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What Makes A Medvedev Fan? Ask The Expert!

  • Posted: Aug 26, 2022

What Makes A Medvedev Fan? Ask The Expert!

World No. 1 was at his introspective best at US Open Media Day

Daniil Medvedev has had a love-hate relationship with the US Open crowds — but not in that order. The World No. 1 drew the ire of the New York fans at the start of his 2019 title run, but won them over with his tennis and his wit by the time he pushed Rafael Nadal to five sets in an epic final.

As he returns to the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center as the defending champion, Medvedev was asked to describe what endears him to fans. The honesty of his reply provided an answer in itself.

“It’s going to be a little bit harsh on myself, but I’m going to say [it],” he began, speaking at Friday’s US Open Media Day. “I do think if you look at Daniil Medvedev only on the tennis court, only as a tennis player, maybe it’s not that easy to like him or me as much because, I mean, my technique is a little bit odd.

“My game style is probably not the most flashiest, but that’s because I want to win. When I was young, when I was 18, I was hitting the ball as hard as I can. Maybe people would love it more, but I probably would not win a Grand Slam.”

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Instead, Medvedev feels his popularity stems more from his off-court personality.

“But I do feel like when I interact with my fans, if they know a little bit more of who I am in real life, they start to like me more,” he continued. “I would think my personality together with what I am on the tennis court, what I am straight afterwards in interviews or my personal life, is what makes some people a fan of Daniil Medvedev.”

After his breakthrough during the 2019 North American hard-court swing finished with a runner-up trophy in New York, Medvedev reached the 2020 US Open semi-finals before winning his maiden Grand Slam title with a straight-sets win over Novak Djokovic in last year’s final. Across those three years, he’s posted a 18-2 record.

“I love being back here,” he said. “I always loved the tournament itself, loved being here, loved the energy. Then for sure starting with 2019, I started also playing good here, which is important. I love coming back here. I feel straightaway at home in a way. I’m looking forward to playing next week. Really happy to be here.”

Despite debuting as World No. 1 in February, Medvedev has won just one title this season, earlier this month in Los Cabos. In order to hold onto the top spot in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, he may need to defend his US Open title, depending on other results.

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Medvedev has the honour of playing the opening match in Arthur Ashe Stadium on Monday, when he will take on American Stefan Kozlov. While he’s facing a home favourite, he’s sure to have plenty of support from the fans thanks to the rapport he’s built.

“I feel like in New York I have a special relationship with the crowd,” he said. “I have no idea how it’s going to go this year, but I’m happy to be here and happy to experience whatever’s going to happen.”

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TopCourt: McDonald’s Decision-Making Digest

  • Posted: Aug 26, 2022

TopCourt: McDonald’s Decision-Making Digest

TopCourt ambassador gives tips on reading an opponent’s ball

Mackenzie McDonald is not afraid of taking big decisions. On or off the court.

The 27-year-old American has established himself as a consistent performer on the ATP Tour since turning pro in 2016. A skilful and resourceful all-around talent, the World No. 77 has become adept at countering physically bigger, more powerful opponents with his adaptable counter-punching game.

Now a TopCourt ambassador, McDonald takes tennis fans back to where it all began, honing his rock-solid net game with his first coach, and explains how hard work on the practice court helped breed confidence in his ability when moving forward. The 2016 NCAA singles and doubles champion also reveals how his difficult decision to delay going pro and instead play college tennis at UCLA ultimately paid off, giving him perfect preparation for the rigours of life on the ATP Tour.

Technique: McDonald’s aggressive forehand is particularly effective at capitalising on attacking positions during a rally. The American demonstrates how he adapts his regular forehand technique for this unique shot, which is the perfect weapon to punish short balls from opponents and seal points from dominant situations.

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Drills: Shot selection is a key skill for players of all levels, and McDonald’s “Full Court Movement” drill focusses on how to recognise your opponent’s ball as early as possible. A top-class mover around the court himself, McDonald then showcases how to move efficiently towards the ball once you have identified the most appropriate shot to play.

Follow McDonald’s Tutorials at

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Alcaraz: 'I'm Just Trying To Be The Same Kid'

  • Posted: Aug 26, 2022

Alcaraz: ‘I’m Just Trying To Be The Same Kid’

The 19-year-old Spaniard is the third seed at the US Open

So much has changed for Carlos Alcaraz since he arrived at the US Open last year. Then outside the Top 50, he is now the No. 4 player in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings with two ATP Masters 1000 titles to his name.

The Spaniard does not see himself any differently as he enters the season’s final major, though.

“I [do not] feel at all the difference between last year, for example, and now,” Alcaraz said. “I’m just trying to be the same kid as always.”

Last year, the teen was chasing his dreams and still relatively unknown to casual fans. Now, Alcaraz is one of the most beloved tennis players in the world. But his attitude towards the spotlight has remained the same.

“It’s difficult, but that’s how I am. The same kid as always,” Alcaraz said. “[It is important] to be humble, and I always will be the same.”

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Another difference for Alcaraz is that he is considered one of the favourites to lift the trophy at Flushing Meadows. The Spaniard is the only singles player who has won multiple Masters 1000 titles this season (Miami, Madrid) and he is seeded third in New York.

Alcaraz admitted in Montreal, where he lost his opening match against Tommy Paul, that he did start to feel the weight of expectations.

“I think in Montreal I felt the pressure and I tried to [not] think about that, just to enjoy. My pressure here is to enjoy every match, show my best game,” Alcaraz said. “Obviously, I want to do a good result here. It’s a really important tournament for me. But I know that if I don’t feel that pressure as a bad part, I will go forward.

“Obviously, my goal here is to enjoy. I think if I do that, I will do a good result.”

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When the draw was released Thursday, it was revealed that Alcaraz could play Rafael Nadal in a blockbuster semi-final. Nadal leads their ATP Head2Head series 2-1, with all three of their clashes coming in the past 16 months at Masters 1000 events.

“Of course, it would be amazing for me to play a semi-final here against Rafa, but there are great matches ahead. There are a lot of days before going to a semi-final,” Alcaraz said. “Of course, Rafa has to win his matches, as well. So it’s a long process.”

Most importantly, Alcaraz knows he can succeed in New York. The teen showed no fear of the big stage last year, when he upset Stefanos Tsitsipas en route to the quarter-finals.

“I feel stronger and more prepared than last year,” Alcaraz said. “I did quarter-finals in Roland Garros, as well. I have played long matches, of course, tough matches this year against the top players. I think I’m more ready in this tournament than the last year.”

Did You Know?
If Alcaraz wins the US Open, he will become the youngest No. 1 in the history of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings (since 1973).

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Nadal Ramping Up Intensity Ahead Of US Open

  • Posted: Aug 26, 2022

Nadal Ramping Up Intensity Ahead Of US Open

Spaniard preparing for second event since Wimbledon withdrawal

Treading lightly in Cincinnati as he returned from an abdominal tear, Rafael Nadal played just two practice sets before his appearance at the ATP Masters 1000, where he lost a three-setter to eventual champion Borna Coric in his opening match.

Ahead of the US Open, where he’s set to compete for the first time since he won the 2019 title, the Spaniard is ramping up the intensity on the practice court in preparation for his bid for a record-extending 23rd Grand Slam singles title.

“I took it very easy in Cincinnati, in the practices,” he said on Friday’s US Open Media Day. “The match, I tried my best without putting all the effort there on the serve.”

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In New York, practising in front of crowds during US Open Fan Week, Nadal has been hitting at full tilt.

“[I’m] taking care with the serve, being honest,” he said, noting that the service motion can be “dangerous” and “risky” for his abdominal tear. “But in general terms, I am practising at a high level of intensity. I’m quite happy the way that I am playing. Of course, we need to compete later. But it’s already two weeks on the Tour, even if only one match professional, official. But practising every day with the guys helps me, without a doubt. I played sets every day for the last five days. That helps, of course.

“Before Cincinnati I just played two sets there before the tournament started, so it’s difficult.  Even if I had my chances [against Coric], the preparation had been not very long, but I gave myself a chance there. It was not possible [to win].  Let’s try here again, with a better preparation.  From my perspective, I am practising quite well. Let’s see what can happen, but I am happy with the practices.”

Nadal has won the US Open four times, in 2010, 2013, 2017 and 2019, more than any other Slam outside of Roland Garros. Set for his 16th New York appearance, he will open against Australia’s Rinky Hijikata on Tuesday evening in Arthur Ashe Stadium.

“Happy to be back,” he said. “Couple years without having the chance to be here since 2019.  Of course, [I’m] excited to play here. It’s one of the most important places in my tennis career, without a doubt. So just looking for every single practice to be better and better, just be competitive from the first round. So let’s see.”

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Verdasco Advances To Final Round Of US Open Qualifying

  • Posted: Aug 26, 2022

Verdasco Advances To Final Round Of US Open Qualifying

Seppi among seven Italians to advance on Thursday

Spain’s Fernando Verdasco is one win away from a return to the US Open main draw. The 38-year-old, a quarter-finalist in New York in 2009 and 2010, earned a Thursday qualifying victory as he seeks his 18th main-draw appearance at the year’s final Grand Slam and his first since 2019.

Verdasco was a 7-6(4), 6-3 winner against Mikhail Kukushkin as he produced a near-identical scoreline to his 7-6(5), 6-3 opening-round win against Italy’s Gianluca Mager.

He will face 12th seed Pavel Kotov on Friday for a place in the main draw. Kotov has also won all four of his qualifying sets, including a 6-3, 6-4 win against Sebastian Ofner on Thursday. He is seeking to qualify for a major for the second time in as many tries after he earned his place in the Roland Garros main draw in May.

American Christopher Eubanks also advanced to the final qualifying round with a dramatic three-set win in New York.

In one of the matches of the day, the 26-year-old edged France’s Gregoire Barrere 7-6(6), 6-7(2), 7-6(10-4) in a two-hour, 50-minute marathon. The former Georgia Tech star had three match points at 0/40 on return at 5-6 in the third set, but instead finished the match with a dominant performance in the tie-break, winning its first three and final five points.

Seeking to qualify for his home Slam for the second straight year as he bids for his fourth appearance in the 128-player field, Eubanks will next face Italy’s Raul Brancaccio, who won a 7-5 first set against Mats Moraing before the German retired.

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Italian veteran Andreas Seppi moved closer to his 19th straight US Open main-draw appearance with a 3-6, 6-2, 7-5 win against 26th seed Vasek Pospisil. Seppi and Brancaccio are among seven Italians into the third round of qualifying, including 10th seed Franco Agamenone, Francesco Maestrelli, Matteo Arnaldi, Flavio Cobolli and Riccardo Bonadio.

Gilles Simon was knocked out of his farewell US Open with a loss against Arnaldi, who advanced 6-1, 3-6, 6-4. The Frenchman is set to retire following the 2022 season.

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