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‘Super Excited’ Kyrgios Ready For Comeback In Stuttgart

  • Posted: Jun 10, 2023

‘Super Excited’ Kyrgios Ready For Comeback In Stuttgart

Australian plays Wu in first singles match since last October

It has been a long seven months, but Nick Kyrgios is ready and raring to go once again on the ATP Tour.

The Australian competes as the eighth seed next week at the BOSS OPEN in Stuttgart, where he is set to play his first singles match since last October in Tokyo. The 28-year-old played in the doubles at the 2022 Nitto ATP Finals alongside Thanasi Kokkinakis, but has not competed this season after undergoing surgery to repair a small tear in his left lateral meniscus in January.

“I wouldn’t say it was major surgery, but I had quite a serious surgery on my knee” said Kyrgios on Saturday in Stuttgart, where he is a two-time semi-finalist. “It’s taken me about five months to get back to even playing, moving and [ready to play] against these players.

“It’s been difficult, but at times it’s been amazing just to be home with my family. Tennis is a sport where you travel so much of the year and being home, for me, was important. But seeing everyone [else] play wasn’t easy at times. I’m just super excited that my knee is a bit better and I’m able to play now.”

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Kyrgios enjoyed the best season of his career in 2022, when he racked up a 37-10 record, including a Tour-leading 12 wins on grass. The World No. 28, who reached his maiden major final at last year’s Wimbledon, hopes to pick up where he left off on the surface as he prepares for a first-round clash against Wu Yibing in Stuttgart.

“The grass season for me is always the best part of the year,” said Kyrgios on Saturday. “This year has been really tough for me, obviously recovering from knee surgery. I’m coming back at a tournament [where] I’ve done really well in the past, played some amazing matches. The crowd is always really supportive, and the atmosphere is really good.

“I’m super excited to be here again and to get out there and play the sport that I’ve been working so hard to get back to.”

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Roland Garros Redemption! Dodig/Krajicek Triumph In Paris

  • Posted: Jun 10, 2023

Roland Garros Redemption! Dodig/Krajicek Triumph In Paris

2022 finalists lift trophy to guarantee Krajicek World No. 1 spot

Spurred on by their 2022 Roland Garros championship-match heartbreak, Ivan Dodig and Austin Krajicek charged to their maiden major title as a team in style Saturday at the clay-court major with a convincing 6-3, 6-1 triumph against Sander Gille and Joran Vliegen.

The Croatian-American pairing converted four of eight break points they earned as they accelerated to an 80-minute triumph on Court Philippe-Chatrier. Dodig and Krajicek won nine of the final 10 games as their imaginative returning and rock-solid netplay proved too much for their unseeded opponents.

“We waited 12 months for another opportunity to be here,” said Krajicek at the trophy ceremony. “It really is special. We’ll keep fighting, we’re always looking to get better. [It was] a great tournament and we’ll keep building on that.”

<a href=''>Sander Gille</a>/<a href=''>Joran Vliegen</a>/<a href=''>Austin Krajicek</a>/<a href=''>Ivan Dodig</a>

Austin Krajicek (second from right) and Ivan Dodig (right) beat Sander Gille and Joran Vliegen to triumph at Roland Garros on Saturday. Photo: Peter Staples/ATP Tour.

A year ago, Dodig and Krajicek let slip three match points in the Roland Garros final before falling to an agonising defeat against Marcelo Arevalo and Jean-Julien Rojer. The pair showed no sign of that experience affecting them on Saturday in Paris, where they outhit Gille and Vliegen by 27 winners to 17.

The victory brought a double reward to Krajicek. By lifting his maiden major trophy with Dodig, the American also ensured he will rise to No. 1 in the Pepperstone ATP Doubles Rankings for the first time on Monday.

“I just want to thank my partner for the amazing run here,” said Dodig when addressing Krajicek. “You [won] your first Grand Slam title, [on Monday] you are No.1 in the world and you well deserve it, so well done.”

Follow The Cast Of ATP Tour | Break Point

It was a third major men’s doubles title for Dodig, who also triumphed at Roland Garros in 2015 (with Marcelo Melo) and at the 2021 Australian Open (with Filip Polasek).

With their victory, Dodig and Krajicek improved to 3-0 in their ATP Head2Head series against Gille and Vliegen. The two Belgians, who first teamed at an ITF World Tennis Tour event 10 years ago and have won seven ATP Tour titles together, upset four seeded opponents en route to their first major final, but they could not stick with Dodig and Krajicek on Saturday despite making a steady start to the match.

“Congratulations to you guys,” said Gille. “Obviously you deserve it, especially after making the final this year again, so you’ve done a great job and congratulations to you.”

“I don’t think we would have thought [we would reach a major final] when we started playing together back in 2015,” said Vliegen. “Dreams become goals, and I think even though we are disapppinted we didn’t take the victory today, I think we can be very happy that we’ve come so far already. We will go right back to work and make sure we are on the right side next time.”

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Can Ruud Deny Djokovic Historic 23rd Major At Roland Garros?

  • Posted: Jun 10, 2023

Can Ruud Deny Djokovic Historic 23rd Major At Roland Garros?

Pair meets Sunday in championship match in Paris

Casper Ruud, on Court Philippe-Chatrier, trying to stop his opponent making history.

That will be the tale of the Roland Garros championship match for the second consecutive year as the Norwegian takes on Novak Djokovic on Sunday in Paris. With victory, Djokovic will secure a record 23rd major title and become the first man to win each Grand Slam tournament at least three times.

In 2022, Ruud took on Rafael Nadal in his maiden major final in the French capital, where the Spaniard charged to a then-record-extending 22nd major trophy. Having now reached three finals in the space of five major events, the Norwegian possesses considerably more big-stage experience this time around as he bids to deny Djokovic a groundbreaking triumph of his own in Sunday’s championship match (from 2:30pm CEST/8:30am EDT).

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Despite playing with so much at stake, the 36-year-old Djokovic believes treating Sunday’s clash as just another match will be key for him to win his sixth title in his past eight major campaigns and simultaneously secure his return to No. 1 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings.

“I hope that I’ll play my best tennis level on Sunday,” said Djokovic on Friday after his four-set semi-final triumph against World No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz. “The only thing I can say now is that I’m very focused. History is always something that’s hovering over me, but I’m very happy to be in this position to write history of this sport, but I’m just thinking about winning the next match.”

Most Grand Slam Men’s Singles Titles (All-Time)

Player Titles
Novak Djokovic 22
Rafael Nadal 22
Roger Federer 20
Pete Sampras 14
Roy Emerson 12
Bjorn Borg 11
Rod Laver 11

Ruud is under no illusions about the task that lies ahead as he bids to become the first Norwegian to win a major title. The 24-year-old, who also reached the championship match at the US Open last September, has not won a set in his four previous ATP Head2Head clashes with Djokovic.

“It’s going to be tough, for sure,” said Ruud, who defeated Alexander Zverev in straight sets with a dominant semi-final display on Friday night in Paris. “He’s playing for his 23rd. I’m playing for my first. So I’m going to just try to play without pressure and just try to enjoy the moment.

“I think that was my mentality last year [against Nadal] as well, and it didn’t go my way. Obviously, I would like to try to do better than last year. Let’s see if I have learned something from the two previous [major finals] that I played last year. It just feels great to be back.”

Both players have made their way through the draw with relative ease this fortnight in Paris. Djokovic dropped just two sets across his six matches to become the second-oldest finalist in Roland Garros history (since 1925). He was in imperious form in the first set against World No. 1 Alcaraz on Friday and was ruthless in securing victory after the Spaniard began to cramp early in the third set.

Although renowned for his miraculous defensive abilities, it was the Serbian’s ferocious ballstriking that underpinned his early burst against Alcaraz. Djokovic will use his power and accuracy from the baseline to test Ruud in a similar fashion on Sunday and he possesses the ability to change things up with his drop shot should he need to.

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The Serbian will also try to minimise the damage from Ruud’s ferocious forehand, which has spearheaded the 24-year-old’s charge in the French capital. The Norwegian has dropped just three sets in Paris himself and dismantled Zverev with a stunning display of consistent heavy hitting on Friday. He will know he needs to produce a similar level against Djokovic if he is going to defeat the seven-time year-end No. 1 for the first time.

Ruud has been one of the ATP Tour’s dominant forces on clay for the past three years. Even during a 2023 season in which he has struggled to consistently produce his best level, the Norwegian still claimed his 10th ATP Tour title in Estoril and reached an ATP Masters 1000 semi-final in Rome thanks to his proficiency on the surface.

Most Tour-level Wins On Clay Since 2020

Player Wins
Casper Ruud 87
Stefanos Tsitsipas 68
Carlos Alcaraz 64
Novak Djokovic 54

Beating Djokovic over five sets is a different prospect altogether, however. The Serbian is chasing his 21st consecutive match win at major tournaments and will not panic if Ruud makes a fast start on Court Philippe-Chatrier.

“I’m just going to try to play without too much emotion,” said Ruud. “I think that’s when I can play my best tennis, when I don’t overthink the situation and think too much that I have to win this match, because then things go on automatic mode.”

Playing the opponent and not the occasion will also be the foundation of Djokovic’s approach as he seeks to embellish his legacy as one of the greatest players in history.

“Experience [is] on my side,” said the Serbian on Friday. “But does it win matches? I don’t think so. I just have to recover well, be prepared for another long battle, and after the finals, if I win, let’s talk about history.”

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