Category: Tennis

Djokovic: Excited to See Becker Again

"Considering what Boris was going through in the last couple of years, coming out still walking tall and proudly, it's something that I admire," world No. 1 said.
By Alberto Amalfi | @Tennis_Now | Saturday, May 13, 2023

Novak Djokovic captured six Grand Slam titles working with coach Boris Becker.

The world No. 1 said he admires Becker's mental strength, candor and commitment to rebuilding his life after a humbling bankruptcy, jail time and deportment from Great Britain.

Gauff: GOAT Nadal RG Favorite Any Day

"Boris is a dear friend, of course my former coach. I've had amazing success in my career with him in my box as a coach," Djokovic told the media in Rome. "He's one of the mentally strongest people I know.

"Considering what he was going through in the last couple of years, coming out still walking tall and proudly, it's something that I admire. We all try to navigate through life in the best possible way. We all make mistakes."

Tennis Express

In May of 2022, Becker was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in jail for hiding hundreds of thousands of pounds in assets after his 2017 bankruptcy.

The former world No. 1 served less than a year of his sentence before he was released and then deported from Great Britain before Christmas.

Reigning Australian Open and Wimbledon champion Djokovic said he hopes to see Becker in Paris at Roland Garros this month.

"A great friend and dear person to me in my life. I wish him all the best," Djokovic said of Becker. "I can't wait to see him. I didn't see him in the last few months since he's out. Hopefully soon in Paris get a chance to meet with him.

"I see he's doing some talks, sharing his story. I'm sure that a lot of people can get inspired and learn from what he has to say. He sincerely is so open in sharing that, showing who he is, a very, very honest person."

Photo credit: Novak Djokovic Instagram

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Seville, Spain will Host 2023 BJK Cup Finals

The ITF also announced that Poland will receive a wild card into the 12-player final field. By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Saturday May 13, 2023

Seville, Spain confirmed as host city for 2023 Billie Jean King Cup by Gainbridge Finals, which will take place on 7-12 November, with 12 teams battling it out to take home the coveted trophy.

Tennis Express

The 12-nation field is already set: Switzerland, as 2022 world champions, and Australia, as 2022 runners-up, qualified automatically, and nine winners of the 2023 Billie Jean King Cup Qualifiers – Canada, Czechia, France, Germany, Italy, Kazakhstan, Slovenia, Spain and USA – join the field along with recently announced wild card Poland.

In additional news, the ITF announced that the Billie Jean King Cup by Gainbridge Juniors and Davis Cup Juniors Finals will take place in Cordoba, with dates and venues to be announced.

Per the ITF, the news comes as part of a wider partnership between the ITF and the region of Andalucia, which will see the region host all ITF major team events this year, including the Davis Cup Finals in Malaga. As part of the agreement, Seville will host the Billie Jean King Cup Finals for the next two years, with an option to extend for a third year.”

BJK Cup Heart Award Nominees Announced

The nominees have been announced for the BJK Cup Heart Award for 2023 Qualifiers and Group 1 events, with 10 players on the ballot. Winners will be chosen by fans – voting closes May 19.


Barbora Krejcikova
Leylah Fernandez
Kaja Juvan
Tamara Zidansek

Rebecca Peterson
Sazan Lamens

Asia / Oceania Group 1

Mai Hontama
Back Dayeon

Americas Group 1

Julia Riera
Emiliana Arango

Go here to vote:

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Kvitova to Miss Rome with Foot Injury but Hopeful for Roland-Garros

The Czech has played just one match since winning the Miami title. By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Saturday May 6, 2023

Petra Kvitova will miss this year’s Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome due to a foot injury. The Czech, a recent title winner at Miami, announced the news on social media on Saturday.

Tennis Express

“Unfortunately my right foot is still causing me pain so, after consulting my team, I have made the difficult decision to withdraw from Rome,” she wrote on Twitter. “I will miss the beautiful site, the Italian fans and wish the tournament a great week. I’ll work hard to be ready for the French Open.”

33-year-old Kvitova won nine of ten matches across Indian Wells and Miami, and claimed the title in Miami by defeating Elena Rubakina in a dramatic final, 7-6(14), 6-2. The 10th-ranked Czech is 17-6 on the season, overall, but lost her only match on clay in Madrid, dropping a 7-6(9), 6-1 decision to Jule Niemeier in the second round (after a bye).

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Anisimova Will Take a Mental Health Break, as Tennis Has Become “Unbearable” for Her

The talented American will step away from the match court indefinitely. By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Friday May 5, 2023

Former World No.21 Amanda Anisimova has elected to step away from tennis in order to focus on her mental health.

Tennis Express

The 21-year-old, who reached the semifinals at Roland-Garros as a 17-year-old in 2019, said that the sport has become “unbearable” for her of late.

“I thought I’d make a post explaining what’s been going on and my plans,” she posted on Instagram. “I’ve really been struggling with my mental health and burnout since the summer of 2022. It’s become unbearable being at tennis tournaments. At this point my priority is my mental well-being and taking a break for some time. I’ve worked as hard as I could to push through it. I will miss being out there, and I appreciate all the continuous support.”

Anisimova hasn’t had the easiest coming of age on the WTA Tour. Months after her breakout performance at Roland-Garros in 2019, her father and coach Konstantin passed away from a sudden heart attack just prior to the US Open. He was 52.

The American, a former junior Slam champion and junior World No.2, owns 2 WTA titles.

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Andreescu’s Left Ankle Approaching 100 Percent Ahead of Rome

The Canadian lost her Madrid opener but the good news is that her left ankle is feling strong. By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Saturday, April 29, 2023

When Bianca Andreescu was carted off the court in a wheelchair in Miami, fear was the dominant emotion. It was a gruesome scene. The Canadian’s cries of anguish echoing around the grounds as she had to end her round of 16 with Ekaterina Alexandrova in a retirement.

Tennis Express

But Andreescu’s speedy recovery has eased fears and provided hope. One month later she has made a swift return to the court, and even though she came up short in a three-set battle with China’s Wang Xiyu on Friday in Madrid, the Canadian continues to progress and is targeting 100 percent fitness in a few weeks, when the Internazionali BNL d’Italia gets underway in Rome on May 9.

"I worked really hard during my rehab because I wanted to get back on court as soon as possible," Andreescu told WTA Insider in Madrid. "I've been through the process so I knew what to expect. My progress was pretty up and down. But the last week I would say I made the biggest progress.”

27th-ranked Andreescu recently posted a tik tock update of her strenuous rehab. No stranger to difficult run-ins with the injury bug, she has streamlined her rehab and dealt with the process in a positive manner.

Andreescu, ranked 27, tells WTA Insider that she’s confident after passing her first test and eager to continue strengthening her ankle in ahead of her next appearance.

"I'm definitely not 100 percent. I would say I'm 90 percent right now, but 90 percent confident, too, to go out there and push. Today was a great test, so hopefully in a week I can be 100 percent for Rome,” she said.

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Watch: Ben Shelton’s Behind-the-Back Winner Draws Rave Reviews in Madrid

The American goes the unconventional route to win this point against Jan-Lennard Struff. By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Saturday, April 29, 2023

Doesn’t matter the surface, or the venue: Ben Shelton simply has that shotmaking swagger about him.

Tennis Express

Tennis fans in Madrid were given a glimpse of the American’s eye-catching game on Saturday when they witnessed him make a bid for shot of the week at the Madrid Open.

Or, as Tennis TV tweeted… shot of the year?

However you rank it, this gorgeous, sliding, behind-the-back winner was the stuff of dreams.

Unfortunately for Shelton it wasn’t a dream finish – the American fell to Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff in three sets, 4-6, 7-6(4), 7-5. That first main draw win at Madrid will have to wait…

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‘I Felt Slow’ – Novak Djokovic May Be Struggling on Clay, but Time is on His Side

The Serb was disappointed with his play on Friday in Banja Luka, but believes that his best tennis is coming.By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Friday, April 21, 2023

To anyone who watched Novak Djokovic‘s two matches at Banja Luka this week, it’s clear that the 22-time Grand Slam champion is operating well below his peak level. Today’s loss to compatriot Dusan Lajovic was proof of that, but it doesn’t mean that the Serb is in big trouble when it comes to hitting his peak at Roland-Garros.

Tennis Express

There were actually some good signs this week.

First, Djokovic took off the compression sleeve that he was wearing to protect his elbow and said that he feels good in that regard. Second, he got two matches under his belt. Whether they were up to snuff by his lofty standards or not, there is real value in that for the World No.1.

He is disappointed in his play, but is experienced and knows that time is on his side. There are five weeks until Roland-Garros starts, and two Masters 1000 events at Madrid and Rome in between. He’ll have time to put the pieces together.

“I had my chances, but I didn’t take them,” he said of his effort on Friday in Banja Luka, according to Tennis Majors. “I played quite passively, with many mistakes and that resulted in the defeat.

“I was way below my desired level. I can’t win against opponents who are so solid on this surface with this game. I didn’t even feel good physically on the court: I felt slow, with sluggish legs; I missed a lot of balls and was totally out of [position]. At times I played well, but well below my level.”

It’s not ideal, but it is fairly normal to see Djokovic struggle in his first few outings on clay. In the past we’ve seen him find his game at Rome and carry that form over to Roland-Garros. Barring any unforeseen injuries, why should we suspect that this season would be any different?

With Nadal struggling to get fit, Djokovic knows he has a good opportunity to claim a third title in Paris, and a 23rd major. It’s reasonable to think he was playing it safe in Banja Luka, being careful not to hit out too much so that his elbow continues to recover. Or that he simply hasn’t gained comfort timing the ball and his footwork on the clay.

But let’s not make the mistake of thinking that he isn’t one of the best clay-court players of his generation and the man to beat at Roland-Garros if Nadal isn't at full fitness. 

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Caroline Garcia Reunited with Coach Bertrand Perret

The pair split surprisingly last fall. Now they are working together again. By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Friday, April 21, 2023

Caroline Garcia has reunited with coach Bertrand Perret, the man who helped her achieve her career-best season in 2022.

Tennis Express

The pair split last season before the WTA Finals, which Garcia coincidentally won for the biggest title of her year, and after several months they have decided to work together again.

"Why we split up, why we come back, it's part of the past," Garcia told WTA Insider from Stuttgart. "But it's a good chemistry between the two of us, and he understands very well my aggressive game style. He's open-minded to make me train very inside the court or to make me return in that position.”

Garcia’s unique brand of tennis was a sensation last season, as she fully committed to first-strike tennis with the help of Perret. To be fair, that has always been the tennis she wanted to play, but as injuries and doubts crept in she slipped into a more passive – and less effective game style.

Garcia isn’t blazing quite the trail that she did last season, but she’s still winning at an impressive clip. The World No.5 fell to Anastasia Potapova on Friday at Stuttgart to fall to 18-9 on the season.

"It's paying off,” she said of her work with Perret. “Now we are just focused on the present and what can we do and what can we improve for the future."

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‘The elbow is not in an ideal condition’ – Djokovic not 100 percent, but Prepared to Play in Banja Luka

The World No.1 spoke briefly about a right elbow injury on Monday.
By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Monday April 17, 2023

Novak Djokovic is in Banja Luka and ready to take his place on the draw at the Srpska Open, but the World No.1 has told reporters that his right elbow is not in perfect condition at the moment.

Tennis Express

“The elbow is not in an ideal condition, but let’s say it’s good enough,” Djokovic said in a press conference. “I hope it will be fully ready for the first match.”

It’s the first we’ve heard of the injury since Monte-Carlo, where Djokovic wore a compression sleeve on his right arm during his round of 16 loss to Lorenzo Musetti. After the match Djokovic was brief in press, not wanting to discuss the injury or take away any credit from the Italian after his biggest career victory.

“I cannot say nothing. I'm okay. I'm fine. Congrats to him. We move on,” he said.

Djokovic is slated to face 19-year-old Frenchman Luca Van Assche in the second round.

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Tiafoe and Fritz Commit to 2023 Laver Cup in Vancouver

The top two Americans are back to help Team World at Laver Cup. By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Monday April 17, 2023

Top-ranked Americans Taylor Fritz and Frances Tiafoe will once again represent Team World as they bid to defend their Laver Cup title later this year when the event comes to Rogers Arena in Vancouver from September 22-24.

Tennis Express

The American duo will join Canadian No.1 Felix Auger-Aliassime as the first player to be named in Captain John McEnroe’s six-man Team World.

Fritz, Tiafoe and Auger-Aliassime all played a role in last year’s historic Laver Cup at The O2 in London, which marked the end of Roger Federer’s legendary career.

It was Team World’s first victory in five editions of the Laver Cup.

“It’s like getting the band back together,” said Coach McEnroe. “Taylor, Frances and Felix have all played Laver Cup multiple times and were big factors in our victory last year. I know I can count on these guys to step up. I really like our chances with them on the team in Vancouver.”

Vancouver will be the third Laver Cup call-up for World No.10 Fritz.

“Laver Cup is such a unique event and I’m really excited to be back for Team World this year,” said Fritz. “We had an awesome time in London last year, the team had great energy, and finally getting that win has given us a lot of confidence. But, Frances, Felix and I know from experience how quickly momentum can shift in Laver Cup so we will need to be at our best.”

Tiafoe will be making his fourth appearance.

“There’s no doubt that last year’s Laver Cup win was right up there as a career high for me,” said Tiafoe. “It was an unbelievable feeling to finally lift that trophy after coming so close in the past, and I can’t wait to give it another shot this year.”

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‘You Cannot Change What You Do Nine Months a Year’ – Medvedev Still Searching for Magic Potion for Clay Success

The Russian is the hottest player in the game right now, but clay has a way of slowing him down. By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Monday April 10, 2023

Daniil Medvedev enters the clay-court season as the hottest player on the ATP Tour. The Russian has won 24 of his last 25 matches, and reached the final of the last five events he has played, winning four.

Tennis Express

Now comes the ultimate challenge: keeping it rolling on the red clay.

One look at Medvedev’s career winning percentage on the red stuff tells us that it is not going to be an easy challenge. Medvedev has won matches at a 43.9 percent clip (18-23) over the course of his career, which compares mega unfavorably to his hard court winning percentage of 75.2 percent (245-81).

Speaking on Sunday ahead of the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters, Medvedev opened up about the dilemma he faces. The 27-year-old has to change his game, and that’s not an ideal situation for a player who has been close to perfect with what he has on the hard courts.

“I definitely have to change a little bit because my strokes are too flat and clay doesn’t let it go through the court enough and often opponents can use it,” he told reporters.

Medvedev seeks to find the balance that will let him still play in his comfort zone while being effective on clay. He has found it at times over the course of his career, as is evidenced by his trip to the quarterfinals at Roland-Garros in 2021. There was also 2019 when he earned wins over Stefanos Tsitsipas and Novak Djokovic in succession to reach the semifinals at Monte-Carlo, the same year he reached the final at Barcelona.

Strangely, Medvedev is actually 3-3 lifetime against the Top 20 on clay, but just 9-16 when the lens pans out to look at his body of work against the Top 50 on the red dirt.

Perhaps this year will be different, now that Medvedev has changed his strings and gained a ton of confidence over the last two months.

Medvedev just needs to keep that confidence in his head, but it has proven elusive on the surface. Mentally he seems to expect the worst on the clay, never a recipe for racking up wins.

“You cannot change what you do nine months a year, drastically,” Medvedev said. “So I have to find a good balance where I still play my game with a little kick to it…like changing just maybe some shots in the right moment. And that’s how I can be good and that’s how I was able to be good in the good moments.”

That said, Medvedev has made peace with his plight. He says the sport is better off having a clay season, even if he is one of the players that perpetually struggles.

“I understand that it cannot be 12 months of hard courts,” he said. “And I think it’s good to have these different surfaces. That’s good for the sport. But me, I prefer hard courts, I’m not going to lie.”

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Djokovic Gives Scouting Report on ‘Amazing’ Alcaraz

The World No.1 is fresh and eager to hit the ground running in Monte-Carlo. By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Monday April 10, 2023

Ahead of his first appearance on the clay in 2023, Novak Djokovic points out the positives of having missed Indian Wells and Miami this year. Sure, the World No.1 would have preferred to play, but given that he didn’t he was able to make the most of time, put in some extra work on the clay, and do another mini pre-season.

Tennis Express

It all bodes well for the 22-time Grand Slam champion as he makes a play for a third Roland-Garros title in June.

"It's a fine balance,” he said, according to Simon Cambers of “I guess that's another maybe positive note about not competing on a weekly basis that you can give your body time to recuperate, regain the energy and strength, and then have weeks of good training and kind of a mini mini pre-season preparation type of period where you can build that over all of the aspects or elements that you need in order to compete at the highest level consistently, particularly on the surface that is physically the most demanding surface."

Djokovic, seeded no.1 at Monte-Carlo, will face Russian qualifier Ivan Gakhova in second-round action on Tuesday.

A Scouting Report on “Amazing” Alcaraz

During his pre-tournament press conference, Djokovic was asked to talk about Carlos Alcaraz, and gave a glowing review of what he has witnessed from the 19-year-old World No.2.

“The way he has been playing recently, but also in the last year and a half, he has been one of the best players in the world on any surface,” Djokovic said. “And he has proven that he can win a Grand Slam – he won it on hardcourt where probably most of the people thought that he’s going to win the first slam on clay. So that tells you how complete of a player he is.”

Djokovic continued to praise the Spaniard’s mentality and acumen, and then mentioned Jannik Sinner and Holger Rune as two talented players who might create a “new big three”.

“I think he has a great mentality, fighting spirit, always pushes hard, takes away the time from the opponent and I think he adjusts well to every opponent to be able to adapt his game tactically,” he said of Alcaraz. “Very, very complete player and just amazing. For our sport to have a champion like him, no doubt. And he’s so young.”

Djokovic also talked the blossoming rivalry with Alcaraz with respect, and gave a nod to 19-year-old Holger Rune as well.

“And it’s also refreshing to have another great rivalry that people get excited about, which [Alcaraz] him and Sinner,” he said. “We have seen some thrilling, exciting matches between the two of them, so I’m sure that those two guys, along with [Holger] Rune from the younger generations, are going to be the leaders. So maybe that’s the next big three.”

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