try to improve the mistakes that I made in those losses. It’s not time to give up or feel bad about something. I’m in a position that I dreamt of when I was a kid, and it’s time to keep improving, to keep growing. That’s my main mindset.”

Alcaraz has experienced an encouraging start to his title defence in Indian Wells. In his opening match, he dropped the first set against Matteo Arnaldi before winning 12 out of the next 13 games to seal victory. Then in the third round, he posted a solid 6-2, 6-3, win over former top 10 player Felix Auger-Aliassime. 

Next up for Alcaraz will be a rematch against Fabian Marozsan who produced a shock win against him at the 2023 Italian Open. 

“I try to beat him on the drop shots, I think he beat me in Rome with really beautiful drop shots. Really good tennis,” he reflected.
“I know his game, but he’s been playing good tennis lately, beating big guys. so I know it’s going to be a really tough match, but I’m ready for that.”

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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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