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Medvedev Recalls ‘Junior Legends’ Kyrgios vs. Zverev Clash Ahead Of Wimbledon Bid

  • Posted: Jun 30, 2023

Medvedev Recalls ‘Junior Legends’ Kyrgios vs. Zverev Clash Ahead Of Wimbledon Bid

World No. 3 shares his thoughts on Alcaraz’s grass potential

Daniil Medvedev’s earliest memories of playing grass-court tennis feature some all-too-familiar faces.

“My first time on grass was when I played junior Wimbledon [in 2013],” Medvedev told last week. “There was a tournament beforehand in Roehampton, where they also play qualies for Wimbledon. I actually lost to Nick Kyrgios [in the second round], and he won the tournament against Sascha [Alexander] Zverev in the final.

“They were really amazing at their age. I was nowhere close because they were very young when they went on the professional Tour, into the Top 100 and started playing the best in the world. I remember them playing the final. I think I actually even watched it, and it was just like watching two legends, two junior legends, play.”

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Medvedev may have taken a little longer to join Kyrgios and Zverev among the ATP Tour’s elite, but he now owns more tour-level trophies than both his former junior rivals. The 20th and most recent of his titles, which moved him clear of 19-time champion Zverev, came at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome in May. It was Medvedev’s first ATP Tour crown on clay, heralded by many as a breakthrough for a player who has never been shy about his heavy preference for hard courts.

Given he now owns tour-level titles on hard (18 of his 20 triumphs have come on the surface), grass (Mallorca, 2021) and clay (this year’s Rome win), is the World No. 3 any closer to considering himself an ‘all-court’ player?

“I still believe the most in myself on hard courts because that’s still where my biggest titles are,” said Medvedev. “One Grand Slam, [five] Masters 1000s. I was never able to achieve kind of close on other surfaces, [but] I know that I can play well, finally, even on clay. Winning a Masters 1000 [in Rome] was unbelievable. There are some amazing clay-court players that never won a Masters, so it’s just unreal.

“I know that I can play well on grass. It’s just there’s something that I’m much more confident about myself on hard courts. But whenever I play, no matter the surface, I always try to win. I always try to be the best even if sometimes it doesn’t work. And that’s what I try every year on the clay and grass, even if I like hard courts more.”

Medvedev arrives at Wimbledon with an 8-4 record at the grass-court major. The 27-year-old enjoyed his best run at SW19 on his most recent appearance by reaching the fourth round in 2021. For someone that is used to competing for the biggest prizes in the game, that is something he is keen to improve.

“For the moment, Wimbledon is the Grand Slam where I have my worst result, [reaching the] fourth round,” said Medvedev. “Roland Garros is quarter-finals. So I for sure want to change it. I feel like I’m capable of playing well [at Wimbledon], but like always there are a lot of tough opponents that don’t want to let you do this.

“I want to show my best there. [It is] unbelievable to be there every time you come. You step on the grounds, and you know even when you come in the player lobby, straightaway you see grass all around, and perfectly cut. You just feel, ‘Well, here I am at Wimbledon and it’s a great feeling’, and I will be happy to experience it this year.”

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Medvedev is not the only big name seeking a first deep run at the All England Club. World No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz reached the fourth round in 2022 and lifted an ATP 500 trophy at The Queen’s Club last week in just his third tour-level event on grass. Promising signs for the Spaniard on a surface that Medvedev believes provides a complex challenge.

“I feel like grass is a really interesting surface, because many times I will be looking at someone playing and in my mind, I will be like, ‘This guy can play well on grass normally. Big serve, big forehand or something like this, knows how to slice’,” said Medvedev. “And for whatever reason he doesn’t like it and he [doesn’t do well on grass].

“Then there is going to be someone else [like Alcaraz], where you say in your mind that while his game is not really suited for grass — maybe he doesn’t go to the net that often and stuff like this — and then he plays so well on grass, and he says it himself that it is his best and favourite surface. That’s where it’s surprising.”

<a href=Carlos Alcaraz/Daniil Medvedev” />

Alcaraz and Medvedev’s maiden Lexus ATP Head2Head meeting came at Wimbledon in 2021. Photo: Julian Finney/Getty Images.

It was Medvedev who ended Alcaraz’s maiden campaign on grass when he eased to a 6-4, 6-1, 6-2 second-round triumph against the then-18-year-old Spaniard at Wimbledon two years ago. Alcaraz has since lifted 11 tour-level titles, including a maiden major at the 2022 US Open, and risen to become the youngest No. 1 in the history of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings.

“In my opinion, the way Carlos plays on every surface, he can win maybe five Wimbledons, but you never know,” said Medvedev. “It’s a tough surface to play on. When we played [in 2021], he was not the same player, so I managed to get the best of this match. Last year I think he improved [on grass] already, played this four-setter against [Jannik] Sinner [in the fourth round]. I remember it was a great match.

“So I think his potential is really high on any surface, but grass is a tough surface for many players. Let’s see how he handles this task.”

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Cerundolo On Brink Of Eastbourne Final Before Rain Halts Play

  • Posted: Jun 30, 2023

Cerundolo On Brink Of Eastbourne Final Before Rain Halts Play

Argentine was one game away from victory against McDonald

Fourth seed Francisco Cerundolo was in position to put the finishing touches on a comeback semi-final victory at the Rothesay International when rain stopped play on Friday in Eastbourne. 

The Argentine led Mackenzie McDonald 2-6, 7-5, 5-2 when the wet weather intervened. Though the players returned to the court and attempted to warm up in the evening, it was ultimately decided that play would not resume until Saturday.

Cerundolo is bidding to add to his personal-best 26 matches won this season as he seeks his second ATP Tour title (2022 Bastad). McDonald, who beat World No. 9 and Eastbourne top seed Taylor Fritz in the second round for his third career Top 10 win, is bidding for his second tour-level final (2021 Washington).

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The American was in control early in the semi-final with a 6-2, 4-1 advantage. But Cerundolo snapped back with four straight games and then won six consecutive games to take the second set and open up a 4-0 lead in the third. McDonald snatched one break back in the deciding set and will serve at 2-5 when play resumes.

Second seed Tommy Paul and Frenchman Gregoire Barrere will also contest their postponed semi-final at the ATP 250 on Saturday. Paul is seeking his second ATP Tour title (2021 Stockholm), while Barrere will play for his first tour-level final appearance.

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Mektic/Pavic Win Third Straight Eastbourne Doubles Title

  • Posted: Jun 30, 2023

Mektic/Pavic Win Third Straight Eastbourne Doubles Title

Croatians win third ATP Tour title of 2023

Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic completed a hat-trick of titles at the Rothesay International on Friday by stopping the 13-match winning streak of Roland Garros champions Ivan Dodig and Austin Krajicek.

The Croatians claimed their third ATP Tour title of 2023 with a 6-4, 6-2 final victory in Eastbourne. The champions saved all three break points they faced in the trophy match and converted on three of their four chances on return.

Seeded fourth at the ATP 250, Mektic/Pavic did not lose a set on the week and were pushed as far as a tie-break just once, in the opening round against Jamie Murray and Michael Venus.

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The title is their third of the 2023 season (Auckland, Stuttgart) and their sixth on grass — a haul that includes their 2021 Wimbledon title in their first year as a team. Since pairing up at the start of 2021, they have won 17 tour-level titles including four ATP Masters 1000 crowns.

Mektic/Pavic moved up two places to 18th this week in the Pepperstone ATP Live Doubles Teams Rankings, while their opponents remain atop the calendar-year points race for a place at the Nitto ATP Finals.

Dodig/Krajicek saw their winning streak stopped after consecutive trophy runs at Roland Garros and The Queen’s Club. Krajicek, who debuted at No. 1 in the Pepperstone ATP Doubles Rankings after Roland Garros, briefly ceded the top spot but reclaimed the honour entering this week and now remains No. 1 in the Pepperstone ATP Doubles Live Rankings.

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'Bigger Than Tennis': Heliovaara Skips Wimbledon For Paternity Leave

  • Posted: Jun 30, 2023

‘Bigger Than Tennis’: Heliovaara Skips Wimbledon For Paternity Leave

Finnish star discusses decision to take time off

Some things are bigger than tennis. So while the world’s best players are preparing for Wimbledon, the No. 8 player in the Pepperstone ATP Doubles Rankings, Harri Heliovaara, is home in Finland awaiting the birth of his second child. 

“I have to say it was not an easy [decision]. There have been different approaches to this,” Heliovaara told “I spoke a lot to the German doubles guys. There are three of them [Kevin Krawietz, Andreas Mies and Tim Puetz] who had a kid recently and I got support from other players that it’s okay to have a few weeks at home, to miss some tournaments. It’s not the end of the world.

“At the same time, my wife, she hoped that I would be able to stay at home to help her the last couple of weeks before the baby’s born, of course, [being] present when the baby’s born and then a few more weeks at home helping her. It’s a big change for her, for our whole family. So I thought it was important to be here.”

Heliovaara’s wife, Sini, gave birth to their two-year-old daughter in May 2021. When they found out last year that Sini was pregnant and that the due date would be the Friday before Wimbledon, Heliovaara wasted little time putting his priorities in order. He spoke to partner Lloyd Glasspool, with whom he qualified for the 2022 Nitto ATP Finals, in Australia.

“Obviously, if I could choose the day I would choose something else but it doesn’t always go like that in life and we’re super happy that we’re having having another baby, which we wanted a lot. It’s not always that things happen so that you get what you want, especially when you are talking babies here,” Heliovaara said. “So we’re super happy that the baby is coming and, of course… I told Lloyd, my partner already in Australia that this is the case, we were expecting a baby at the end of June and [it] looked like Wimbledon might be difficult, my wife really hoped that I’d be home, I would like to be home when the baby’s born.

“Lloyd was very understanding. He knew there’s a lot of things in life that are bigger than tennis and he completely was on my side there. Of course, if I prefer to stay home, he’s happy about that, and I just let him know early what I want to do so he can find other solutions for the partners. And I think at that time, it was very easy.”

<a href=Lloyd Glasspool/Harri Heliovaara” />
Glasspool and Heliovaara made their Nitto ATP Finals debut in 2022. Photo: Corinne Dubreuil/ATP Tour.
After the pair lost in the Round of 16 at Roland Garros, Heliovaara returned home to spend quality time with his wife, daughter and their Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever Dalton. Glasspool will play Wimbledon with Nicolas Mahut, the 2016 champion (w/ Pierre-Hugues Herbert).

Between 2013-17, Harri was off the Tour. While attending school, he would work at Helsinki Airport part-time, beginning his shift at 5 a.m. That is where he met his wife, who worked there full-time and still does now, outside of her maternity leave.

“We often joke about it that when we started dating, and when things got more serious, I wasn’t playing tennis. This is not what she signed for. She didn’t think that she would be marrying a guy who’s playing tennis and traveling the world,” Heliovaara said. “Last year I counted I was away from home 238 days, which is a big number, and my family wasn’t able to travel that much. It’s just a couple of weeks per year that they’ve been with me, so we don’t see each other for more than half of the year.

“It’s not ideal, especially when you have a family. We have a dog and a two-year-old and now another one. So of course it’s a lot of responsibility and a lot of work for my wife to make everything work at home while I’m traveling. So now that I’m able to at least give something back, I feel better and I’m sure she feels better as well.”

Ironically, Heliovaara’s first child played a part in one of the key moments of his career. Last year in Rome, an alternate spot in the doubles draw opened up late in the evening. Glasspool was in London and Heliovaara was asleep in Helsinki. Glasspool called his partner 20 times with no luck.

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However, Heliovaara’s daughter cried, waking him up. He saw the messages and the pair rushed to Rome, where they claimed the spot and made the quarter-finals on their ATP Masters 1000 team debut. At the time, they were both outside the Top 50 of the Pepperstone ATP Doubles Rankings. Now Glasspool and Heliovaara are inside the Top 10.

“It was kind of like a point where everything started to go our way, even more than before,” Heliovaara said.

The Finnish star is making the most of his time at home, training hard so that when he returns on clay in July, he is ready to go. It is especially beneficial because Heliovaara has been ill each of the past two Decembers, when he would hope to do his biggest training blocks. 

Competing in Wimbledon is a dream for many around the world. Thirty-four-year-old Heliovaara has only done it twice before. But spending this time with his family is important to him.

“Maybe some fans feel, ‘Why are you doing that? That’s so stupid. Why are you not playing tennis?’” Heliovaara said. “But being a tennis player, it never happens in isolation. I have to combine everything in life and family is a very big part of life.”

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