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Family Affair: Federico Coria Celebrates Historic Top 100 Debut

  • Posted: Sep 24, 2020

Family Affair: Federico Coria Celebrates Historic Top 100 Debut

Federico joins brother Guillermo in the Top 100 club

In the early to mid-2000s, Guillermo Coria was a force on the ATP Tour. One of the best defenders in the game and a strong baseliner, the Argentine used his superior agility to soar as high as No. 3 in the FedEx ATP Rankings. Also a finalist at Roland Garros in 2004 and a two-time ATP Masters 1000 champion, Coria was a fixture inside the Top 100 for many years. ‘El Mago’ was the clay-court king during his tenure on the professional scene, dominating on the surface throughout his career.

Now, more than a decade later, the Coria legacy continues. On Monday, Guillermo’s brother Federico Coria cracked the Top 100 for the first time, entering the fray after an impressive week at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. The 28-year-old rose to a career-high No. 98 after earning his first win over a Top 50 opponent (Struff) in his ATP Masters 1000 debut.

“It makes me really happy,” said Coria. “Monday was an incredible day in my life. I looked at my phone and just stared at the number. I couldn’t believe it. It’s a dream realised and one that I’ve been fighting for, for a long time.

“I was actually anxious for this to happen. It was supposed to come earlier in the year, but the pandemic arrived and I had to wait. But this was very special, after winning my first Masters 1000 match in Rome and beating the No. 30 in the world. It ended up being better than I imagined.”

The Corias are one of just four sets of brothers to feature inside the Top 100 of the FedEx ATP Rankings since 2000. They join Jurgen Melzer and Gerald Melzer, as well as Olivier Rochus and Christophe Rochus, and most recently Alexander Zverev and Mischa Zverev.

In fact, the Rochus brothers were both in the Top 100 at the same time, in each year from 2000 to 2010. The Zverevs also resided in the Top 100 concurrently, from 2016 to 2019.

Coria

For both Federico and Guillermo, it is a special accomplishment. The brothers have a close relationship and Guillermo relishes his sibling’s achievements like they are his own.

“My first dream was to get an ATP point,” Federico added. “I remember when it happened, Guillermo printed the rankings page and posted it at home. Today, after 10 years of traveling all over the world, with many highs and lows, to be Top 100 gives me a great desire to continue climbing.”

“I am very proud and happy for Fede, that he has entered the Top 100,” said Guillermo. “He is fulfilling his dreams and that gives me great happiness as a brother. At one point he thought it was too far away and almost impossible. But he never gave up, he fought and kept on going to play tournaments and gain confidence. He was lonely a lot, but this is the reward for all those results and that sacrifice.”

When Coria says he has been fighting for this moment for a long time, that is not hyperbole. The Argentine has battled on the ATP Challenger Tour since 2016 and was competing in ITF events for nearly five years before that. Now, the grind is paying off. Last year, he lifted his maiden Challenger trophy in Savannah and reached three more finals as the year rolled along.

And in 2020, he made his mark at the tour-level, surging to his first ATP Tour quarter-final in Rio de Janeiro and claiming his first Grand Slam match win at the US Open last month. His breakthrough in Rome was the icing on the cake.

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Coria Pays Tribute To Big Bro With Savannah Crown

For Federico, the road to this moment started more than 20 years ago, when he instantly became inspired by his brother. Guillermo was his idol. Ever since he was a child, he would watch him compete on TV. The Corias are from a very small town in Argentina, named Rosario, and Guillermo was always on the road either competing on the ATP Tour or training in Buenos Aires and Miami.

Federico explains that he was very shy when he was younger. He became so nervous when his brother would call home that he would run and hide.

“It was very difficult for me. I couldn’t speak to him when he called. I looked up to him so much. And now, it hasn’t been easy to follow in his footsteps. Whenever I would travel to a tournament, he had already won it when he was two years younger than me. I couldn’t manage it. I struggled a lot with that, because I wanted to be a normal kid. I wanted to be a boy that did not attract attention. I didn’t want to arrive at a tournament and everyone expects me to achieve the same as my brother. I’ve never been as talented as him and this was a big mental challenge for me.”

When Federico won his lone ATP Challenger Tour title in Savannah, he paid tribute to his older brother. In what was the biggest moment of his career, he dropped to one knee and pointed to sky. It was just like Guillermo used to do in his Challenger days.

“On the other hand, coming from Argentina, there is pressure – sometimes even greater than what I experienced – on all the other players. It’s not unique to me. So if I could go back, I wouldn’t change anything. For me, looking back, it was incredible to have a brother that was No. 3 in the world and could help guide me through my career. His support means everything to me.”

When asked what has been the best advice he’s ever received, Coria recalled a special moment with Rafael Nadal at the ATP 250 event in Buenos Aires. The pair were sitting in the locker room one afternoon and Nadal turned to a young Federico to discuss the next steps in his career.

“There were no cameras, just the two of us in the changing room. He asked me where I was playing next and started talking about my position [in the FedEx ATP Rankings]. He explained that many years ago he was in the same position as I was, and that I need to work every day and leave it all on the court. Your ranking is a consequence of how hard you work and the results you have. You earn everything you receive. He didn’t have to do that. He didn’t have to take an interest in me and give me advice, but he did and I’m very grateful.”

Coria will make his Roland Garros debut next week, opening against a qualifier. He could face 23rd-seed Benoit Paire or Soonwoo Kwon in the second round.

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US Open Finalists Koolhof/Mektic Continuing Hot Streak In Hamburg

  • Posted: Sep 24, 2020

US Open Finalists Koolhof/Mektic Continuing Hot Streak In Hamburg

Peers/Venus oust third seeds Kubot/Melo

Wesley Koolhof and Nikola Mektic went on a memorable run to the final of the US Open. The Dutch-Croatian duo has not let slip their moment on clay.

The unseeded pair beat reigning Roland Garros champions Kevin Krawietz and Andreas Mies 6-3, 7-5 on Thursday to reach the semi-finals of the Hamburg European Open. They also defeated second seeds Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury in the first round, marking wins over two consecutive tandems that competed in the 2019 Nitto ATP Finals.

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Koolhof and Mektic needed just 74 minutes against the home favourites, breaking serve three times to advance. In the last four they will play Croatians Ivan Dodig and Mate Pavic, who eliminated qualifiers Radu Albot and Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi 6-4, 6-2. Pavic won the US Open alongside Bruno Soares.

In the top half of the draw, John Peers and Michael Venus ousted third seeds Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo 6-1, 6-2 in 59 minutes. They won 57 per cent of their return points against the Polish-Brazilian team.

Peers and Venus will play veteran tandem Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau for a spot in the final. The Dutch-Romanian pair beat Frenchmen Nicolas Mahut and Fabrice Martin 6-3, 7-5.

 

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Murray & Wawrinka To Meet In First-Round Roland Garros Blockbuster

  • Posted: Sep 24, 2020

Murray & Wawrinka To Meet In First-Round Roland Garros Blockbuster

Thiem to play former World No. 3 Cilic in another star-studded opener

Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka will play in a battle of three-time Grand Slam champions in the first round at Roland Garros.

The stars have met 20 times in their ATP Head2Head series, with Murray claiming 12 of those matches. They clashed in both the 2016 and 2017 Paris semi-finals, with the latter of those battles proving a pivotal moment for both players.

“Been a long journey to get back on Court Philipe Chatrier. Three-and-a-half years since I played @stanwawrinka85 in a brutal five-set semi-final, which turned out to be the end of my hip,” Murray wrote on Instagram Tuesday. “It was a pleasure to be back @rolandgarros and a huge thank you to the @fftennis for giving me the opportunity to play here again 🙏.”

 

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Been a long journey to get back on Court Philipe Chatrier. 3 and half years since I played @stanwawrinka85 in a brutal 5 set semi final which turned out to be the end of my hip. It was a pleasure to be back @rolandgarros and a huge thank you to the @fftennis for giving me the opportunity to play here again 🙏 The new stadium with the roof looks amazing and all the changes and improvements they have made for the players is much appreciated👍 @castore_sportswear @headtennis_official #tennis #paris

A post shared by Andy Murray (@andymurray) on

Wawrinka won that 2017 semi-final after a thrilling four hours and 34 minutes, but it took a toll on both of them. The Swiss underwent two left knee surgeries in August 2017, and Murray would have right hip surgery in January 2018 and January 2019.

Draw Preview: Nadal, Thiem Face Tough Paths In Paris

Their most recent match came in last year’s Antwerp final, in which Murray rallied to win his first ATP Tour singles title since 2017 Dubai.

“It means a lot. The past few years have been extremely difficult. Both me and Stan have had a lot of injury problems in the past couple of years,” Murray said at the time. “Amazing to be back playing against him in a final like that.”

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The winner of their Roland Garros battle will play in-form home German Dominik Koepfer or Frenchman Antoine Hoang in the second round.

Another tantalising first-round match pits recent US Open champion Dominic Thiem against former World No. 3 Marin Cilic. The third seed has won each of their three meetings, but the Croatian showed in Flushing Meadows just weeks ago that he is still capable of pushing the Austrian when he is firing. Thiem battled past Cilic in that match 6-2, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3. That third set was the only set he lost en route to the final.

David Goffin, the 11th seed, will have his hands full against reigning Next Gen ATP Finals champion Jannik Sinner. The 19-year-old Italian won their only previous match 7-6(7), 7-5 earlier this year in Rotterdam. Their encounter promises to provide thrilling baseline rallies, with both players looking to take charge of the baseline on the terre batture.

One of the most entertaining first-round clashes might be between eighth seed Gael Monfils and Kazakhstani Alexander Bublik. They are two of the biggest showmen on the ATP Tour. Monfils is arguably the quickest player on Tour and he has the ability to unleash incredible power when necessary. Bublik enjoys using his underarm serve and drop shot, which should create exciting rallies.

Home favourite Richard Gasquet will try to spring a surprise against rock-solid 10th seed Roberto Bautista Agut. The favoured Spaniard has won six of their eight meetings, but this will be their first clay-court clash. Will the French magician be able to find the level that took him as high as World No. 7 to upset Bautista Agut?

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'Tough Cookie?' Tsitsipas Proves You Learn Something New Every Day

  • Posted: Sep 24, 2020

‘Tough Cookie?’ Tsitsipas Proves You Learn Something New Every Day

Greek star enjoys a fun on-court interview after beating Cuevas

Stefanos Tsitsipas is living proof that you learn something new every day.

After the second seed won his second-round match at the Hamburg European Open on Thursday, the on-court reporter called the Greek’s opponent, Pablo Cuveas, a ‘tough cookie’.

“Tough cookie?” Tsitsipas wondered. “First time I heard this.”

It didn’t take long for the reigning Nitto ATP Finals champion to realise what the phrase means, and he agreed.

“I understand, I understand,” Tsitsipas said, cracking a laugh. “Never heard it before.

The World No. 6 now leads their ATP Head2Head series 3-0 following his 7-5, 6-4 victory, but he needed to save all five break points he faced to do so. Tsitsipas converted both break points he earned.

“I have a lot of respect for him. He is a very difficult opponent to face, particularly on this surface,” Tsitsipas said. “He is a good friend and one of my idols growing up. It was a great match and I enjoyed it. There was a certain point during the match when I forgot that I had to win. I was just enjoying the game, enjoying the crowd and playing with the most positive vibes, the most positive energy.”

Learning the meaning of ‘tough cookie’ was not the only highlight of the 22-year-old’s on-court interview. He was challenged to speak a few words of German to the Hamburg crowd. Up to 2,300 socially distanced fans are allowed inside centre court.

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“I received a little bit of help from someone sitting in the crowd. My German is alright,” Tsitsipas said. “I’ll make a promise. If things go well here, I’ll come back next year speaking maybe not fluent, but good enough to give a speech.”

Tsitsipas will hope to continue winning at the ATP 500 when he plays 2019 Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters finalist Dusan Lajovic in the quarter-finals. They have split their two ATP Head2Head meetings.

“He’s going to be a ‘tough cookie’,” Tsitsipas said. “He’s had great results on clay, so I’m expecting a good game and I hope to bring a good fight against him tomorrow.”

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Ruud Rolls Past Fognini, Next Up Humbert In Hamburg

  • Posted: Sep 24, 2020

Ruud Rolls Past Fognini, Next Up Humbert In Hamburg

Medvedev’s conqueror overcomes Vesely

Casper Ruud was rock solid on Thursday as he knocked out sixth seed Fabio Fognini 6-3, 6-3 in 67 minutes for a place in the Hamburg European Open semi-finals.

During an extraordinary run of seven straight games — from 3-3 in the first set to 4-0 in the second set — Ruud won 18 points in a row, from 5-3, 0/15 in the opener to 3-0, 30/0 in the second set.

The 21-year-old Norwegian, who advanced to his first ATP Masters 1000 semi-final last week at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia (l. to Djokovic), is now 19-8 on the season, which includes winning the Argentina Open crown in February. He will now prepare to face France’s Ugo Humbert on Friday.

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Ruud, competing at a career-high No. 30 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, got Fognini on the run throughout the first set, which turned in the eighth game when Fognini make two forehand errors in a row. Ruud completed the 29-minute set when his Italian opponent hit a backhand return into the net and the Norwegian immediately dominated the first four games of the second set.

Fognini sparked into life and recovered to 3-4, but Ruud tightened up his service placement to maintain a single-break cushion. The match ended when Fognini hit his first double fault.

Ruud, who won 25 of 28 first-service points, also beat Fognini 6-2, 6-2 at the ATP Cup in January.

<a href=Ugo Humbert” />

Earlier in the day, Humbert proved that his first-round victory over Daniil Medvedev was no fluke, when the Frenchman backed it up with a 6-4, 6-3 victory over qualifier Jiri Vesely.

Humbert, who is currently at a career-high World No. 41, struck 24 winners in the one-hour and 45-minute encounter at the AM Rothenbaum and now has a 5-3 record since the resumption of the ATP Tour last month.

After an early exchange of breaks, little separated Humbert and Vesely, who ultimately faded in the final three points of the 50-minute first set, which ended with the Czech striking a backhand in the net.

Humbert, who hit 14 winners in the opener, saved two break points in the first game of the second set, then defended valiantly in the next game, only to break for a 2-0 advantage with a crosscourt forehand winner. From 4-4 in the first set, Humbert stepped up and won five straight games.

Pumped up, Humbert came within a point of a 5-1 lead, but errors proved costly and Vesely found his way back to 3-4. Humbert broke for a third time, in the next game, when Vesely twice had the opportunity to strike a clean winner at 30/40. Humbert needed no second invitation and closed out his 15th victory of 2020, which began in January with his first ATP Tour title at the ASB Classic in Auckland (d. Paire).

This year, Humbert has also reached the Delray Beach Open by VITACOST.com semi-finals (l. to Nishioka), the New York Open quarter-finals and last week’s Internazionali BNL d’Italia third round (l. to Shapovalov). Humbert beat Fognini 7-5, 7-6(4) in the Rome second round.

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Federer On No. 1: 'I Decided I Would Like To Stay There'

  • Posted: Sep 24, 2020

Federer On No. 1: ‘I Decided I Would Like To Stay There’

The Swiss has spent a record 310 weeks at the top of the FedEx ATP Rankings

In the latest profile on the 26 players to rise to No. 1 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, ATPTour.com looks back on the career of Roger Federer. View Full List.

First week at No. 1: 2 February 2004
Total weeks at No. 1: 310
Year-End No. 1s: 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009

At World No. 1
After lifting seven tour-level trophies in a breakthrough 2003 ATP Tour season, Federer claimed his maiden Australian Open title in 2004 to reach World No. 1 in the FedEx ATP Rankings for the first time. The Swiss, who finished 2003 by lifting his first Nitto ATP Finals crown in Houston, leapfrogged Andy Roddick into the top spot and began a record 237-week reign on 2 February 2004. “You only become No. 1 in the world for the first time once,” said Federer. The Basel native captured 43 trophies — including 10 Grand Slam crowns — during his first spell at the top of the game. Federer has enjoyed five further stints at World No. 1, amassing a record total of 310 weeks in the top position. Between 2004 and 2009, Federer finished five of six ATP Tour seasons at the top of the FedEx ATP Rankings. The 38-year-old owns a 301-45 record as World No. 1, which includes 35 titles from 50 tour-level championship matches.

Grand Slam Highlights
Federer owns the all-time Grand Slam titles record with 20 major championship victories. The Swiss captured his first Grand Slam trophy at the age of 21 at Wimbledon in 2003, beating Mark Philippoussis in straight sets in the final. Federer owns a record eight Wimbledon crowns, which includes five straight title runs from 2003 to 2007. The 6’1” right-hander is the only player to win more than 100 matches at multiple Grand Slam events, with 101 victories at Wimbledon and 102 wins at the Australian Open. Federer has lifted six titles from seven finals in Melbourne. Between 2004 and 2008, the 103-time tour-level titlist claimed five straight US Open trophies to equal Jimmy Connors and Pete Sampras’ Open Era titles record at Flushing Meadows. Federer became the sixth man to complete the Career Grand Slam at Roland Garros in 2009, beating Robin Soderling in his fourth straight final appearance at the clay-court Grand Slam championship. “It was probably my greatest victory, I was under big pressure,” said Federer. “I did it and it’s phenomenal. It was great to be on the podium as a winner for a change.” Federer reached a record 36 consecutive Grand Slam quarter-finals between 2004 Wimbledon and 2013 Roland Garros.

<a href=Roger Federer beats Marin Cilic in straight sets to capture a record eighth Gentlemen’s Singles title at Wimbledon.” />

Nitto ATP Finals Highlights
Federer has won a record six Nitto ATP Finals trophies. The Swiss has lifted back-to-back titles at each of the tournament’s three most recent locations, winning in Houston (2003-’04), Shanghai (2006-’07) and London (2010-’11). Across those six tournament victories, Federer claimed the trophy with an undefeated 5-0 record five times. Federer also owns the record for most appearances (17) and match wins (59) at the event. “It is always one of the main goals to qualify for the year-end event,” said Federer. “I love competing there among the other top players.”

ATP Masters 1000 Highlights
Federer is third on the ATP Masters 1000 titles leaderboard with 28 crowns. The 38-year-old captured his maiden Masters 1000 trophy in Hamburg in 2002, beating Top 10 stars Gustavo Kuerten and Marat Safin en route to his first of four titles at the event. Federer’s most successful Masters 1000 event in terms of titles won is the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati, where he has lifted a tournament record seven crowns. With five trophies, Federer is also the joint titles leader at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells alongside Novak Djokovic. Federer has also won Masters 1000 titles in Miami, Madrid, Canada, Shanghai and Paris.

Biggest Rivalries
As a member of the ‘Big Three’, Federer has contested two major rivalries throughout his career on the ATP Tour.

With 40 FedEx ATP Head2Head clashes (Nadal leads 24-16), Federer and Rafael Nadal have captivated sports fans across the world since 2004 with their contrasting styles of play. Federer leads Nadal 11-9 in hard court meetings and owns a 3-1 advantage against the Spaniard on grass. Federer and Nadal’s rivalry continues to grow among fans and the media, as both players aim to add to their Grand Slam résumés. The two men currently occupy the top two positions in the Grand Slam titles leaderboard, with 20-time winner Federer narrowly ahead of 19-time major champion Nadal. Between 2005 and 2010, Federer and Nadal finished each ATP Tour season as the Top 2 players in the FedEx ATP Rankings.

“I’m his No. 1 fan, I think his game is simply tremendous,” said Federer. “He’s an incredible competitor and I’m happy we’ve had some epic battles in the past.”

Federer has met Djokovic on 50 occasions during their ATP Head2Head rivalry (Djokovic leads 27-23). The 38-year-old notched 13 victories from 19 matches against the Serbian between 2006 to 2010, including a straight-sets triumph in the 2007 US Open final. With both players aiming to end their careers at the top of the Grand Slam titles leaderboard, 20-time Grand Slam champion Federer currently leads third-placed Djokovic by three major crowns. Since 2003, Federer and Djokovic have captured a combined 14 Australian Open titles, 13 Wimbledon trophies and 11 Nitto ATP Finals crowns.

”[Djokovic] is a great, great player. We know that,” said Federer. “He makes you hit balls. He serves well, he returns well, he moves well. He’s mentally very tough. There’s so many things that can cover a problem, if there were one.”

Against his two main rivals, Federer has contested two of the greatest matches in Wimbledon history. The five-time year-end World No. 1 fell just short of a record-breaking sixth consecutive crown at SW19 in 2008, when Nadal survived two rain delays and fading light to claim his first title at the event with a 6-4, 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-7(8), 9-7 triumph.

Last year, Federer and Djokovic contested the longest Wimbledon final in history. Chasing a record-extending ninth trophy, Federer held two match points at 8-7, 40/15, in the deciding set. But Djokovic held his nerve under pressure and claimed his fifth Wimbledon title in a newly-implemented 12-12 tie-break. The Serbian completed a 7-6(5), 1-6, 7-6(4), 4-6, 13-12(3) victory after four hours and 57 minutes.

<a href=Novak Djokovic leads Roger Federer 19-18 in hard-court encounters.” />

Legacy
One of the greatest players in history, Federer has competed at the highest level in the sport for almost two decades. Federer has inspired both tennis fans and the latest generation of players throughout his career with his attacking game style, varied skillset and fluid movement. Less than seven years after Pete Sampras captured a then-record breaking 14th Grand Slam trophy at the 2002 US Open, the Swiss overtook the American’s mark at Wimbledon in 2009 and has held the top spot in the Grand Slam titles leaderboard ever since. Federer is in second place on the tour-level titles list, narrowly trailing top-placed Jimmy Connors (109) by six trophies. Federer also trails the American in the tour-level wins category, with 1242 victories compared to Connors’ 1274 wins. Alongside fellow ‘Big Three’ members Nadal and Djokovic, Federer has increased the popularity of tennis throughout his career and become one of the most recognisable faces in sport.

Overall Match Win-Loss Record: 1242-271
Overall Titles/Finals Record: 103-54

Memorable Moment
After missing the second half of the 2016 ATP Tour season to recover from left arthroscopic knee surgery, Federer made his return to the sport at the 2017 Australian Open as the No. 17 player in the FedEx ATP Rankings. With lowered expectations, the 35-year-old beat Top 5 players Kei Nishikori and Stan Wawrinka in five-set matches to book a final meeting against great rival Nadal. With Federer seeking his first major trophy since 2012 Wimbledon and Nadal aiming to add a first Grand Slam title to his collection since 2014 Roland Garros, the significance of the match was clear as both men attempted to add to their Grand Slam totals. “It has to be the most important match in Australian Open history and possibly Grand Slam history,” said Andy Roddick. Bidding to record his first Grand Slam victory against the Spaniard since the 2007 Wimbledon final, Federer played with consistent aggression on his backhand to turn the tables on his rival. The Basel native rallied from 1-3 down in the fifth set, winning five straight games to secure a memorable victory. After a Hawk-Eye challenge on championship point, Federer shook his arms in the air and jumped in celebration. “I’m out of words. I’d like to congratulate Rafa on an amazing comeback. There are no draws in tennis, but I would have been very happy to accept one and share it with Rafa tonight,” said Federer.

Nadal on Federer
“It’s the combination of two different styles that makes the matches really special. Both of us have a different way to play tennis [and have] a lot of good success with these two different styles. I feel that this rivalry goes not only in the tennis world. People from outside of our world talk about it and that’s good for our sport.”

Djokovic on Federer
“I have a tremendous respect for him and his game and what it presents to me. It’s an incredible record, everything he has achieved, you come out on court playing probably the best player in the history of the game, it adds a little bit of pressure. But you can always give your best.”

Federer on Federer

“When I got to World No. 1, I started to really relax because I felt what I have achieved is almost everything I ever wanted. I had a choice, did I want to stay there or was I just happy to be there once? I decided I would like to stay there.”

Broadcaster/Journalist Graeme Agars
What can be said about Roger Federer that hasn’t already been said? His record speaks for itself; his sportsmanship is immaculate; his game classic and his off-court presence is a blessing for the sport in so many ways.

One aspect of his career that is perhaps underappreciated by fans is his congeniality with the press. It would be impossible to know the last time that he played a match and didn’t attend a press conference. He’s been asked every question under the sun – in English, French, German and Swiss German – but if he finds the process tedious, he doesn’t let on. I guess if you have to spend that much time in the press room, you may as well enjoy yourself.

He will of course share his thoughts on the match he has just played, but when he’s asked to comment on pressing tennis issues, his charity work, and other substantive issues, he’ll respond with thoughtful and respectful answers.

Many times, Federer does what few do: laugh. Mostly he seems a happy person and it doesn’t take much to tickle his sense of humour. He has the ability to make even a routine press conference worth watching. There isn’t a ranking for that, but if there was, he’d definitely Top 10.

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Tsitsipas Digs Deep To Advance In Hamburg; Lajovic Sweeps Past Khachanov

  • Posted: Sep 24, 2020

Tsitsipas Digs Deep To Advance In Hamburg; Lajovic Sweeps Past Khachanov

Lajovic needs 62 minutes for victory

Stefanos Tsitsipas needed to draw upon all his fighting qualities on Thursday to get the better of qualifier Pablo Cuevas at the Hamburg European Open.

Second seed Tsitsipas improved to 3-0 against the 34-year-old Uruguayan 7-5, 6-4 in one hour and 31 minutes for a place in the quarter-finals, where the Greek will challenge Dusan Lajovic of Serbia.

“I have a lot of respect for him. He is a very difficult opponent to face, particularly on this surface,” said Tsitsipas, in an on-court interview. “He is a good friend and one of my idols growing up. It was a great match and I enjoyed it. There was a certain point in the match when I forgot I needed to win, as I was enjoying the game and the atmosphere, the crowd. I was playing with positive vibes and energy.”

In a closely fought first set, Tsitsipas was forced to save four break points at 4-4 and another break point at 5-5, before clinching the 53-minute opener in the next game when Cuevas hit a double fault.

Cuevas, to his credit, didn’t falter, maintaining a high level of play, particularly on his single-handed backhand. But Tsitsipas stepped up when leading 5-4 in the second set to break the World No. 62 to love for his 20th match win of the season.

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Lajovic played almost flawlessly on Thursday to beat eighth seed Karen Khachanov 6-1, 6-2 in 62 minutes for a place in the last eight. Lajovic hit 15 winners to extend his perfect ATP Head2Head record to 4-0 against Khachanov (8-0 in sets).

Lajovic broke for a 3-1 lead in the first set when he moved Khachanov around the court to gain an error. Khachanov’s frustration built up after he struck a forehand into the net to gift Lajovic the sixth game. Lajovic won 16 of his 19 service points in the 26-minute opener.

There were five service breaks in a row in the second set, which turned in Lajovic’s favour once Khachanov hit a forehand wide — one of 20 unforced errors for the Russian — on break point at 2-2. Lajovic extended his lead to 5-2 with a fine crosscourt forehand winner and in the next game the Serbian closed out his 13th victory of the season with a forehand approach winner.

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Peers/Venus, Kubot/Melo Set QF Battle In Hamburg

  • Posted: Sep 23, 2020

Peers/Venus, Kubot/Melo Set QF Battle In Hamburg

Frenchman Mahut and Martin advance

John Peers and Henri Kontinen won 13 tour-level titles together, including two Nitto ATP Finals triumphs. But on Wednesday, they were on the opposite side of the net at the Hamburg European Open.

Peers and Michael Venus defeated Kontinen and Fabio Fognini 6-1, 6-4, advancing after one hour. The reigning Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships winners saved the two break points they faced and won 67 per cent of their second-serve return points.

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They will face a tough test in the second round against Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo. The third seeds snapped a three-match losing streak by defeating German wild cards Yannick Hanfmann and Mats Moraing 7-6(6), 1-6, 10-5. 

All four players competing in that quarter-final — Kubot, Melo, Peers and Venus — have won at least one Grand Slam title. It will be the first clash between the two teams.

In the only other doubles match of the day, Frenchmen Nicolas Mahut and Fabrice Martin beat wild cards Frederik Nielsen and Tim Puetz 7-5, 7-5 after one hour and 26 minutes. Martin is fresh off a run to the Internazionali BNL d’Italia final alongside Jeremy Chardy.

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