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Cilic In Control As Rain Brings Day Three To An End

  • Posted: Jul 04, 2018

Cilic In Control As Rain Brings Day Three To An End

Wawrinka, Anderson also affected by rain

Marin Cilic, Stan Wawrinka and Kevin Anderson will all have to return to Wimbledon on Thursday, after rain suspended several big matches on day three at The All England Club. Cilic, looking to extend his 2018 unbeaten streak on grass to seven matches, won the opening two sets of his encounter with Guido Pella 6-3, 6-4, but trails the Argentine by a break at 3-4 in the third set.

The No. 3 seed, who saved match point against Novak Djokovic to lift his second title at The Fever-Tree Championships in June, is bidding to reach the third round at The All England Club for the fifth consecutive year. Cilic has reached the quarter-finals or better in each of his past four visits to SW19.

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American Mackenzie McDonald awaits either Cilic or Pella the third round. The 23-year-old edged Chilean Nicolas Jarry 7-6(5), 5-7, 3-6, 6-2, 11-9, in just over three and a half hours, to reach the third round at a Grand Slam for the first time. McDonald’s best result at a Grand Slam prior to Wimbledon was a run to the second round at the 2018 Australian Open, falling in five sets to Grigor Dimitrov.

Wawrinka, who upset sixth seed Grigor Dimitrov on Monday, is locked in a battle against Italian Thomas Fabbiano, who leads 7-6(7), 6-3, 5-6 (deuce). Wawrinka led 5/1 in the first-set tie-break but was unable to put away Fabbiano, who qualified and is playing just his third tour-level match on grass.

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American Jared Donaldson looks as if he could be in the midst of a comeback as well against Greece’s #NextGenATP star Stefanos Tsitsipas. The Athens native leads 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 3-4. The winner of Wawrinka/Fabbiano will face Donaldson or Tsitsipas for a spot in the Round of 16.

Eighth seed Kevin Anderson, three times a fourth-round finisher at SW19, leads Italy’s Andreas Seppi 6-3, 6-7(5), 6-3, 1-1. The winner will meet German Philipp Kohlschreiber or Gilles Muller, who beat Rafael Nadal in the Wimbledon fourth round last year. Kohlschreiber leads 7-6(6), 6-6.

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Konta faces 'great test' as she, Edmund & Boulter aim for round three

  • Posted: Jul 04, 2018
Wimbledon 2018 on the BBC
Venue: All England Club, Wimbledon Dates: 2-15 July
Coverage: Watch live on BBC TV, BBC iPlayer, BBC Red Button, Connected TVs and the BBC Sport website and app; Live Radio 5 live and 5 live sports extra commentary; Text commentary online.

British number one Johanna Konta says she faces a “great test” against former world number four Dominika Cibulkova in the Wimbledon second round on Thursday.

Konta plays the Slovak – who missed out on a seeding to Serena Williams – in the second match on Centre Court.

Kyle Edmund, Britain’s men’s number one, follows on the same court against American qualifier Bradley Klahn.

Briton Katie Boulter meets Naomi Osaka, while world number ones Rafael Nadal and Simona Halep also play.

Twenty four of the 64 seeded players – 12 men and 12 women, including five of the top 10 females – are already out.

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Serena seeding has knock-on effect for Konta

Cibulkova is 32nd in the world rankings but is not seeded for Wimbledon after seven-time champion Williams was made the 25th seed.

“She’s probably one of the best competitors on tour, and has been for quite some time. She’s a feisty player,” said Konta.

“I think it will be a great test for me to keep a good kind of focus on controlling what I can, accept that she’s going to fight her way into some points and really stay there until the very end.”

Konta, 27, also reached fourth in the rankings last year after her memorable run to the Wimbledon semi-finals, but has since struggled for consistency and dropped to 24th.

Cibulkova, who said before the tournament it was “unfair” she was not given a seeding, says she is trying to forget about the controversy.

“It doesn’t make sense to think about it. I just have to play well to keep going in the tournament,” said the 29-year-old.

“Obviously it would be better to play Konta in the third or fourth round so it’s a very tough second-round match.

“I’m feeling fine on the grass. I would say it’s one of her favourite surfaces, but it’s also one of mine so let’s see what happens.”

Edmund could set up Djokovic clash

Edmund, 23, had won only one main-draw match at Wimbledon before beating Australian debutant Alex Bolt in straight sets on Tuesday.

The 21st seed now faces another qualifier in 27-year-old Klahn as he tries to reach the last 32 here for the first time in his career.

And he says there is “no reason” why he cannot start winning more matches on grass.

“When you have a big game or a big serve, you got to use that to your advantage, especially on a grass court,” said the Yorkshireman, who is ranked 17th in the world.

Victory over world number 168 Klahn, who was in the top 100 five years ago before a long-term injury, could set up a third-round meeting for Edmund against three-time Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic.

The 12-time Grand Slam champion, who is seeded 12th, plays Argentina’s Horacio Zeballos, while Spanish second seed Nadal plays Kazakhstan’s Mikhail Kukushkin.

‘Underdog’ Boulter to enjoy Osaka test

Boulter, 21, earned her first Wimbledon victory by beating Paraguay’s Veronica Cepede Royg on Tuesday, setting up a tough match against Osaka.

They meet in the opening match on Court Two at 11:30 BST.

The 20-year-old Japanese player is ranked 18th in the world – 104 places higher than Boulter – and won her first WTA title at Indian Wells earlier this year.

“I don’t feel any pressure. I’m the underdog,” said Boulter.

Boulter played with fellow Briton Katie Swan in the doubles on Wednesday, hours after 19-year-old Swan lost 6-0 6-3 in her second-round singles match.

Asked what advice she would give her friend, Swan said: “Well, it would help if you don’t lose the first set 6-0. That would be a good start!”

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Raonic wins three tie-breaks to progress but rain holds up Cilic

  • Posted: Jul 04, 2018
Wimbledon 2018 on the BBC
Venue: All England Club, Wimbledon Dates: 2-15 July
Coverage: Watch live on BBC TV, BBC iPlayer, BBC Red Button, Connected TVs and the BBC Sport website and app; Live Radio 5 live and 5 live sports extra commentary; Text commentary online.

Former Wimbledon runner-up Milos Raonic had to work hard before reaching the third round of the men’s singles.

The Canadian 13th seed won three tie-breaks to beat Australian John Millman 7-6 (7-4) 7-6 (7-4) 7-6 (7-4).

Raonic, 27, was tested by world number 56 Millman, but showed more consistency in the tie-breaks.

Raonic, who lost the 2016 final to Britain’s Andy Murray, will play Austrian qualifier Dennis Novak for a place in the last 16.

Novak beat 16th seed Lucas Pouille of France 6-4 6-2 6-7 (8-10) 3-6 6-2 to reach the third round of a Grand Slam for the first time.

  • What happened on day three at Wimbledon
  • Federer reaches third round
  • Wozniacki knocked out as seeds tumble

Also through is American 11th seed Sam Querrey, who defeated Ukraine’s Sergiy Stakhovsky 7-6 (7-4) 6-3 6-3.

France’s Gael Monfils recovered from losing the opening set to beat Italy’s Paolo Lorenzi 3-6 6-3 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (7-3), thrilling the crowd with some spectacular shots.

Third seed Marin Cilic, eighth seed Kevin Anderson and Stan Wawrinka were among those whose matches were suspended after showers late on Wednesday.

Cilic leads Guido Pello by two sets to love but Pello is 4-3 up with a break in the third, while Anderson is two sets to one up on Italy’s Andreas Seppi.

Swiss Wawrinka, now ranked 224 in the world after injury problems, lost the first set to Seppi’s compatriot Thomas Fabbiano on a tie-break, but took the second and leads 6-5 in the third.

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Massive Ace Tallies Don't Guarantee Wins, Karlovic & Isner Find

  • Posted: Jul 04, 2018

Massive Ace Tallies Don’t Guarantee Wins, Karlovic & Isner Find

Big men rain down aces on Wednesday

Ivo Karlovic was knocked out of Wimbledon on Wednesday, but not before the 6’11” Croatian delivered another historic service day at The Championships.

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The 39-year-old struck 61 aces, the third most hit at SW19 and the most outside of John Isner and Nicolas Mahut’s three-day first-round match in 2010, in which Isner, who won the fifth set 70-68, hit 113 aces to Mahut’s 103.

Read More: Ivo’s Big Regret

Karlovic now sits in third place on the all-time Wimbledon ace list, ahead of fourth-placed Albano Olivetti, who hit 56 in a losing effort against Aussie Matthew Barton in 2016. The big Croatian has now hit 50-plus aces in a Grand Slam match eight times.

You May Also Like: Federer Nearly Perfect As He Stretches Another Wimbledon Streak

Karlovic spaced his aces out against Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff, who came back to win 6-7(5), 3-6, 7-6(4), 7-6(4), 13-11. Karlovic hit 15, four, 11, 13 and 18 in each respective set.

Dr. Ivo might not sit at fourth place for long, though. Isner is well on his way to passing Karlovic, but he still has work to do to avoid Karlovic’s fate.

The ninth seed has already hit 57 aces in his second-round match against Belgium’s Ruben Bemelmans and could have another two games, or two days, to go. Isner was serving at 6-1, 6-4, 6-7(6), 6-7(3), 3-4, 30/0, before rain postponed their match until Thursday.

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Wimbledon 2018: Serena Williams & Victoria Azarenka among mums on Centre Court

  • Posted: Jul 04, 2018
Wimbledon 2018 on the BBC
Venue: All England Club, Wimbledon Dates: 2-15 July
Coverage: Watch live on BBC TV, BBC iPlayer, BBC Red Button, Connected TVs and the BBC Sport website and app; Live Radio 5 live and 5 live sports extra commentary; Text commentary online.

Former world number one Victoria Azarenka admits to the odd spell of ‘baby brain’ but one thing she is clear about is the need for more childcare at tennis tournaments.

All four matches on Centre Court at Wimbledon on Wednesday featured parents – and three of them were mums: Serena Williams, Azarenka and Tatjana Maria.

Wimbledon provides a creche for the increasing numbers of tennis players with children and Azarenka wants other tournaments to follow suit.

“It really just happened just two years ago that it became a necessity,” the Belarusian told BBC Sport, referring to the fact the since her and Williams’ high-profile pregnancies the topic has become much talked about.

“Right now it is going to have to be a definite addition to the tournaments.”

Azarenka, 28, lost her singles match to Karolina Pliskova 6-3 6-3 but is competing in the mixed doubles alongside Britain’s Jamie Murray.

  • Williams through to third round
  • Federer eases into next round

‘Baby brain’ & training – what is it like being a mum on tour?

Azarenka, who had her son Leo in December 2016, says she fits her training in around his naps and thinks that as he gets older he will be able to come to more practice sessions with her.

She says she does not try to win “for him” and is good at just concentrating on her job on the tennis court because she knows he is in good hands with grandma.

“I want to be a good role model for my son, I think if I start focusing on winning or losing for someone it is a little bit distracting,” said Azarenka, who won the Australian Open in 2012 and 2013.

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“All I want to do is teach him what hard work is, what discipline is, what dedication is and if you do all those things you may have opportunities to achieve your dreams.”

Her return to tennis has been hampered by a custody battle that she has previously said she “would not wish on anybody” but she has now put that behind her.

Lots of things change after having a baby – not least the ability to remember simple things, as in so-called ‘baby brain’.

And it turns out, this affects tennis players too.

“I have an excellent memory usually,” Azarenka said. “But I asked one of the players ‘did you play today?’ and he said ‘yes’. And then I literally saw him two hours later and said ‘did you play today?’ and he was really nice, he just said ‘yes’ and I was like ‘did I ask you that before?’.”

Roger Federer was the other parent playing on Centre Court on Wednesday, with the world number two beating Lukas Lacko 6-4 6-4 6-1.

When asked who had it easier, Azarenka replied: “The dads have it easier. My guess would be that guys are focused on their jobs a lot more.”

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Shocks continue, near-perfect Federer & Monfils' pub visit – day three at Wimbledon

  • Posted: Jul 04, 2018
Wimbledon 2018 on the BBC
Venue: All England Club, Wimbledon Dates: 2-15 July
Coverage: Watch live on BBC TV, BBC iPlayer, BBC Red Button, Connected TVs and the BBC Sport website and app; Live Radio 5 live and 5 live sports extra commentary; Text commentary online.

Defending champion Roger Federer was in show-stopping form on Wednesday as hoards of ‘Fed Fans’ flocked to Centre Court to watch the number one seed.

Williams sisters Serena and Venus, 2016 runner-up Milos Raonic and Australian Open champion Caroline Wozniacki were also in action, while Katie Swan was a lone raider when it came to the British challenge.

Here are six things from Wimbledon today…

  • Second seed Wozniacki out to Makarova
  • Williams sisters into third round
  • Federer eases into next round

More shocks on day three

The top seeds in the women’s draw continued to tumble as Australian Open champion Caroline Wozniacki became the biggest name to exit the championships so far.

The Dane fought back from 5-1 down in the final set and saved four match points, before eventually succumbing 6-4 1-6 7-5 to Russian world number 35 Ekaterina Makarova.

The 27-year-old second seed was also plagued by a barrage of flying ants during Wednesday’s match on Court One, and needed insect repellent to get rid of them.

Wozniacki’s exit means only world number one Simona Halep, defending champion Garbine Muguruza and seventh seed Karolina Pliskova remain from the top eight in the women’s draw.

Czech Pliskova overcame two-time Australian Open winner Victoria Azarenka earlier on Wednesday to reach the third round at Wimbledon for the first time.

  • Live scores, schedule and results
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‘Near-perfect’ Fed eases through

The Federer faithful were out in force as the eight-time champion extended his Wimbledon winning streak to 26 successive sets with victory over Slovakia’s Lukas Lacko.

They were treated to the Swiss’ full repertoire, with Federer saying after his victory that playing the percentage shots too much “becomes boring”.

“I like to mix it up,” added the 36-year-old. “Not wasting too much energy is always nice.”

Federer did not face a single break point, hitting 48 winners, dropping only nine points on his serve all match and winning 35 points in a row on serve in the final set.

He also hammered down 16 aces on his way to winning 93% of his first-service points.

Former Wimbledon semi-finalist Tim Henman called it “a near-perfect performance” from the 20-time Grand Slam champion.

“When you glance at the numbers, the ones that really stand out for me are 48 winners and 11 unforced errors,” added the BBC Sport analyst.

“To be playing that aggressively, hitting the ball that cleanly, and making so few mistakes, it does bode well for his progression in the tournament.”

Williams sisters gather momentum

Serena Williams continued her Wimbledon return as she demolished Bulgarian qualifier Viktoriya Tomova in little over an hour, and then said she is “going in the right direction”.

That direction is into the third round without dropping a set, although the 25th seed is yet to be truly tested, despite a trickier first-round encounter against Arantxa Rus.

“It was better than the first-round match, so I’m happy to be going in the right direction,” said Serena, who missed last year’s tournament while on a maternity break.

“I’m not there yet but expect to get there not only for Wimbledon, but for tournaments in the future.”

Three-time Wimbledon singles champion John McEnroe said it was a chance for the seven-time winner to “kick the rust off a little”, while former world number one Kim Clijsters said the American is a contender for the title.

“She’s improved tremendously,” said Clijsters. “I thought she had to improve a lot to be a contender after the first game, and after what we saw today, she is a contender.”

Sister Venus, a five-time champion, lost the first set but fought back to beat Romanian qualifier Alexandra Dulgheru 4-6 6-0 6-1.

Football fever builds in SW19

Kyle Edmund, Roger Federer, Gael Monfils, even American Madison Keys weighed in on the World Cup debate enveloping Wimbledon at the minute.

Keys said she watched England’s last-16 penalty shootout win over Colombia on Tuesday with the injured Laura Robson, and has now backed the Three Lions to win the tournament.

“She was singing the ‘it’s coming home’ song constantly for two-and-a-half hours,” said Keys.

“I was actually into it at the end. Now I’m cheering for England.”

England meet Sweden in the quarter-finals on Saturday, a game that could potentially clash with Edmund’s fourth-round match, should the British number one make it.

It also means a grudge showdown between Edmund and his Swedish coach Fredrik Rosengren.

Sweden knocked out Switzerland to set up that England tie, and Federer turned manager to give the Swiss team some advice.

“I felt it’s an opportunity missed,” he said. “We had our chance against Sweden. In the end, they were maybe a little bit better. We didn’t create enough chances.”

Frenchman Monfils says World Cup fever has hit the locker room, and he even made time to watch England’s win in a pub.

“Actually, I watched the shootout,” he said. “I was in the restaurant and saw on the phone it was the shootout, and I saw a pub, so I just went in and watched it.

“Unbelievable. Crazy, crazy! I can’t describe it. I was scared to have my phone. It was jumping, screaming. Everything. Beers, everything. It was great.”

Flies and rain disrupt play

After two and a half days of blistering sunshine at Wimbledon, there was rain on day three.

That meant the Centre Court roof was (briefly) used for the first time at these Championships while some matches scheduled for the outside courts were delayed until Thursday.

The rain came after a swarm of insects had caused disruption earlier in the day, with Caroline Wozniacki among the players asking for insect spray.


Canadian Milos Raonic cranked up the fastest serve of the tournament with a 147mph zinger as he downed John Millman in the second round.

He also sent down 34 aces, one of which thundered into a ball boy, while a ball girl also felt the force of another Raonic rocket.

“You don’t feel good when that happens,” said the 2016 runner-up.

“Normally by the first reaction of the kid, you can tell how they are, if it hurts. The boy I think was OK but I hit a girl a little lower in the abdomen.

“I think she probably took a little bit more of a grunt than he did. I hope she’s doing OK.”

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Wozniacki out as top seeds continue to tumble – highlights & report

  • Posted: Jul 04, 2018
Wimbledon 2018 on the BBC
Venue: All England Club, Wimbledon Dates: 2-15 July
Coverage: Watch live on BBC TV, BBC iPlayer, BBC Red Button, Connected TVs and the BBC Sport website and app; Live Radio 5 live and 5 live sports extra commentary; Text commentary online.

Australian Open champion Caroline Wozniacki became the biggest name to exit the Wimbledon women’s singles as she lost in the second round.

The 27-year-old, seeded second, was beaten 6-4 1-6 7-5 by Russian world number 35 Ekaterina Makarova.

The Dane’s defeat means five of the top eight women’s seeds have exited the competition before the third round.

Wozniacki, who won at Eastbourne last week, has never been past the fourth round in 12 visits to SW19.

She was plagued by flying ants during the match on Court One and needed insect repellent to get rid of them.

  • Williams sisters reach third round
  • Comfortable win for Federer
  • Pliskova into third round for the first time
  • GB wildcard Swan goes out

“I did everything I could. It’s frustrating because I feel like I could have gone and done something really great here,” Wozniacki said.

“I can’t even be mad at myself because I played up to the level that I can.

“She played above her level and really raised it and got a little lucky.

“I would be very surprised if you saw her go far. But with someone playing like this today, I really did what I could. It just wasn’t enough.”

Makarova, who won last year’s women’s doubles title with compatriot Elena Vesnina, led 5-1 in the deciding set and had four match points on her own serve at 5-3.

Wozniacki saved all four to level it up at 5-5, but Makarova, 30, regrouped superbly, holding serve to make it 6-5 and put the pressure back her on her opponent.

This time there was no response from Wozniacki as Makarova set up a meeting with Czech player Lucie Safarova.

“I am so happy I got calm at 5-5 and did my work again,” said Makarova, who reached the quarter-finals in 2014.

“When it was 5-5 I started thinking about those match points on my serve at 40-0, but I told myself, ‘No, you are not going to lose this match’. I forgot it and started over.”

Remaining women’s top eight seeds Eliminated women’s top eight seeds
1. Simona Halep (Rou) 2. Caroline Wozniacki (Den)
3. Garbine Muguruza (Sp) 4. Sloane Stephens (US)
7. Karolina Pliskova (Cze) 5. Elina Svitolina (Ukr)
6. Caroline Garcia (Fra)
8. Petra Kvitova (Cze)

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Roger Federer into Wimbledon third round with win over Lukas Lacko

  • Posted: Jul 04, 2018
Wimbledon 2018 on the BBC
Venue: All England Club, Wimbledon Dates: 2-15 July
Coverage: Watch live on BBC TV, BBC iPlayer, BBC Red Button, Connected TVs and the BBC Sport website and app; Live Radio 5 live and 5 live sports extra commentary; Text commentary online.

Eight-time champion Roger Federer extended his Wimbledon winning streak to 26 successive sets with a routine victory over Lukas Lacko in the second round.

The Swiss, who is favourite to claim another title, won 6-4 6-4 6-1 against world number 73 Lacko.

Federer, 36, did not face a single break point and hit 48 winners.

The top seed will play big-serving 39-year-old Ivo Karlovic or Jan Lennard Struff in the third round.

Martina Navratilova is the only player to win nine singles titles.

  • Live scores, schedule and results
  • BBC TV, radio and online coverage

Federer serves supreme

Rhythmic service games have been the cornerstone of 20-time Grand Slam champion Federer’s illustrious career, and he dropped only nine points on his serve against Lacko.

He also hit 16 aces on his way to winning 93% of his first-service points.

Federer, backed by a partisan crowd on Centre Court, missed two opportunities to win the first set on Lacko’s serve, but it mattered little as he wrapped it up in the next game with a rapid hold.

A single break point was also good enough in the second set as Federer, who pulled out the full repertoire of shots to leave Centre Court purring at times, serenely moved towards the last 32.

Lasko came into the match in good form having reached the Eastbourne final last week and, with his statistics showing he did not play badly in the opening two sets, he was simply outclassed.

Eventually it wore him down as Federer, who won 35 consecutive points on serve on his way to a 5-1 lead in the third set, cruised to victory.

A fierce forehand on his first match point clinched victory in one and a half hours.

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Superstitious Dzumhur Hoping Routine Reaps Rewards

  • Posted: Jul 04, 2018

Superstitious Dzumhur Hoping Routine Reaps Rewards

Bosnian star prepares to take his game to the next level

It is a match day ritual that Damir Dzumhur cannot break free from. When he wakes, he showers, eats the same breakfast and heads on site, wearing his preferred tee-shirt to prepare for a match, where he avoids walking on the lines of a court; and then, during every change of ends, sips water, towels down, drinks a sports drink, towels down and drinks water, once more. Finally, upon his return to the clubhouse, he uses the same shower, stretches and takes a massage, eats the same food, and returns to his accommodation to relax, talk tactics and contemplate his next Groundhog Day.

The rituals, although not too dissimilar to Goran Ivanisevic’s myriad superstitions en route to his Wimbledon title run in 2001, were triggered as a junior and have become his effective, daily staple at every tournament. “It has to be the same if I won the previous day,” Dzumhur told “For a while I tried not to be superstitious too much, scaling it back, but it didn’t work out. I know I may be crazy, but it works.”

You only need to look inside his parents’ three-bedroom, two-story flat in Sarajevo — on the top floor of a tower block with no lift — for evidence of their effectiveness: hundreds of trophies and medals scattered across shelving, shoeboxes and on the floor of his old bedroom, which, as a result, is difficult to enter.

After two straight weeks on grass and fresh from winning his third ATP World Tour trophy — his first on grass courts — at the Turkish Airlines Open Antalya on Saturday (d. Mannarino), Dzumhur has given himself the best possible chance to do well at The Championships this year. “The same player with confidence or without it, is a totally different player,” said 5’9”, 154-pound Dzumhur. “I know, myself, how I feel when I am confident. I’m physically well prepared, while mental strength comes with confidence and it helps give you the opportunity to play your best tennis.

“When I have confidence I am much cooler on the court, talk less to myself or to my team [including his coach father, Nerfid], and I break fewer racquets, in private, on the practice court. But if I have no emotions, it’s simply not me. I do need to talk to myself and get the energy to be confident. It helps me get the motivation to play well. But again, if I talk too much, I don’t play so well. It’s a real balance.”

Dzumhur’s hope to play with greater poise and resolve at Wimbledon was highlighted in his first match at the All England Club, a 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 victory over Germany’s Maximilian Marterer on Tuesday. In the past 10 years, of the 17 players who have won an ATP World Tour grass-court title the week prior to The Championships, only four have advanced to at least the fourth round (or better) — David Ferrer (2009, quarter-finals), Feliciano Lopez (2014, fourth round), Steve Johnson (2016, fourth round) and Novak Djokovic (2017, quarter-finals). Dzumhur has made a point to play throughout the grass-court swing, aiming to better three straight third-round showings at the past three Grand Slam championships.

“My team always said I could play well on grass, but I brushed it off,” said Dzumhur. “It was only two years ago, when I beat defending champion Denis Istomin in Nottingham, then played Denis Kudla, and finally lost to [Pierre-Hugues] Herbert at Wimbledon, in five sets, that I realised I could do well. And even though I lost to Grigor Dimitrov at Queen’s Club [6-3, 6-7(4), 6-3 in the first round of the Fever-Tree Championships] two weeks ago, it was a good match and a learning experience. So I travelled to Antalya with confidence, knowing my game was there and I could further improve.”


From No. 1,664 in the ATP Rankings at the end of 2009, to his current career-high of No. 23, Dzumhur has improved year-on-year, physically and mentally. It’s not bad for someone who used to bunk off school to watch from the touchline at the FK Zeljeznicar football stadium, a stone’s throw from his family home.

In reaching his first ATP World Tour final in August 2017 at the Winston-Salem Open, Dzumhur took another step, but was mistakenly happy to get to the championship match, rather than going into his match against Roberto Bautista Agut with a winning mentality. “I was a little bit tight,” says Dzumhur. “I went on the court, thinking reaching the final was good enough, but ‘I don’t have to win this’. You don’t have to think you have to do something, but being confident and having in your mind that ‘I can do this’, rather than ‘I did well’ and ‘it’s alright’ is very different.

“So from that first experience to my two finals in Russia [titles at the St. Petersburg Open and the VTB Kremlin Cup in late 2017] and last week in Antalya were completely different. I was better prepared mentally. After the first title, I fell to the ground and I was almost crying, but on Saturday after the Antalya final, I knew it had been a good week, but I needed to keep going. The emotions were different and I knew I needed to focus on Wimbledon. But winning three of the four finals shows that I can play well in big matches.”

A perennial figure in the Top 40 of the ATP Rankings since late September last year, Dzumhur is now close to breaking into the Top 20. “Winning in St. Petersburg and Moscow last year was a huge confidence boost for me,” said Dzumhur. “It was a vindication of the work I had undertaken and the support I received from my family. For much of my life, I have followed a routine in training on and off the court. It was always a goal of mine to be a tennis player and playing Futures and Challenger tennis for six years, you begin to question yourself. But at the Russian tournaments, I played with the right mentality and it highlighted to me what I needed to do to move up another level.”

With each step up the professional ladder, the 26-year-old has dealt with the pressure by operating on the basic of working hard for a reward. Do well and, for example, he buys a new phone or a pair of shoes, for bigger victories, such as his ATP World Tour title runs, it has been a car. “Sometimes I can be a bad loser, when things don’t go the way I want, I am moody,” said Dzumhur. “But to stay motivated and work towards a goal, I dangle the prospect of reward. It helps me to focus.”

Only time will tell if his career trajectory will mirror that of another great Balkan thinker and baseliner, Janko Tipsarevic, who traipsed across a tightrope of emotions to break into the Top 10. One thing is for certain, with a solid first serve and forehand, in addition to an ability to consistently return, the hard-working Bosnian is on the rise.

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