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Eastbourne International 2019: Johanna Konta through to second round

  • Posted: Jun 23, 2019

British number one Johanna Konta won her first-round match at Eastbourne 6-2 6-4 against Ukrainian qualifier Dayana Yastremska.

Konta, who is seeded 14th at the Nature Valley International, came through in one hour 14 minutes without facing a break point.

The French Open semi-finalist, 28, will face Greece’s Maria Sakkari in the next round at Devonshire Park.

“I’m pleased – I knew Dayana was a big hitter,” Konta said.

“There was always going to be very little in it, regardless of the score and the second set could have gone either way.”

  • Murray wins doubles title at Queen’s
  • Eastbourne International 2019: Andy Murray to face top seeds in doubles again

British trio Heather Watson, Harriet Dart and Katie Swan all lost their first-round matches earlier on Sunday.

Watson, 27, who is British number two, was defeated by France’s Alize Cornet 7-5 6-2.

Meanwhile, 22-year-old Dart lost 3-6 6-4 6-2 to 16th seed Anett Kontaveit of Estonia and Swan, 20, fell 7-6 4-6 6-4 to China’s Zhang Shuai.

In the men’s qualifying event, British teenager Paul Jubb made it through to the main draw with a 4-6 6-3 6-2 win over Russian Andrey Rublev.

Jubb, who last month became the first Briton to win the US colleges’ prestigious NCAA men’s singles title, is joined by compatriot James Ward, who beat Denis Kudla 6-3 6-2.

The action continues on Monday, with Jubb taking on American Taylor Fritz and British number two Cameron Norrie facing France’s Jeremy Chardy in the men’s first round.

In the women’s draw, second seed Karolina Pliskova, fifth seed Elina Svitolina and defending champion Caroline Wozniacki begin their campaigns.

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Metal Hip, More Enjoyment For Murray

  • Posted: Jun 23, 2019

Metal Hip, More Enjoyment For Murray

Brit returns to action with doubles title at The Queen’s Club

After undergoing hip surgery in January, Andy Murray considered it a victory to not have pain when he played with his kids. On Sunday, he recorded one of the most meaningful wins of his career by teaming with Feliciano Lopez to take the doubles title at the Fever-Tree Championships.

“I just won the doubles with Feli, with a metal hip. It’s mental, really,” said Murray. “That’s a cool thing to be able to have done just because of where I was a few months ago. I wasn’t thinking about this… I was really happy to be pain-free and enjoying life, literally just doing normal things. It’s really special. It’s more special than a lot of the singles tournaments that I’ve won for a lot of different reasons.”

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Murray arrived at The Queen’s Club with no expectations for results or performance. But the Brit was on song from the first ball as he and Lopez defeated top seeds Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah in the opening round. Another major victory followed in the semi-finals over third seeds Henri Kontinen and John Peers before they won the final over Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury.

Even though his game proved good enough to beat the world’s best doubles teams at an ATP 500 tournament, Murray believes his form can improve even further.

<a href=''>Andy Murray</a> celebrates at Queen's Club 2019

“In terms of how I was hitting the ball, I think I did okay,” said Murray. “There’s things I can do better. I think a lot of it is positioning on the court, like where to stand after Feli has hit a return or where to position ourselves at the net.

“But one of the things that’s quite difficult with doubles is that you’re never going to find the partner who has everything, and you yourself don’t have everything. I have flaws in my game and Feli will have weaknesses in his game. But we used our strengths and complemented each other very well. You need to be able to do that and not get frustrated with yourself.”

<a href=''>Andy Murray</a> and <a href=''>Feliciano Lopez</a> celebrate at Queen's Club 2019

Murray’s competitive streak never wavered throughout the week, but he also displayed a more relaxed attitude by smiling after great points and laughing with Lopez during changeovers. His fans are hopeful that the successful doubles run will lead to a quick transition back to singles, but the Brit is content to enjoy the ride for now.

“I’m happy with playing tennis and training and having no pain anymore. If I keep progressing, I would like to try to play singles,” said Murray. “My schedule could potentially be a bit different. I might not play three weeks in a row or two weeks back-to-back, for example. But I’m just quite happy doing what I’m doing now and just taking each week as it comes.”

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Even if Murray’s hip doesn’t allow for a singles comeback, it may not mean the end of his career. After picking up his first ATP Tour doubles title in eight years, he said focusing solely on doubles is an option for his remaining years on tour.

“I didn’t see that as being something I would do [in January] just because I got zero enjoyment out of playing tennis then,” said Murray. “It’s fun for me to play doubles this week and just hit tennis balls and have a good time on the court again. I hope to get back to playing singles again, but if not, it’s probably something I’d consider.”

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Murray wins doubles title at Queen's on comeback – highlights & report

  • Posted: Jun 23, 2019

Andy Murray’s dream comeback from potentially career-ending hip surgery ended with a fairytale triumph with playing partner Feliciano Lopez in the doubles at Queen’s.

Briton Murray and Spain’s Lopez beat Briton Joe Salisbury and American Rajeev Ram 7-6 (8-6) 5-7 10-5.

The Scot, 32, thought he might not play again before having his hip resurfaced in January but is now “pain free”.

Lopez, 37, added the doubles to the singles title he won earlier on Sunday.

Left-hander Lopez, who beat France’s Gilles Simon in three sets, is the first man since Australia’s Mark Philippoussis in 1997 to win both the singles and doubles titles at Queen’s in the same year.

  • Lopez beats Simon to win Queen’s singles title
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Murray, who had not won a doubles title since 2011, described ending his comeback tournament with victory as “brilliant”.

“I’ve enjoyed it, I felt very relaxed at the beginning of the week, then I started getting more nervous as the week continued and my competitive instincts were kicking in,” he said.

To loud cheers from the crowd, he added: “My hip felt great, there was no pain.”

Lopez said he never expected to win both the singles and doubles titles.

“It happens maybe once in a lifetime, with how difficult it is to win the singles, I cannot believe I won both,” he told BBC Sport.

Tears to grins in five months – Murray’s dream return

Former world number one Murray could not have dreamed for a smoother return to the sport which he thought he might have to quit this summer because of chronic hip pain that had not been cured by previous surgery.

Five months ago he broke into tears during a news conference at the Australian Open when he laid bare the extent of his fears about an injury that had left him unable to put on his shoes and socks without pain.

That was a stark contrast to the beaming grin stretched across his face at Queen’s, when he and Lopez sealed victory with their second of five match points.

When a return from Salisbury sailed wide, Murray leapt into the air in celebration as almost all of the centre court crowd also rose to their feet to mark a victory many probably thought they would not see.

During his return to action this week, Murray has shown a sharpness which has surprised many.

The three-time Grand Slam champion’s shot-making, less surprisingly, has not diminished and neither has the fierce will-to-win.

This was exemplified in the first set tie-break, which came after Murray and Lopez had saved a set point at 5-4 down.

A brutal first serve down the middle from the Scot was hit long and followed up by a sharp, trademark cry of “Let’s go!” for a set point of their own.

That was claimed when Ram guided a volley wide – putting Murray and Lopez, who had not played together before this week, halfway to an extraordinary triumph.

Andy Murray holds his back in pain
Murray returned after almost a year out with a hip injury at Queen’s in 2018. His comeback ended in a narrow defeat by Nick Kyrgios in the singles, but the Scot was visibly struggling with back pain

Lopez spends eight hours on court in 24 hours

Murray and Lopez’s success was made even more extraordinary by the exertions of the 37-year-old Spaniard.

After needing two hours and 49 minutes to see off Simon in the singles final, it meant he had spent almost eight hours on court over the previous 24 hours by the time they faced Salisbury and Ram.

Lopez put in a five-hour stint on Saturday when his singles semi-final win over Canadian teenager Felix Auger-Aliassime, which he only started shortly after 16:00 BST, was followed by two doubles matches with Murray.

The pair only needed 13 minutes to wrap up victory over Dan Evans and Ken Skupski in the conclusion of their quarter-final and then beat third seeds Henri Kontinen and John Peers, with the Spaniard finally finishing for the day at nearly 21:00 BST.

The left-hander returned to court with Murray little over an hour after lifting the singles trophy.

During two changeovers in the first set, Lopez stayed on his feet as he seemingly looked to manage a back problem.

Yet it was the Spaniard who somehow mustered the energy to turn the final-set champions tie-break in their favour.

He whacked a clean forehand winner for 5-4, followed that up with an ace, another forehand winner and a net volley.

Another forehand winner left Murray serving for the match.

The first of their five match points was saved when Ram finally beat Murray with a forehand winner down the line.

But a wide forehand from Salisbury handed them a victory that meant Lopez became the first player since Australian Mark Philippoussis in 1997 to win the singles and doubles titles here.

“I’m so happy to have this man playing with me,” Lopez said. “We’re so happy that you’re back on a tennis court.”


BBC tennis correspondent Russell Fuller

Lopez frequently stayed on his feet at the change of ends: wary of the pounding his 37-year-old legs had taken over 15 hours on court.

Having won a third-set tie-break to beat Gilles Simon in the singles final, he hit five winners in a row to turn the deciding 10-point tie-break out of Joe Salisbury and Rajeev Ram’s reach.

Murray has looked in terrific shape all week, and his desire to win as strong as ever: he says he got more nervous as the week progressed, and the prize loomed larger.

He now heads to Eastbourne in search of more success with a different partner – the Brazilian Marcelo Melo.

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Federer After Halle Win: 'I Feel Young Again'

  • Posted: Jun 23, 2019

Federer After Halle Win: ‘I Feel Young Again’

Swiss star reacts after claiming record 10th title in Halle

Shortly after defeating David Goffin to claim a record 10th NOVENTI OPEN title on Sunday, Roger Federer took to social media saying that it’s, “Good to be 10 again”. Coincidentally Federer’s twin daughters, Charlene and Myla, turn 10 in exactly a month.

“I turned 10 before them, they are turning 10 in July,” Federer told media in Halle, cracking a laugh. “I feel young again. Anyway, on the flight and then at home later tomorrow morning, when I wake up, I’ll feel old again. But for now I feel young.”

Federer is 37, but he isn’t playing like it. This is the first time the Swiss star has claimed 10 titles at one tournament, and it’s his third triumph of the year, giving him a total of 102 tour-level trophies.

“Obviously it feels really good. When it was all over… it was the first time I really thought of how it felt winning because I didn’t think I was visualising, imagining how it would feel to win my 10th here,” Federer said. “All of a sudden I was at match point. I wasn’t even really nervous because I felt I had been playing good, I’ve been so balanced that I was just at a good place. Then, when it was all over, I was just happy.”

You May Also Like: Federer Win 10th Halle Title, Sends Wimbledon Warning

It wasn’t an easy run for Federer, who needed three sets to beat former World No. 5 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the second round and seventh seed Roberto Bautista Agut in the quarter-finals. So he was fully focussed on each match in front of him, and he is only first processing the history he made at this ATP 500 tournament.

“It’s just a really good feeling to have and obviously now with a bit more reflection I think it’s a special moment in my career to win a title for the 10th time,” Federer said. “Especially one where I’ve been coming here for so long and have had so much success, the most success of any tournament actually that I’ve played. It feels great. So I’m very, very happy clearly.”

It has been a tremendous year for Federer, who is the first player to claim three tour-level titles in 2019. He also owns a 32-4 record, and his 88.9 winning percentage is the best of anyone on the ATP Tour.

Read More
A History Of Roger’s 10 Halle Titles
Federer’s My Story: When Roger Knew His Knee Might Not Be The Same
Watch Roger’s Post-Win Interview

That puts Federer in a strong position heading into Wimbledon, where he owns a record eight titles. The Swiss is not thinking that far ahead yet, though.

“First I want to enjoy this one. I want to take a couple of days off. I’ll speak to the team to hear if they want to have one day, two days or three days off, or another day off during the week,” Federer said. “I’m aware that usually when it went well for me here in Halle I’ve also had very successful Wimbledons. I’m not sure if every time but this definitely sets it up nicely and next to winning I also feel good physically.

“So that’s also a big week and it’s always important at my age I think to prove myself that I can last five matches in six days and tough ones along the way and actually feel the best on Sunday. So from that standpoint I think it’s very positive.”

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Queen's: Feliciano Lopez beats Gilles Simon to win Fever-Tree Championships

  • Posted: Jun 23, 2019

Feliciano Lopez became the first wildcard to win the Queen’s singles title since Pete Sampras in 1999 by beating fellow veteran Gilles Simon.

Lopez, who won the 2017 title, triumphed 6-2 6-7 (4-7) 7-6 (7-2).

The Spaniard had spent almost five hours on court on Saturday and France’s Simon, 34, had come through some long matches – and this was another slog.

Lopez, 37, returns to the court later in the doubles final alongside Andy Murray at the Fever-Tree Championships.

The Scot is playing his first tournament since having hip surgery in January and the pair will meet Joe Salisbury, another Briton, and American Rajeev Ram for the trophy.

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For Lopez, lifting the Queen’s trophy again has capped an extraordinary week at the west London club.

Now ranked 113th in the world, he had won just three singles matches this year going into the tournament.

The victory – over former world number six Simon, who had also spent more than 10 hours on court in the singles going into the final – was Lopez’s eighth at Queen’s this week across the singles and doubles.

A ninth, alongside Murray, will make him the first man to lift both trophies at Queen’s since Australian Mark Philippoussis in 1997.

“I don’t know how I did that,” the Spaniard said.

“I thought the best moment of my career was when I held this trophy in 2017 but it’s not. It’s right now.”

‘Now my girlfriend knows I’m a decent tennis player!’

The two players, with a combined age of 71, initially showed little movement and variation as they became locked in a baseline battle.

Lopez’s strong service game proved the difference in the first set and he broke in the first and fifth games – and held off three break points in the sixth – on his way to the opener.

Simon broke at the first attempt in the second set for a 2-0 lead, only to see that wiped out instantly by the Spanish left-hander.

The pair easily traded holds on the way to the tie-break, although Lopez did plant a straightforward volley into the net for 30-30 at 5-5, which would have given him a glimpse of an opportunity.

Lopez recovered to lead 3-1 and 4-2 in the breaker but then missed another volley for a 5-3 lead as Simon battled back to win and force a decider.

That was also an attritional set as Simon, bidding to become the first Frenchman to win the singles at Queen’s, kept finding passing winners when Lopez came forward.

Lopez eventually forced his first match point at 6-5 after a lengthy deuce, sending a tired forehand into the net.

In the deciding tie-break, Lopez moved 5-2 ahead with a stunning volley which left him screaming with delight, then pulled out a service ace out wide for four more match points.

He took the first when, after charging forward to the net again, Simon could only tap a forehand into the net.

Lopez ripped off his bandana after clinching victory, looking over to the stands where his fiancee Sandra Gago – who he is set to marry in September – was crying in celebration.

“When we met, things weren’t going too well and I kept losing,” Lopez, whose previous tour win was the 2017 Queen’s title, told the crowd. “Now she can see I’m a decent tennis player!

“I’m so happy for you; we can share this together.”

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My Point: Lopez's New Journey

  • Posted: Jun 23, 2019

My Point: Lopez’s New Journey

In the second installment of’s ‘My Point’ series, Spaniard Feliciano Lopez discusses what the Mutua Madrid Open has meant to his career and how he is embracing his new role as tournament director, beginning in 2019

Editor’s Note: This story was originally published on 4 May 2018.

17 October 2002. That date will always be etched into my mind. I close my eyes and I can still put myself there. The memory of my first Mutua Madrid Open back in the Rocódromo in Casa de Campo has not gone away, and I don’t think it ever will.

I was just 21 years old and in only my second ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event. But I was digging deep against one of the best players in the sport: Andre Agassi. Although I didn’t manage to win the three-setter, it was a magical defeat and one of the most special days of my career. The atmosphere was unbeatable and the emotions incomparable. That day, I knew that I was ready to compete with the best in the world.

Photo Credit: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
It’s been 16 years since legend Manolo Santana gave me that opportunity to fulfill a dream, and my journey continues with a challenge that I am eager and excited to face. In 2019, I will become the new tournament director at the Mutua Madrid Open.

It is a grand responsibility to succeed a legend of Spanish sport like Manolo. He has been an indispensable symbol, bastion and guide for the establishment of this tournament in Madrid, responsible for its annual success and for its integration into the culture of the city.

My admiration for Manolo goes beyond the tennis courts, too. We met when I was just 13 years old. When I started to stand out as a junior, he followed my development and contacted my father. Since then we have maintained a great relationship. He has always looked out for me and showed great interest in my career.

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And like he has been a role model for me, he has been a role model for all of Spanish tennis. Manolo became a pioneer for our country by winning Wimbledon in 1966. Simply playing on grass was unthinkable for any Spanish player, let alone winning a title on it. He also won the Coupe des Mousquetaires at Roland Garros in 1961 and 1964, as well as the 1965 US Open. His accomplishments speak for themselves.

I have been lucky enough to share a fantastic relationship with him. Manolo has been the tournament director in Madrid since 2002, and it was not surprising at all that he was quick to lend me a hand, once again, throughout this transition as I succeed him in his role starting from next year’s edition of the event.

Taking on this position is special to me for many reasons. The first is because it is an honour to take over from the man who will now become the event’s honourary president.

But he is not the only member of this community I am thankful for. From helping out over the years I have always felt like I’m part of a big family in Madrid — from Ion Tiriac to Gerard Tsobanian and Alberto Berasategui, whose role deserves special recognition.

Lopez Madrid
Photo Credit: Denis Doyle/Getty Images
I wanted Alberto to be the player liaison at the Mutua Madrid Open. I knew he was the ideal person because he has been a friend, colleague and training partner since I was a kid. We shared the same coach and, later on, he became my coach. Berasategui has been a very important person in my sporting life and I knew that he would suit the profile perfectly. 

All in all, this is a great opportunity at the end of my career. Tommy Haas laid the foundation for players fresh off the Tour to make such a switch by doing it at Indian Wells, another ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event. I’m simply lucky that my name came up from among all the candidates in Madrid.

I think it is a great idea to get behind active or recently retired players moving into such a role, as I believe we can really contribute to these elite tournaments. We know the Tour as well as anyone and live alongside the players every day, which is important for knowing the feeling in the dressing room and what everyone expects of a tournament.

I know there will be plenty of learning for me throughout this next year to prepare myself for what will be a challenge — one that I’m excited for. But first I want us all to celebrate Santana’s 80th birthday on Thursday, 10 May, and pay homage to him on the day his name will become eternal in the Caja Mágica. We have planned it this way with a transition toward 2019 in mind. 

Photo Credit: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
Something I will always remember is that there is a reason this event has been well received from the very beginning. Madrid longed for a world-class tennis tournament and it was successful from its time at the Casa de Campo to the Caja Mágica, a facility that was born of Madrid’s Olympic candidacy. The change only brought good news: a tournament with more days of competition, men’s and women’s draws, and much more. But the most important thing was its identity; it now forms part of the city. This tournament is a part of Madrid.

Thousands of people await with anticipation May each year so they can attend and enjoy a day out with their family. And to give those people what they deserve takes a lot of time and dedication from the team that has worked hard for all these years to achieve it.

The Mutua Madrid Open is a lot more than just a tennis tournament — it’s a festival of sport and culture. My goal, as tournament director will to do everything I can to help the Mutua Madrid Open continue forming part of the city’s DNA.

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Roger Federer wins 10th Halle title with victory over David Goffin

  • Posted: Jun 23, 2019

Roger Federer got his Wimbledon preparations off to the perfect start by claiming a record-extending 10th title at the Halle grass-court event.

The Swiss 20-time Grand Slam champion beat Belgium’s David Goffin 7-6 (7-2) 6-1 to win a 102nd career title.

Federer, chasing a ninth Wimbledon title next month, was made to work in earlier rounds but dominated the final.

“It’s unbelievable. I never thought when I first played here that I would win 10 titles,” the 37-year-old said.

It is the first time Federer has reached double figures at one tournament, with eight at the Dubai Open and Wimbledon and nine at his home event in Basel.

Federer had been taken to three sets by Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the last 16 and Roberto Bautista Agut in the quarter-finals.

But after a tight first set, he was handed a break in the first game of the second set when Goffin double-faulted on break point.

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Queen's: Andy Murray 'didn't expect to be playing in the final'

  • Posted: Jun 23, 2019

Andy Murray says he “didn’t expect to be playing in the Queen’s final” on his return to tennis, five months after career-saving hip surgery.

Murray, 32, and Feliciano Lopez, 37, beat John Peers and Henri Kontinen 7-5 6-7 (5-7) 10-7 in the semi-final.

The pair have dropped one set and beaten top seeds Robert Farah and Juan Sebastian Cabal en route to the final.

“I didn’t have high expectations at all,” said two-time Wimbledon singles champion Murray.

“I had a tough, tough draw, playing the top seeds in the first match and I’ve never played with Feli [Lopez] before.

“I think things have probably got a little bit better maybe with each match as well.”

In Sunday’s final, Murray and Lopez will play Britain’s Joe Salisbury and American Rajeev Ram after they claimed a shock victory over fourth-seeded US brothers Bob and Mike Bryan.

Spaniard Lopez will take on 34-year-old Frenchman Gilles Simon in the singles final at 13:30 BST before returning to the court for the doubles final.

  • Andy Murray & Feliciano Lopez into Queen’s doubles final
  • Relive Murray and Lopez’s semi-finals win
  • Lopez to play Simon in Queen’s final

‘Zero pain in my hip’

Before his surgery in January, Murray limped and grimaced between points and his suffering culminated in a tearful news conference at the Australian Open, when he revealed retirement plans.

But the Scot, who has won the singles title at Queen’s five times, has looked sharp on court all week and his body language reveals how much he is enjoying playing again.

Murray said there was “no pain at all” in his hip after the semi-final, although he admitted he was feeling the effects of the three matches he has played.

“My back’s a bit stiff,” he said. “You’re sort of getting down low for a lot of balls and you’re always kind of in a crouched-over position in doubles a bit more than when you’re in singles.

“I’m not used to that as much, so my back has been a little bit stiff after some of the matches. My arm is a little bit tired from serving and stuff. But my hip’s been brilliant so far. I don’t feel anything at all. It’s amazing.”

‘I wanted to play every tournament with one partner’

Murray won his last doubles title with brother Jamie in Tokyo eight years ago, but has not announced any plans to team back up with his sibling.

Instead, the former world number one will play with Brazilian Marcelo Melo at Eastbourne next week before partnering France’s Pierre-Hugues Herbert in the men’s doubles at Wimbledon.

“I ideally would have liked to have played with the same partner every single week,” Murray said.

“I have got three brilliant partners, so hopefully we can do OK. But I have to do a few things differently each week.”

The Scot’s mixed doubles partner is yet to be decided for his return to Grand Slam tennis at the All England Club in July.

After revealing in his BBC Sport column that French Open champion Ashleigh Barty had turned him down, many players took to Twitter to offer to play with Murray.

But the three-time Grand Slam winner said he had not spoken to anyone personally about it yet.

“My coach had a few messages from players,” he explained. “A few people have said stuff online, but I haven’t actually spoken to anyone since.”

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