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Sinner Sinks Alcaraz In Style At Wimbledon

Dom, 07/03/2022 - 20:40

In a battle between two #NextGenATP prodigies, it was Jannik Sinner who found his groove on the grass on Sunday afternoon at Wimbledon.

The Italian produced a high-quality all-around performance to secure a 6-1, 6-4, 6-7(8), 6-3 fourth-round win against Carlos Alcaraz at the grass-court major. Despite Alcaraz finding some rhythm to save two match points and clinch the third-set tie-break, it was not enough to hold off an accomplished display from Sinner, who had not won a tour-level match on grass prior to his first-round win over Stan Wawrinka.

“Carlos is a very tough opponent and a very nice person, so it is always a huge pleasure for me to play against him," said Sinner in his on-court interview. "Today with such a great crowd and a special day today, 100 years [of Centre Court]. It’s just amazing.”

The match took place just hours after a celebration of 100 years of Centre Court that featured past champions including Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Bjorn Borg, Billie Jean King and Rod Laver. The 19-year-old Alcaraz and 20-year-old Sinner, both five-time ATP Tour titlists at a tender age, wasted no time demonstrating that the future of the sport is also bright with a high-octane clash at SW19.

The 10th-seeded Sinner showcased some relentless ballstriking in his three-hour, 35-minute victory. He read the Alcaraz serve to great effect, frequently finding blistering returns to heap pressure on the Spaniard’s delivery. Four breaks of the Alcaraz serve combined with a solid serving display proved enough for Sinner to level his ATP Head2Head series with the 19-year-old at 1-1.

”It’s tough when you have match point, and you still have to play [on]," said Sinner when asked about his fourth-set showing. "I tried my best, it is just part of the game, part of tennis, and obviously I am very happy how I reacted, because in the first [game] I was struggling. I am very happy to be in the next round and hopefully I can play some good tennis [then too].”

The fourth-round matchup between two of the brightest talents on the ATP Tour was the youngest match (in terms of combined age) at Wimbledon in the Round of 16 or later since 17-year-old Boris Becker defeated 21-year-old Henri Leconte in the quarter-finals in 1985.

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Sinner fell to Alcaraz in straight sets in the pair’s previous tour-level meeting at the Rolex Paris Masters last November. The Italian appeared determined to dictate play from the start this time around, leaning into his returns whenever possible from the first Alcaraz service game. The tactic paid off, as Sinner reeled off five games in a row to breeze to the opening set.

Another break of the Alcaraz serve followed in the first game of the second set and, although the Spaniard began to settle into the match, that early setback proved decisive for Sinner to open up a two-sets-to-love lead. Everything the Italian tried seemed to work, most notably when he had the Centre Court crowd on their feet after he reacted quickly to a trademark Alcaraz drop shot with a deft winner of his own.

Alcaraz battled hard to find a response to the wave of Sinner aggression and the 19-year-old recovered 0/40 to hold his serve in the opening game of the third set. The Spaniard showed resilience again in the tie-break, fending off two match points before converting his fourth set point to stay alive in the match.

That ultimately proved futile as Sinner maintained his composure in the fourth set to secure victory, as his return game continued to wreak havoc. A solitary break in the fourth game proved decisive, and the Italian converted his sixth match point having struck 35 winners.

Sinner will face top seed Novak Djokovic or wild card Tim van Rijthoven in his maiden quarter-final at the All England Lawn Tennis Club.

Goffin Graft Edges Out Tiafoe In Wimbledon Epic

Dom, 07/03/2022 - 18:56

David Goffin dashed Frances Tiafoe’s Grand Slam hopes for the second consecutive major on Sunday at Wimbledon, where the Belgian held his nerve to clinch a thrilling five-set fourth-round victory on the London grass.

The former World No. 7 rallied in the final two sets to seal a 7-6(3), 5-7, 5-7, 6-4, 7-5 win against the 23rd-seeded American on No. 2 Court. Goffin also prevailed in the pair’s second-round meeting on the clay at Roland Garros just five-and-a-half weeks ago.

“It was an amazing battle, I had to stay mentally in the match the whole time,” said Goffin in his on-court interview after his four-hour, 36-minute triumph. “Just after the match point, I was mentally dead, because I had to stay fresh all the time to keep my serve, to fight to come back after losing the third set. It was a tough one.

“It was an amazing atmosphere on this court, another epic match against Frances, so I’m very happy to be in the quarter-finals again.”

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A topsy-turvy encounter saw both players break their opponent’s serve six times. It was Goffin who found one at the crucial time, however, sealing a decisive break in the 12th game of the fifth set to complete a memorable victory.

The Belgian also reached the quarter-finals on his last appearance at SW19 in 2019, when he fell to eventual champion Novak Djokovic. He admitted that matching that run this year was a particularly emotional moment after an injury-plagued 2021 during which he missed the grass-court major with an ankle problem. Goffin was then out of action from August 2021 to January 2022 with a knee injury.

“It means so much,” said Goffin. “For me, last year was a very tough year with some injuries. Some tough moments on the court, but this year I came back stronger. I fought a lot to come back at my best level.

“I didn’t play a match since 2019 here at The Championships, so to come back this year to compete again well on that surface that I love, [at] this tournament that I love, and win four matches again, it is just incredible.”

The 31-year-old’s opponent in the last eight this time around will be home hope Cameron Norrie, after the British No. 1 downed Tommy Paul 6-4, 7-5, 6-4.

Norrie Soars Into First Slam QF

Dom, 07/03/2022 - 18:37

Cameron Norrie broke new ground Sunday at Wimbledon, where he overcame American Tommy Paul 6-4, 7-5, 6-4 to reach the quarter-finals at a Grand Slam for the first time.

In an accomplished display on Court No. 1, the Briton outlasted Paul as he demonstrated great energy to cover the court, while he flattened out his backhand to turn the table in points and advance after two hours and 21 minutes.

“To make the quarters for the first time, in front of my family and friends here from college is so special,” Norrie said in his on-court interview. “In a huge match, to play the way I did, was really good. To execute everything. I really enjoyed it. It is pretty crazy, I have a lot of feelings.

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Norrie, who had never been beyond the third round at a major before this week, now leads the 25-year-old Paul 3-1 in their ATP Head2Head series. The 26-year-old is first British man to reach the last eight at The Championships since two-time titlist Andy Murray in 2017, while he is just the fifth British man overall to achieve the feat.

”I think from the first round everyone has been behind me and supported me and I definitely think it has helped in some of the tougher situations in matches,” Norrie added. “When I was serving for the match there, I was going through a lot of different scenarios in my head. I was able to stay calm enough to close it out. It was great and you guys helped me through it.”

Earlier this week, the ninth seed rallied past Spaniard Jaume Munar in five sets, while he brushed aside Pablo Andujar and Steve Johnson in straight sets. Norrie, who is making his fifth Wimbledon appearance, will look to continue his run when he plays David Goffin next. The Belgian edged American Frances Tiafoe 7-6(3), 5-7, 5-7, 6-4, 7-5 to equal his best run in London.

Norrie flew out of the blocks against Paul in front of a lively home crowd, breaking in the first game to quickly gain control. The World No. 12 hit his watertight groundstrokes with great precision and he raised his level when it mattered most, saving all four break points he faced in the first set to lead.

An entertaining second set saw Norrie race ahead again as he looked to control the tempo from the baseline. After failing to serve out the set at 5-4, the Briton quickly regained his composure to break again. With the wind in his sails and the crowd behind him, the ninth seed then held firm in the third set as he showed the mentality that saw him capture the Indian Wells title last year to advance.

Paul was also competing in the fourth round at a Slam for the first time, having not dropped a set en route. The World No. 32, who was making his Wimbledon debut, was one of four Americans to reach the last 16, the most at Wimbledon since 1999.

Botic On Nadal Challenge: 'Maybe I Can Hurt Him'

Dom, 07/03/2022 - 17:59

Five weeks ago, Botic van de Zandschulp lost to childhood idol Rafael Nadal in the third round at Roland Garros.

On Monday, the Dutchman will get another crack at the 22-time Grand Slam champion when the pair face off in the fourth round at Wimbledon

“I played him at Roland Garros and I think at the moment, [that is] the biggest challenge in tennis," van de Zandschulp said. "I think it's going to be [a] tough one here [at Wimbledon], but, [I have] more confidence here to really make a shot… Maybe I can hurt him on grass.”

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Van de Zandschulp has enjoyed a strong run in London, dispatching Feliciano Lopez, Emil Ruusuvuori and Richard Gasquet to reach the last 16 at The Championships for the first time.

Ahead of his match against Nadal, the 26-year-old recalled his favourite memories of watching the World No. 4 play, while also discussing the Spaniard’s legacy.

“I think what he has done, winning 22 Grand Slams, is something nobody is ever going to do [again]. Maybe Djokovic is the only one [who] is going to do it,” van de Zandschulp said.

“[I remember the] match he played against Federer, the final here [in 2008]. I think it went pretty late, in five sets. That one was quite insane. I think he had match points in the fourth [set] and Federer hit a backhand down the line on match point,” he added. “I think that match stands out for me.”

Many fans will be watching van de Zandschulp for the first time when he takes to Centre Court on Monday evening. Over the past year, the Dutchman has enjoyed a stunning rise, climbing from No. 139 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings to a current career-high No. 25.

In that time, he earned his first Top 10 win against Andrey Rublev, before he advanced to his maiden tour-level final in Munich in April.

“I think all the parts are falling together, fitting together,” van de Zandschulp said when analysing his season. “I have the feeling during the match my game starts to come together and I'm striking the ball well. I think I can keep up the level for the duration of the match, because I feel physically good. That is why I have confidence in the long matches. Maybe that's a reason why I play more consistently at the Slams.”

With confidence levels high and his game in good shape, the 21st seed will look to learn the lessons from Paris and make his biggest mark yet by capturing a dream win over Nadal.

Federer At Centre Court Celebration: 'I Hope I Can Come Back One More Time'

Dom, 07/03/2022 - 16:58

Roger Federer joined a parade of former Wimbledon champions on Centre Court Sunday to celebrate the centenary of the famous show court. The Swiss has not competed since his quarter-final run one year ago at the All England Lawn Tennis Club, but was thrilled to be back on the court which has provided many of the best memories of his career.

"I've been lucky enough to play a lot of matches on this court," the 40-year-old said in the on-court ceremony. "It's great to be here with all the other champions. This court has given me my biggest wins and my biggest losses."

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Federer recalled his 2001 victory over seven-time Wimbledon champion Pete Sampras — his first Centre Court win — as one of his favourite personal highlights.

"He has inspired a lot of us [that are here] today to just try to also be successful here and represent the sport well," Federer said of the American. "I hope I did that and I hope I can come back here one more time."

Two years later, Federer won the first of his eight Wimbledon crowns by defeating Mark Philippoussis in the 2003 final. No man has won more than his eight singles titles at SW19, and this year's event is the first he has missed at The Championships since his 1999 debut.

"Of course I missed being here [this year as a player]," he said. "I would have loved to be here. I knew walking out here last year it was going to be a tough year ahead. Maybe I didn't think it was going to take me this long to come back but the knee has been rough on me.

"But I've been happy, I've been happy at home. It's been a good year, regardless of tennis. Our kids our fine... I travelled so much for so many years."

On Sunday, the Swiss was happy to get back on the road to mark the momentous occasion.

"I didn't know if I should make the trip, but I'm happy standing right here right now," he said in front of a packed crowd and full Royal Box, with the likes of Novak Djokovic, Bjorn Borg, Billie Jean King and Rod Laver joining him on court for the celebrations.

Former Champions Attend Centre Court Centenary Celebrations

Dom, 07/03/2022 - 15:55

It was a day of celebration on Sunday at Wimbledon, where a host of former champions partook in an emotional ceremony to celebrate the 100th year of Centre Court.

Three-time titlist John McEnroe and former World No. 3 Sue Barker led the ceremony, which looked back on iconic moments with former winners.

In front of a packed crowd and full Royal Box, an array of Wimbledon champions were greeted onto court by a standing ovation, with Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Bjorn Borg, Billie Jean King and Rod Laver among the returning stars.


Photo Credit: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

"I want to say first that it's an honour and privilege to be here with the legends of our sport and people that have paved the way for myself and many generations," Djokovic said as he addressed the crowd. "I feel more nervous now than when I'm playing!

"This court has been truly special from my childhood and the first image of tennis I've seen when I was four or five-years-old I saw Pete Sampras wining his first Wimbledon. This is where dreams come true and I was blessed in 2011, probably the highlight of my career, to win the tournament and so when I step out on this court I relive these memories. Truly an honour."

Federer has lifted the men's singles trophy a record eight times, but he has missed The Championships this year due to injury.

"I've been lucky enough to play a lot of matches on this court,” Federer said. “It feels awkward to be here today in a different type of role.

“It's great to be here with all the other champions. This court has given me my biggest wins and my biggest losses. I hope I can come back one more time.”

Centre Court has been the main stage at The Championships since 1922, when the tournament relocated from SW19's Worple Road to Church Road. In that time, it has provided the setting for some of the sport’s most iconic moments, including Rafael Nadal’s epic five-set win against Federer in the 2008 final.


Photo Credit: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

The Wimbledon Queue: One Of Sport's Greatest Traditions

Dom, 07/03/2022 - 15:29

From strawberries and cream to players sporting all-white kits, Wimbledon is an event that has been steeped in tradition since 1877. It is a day out that underpins the British summer, with thousands of fans attending the action at SW19.

The majority of supporters turn up fresh-faced following a good night’s sleep. For others, though, their Wimbledon experience begins less than a mile away from the All England Lawn Tennis Club in a park, where they sleep overnight in a tent.

Since 1922, thousands of fans have camped out and joined the Wimbledon Queue in order to secure a ticket for the grass-court Grand Slam, with 1,500 tickets offered up daily across the show courts, while several thousand grounds passes are handed out.

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Over the years, The Queue has become its own phenomenon, moving from the pavement on Church Road to the park in 2008 as its popularity grew. It is a key aspect of the Wimbledon experience and it is not hard to see why.

A stroll around the park during the fortnight reveals a feeling of energy and anticipation in the air. There is a constant hum of excitement as fans chat to their ‘neighbours’, recalling previous Wimbledon memories, while making bold predictions about the matches and players they are waiting to see.

For couple Chris and Freya, the experience has been extra special this year, with two-year-old son Raffi making his debut in The Queue.

“Wimbledon is the reason why you want to be in the UK in the summer because the events are what make the UK and Britain so special,” said Chris, 40, who has been queuing since he was a teenager. “We have come here off the back of Glastonbury, so we have done six of the past seven nights in a tent. We had never spent a night in a tent with a baby before last week and we thought it would be difficult, but Raffi has been a little trooper. He has loved it and he has slept better in a tent than at home.

“Three days ago he was dancing to Diana Ross on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury and now he is going to be cheering on Novak Djokovic on Centre Court!”


Photo Credit: Sam Jacot/ATP Tour
Just like on Tour, there is a vast array of ages and experiences in The Queue, with two-year-old Raffi standing just metres from seasoned tennis fan Ed, who first queued in 1977.

“We used to queue on the pavements and we were just in sleeping bags with no tents allowed," Ed recalled. "It rained on us, but it was fine. It was very informal, when we woke up on the morning I was here in 1977, we saw Martina Navratilova on the opposite side of the road and she gave us a wave! You just wouldn’t see that today. It feels five-star now. We have showers and you can brush your teeth.

“It is just so friendly and really personable. You meet people in the queue the night before and everyone is really positive and there is a real buzz. I came by myself this year, but I would do it again as you don’t feel like you are by yourself. It is just such a great experience.”


Photo Credit: BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images
On arrival, fans are issued with a queue card that has a number that signifies their place in the queue. Then, on the morning of play, they are awoken by stewards at around 5 a.m. and guided slowly and safely towards the site, with entry into the grounds commencing from 10:30 a.m. Following the cancelation of The Queue in 2020 and 2021 due to Covid, its return was welcomed by all those involved in the operation.

“It is great because the queue looks after itself and many people come year after year and they know how it works. It is great to have it back” the head steward told ATPTour.com. “Our job is to get people in, in the right order and make the experience enjoyable. People really enjoy being in the queue, so if we can make them happy and get them in quickly, our job is done.”

After watching the action inside The All England Lawn Tennis Club, tiring fans can collect their tents from storage and head home after an eventful 24 hours.

However, some supporters aren’t ready to leave just yet. They return to the park, pitch their tent and join the queue all over again.

Coach Vendrell On Garin: "He’s A Thoroughbred"

Dom, 07/03/2022 - 15:21

In April, Pepe Vendrell became Cristian Garin’s coach. It may have been less than three months, but the new setup already has the Chilean World No. 43 moving in the right direction.

On Monday, Garin will play in the round of 16 at Wimbledon against Alex de Minaur. After concluding a successful spell overseeing Roberto Bautista Agut, Vendrell believes his latest charge has all the tools at his disposal to ensure the good results can continue.

“He [Garin] is a thoroughbred,” Vendrell told ATPTour.com in London. “A very powerful player who likes making decisions, dictating the game, being aggressive, dominating points. That’s the player I was presented with. He has a lot of inner strength, and that’s what he has to control and balance. Find a good balance so that his tennis becomes more consistent and more stable.

“Garin is a player with huge potential. He’s already proved his quality on tour. When he’s confident, with his A-game, his shots are pure quality.”

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Early in 2022, Garin suffered four consecutive defeats (at Cordoba, Rio de Janeiro, Santiago and Miami). The addition of Vendrell to his team was a breath of fresh air. The pair gelled immediately, establishing the foundations of a relationship that should bear plenty of fruit for the Chilean in the future.

“I was presented with a very receptive player,” acknowledged the Spanish coach. “Since we started working, Cristian has shown humility and a desire to be taught. I’m grateful for that, although it is common when you’re going through a tough spell. He had a few difficult months, but we’ve spoken about it, and we agree that a player’s career will have times like that.

“The important thing is to remain calm, get back to work and, day by day, rediscover the passion. From there, he has to progress and improve his tennis, his fitness and his tactics, laying bricks in the wall to see how far we can go.”

Garin is in the last 16 of Wimbledon for the second year on the trot after making the most of the opportunity that was presented to him when Matteo Berrettini, his first opponent and one of the favourites for the title, had to withdraw after contracting COVID-19.

“The second week of a Grand Slam feels great, as it always does”, said Vendrell. “Being in these rounds gives you reason to be happy. We’re aware that the tournament started with a good opportunity for us after the withdrawal of Berrettini, one of the hot favourites. Cris was able to make the most of it and play good matches. The draws only open up if you’re prepared and ready for it. And he’s done that.”

[NEWSLETTER FORM]

The question now, of course, is how far can the five-time ATP Tour champion go?

“Cristian’s limits will be determined by our progress,” answered Vendrell. “He still has significant room for improvement, and he’s admitted that to me. He wants to work to understand this game better, and that’s what we’re doing. With a constructive approach, which ultimately is what allows you to have chances in matches against the best.

“Talking about limits... is a waste of time. The limit is tomorrow, working to be better and staying focused on why things are happening. Day to day work gives you that improvement. Our biggest concern is bettering his level and getting court time with the best.

“To do that, you have to win matches and reach rounds like this, the second week of a Grand Slam. Here we have a great chance to improve a lot because this is where you see the biggest psychological difference in tennis.”

- This story was translated from ATPTour.com/es

Kubler Reaping The Rewards After Years Of Turmoil

Dom, 07/03/2022 - 14:11

It has been some journey for Jason Kubler.

Five years ago, the 29-year-old was forced to turn his hand to coaching as he tried to make ends meet and support his injury-plagued professional career. On Monday, the Australian qualifier will compete in the fourth round at a Grand Slam for the first time after producing a series of standout performances on the lawns at Wimbledon.

A run of this nature would have seemed a distant dream for the World No. 99 in 2016, when he had just undergone his fifth knee surgery in as many years due to a hereditary knee condition.

"There have definitely been tough times, just like I'm sure with a lot of tennis players," said Kubler, who only played on clay from 2011 to 2014 due to his knee problems. "There have been times where I've gone, 'Maybe I'll look into something else'.

"The closest would have been when I was doing the coaching [in 2017]. I did a bit of coaching and hitting with some players. I probably did that for two or three months when I didn't have so much money.

"I was actually enjoying it. I was starting to make, for me, make some all right money, and I was like, 'I could really be happy doing this'. That was definitely a moment where I could have stopped."

[ATP APP]

Thankfully for Kubler, he gave Tour life one more shot and his commitment to the sport has paid off this week. After soaring through qualifying without dropping a set, the Australian dispatched Daniel Evans, Dennis Novak and Jack Sock to set a last 16 meeting with Indian Wells titlist Taylor Fritz.

Thanks to his success in London, the 29-year-old has pocketed £190,000, which will rise to £310,000 should he reach the quarter-finals. Kubler had earned just over £600,000 across his 11-year career prior to this fortnight.

Having never before been beyond the second round at a Grand Slam, his run at SW19 has come as a shock for the down-to-earth Aussie.

“I didn't even book accommodation till after qualifying. So when we qualified on the Thursday, I think the accommodation finished Friday,” said Kubler, the former junior World No. 1. “I was stressing that Friday [24 June] trying to find somewhere. I'm staying at the official hotel now, which is fine.

“[With] my expectation. I came here to sort of see if I can get past a couple of rounds, hopefully qualify. With my ranking only being 99, that's sort of the expectation you go in with. So to reach the second week, I didn't think it was going to happen.”

Kubler will be joined in the fourth round by countryman Alex de Minaur, who is delighted to see the progress the qualifier has made over the past fortnight.

“To be able to see Kubler doing what he's doing, it's just special. He's honestly one of the best guys out there. The attitude he has towards life itself is just surreal. It's second to none,” De Minaur said.

“We've had him in Davis Cup, and honestly I have not seen the guy not be happy any day of his life. It's genuinely just amazing to have him around. He brings you up. He's the sort of guy that just is always happy, and he's always got a smile on his face,” the World No. 27 added. “He's enjoying life. It's great to have him and to see him perform so well. I'm going to be hitting with him [Sunday]. It should be fun.”

[NEWSLETTER FORM]

With De Minaur also advancing to the fourth round for the first time and Nick Kyrgios in the last 16, Australian tennis is in a good place. With a bit of help from his body, Kubler is hoping he can become a regular fixture at this level as he looks to use his Wimbledon run as a springboard going forward.

“I'm super happy that something has finally happened,” Kubler said when reflecting on the past week. “I think this is definitely something that I can build off. If anything, this is just going to add more confidence and sort of giving myself a better opportunity to hopefully do this again in the next Grand Slams.”

Tsitsipas Loses Against Kyrgios, But Well-Positioned For Rest Of 2022

Dom, 07/03/2022 - 01:16

Stefanos Tsitsipas lost a fiery four-set match against Nick Kyrgios on Saturday at Wimbledon, but the Greek departs London in good position for the rest of the season.

The 23-year-old is guaranteed to lead the ATP Tour in wins after Wimbledon with 42, regardless of results for the rest of the fortnight. The World No. 5 went 8-3 during his grass-court season, including a run to his first tour-level title on the surface in Mallorca.

2022 Match Wins Leaders (as of 2 July)

 Player  2022 Record   1) Stefanos Tsitsipas  42-14  2) Carlos Alcaraz  35-4  3) Rafael Nadal  33-3  4) Casper Ruud  31-12  T5) Jannik Sinner  30-8  T5) Felix Auger-Aliassime  30-15  T5) Cameron Norrie  30-15

Tsitsipas is second in the Pepperstone ATP Race To Turin as he aims to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals for the fourth consecutive year. Tsitsipas lifted his biggest trophy at the season finale in 2019, when the event was held at The O2 in London. 

In addition to his recent triumph in Mallorca, Tsitsipas claimed his second ATP Masters 1000 title at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters in April and made the final of the Internazionali BNL d'Italia in Rome.

The Greek fell short on No. 1 Court at the All England Club against an in-form Kyrgios, who now leads the pair's ATP Head2Head series 4-1. Despite the tension in the match, Tsitsipas held a set point in the fourth-set tie-break. If he converted the opportunity, it would have pushed the match to a deciding set in front of the London crowd.

“I enjoyed my tennis today. I enjoyed the atmosphere out there,” Tsitsipas said. “I enjoyed the way I fought and the way I tried to find solutions.”

[ATP APP]

Kyrgios Wins Tense Clash Against Tsitsipas At Wimbledon

Sáb, 07/02/2022 - 22:27

Nick Kyrgios advanced to the fourth round at Wimbledon for the first time since 2016 on Saturday with a feisty 6-7(2), 6-4, 6-3, 7-6(7) victory against fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Kyrgios, who will next play #NextGenATP American Brandon Nakashima, claimed his first win at a major against a Top 10 opponent since the third round of The Championships in 2015. The 27-year-old will try to reach his third major quarter-final and his first since the 2015 Australian Open.

"Honestly it was a hell of an atmosphere, amazing match. I honestly felt like the favourite coming in, I played him a couple weeks ago. But I knew that it was going to be a tough match," Kyrgios said in his on-court interview. "He's a hell of a player. I had my own tactics out there and he knows how to play me, he's beaten me once. Obviously I've had success. It was a hell of a match."

The tension began to build at the end of the first set when Kyrgios was unhappy with a linesperson's call on the baseline. For the rest of the match, the Australian had constant discussions with the chair umpire, the crowd and his player’s box. But ultimately, he emerged victorious after three hours and 16 minutes.

"I'm just super happy to be through. He was getting frustrated at times and it's a frustrating sport, that's for sure," Kyrgios said. "I have the ultimate respect for him. Whatever happens on the court [is] on the court. I love him and I'm close with his brother."

[ATP APP]

Tsitsipas was the more solid player in the first-set tie-break, as Kyrgios let his lack of concentration affect his play. That continued into the second set, with the 27-year-old losing his focus and spending much of his time voicing his displeasure between points and during changeovers. The No. 1 Court crowd was also much rowdier than normal for Wimbledon.

The Australian later received an audible obscenity warning after another linesperson made a report to the chair umpire. But through it all, despite playing very quickly and relying on his booming serve, the World No. 40 managed to remain in touch with the fourth seed on the scoreboard. He did not lose his serve in the match, saving all five break points he faced and winning 81 per cent of his first-serve points.

Kyrgios saved a break point at 4-4 in the second set thanks to a daring second-serve ace. After being on the brink of falling in a two-set deficit, Kyrgios instead levelled the match in the next game when a poorly struck Tsitsipas overhead allowed him punch a forehand into the open court for a winner.

In a sign of his frustration, as the players walked towards their chairs, Tsitsipas jabbed a backhand low into the crowd, barely missing fans with the ball.

While the dialogue continued during the third set, Tsitsipas lost concentration and his game began to falter, which allowed Kyrgios to surge ahead with a break at 2-1 behind a forehand winner. Later in the set, Kyrgios hit an underarm serve. Tsitsipas reached the ball, but hit with great force into netting behind the court, for which he received a point penalty.

The 2019 Nitto ATP Finals champion appeared to aim shots in the direction of the Australian. On the other side of the court, Kyrgios continued to talk between points and curtsied to the crowd at 5-3 in the third set following a winning drop shot. After hitting a crisp backhand volley winner to claim the set on the next point, he made a “money” motion with his hand in praise of his own work.

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The chatter began to taper off as the fourth set went on. Then at 4-4, the roof on No. 1 Court was closed due to darkness.

It all led to a critical fourth-set tie-break. The Australian let slip his first match point at 6/5 by missing an inside-out forehand wide, and he then saved a Tsitsipas set point at 6/7, which would have forced a decider. But the former World No. 13 completed his win with another key forehand drop shot, unleashing a loud roar after the point.

The six-time ATP Tour titlist is now 10-2 this grass-court season, having also reached the semi-finals in Stuttgart and Halle. Kyrgios is looking to make another deep run at Wimbledon, where he made his first big splash as a 19-year-old in 2014. That year, he defeated Rafael Nadal en route to the quarter-finals.

Did You Know?
Kyrgios now owns 25 wins against Top 10 opponents (25-39).

Ruthless Nadal Dispatches Sonego

Sáb, 07/02/2022 - 21:38

Rafael Nadal wasted little time in booking his place in the Wimbledon fourth round on Saturday evening, racing past Italian Lorenzo Sonego 6-1, 6-2, 6-4.

In his best performance of the week, the Spaniard lit up Centre Court with his aggressive striking and all-court game. The 36-year-old blasted the ball past Sonego from all angles, while demonstrating deft touches at the net to advance after two hours and four minutes.

"It was probably my best match without a doubt here at The Championships against the most difficult player I have faced yet,” Nadal said in his on-court interview. “I was able to raise my level, so I am super happy for that. I wish Lorenzo all the very best for the rest of the season.”

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The display was a contrast to Nadal’s first two matches at The Championships, where he struggled to find his best level in four-set victories over Francisco Cerundolo and Ricardas Berankis. However, against Sonego, the World No. 4 showed his title rivals that he means business in his quest for a record-extending 23rd Grand Slam title.

"I made I think a lot of things much better than the previous days: the determination, the way that I managed to play more aggressive, going to the net plenty of times," Nadal said. "[I am] happy. It's [a] good victory against a great player. Very happy for that."

Nadal arrived in London - where is looking to clinch a third Wimbledon crown - having won the first two majors of the season for the first time in his career. The World No. 4, who is now 33-3 on the season, will next play Dutchman Botic van de Zandschulp in a rematch of their recent Roland Garros clash as he looks to continue his unbeaten 2022 Slam record.

"He's a player that has been improving unbelievably the last year. [It] was a good challenge in the French and I think he will be more, [difficult here]," Nadal said. "He's a complete player with a lot of great things, and I need to keep going the way that I played today: playing aggressive and playing with the right energy. Let's see. He's a tough opponent, but we are in fourth round. That's the way that it should be." 

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Nadal flew out of the blocks against Sonego in their first ATP Head2Head meeting, pulling the Italian from corner to corner with his heavy forehand. The Spaniard took the ball early off both wings to take time away from Sonego, firing 14 winners across the first two sets to gain full control.

With his foot on the gas, Nadal continued to dictate in the third set, flattening out his backhand to cause Sonego more trouble. With Nadal leading 4-2, the roof was closed due to fading light. When they returned, the Spaniard's concentration briefly dipped, with Sonego breaking back to level at 4-4. However, all this did was fire up Nadal, with the second seed increasing his depth on return to break back immediately, before he held to advance to the fourth round at The All England Lawn Tennis Club for the 10th time.

“I feel very lucky that I am still able to play at my age,” Nadal said. “I never thought that was going to happen 10 years ago. So just want to say thanks to all for supporting me.”

Sonego, who overcame Denis Kudla and Hugo Gaston earlier this week, was aiming to reach the last 16 at Wimbledon for the second time, having enjoyed a run to that stage in 2021.

Nakashima, Fritz Continue Historic Wimbledon For American Men

Sáb, 07/02/2022 - 18:41

Brandon Nakashima may have been in unchartered territory at Wimbledon on Saturday, but the #NextGenATP American did not blink.

The 20-year-old backed up his second-round upset of 2021 semi-finalist Denis Shapovalov with a confident 6-4, 6-4, 6-1 against Daniel Elahi Galan. Nakashima had not won a match at the grass-court major prior to his first-round victory against Nicola Kuhn, but he is now the youngest American man to reach the Round of 16 at Wimbledon since Andy Roddick in 2003.

Nakashima joins Frances Tiafoe, Tommy Paul, and Taylor Fritz in the fourth round. That represents the most American men in the last 16 at the All England Lawn Tennis Club since 1999, and the most to reach the fourth round at a major since the 2011 US Open.

"I think we're sending a message that we have a lot of depth and there's a lot of strong players that are coming up, constantly improving,” said No. 11 seed Fritz, when asked about the strong American showing after his third-round victory against Alex Molcan.

"I've said this before. I guess we don't necessarily have all the attention because we don't have a current Grand Slam champion, a current guy that's 1, 2, 3 in the world, but we've got six or seven guys that are in the Top 40 that are all young. Four guys in the Round of 16, and we could have more. We have a lot of depth and we have a lot of guys that are constantly getting better.”

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Nakashima, who reached the semi-finals at the Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan last November, is into the fourth round of a major for the first time. The World No. 56 won 84 per cent (43/51) of points behind his first delivery and faced just one break point in his maiden ATP Head2Head meeting with Galan.

He faces a tough fourth-round assignment if he wants to extend his run at SW19 further — he next meets fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas or Nick Kyrgios.

Fritz equalled his best Grand Slam result in style with a comfortable 6-4, 6-1, 7-6(3) triumph against Molcan. The 24-year-old's only previous run to the second week of a major was at January’s Australian Open.

The American No. 1 Fritz built up some form on the grass last week at the Rothesay International in Eastbourne, where he lifted the title for the second time at the ATP 250 event without dropping serve. His delivery was tuned in once again against Molcan, as he fired 20 aces and won 86 per cent (50/58) of points behind his first serve to make it nine from nine sets won in his Wimbledon campaign.

“He [Molcan] didn't really get to play," said Fritz in his post-match press conference. "It was one of the best serving matches I've ever had. When I play like that, it frees up the rest of my game to just go after the ball, just play really confident tennis because I know I'm getting these free points on my serve.”

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Fritz next faces Jason Kubler, after the Australian came through five-set tussle with Jack Sock to keep his dream run at the All England Lawn Tennis Club alive. In a clash between two 29-year-old qualifiers, it was Kubler who found something extra at the tail end of a four-hour, 15-minute epic. The World No. 99 broke in the first and ninth games of the deciding set to round out a 6-2, 4-6, 5-7, 7-6(4), 6-3 victory.

Cristian Garin held off a fightback from 29th seed Jenson Brooksby to register a 6-2, 6-3, 1-6, 6-4 victory and reach the fourth round at Wimbledon for the second consecutive year.

Former World No. 17 Garin broke the Brooksby serve six times in a two-hour, 51-minute encounter. The Chilean had suffered first-round defeats on the grass in Halle and Eastbourne prior to arriving at SW19, but he now meets Alex de Minaur in the last 16, after the Australian eased past British qualifier Liam Broady, 6-3, 6-4, 7-5.

From Farmer To Thrill Seeker: The Life Of Tommy Paul

Sáb, 07/02/2022 - 18:19

In a couple of weeks, Tommy Paul will be on his mother’s farm in New Jersey, taking care of more than 100 animals, operating a tractor and pulling trees. But for now, the American is focussed on continuing one of the best tournaments of his career at Wimbledon.

Three years after losing in the final round of qualifying to Jiri Vesely, Paul turned the tables to down the Czech and reach the fourth round at a Grand Slam for the first time.

Victory on Court No. 3 marked another breakthrough moment for the 25-year-old, who is making his main draw debut at The Championships this week. After enjoying a standout junior career, which saw him win the 2015 Roland Garros boys’ singles title, Paul captured his first tour-level title in November, while he is at a current career-high No. 32 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings .

Following his success, Paul is now accustomed to the lights and glamour of the Tour. However, it is a world away from his life back in the United States, where he frequently swaps his racquet for farm tools when he visits his mom in New Jersey.

“My mom and stepdad live on a farm in South Jersey, where they have roughly 100 chickens, six sheep, two dogs, a horse and a cat. I grew up in North Carolina, but my mum moved back to South Jersey when I turned pro. That is where she grew up,” Paul told ATPTour.com. “The animals have built up. It is something to do for her. When she is not at work, she is outside on the farm.

“After Wimbledon I will go home and help around the farm. They have hay barrels in the field. I am operating the tractor to move the barrels around. Anything from that, to pulling trees out of the ground. I am on it. Working around the farm is fun.”

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Ever since he was young, Paul has held a love for animals and adventure. The 25-year-old, who owned a dog when younger, feels that his interests away from tennis have been crucial in helping him deal with the pressure of life on Tour.

“I have always tried to be an outside kind of guy, it helps me switch off,” Paul said. “Tennis is outdoors, but even when I am not playing tennis I try and stay outside. Whether that is the beach or when I am at home visiting my family, we are outside all day. When I was younger, we had a dog, so I would spend time outside with it.

“Now I love to go the beach and visit the Everglades when I am home. Any water sport I am into. I normally choose the beach over the Everglades, though, because I am not fond of visiting the alligators!”

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Alongside tennis, Paul played basketball and baseball when he was younger. While he was talented at all three, tennis was the avenue he chose.

“I played a little bit of basketball, but I played more baseball. I really enjoyed both sports and still do,” Paul said. “I follow the NBA closely, but it is hard to follow when in Europe. I usually watch highlights in the morning when I am away from America, but I try not to miss any games.

“Playing wise, tennis was always my best sport. It was nice because my sister played with me, so it was great as we grew up playing together.”

At 13, Paul left his sister and home comforts and entered the ITF juniors circuit, where he trained and lived alongside countrymen Reilly Opelka and Taylor Fritz in Florida.

For good friend Opelka, Paul’s success is no surprise.

“Tommy is a great athlete. Physically he is very good. He has gotten stronger and has taken the natural athleticism he has to another level,” Opelka said. “His natural tennis ability is off the charts. It just took him a bit of time to get the discipline, but his success now is great to see.”

With Opelka’s words ringing in his ears and his family in support 3,500 miles away, Paul will look to break more new ground when he faces Britain’s Cameron Norrie in the fourth round at Wimbledon on Sunday.

Glasspool/Heliovaara Survive Blumberg/Ruud Test At Wimbledon

Sáb, 07/02/2022 - 18:15

Fifteenth seeds Lloyd Glasspool and Harri Heliovaara advanced to the third round at Wimbledon for the second consecutive year on Saturday when they clawed past American William Blumberg and Norwegian Casper Ruud 6-1, 3-6, 6-3, 3-6, 6-4.

The British-Finnish duo has enjoyed success this grass-court season, advancing to the Cinch Championships final at The Queen’s Club. They also made the Roland Garros quarter-finals one month ago.

It will not get any easier when Glasspool and Heliovaara play second seeds Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic next. The Croatians defeated Americans Nicholas Monroe and Tommy Paul 6-2, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2.

Top seeds Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury continued their pursuit of the trophy with a 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 triumph against Frenchman Fabrice Martin and Monaco's Hugo Nys, while ninth seeds Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares ousted Serbian Nikola Cacic and Italian Andrea Vavassori 6-4, 7-6(4), 7-5.

Seventh seeds John Peers and Filip Polasek also advanced when they eliminated Portugal’s Joao Sousa and Australian Jordan Thompson 7-6(2), 7-5, 6-4. The 2021 Indian Wells champions have won six consecutive sets after rallying from two sets down in the first round.

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Briton Ken Skupski recently announced that Wimbledon is the final tournament of his career. The lefty is certainly making it count. Skupski and countryman Jonny O’Mara eased past South African Raven Klaasen and Brazilian Marcelo Melo 6-2, 6-4, 6-4 for a place in the third round. The home favourites have not lost a set through two matches.

Moldovan Radu Albot and Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvili battled past Ecuadori’s Diego Hidalgo and Colombian Cristian Rodriguez 6-4, 2-6, 3-6, 7-6(2), 7-5.

Sinner Outserves Isner, Sets Alcaraz Showdown At Wimbledon

Vie, 07/01/2022 - 19:40

Jannik Sinner will face Carlos Alcaraz in a fourth-round Wimbledon blockbuster after a nearly flawless performance on Friday against John Isner.

The American broke the world record for career aces in the second game of the match, but Sinner dominated from there in a 6-4, 7-6(4), 6-3 victory. The Italian did not face a break point in his two-hour, 20-minute triumph.

"[It] was a tough match for sure. Playing against John is never easy. Obviously very happy to be in the next round," Sinner said. "It was a match I was expecting with not many rallies. He was serving well. I'm happy to be through."

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Sinner will now play Alcaraz in a battle of former Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals champions. Alcaraz, who dismissed Oscar Otte in the third round, defeated Sinner in their only previous ATP Head2Head meeting 7-6(1), 7-5 at last year's Rolex Paris Masters.

"We are both young. We are both great tennis players and good [people]," Sinner said. "But, I mean, I'm not thinking so much about [the future of our rivalry]. I'm thinking about my way, where I have to go. Obviously there is a lot of work to do."

But the 20-year-old Sinner will be confident after his performance against Isner, who ousted two-time champion Andy Murray in the second round. The 10th seed withstood 24 aces from his opponent and converted two of his four break points.

Sinner arrived at the grass-court major without a win at The Championships. But he has battled past two former Top 10 players in Isner and Stan Wawrinka, also earning a win against Swede Mikael Ymer in the second round.

Couple Goals: De Minaur, Boulter Thriving Off Mutual Support At Wimbledon

Vie, 07/01/2022 - 19:18

Alex de Minaur may have been taking on a home favourite in Jack Draper on Thursday at Wimbledon, but the Australian was not completely lacking support from the British contingent in the crowd during his second-round victory.

The 19th-seeded Australian’s girlfriend, WTA player Katie Boulter, cheered him on to a 5-7, 7-6(0), 6-2, 6-3 win against #NextGenATP Briton Draper at the grass-court major. Just hours earlier, it was De Minaur who had played the role of cheerleader from the stands, as Boulter pulled off a 3-6, 7-6(4), 6-4 second-round upset of sixth seed Karolina Pliskova on Centre Court.

Speaking at his post-match press conference, De Minaur spoke of the extra positivity that Boulter’s heroics had brought him before he stepped on court for his own match.

“I think it's amazing. What she was able to do today was an amazing effort,” he said of Boulter. The 25-year-old dedicated her win to her grandmother, who passed away earlier in the week. “I mean, under all the circumstances, she got out there on Centre Court, and beat last year's runner-up. So, I think that's pretty special.

“I'm just stoked for her. This is her home Slam. She gets to enjoy it. I know she was a little bit nervous going in, but she's gone out and put on a brilliant performance.”

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As they both aim to reach the fourth round on the lawns at SW19 for the first time, De Minaur and Boulter have spoken of their mutual respect for each other’s work ethic as they hunt success on the ATP Tour and WTA Tour, respectively.

“He's someone that I have a lot of admiration for on and off the tennis court,” said Boulter, who currently sits at No. 118 in the WTA Rankings and faces Frenchwoman Harmony Tan in her third-round match. “He is the epitome of a fighter and someone that goes out and gives their all every single day. That's what I aspire to be like. I feel like to have that around me and my team, it really helps me because I can push myself. He helps me do that.

“He is probably one of the hardest-working guys out there. I try to take a leaf out of his book because it really is impressive. I'm very lucky to be in the position I am, that I get to see it day in, day out."


Katie Boulter (right) celebrates Alex de Minaur's win over Jack Draper at Wimbledon on Thursday. Photo Credit: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images.

“For me, more than anything, I just loved to see her back,” said De Minaur of Boulter, a former World No. 82 who has struggled with injuries in recent years. “I think this is back where she belongs, and in no time, she will be even higher than ever. I think she's got an incredible level, and she's been showing it all this grass season. I'm very proud of her.”

De Minaur faces another Briton next at Wimbledon in wild card Liam Broady. The 23-year-old Australian is aiming for a maiden fourth-round appearance at the grass-court major, and Boulter does not think it will be long before the Australian is widely recognised as a major contender in the latter stages of Grand Slams.

“Without a doubt. I mean, he's got the game for it,” said Boulter. “We've seen him play many incredible matches against top players. He can beat them. Ultimately those are the matches that are going to give him the spotlight. I know the work he puts in will give it to him.”

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With both leading busy lives on Tour, De Minaur and Boulter relish the weeks where their schedules overlap. Even when relaxing away from the court, the Briton acknowledged that a mutual passion for the game is something that still shines through.

“We actually do [watch tennis] probably more than most people would think," said Boulter. "I feel like we both love the game and we're students of the sport.

“We like to be a part of it. Of course, we spend a lot of time together during these times and we cherish the ones where we can actually be in the same place at the same time. Ultimately, we both travel 30 weeks of the year. We don't always get a chance to see each other.

“The travelling weeks are probably the best weeks for us.”

Djokovic Masterclass Seals Fourth-Round Berth

Vie, 07/01/2022 - 18:06

There was no slowing down for Novak Djokovic at Wimbledon on Friday afternoon.

The Serbian cruised to a high-class 6-0, 6-3, 6-4 third-round win against countryman Miomir Kecmanovic at the grass-court major. Having dropped just seven games in defeating Thanasi Kokkinakis in the second round, Djokovic matched that number with another sublime all-around display to overwhelm his opponent on Centre Court, breaking the Kecmanovic serve six times on the way to a one-hour, 52-minute victory.

“I think I’ve been playing better and better as the tournament progresses," said Djokovic in his on-court interview. "That’s obviously something that you always wish for as a player, that every match that you play you raise the level of tennis up a notch at least, and I think that is what is happening at the moment.

"I know I can always do better. I always expect the highest from myself, but I think so far, so good, and looking forward to the next challenge.”

It was Djokovic’s 24th consecutive win on grass, drawing him level with Australian great Rod Laver in third place on the Open Era list for longest tour-level winning streaks on the surface. The six-time champion next faces another man in red-hot form on the grass in Tim van Rijthoven. The Dutch wild card dispatched Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 earlier on Friday to ease into the fourth round on his Grand Slam main draw debut.

Djokovic picked up where he left off against Kokkinakis with a lightning-fast start against Kecmanovic. He manoeuvred his opponent around the court with ease, effectively switching between clean striking and deft drop shots to charge to the opening set without dropping a game.

Kecmanovic did his best to respond to the early Djokovic barrage. The 22-year-old fended off a break point to notch his first game of the match for 1-1 in the second set and saved two more in the sixth game as Djokovic continued to press. The Serbian’s relentlessness on return did eventually pay off with a break in the eighth game, however, and he clinched the set in style through a wonderful reflex lob on set point.

Some delicate drop-volley winners to blunt powerful strikes from his opponent emphasised how in-tune the 35-year-old Djokovic’s game was, and two further breaks of the Kecmanovic serve saw Djokovic on the brink of victory at 5-2 in the third set. Despite the scoreline, Kecmanovic remained persistent, and he was rewarded with his first break of the Djokovic serve to reduce the deficit late on. It ultimately proved too late, as the top seed served out to keep his bid for a fourth-consecutive title at SW19 on track.

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Despite that late lapse, Djokovic’s serving was solid throughout. He won 88 per cent (30/34) of points behind his first delivery, while his cleaner, more consistent ballstriking earned him 36 winners compared to Kecmanovic’s 13.

The win extends Djokovic’s lead in his ATP Head2Head series with Kecmanovic to 3-0. It was the pair’s first meeting outside their homeland, with their previous clashes both coming on clay in Belgrade.

“I thought I started off very, very well. Very strong with a lot of good intensity, good focus," said Djokovic. "I know Miomir quite well, we train a lot obviously coming from Serbia. I’m really glad that he, alongside a couple of other players, is doing well. I wish him all the best, hopefully we will get to play many more times on the centre courts of the biggest tournaments.”

What If John Isner Only Hit First Serves?

Jue, 06/30/2022 - 23:52

Here's a thought experiment: If John Isner hit ONLY first serves, would he win or lose more service games than his career average?

For clarity, the 37-year-old would still get two serves every point. But if he missed his first serve, he would hit another full-pace serve instead of a traditional second serve with more spin and less pace.

“I have a buddy who is super into analytics, and he is a really smart guy and he is a firm believer that is something I should do. Just going for two first serves,” said Isner, who on Friday is likely to set a new world record for most career aces, needing just five against Jannik Sinner in the Wimbledon third round to pass current leader Ivo Karlovic.

“There have been some situations where I have had the mindset of doing that, where my second serves have been massive. Less of a kick, more two first serves and it has served me well in the past. The key is to really, really commit to it."

If only there were a way to stress test the idea. Enter Alex Michaels, a data scientist for TennisViz, the provider driving new statistical insights for Tennis Data Innovations, including new metrics such as Balance of Power, Conversion and Steal scores.

[ATP APP] Michaels wrote a program that extrapolated Isner's Infosys ATP Stats career averages for first serve percentage (69.1%) and first-serve winning percentage (78.7%) over 1 million service games, randomising those percentages to simulate match play. The mission was to identify whether a strategy of hitting first serves only would result in Isner improving his mark of holding 91.8 per cent of service games.

"I wanted to simulate randomness of performance in a match," Michaels said. "While John puts about two out of every three first serves into play, there will be times when he makes five in a row or 10 in a row, and times when he may miss five in a row."

While hitting two first serves would be a massive tactical change, the data show that it would have a very minor impact. Michaels' model reveals that Isner would win 91.4 per cent of service games, down marginally from his career average of 91.8 per cent.

"I thought it would be close to his normal rate or maybe even slightly better, given his first serve is so powerful," Michaels said. "This of course doesn't account for the mental side. You don't know how someone will react to serving a lot of double faults and whether they can be immune to the pressure of hitting a big second serve at crucial moments."

Isner also noted that real-world pressure may impact winning percentages. "What's hard about it would be having the conviction to go for another massive serve at 6/5 in a tie-break after missing your first serve," he said.

  Photo: Corinne Dubreuil

While Isner isn't ready to go 'all in' with the radical tactic, he says that there are some situations in which hitting two first serves is the right play.

“If I am playing Djokovic, I sort of know I have to do that," the father of three said. "If I am playing someone ranked much lower than Djokovic at 70 or 80, of course he is still an incredible player, but it might be a little harder mentally to get myself up for hitting two first serves."

Although hitting two first serves results in little change for Isner's rate of holding serve, data show that players with more modest first serves would see a significant decline in the percentage of service games held if they adopted the tactic.

Michaels cited Frenchman Hugo Gaston as an example. The Frenchman puts about 60 per cent of first serves into play, wins about 65 per cent of first-serve points and holds about 73 per cent of service games. On Michaels' modelling, Gaston would win just 62 per cent of service games if he hit two first serves.

Isner's career 69.1 first-serve percentage tops the chart for all active players. He is fourth on the list of career first-serve points won (78.7%) behind leader Ivo Karlovic, Milos Raonic and Sam Querrey. He is second among active players for best percentage of service games held (91.8%), behind only Karlovic (92%)

The 6' 10" American is third on the list of second-serve points won (56.1%) behind only leader Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.

 

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Nadal Heaps Praise On Swiatek, Raducanu, Gauff At Wimbledon

Jue, 06/30/2022 - 23:16

Rafael Nadal spread the love after his second-round Wimbledon victory on Thursday, speaking at length about three of the WTA Tour's biggest stars. In his post-match press conference, the Spaniard was asked about Iga Swiatek and Coco Gauff — both of whom were also victorious on Day 4 — as well as reigning US Open champion Emma Raducanu.

Nadal has been the subject of admiration from all corners of the tennis world, with many WTA players commending his legendary fighting spirit and his strong start to the 2022 season. World No. 1 Swiatek was on hand to see the Spaniard win the Australian Open final in January, and Nadal revealed he has been watching the Polish star throughout her 37-match win streak as well.

"I texted her a couple of times because it's unbelievable the way that she's playing," Nadal said. "It's unbelievable the way that she's able to hold the concentration and the winning spirit for such a long time. I think it's something very difficult to make that happen."

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Swiatek has not lost a match since February, winning six titles on her winning streak. Nadal gave his opinion on why she has been so tough to beat.

"I think when she's playing well, it's very difficult to stop her because her shots are little bit different, with a lot of power. She's able to move well. When she's [playing] with confidence, I think she has shots that are very difficult to stop for the rest of the girls.

"I like her. I think she has a very positive attitude, fresh air for the world of tennis. Happy that a good girl like her is having a lot of success."

Raducanu returned to her home Grand Slam as a superstar after her shock US Open triumph last year, but has struggled to replicate that sort of form in 2022 and bowed out at SW19 in the second round. While Nadal stopped short of offering advice, he gave the 19-year-old a supreme vote of confidence.

"I was very impressed when I saw her winning the US Open," he said. "I saw the final. The way that she played was unbelievable.

"It's difficult to manage all this kind of success at a very early stage of your life. But I wish her all the very best. I think she is an important character for our sport."

Echoing the Briton's comments after her loss to Caroline Garcia, Nadal feels Raducanu's US Open title could serve to take some pressure off in the bigger picture.

"I know she's having a tough year, but on the other hand she already won a Slam at a very early stage of her career. That gives her, I think, calm to take her time to keep improving and to keep having chances in the near future. I really hope that she will."

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Nadal sees similar greatness in Coco Gauff, both on and off the court. He predicted the American to win multiple Grand Slams and was equally complimentary of her maturity off the court.

"I like her, the way that she talks to the crowd, to the press at the end of the matches," he said. "She's fresh. She's natural. Looks very mature in her thoughts.

"I think she is a fighter. I like the way that she plays. She fight for every ball. Even sometimes when she's not playing that well, she keeps fighting until the end, running for every ball."

The 18-year-old reached the Roland Garros final this season, falling to Swiatek, and is now seeking her third straight fourth-round run at Wimbledon.

"I think, if she's able just to improve a little bit with this physical performance that she has, probably we'll talk about the player that she will be: [a] multi-Grand Slam winner."

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