Confident Daniil Medvedev Targets 'Big Results' On Clay Ahead Of Rome Title Defence - UBITENNIS
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Confident Daniil Medvedev Targets ‘Big Results’ On Clay Ahead Of Rome Title Defence

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Clay court tennis has been a source of frustration for Daniil Medvedev throughout his career but the Russian now believes he can challenge for the biggest titles on the surface.

The world No.4 is the second seed at this week’s Italian Open behind Novak Djokovic. It was at the tournament 12 months ago when he won his biggest title on the clay by disposing of Holger Rune in straight sets in the final. Until that triumph, had only managed to reach the semi-finals or better at a clay-court Masters 1000 event on one occasion. More recently, at the Madrid Open, he reached the quarter-finals before retiring from his match against Jiri Lehecka due to a minor injury issue which he has since recovered from. 

“I changed my perspective on clay courts,” Medvedev told reporters on Wednesday. 
“I now play better in Madrid. I was playing very good and I had good victories. Coming to quarters, it’s not even disappointing because what happened (getting injured) can happen, that’s sport. That’s how it is.
“I feel like now on clay courts I can do big results. Not as surprising as last year.”

Rome is the last major event taking place before the French Open which is the only Grand Slam that Medvedev is yet to make it to the last four. Out of his seven previous appearances at Roland Garros, he has reached the quarter-finals once in 2021 but has lost in the first round on five other occasions. 

Despite his record, the 28-year-old believes he is heading in the right direction with the help of his team as well as his experience of playing on the Tour. He is coached by Gilles Cervara who has been at his side since 2017. Another member of the Medvedev camp is former player Gilles Simon who won five out of his 14 ATP titles on the clay during his career. 

“Two, three years ago, when I would slide to hit a shot, I would always kind of doubt myself if I’ve done the right thing,” he admits.
“Now I kind of know what I have to do. I just try to do it. If it doesn’t work, I’m like, ‘Okay, I try to do better next time.’
“In practice, we can practice more precisely things we want, whereas before it was the same: Let’s practice this, kind of let’s see if it works.
Last year we kind of found the right exercises, the right movements. We just continued it this year. It’s working great.” 

It remains to be seen if Medvedev’s growing confidence will help him secure another new milestone in his career, which is defending a title on the Tour. All 20 of his ATP trophies has been won at different events. 

One player standing in Medvedev’s way of the title will be former champion Djokovic who told reporters earlier this week that he is confident of peaking in time for Roland Garros. However, is the Serbian at his most vulnerable when he is playing on the clay? 

“Novak, he’s amazing on all the surfaces,” Medvedev commented.
“On a Grass court and a hard court, his game is more suited for these surfaces. That’s where I find Novak amazing.
“My opinion is that on clay his game might have been a bit more vulnerable. He still won three Roland Garros’, I think Monte-Carlo two times, Rome three or four (times). It’s amazing. That’s why Novak is definitely one of the best sportsmen in the world.”

Medvedev has a bye in the first round in Rome. His opening match will be against either Jack Draper or Borna Coric. 

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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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