Tennis News

From around the world

Morgan Riddle On Netflix's 'Fly On The Wall' Filming With Taylor Fritz

  • Posted: Aug 30, 2023

Morgan Riddle On Netflix’s ‘Fly On The Wall’ Filming With Taylor Fritz

Riddle reflects on her relationship with Fritz

Taylor Fritz was one of the stars of Netflix’s hit tennis docuseries Break Point. The show followed him throughout the 2022 season as he hit highs and lows, from winning his first ATP Masters 1000 title at Indian Wells to losing in the first round of the US Open.

With the American every step of the way was his girlfriend, Morgan Riddle, who has been committed to Fritz’s mission of helping expand tennis to the masses.

“The last couple years we’ve just developed such a good partnership,” Riddle said during a recent Break Point reunion, in conversation with Frances Tiafoe’s girlfriend Ayan Broomfield. “[With] what we’re both doing with my social stuff and his tennis, we’re just having this collective goal of him having the best career possible, and bringing tennis to a younger audience.”

Watch Full Reunion:

Riddle is very familiar with the world of content being a social media influencer. She was impressed with how Netflix producers handled the filming process.

“I would say how fly on the wall it was. I think with reality TV, which I guess this technically would be, there’s always been talk about how they will kind of push you to say certain things or encourage certain things to happen,” Riddle said. “But that was not the case at all. It was very natural. They kind of were just there with cameras following what our life is actually like.”

Fritz has been clear about how much Riddle has helped him on and off the court.

“He’s so supportive of me, I’m so supportive of him,” Riddle said. “It’s really nice, I think, in terms of me, like specifically helping his tennis. I’m very organised and Type A and making sure he’s on time for everything. That’s not exactly his personality, but I think I help in that aspect a lot. And also just being an emotional support board for him.”

You May Also Like:

Broomfield: How US Open Completely Changed Tiafoe’s Life

What is an example of something Riddle pushes back on with Fritz during the course of their lives on the ATP Tour?

“I’m sure you guys probably guess what I’m going to say. It’s making sure that video games are not happening during the tournament,” Riddle said. “Like, the computer is shut at 8 p.m. type thing. Foe is much more social than Taylor is. Taylor just wants to play League of Legends. So we’ve got to try to limit that as much as possible.”

Source link

‘I Probably Watched Roger That Day’: The Short Lifespan Of The Alcaraz One-Hander

  • Posted: Aug 30, 2023

‘I Probably Watched Roger That Day’: The Short Lifespan Of The Alcaraz One-Hander

Top seed advanced to US Open second round Tuesday after Koepfer retirement

Carlos Alcaraz’s backhand is one the fiercest weapons on the ATP Tour. The Spaniard’s devastating proficiency with two hands off that wing probably explains why his dalliance with a one-handed version of the shot did not last long.

“When I was young, I loved to try new things,” said Alcaraz on Tuesday as he clarified a journalist’s suggestion that coaches had considered developing his one-hander as a kid. “Probably the one-handed backhand was one of those things that I practised for just one day. I love to do different shots, different things on court. Probably that day I watched a Roger Federer match, and I tried to imitate him.

“I think my backhand, it was improving during these years. When I was young, my forehand was my best shot. It’s still my best shot, but I feel really comfortable with my backhand.”

The Official App Of Tennis | Download ATP WTA Live App

Alcaraz’s backhand was among several facets of his game that appeared in fine fettle Tuesday on Arthur Ashe Stadium, where the top seed led 6-2, 3-2 in his US Open first-round clash against Dominik Koepfer before the German retired with an ankle injury. Alcaraz hopes to maintain that level in his second-round meeting with Lloyd Harris as he continues his defence of his US Open crown.

“I felt great during the match. I started pretty well,” said Alcaraz. “Really focussed. Honestly, I didn’t expect to play such a great level the beginning, the first round, here in the US Open.

“I am very, very happy with the level, even if Domi had to retire. I have to [look at] myself and hopefully keep that level into the next round.”

You May Also Like:

Alcaraz Sleeveless, Not Sleepless After Early Night In New York

Alcaraz has often spoken about his desire to engage with fans as he goes about his on-court business. After Tuesday’s match was curtailed due to Koepfer’s injury, the 20-year-old even offered up an alternative source of entertainment during his on-court interview with a brief rendition of Colombian singer Sebastian Yatra’s song VAGABUNDO.

“We try to bring good vibes to the crowd, to the people. I try to be myself all the time,” said Alcaraz later when asked about his relationship with spectators during his matches. “I think the people love that part of me. I am always happy, smiling.

“I love that people call me Carlitos, my nickname. That’s it. It’s great to know that people love that, as well.”

Having lifted his maiden Grand Slam title at the US Open a year ago, Alcaraz is defending a major crown for the first time this fortnight at Flushing Meadows. As he has done so often during his meteoric rise to becoming the youngest No. 1 in Pepperstone ATP Rankings history, the Spaniard is taking it all in his stride.

“I was excited to play my first round here in the US Open,” said Alcaraz. “It was great to step on court again in Arthur Ashe after such a great run last year. I was excited to come back.

“I’m not thinking about defending the title. I was not thinking about that I was the champion last year. I just focus on playing my best level, to recover the level that I played last year, and try to do the same things that I did last year. That’s the only thing that I’m thinking right now.

“I try to be apart from all the pressure people put on me about being the defending champion.”

Source link

Meet Jakub Mensik, The 17-Year-Old Taking The US Open By Storm

  • Posted: Aug 30, 2023

Meet Jakub Mensik, The 17-Year-Old Taking The US Open By Storm

Czech teen competing in his first major as a pro

Jakub Mensik’s family did not play tennis. But as a boy in Prostejov, Czech Republic, the sport surrounded him. Just 100 metres away was a school that had tennis courts next to the playground. Five-hundred metres away were private courts.

At that location, there was a sign that read they were looking for a new Petra Kvitova and Tomas Berdych.

“I was watching the guys from the neighbourhood playing and watching also the little kids. They also had practices, they were starting their tennis career,” Mensik told “So then I just came to my dad or my mom and just asked them if I can play also, and of course they always wanted me to do some sports. That’s how I started.”

It was fitting that on Monday when Mensik served with a two-sets-to-one lead and a 4-2 advantage in the fourth set of his match against Gregoire Barrere at the US Open, Berdych himself walked by the court as he followed his charge, fellow Czech Jiri Lehecka, to his match. The former World No. 4 very briefly looked at Court 6, and no fans recognised him.

All eyes were on Mensik, now 17, who became the youngest man since Borna Coric in 2014 to win a main draw match at the US Open. The teen’s father, Michal, works in IT and played ice hockey while his mother, Katerina, works in marketing and PR, and skied.

So how did Mensik fulfill the local sign’s request for a future Czech star? It all starts with his childhood coach, Ivo Muller, whom Jakub and his parents had high praise for.

“He was the best man because he could grow the right love of tennis to the small children,” Michal said. “And he also taught the parents to be good tennis parents.”

The Official App Of Tennis | Download ATP WTA Live App

Tragedy struck on 6 June 2013, when Muller died after a brief battle with cancer. It hit the Mensik Family hard.

“[Jakub] was very small. He was seven. But I think this was his first experience with such a situation,” Michal said. “He was sad and it was the first chance we had to speak with him about death, these kind of situations. I think he was sad of course, but life goes on.”

By that point, Muller had already instilled a love of tennis in Mensik that remains with him today. There was no doubt by 12 that he wanted to become a professional tennis player.

“I just played tennis,” Mensik said. “I did athletics once but it was just in school, just one or two times per week. I watched just basketball because with my height, it was easy to put the ball in the net.”

While Mensik became a big Golden State Warriors fan because of Stephen Curry and liking the team’s jersey colours, blue and yellow, it was all tennis all the time.

“He always wanted to be a professional tennis player,” Michal said. “He wanted to win all the Grand Slams and to be No. 1.”

By 16, he was one of the best juniors in the world. Last year, at 16, he reached the Australian Open boys’ singles final and lost an epic final to American Bruno Kuzuhara. His performance in the match led to a relationship with Novak Djokovic.

“He sent a video of himself talking to me, and asking me if I wanted to come, that he saw the match and he saw what happened. And if I wanted to, he was looking for a sparring partner for one week in Belgrade to hit,” Mensik said. “So I was like, ‘Okay, why not?’ He is one of the best or the best in tennis. So I said, ‘Okay, let’s do that.’

“I came there and we hit a few times. I wasn’t just with him on the court, but also off the court and talking with him not just about tennis, but all the stuff off the court. So it was very fun and off the court he’s the nicest guy I ever met. When you cross the street and look at him and talk to him, you’re not sure if this guy is a tennis player. When he’s talking to you, it’s just a normal person.”

Mensik also joined Djokovic for a week in Montenego last year ahead of Wimbledon and even spoke to the Serbian briefly this week in New York. At Flushing Meadows, the #NextGenATP star is proving he is more than just a top junior, but a threat in the main draw of a major.

In his first attempt to qualify for a Grand Slam tournament, he did so successfully. And in his first tour-level match against an established player in World No. 59 Barrere, he looked comfortable on court and triumphed in four sets.

It is not bad for someone who still has one year left of high school back home. His teacher even sent congratulatory messages after he beat Barrere. Mensik’s parents are keen for him to complete this level of schooling.

Michal explained that Jakub has said: “I have to focus on school and I cannot focus on tennis and it’s terrible.”

But that has certainly not impacted his performance. Entering the week of US Open qualifying last year, Mensik was World No. 882. Now he is No. 162 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings.

On Wednesday, Mensik will play another major debutant, Titouan Drouguet, for a place in the third round. If the 17–year-old wins, he will become the youngest man to reach the third round of the US Open since Fabrice Santoro in 1990.

But in the longterm, the boy who always rode his bike to his local courts to play a sport he loves has even bigger goals.

“Of course to be on the top of the world. I can say that I want to be first in the world and also winning the Slams and ATP Masters [1000s],” Mensik said. “That’s I think the dream for everyone who is playing tennis and I am the same. But I want to be on the Tour and playing these tournaments with the best of the world.”

Source link

Less Chocolate, More Success: The Evolution Of Dominic Stricker

  • Posted: Aug 30, 2023

Less Chocolate, More Success: The Evolution Of Dominic Stricker

Learn how the Swiss has become more professional this year

Dominic Stricker began the main draw of this year’s US Open at No. 128 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, one spot lower than he was 12 months ago. However, the Swiss is far from the same player.

“I feel better on court than I did last year. I feel like my game has improved again,” Stricker told “I’m also getting fitter body-wise, so that helps for sure. And now I hope the ranking is going to increase as well. But I think if I keep on doing my things like I’m doing right now, it’s going to go higher pretty soon.”

Stricker on Wednesday will have an opportunity to reach the third round of a major for the first time when he faces seventh seed Stefanos Tsitsipas. It is a big chance for a player who needed to save match point in the second round of qualifying against Pablo Llamas Ruiz. The match put him in one of the craziest predicaments a tennis player could confront.

Facing match point at 8/9 in the final-set tie-break, Stricker got out of trouble with a big serve and walked towards his chair as he prepared to change sides of the court. Then it began to rain, sending the players off court.

“We tried to not talk about the match at all, just to be relaxed. We played some games just to not think about it too much,” Stricker said. “But of course, you’re thinking about where to serve, what to do on the next point and everything. So you actually keep on playing the match during the whole time you don’t spend on court.

“We played Yahtzee. It’s pretty funny, because I don’t know when we started it, but we are playing it so many times in a day. It’s actually crazy.”

The Official App Of Tennis | Download ATP WTA Live App

Upon the match’s resumption, Stricker did not face another match point and rode his serve to victory. The lefty then cruised past Thiago Agustin Tirante to qualify and defeated Alexei Popyrin in the first round of the main draw, a feat he also achieved at Wimbledon.

“Super happy today. I played a great match, great first two sets. Maybe I lost it a bit at the end of the third, but I came back strong in the fourth,” Stricker said. “So just super happy to be through.”

A semi-finalist at last year’s Next Gen ATP Finals, the 21-year-old Swiss had not competed in a main draw before this season. But he is quickly gaining experience on the sport’s biggest stages and performing well in the process. Why?

“I think off court everything got a bit more serious. I’m also working maybe a little bit harder than I did before,” Stricker said. “I think everything is more professional than it was and that helps me for sure.”

<a href=Dominic Stricker” />
Stricker competed at the 2022 Next Gen ATP Finals.
That is something that his new coach since April, Dieter Kindlmann, agreed with. Kindlmann, the former World No. 130 who has coached WTA stars Maria Sharapova, Madison Keys and Aryna Sabalenka among others, has focussed on improving the Swiss’ daily habits.

“I’ve worked with very high-profile women before, and I see a big talent in him. But I also see so many things that we have to work on. It’s not only on the court, it’s also outside, what it means to be professional, what it means to be a Top 100, Top 80, Top 50 player,” Kindlmann said. “I think step by step he has to learn what it means to be working in the gym, working with the physio, doing prevention, getting more in details, working on a structure, planning the whole year.

“I thought from my first conversation he was a great guy. He’s funny, he’s a very good character, a very nice guy. But he’s also a little bit goofy and likes to play. But he has to understand, this is what I try to teach him, what it means to be a professional player every day.”

An example Kindlmann cited to explain his point was Stricker’s warmup routine before a match. Sometimes he did not grip his racquets or prepare his bottles. He would do a short, rushed physical warmup.

“For me I believe very much in doing everything with routine, but also not losing his way of gamestyle. Not make everything too serious, but bring more structure in trusting his body, getting fitter, believing you can beat these guys,” Kindlmann said. “This is my job, what I try to teach and I’m actually very, very happy when I saw him today.”

Diet is an area upon which Stricker has placed increased emphasis.

“You’re looking a bit more at what you’re eating. It depends maybe the night before the match what you’re going to eat after the match and all that stuff, just to get that energy back,” Stricker said. “I think that’s one of the things that changed a lot.”

In the past, he might have eaten some cookies or chocolate. Now, not so much.

“Of course, sometimes you need it. It’s human,” Stricker said. “Maybe sometimes you need a Coke or anything like that. You don’t take it every day. I will say let’s take more sparkling water and that stuff.”

Stricker’s next opponent, Tsitsipas, remembers playing the Swiss on grass in Stuttgart last year. The Greek won in straight sets, but recognised his opponent’s skill.

“He’s a talented kid. He has talent,” Tsitsipas said. “He can feel the ball. He can do a lot of things with the ball.”

Stricker will try to show the world just that when he plays Tsitsipas again for a place in the third round of the US Open.

“I’m super happy. It’s great to play him again,” Stricker said. “It’s just just a great opportunity for me to show my tennis, to enjoy that match because it’s going to be a great match.”

Source link

Zapata Miralles On Djokovic: 'He's A Machine'

  • Posted: Aug 30, 2023

Zapata Miralles On Djokovic: ‘He’s A Machine’

Spaniard reflects on his visit to Flushing Meadows as a junior

Bernabe Zapata Miralles never cracked the Top 150 in the ITF Junior Rankings. The Spaniard played just one major as a junior, the 2015 US Open.

“I lost in the second round against Tsitsipas I remember,” Zapata Miralles told “I won the first round, but I played so nervous.”

Some of his lasting memories from the tournament were practice sessions with his countrymen, including Feliciano Lopez and Gullermo Garcia-Lopez. Zapata Miralles remembers fondly watching Garcia-Lopez play Tomas Berdych in the third round.

The junior players at the season’s final major use a locker room in an indoor building across the venue from Arthur Ashe Stadium. But Zapata Miralles remembers getting a chance to step into the pro’s locker room once. There, one of the competitors he saw was Novak Djokovic.

The Spaniard has never practised with the Serbian nor faced him in a match. But on Wednesday, that will change when Zapata Miralles takes on the 23-time major champion.

“I think I need to stay relaxed. I don’t have nothing to lose if I play against Novak, of course,” Zapata Miralles said. “I try to be focussed in the match and try to do my best to have some chances. But I don’t feel too nervous.

“For me it’s another match, one match more in my tennis career, and this is the important thing.”

But he has never faced an opponent with the experience of Djokovic, who has finished as ATP Year-End No. 1 presented by Pepperstone a record seven times. The Spaniard has plenty of respect for the three-time US Open winner.

“I think he’s a machine,” Zapata Miralles said. “For me he’s an unbelievable player, one of the best in history.”

The good news for Zapata Miralles is he has played a lot of top players this season — five Top 10 opponents, to be exact. He pushed Daniil Medvedev to a third set in Rome and Andrey Rublev to a final-set tie-break in Hamburg. However, Zapata Miralles has never defeated a Top 10 player.

“I played good matches this year on clay. I think the match if I play against Novak is different because it’s on hard and normally I always feel more comfortable on clay,” Zapata Miralles said. “I played good matches against Rublev in Hamburg and Daniil in Rome. But I think [it will be a] different match on Wednesday.”

The Official App Of Tennis | Download ATP WTA Live App

Zapata Miralles defeated reigning NCAA men’s singles champion Ethan Quinn in straight sets Tuesday for his first tour-level win on hard courts this season (6-16 career). Twenty-seven of his 33 tour-level victories have come on clay.

“It’s a different surface, so it’s more complicated for me, I think,” Zapata Miralles said. “But I will try to find this level that I played in these matches.”

For a clay-court standout who climbed to a career-high No. 37 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings this year based on his success on that surface, Zapata Miralles calls the US Open his favourite tournament.

“Probably [because I love] the city. I love New York. I feel very comfortable in Manhattan,” Zapata Miralles said. “When I have time, I like to walk there and go to dinner in some restaurants… I feel like I’m home here.”

Zapata Miralles will hope that is the case inside Arthur Ashe Stadium Wednesday when he plays Djokovic.

Source link