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Love, Nerves & Tears: Murray's Emotional Queen's Club Win

  • Posted: Jun 15, 2021

For years, a match at The Queen’s Club was another day at the office for five-time singles champion Andy Murray. But on Tuesday, the former World No. 1’s opening victory against Benoit Paire left the 34-year-old fighting tears.

“I love it,” Murray said in his post-match interview in front of the fans. “I love playing tennis.” 

More than two years on from his most recent hip surgery, Murray is still battling back to form, currently No. 124 in the FedEx ATP Rankings. But his competitive fire and love for the sport burn brighter than ever.

“I just really want to play. I have not really had the opportunity to do that the past few years. When I have, it’s been pretty fleeting,” Murray said. “[This was the] first singles match I got to play on grass in three years. Not a lot of stuff has happened in that period, as well. It’s not like a whole lot has gone on. I was just happy to be out there playing, doing well.

“There are obviously a lot of doubts as well when you haven’t hardly played. But then, like I kept saying, in the back of my mind and in practice and stuff, I put in so much work and have done so much good stuff. I’m really proud of what my attitude has been like in terms of feeling the various setbacks and everything and [that I have] kept going.”


Murray is at home on grass, where he now holds a 108-21 record. His 83.7 winning percentage on grass is better than his rate on any other surface. But walking onto centre court on Tuesday, the Scot was “really nervous”.

“Once I got out there, I actually felt good. [In] the buildup to it, there are obviously nerves. I was laughing to myself, [I] went to the bathroom like half an hour before the match. [It was] probably like the fourth time I had been in about 45 minutes,” Murray said. “I was just laughing, because I still get nervous obviously before I go out to play. But you have to remind yourself in those moments just to trust yourself, and so I was definitely nervous.”

The 34-year-old has accomplished a lot on the tennis court, climbing to World No. 1, lifting the 2016 Nitto ATP Finals trophy and winning three Grand Slam titles. But as he struggled with his hip and has battled back to try to compete consistently on the ATP Tour, Murray realised how much he loves this sport, and not just winning matches.

“You do a lot of reflecting and stuff during times like that,” Murray said. “I always got quite stressed out before these times of year. I was very focused on my tennis and stuff. I just wish I had appreciated the small moments, like walking back on the grass court for the first time off the back of the clay season, just enjoying those moments. Then celebrating wins and enjoying them more than probably what I did.

“I think when you’re playing top-level tennis, it is difficult sometimes to do that, because you’re always on to the next match. If you win a tournament, you’re right on to the next tournament, and Wimbledon is right around the corner. It’s hard, but, I just wish I had enjoyed those moments more.

“That’s why today, for example, I like speaking to my team and speaking to my family. [I] just wanted to go out there and enjoy it and just be myself. I did that. I enjoyed it. I get another opportunity tomorrow. I’m always sort of telling myself, and maybe it’s not the best mindset, but each match could be my last one that I play now. I want to make the most of every match that I play and each tournament that I get the chance to compete in.”

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Felix On Facing Federer: ‘He’ll Try To Trick Me’

  • Posted: Jun 15, 2021

Felix Auger-Aliassime has never hidden that he looked up to Roger Federer as a kid. In 2008, he recorded the Swiss’ Wimbledon final against Rafael Nadal and watched it countless times. Felix got to practise with Federer in Dubai when he was younger, and they even share a birthday (8 August).

But on Wednesday, Auger-Aliassime will play Federer in a match for the first time with a spot in the NOVENTI OPEN quarter-finals on the line.

“It’s cool. To be honest it’s a great test for me. I’ve never played Roger before. We practised a couple of years ago in Dubai, but I never had a chance to play him in a tournament, so it’s good,” Auger-Aliassime said. “Of course he’s a favourite here, he’s won 10 times. It’s going to be a good test for me to see where my game is at on the grass.”


Having watched Federer for his entire life, Auger-Aliassime knows it will take a big effort to defeat the 39-year-old. If the eight-time ATP Tour finalist is not on top of the rallies, he will be pushed to the back foot.

“If I want to give myself chances to win, I will have to dictate the points that I can dictate, starting from my serve. If I can protect my service games and be aggressive behind my serve, that’s going to help me a lot,” Auger-Aliassime said. “And then we’ll see on the return what I can do to create myself opportunities. Of course it’s going to be tough, because he does put you out of your comfort zone.

“He has everything tennis has to offer in his game, so he’s going to have many solutions to try to trick me. But I think it’s going to be important for me to try to dictate as much as I can.”

As much respect as the 20-year-old has for Federer, he does not want to let that overwhelm him when he stands across the net from the 103-time tour-level titlist. Auger-Aliassime looks up to the Swiss, but he also has a job to do.

“At this point it’s a little bit different. I think these matches, the main thing is it’s really motivating, more than other matches sometimes,” Auger-Aliassime said. “But at the same time, of course now at the point that I am during my career, I’m trying to go further and further and have better results, so I’ve put that on the side a few years ago I would say when I started playing [on the ATP Tour].

“Now I’m going to try to play my best tennis, focus on what I can do well, see what I can do to find a way to give myself chances. But I’m really focusing more on myself than the eight-year-old Felix was focusing on dreaming of playing these types of matches.”

Fresh off a final in Stuttgart and a first-round victory against Miami champion Hubert Hurkacz in Halle, Auger-Aliassime hopes to carry the momentum into his clash against Federer.

“Of course I feel confident,” Auger-Aliassime said. “I have a few wins in the past few days, so hopefully I can play a good match and give myself a chance to win.”

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Wimbledon Set For Full Capacity Crowds On Final Weekend

  • Posted: Jun 15, 2021

Fans at the All England Club will already have plenty to celebrate during the Wimbledon fortnight as The Championships return to the tennis calendar for the first time since 2019.

Now, organisers have given them even more reason to cheer, after announcing that both the men’s and women’s finals will be played with a 100 per cent capacity crowd on Centre Court. 

“We are continuing to work closely with the Government to finalise the details, including the requirements for Covid-status certification for spectators,” said the All England Club in a statement.

The Championships, which begin on Monday 28 June, will be staged with 50 per cent capacity around the grounds. But this figure is set to grow as the fortnight goes on, building to full capacity for championship weekend, 10-11 July. 

That will make the Wimbledon finals the first sporting event in Great Britain to be played with a full, 100 per cent capacity crowd since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This will enable us to fulfil our aspiration of staging the best Wimbledon possible within the current circumstances, with the health and safety of all those who make Wimbledon happen – our guests, competitors, members, staff, media, officials, local residents, and partners – remaining our highest priority,” the All England Club also stated.

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Lopez/Sinner Make Winning Start At Queen's Club

  • Posted: Jun 15, 2021

Feliciano Lopez and Jannik Sinner kicked off their cinch Championships doubles campaign with a victory over the all-British duo Daniel Evans and Jonny O’Mara on Tuesday.

The 39-year-old Spaniard is the defending champion in singles and doubles at The Queen’s Club. Lopez claimed his seventh tour-level singles title at the 2019 edition, and partnered with Andy Murray to win his fifth doubles crown. 

Lopez, who also won here in singles in 2017, teamed up with 19-year-old Sinner to defend his title and their partnership is already off to a great start after a 7-6(8), 6-2 victory over Evans and O’Mara. The Spanish-Italian team saved all four break points they faced, and fired seven aces en route to the second round. 

They will next face another big test in their next match after booking a meeting with top seeds Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic.  

Wild cards Liam Broady and Ryan Peniston kept the British flag flying in London with a 7-5, 6-3 victory over Alexander Bublik, who reached the Roland Garros doubles final (w/ Golubev), and Nicholas Monroe. Tournament debutant Aslan Karatsev claimed another win at The Queen’s Club, partnering with Aussie Max Purcell  to take down Matwe Middelkoop and John-Patrick Smith 6-3, 3-6, 10-7. They will next face fifth seeds Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares. 

Ariel Behar and Gonzalo Escobar also advanced with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Aljaz Bedene and Albert Ramos-Vinolas, while Reilly Opelka and John Peers moved on after defeating Alastair Gray and Harri Heliovaara 6-4, 3-6, 10-7.


Molteni/Pella Move On In Halle
At the NOVENTI OPEN in Halle, Andres Molteni and Guido Pella made a big comeback to oust German-Swiss duo Daniel Altmaier and Dominic Stephan Stricker in a match that came down to the wire on Tuesday. 

Molteni and Pella trailed 2/6 in the first-set tie-break, but reeled off the next six points in a row – saving four set points along the way – to escape with the opener. After dropping the second set, just one break made the difference as the Argentines clinched the Match Tie-break to advance 7-6(6), 4-6, 10-7. 

Jonathan Erlich and Lloyd Harris are also through after taking down Simone Bolelli and Maximo Gonzalez 5-7, 7-6(3), 10-5, while Luke Saville Jordan Thompson moved past Franko Skugor and Frederik Nielsen 6-3, 6-4. 

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'Not Easy-Breezy': Shapovalov Crushes 20 Aces To Advance At Queen's Club

  • Posted: Jun 15, 2021

Denis Shapovalov was tested Tuesday evening, but he served his way into the second round at the cinch Championships.

The second seed had to save a total of four set points between the two sets, but he clawed past Australian qualifier Aleksandar Vukic 7-6(6), 7-6(6) behind 20 aces.

“Definitely not an easy, breezy match,” Shapovalov said in his on-court interview. “Super happy to be back here and get the win. I’ve got so many great memories over here at Queen’s. it’s so nice to see you fans back out here and I really appreciated the support today.”

Shapovalov won 83 per cent of his service points — including 90 per cent of his first-serve points — but he still found himself down 5/6 in the first-set tie-break and 3/6 in the second-set tie-break. The World No. 14 was able to stay calm during those points and avoid making mistakes to battle on.

“Any time of the grass-court season, it’s super tough to get a rhythm, so it’s very important to serve big,” Shapovalov said. “I think we both just served amazing today. I feel obviously very lucky to win this match today. It could have gone either way, so I’m very, very proud of myself.”

The Canadian will next play fellow lefty, Feliciano Lopez, who is a two-time singles champion at this tournament. The 39-year-old defeated Illya Marchenko 6-1, 7-6(6) on Monday.

Also in Shapovalov’s section, Frances Tiafoe beat Aljaz Bedene 4-6, 6-4, 6-3. The American is in form after lifting an ATP Challenger Tour trophy last week in Nottingham.

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