Tennis News

From around the world

Tsitsipas: 'I Would Love To See Myself Playing In The O2'

  • Posted: Jun 16, 2019

Tsitsipas: ‘I Would Love To See Myself Playing In The O2’

#NextGenATP Greek pursuing first tour-level grass-court title

Reigning Next Gen ATP Finals champion Stefanos Tsitsipas likes to explore the cities he visits during his travels on the ATP Tour. But when a reporter asked him on Sunday ahead of the Fever-Tree Championships where he would like to visit in London, the World No. 6 did not mention a tourist attraction.

“I would love to see myself playing in The O2 Arena in November,” Tsitsipas said.

The Greek star is trying to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals for the first time, and he is off to a good start. Tsitsipas is in fifth place in the ATP Race To London, and he holds a 1,230-point lead over sixth-placed Kei Nishikori. The Top 8 players in the Race qualify for the season finale, to be held at The O2 from 10-17 November.

You May Also Like: Del Potro To Face Shapovalov Test At Queen’s Club

But for now, Tsitsipas will focus on the present, as he is the top seed at Queen’s Club. The three-time ATP Tour titlist is pursuing his first tour-level grass-court trophy.

“I haven’t really showed anything yet on grass in my opinion,” said Tsitsipas, who faces home favourite Kyle Edmund in the first round. “It can always be tricky when there are so many different surfaces that you need to adjust and adapt to throughout the year. I only had one match last week [in ‘s-Hertogenbosch]. I haven’t really felt everything that I have to feel here on grass, so I might say it’s going to take quite a while to adjust to those new conditions on which I haven’t played for a year now.”

Watch Live

It will be Tsitsipas’ first FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting against Edmund. The Greek will be looking to get back on track after being upset in his first match at the Libema Open by Chilean Nicolas Jarry.

“I think we’re pretty equal,” Tsitsipas said of facing Edmund. “He hasn’t played a match as well, so it’s all going to be a matter of right decisions and concentration levels because everything’s happening very fast on grass.”

Tsitsipas has fond memories of this surface from his junior career, when he made the boys’ singles semi-finals at Wimbledon and won the boys’ doubles title. As a professional, he reached the fourth round at the grass-court Grand Slam last year.

That leaves him confident that he is capable of performing well during this swing. However, he knows it will take an adjustment from how he played on clay, where he made the final in Madrid, semi-final in Rome and captured the trophy in Estoril.

“There’re a lot of differences between clay and grass. You have to stay lower, you have to have faster anticipation and not necessarily play extreme tennis. You have to play clean, you have to come to the net,” Tsitsipas said. “Instead of trying to spin the ball a lot, or trying to open the court, that doesn’t really work on grass. You have to stay low, come to the net, serve well.”

This is the first time that Tsitsipas has been the top seed at an ATP 500 tournament. It’s been a rapid ascent for the 20-year-old, who began the 2018 season at No. 91 in the ATP Rankings. But he does not feel the weight of the expectations that may come with his accomplishments.

“I don’t even watch the draws to be honest. I don’t know who is in my part of the draw. I don’t know who is No. 2,” Tsitsipas said. “I just play. I have to play. I don’t have to think if I’m No. 1 or No. 2. That probably means some players would think about it when they play against you, but if you think of it too much when you play like, ‘I’m the No. 1, I’m the one who is the favourite. I’m the one who everybody expects me to win,’ then you become kind of lazy. You expect everything to come easier to you just because you’re No. 1 or 2 or 3 or 4. I have to play the way I’ve been playing all this time, without thinking of all those small details.”

Tsitsipas may well be the hunted now rather than the hunter. But if nothing else the Greek knows he has to continue his evolution to improve even more. 

“Players know me, players know what to expect,” Tsitsipas said. “So I really hope I do well and leave from the grass-court season with great memories and great moments from that surface.”

Source link

Wimbledon: Stefanos Tsitsipas targets 'big four' stranglehold

  • Posted: Jun 16, 2019
Fever-Tree Championships
Venue: Queen’s Club, London Dates: 17-23 June
Coverage: Live on BBC TV and online with live text and radio coverage on selected matches.

World number six Stefanos Tsitsipas says he and other young players must “take responsibility” to end the older generation’s Wimbledon stranglehold.

Since Lleyton Hewitt’s win in 2002, the following 16 men’s singles titles have been won by the ‘big four’ of Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal or Andy Murray.

“I would love to see something different this year. Hopefully it will be me,” said 20-year-old Greek Tsitsipas. “It would give it a little bit of variety, something different.”

Tsitsipas, who begins his Fever-Tree Championships campaign at Queen’s Club against British number one Kyle Edmund on Tuesday, added: “Some don’t want to take the responsibility of going out and overcoming all those difficulties and beat those guys.

“We are responsible as the new generation to work hard to come up with something new and our best games to beat them.”

German great Boris Becker, citing the fact that Austria’s Dominic Thiem is the only active player under the age of 28 to have played in a Grand Slam final, said this month that “mindset and attitude” were holding back younger players.

Tsitsipas also suggested German world number five Alexander Zverev, Canadians Felix Auger-Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov, Americans Taylor Fritz and Frances Tiafoe and Australian Alex de Minaur as players who could upset the old order.

  • ‘I was getting no enjoyment at all’ – hip surgery revived Murray’s love of tennis

The match against Tsitsipas, who has beaten Nadal and Federer this season – will be Edmund’s first since he limped out of the French Open second round in May.

Edmund, the 24-year-old world number 29, said: “It’s obviously tough in terms of he’s played a lot, and won a lot, this year, but at the same time it’s almost a very ideal situation where there’s no pressure on me to do well. Almost everything is on him.”

Edmund has won six of 16 Tour-level matches this season and slipped from 14th in the world at the start of the year.

British number two Cameron Norrie takes on 2018 Wimbledon runner-up Kevin Anderson on Monday, while compatriot and qualifier James Ward plays France’s Gilles Simon.

Dan Evans, fresh from winning grass-court title in Surbiton and Nottingham, faces three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka, and wildcard Jay Clarke is up against France’s Lucas Pouille.

Two-time Wimbledon champion Andy Murray makes his return after five months out and a career-saving hip operation in Wednesday’s doubles alongside Spain’s Feliciano Lopez.

Source link

Murray On Hip Surgery: 'It’s Been Brilliant, Completely Life-Changing'

  • Posted: Jun 16, 2019

Murray On Hip Surgery: ‘It’s Been Brilliant, Completely Life-Changing’

Former World No. 1 returning this week on the doubles court

Former World No. 1 Andy Murray teared up before the Australian Open, not knowing how much longer he would be able to play tennis due to hip pain he’d been suffering through for nearly two years. Now, Murray fans from around the world are crying tears of joy.

Five months and one right hip resurfacing surgery later, Murray is set to make his return — albeit on the doubles court — with partner Feliciano Lopez at the Fever-Tree Championships.

“I feel pretty relaxed. I didn’t expect to be in this position. I didn’t know how I was going to feel, really, if I went and had the operation. But it’s been brilliant, completely life-changing for me from where I was,” Murray said. “I’m looking forward to getting back out there but I also don’t know what to expect and I’m not putting any expectations on myself because just being out on the tennis court again and being comfortable and pain-free is enough.”

Watch Live

Murray was not certain as to what would happen if he did go under the knife, which he ultimately did on 28 January. But forgetting about the tennis, the 45-time tour-level champion is happy again and most importantly, healthy.

The 32-year-old says he can now go to dinners without feeling soreness because he is sitting in one position. He is able to enjoy time with his family, and even go play golf, although he admitted to receiving ‘a good humbling experience’ on Friday when he played the club championships at the Wentworth Club with brother Jamie Murray, both of them scoring 101. Everything is in a different perspective now for the five-time Queen’s Club champion.

You May Also Like: Lopez/Murray Draw Top Seeds Cabal/Farah At Queen’s Club

“There were a number of times over the past 18 months when I did want to stop. I didn’t want to play anymore. I was getting no enjoyment out of tennis anymore, whether that be training, practice, matches — winning matches wasn’t really bothered either because it wasn’t fun. Now it’s just nice [because] I like playing tennis,” Murray said. “I’m a fan of the sport, I’ve played it since I was a kid. I want to keep playing if I can because I enjoy it.”

“My goal is still to get back to playing singles. That’s what I’d like to do, ultimately,” Murray said. “Probably it was six to eight weeks ago I was just chatting with my team about the best way to get back onto the court again singles-wise and how I would go about doing that and we felt that doubles would be a good action to test myself out and see how I feel where there’s obviously less loading on the body, less movement, but you still have to make some quick moves and quick reactions and stuff like that.

“I felt like it was actually quite a nice progression really from all the rehab I’ve been doing and getting back on the court and seeing how I feel on a match court playing doubles and then that will give me some information about where I’m at and maybe things I need to improve.”

<a href=''>Feliciano Lopez</a> and <a href=''>Andy Murray</a> practise at the Queen's Club ahead of the <a href=''>Fever-Tree Championships</a>.

Murray and Lopez decided to play together at this event via a series of messages. For Lopez, it was a very easy decision to immediately say yes.

“He’s a great player. As soon as you hit a few balls with him you realise he still has the feel and the touch,” Lopez said. “You don’t lose these abilities from one day to another. Of course, he’s one of the greatest players ever and he’s still playing great.

“First of all [though] I want to say that I’m very happy he’s able to play tennis again. This is the most important thing now and I’m very happy to share the court this week with him. It’s going to be nice. It’s going to be fun, I hope. But the most important thing is that he’s healthy again and we’re very happy to see Andy back on a tennis court.”

And really, that’s what Murray is most excited about. While he admitted it would be nice to win Wimbledon or other major tournaments, the Scot’s eyes have been opened through this process as to why he loves tennis. A few weeks ago, the former World No. 1 saw some kids hitting balls next to him, and how much fun they were having just getting to play the sport.

“You remember the things that are actually important or the reasons for why you actually start doing something or why you play a certain sport, do a certain job,” Murray said. “Generally it’s because it’s something you care about and actually enjoy doing and it’s not doing it just to win tennis matches.”

Source link

'I was getting no enjoyment' – Murray says surgery revived love of tennis

  • Posted: Jun 16, 2019
Fever-Tree Championships
Venue: Queen’s Club, London Dates: 17-23 June
Coverage: Live on BBC TV and online with live text and radio coverage on selected matches.

Britain’s Andy Murray says “life-changing” surgery rekindled his love of tennis as he prepares to make his comeback – five months after he was seemingly set for retirement.

Murray, 32, will play doubles with Spain’s Feliciano Lopez at Queen’s on Wednesday.

The three-time Grand Slam champion had planned to retire because of hip pain, before having an operation in January.

“I didn’t expect to be in this position,” the Scot said.

“I didn’t know how it would feel if I went and had the operation. But it has been brilliant, completely life-changing for me from where I was.

“I’m looking forward to getting back out there, but I don’t know what to expect and I’m not putting any kind of expectations on myself.

“Just being out on the tennis court and being pain free is enough.”

  • Murray aims for 2019 singles return
  • Nadal & Federer welcome Murray return

At the Australian Open in January, an emotional Murray said he planned to retire after Wimbledon because he had been suffering “too much pain for about 20 months”.

He also feared the opening Grand Slam of the year in Melbourne, where he lost in the opening round to Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut, would be the last tournament of his illustrious career.

Murray said the pain had made it difficult to play with his two children and do basic everyday tasks like putting on his socks.

But he says he is now pain free after having the hip resurfacing operation – which keeps more of the damaged bone than a hip replacement, smoothing the ball down and covering it with a metal cap – in London on 28 January.

Now the former world number one is back on court alongside 37-year-old Lopez, saying his priority is simply enjoying the sport which has brought him two Wimbledon titles, a US Open crown and two Olympic gold medals.

“There have been a number of times over the past 18 months where I did want to stop. I was getting no enjoyment out of tennis at all, whether that be training, practice, matches,” he said.

“I wasn’t bothered about winning matches either because it wasn’t fun.

“Now I like playing tennis, getting out on the court and hitting balls. I want to keep playing if I can because I enjoy it.

“It would be nice to be winning Wimbledon and other major tournaments but hardly anyone gets the opportunity to do that.

“There are loads of players and it is still about having the love and enjoyment for the sport without being able to win the biggest competitions. I would hope I would be able to deal with that absolutely fine.”

Murray also hopes to play in the Wimbledon doubles next month, although he has not said whom he will play with.

Asked if he could win the doubles, he said: “It is possible, but it doesn’t matter either way. I’d like to but it doesn’t matter if I don’t.

“I’d say it is unlikely because I’ve not played many matches.”

Murray has said he will not play alongside older brother Jamie, who has linked up with fellow Briton Neal Skupski.

Source link

Konta aims to transfer French Open form to grass before Wimbledon

  • Posted: Jun 16, 2019
Nature Valley Classic
Venue: Edgbaston Priory Club Dates: 17-23 June
Coverage: Live text commentary on selected matches

British number one Johanna Konta says her superb clay-court form bodes well for Birmingham and Wimbledon despite limiting her practice on grass.

Konta withdrew from last week’s Nottingham event to ease her schedule after making the French Open last four.

“You can only take good things from match fitness, confidence in decision-making and knowing you can come through different situations,” she said.

“I haven’t spent as much time on grass, but that’s a good problem to have.”

Konta, 28, will play Estonia’s Anett Kontaveit, ranked two placed below her at 20th in the world, in the first round.

Konta had an indifferent start to the year, but turned her season qround after playing a key part in Great Britain’s return to the Fed Cup World Group II, beating Kazakhstan’s Zarina Diyas and Yulia Putintseva in front of a raucous crowd in London’s Copper Box Arena.

Since then, she has reached finals in Rabat and Rome before a run to the semi-finals at Roland Garros.

Ranked 47th in the world before the clay-court swing, she is now up to 18th.

However, Konta has never been beyond the second round in Birmingham, losing to eventual champion Petra Kvitova in the first round last year.

“I’ve played Nottingham every year so it’s a different situation, it’s a different dynamic,” Konta said of this year’s campaign.

“Last year I lost to Petra, the year before Coco Vandeweghe, so I’ve played some very capable players, especially on this surface.

“There’s no reason why this year I can’t do better. It might not happen but I’ll be working towards hopefully making it happen.”

Konta reached the semi-finals at Wimbledon in 2017, but has fallen before the third round in her other six appearances at the All England Club.

World’s top three and a five-time SW19 winner

The top three-ranked players in the world are in the draw for the first time in Birmingham with US and Australian Open champion Naomi Osaka joined by world number two Ashleigh Barty, fresh from winning the French Open, and third-ranked Czech Karolina Pliskova.

Barty could overtake Osaka to take top spot for the first time in her career. The Australian would need to make the final at least, however, with her task increasing to lifting the trophy should Osaka win her opening match.

Before entertaining thoughts of world number one status, though, 23-year-old Barty faces a testing opening match against Croatia’s Donna Vekic, who reached the final of the Nottingham event.

Osaka faces Greece’s Maria Sakkari and Pliskova takes on Romania’s Mihaela Buzarnescu, while five-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams – making her Birmingham debut at the age of 38 – plays Aliaksandra Sasnovich.

American Williams will also play doubles with Britain’s Harriet Dart who, along with compatriot Heather Watson, has been given a wildcard into the singles draw.

Source link

Brilliant Berrettini Beats Felix For Stuttgart Title

  • Posted: Jun 16, 2019

Brilliant Berrettini Beats Felix For Stuttgart Title

The Italian is now a three-time ATP Tour champion

Matteo Berrettini was the serving king all week in Stuttgart. And that did not change in the final.

The World No. 30 saved five set points in a second-set tie-break before defeating Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-4, 7-6(11) on Sunday to win the MercedesCup for his third ATP Tour title, ending the #NextGenATP Canadian star’s hopes of claiming his first tour-level trophy.

“On grass, the first tournament of the year [on this surface] beating these unbelievable guys… there were a lot of tough moments,” said Berrettini, who did not lose a set during his run, ousting second seed Karen Khachanov in the second round. “I never lost my serve, but all the matches were so close and I’m really happy for what I did on the court because it was mentally really difficult to stay there and I’m really proud of myself.”

Both players served impeccably in the pressure-filled tie-break, with just three of the 24 points going against serve. But Berrettini converted on his third championship point after one hour and 47 minutes, aggressively hitting an inside-out forehand return off a second serve, which Auger-Aliassime replied to with a slice into the net.

Berrettini won all 50 of his service games this week, and captured more than 89 per cent of his first-serve points in the tournament, including 41 of 44 with the title on the line. The Italian did not face break point against Auger-Aliassime. Last year two players went unbroken en route to titlesL Novak Djokovic in Shanghai and Alexander Zverev in Madrid.

“You’re feeling good during the week, but you never know. I played great guys. This match was unbelievable. We had chances, a lot of set points for him, match points for me, so it was a really tough one,” Berrettini said. “I’m really happy the way I fought during the week.”

Fabio Fognini has recently received a lot of attention for capturing his maiden ATP Masters 1000 title at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters and becoming just the third man from his country to crack the Top 10 of the ATP Rankings, which he accomplished this week. But the 23-year-old Berrettini is not far behind, projected to climb to a career-high No. 22 on Monday.

Berrettini, the first Italian grass-court titlist since Andreas Seppi at 2011 Eastbourne, has won all three of his ATP Tour crowns in the past 11 months. When he triumphed in Gstaad last July for his maiden moment, he was just World No. 84. Berrettini was also victorious on the clay of Budapest in April.

“There were a lot of Italians [cheering for me] since day one, from the first practice, and they were asking for pictures,” Berrettini said. “I’m really happy because we are traveling a lot during the year and it’s always nice to meet some Italians and speak Italian also.”

The champion was successful in keeping Auger-Aliassime from gaining too much rhythm in the match. Between his strong serving and aggressive play, the 18-year-old was unable to dictate many rallies. Berrettini also used his dagger-like backhand slice a majority of the time off that wing to keep Auger-Aliassime off balance.

“It’s been an amazing week whatever the outcome [was] today. I think I surprised myself every match this week being able to reach another final and my first one on grass, so it’s been amazing,” said Auger-Aliassime, who was competing in his first grass-court tournament as a professional. “Obviously Matteo was too good today. I gave it my all, but he played good in the important moments and he deserves it.”

The only edge Berrettini needed in the first set was an early break at 1-1, when Auger-Aliassime made an unforced error by pushing a backhand approach shot into the net. The Italian lost just one point on his first-serve in the opener.

And in the second set, it felt as if it was a battle of strong serving. Auger-Aliassime battled hard to save two break points in the first game of the set and then dig out from a 0/40 hole at 2-3. But he was unable to take advantage of one of his five chances in the ensuing tie-break, with Berrettini serving well under pressure. And when the Italian missed his first serve, he was quick to take control of points with his forehand. 

Berrettini leaves Stuttgart with €117,050 in prize money and 250 ATP Ranking points, as well as plenty of momentum. The Italian will face sixth seed Nikoloz Basilashvili in the first round of the NOVENTI OPEN in Halle.

Auger-Aliassime, who was trying to become the youngest ATP Tour singles champion since Kei Nishikori (18 years, 1 month, 19 days old) at 2008 Delray Beach, earns €63,290 and 150 points. On 27 May, the teenager became the youngest player to break into Top 25 since former World No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt in 1999.

Did You Know?
Berrettini this week became the first player to reach the semi-finals on three different surfaces this season. He had never previously reached a tour-level grass-court semi-final.

Source link

Dan Evans advances to Nottingham final

  • Posted: Jun 16, 2019

British number three Dan Evans has reached his second successive grass-court final with a 6-4 6-2 win over Japan’s Go Soeda in Nottingham.

The top seed, 29, will face Russia’s world number 148 Evgeny Donskoy later on Sunday as he attempts to add to his Surbiton success last week.

World number 70 Evans is already assured of a Wimbledon main draw slot.

France’s Caroline Garcia and Croatia’s Donna Vekic will meet in the Nature Valley Open final at the same venue.

Evans, who was banned from the sport for a year from April 2017 for cocaine use, came through qualifying to make the second round of the Australian Open in January.

  • Evans focused on the future

Although behind compatriots Kyle Edmund and Cameron Norrie in the world rankings, which take into account the previous 12 months’ form, he is Britain’s best male player based purely on 2019’s results.

Evans has won his two most recent matches against Donskoy, although his 29-year-old opponent came out on top in their first meeting back in 2010.

While the women’s final at Nottingham is a Tour-level event, the men’s draw is part of the second-tier Challenger series.

Source link

Mannarino, Thompson Book 's-Hertogenbosch Final Spots

  • Posted: Jun 16, 2019

Mannarino, Thompson Book ‘s-Hertogenbosch Final Spots

Mannarino owns 2-0 record against Thompson on grass

There will be a first-time ATP Tour titlist at the Libema Open this year.

After rain suspended play at crucial stages in both semi-finals on Saturday night, Adrian Mannarino and Jordan Thompson made quick starts to play on Sunday morning to book their places in the championship match. Leading 4-6, 6-3, 6-6 3/2 overnight, Mannarino claimed four of five points against second seed Borna Coric on Sunday to complete a 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(3) victory.

Mannarino has defeated three seeded players in succession to reach the final in ‘s-Hertogenbosch. The 30-year-old Frenchman overcame fourth seed Fernando Verdasco in the second round and fifth seed David Goffin in the quarter-finals, before ending Coric’s run in the last four. Mannarino will be aiming to capture his first trophy when he meets Thompson in his seventh ATP Tour championship match.

Watch Live

Thompson needed just three points to complete his semi-final against defending champion Richard Gasquet. The 25-year-old Australian was serving at 7-5, 5-3 30/40 when rain fell on Saturday, but did not drop a point after resuming play on Sunday to reach his maiden tour-level final. The World No. 62, who improves to 19-11 this season, is projected to crack the Top 50 of the ATP Rankings for the first time on Monday.

Mannarino enters the final with a 2-1 FedEx ATP Head2Head record against Thompson, which includes two victories on grass. Two years ago, the World No. 44 defeated Thompson 6-4, 6-1 in the first round at this event.

Did You Know?
There have been eight first-time champions on the ATP Tour this season. Either Mannarino or Thompson will add their name to that list by lifting the Libema Open trophy. Felix Auger-Aliassime can also join that group by defeating Matteo Berrettini in the MercedesCup final in Stuttgart.

Source link