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How Hurkacz Turned A Nightmare Streak Into A ‘Dream Come True’ At Wimbledon

  • Posted: Jul 07, 2021

After a nightmare of a summer, Hubert Hurkacz has been living a ‘dream’ fortnight at Wimbledon after defeating former World No. 1 Roger Federer, his childhood idol, in emphatic style to reach the semi-finals.

“Walking off the court realizing that I won against Roger, I mean, [it was] just kind of a dream come true, especially here on grass in Wimbledon,” Hurkacz grinned in his post-match press conference. “[It] felt so special with the crowd around, as well.”

With a 6-3, 7-6(4), 6-0 stunner over the eight-time champion Federer, 14th seed Hurkacz booked a place into his first Grand Slam semi-final, becoming the first Polish man to reach the last four at Wimbledon since Jerzy Janowicz’s run in 2013. 

But a milestone like this seemed out of reach at the start of the tournament, as he arrived at the All England Club on the back of a six-match losing streak. Hurkacz had been in his best form of the season after capturing the Miami Open presented by Itau title, his first ATP Masters 1000 triumph, backing up his strong start to the year at the Delray Beach Open by

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He struggled to string together match wins as the ATP Tour season turned to clay and then later to grass, going 0-6 since winning his opening match at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters in April. But he never stopped believing in himself and trusting his game, Hurkacz said. 

After falling in the first rounds of the MercedesCup in Stuttgart and NOVENTI OPEN in Halle, he recorded a confidence-boosting run to the Halle doubles final (w/ Auger-Aliassime) in the week before Wimbledon.

“I didn’t play on grass in a while. So coming into that match [against Stricker in the first round of Stuttgart], I didn’t have much confidence, much grass-court game,” he reflected. “Here, after winning a couple of matches, I really gained confidence and gained momentum. I believed in myself a lot before that [match] today.”

He has continued to make the most of his regained momentum and find the positives out of tough situations all fortnight long. Case in point: Hurkacz had to fight through World No. 2 Daniil Medvedev in five sets to claim his biggest win-by-ranking in a match which started on No. 2 Court on Monday and finished under the Centre Court roof on Tuesday – leaving him with one less day of rest heading into the quarter-final.

Rather than bemoan his tough luck, Hurkacz told press that he used the experience to improve his game and prepare himself for the big test to come against Federer on Wednesday.

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“I think it helped me a lot actually, feeling the atmosphere, feeling the court there,” Hurkacz said. “Obviously playing against Roger here in Wimbledon is always special with the crowd cheering so much. I didn’t experience that yesterday, but playing on the Centre Court, feeling the court helped a lot.”

Hurkacz will hope to keep the momentum going as he takes on seventh seed Matteo Berrettini for a palace in the Wimbledon final. He’s looking to become the first Polish player to contest the championship match here since Agnieszka Radwanska in 2012, and the first man from his country to do so in the Open Era.

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Federer To 'Reassess… [But] The Goal Is To Play'

  • Posted: Jul 07, 2021

Roger Federer was delighted with the ovation he received as he walked off Centre Court at the end of his 22nd Wimbledon campaign on Wednesday, but the soon-to-be 40-year-old isn’t going to retire anytime soon.

“[The] crowds were amazing,” said Federer, after a 6-3, 7-6(4), 6-0 quarter-final loss to Polish 14th seed Hubert Hurkacz. “The ovation was fantastic. I loved it. That’s why I play. That’s why I still play now… I’m super grateful for all the support I’ve gotten here over the years. Today again was special.

“I’m actually very happy I made it as far as I did here, and I actually was able to play Wimbledon at the level that I did, after everything I went through. Of course, I would like to play it again, but at my age you’re just never sure what’s around the corner.”

Federer underwent two arthroscopic right knee surgeries in February and May last year, but the Swiss was clearly happy to have returned to the All England Club, the scene of his eight Wimbledon triumphs, over the past fortnight.

“I was able to make it this year, which I’m really happy about,” said Federer, who was contesting just his fifth tournament of 2021. “I’ve got to take a few days. Obviously, we’re going to speak a little bit tonight, depending on how I feel, then the next couple of days as well. Then we go from there. Just see, ‘Okay, what do I need to do to get in better shape so I can be more competitive?’

“I’m not sure if it’s necessarily matches, to be honest, because the body actually overall feels fine from the matches. I’m happy I went through all the process of taking losses and trying to play in Paris, Geneva, Doha and Halle, getting myself into match toughness and fitness here in Wimbledon. I definitely need to be a better player if I want to be more competitive at the highest of levels. I knew that coming in.”

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The Swiss superstar, who has won a record-equalling 20 Grand Slam trophies, will now regroup with Ivan Ljubicic and Severin Luthi and plan his next tournaments.

“You know you need a goal when you’re going through rehab with what I did,” said Federer. “You can’t think of the entire mountain to climb as once. You got to go in steps. Wimbledon was the initial first super step, if you like.

“Now that that’s over, you just got to reassess everything. You got to sit down, talk about it, what went well, what didn’t go so well, where is the body, where is the knee, where is the mind? The goal is to play, of course.”

After his first straight sets loss at Wimbledon since 2002, when he fell as a 20-year-old to Mario Ancic 6-3, 7-6(2), 6-3 in the first round, Federer went on to admit, “Clearly, there’s still a lot of things missing in my game that maybe 10, 15, 20 years ago were very simple and very normal for me to do. Nowadays, they don’t happen naturally anymore. I got to always put in the extra effort mentally to remind myself, ‘Remember to do this’ or ‘Do that’. I have a lot of ideas on the court, but sometimes I can’t do what I want to do.

“I felt very disappointed in the moment itself. I still am. At the same time there’s always a weight that falls off your shoulders when a tournament is over, when a huge goal is made or missed. It doesn’t matter actually. You feel the weight is gone and you’re exhausted. I feel horribly exhausted. I could go for a nap right now. That’s how I feel.

“The past 18 months have been long and hard. Then again, if I take perspective, I’m always very happy about a lot of things that happened [in the past few weeks, the past few months. I know [I] will be upbeat again shortly. I know how I am in these situations. I feel like I go maybe very hard on myself, I get very sad, and then a few days go by…. Then I’ll be totally fine again and be my old self.

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Djokovic Records 100th Grass-Court Match Win, Reaches Wimbledon Semi-finals

  • Posted: Jul 07, 2021

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic continued his serene progress through The Championships draw on Wednesday by recording the 100th grass-court win of his career (100-18) for a place in the Wimbledon semi-finals.

The Serbian superstar, who is seeking to capture a 20th Grand Slam crown and draw level with all-time leaders Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, got off to a fast start against Marton Fucsovics of Hungary on Centre Court, but ultimately needed to work his way to a 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 victory over two hours and 17 minutes.

“It was a solid performance and I started off really well, particularly in the first five games of the set,” said Djokovic. “One break of serve in the second and third sets was enough today and I’d like to give credit to Marton for fighting so hard.”

Djokovic has now won 32 of 35 matches this season, which includes securing the first two major trophies of the year at the Australian Open (d. Medvedev) and at Roland Garros (d. Tsitsipas). He also lifted the Belgrade Open crown (d. Molcan) prior to the clay-court major in Paris.

The 34-year-old will continue his quest to become the fifth man in the sport’s history to win the first three Grand Slam of the year — after Jack Crawford (1933), Don Budge (1938), Lew Hoad (1956) and Rod Laver (1962 and 1969) — in his 10th Wimbledon semi-final on Friday.

Djokovic, a five-time Wimbledon champion, will challenge Canadian 10th seed Denis Shapovalov or 25th seed Karen Khachanov of Russia. He leads Khachanov 4-1 in their ATP Head2Head series, including a straight sets win in the 2018 fourth round at the All England Club, and is 6-0 lifetime against Shapovalov.

Most Wimbledon Semi-final Appearances (All-Time)

Player No. of Appearances
1) Roger Federer (SUI) 13
2) Jimmy Connors (USA) 11
3) Novak Djokovic (SRB) 10
4=) Boris Becker (GER) 9
Arthur Gore (GBR) 9
Herbert Lawford (GBR) 9

The contest, as a competitive spectacle, truly began once Djokovic had won the first five games for the loss of just seven points. Fucsovics looked like a dear in headlights in the first 18 minutes, but with improved groundstroke length, the Hungarian, in his first Grand Slam quarter-final, started to press Djokovic. Soon 5-0 became 5-3, before Djokovic converted his sixth set point to end the 42-minute passage of play.

Fucsovics saved four break points in the first game of the second set, his return game improved — founded on his rock-solid backhand — but the 29-year-old was unable to make inroads in Djokovic’s service games. At 4-4, the pressure began to tell and Djokovic broke clear after Fucsovics made a backhand error.

From 3-4 down in the second set, Djokovic won five straight games, including a recovery from 0/40 — and four break points in total — at 1-0 in the third set. He closed out his third straight victory over Fucsovics with a hold to 15, having hit 23 winners in total.

World No. 48 Fucsovics had beaten 19th seed Jannik Sinner of Italy, Czech Jiri Vesely, ninth-seeded Argentine Diego Schwartzman and fifth seed Andrey Rublev of Russia en route to his first Grand Slam quarter-final.

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