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Monfils: 'Tennis Is Part Of My DNA'

  • Posted: May 18, 2021

Gael Monfils won his first match in 15 months on Tuesday, defeating Brazilian Thiago Seyboth Wild 7-5, 6-4. After recovering from 0/40 when he served for the match to advance to the second round, the Frenchman launched a ball into the stratosphere, with no fans in site. It was partly a release of tension after a tough final game, and also a happy moment for the fifth seed.

“It was a little pleasure in a way. I was thinking you’re in a big stadium and obviously you want to send it to the crowd, but… there is unfortunately no crowd in the stadium,” Monfils told “But it still felt good.”

Monfils wears his heart on the sleeve, and he takes great joy in entertaining fans with his athletic game. But during the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been limited fans or no fans at all, which is the case in Lyon.

“It was very tough for me. That’s why I think I haven’t played so much this year,” Monfils said. “This is not the sort of atmosphere I like to play in. I really like the communication with the fans, with the crowd, their energy. I’ve been struggling quite a lot. But I’ve been working as well quite a lot.”

This is Monfils’ fourth tournament of the season. The World No. 14 had lost eight consecutive matches entering this week, but he is adjusting to make the most of the situation and find the positives to motivate himself.

“I think it took me a long process for me personally to reset myself, to be motivated, try to enjoy what I’m doing,” Monfils said. “I love playing tennis. Tennis is part of my DNA, so it was a little bit longer than other players to settle down and admit to these conditions and try to be as happy as I can.”

Monfils says that having a crowd gives him extra adrenaline and motivation. Even if fans are cheering for his opponent, that pumps him up. And although this period has required adjustments to find other sources of motivation, Monfils is persevering.

“It’s a different adrenaline when it’s an empty stadium. It’s a different motivation,” Monfils said. “The fire is burning differently, and you have to definitely work more to build the fire.”

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Andujar On Beating Federer: 'I Still Cannot Believe It'

  • Posted: May 18, 2021

Pablo Andujar spoke on Monday in Geneva about how excited he was to play Roger Federer for the first time. On Tuesday, the Spaniard held his hands on his head in disbelief after upsetting the Swiss star in three sets to reach the Gonet Geneva Open quarter-finals.

“It’s amazing. I still cannot believe it because for me, I said yesterday playing him was a dream. But of course beating him is another level,” Andujar told “It’s very emotional to play him and to beat him, given the conditions for him coming back and he’s not for sure playing his best tennis. But it really counts a lot to me and it’s very important for me and for the rest of my career.”

It wasn’t the first time Andujar faced a legendary opponent. The 35-year-old had played Rafael Nadal four times (0-4) and lost against Novak Djokovic twice. But he held his nerve against the former World No. 1.

“Of course I was nervous, but I tried to keep it as if it was another match. I have a lot of respect and I admire a lot Roger Federer. I really admire him, but I had to try not to think who I was playing against,” Andujar said. “I just tried to think about the game, about my game and tried to be 100 per cent focussed on that and I think I pretty much did it during the whole match.

“That’s one of the things I think I can be most proud of today. I kept believing and tried to go point by point, because sometimes for me it happens in other matches when I played someone so good like Roger or Rafa that I was so nervous that I couldn’t compete. I’m happy I was able to play my game and compete today.

“I am very proud, not for beating him. It’s the way I focussed on and treated the match… [I was able to] enjoy playing Roger Federer today. If I had lost, I would say the same thing, and that’s what I’m most proud of.”


Andujar is a four-time ATP Tour titlist, and he had already earned four victories against opponents inside the Top 10 of the FedEx ATP Rankings. But the Spaniard had little doubt that this was his biggest individual win.

“As [far as wins, this is] number one for sure,” Andujar said. “To win a tournament could be more emotional, but this is something I think I will remember my whole life. Maybe winning four tournaments, not as much. It’s a different feeling.”

After his match, Andujar called his family. He has three children — Pablo Jr., Alex and Carlos — who are all under four years old, so they were too young to understand the significance of his achievement.

“I spoke to my wife and to my parents and they were very happy for me,” Andujar said. “When I spoke to the kids [I said], ‘Papa won a match.’ [They said], ‘Okay, bye bye!’ Even if I lose, even if I win, they are the same. They are happy. That makes me more relaxed. They don’t really care about my defeats or my victories.”

Regardless, this will be a moment they will be able to relive in the future, and Andujar will be able to tell the story for years to come.

“Not a bad day at the office,” Andujar said. “It was an amazing day.”

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Federer: 'I Expect Better From Myself'

  • Posted: May 18, 2021

Roger Federer smiled and waved to the small crowd at the Parc des Eaux-Vives as he departed the court following his three-set loss against Pablo Andujar on Tuesday at the Gonet Geneva Open. But the Swiss star admitted he was disappointed with the result and his performance.

“It’s good to be back on the court, but then you lost a match like this and you’re down. It never feels great. I was looking forward to playing here, no doubt about it,” Federer said. “But this is a press conference where I have to explain how I feel about losing, which is never the greatest way of trying to explain why and how it all happened. But of course there were moments where I was really happy to entertain the crowd and [I was] looking at the long road that I’ve been on from the comeback.

“Sure, it’s rewarding to be back on a tennis court. But I expect better from myself. I feel like in practice I’ve been playing better, even in practice here. But then again as we know, matches are a different animal. I’ve got my work cut out there.”

During his post-match press conference, Federer used his hands to make the motion of going off a cliff to symbolise how he lost a 4-2 lead in the third set. That put an end to his 32-match winning streak on home soil.

“Of course at 4-2 in the third you feel like, ‘Oh, that’s nice that I was able to turn around the match.’ You start feeling better and that’s when it dips and everything is over 10 minutes later,” Federer said. “But we know how tennis goes and that’s where it’s so brutal sometimes. But I feel like I didn’t deserve it at the end. There was just not enough happening in my game.”

It wasn’t one particular mistake that frustrated Federer in the end. The 39-year-old admitted that as he searched for answers, he simply could not find them with his tennis in the key moments.

“I just could feel that [as] the moment was getting tougher, the game wasn’t there. Obviously [I was] missing way too much maybe to come through even though [I was up] 4-3 and a break. The chances were all there,” Federer said. “But again I thought he played good down the stretch and I just couldn’t come up with the goods.”

This was just Federer’s second tournament since the 2020 Australian Open after undergoing two arthroscopic right knee surgeries. In March, the Swiss lost in the Doha quarter-finals. The World No. 8 admitted that he did not expect to be in top form this clay season.

“Roland Garros is not the goal. The goal is the grass, so I still have time,” Federer said. “I’m disappointed for the tournament more than anything. I wish I could have stayed around and played some more matches for the people here because the atmosphere still is, considering [the circumstances], very good, and they seemed very happy to see me here.”

Even for Federer, a 103-time tour-level titlist, there are days when things don’t work on the court. He admitted it was a “pity” to not be able to find a way through despite that.

“I was a bit limited today I felt on the court and obviously here in Geneva, in Switzerland, we always have a bit of altitude, so when you start to play in two minds, it gets very difficult,” Federer said. “Obviously I wish I could have played more, but at the same time it is what it is now, so you’ve just got to accept it and move on.”

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Karatasev, Zverev Lead The Field In Stuttgart

  • Posted: May 18, 2021

Alexander Zverev, Aslan Karatsev and Felix Auger-Aliassime will lead the field at the MercedesCup in Stuttgart. The ATP 250 is the first of seven grass-court events on this year’s calendar, and it begins on 8 June.

Karatsev has been the breakout star of the season with a semi-final run as a qualifier at the Australian Open followed by an ATP 500 title at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.

Leaping from outside of the Top 100 in January to World No. 25 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, Karatsev has scored wins over the likes of Novak Djokovic, Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev. Stuttgart will mark Karatsev’s tour-level grass debut.

The field includes Madrid champion Zverev, Rome semi-finalists Reilly Opelka and Lorenzo Sonego, new Top 20 member Jannik Sinner and three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka.

Milos Raonic, who has not played since the Miami Open presented by Itau, is entered, with Auger-Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov also on the list.

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Andujar Upsets Federer In Geneva

  • Posted: May 18, 2021

Pablo Andujar upset Roger Federer on the Swiss superstar’s ATP Tour return on Tuesday at the Gonet Geneva Open.

World No. 75 Andujar bounced back from 2-4 down in the deciding set to win 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 over one hour and 52 minutes in front of a small crowd at the Parc des Eaux-Vives.

“As [far as wins, this is] number one for sure,” Andujar said. “To win a tournament could be more emotional, but this is something I think I will remember my whole life.”

Federer, who was playing his first match since 11 March, saw his 32-match winning streak on Swiss soil come to an end as Andujar recorded just the fifth Top 10 win of his career (5-23 lifetime).


Federer initially struggled for groundstroke depth, but started to move well and threw off the shackles 46 minutes into the match with his first break of serve. He lost just four of his service points in the second set and thereafter posed a threat to Andujar’s serve before a tense finale.

“I was trying to keep the gap between the games small, trying to have faith that he was going to serve a little bit with second serves and at that moment I hoped I would have the chance to break him,” Andujar said. “For me it was very difficult, I couldn’t see his serve and he was serving pretty well, so it was difficult for me to return. I just got the chance at 4-3 when he didn’t serve with first serves and lucky me, I was able to break him.”

Andujar will next challenge fellow Swiss Dominic Stephan Stricker, currently No. 419 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, or Marton Fucsovics of Hungary.

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Andujar placed his serve and capitalised on Federer’s shorter groundstroke depth in the early stages. Although Federer’s movement improved, groundstroke errors cost the Swiss at 4-5 when Andujar wrapped up the 38-minute opener.

It wasn’t until the third game of the second set that Federer created his first break point off a forehand winner. With a 2-1 advantage, Federer grew in confidence and started to impose his all-court game. He finished the set with a flourish, striking a backhand winner to carry the momentum into the decider.

Federer began to play inside the baseline and flicked a crosscourt forehand winner to break for a 2-1 lead in the third set. With the finish line in sight, Federer struggled to land a first serve and Andujar broke back to 4-4 with a forehand winner. Federer saved two match points, but at the third time of asking Andujar claimed a memorable win in their first ATP Head2Head meeting.

“Of course he’s much better than me and if he plays a [normal] match, he would beat me for sure. But I don’t think he played a really bad match,” Andujar said. “That’s my point of view. I think in some of the points, in some of the facets of the match, he played pretty well. I couldn’t return his serve, his first stroke after the serve is always very good. During the match, there were some good points.”

Andujar’s last Top 10 win came over World No. 8 David Ferrer in the 2015 Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell semi-finals.

It was Federer’s first loss in Switzerland since 27 October 2013, when Juan Martin del Potro beat him in the Swiss Indoors Basel final. Federer was contesting his first match since a quarter-final exit at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open (l. to Basilashvili) and his first clay-court match since the 2019 Roland Garros semi-finals (l. to Nadal).

“Of course at 4-2 in the third you feel like, ‘Oh, that’s nice that I was able to turn around the match.’ You start feeling better and that’s when it dips and everything is over 10 minutes later,” Federer said. “But we know how tennis goes and that’s where it’s so brutal sometimes. But I feel like I didn’t deserve it at the end. There was just not enough happening in my game.”

Stricker, an 18-year-old wild card, recorded his first ATP Tour match win over 2016 finalist Marin Cilic 7-6(5), 6-1 in 79 minutes, while Fucsovics got the better of Swiss qualifier Henri Laaksonen 7-5, 7-5 in one hour and 50 minutes.

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Wild Card Stricker Stuns Cilic In Geneva

  • Posted: May 18, 2021

It was Roger Federer’s big week back on tour but Dominic Stephan Stricker has stolen the spotlight at the Gonet Geneva Open. The Swiss teenager made quite the statement on Tuesday by taking out Marin Cilic 7-6(5), 6-1.

“It was a great match,” Stricker said. “I played good from the start. Of course, I was nervous. I tried my best. I served pretty well the whole match so it helped me a lot. I’m just very happy.”

Playing in his tour-level debut, the World No. 419-ranked wild card took out the 2014 US Open champion in one hour and 19 minutes with powerful serving and nerves of steel. The lefty would hit nine aces and win 80 per cent of his first-serve points. He’d save a break point in the final game before closing it out on his first match point.

“It was actually OK until 5-1, 30/0, and then I started getting nervous again,” Stricker said. “I was happy to finish it 6-1 so I didn’t have to serve again at 5-3.”


After beginning the season outside of the Top 1,000, Stricker has risen to become one of three 18-year-olds inside of the Top 500. In March, he won his first ATP Challenger Tour title, in Lugano, making him the third-youngest Swiss behind Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka to do so. The teenager is one of the freshest new faces on tour, having won the 2020 Roland Garros junior crown last year and finishing the year as the No. 3 junior in the world.

Stricker will face Marton Fucsovics in the second round. Earlier on Tuesday, Fucsovics eased past qualifier Henri Laaksonen 7-5, 7-5. The winner of Fucsovics and Stricker will face Pablo Andujar in the quarter-finals after the Spaniard upset top seed Roger Federer 6-4, 4-6, 6-4. 

Elsewhere, Fabio Fognini dispatched Guido Pella 6-2, 6-2 and Pablo Cuevas took out Rome semi-finalist Reilly Opelka 7-6(5), 6-2. Ranked No. 102, Cuevas had to come through qualifying this week. Feliciano Lopez eased past German alternate Daniel Altmaier, and qualifier Ilya Ivashka beat Fernando Verdasco.

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Musetti Fights To Beat Felix In Lyon

  • Posted: May 18, 2021

Lorenzo Musetti battled to record the fifth Top 20 victory of his career on Tuesday at the Open Parc Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes Lyon.

The 19-year-old Italian overcame fellow #NextGenATP star and seventh-seeded Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime 7-6(3), 3-6, 7-5 in two hours and 46 minutes at the ATP 250 clay-court event.

“We played a really intense match, a real fight,” said Musetti. “I learned from the loss to Felix in Barcelona. It’s a good start and I hope to continue like that.”


Musetti, who has now won 10 of his 16 tour-level matches this year, including a run to the Abierto Mexicano Telcel presentado por HSBC semi-finals (l. to Tsitsipas), will now challenge Sebastian Korda. The American sits behind Auger-Aliassime and Musetti in the ATP Race To Milan for a place at the Next Gen ATP Finals in November.

“It’s going to be really tough [against Korda] and he’s one of the best #NextGenATP right now,” said Musetti. “I know him so well from juniors. We never played against each other. He is a fighter, so I will try and do my best to get into the quarter-finals.”

Musetti is currently at a career-high No. 82 in the FedEx ATP Rankings and is 5-3 lifetime against Top 20 opponents, having beat Stan Wawrinka (2020 Rome), Diego Schwartzman and Grigor Dimitrov (2021 Acapulco) and Hubert Hurkacz (2021 Rome).


Musetti recovered from 15/40 down in the opening game and soon caused 2019 Lyon finalist Auger-Aliassime problems. Regularly stepping inside the baseline, Musetti broke for a 3-1 advantage when Auger-Aliassime mis-hit a forehand, but the momentum soon changed.

Tactical errors started to cost Musetti, who was broken in the seventh game and Auger-Aliassime could have taken a 5-4 lead, but the Canadian hit a return long on break point. Musetti broke clear at 3/3 in the tie-break with three consecutive winners en route to the 64-minute opener.

Auger-Aliassime bounced back early in the second set, breaking serve with a powerful forehand winner for a 2-0 lead. Despite letting Musetti back in, the Canadian pressed again with his forehand and surged to a 5-2 advantage, before closing out the second set with a smash.

Auger-Aliassime twice came close to breaking Musetti in the decider and later paid the price, when he hit a backhand approach into the net at 2-3, 15/40. But the World No. 17 put Musetti under pressure when the Italian served for the match at 5-3 and got his reward. The match ended on a double fault from Auger-Aliassime, who drops to a 14-10 record in 2021.

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Tsitsipas: 'I Am Always Trying To Reach A Level Of Perfection'

  • Posted: May 18, 2021

Stefanos Tsitsipas is excited to be competing at the Open Parc Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes Lyon this week and the World No. 5 hopes to test himself in his quest for a seventh ATP Tour title.

The Greek star, who leads the FedEx ATP Race To Turin for a place at the Nitto ATP Finals in November, admitted on Tuesday, “I don’t feel exhausted, and I wanted to come to Lyon to test myself this week. It’s another opportunity to show how far I can go and play more matches on clay.”

Tsitsipas, who lost to World No. 1 Novak Djokovic in a rain-interrupted Internazionali BNL d’Italia quarter-final last week, has compiled a 29-8 match record this season, including his first ATP Masters 1000 crown at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters (d. Rublev).

“I still feel far from being consistent, compared to other players,” said Tsitsipas, who will play American Tommy Paul or Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France in the Lyon second round. “I have been quite consistent, but there is a fine gap that I can close. I am always trying to reach a level of perfection, which I have yet to reach yet.

“I am happy to stay in the lead in the [FedEx] ATP Race To Turin. I need to find a little more consistency this year. I have a lot of points and I feel I need to earn more in the second half of the year in order to reach the goals and expectations for the year. I know the second half of the year will be difficult.

“I definitely feel better physically than I did last year. I have developed routines and habits in order to improve my consistency and ensure that I am mentally there in every single match that I play.”


When asked about his form ahead of Roland Garros, which begins on 30 May, the 23-year-old said, “A lot of players have been playing great, but it may not translate into the French. I need to concentrate on the French, more than any other big event.

“I feel [that] I’m in a position I’ve never been in before, so it’s exciting. I want to try and replicate my form, but I know it’s two weeks of hell. It’s difficult, but I want to stay focused on my goal.”

Tsitsipas lost to Djokovic in last year’s Roland Garros semi-finals, but believes if he plays the way he did against the World No. 1 last week in Rome, then his chances of rising up the FedEx ATP Rankings will only improve.

“These are the challenges I need to take my game to the next level,” said Tsitsipas. “If I played the way I did against every single opponent, I don’t see a reason why I won’t improve my Ranking.”

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