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Federer: 'You Have To Prove To Yourself You Can Do It'

  • Posted: Jul 05, 2021

In the first round at Wimbledon, Roger Federer found himself with his back against the wall, down two sets to one against Adrian Mannarino, who retired after the fourth set due to the effects of a fall on Centre Court. Yet one week later, Federer beat 23rd seed Lorenzo Sonego in straight sets to reach his 18th Wimbledon quarter-final.

“To some extent it’s nice to see that the work I put in paid off [and] that I’m able to play at this level with best-of-five sets,” Federer said.

There was plenty of uncertainty entering this tournament for the 39-year-old, who turns 40 in just more than a month. Last year, the Swiss star underwent two arthroscopic right knee surgeries. Before beginning his run at the All England Club, he had only tallied a 5-3 record in 2021.

“When you’re young, you don’t ask yourself the question. But when you’re me, with the year I had, it’s all question marks all over the place. You have to prove it again to yourself that you can actually do it,” Federer said. “I was willing to take losses for the sake of information, just to be out there, [to] get the body in shape for hopefully when Wimbledon comes around,m that I can actually wake up in the morning and feel all right, that I can still go out and play five sets.

“I feel that way, so it’s very rewarding and it’s a good feeling. Now we’ll see how much more I’ve got left in the tank. Clearly [it] was important again to win in straight sets. [I am] looking forward to the next round.”

Federer is tied with Rafael Nadal for the most Grand Slam singles titles with 20. And now, at an event where he has lifted eight trophies, the father of four is now just three wins from claiming a record 21st major crown.

Monday’s triumph against Sonego was Federer’s 118th match at Wimbledon, where he is 105-13. Despite all that experience, he is still learning more with every match. In this case, through four matches he has adjusted to the conditions on Centre Court.

“It was very interesting when the roof shut again [towards the end of the first set]. I could see that it was getting a little bit more slippery again. The humidity goes up, whereas I didn’t break a sweat really on the outside. It was windy, it was fresh. Still it played faster,” Federer said. “When you play indoors, it’s just much slower… I think also that was definitely one of the reasons maybe I struggled against Mannarino. On top of it, he got the upper hand from the baseline.”

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Federer thought that once the roof was closed, Sonego struggled to make an impact on him with his serve. The Italian hit at least 12 aces in each of his first three matches, but he managed just four against the Swiss.

“It’s just amazing the difference an indoor and an outdoor situation can do,” Federer said. “You would think that indoors is easier to ace. I don’t feel it’s the case. I feel like you have to put extra power in your shots [so] that something happens. I think that was one of the reasons for me that I maybe struggled early on, because you can become very insecure when you don’t get your service winners.”

Overall, Federer is pleased with his efforts in advancing to the last eight. Now the sixth seed will prepare to face second seed Daniil Medvedev or Miami champion Hubert Hurkacz next.

“Now I’ve had some good progress. I’m taking the ball earlier. Obviously I’ve gotten used to the conditions, gotten used to the balls, the court speed. I’m able to take more balls on the rise, on the half-volley,” Federer said. “All these little things make a difference at the end of the day.”

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Felix, Shapovalov Celebrate 'Great Day For Canadian Tennis'

  • Posted: Jul 05, 2021

As Felix Auger-Aliassime dropped to his knees in celebration of a 6-4, 7-6(6), 3-6, 3-6, 6-4 over Alexander Zverev on Monday, the #NextGenATP star recognised the enormity of reaching the Wimbledon quarter-finals.

“I think my celebration was very honest and genuine,” said Auger-Aliassime. “It’s a big milestone for me in my young career. You want to play well in the Grand Slams, especially here being my favourite tournament.

“This match really had everything. I had to dig deep physically and mentally. Of course, it makes it even sweeter.”

View Monday’s Schedule | Listen To Radio Wimbledon | List Of Broadcasters (PDF)

The 20-year-old joined fellow Canadian Denis Shapovalov, who recorded a 6-1, 6-3, 7-5 victory earlier in the day over eighth seed Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain, in the last eight at the All England Club.

“You’re fighting of course for yourself to win, for your team,” said Auger-Aliassime, who has won 10 of his past 12 matches on grass courts and now plays his good friend, seventh-seeded Italian Matteo Berrettini. “In the back of your mind, you also have everybody back home. The tonnes of messages I receive afterwards, from people that have helped me to get where I am today.

“It means a lot. For me to give this back to them is also great. It feels really good. It’s teamwork. The country is behind us. My city [of Montreal] is behind me. It’s really good to do that, to have this much support. [It’s] a great day for us Canadians and hopefully it keeps going.”

It marks the first time that two Canadian men have reached a Grand Slam quarter-final.

Shapovalov admitted to playing “flawless” in his victory on Monday afternoon and the 22-year-old can now look forward to facing Russian 25th seed Karen Khachanov on Wednesday.

“I’m very happy with my game,” said Shapovalov. “Obviously, Roberto is a very, very tough player to play against. To beat him straight sets at a tournament like this, it backs up my level from Andy’s [Murray] match. I’m just happy that I feel like I’m improving every single match.

“I feel like everything’s kind of working for me. Obviously, it’s not a guarantee that it’s going to continue like this. But I’m super, super happy with the way I’ve been able to play in the past two matches.”

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Fucsovics Stuns Rublev To Reach First Grand Slam QF

  • Posted: Jul 05, 2021

After Marton Fucsovics lost against Andrey Rublev for the second time this year in Dubai, the Hungarian told his opponent, “I hope I don’t play you anymore this year!” It’s fitting that on Monday, the 29-year-old earned the biggest win of his career against the Russian.

Fucsovics rallied past Rublev 6-3, 4-6, 4-6, 6-0, 6-3 after two hours and 41 minutes to reach the Wimbledon quarter-finals. The unseeded righty is the first Hungarian to make the last eight at The Championships since Jozsef Asboth in 1948.

But that is not all the history Fucsovics made. In his 17th major main draw, he is into his first quarter-final, and the World No. 48 is the first man from his country to make the last eight at a Slam since Balazs Taroczy at Roland Garros in 1981.

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It is poetic justice that the victory came against a player who has tortured him seemingly incessantly over the past nine months. Starting at Roland Garros last year, Rublev won four consecutive matches against Fucsovics. Most of those matches were tighter than their scoreline indicated, but the Russian strung together nine consecutive sets in their rivalry.

That made what Fucsovics did on No. 2 Court at SW19 even more impressive. Rublev took control of the match and appeared primed to reach the Wimbledon quarter-finals for the first time. But the Hungarian never let slip his belief, and he won nine consecutive games from the start of the third set to turn the match around and surge to a 3-0 lead in the decider.

Whereas Rublev has typically been the more consistent player in their matches and found ways to control rallies without overplaying, it was Fucsovics who took that role on Manic Monday. The 2018 Geneva champion remained calm throughout, and frequented the net to put pressure on the Russian. The 29-year-old won 81 per cent (22/27) of his net points.

But given these rivals’ history, it was no surprise that the ending was not straightforward. After losing nine straight games, Rublev still managed to get back on serve in the deciding set when his opponent double-faulted. But he could not fully seize the momentum, giving the service break right back with an unforced error on a forehand from the middle of the court. All the 2020 Nitto ATP Finals competitor was able to do was put his left hand on his hip in disbelief.

The fifth seed got another crack at breaking back in the match’s final game, when Fucsovics double-faulted to give him another break point. But after a long, tense rally, the Hungarian crushed a courageous inside-in forehand winner, and he closed out his victory two points later. 

Fucsovics will next play World No. 1 Novak Djokovic, who has won their two previous ATP Head2Head meetings. They most recently clashed in Doha two years ago.

Did You Know?
Fucsovics entered this tournament with a 5-11 tour-level record on grass. However, he won the Wimbledon boys’ singles event in 2011.

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Can Felix & Shapo Surge Into Turin Contention?

  • Posted: Jul 05, 2021

There are only 16 players remaining in the Wimbledon singles draw, and many of them have an opportunity to insert themselves into the FedEx ATP Race To Turin picture. Will Felix Auger-Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov do that during the second week?

The Canadian stars both are through to the fourth round at the All England Club for the first time. And by doing so, they have given themselves a great opportunity to surge closer to the top eight in the Race.

Top 10 – FedEx ATP Race To Turin (Through Wimbledon R3)

 Player  Points
 1) Novak Djokovic  5,350
 2) Stefanos Tsitsipas  4,570
 3) Andrey Rublev  3,250
 4) Alexander Zverev  3,195
 5) Daniil Medvedev  3,020
 6) Rafael Nadal  2,940
 7) Matteo Berrettini  2,485
 8) Aslan Karatsev  1,785
 9) Hubert Hurkacz  1,650
 T10) Casper Ruud, Jannik Sinner  1,520

Auger-Aliassime began the tournament in 17th and Shapovalov was 22nd. But by advancing to the Round of 16, the close friends are now within striking range — Felix has 1,185 points and Denis has 1,095. Although that does not appear particularly close to eighth-placed Aslan Karatsev (1,785 points), each win the rest of the tournament comes with a lot of points

Auger-Aliassime plays fourth seed Alexander Zverev and Shapovalov faces eighth seed Roberto Bautista Agut on Manic Monday. A fourth-round win will give the winner an additional 180 points (360 total) in the Race. Semi-finalists will then add another 360 points on top of that (720 total).

What helped the Canadians is that Karatsev, Casper Ruud and Jannik Sinner (1,520 each) all lost in the first round. That created an opening for players to claw into contention or even potentially into one of the top eight spots, which will determine the players who compete at the Nitto ATP Finals in Turin from 14-21 November.

The player in the best position to capitalise is Miami champion Hubert Hurkacz. The Polish star began The Championships 11th in the Race, 40 points behind Ruud and Sinner. But the 24-year-old is now into ninth (1,650) and a win against second seed Daniil Medvedev will move him into eighth.

Bautista Agut (1,305) and Lorenzo Sonego (1,220) also have opportunities to make a move. Although neither man has previously competed in the Nitto ATP Finals, the opportunity would hit closest to home for Sonego, who is from Turin.

Five of the top eight players in the Race are still in Wimbledon: Novak Djokovic (5,350), Andrey Rublev (3,250), Alexander Zverev (3,195), Daniil Medvedev (3,020) and Matteo Berrettini (2,485). Since the Race this year determines year-end World No. 1, Novak Djokovic has a chance to grab a stranglehold in that battle. Berrettini, like Sinner and Sonego, is trying to earn a berth at the season finale, which will be held on home soil in Italy.

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Gauff & Federer Shining Together On Manic Monday: 'It's Pretty Cool'

  • Posted: Jul 05, 2021

Coco Gauff is unquestionably one of the brightest young stars on the WTA Tour, if not in all of sports. And on Manic Monday at Wimbledon, one of the grandest days in tennis, the American will share centre stage with the likes of eight-time champion Roger Federer.

“Part of the reason I was so nervous in my second-round match on Centre is because I saw he was following me again. Today I wasn’t really nervous going in. I don’t know why I was so nervous in my second round. I do definitely take note,” Gauff said after her third-round win. “It’s pretty cool. I don’t know, I like to think of it as opening up for [him]. Concerts, they have a big artist, then a smaller artist come before them. That’s what I kind of like to think of it as. It’s pretty cool.”

This will be the third consecutive round in which Gauff will play the match on Centre Court right before former World No. 1 Federer. According to the 17-year-old, she has learned plenty from the 39-year-old Swiss.

“Roger, he definitely has a big influence on my mentality on and off the court. He’s always someone that I can go and talk to if I need advice,” Gauff said. “He’s such a class act and someone that I looked up to. It’s super nice that I’m able to open up for him, if that’s the right terminology I use. Hopefully if I can keep opening up for him, we can keep winning [until] the end.”

Coco is continuing to emerge as a huge star throughout the world, much like Roger has throughout his career. But the teen is carving her own path.

“I want to be the best role model that I can be. Me and Roger have completely different personalities. He’s older than me. I’m part of a different generation. I definitely look up to him and want to be like him, but I also want to be myself,” Gauff said. “I don’t think I’m ever going to be the person that he is because he’s Roger, I’m Coco. But definitely I do take part and try to model my behavior after him in the way he is on and off the court.”

This will be the last Manic Monday at the grass-court Grand Slam, as there will be play on the tournament’s middle Sunday from next year. Therefore, this will be the last time — barring rain or other extenuating circumstances — that all fourth-round singles matches will be played on the event’s second Monday.

Because of that, some of the best players will be spread throughout the grounds. Men’s second seed Daniil Medvedev will play Miami champion Hubert Hurkacz on No. 2 Court and women’s second seed Aryna Sabalenka will compete on No. 3 Court against 18th seed Elena Rybakina. It promises to be a thrilling day with the best men’s and women’s players in the world shining together on the London lawns.

Federer, who is pursuing a record 21st Grand Slam title this fortnight, took to social media on Sunday to reflect on the final Manic Monday, on which he will play 23rd seed Lorenzo Sonego.

“It’s definitely part of history that there has been no tennis on [the middle] Sunday,” Federer said. “I love this tournament and I love playing here. Can’t wait for tomorrow for my match against Sonego.”

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