Tennis News

From around the world

Sharapova's First Memory Of Djokovic: 'I Think You Were Fanboying!'

  • Posted: May 05, 2020

Sharapova’s First Memory Of Djokovic: ‘I Think You Were Fanboying!’

Djokovic and Sharapova catch up through Instagram Live

Novak Djokovic and Maria Sharapova, two of tennis’ biggest stars, jumped on Instagram Live Tuesday to chat about everything from tennis and their mindsets to life off the court. One of the session’s funniest moments came when Sharapova recalled her first memory of the current World No. 1.

“I remember we played this little exhibition. I was young, you were young, way before you had any Grand Slam titles. I don’t know if you’d even won a tournament at that point,” Sharapova recalled. “You said that if you’d win, I would have to pay dinner. I was like, ‘Okay, whatever, who is this kid?’ You won and you were like, ‘We have dinner tonight. We’re going to the Japanese place!’ I was like, ‘Are you serious? You and me, going to dinner, tonight?’ So we did. We ended up going to dinner and it was so funny because you pulled out I think it was an old Kodak camera and you asked the waiter to take a photo of us… and here we are.”

“Maria is saying the truth,” Djokovic said.

“I think you were fanboying,” Sharapova replied.

Djokovic added that he lost the camera — and with it, that picture — but he wasn’t done with the story.

“You have to admit to everyone here that you lost on purpose!” he said, joking.

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

At one point, Djokovic discussed some of his hobbies, including reading and watching videos about health and wellness, mental health, spiritual health and so on. That was when Sharapova chimed in.

“It’s really admirable to watch you gain this interest throughout the years because I will say, and you’ll probably admit to it, but at the beginning of your career you struggled so much with your body and the length of matches,” Sharapova said. “I remember watching you on the clay and all the cramping and being like, ‘Are you ever going to get your s*** together?’ To see you make a transformation, what I loved about this sport… our game and our results really did the talking for us.”

Djokovic, who is in Spain, has seen some videos of Sharapova working out at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, which led him to some reflection.

“When you’re an athlete and used to these things, it’s such an integral part of your day, that it’s almost impossible to think about days when you’re not doing something, even if it’s stretching, yoga, whatever it is. I’ve been trying to do that. But there have been some days where I just haven’t done much physical activity at all. And that’s fine,” Djokovic said. “At the end of the day, we have to slow down and I think this whole thing that is happening, on a brighter side, allowed us to have time to reflect on ourselves and our lives, really understand how we want to move forward because we don’t know what’s going to happen, what are the ramifications of coronavirus on the tennis world.

“What we can do is we can encourage ourselves to take matters into our own hands and really try to learn new skills and work on ourselves, on every aspect of our being, and do some things that attract us, that are our hobbies… that we never had time to do.”

My Point: Get The Players' Point Of View

Although far from classing himself a master chef, Djokovic says he enjoys preparing one meal each day.

“I must admit my wife does more cooking for me. I am more of a breakfast, brekkie as they like to say in Australia, kind of person. I like to make juices, smoothies, breakfast bowls, those types of things. Avocado and toast, stuff like this with tomatoes,” Djokovic said. “We have been spending a lot of quality time with each other.”

Source link

Tennis Rallies Together For Player Relief Programme

  • Posted: May 05, 2020

Tennis Rallies Together For Player Relief Programme

Tours, Slams and ITF unite to provide relief to players

The governing bodies of world tennis have come together to raise in excess of US $6 million to create a Player Relief Programme aimed at supporting players who are particularly affected by the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The initiative has seen the ATP, WTA, the four Grand Slam tournaments – the Australian Open, Roland-Garros, The Championships, Wimbledon and the US Open – and the ITF, unite in a show of support to players who are facing unprecedented challenges due to the global impact of COVID-19. Professional tennis is currently suspended until 13 July 2020.

In addition to contributions of their own, the ATP and WTA will administer the financial distributions of the Player Relief Programme, which sees respective contributions from the four Grand Slam tournaments and ITF split equally between men and women. The Player Relief Programme will target a total of approximately 800 ATP/WTA singles and doubles players collectively, in need of financial support. Eligibility for the Player Relief Programme will take into account a player’s ranking as well as previous prize money earnings according to criteria agreed by all stakeholders.

The move by the seven stakeholders provides the financial backbone of the Programme, with opportunities for additional contributions to follow. Funds raised through initiatives such as auctions, player donations, virtual tennis games and more, will provide opportunity for further support of the Programme moving forward and are welcomed.

The creation of the Player Relief Programme is a positive demonstration of the sport’s ability to come together during this time of crisis. We will continue to collaborate and monitor the support required across tennis with the aim of ensuring the long-term health of the sport in the midst of this unprecedented challenge to our way of life, and our thoughts remain with all those affected at this time.

Source link

Wawrinka's Cheat Day, Anderson's Gaming: Tennis At Home Roundup

  • Posted: May 05, 2020

Wawrinka’s Cheat Day, Anderson’s Gaming: Tennis At Home Roundup looks at what your favourite players have been up to

Your favourite players are all at home, but they’re finding plenty of ways to occupy their time. From Stan Wawrinka’s fun in the kitchen, to Kevin Anderson testing his abilities in Mario Tennis, find out how the world’s best players are keeping busy.

You May Also Like:

Wawrinka’s Cheat Day, Anderson’s Gaming: Tennis At Home Roundup

Wawrinka made the most of his calorie splurge by baking homemade muffins.

Kevin Anderson teamed up with NFL star Ryan Tannehill in the Stay at Home Slam, a celebrity Nintendo tennis event featuring pro tennis players pairing up with other professional athletes or celebrities to raise money for charity.

Taylor Fritz and Addison Rae defeated Kei Nishikori and Steve Aoki in the final of the event, and Fritz had the tweet of the day in jokingly acknowledging his record in real life against Nishikori.

Boris Becker raised money for charity in a different way by participating in an online poker tournament.

Dominic Thiem took part in the Wings For Life World Run, a global charity race to raise money for research to find a cure for spinal cord injuries.

John Isner joined members of the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes for the Zoom chat show ‘Checking In With Tripp’.

Richard Gasquet revealed some impressive racquet flipping skills.

Diego Schwartzman showed off his dance moves on TikTok.

Fabio Fognini successfully completed his weekend workout.

Source link

Mardy Fish: We'll Get Through This Together

  • Posted: May 05, 2020

Mardy Fish: We’ll Get Through This Together

In the newest installation of’s My Point series, Mardy Fish opens up about his struggles with mental health in the hopes of helping others

The COVID-19 pandemic has turned the world upside down. Countless people have lost loved ones and many have lost jobs. It’s an incredibly tough time for everyone.

In early March, my family and I flew home from Hawaii to California. When we boarded our plane, my wife was wiping down the seats, the windows and the TVs in front of us. I was like, “What are you doing?” I thought it was a little bit above and beyond at the time. But ever since, we’ve pretty much been holed up.

Dealing with the repercussions of this virus and how it has changed our lives is difficult enough. But in early April, I went through one of the toughest days I’ve had in years.

I wasn’t sick, though. It had nothing to do with COVID-19.

I had to drop something off at my in-law’s house nearby, so I got in my car for the first time in three weeks. I was so excited just to get in the car and get out of the house, even if it was only for 10 minutes. The police pulled me over for not using my turn signal when I was switching lanes. It was only a ticket, not the end of the world.

The problem is, that put me behind schedule. I was supposed to get home by 4 p.m. to celebrate Passover — my wife is Jewish — on Zoom. I got there at 4:30, and the family was asking where I was. They weren’t mad or anything, just curious.

But still, I broke down.

The last time I’d cried was in August 2013 after retiring from a match in Winston-Salem. I’m not an emotional person. I don’t cry.

That made this really jarring.

* * *
Some of you may know that I have struggled with mental illness. I’m going to talk a little bit about that in this story and also pass along some tips that have helped me and might help you, too.

My anxiety disorder first surfaced in 2012, when I was playing some of the best tennis of my life. The year before, I cracked the Top 10 and qualified for the Nitto ATP Finals.

My issues bubbled earlier in the season, but they came to a head at the US Open. During my third-round match, I had my first and only anxiety attack on a tennis court.

I was playing Gilles Simon in primetime under the lights inside Arthur Ashe Stadium, the biggest tennis-only venue in the world. All the attention was on me. Those were the moments I spent my whole life working towards. I dreamed about being in that situation.

Somehow, I got through that with a win, earning a shot at Roger Federer. But a couple days later when I was heading to the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center for that match, I was freaking out in tournament transport. I was having anxiety attacks closer and closer together, about every 10 to 15 minutes.

I had the biggest opportunity of my life right in front of me, but I couldn’t play the match. I withdrew from my favourite event, and I wouldn’t play again the rest of the year.

When I got back to California, I didn’t leave my house for almost four months. I had no interest in going outside, and only did so to see my psychiatrist. My wife was an angel during the whole thing. I don’t know if I’d still be here without her. That’s how bad I was. My wife basically put her life on hold to be my support system, and I can’t thank her enough for that. Some of the worst stories about mental health involve people without a support system.

It took daily improvements to give me the confidence to start living again. It took repetitions of going to bed and waking up okay, being alright throughout the night and not having constant episodes. They became fewer and fewer to the point at which I was able to think I was ready to go out into the world.

My Point: Get The Players' Point Of View

I was in such a bad place in 2012, but I was able to get myself in a good enough frame of mind to return to action at Indian Wells the next year. I didn’t really care about my results, but mentally, especially come the summer, I was doing well enough to position myself for success.

I played in Atlanta, Washington D.C. and Cincinnati — all really hot places and difficult places to compete — and had no hiccups. Then I got to Winston-Salem, where I still felt really good mentally.

I was playing Jarkko Nieminen in the third set and I wasn’t having any issues on the court anxiety-wise. I lost my first service game of the third set and he went up 2-0, serving. That happens. It’s tennis. Everybody loses serve at some point. I remember crushing a return winner to get back on serve, but that was pretty ironic.

I knew I was starting to have an episode. My anxiety had returned. I was suddenly overwhelmed. I had made so much progress since that miserable US Open and throughout the summer. I really thought I could get back to where I was. I told myself it wasn’t worth it to put myself through that again. It wasn’t fair to me. It wasn’t fair to my loved ones. What I’d gone through the previous year was like a living hell.

I was just happy to be back on the court. I was excited to be back travelling and competing, doing what I love to do and what I was good at. But my mental health was more important. I knew I had to pull out of the match against Nieminen right away. In that moment, I thought I was done. I couldn’t beat this disease and get back to my career. I saw my wife right after the match and she was wondering if everything was okay. That was when I broke down.

You May Also Like:

Diego Schwartzman: Why Height Doesn’t Define Me

* * *
No, I don’t have this. It’s not happening. This isn’t real.

One of the keys I learned dealing with mental illness is how important it is to identify it. You almost are trapped in a state of denial. The stigmas surrounding mental illness make you try to convince yourself that there’s nothing wrong with you, and that makes the disease even more dangerous.

I needed to identify what I was going through and understand it. Mental illness is very real, but it’s also fairly normal. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, nearly one in five American adults live with mental illness. That’s tens of millions of people who deal with it.

One of the toughest parts about dealing with my mental illness was not knowing anyone who had battled something similar. I wasn’t able to rely on the experience of a friend or family member. I didn’t have a role model in professional sports to look to in that regard. I wasn’t aware of an athlete who had spoken up about their experiences.

It’s tough to come to terms with this when you’re going through it, but it’s okay to not be okay. When deep down you know something is wrong, keeping it in can take you down the wrong path. Getting help is critical. With everything going on in the world right now with the coronavirus, I could imagine the tremendous stress people are dealing with, from being trapped in an apartment to worrying about scrambling for money. It’s tough to physically go to a doctor right now, but if something is off, don’t be afraid to talk to people about it.

Speaking about my problems made me feel better. I retained less and less anxiety when I would talk about it with friends or other people in my life. It’s also normal to see a professional. I don’t know where I’d be without having medicine to help start the healing process. It would have been really difficult to do on my own.

I ended up making enough progress to play four tournaments in 2015 so I could retire on my own terms. I worked all my life to be a professional tennis player, and if I was going to go out, I was going to be the one to make that decision, not my mental illness.

<a href=''>Mardy Fish</a>

Before my final event, the US Open, I wrote an essay in The Players’ Tribune about what I’d gone through. Since I didn’t have someone to look to during my time of need, I wanted to be that person for others.

Not only did it make me feel better to tell my story, but if reading about my experiences could help even one person, then that was better than nothing. People from all walks of life have reached out to me, from people you’ve heard of to others you haven’t, from a friend on the pickup basketball court to Fortune 500 CEOs. I’ve had lots of candid conversations with people throughout them going through the process. Those made me feel great and believe it was a really good thing that I came out with my story.

I’ve had a really good run over the past few years being in a really good space mentally. I practise mental exercises quite a lot. I learn from every situation that happens, take it in, accept it, move on and avoid dwelling on it. I remember my successes, so when I get to tough moments, I’m able to use those memories to push through episodes. During this pandemic, I’ve done alright for the most part. But I’ve had more setbacks during this quarantine than I did in total since 2012.

However, I have those successful memories to lean on, and there are tools I use to get back on track. What I do a lot is change the channel on negative thoughts. If I’m not feeling well and am stressing about when we are going to get out of this, I know I need to get to a happy place mentally.

<a href=''>Mardy Fish</a>
Photo Credit: Michael Reaves/Getty Images
I love golf, so I go to my favourite golf course. From when I was eight to 16, my family would go to Roaring Gap Country Club in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina every summer. My dad would teach tennis, and I’d play golf and tennis there. The pine trees are beautiful and the air is refreshing. That’s a place I could go and take my mind off things, where I know that I’m safe.

I’ll play that golf course in my head. I’ll tee the ball up, I’ll go through every single shot as if I’m playing a real round. Every shot is perfect, and I’ll birdie every hole. By the time I get to the middle of the fairway on the third hole, my negative thoughts are gone. I don’t know that this would help other people, but that’s how I deal with it. Go to a “happy place”, whether it’s on the beach or in the mountains. Put yourself physically or mentally wherever the least stressful situation you’ve ever been in in your life is.

I recently tweeted about struggling a bit with my anxiety disorder because I know that if I am going through it, lots of other people are, too. I’m extremely lucky in that I am financially secure and am at least able to step out of my house for fresh air if need be. I understand that is not the case for many who feel trapped, overwhelmed, stressed, or all of the above.

It’s okay to cry. It’s okay to show weakness. It’s okay to struggle. When you’re going through those dark times, it’s incredibly scary. You feel alone. But what’s important is to know that you’re not.

Check in on your friends, see how your loved ones are doing. You really never know how much of a difference you can make. During these trying times, we can’t be together, but we can be there for each other.

Together, we will get through this.

– As told to Andrew Eichenholz

If you are struggling with mental illness, please visit the World Health Organisation’s Mental Health Resources page.

Source link

Breakthrough: Cilic Reflects On Beating Federer, Nishikori On Path To US Open Title

  • Posted: May 05, 2020

Breakthrough: Cilic Reflects On Beating Federer, Nishikori On Path To US Open Title

Croat reflects on the biggest victory of his career

Editor’s Note: is resurfacing features to bring fans closer to their favourite players during the current suspension in tournament play. This story was originally published on 24 August 2019.

Ahead of the 2014 US Open, Marin Cilic walked into Arthur Ashe Stadium with then-coach Goran Ivanisevic for practice.

Sensing how such a stadium would bring out the best in him, “I told [Goran], ‘You can’t play bad over here’,” Cilic told “[My team] was mocking me and just joking and saying to me, ‘We’ll see when you come to play on the court’.”

Little did the Croat know that a fortnight later, he’d be lifting his first Grand Slam trophy. Cilic didn’t just win the tournament, though. The No. 14 seed did so emphatically, claiming each of his final three matches in straight sets, defeating players against whom he had previously owned a combined 5-15 FedEx ATP Head2Head record.

“First of all, I can’t believe that it’s already been five years. Time flies when you’re having fun and when you are on the Tour chasing your dreams,” Cilic said. “Winning the Open was a dream come true… I had my first match on Arthur Ashe Stadium [in the quarter-finals against Tomas Berdych] and played in the form of my life. Beat Berdych, beat Roger in the semis and Kei in the final and just had an incredible time and just enjoyed myself on the court, played tremendously well and just enjoyed every single moment.”

Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic or Andy Murray had competed in every Grand Slam final since the 2005 Australian Open. And it appeared that streak would continue with Federer and Djokovic overwhelming favourites in the semi-finals against Cilic and Nishikori, respectively.

But shockwaves were sent through the tennis world when Nishikori opened the day by defeating the Serbian superstar, who had defeated Andy Murray the round before. A third-set tie-break proved crucial, as Djokovic won three more points overall in the match.

“It was definitely an incredible win by Kei to beat Novak in the semis and Novak up until that point, he was having a great season and he was the big favourite to go through. But it was an incredibly hot day, it was very humid,” Cilic said. “Of course we all watched in the locker rooms. But it didn’t play too much in my mind because up until that point I had never beaten Roger. I had lost to him five times up until that point and just kept myself in the moment, kept composed. I felt that I was playing great and just wanted to be relaxed, enjoy when I went on the court and that’s the way it was.”

Watch A Cilic Interview From The 2014 US Open

That wasn’t the first match Cilic played well during the tournament, either. The Croat had gathered momentum. In the third round, he gathered steam against a game Kevin Anderson. And then facing a player whom he had never previously beaten in Gilles Simon, Cilic found a way to advance after four hours and 13 minutes.

Then, Cilic found what some may call “lights-out tennis”. He had only won three of eight previous FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings against Tomas Berdych, who was World No. 7 at the time, but Cilic cruised 6-2, 6-4, 7-6(4).

Cilic’s match against Federer was not his first Grand Slam semi-final — that came at the 2010 Australian Open —nor was it his first match inside Arthur Ashe Stadium. But walking out onto the court, with the buzz of the Djokovic upset still reverberating through the more than 23,000 seats in the crowd, it was clearly a special moment.

“I think it gives you that great adrenaline, what we are always searching for in tennis. It’s just an electrifying atmosphere with the whole stadium screaming and enjoying tennis, loving the game, and giving us great pleasure to play,” Cilic said. “When you are there battling it out, you definitely feel appreciated by all the people and you just try to play the best you can and when you are pumped with adrenaline, I think the best tennis comes out of you.”

Many times, that environment could make a player nervous, and perhaps force them into a slow start. In other cases, loud support for an opponent can make even some of the ATP Tour’s best tight as they try to close out a match. But what was impressive about Cilic’s performance against Federer wasn’t necessarily just his level — he won 87 per cent of his first-serve points to Federer’s 69 — but how Cilic maintained his level with no true dip, even with the New York crowd attempting to rally its five-time champion.

“[It was] not easy [to close it out], I have to say. It was definitely tough, winning the first set and then being up early with a break in the second set and slowly the crowd was getting into it, pushing Roger, giving him some extra wind at his back just to catch me, to get that break back,” Cilic said. “But I kept cool, I was extremely composed. I felt in a way just in my zone, just really relaxed and I knew what I had to do.

“I played instinctively, didn’t panic, served tremendously well. That was one of the key factors actually in my whole game that allowed me to be a little bit more free when swinging from the back. Just everything clicked incredibly well on the court.”


Three aces to begin the match’s final game certainly helped to settle any nerves. And Cilic crushed a backhand winner down the line into the open court to clinch his triumph. Then he froze, thrust his arms up diagonally towards his camp, with a smile on his face

“I just remember watching the match and going, ‘Damn, this guy is good’,” Cilic’s current coach, Wayne Ferreira, told “He was serving and hitting groundstrokes [so well]. He literally beat the [heck] out of Roger. It reminded me of the Marat Safin-Pete Sampras final where Safin came out and just absolutely drilled him. Sampras walked in afterwards and was like, ‘Wow’. I think it was the same, similar to where Roger would have felt afterwards that there was just nothing he can do. It was a very impressive semi-final.”

The tournament wasn’t over yet, though. Cilic had one more hurdle to leap over, and that was Nishikori, himself carrying plenty of momentum. But again, nothing could stop Cilic. He found form during the second week of the 2014 US Open that nobody will soon forget.

“I would say up to an hour and a half, two hours before the final I didn’t feel any nerves. I just felt great. Even the practice, the warm-ups before were just incredibly good and coming onto the court, that hour and a half before the match I started to feel a little bit of the nerves swirling around my stomach and just feeling that moment a bit,” Cilic said. “The few first games I felt just slightly more nervous than usual, but after the first few games everything went away. I just battled it out and played an incredible match. It was a straight-sets win against Kei who had an amazing run as well. It was just incredible to see my name on the screen as a US Open winner.”

Since Cilic, there has not been another first-time Grand Slam champion. But as the Croat readies for a run at his second major title, he will always be able to take confidence knowing that five years ago, he was the last man standing in New York.

“It was just a little bit unreal in a way. Obviously I knew what that result was, winning my first Grand Slam. I played incredibly well. That was the biggest satisfaction of all, knowing I could produce that tennis under those circumstances, under pressure, under big adrenaline and just playing top guys and delivering in those moments and being able to win that trophy, it’s tough to put it into words,” Cilic said. “But I’ve been dreaming of that all my life, working for it since being a kid, just battling it out every single day, trying to push yourself as much as you can. At some point in your career, you start thinking, ‘Is that ever going to happen?’ It was just incredible to win that one and just be among the history of incredible players who have won Grand Slams.”

Source link

Resurfaced: Out Of This World! Monfils Goes Next Level With Airborne Strike

  • Posted: May 05, 2020

Resurfaced: Out Of This World! Monfils Goes Next Level With Airborne Strike

Frenchman hit memorable shot in Madrid last season

Editor’s Note: is resurfacing features to bring fans closer to their favourite players during the current suspension in tournament play. This story was originally published on 8 May 2019.

Add this one to Gael Monfils’ never-ending reel of highlights! The Frenchman took things to the next level on Wednesday at the Mutua Madrid Open, when he delivered an incredible airborne strike against Hungary’s Marton Fucsovics.

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

With Fucsovics serving to stay in the second set at 3-5, Monfils raced to the net to retrieve a drop shot on the 13th shot of the rally. He then back peddled to snap a no-look airborne winner past Fucsovics, who had been attacking the net, earning a standing ovation from the crowd.

The shot also earned the approval of countrywoman Alize Cornet, who tweeted ‘Insane’ with an alien emoji.

While Fucsovics went on to hold serve, Monfils won the next game and the match 1-6, 6-4, 6-2 to set up a blockbuster third-round clash with three-time Madrid champion Roger Federer. It will be their first meeting since 2015 at Roland Garros, a match Federer won in four sets to improve to 9-4 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series.

Source link

Flashback: Federer's Triumph On Madrid's Blue Clay

  • Posted: May 05, 2020

Flashback: Federer’s Triumph On Madrid’s Blue Clay

Relive the Swiss’ 2012 title run in Madrid

Roger Federer’s run on the blue clay of the 2012 Mutua Madrid Open nearly ended before it truly began.

The third seed nearly was ousted in his first match of the ATP Masters 1000 event. Standing across the net was a 21-year-old Canadian armed with rocket serve, who consistently pierced the blue dirt: Milos Raonic.

Raonic had pushed Federer to three sets just two months earlier at the BNP Paribas Open. Once again, he proved himself a tough opponent for the Swiss superstar.

“I knew it was going to be an extremely difficult match for me. He’s already played plenty of clay-court tennis,” Federer said. “It’s [at] altitude, it’s really quick and he really has a great serve, so obviously it worked for him here.”

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

Raonic won 86 per cent of his first-serve points that Wednesday against Federer, and he only faced two break points in 17 service games. It still wasn’t enough, as Federer crushed a forehand return winner to clinch the final-set tie-break after two hours and 14 minutes.

“For a long time it didn’t look like I was going to come out of it,” Federer said. “I just hung in there, got a little lucky at times, served well at the times and at the end I played a really good tie-break in the third. I’m extremely happy.”

Federer found his footing as the tournament wore on, winning his next three matches without losing a set. He defeated then-World No. 18 Richard Gasquet, against whom he lost in Rome the previous year, World No. 6 David Ferrer and World No. 8 Janko Tipsarevic to reach the final.

Watch over 165 classic ATP Tour matches from the 90s

While tournament favourites Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic lost early on the blue surface, Federer rode his serve to success. The Swiss did not lose serve against Gasquet, Ferrer or Tipsarevic.

That set the stage for a championship clash against big-hitting Czech Tomas Berdych, the sixth seed, who had not lost a set in the tournament.

Berdych won the first set against Federer, leaving the third seed no room for error. Federer rose to the occasion, rallying past Berdych 3-6, 7-5, 7-5 after two hours and 38 minutes to lift the trophy.

“[I am] very happy. It was tough. I was down almost the whole time and then finally I got the break in the third and then he broke back and things got really tough again,” Federer said. “But look, I played great. It was tough conditions obviously as we know. It was slippery and stuff, and I could have lost in the first round. This is always special, winning a title 7-5 in the third when things get tough. The crowd was amazing, and I’m very happy.”

Federer arrived in Madrid without playing since Miami, where Andy Roddick upset him in the third round. But more than a month off didn’t stop the Swiss from claiming his 20th Masters 1000 title.

“It’s an amazing comeback and everything is positive right now,” Federer said. “I’m just feeling really happy and hope I can keep it up for the weeks to come.”

Madrid was the start of a run of consistency for Federer, who fell short of the semi-finals just once the rest of the season, winning titles at Wimbledon and Cincinnati.

Source link