Tennis News

From around the world

Why Ferrero Compares Alcaraz's Game To Djokovic & Federer's

  • Posted: Mar 29, 2020

Why Ferrero Compares Alcaraz’s Game To Djokovic & Federer’s

Former World No. 1 Ferrero discusses his relationship with Alcaraz, his pupil

#NextGenATP Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz, 16, broke through on the ATP Tour in February, beating 2017 Monte-Carlo finalist Albert Ramos-Vinolas in Rio de Janeiro 7-6(2), 4-6, 7-6(2) to become the youngest player to win an ATP 500 match in series history (since 2009) and the youngest Spaniard to win an ATP Tour match since Rafael Nadal at 2002 Mallorca.

Alcaraz is coached by former World No. 1 Juan Carlos Ferrero, who spoke to about what it’s like to work with a rising star, which current stars Alcaraz plays like, and more.

Tennis At Home | How ATP Players Make The Most Of Stay At Home

Since you didn’t start competing in ATP events until your later teens, how interesting is it to see how well Carlos has competed at only 16?
The thing is, he always was competing against guys who were older. He’s used to playing against people older than him. So now, even the match against Albert Ramos-Vinolas in Rio, the guy was 32 and he’s 16, and obviously the most important thing for him is that he improved physically very much. That’s why he can stay in the match for three and a half hours and he can play against guys who are older than him.

How did you get to know Carlos? Did he come to your academy or did you see him at a tournament?
I saw him here at the JC Ferrero-Equelite Sports Academy playing a tournament. We have a lot of tournaments here at the academy. I saw him for the first time playing a tournament and it helps that he lives very close to the academy in Murcia, just an hour from here. So it was very easy seeing him play some matches.

I remember him playing a Futures when he was 14 and he got his first [FedEx] ATP Ranking point. I went to see some matches and I heard about this little boy who was playing at such a good level at the age of 14, so I drove over there to watch him. His agent is the same as Pablo Carreno Busta’s, and Carreno is here practising at the academy, so it helps to have a good relationship with him at the end to get him into this team.

My Point: Get The Players' Point Of View


For those who haven’t seen Carlos play, how would you describe his game style and is there a player who he plays similarly to?
He likes to be very aggressive all the time. He likes to play close to the baseline. He’s not the typical player who only plays on clay courts. He likes to play on hard courts and he loves to play on grass. He played last year for the first time on grass and he loved it. He loves to finish points at the net.

At the beginning, when I first met him, I almost was sure that his best level was on clay, but I think now he’s improving so much on hard court and I think he can even give a little bit more level on hard court, so that’s very good. He’s playing very aggressive from the baseline and he needs to improve a little bit his serve. But for 16, he’s serving well.

If I have to say someone that I can compare him to, it’s the game of Novak Djokovic or maybe Roger Federer. They like to be aggressive from the baseline and they can go to the net to finish the point.

How do you balance when you or someone else tells him of such a comparison, while not allowing it to get to his head?
Usually he hears people who say he is going to be the next Rafael Nadal… of course, it’s going to be difficult for him to [keep things] normal and stay calm and not tell me, ‘Why are they saying this to me?’

But he’s a little bit used to it, because most of the people here in Spain, they come to him many times and tell him he’s going to be the next Rafa Nadal. Finally, I think he’s used to it and he put it away and he goes his own way to always work very hard and to try to make his own career.

Of course, the comparison is going to be there because for people here in Spain, it’s been a long time that we haven’t had anyone at the age of 16 or 17 [playing] this kind of level. But the team that is around him, we have to try to [keep a circle] around him to help him try to put this pressure away, to make him calm, to keep things normal, so he can go his own way.

Andy Roddick has said something he looks for in younger players is easy power. Do you think Carlos has that?
In his performance on the court, he has very fast hands. He plays from the backhand and the forehand very strong all the time. He’s very quickly going with the ball on the court, and that’s why he can play at a very high rhythm against these guys.

In Rio we were practising with Lajovic, Carballes [Baena], even Thiem, and he’s one of the guys who can play at the same rhythm as the player on the other side of the court any time. This helps a lot for him to play against them.

How rare is that attribute for someone Carlos’ age?
It’s very rare. Obviously you cannot find that many people who are 16 and can play that kind of level that easy going. A year and a half before he was playing juniors and he didn’t see many boys that had the game that Carlos has. That’s why maybe Carlos is at this level now.

Does Carlos look at guys like Felix Auger-Aliassime and Jannik Sinner for motivation given how much success they’ve had at a young age?
Of course he thinks a little bit about it. Obviously the motivation that he has is to play these kinds of tournaments and these kinds of matches. It’s very important to him to be very motivated and one of the big reasons to increase his level very much is the team that he has around him. He has an unbelievable team around him that helps him to stay motivated every day and try to work a little bit different than people at his age, to help him to be a professional on the court. I think that’s very important.

ATP Heritage: Milestones. Records. Legends.

What has he improved the most since you first met him?
Mentally. I think he has taken a big step up, because when I first met him, he was 14. Now he’s almost 17, so I think mentally he grew up a little bit. Physically, of course, he’s a little bit stronger than when I met him for the first time. But I think his mental game is what he improved the most. 

Knowing that you still play tennis a lot, do you ever jump on court with Carlos as sort of a test?
I’ve hit with him many times and I play some matches against him, to have some fun together. I stay every day on the court and I can see the big difference in how much he’s improved since last year. But obviously we have fun when we play some matches.

Do you get nervous watching Carlos compete and if so how nervous?
Of course I’m nervous, because when you are working with someone every day and you are after some goals that you put on the table at the beginning of the year you want him to reach those goals. Obviously when he’s in the match I’m a little bit nervous. As a player, I tried to be calm, but of course inside of me I have some big nerves [watching him].

Source link

1994 Miami Final: The Day A Wounded Sampras 'Pecked Out' Agassi's Eyes

  • Posted: Mar 29, 2020

1994 Miami Final: The Day A Wounded Sampras ‘Pecked Out’ Agassi’s Eyes

Learn how Sampras avoided a walkover and found a way to lift the trophy

Andre Agassi had a big decision to make ahead of the 1994 Miami final. 

When he walked into the locker room that day, his opponent, Pete Sampras, was suffering on the floor due to stomach illness. It seemed clear Sampras would not be prepared to take the court on time, which would give Agassi the title, the FedEx ATP Ranking points that came with lifting the trophy, and the champion’s prize money. It wasn’t his fault Sampras was ill.

“I woke up at 7 feeling nauseated, heaving and gagging. I didn’t think I’d be able to go out and play,” Sampras said, according to the New York Times. “Had IV’s in me all the way from 10:45 to 12:20.”

ATP Heritage: Milestones. Records. Legends.

Agassi would not let down the thousands of fans in the stands, nor would he force Sampras into a walkover. He allowed Sampras the time he needed, which amounted to about an hour.

Sampras was the favourite heading into the match — when not considering his illness — competing as the top seed and defending champion. The World No. 1 had already won titles at Sydney, the Australian Open and Indian Wells in 1994, bringing plenty of momentum into Miami.

Agassi was ranked World No. 31, his lowest standing since November 1987. The American underwent right wrist surgery the previous December, which prevented him from playing the 1994 Australian Open.

But Agassi found his form in Miami, beating Boris Becker, Cedric Pioline, Stefan Edberg and Pat Rafter. It was his first tournament with new coach Brad Gilbert. According to Agassi’s book, Open, the pair walked into the locker room before the final and found Sampras on the floor.

“The doctor gives Pete an IV, then props him on his feet. Pete wobbles, a newborn colt. He’ll never make it… Should be a short night, I tell Brad,” Agassi wrote. “But Pete does it again. He sends his evil twin onto the court. This is not the Pete who was curled in a ball on the locker-room floor. This is not the Pete who was getting an IV and wobbling in circles. This Pete is in the prime of life, serving at warp speed, barely breaking a sweat. He’s playing his best tennis, unbeatable, and he jumps out to a 5-1 lead.

“Now I’m angry. I feel as if I found a wounded bird, brought it home, and nursed it back to health, only to have it try to peck my eyes out. I fight back and win the set. Surely I’ve withstood the only attack Pete can mount. He can’t possibly have anything left. But in the second set he’s even better. And in the third he’s a freak.”

Download ATP Tour App

Sampras, who crushed 14 aces, including one down the T on match point, was simply too good for Agassi. He earned 17 break points in the match, converting five as he went on to win 5-7, 6-3, 6-3 in two hours and 15 minutes.

“I feel a lot better now,” Sampras said. “As the match wore on, the adrenaline started kicking in and I started to think I could win when the chips are down. That sort of showed me I’ve got guts.”

Agassi was a good sport about the situation, even if he was disappointed about losing the championship.

“It’s not about winning the tournament, it’s about taking pride in what you do,” Agassi said, according to the New York Times. “If I couldn’t beat Pete healthy, I didn’t deserve to win the tournament, and whether sick or well, he played a great match.”

Agassi later that year won his first US Open title, and he’d climb to a career-high World No. 2, before ascending to No. 1 in 1995.

Tournament Founder Butch Bucholz told, “Delaying the final showed the great character of Andre Agassi. He didn’t want to win the tournament that way, by walkover. Pete’s doctor said if we get some IVs into him, he’ll be okay in a few hours.

“We were just happy to have a match. Pete told us he didn’t think he’d be able to play on Sunday morning. We said, ‘If we got a doctor, and if the doctor can get you to a point where you can play, would you?’ Andre then agreed to delay the match. Andre beat him the next year in a third set tie-break, which was a great match.”

It was the first and only time Sampras would win the ‘Sunshine Double’ — lifting the trophy in Indian Wells and Miami in the same year — and he’d go on to win a personal-best 10 tour-level titles that year. Sampras finished atop the 1994 year-end FedEx ATP Rankings, marking the second of six consecutive World No. 1 finishes.

“I would have done the same thing for him if he’d been in the same boat,” Sampras said of Agassi’s gesture.

Source link

Tsonga's Band, Djokovic's Costume: #TennisAtHome Roundup

  • Posted: Mar 29, 2020

Tsonga’s Band, Djokovic’s Costume: #TennisAtHome Roundup looks at what your favourite players have been up to

Your favourite players are all finding ways to stay busy and remain in shape while doing their part to flatten the curve. From Jo-Wilfried Tsonga’s new family band to Novak Djokovic’s homemade costume, find out how the biggest names in tennis are keeping active.

You May Also Like:

Tsonga’s Training, Khachanov’s Challenge: Best Social Media Posts Of The Week

Tsonga didn’t need to look far when he needed someone to accompany him on drums.

Djokovic is getting creative during his time at home

Rafael Nadal launched the #NuestraMejorVictoria (Our Best Victory) campaign with six-time NBA All-Star champion Pau Gasol in order to raise funds in the fight against COVID-19.

Stefanos Tsitsipas helped launch a free workout program for his fans to stay in shape while staying at home.

All of Stan Wawrinka’s alter egos are finding ways to keep up their workout routines.

Yoshihito Nishioka is passing the time with a traditional Japanese toy known as a kendama.

Diego Schwartzman is staying on top of his off-court training.

Gael Monfils took time to celebrate Wawrinka’s 35th birthday.

Jamie Murray gave his fans a sample workout that can be done at home and without equipment.

Tennis At Home | How ATP Players Make The Most Of Stay At Home

Source link