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The Australian Open Moment That Changed Broady's Career

  • Posted: Jan 17, 2022

Liam Broady suffered one of his most disappointing defeats at the 2020 Australian Open. After a hard-working preseason, the Briton arrived in Melbourne for qualifying with high expectations. The result? A 3-6, 0-6 defeat against Ilya Ivashka in 73 minutes.

“I was trounced and it was a terrible match. My initial reaction was to go mess about in the city and get up to no good,” Broady told last year. “The thing was, I had a fantastic preseason leading up to that. I was feeling awful and thinking that it just wasn’t fair. I had done the best preseason of my life and then I won three games in my first match of the year.

“But I was sitting there thinking that going out won’t make me feel better. I’ve done it enough times in my life to realise that.”

It was right then that the lefty decided to make a commitment and fully focus on his career. The “messing about” could wait. He spoke to his longtime coach, David Sammel, to reaffirm that thought.

“I remember telling Dave at the time that I don’t want to talk about the match, but I want to make a commitment to myself and to you that I’ll make the right decisions over the next 12 months. I said that at the end of 2020 we’ll see,” Broady said. “I made the final of the Challenger in Parma and qualified for Roland Garros, which was the first time I qualified at a Slam. I got a few rewards for it. That made me think that I wanted to do it the same way.”

Broady’s career has been on an upward trajectory ever since. Last November, he reached a career-high No. 121 in the ATP Rankings, more than seven years after he cracked the Top 200 as a 20-year-old. The lefty credits his ascent to that change in mindset.

“In all walks of life, sometimes things take longer than you want them to,” Broady said. “It tests your resilience and some people don’t succeed because they fall off at the first hurdle or second hurdle, but these past two years I’ve tried to stay on the track as much as I can. Now I’m getting the rewards.”

Photo Credit: Fresh Focus Swiss
One of the big hurdles Broady successfully navigated was winning his first ATP Challenger Tour title. The Briton lost his first seven finals at that level before finally breaking through in September in Biel, Switzerland. It was seven years on from his first Challenger final, which came in 2014.

That wasn’t the only streak Broady snapped recently. He was unsuccessful in his first 11 attempts to qualify for a major before bringing that to an end at Roland Garros in 2020 (he had previously competed in major main draws as a wild card). Last year in Paris, the Stockport-native won just four games in the second round of qualifying in Paris against Roman Safiullin. But three days ago in Melbourne, Broady rallied from a set and a break down against the same man to reach the main draw.

Broady is beginning to overcome roadblocks that have stopped him in the past, and he has learned plenty of lessons along the way. What would he tell a younger version of himself who first broke through eight years ago?

“I’d say to try not to let the lows be so low and try not to let the highs be so high. It’s tough because people said that to me at that age, if I commit now and invest in myself then I’ll see it in the future,” Broady said. “But it’s one thing for someone to tell you and another to believe it yourself.”

Read Broady’s Challenger Champion Q&A

The lefty will now get set to face home favourite Nick Kyrgios in the first round. Eleven years ago, he defeated the Aussie in the first round of the Wimbledon boys’ singles event. The path since has not been perfect, but Broady is on the right track.

It is fitting that two years on from one of the most disappointing losses of his career, Broady ended up laying flat on an Australian Open court Friday, full of emotions after one of his biggest wins.

“I feel incredibly overjoyed.”

Did You Know?
Broady began his season by serving as the captain of Great Britain’s ATP Cup team.

– Reporting contributed by Josh Meiseles

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Day 2 Preview: Murray Ready For Rematch, Medvedev Begins Title Pursuit

  • Posted: Jan 17, 2022

If neither his five-set fracas with Stefanos Tsitsipas at the US Open nor his three-set dismissal of Spanish upstart Carlos Alcaraz in Indian Wells last year were enough to convince you that Andy Murray, metal hip and all, still has the stuff to compete for big-stage trophies, his run last week at the Sydney Tennis Classic surely did the trick.

The 34-year-old Scotsman, after all, proved that he can still go corner to corner with the sport’s elite, flashing the kind of form that landed him three major singles titles in his prime. Ranked No. 113, Murray scored a pair of Top-25 wins, even blunting American Reilly Opelka’s serve, in reaching his first tour-level final in more than two years.

“I’ve put so much work and effort into getting back into these positions and to be competing for tournaments again,” said the former No. 1, who fell short against Russian Aslan Karatsev in the title match, 3-6, 3-6. “I have had a lot of issues and gone through a lot to get back here.”

“It’s a huge comeback from him to play at this level after what he has been through,” echoed Karatsev.

Murray hopes to carry that momentum into his much-anticipated return to the Australian Open, where he’s played some of the best tennis of his career. The five-time finalist (2010-11, 2013, 2015-16) has grown accustomed to early-round challenges of late, and the AO will be no exception. The wild card has drawn a familiar foe in Indian Wells runner-up Nikoloz Basilashvili in the opening round. Murray rallied from a set down to defeat the heavy-hitting Georgian just days ago en route to the Sydney final, and also prevailed in four sets in the first round at Wimbledon last year. Both victories were hard-earned.

“It’s a tough, tough draw,” said Murray, currently mentored by Basilashvili’s former coach Jan De Witt. “I would expect another difficult one. He’s a huge hitter of the ball. Hits the ball very clean from both sides and takes a lot of risks. I need to go out and play another top match to win against him in Melbourne.

“He’s not an easy guy to play against, because he can hit winners from all over the court. Not easy to prepare for that.”

Daniil Medvedev
Photo Credit: Peter Staples/ATP Tour
Murray recently sang the praises of another player who has come within a match of the title in Melbourne Park, 2021 finalist Daniil Medvedev, signalling the Russian as just the kind of player who can break up the prolonged dominance of the Big Three of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.

“It’s nice to hear these words from somebody like Andy, such a champion,” said the World No. 2, who was outplayed by Djokovic in last year’s AO final, but later avenged the loss in claiming his first Grand Slam title at the US Open.

“We all know that the Big Three are getting older, yet they are still winning a lot of Slams. Every tournament that they’re in, they are the favourites… It’s always like this when somebody big is quitting the sport or is starting to not be as good. They’re always saying, ‘Who’s next? There is no one coming.’ Yet there is always somebody to come.”

Like Murray, Medvedev will open his 2022 Australian Open campaign on Tuesday when he faces 91st-ranked Henri Laaksonen of Switzerland. They’ve met just once before, with Medvedev claiming a Davis Cup clash, 7-6(8), 6-7(6), 6-2, in 2019.

“I’m feeling ready physically and mentally,” said the 25-year-old. “That’s the most important thing. That’s when I can play good and I know I can beat anybody.”

Medvedev’s countryman Andrey Rublev, the fifth seed, is in for a first-time meeting with Italian Gianluca Mager, while fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas finds himself matched with longtime friend and occasional practice partner Mikael Ymer in Melbourne for the second straight year. The 23-year-old Greek, who made his first big splash at the Australian Open in 2019, stunning Roger Federer and becoming the youngest Grand Slam semi-finalist (20) since 2007, is 2-0 in his ATP Head2Head against the Swede.

Stefanos Tsitsipas
Photo Credit: Getty Images
Fresh off Canada’s triumphant run to the ATP Cup title, where he banked wins over Alexander Zverev, Cameron Norrie and Roberto Bautista Agut, Felix Auger-Aliassime will go up against 90th-ranked Emil Ruusuvuori of Finland.

The atmosphere is sure to be lively when home favourite Nick Kyrgios takes the court against qualifier Liam Broady of Great Britain.

Also on the busy Day 2 schedule are eighth seed Casper Ruud (vs. Alex Molcan of Russia), 11th seed Jannik Sinner (vs. lucky loser Joao Sousa of Portugal), 13th seed Diego Schwartzman (vs. Filip Kajinovic of Serbia), 20th seed Taylor Fritz (vs. Maximilian Marterer of Germany), 22nd seed John Isner (vs. Maxime Cressy of the United States), and 26th seed Grigor Dimitrov (vs. Jiri Lehecka of the Czech Republic).

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Karatsev Backs Up Sydney Title With Munar Win

  • Posted: Jan 17, 2022

Aslan Karatsev survived a scare Monday as he continued his impressive recent record in Australia with a hard-fought win, edging Spain’s Jaume Munar 3-6, 7-6(1), 6-7(3), 6-4, 6-4 to reach the second round at the Australian Open.

The 18th seed, who advanced to the semi-finals in Melbourne last year as a qualifier, won his third tour-level title on Saturday at the Sydney Tennis Classic (d. Murray). But the Russian was never completely comfortable against the solid baseline game of Munar. The Spaniard led by a set-and-a-break on Kia Arena as Karatsev was unable to consistently replicate the clean hitting that powered him to the Sydney crown.

With just one day off between his victory against Andy Murray and his opening match in Melbourne, Karatsev could be forgiven for showing signs of fatigue. Australia’s Thanasi Kokkinakis had faced the same 48-hour turnaround having won the Adelaide International 2 trophy on Saturday and he was unable to replicate such heroics in Melbourne, with German qualifier Yannick Hanfmann cruising past the wild card 6-2, 6-3, 6-2.

Unlike Kokkinakis though, Karatsev was able to find the energy and resolve required to fight back, securing his mammoth win after four hours and 55 minutes. The World No. 15 now leads Munar 2-0 in their ATPHead2Head series after also defeating the Spaniard in the first round of the 2021 US Open.

In a tight clash, Munar clinched the first set 6-3 after a series of wayward groundstrokes from Karatsev gave the Spaniard a double break. Visibly frustrated, the Russian let out a roar of anger at the start of the second set which seemed to spark him into life as he recovered from 0-3 to force a tiebreak, which he sealed with a sublime forehand pass.

Munar’s consistency caused problems for the more hit-or-miss style of Karatsev throughout. The Russian ended with 87 winners but also 107 unforced errors, compared to Munar’s 24 winners and 35 unforced errors.

After the Spaniard stayed calm to take the third set tiebreak, a topsy-turvy end to the match saw Karatsev throw away double-break lead in the fourth set, before he finally prevailed in the decider to set up a second-round meeting with World No. 55 Mackenzie McDonald.

Munar was making his fourth appearance at the Australian Open. The World No. 71 reached the quarter-finals at the Melbourne Summer Set earlier in January and also teamed with countryman Rafael Nadal on the doubles court at the ATP 250 event.

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Monfils Makes Gael-Force Start To Open

  • Posted: Jan 17, 2022

The 17th seed Gael Monfils maintained his strong start to the year Monday, cruising past Argentine Federico Coria 6-1, 6-1, 6-3 in one hour and 37 minutes to advance to the second round at the Australian Open.

The Frenchman captured his 11th tour-level title in the first week of the season at the Adelaide International 1 and played with confidence against Coria, hitting 36 winners and saving all six break points he faced to improve to 2-0 in their ATPHead2Head series.

“I feel great. [It was a] great match,” Monfils said in his post-match press conference. “I think I played very solid tennis. You can’t complain when you start a slam like that. You’re happy.”

The 35-year-old has now reached the second round in Melbourne 15 times and will next meet Alexander Bublik after the World No. 37 defeated American lucky loser Ernesto Escobedo 3-6, 7-6(5), 6-3, 6-3 in two hours and 38 minutes.

Monfils’ best run at the Australian Open came in 2016 when he reached the quarter-finals.

Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta booked his spot in the second round with a 6-1, 6-2, 7-6(2), two-hour, eight-minute victory against Argentine qualifier Tomas Martin Etcheverry, while 28th seed Karen Khachanov defeated American Denis Kudla 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 7-6(2).

The 19th seed Carreno Busta will next play Tallon Griekspoor of the Netherlands after the 25-year-old downed Fabio Fognini 6-1, 6-4, 6-4 in one hour and 49 minutes.

Griekspoor enjoyed a standout 2021 season, becoming the first player to capture a record-breaking eight ATP Challenger Tour titles in a single season. His impressive results saw him rise from No. 155 in the ATP Rankings at the start of 2021 to a current career-high No. 62.

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Korda Clips Norrie In Statement Start To 2022

  • Posted: Jan 17, 2022

It may not come as a shock that Sebastian Korda upset 12th seed Cameron Norrie in the first round of the Australian Open. But few could have predicted the dominance with which the 21-year-old American dispatched his British opponent on Monday on his debut in Melbourne.

The World No. 43 cruised past Norrie 6-3, 6-0, 6-4, in the sort of never-in-doubt route normally reserved for the game’s elite. A former boys’ singles champion Down Under, Korda had the World No. 12 under his thumb from the first ball of the match.

“It wasn’t easy. I didn’t get a lot of preparation, didn’t get any matches under my belt,” Korda said in his post-match press conference after he was forced to withdraw from the Adelaide International 1 in the first week of the season due to testing positive for Covid-19. “But I am just super happy with the way I came out. I stuck with my tactics. They worked really well and [I am] really comfortable on these courts.”

Thanks to an immediate break in each set, Korda never trailed in Kia Arena. He did save three break points in the match—one in each set—in addition to converting on five of his 10 break point chances.

“We played one year ago in Delray Beach in the semi-finals, and I also practised with him here, so I learned a couple of things during the practice and just used the tactics that I did with my team really well today,” Korda added. “I think even in the tight situations I still stayed with it. I kept being aggressive, using my powerful strokes on these fast courts.”

The American was competing for the first time this season and celebrated his one-hour, 42-minute win in style, punctuating the victory with a scissor kick in honour of his father and coach, 1998 Australian Open champion Petr Korda.

Next up for Korda, who captured his maiden tour-level title in Parma last year, is the winner of the all-French clash between World No. 100 Corentin Moutet and wild card Lucas Pouille.

Norrie won tour-level titles in Los Cabos and Indian Wells in 2021 and made his debut at the Nitto ATP Finals in Turin as an alternate. However, the 26-year-old has yet to find his top form this season.

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