July 30, 2016

Cilic and Dodig Stun Bryan Brothers to Keep Croatia Alive in Davis Cup Quarterfinal

Marin Cilic

Marin Cilic

(July 16, 2016) BEAVERTON, Oregon – Marin Cilic and Ivan Dodig spoiled team USA’s potential semifinal clinching party, when Croatia handed the Bryan brothers only their fifth loss in Davis Cup play 6-2, 2-6, 6-2, 6-4 in two hours and 16 minutes on Saturday. The Croatians stay alive in the tie down 1-2 going into Sunday play.

The United States came into the day leading 2-0 after two singles victories on Friday hoping to seal a spot in the Davis Cup semifinals with the all-time doubles winners in Davis Cup and tennis history in the Bryan brothers. Team Croatia had other ideas.

Team Croatia substituted one Marin for another before the doubles rubber began. Cilic took Draganja’s place to play with Dodig. Croatia’s captain said they were thinking about the substitution on Friday night. Croatia came out firing, breaking serve at love tin the third game to go up 2-1, consoldating for 3-1. They broke again in the seventh game for 5-2 and closed out he set 6-2.

In the second set, the Bryans could not take advantage of a break point in the second game. Bryans break Dodig at 15 to tkae 4-2 lead, and get to Cilic to claim the set 6-2 to even up the match. The Bryans improved their play in the second set, whereas Cilic’s play fell off. The Bryans improved their first serve percentage, hit more winners and making only two unforced errors.

In set three, the Bryans squandered break points in Croatia’s opening service game but one felt the momentum was still on the Bryan’s side. That changed in the third game when Cilic hit a return of serve winner to break for 2-1. Croatia broke Bob Bryan’s serve for 4-1, but the Americans bounced back returning the favor for 2-4. Back to back to back breaks of serve gave Croatia a 5-2 lead which they served out 6-2 to go up two sets to one.
The Croatians hit 16 winners, while the US hit only five in the set. The visiting team broke serve three times in the third set.

The Bryans held on to a multi deuce game to open the fourth set, and fended off a break point in heir second service game.

Croatia broke serve at 15 in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead and made the break hold up and served out the match for the win 6-2, 2-6, 6-2, 6-4.

The Bryan Brothers

The Bryan Brothers

For  the Bryans, this was only their fifth loss in a Davis Cup tie, all coming on home soil.   They have a 24-5 record in Davis Cup. They talked about the loss in their post match news conference:

“We just didn’t execute from — I think started off with the serve,” said Bob Bryan. “Weren’t making a lot of first serves. Weren’t getting them in trouble from the start. They started returning well and gaining confidence. They just kind of outplayed us in ever aspect of the game today.

“That’s really on us. Started turning the momentum around after the first set. Had some break points. I had a good look at a second serve forehand that I should have hit a little bit harder. I just kind of pushed it. That would’ve been a good opportunity to really keep the foot on the gas, so I wish I could have had that one back.

“But those guys are two good players. That’s the type of match that we have to play at the top of our game to take them out. We just didn’t do it. That has nothing to do with anything but ourselves. We take responsibility for that.”

“I mean, you know, you can serve well in practice,” said Mike Bryan. “When you get out there it’s a different monster when there is adrenaline and crowd and pressure.

“Obviously I think I was speeding up. When you speed up your motion you don’t get your toss up, and it’s a whole chain reaction.

“If I could have held that first game, got settled in the match, got some confidence in my serve, I think it could have been a little different.

“Credit to them. They made some good returns. Dodig hit a couple backhand winners. Once you get behind the eight ball you start thinking about it a little bit.”

Cilic made a major impact in the match. “Cilic is dangerous,” Bob Bryan added. “He brings great returns and some nasty groundies and his serve is pretty strong.”

“The difference was that Marin and Ivan played I would say really unbelievable tennis today,” said Croatian captain Zeljko Krajan. “Both just are on the top of their game, and Marin played the best doubles match of his life.

“Even though it’s against Bryans, just tough when he is serving the way he is and returning and everything is coming back and from the baseline there was no mistakes. I would say I don’t know who would beat them on a day like this when they play.

“Maybe just the Bryans didn’t play the best match of their life, but it was just too tough for them today to face these opponents.”

“Me and Ivan played few times also in Davis Cup; we played in Olympics in 2012,” Cilic said. “We played there really well. But we know that when we are on a good day we can play amazing tennis.

“That was today the case. We came up to the match with good tactics, good mindset, and we knew that if we play well that we are going to be able to beat them.

“Obviously the positive thing was that even I have beaten Bryans before and Ivan did also I guess few times, so that was a mindset that was giving us good strategy and we were able to prepare good for the match.”

Croatia was six for ten on break points, hitting 53 winners with 21 unforced errors.

Sunday’s play will consist of reverse singles. Leading off will be the battle between the No. 1 players on each team – John Isner versus Marin Cilic, followed by Jack Sock against Borna Coric (if necessary).

Cilic, who is 5-0 against Isner, says despite playing doubles, he’ll be ready on Sunday.

“I feel pretty much fine,” he said. “I had nine sets in two days, but the conditions here are not too difficult. The weather is favoring the players and the fans in the stands, so it’s not too humid and not too hot. Not too demanding.

“Obviously in Davis Cup it’s more bit tougher dealing with emotions as you are a little bit more pumped up and adrenaline kicks you in when you start the matches. That can take some energy. I feel pretty much fine.

“I played today great, and tomorrow I feel I’m going to be in good shape, too.”

Cilic talked about his tough five-set losses, to Sock on Friday and to Roger Federer at Wimbledon.

“I was thinking a little bit after yesterday’s loss that I was maybe a little bit mentally drained from my loss from Wimbledon,” he said. “It still left a small mark in me and I wasn’t as, you know, emotionally pumped as today, which is obviously giving me good sensation for playing and good feeling. I can lift my game when I’m playing like this.

“I usually enjoy to play in Davis Cup because the team atmosphere, the energy, lifts my game up. Hopefully tomorrow I can do the same.”

The winner of this tie will play the winner of the Czech Republic/France tie in September in the Davis Cup semifinals.

The last time the United States won the Davis Cup was in 2007 in Portland.

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Jack Sock Rallies From Two Sets Down to Beat Marin Cilic; John Isner Also Wins, Gives USA 2-0 Lead in Davis Cup Quarterfinal

Jack Sock

Jack Sock

(July 15, 2016) BEAVERTON, Oregon – The United States is off to a 2-0 lead against Croatia in quarterfinal action in Davis Cup play on Friday at  the Tualatin Hills Tennis Center in Beaverton, Oregon.

In the first rubber of the United States versus Croatia Davis Cup quarterfinal, 2014 US Open champion and No. 12 Marin Cilic took on No. 26 Jack Sock.

Sock rallied from two sets down to beat Cilic  4-6, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 to give the USA a 1-0 lead.

The first set saw little difference between both competitors, but Cilic sealed the break in the tenth game to claim the set 6-4.

The second set saw Cilic took advantage of three break point opportunities to take the set 6-3. Sock contributed 16 errors to his opponent’s cause in the set. Cilic had a medical time out after the seventh game of the set.

Sock drastically reduced his unforced error count in the third set, making only four while upping his first serve percentage making 16/17 to win the third set 6-3.

In the fourth set both men stayed even until the the ninth game, when the 23-year-old American broke serve at 30. Sock served out the set to even the match at 2-sets all.

Cilic broke Sock with a drop volley winner in the American’s first service game of the fifth set and consolidated for a 3-0 lead to start out the fifth set. Sock bounced back with a break in the fifth game to get to 2-3.

“Well, I wasn’t very happy down 3-0,” Sock said. Once again, just stayed the course. Having such an experienced player in Jim Courier on the bench with
you, you can’t ask for much more. He just kept me level headed and kept telling me to do the right things,which I had been doing for a few sets to get back.”
In the seventh game, Sock failed to take advantage of three break points and Cilic held off the inspired American to hold for 4-3.

Sock broke through in in the eighth game, setting up a break point on a drop volley winner for break point. Cilic hit a backhand volley wide to give team USA the break and a 5-4 lead.

As the old Ringo Star song goes “It Don’t Come Easy.” Sock had to fend off two break points in the tenth game to seal the three-hour and 13 minute match win. Final score 4-6, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4.

What made the difference in the match for Sock?

Sock said: “I mean, I had a ton of chances in the second. I didn’t get blown off the for two sets. I was up a break twice in the second. Struggled on my serve a little bit.

“But just maybe made a few smarter decisions on the serve. Made a lot more first serves to kind of put it in
the spots where I could get forehands, start the rally.

“Returning the whole time I felt like I could get in a lot of his games. The court is slow enough I could get back
on the serve and make it neutral.

“Just stayed the course really and was lucky enough to get the win.”

For Sock this was his first match on home soil in his Davis Cup career, he talked about this win being one of his career accomplishments.

“Haven’t played a ton of five-setters in my career. Haven’t come back from two sets to love down. To do that today, in front of
the home crowd for the team, it almost feels extra special today. Maybe if I had done it in another tournament – obviously playing individually there – to do it today for the team in this, the first match to get us off to a good start, feels unreal.”

“I was just a little bit unfortunate in the beginning of the third to lose my serve at the beginning, and then Jack started to serve really well from the beginning of the third,” Cilic said.

“Obviously I think he served much, much better in the fourth and fifth set. He was not giving me too many
chances on the return games. I had a break in the fifth that’s a little bit unfortunate to lose it. I was 3-1 up, 15-Love, and easy forehand in the middle of the court.

“Yeah, a little bit disappointed with that, just to lose that opportunity of getting that lead in the fifth set to make
that extra step to closing the match.

“You know, when I gave him a chance to come back I felt that he started to play also really well. He was very aggressive. Obviously last game I had 15-40 also to come back. You know, just one point where I went for a shot, missed a little bit.

“Overall, I think he played pretty good tennis in the last three sets. It’s not that I played so bad. I felt that
maybe I could have served better today. I was not serving as good as I can. Just from the game, obviously he’s very dangerous.
He can play very, very fast tennis. He’s got big forehand, so that was I think working well for him today.”

Tennis Panorama asked U.S. Davis Cup Jim Courier about he said to Sock after he went down two sets.

“Well, the second set Jack was up a break twice and was having trouble holding serve,” Courier said.

“Both of them were for that matter.

“But I felt like Jack was in a good position once the rallies got started. He just needed to execute.
“I though he was actually playing pretty well from a tactical standpoint in the second set. He just needed to lift his level a little bit and stay in there mentally and just be there.

“We also recognize that Marin had a tough loss in Wimbledon. He had chances to take out Roger Federer. Sometimes players coming off matches where they had match point and didn’t close a player out can be a little susceptible, too.

“So I was using that as a little bit of a carrot to keep Jack in there, too. Jack stayed in there point for point and fought hard and made it physical. He did a lot of great things out there today that will hopefully carry him to new places in his career.

“First time he’s come from two sets down. I think he learned a lot about himself out there. He deserves all the credit for it. He would’ve stayed in there I am pretty sure. He started to make that transition in the last month and a half or so mentally to sticking in there a little bit better.

“Today was just a manifestation of the work he’s been doing with Troy Hahn, his coach. Today it paid off for the team; certainly paid off big for him, too.”

On a day which saw top players Simona Halep and Milos Raonic withdraw from the Olympics due to concerns about the Zika Virus, both Cilic and Sock are looking forward to participating in the Olympic Games in Rio.

“Yeah, it’s really exciting” Sock commented. As a kid you grow up watching a lot of the Olympics – not only tennis, but a lot of the sports. Kind of a bucket list for every athlete I feel like to be able to represent your country on the biggest stage possible”

“I am very excited to get down there and rep the U.S., ” Sock an excited Sock. “Hopefully I can play some good tennis and wear the
colors proud. Definitely beyond happy.”

As for Cilic, “I’m going to play. A lot of guys have concerns about that (Zika virus), but I hope it’s going to be fine.”

Coric also commented on the Olympics: “As far as I’m concerned I’m going to play. I don’t have problems with Zika. Yeah, it’s going to be great experience for me. Going to be my first Olympics. I’m really looking forward to it.

“Obviously it’s very big thing. I’m only 19 and I’m going to be already there. Not many people can say that. So I’m just very proud of that. Obviously I’m just looking forward to it”

John Isner

John Isner

In the second rubber Borna Coric had no answers to John Isner’s serve, as the American nailed 23 aces in a 6-4, 6-4, 6-3 win over the teenage Croatianin a minute less than two hours.

The last of Isner’s aces came on match point.

Isner said that Sock’s comeback win helped his own momentum in his match.

“Oh, it helps a lot, he said. “I’m just sitting right here and he’s down two sets to love and things aren’t looking too good. He won the third set. I saw that he had a lot of positive energy on his side.

“Then he wins that fourth set, and I’m getting really animated in the locker room in the fifth set. He was able to pull it out playing incredible tennis.

“For me, it helps a lot. I feel like it takes a bit of pressure off me as well, knowing that regardless of what I do out there on the court, we’re not going to be losing. At worst, we’ll be 1-1.

“I was in a good spot going out there today thanks to Jack.”

Coric was pretty downcast after his loss to Isner.

“I lost, he said. “That’s what happened. I didn’t use my chances in the first two sets obviously. I had many chances to break him, and then on 5-4 in both sets I played really poor game. It was basically not much to say honestly.”

The USA is 0-3 against Croatia in Davis cup play, vying for a place in the semifinal round of Davis Cup.

The U.S. is 157-3 all-time when leading 2-0 after the first day of play and 40-1 when leading 2-0 since the World Group format began in 1981.

The doubles rubber will take place on Saturday with Bob and Mike Bryan of the USA going up against Croatia’s Ivan Dodig and Marin Draganja.

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Jack Sock Leads Off First Davis Cup Home Tie Against Marin Cilic

Jack Sock

(July 14, 2016) PORTLAND, Oregon – The draw for the USA versus Croatia quarterfinal Davis Cup tie took place in Pioneer Courthouse Square in downtown Portland on Thursday.

Jack Sock will lead off play Saturday against 2014 U.S. Open winner Marin Cilic. Cilic comes off a five-set loss in the quarterfinals of Wimbledon to Roger Federer, when the Croatian was leading two sets to none.

For the 23-year-old American Sock, ranked 26th in the world, this will his first Davis Cup tie played in the United States. This is the first time the U.S. has played at home since 2014.

Asked if he felt any added pressure, he said: “I mean, not necessarily any pressure.
“I’m more excited, honestly, to be playing on home soil. I love being a part of the team with these guys. They have a lot more experience than me out here.

“Yeah, I mean, maybe when I go out there, it will be a different feeling than when I played in Uzbekistan and Australia. But more excited than anything to be able to play in front of some home fans, some family and friends. Obviously playing in front of my country and these guys as well.

“Definitely more excited than nervous.”

The second match on Friday pits, No. 1 American John Isner, ranked 16th in the world, against No. 2 and No. 54 in the world, Croatian Borna Coric. They are playing each other for the first time.

The doubles rubber on Saturday will feature Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan of the United States against Ivan Dodigand Marin Draganja of Croatia.

Reverse singles will be played on Sunday with the No. 1’s battling in the first match, followed by the fifth rubber face-off between the No. 2’s.

Croatia comes into the tie having never lost to the United States with a 3-0 record. The U.S. last lost to Croatia in the 2009 World Group Quarterfinal in Porec, Croatia, in which Croatia won 3-2 with Cilic and Ivo Karlovic leading the team. The U.S. also played Croatia in the 2005 World Group First Round in Los Angeles and in the 2003 World Group First Round in Zagreb, Croatia.

The winner of the tie faces the winner of France-Czech Republic in the World Group semifinals.

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Davis Cup Notes and Quotes: USA vs Croatia, Pre-Draw News Conferences

(July 12, 2016) The United States plays host to Croatia in Beaverton, Oregon at the Tualatin Hills Tennis Center, July 15-17, on an outdoor hard court in the quarterfinal round of the World Group in Davis Cup. Tuesday saw both teams have pre-draw news conferences.

 

U.S. Captain Jim Courier, John Isner, Jack Sock, Mike Bryan and Bob Bryan took questions from the media about the Davis Cup tie. Here are a few of the highlights from the news conference:

 

On the short turnaround from Wimbledon:

JACK SOCK: Yeah, I mean, obviously we were all in

London for a while, even playing warmup tournaments,

some of the guys.

 

We were all excited to get back in the States for sure.

Our favorite time of the year is to play in front of the

home crowd here in the States.

 

Especially for me, it’s my first home tie. I played two

ties kind of far away. For me, it will be nice to play in

front of a home crowd and be on a team with all these

guys. I think we’re all looking forward to it.

 

Asked if the team could change the trend of not having a Top 10 player and still winning the Cup.

CAPTAIN COURIER: Well, I think Davis Cup is also

pretty unique in that the home-field advantage can play

a big role. We’ve played a lot of tough teams, some

home, but a lot on the road as well.

 

For us to have a chance now to play here against a

tough team in Croatia, and should we get through this

weekend, which we obviously are here to do, and hope

to, we’d have a home match against France or the

Czechs.

 

You pay your dues in Davis Cup. You go on the road

and try and get your wins, but you also earn the

chance to play at home by playing those matches, too.

Draws matter. Team chemistry and makeup matters.

We have four guys here that love to play for their

country. I have a lot of confidence in them as the

captain, which is why we’re sitting here. I believe we

can win this Davis Cup.

 

I think this year is a really good opportunity for us. We

can’t go more than one step at a time, but it certainly

looks promising if we can get through this weekend.

 

On the debate about the Davis cup format and whether it should be changed.

CAPTAIN COURIER: Davis Cup format has been a

discussion point for the players since Open tennis

began. You can go back and get quotes from Stan

Smith on the challenges that the Davis Cup schedule

puts on the players.

 

When you put it in an Olympic year, like this year, you

look at the calendar, you see why Andy Murray and

Novak Djokovic are both declining to play this week for

their countries, and they’re players who typically play a

lot of Davis Cup. You can see why those challenges

still exist in a pretty crowded calendar.

 

The new president of the ITF, Dave Haggerty, was

president of the US Tennis Association. He’s very

progressive, and I think you’ll see change. It will be

incremental change. It won’t come tomorrow. But I

think you’ll see the ball start to roll towards a new look

in Davis Cup that is a little bit more of the times.

You have to remember the Davis Cup started in 1900,

long before the Masters, long before many massive

sporting events like the Ryder Cup.

 

Davis Cup will need to change if it wants to get more

attention. It’s still a wonderful event. It will be a

tremendous event here this weekend. The people in

attendance will absolutely love it. We’ll love it. But

there will be a lot of people on the east coast of

America that won’t be aware that it’s taking place,

which is one of the things that I think a change in

format would bring for Davis Cup, more attention, not to

mention it would make more money, which for the ITF

would do wonders for the growth of the game.

I have a lot of thoughts on it. It’s on the record. You

can look up my comments from years and years and

years ago on Davis Cup. But I’m sitting here because I

love to be a part of it, even in its current format.

Davis Cup succeeds largely in spite of the format, not

because of it.

 

Asked about strategy against Croatia.

CAPTAIN COURIER: Look, it’s pretty clear what our

strengths are. Bob and Mike on the court are just so

complete. They move in sync. They make it very

difficult for other teams to hit winners. They extract a

lot of errors. Bob and Mike will do their normal dance

out there, which is a thing of beauty to watch. It’s been

incredible to be a captain and witness what they’re able

to do for us.

 

Jack and John, although the heights are a little bit

different, the style and the strengths are very similar.

Serves and forehands are the shots. They’re the ones

that will cause opponents to lose sleep.

 

That gives me great comfort as a captain because that

was my bread and butter, too. I think I have a pretty

good understanding of how they need to play and what

they do on the court well.

 

The other team, just to give you a quick overview,

Marin Cilic, big server, solid off both wings on the

ground, moves pretty well for a big guy. Obviously has

tasted sweet success at slams and tasted some

frustration last week at Wimbledon when he had three

match points against Federer.

 

How will that impact him here? We’ll only know come

Friday when he gets back on the court, because that’s

the only way to figure that out.

 

Coric, probably a better backhand than forehand.

Moves well. Very hungry, very professional for a 19-

year-old. He’s a rising star who won the fifth match for

these guys earlier this year. Has good Davis Cup

experience.

 

Not sure what we’ll face doubles-wise. We know Ivan

Dodig is a terrific doubles player. He has been one of

the top doubles players for a long time. So not sure

who he’ll match up with. Not sure what the

composition of their team will be come Thursday when

they have to tell us, because they have another player

named Skugor, who has played for them, who is also

here with them on site. So they have five players.

There is a lot of unknowables right now on the doubles

format. Cilic is a good doubles player. He could find

himself on the court on Saturday, too.

That’s my overview.

 

Asked about what he needs to do to jump up in the rankings.

JACK SOCK: That was an incredible win by Sam(Querrey). I

think everyone sitting here, everyone in this room, is

very happy for him.

 

Yeah, I mean, obviously the consistency from Novak

and those other guys at the top is what separates

them. I mean, they’re doing it week in, week out,

winning a majority of the tournaments, majority of the

slams.

 

Yeah, I mean, the skill level could be very slim and

anyone can kind of beat anyone on any given day. It’s

probably the little things, the preparation and

everything that goes into it, might be a couple levels

better, a hair better. That can make the difference.

For myself personally, obviously everyone here,

everyone’s always trying to improve and do the little

things the best they can. Doing that week in, week out

can only help us. Hopefully that gap will close sooner

than later.

 

JOHN ISNER: Jack said it. It’s about consistency.

Myself and Jack are very capable of having some very

good weeks on the tour, going deep into some big

tournaments. But these guys do it week in and week

out. That’s really what separates them from everyone

else. It’s what makes them the toughest out in tennis.

You know when you step on the court against them,

you’re going to be up against a very high level of talent

and dedication. Also these guys mentally are so

strong and have been doing it for so long, always have

a lot of confidence because they have a lot of wins

behind them.

 

It’s all about being consistent. It’s what those guys do

remarkably well. As Jack eluded to, we see these guys

in the locker room, on the practice courts. They’re

extremely professional. It’s one of the reasons they’re

top in the world, is because they do absolutely

everything right.

 

 

Team Croatia which included Captain also handled questions from the press with Captain Krajan, Marin Cilic, Borna Coric and Ivan Dodig in attendance.

Asked if members of the team remember Croatia winning the Davis Cup in 2005 and how important it was to their country.

BORNA CORIC: I’m the youngest, so I’m going to

answer first.

 

Basically I started playing even more serious when that

happen. I was very young at that time and I wasn’t

sure if I’m going to try to go pro or not. This was big

thing for the Croatia, as well, and also for me.

It gave me some boost to go forward. It was

unbelievable.

 

MARIN CILIC: Generally it has definitely huge impact

on tennis, in general, especially for a country that small

like Croatia. It was one of the country’s best

achievements in the history. So that’s definitely huge.

I think it gave also a little bit of financial help for the

young ones. Obviously winning it, it’s a big thing. It

attracted few more sponsors for the Federation and

obviously gave a little bit more opportunities for the

young ones.

 

We of course would like that it is still a bit more. But at

that time I think for the young ones was pretty good,

and they could, you know, just look up to the best guys

and follow their lead. That’s, for sure, big motivation.

 

Asked if perfect 3-0 record against the US gives the team confidence.

CAPTAIN KRAJAN: I mean, for sure it gives you

confidence when you are playing against somebody

that you are already 3-Love ahead, better than if you’re

3-Love down.

It’s different because it’s different players, different

times. It’s not the same teams. From that side it is

different.

 

Again, probably there is something that suits us playing

States. We are pretty positive about this tie also.

 

Why is the Croatian team so good?

CAPTAIN KRAJAN: I mean, simply they’re good,

they’re very good. You all know Marin, and you know

what he achieved here in the States. I think you all

remember what he did in New York.

 

You know Borna, what kind of potential. He’s one of

the youngest, best players at his age in the world.

Ivan, great singles player, winning slam in the doubles.

I think they all top players in the world. As I said, that’s

why we are strong and we are looking forward for this

tie.

 

Asked about what it feels like to be a

Grand Slam champion.

IVAN DODIG: Yeah, I think it’s really special moment

for every athlete. For us is to win Grand Slam. It’s

obviously like you feel all the work you put into it, it’s in

the end rewarded. I think every player who start to play

tennis, dreaming about big things, is to win Grand

Slam.

 

Me and Marin had this great feeling. I hope I can still

continue in doubles, do some great results. Still I’m

motivate and hope I can get more Grand Slam. As well

for all our guys here, for Marin, Borna, other Marin. I

think we have great potential and will still have great

moments, as well.

 

MARIN CILIC: Tennis is a very difficult sport looking

mentally. You are all year round going up and down

with your emotions. You’re wondering if you are going

to achieve your best potential, if you’re doing the best

things possible for yourself.

 

Obviously winning a Grand Slam is a part for yourself

that you achieve for all your career, all your life.

Everything you’ve put into it is suddenly worth it. For

me, you have different view on tennis, on your career.

You are obviously more relaxed, but as well on the

other side you are more motivated as you know your

potential, as you know what you can do, what you can

achieve.

 

To be especially in this time, in this era with great

tennis players, the ones that are breaking so many

records, it’s definitely very challenging. It carries a

bigger weight to win a Grand Slam. So it’s definitely a

huge, huge motivation for me to continue on this path.

It’s a sign for all the other guys that are not achieving

their best potential yet, you know, that they can see

with hard work, with dedication, you can of course

believe and achieve these big things.

 

 

The Official Draw Ceremony for the U.S. vs. Croatia Davis Cup World Group Quarterfinal will take place at 1:00 p.m. PT on Thursday, July 14, at Pioneer Courthouse Square in Portland. The ceremony will be open to the public.

Croatia is set to play its tenth tie away from home in its last 11 Davis Cup ties, while the United States is seeking to get back to the semifinals for the first time since 2012. The U.S. last won the Davis Cup in December 2007 in Portland, Oregon.

Singles play begins at 11:30 a.m. PT on Friday, July 15, and Sunday, July 17. Doubles play begins on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. PT. Tennis Channel will have television coverage.

Davis Cup Quarterfinals and Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on Tennis Channel

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The US Open Series Begins this Weekend in Atlanta

 

BB&TAtlantaOpen

By Herman Wood

(July 17, 2014) ATLANTA – Preparation for the US Open is underway.  The BB&T Atlanta Open gets things started on Saturday, July 19th for the men.  Qualifying begins at 10 AM.  The BB&T Atlanta Open is an ATP 250 event, with a 28 player draw, four of which come from the qualifying tournament.  The qualifying field will have 32 players.  The doubles draw is a 16 team field.  Last year’s champ, John Isner, is returning, along with fellow Americans Sam Querrey, Wimbledon doubles champ Jack Sock, and Donald Young.  Gael Monfils, Richard Gasquet, Radek Stepanek, Ivo Karlovic, Ivan Dodig, Lleyton Hewitt, and the other half of the Wimbledon doubles championship team, Vasek Pospisil, are also expected in the tournament.  The tournament aspires to be a mini US Open, with the venue set among the skyscrapers of downtown Atlanta at Atlantic Station.  Atlantic Station is a community within downtown that provides homes for 10,000 people integrated with shopping, restaurants, and retailers that make it a hit with the players.  Besides the attractive venue, players will get a jump on the US Open Series Bonus Challenge, where nearly $40 million in prize money is up for grabs.  This is the third year the tournament has been held at Atlantic Station.

It is a familiar place for Americans, with Isner winning last year, Roddick in 2012, and Fish in 2011.  It has also been comfortable for big man tennis- last year Isner, at 6’10”, overcame Kevin Anderson at 6’8” in three tiebreaks.  Fans in the first couple of rows certainly had to pay attention with the huge serves coming their way.  It is especially familiar for Isner, who competed collegiately just an hour down the road for the University of Georgia Bulldogs, leading the team to a national championship and winning every possible team title in 2007.  He’s usually a fan favorite, with at least a couple of barks from Georgia fans in his favor at each match.  Isner may not be the only recipient of barks; University of Georgia player Austin Smith has accepted a wild card into the main draw. The sophomore from Cumming, Georgia excelled this season as the Bulldogs captured the 2014 SEC Championship. Smith finished with a 35-12 record, and went 9-1 in SEC matches. He has won four USTA Pro Circuit matches. A tournament qualifier in 2011, Smith will be playing his debut ATP main draw match.

Another American, Jack Sock, could very well get on a roll at this tournament.  After winning doubles with Pospisil at Wimbledon, he rolled into Newport and eliminated Isner in the Newport Hall of Fame event on grass just a week ago.  Unfortunately for him, he wasn’t able to keep that momentum and was eliminated by the veteran Lleyton Hewitt, who went on to win the tournament.  Hewitt’s feisty shouts of “C’mon!” have endeared him to the Atlanta fans in past years.  Fresh off his renewed success at Newport, he could very well win Atlanta.  The main draw was just rounded out with the addition of Ryan Harrison and Robby Ginepri.  “We’re ecstatic to welcome back two of our fan favorites in Ryan Harrison and Atlanta metro resident Robby Ginepri,” Tournament Director Eddie Gonzalez said. “One of our goals is to highlight American talent and both of these players are great examples of the fine players this country has produced.”  Harrison won the doubles last year, partnering with Matthew Ebden.  Ginepri appears for the fourth time, with a onetime ranking of fifteen.  He is a graduate of Wheeler High School, just a few miles north of Atlantic Station.  He currently resides in Kennesaw, another couple of miles north.

The draw will be finalized over this weekend with the completion of the qualifying tournament.  Promising American junior Francis Tiafoe has accepted his first tournament qualifying wild card. Tiafoe, 16, is a talented young prodigy who rose to No. 2 in the world junior rankings this spring. Georgia Tech’s Nathan Rakitt and Alabama’s Becker O’Shaughnessey have also accepted qualifying wild cards. Rakitt, a Marietta native and All-ACC selectee, is competing again for the second year. O’Shaughnessey of Macon, Ga., led the Crimson Tide in singles wins (22) this season.

Herman Wood is in Atlanta covering the BB&T Open action from around the grounds for Tennis Panorama News, follow him on twitter at https://twitter.com/hermanewood.

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Rafael Nadal Dismisses Ivan Dodig at US Open

 

Nadal wins 89

(August 31, 2013) Rafael Nadal dismissed another opponent in straight sets on Saturday at the US Open and has now raised his hardcourt win streak to 18 with his 6-4, 6-3, 6-3 over Ivan Dodig in the third round.

The Spaniard ranked No. 2 in the world has lost just 21 games through three matches.

“I think I played a correct match today,” Nadal said.  “Happy 6‑4, 6‑3, 6‑3 against a player who came to this tournament winning against tough opponents like Davydenko and Verdasco.

“To be able to win against him in straight sets is great news.  I played better today than in the previous matches.  Always a positive thing.”

No. 38 Dodig, who had beaten Nadal once in Montreal in 2011, failed to convert either of the two break points he had against Nadal.

“My motivation is keep playing for a long time,” Nadal said.  “I don’t know if three, four, five, six years.  I don’t know that.  I go day by day.

“Important thing is be happy.  I’m happy today.”

“I feel very happy to be in the round of 16.  Be in fourth round is great news for me without losing a set.” Nadal will face-off against Philipp Kohlschreiber next.

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Top Seed Raonic Upset at Eastbourne

Milos Raonic

Milos Raonic

By Ros Satar

 

(June 19, 2013) The seagulls had much to squawk over on Wednesday, as another top seed tumbled out of the competition, after Agnieszka Radwanska’s exit at the hands of Jamie Hampton yesterday.

The next person on the train back to the Big Smoke was Milos Raonic, who came unstuck at the hands of Ivan Dodig 6-2, 7-6(7)

Raonic, by his own admission, started badly, and although he forced a tie-break in the second set, he couldn’t take advantage of some double-fault jitters from Dodig.

“Obviously the surface doesn’t make it easy,” he said, “I think it’s easier for me to figure out things on hard courts, per se, but I think it’s all on my shoulders.

“[I] can’t play much worse, so it’s only going to get better.”

10062012 China Open Li Na in press 2

Li Na, the highest seed left on the women’s draw had a walkover via Marion Bartoli’s withdrawal due to a viral illness.

“I started to feel a it this way on Monday,” she said in a statement.

“Each day it has gotten worse.

“After a few days of res, hopefully I will be back on the court to get ready for Wimbledon.”

Na found out while they were warming up so spent the time practicing, and musing over whether she could deviate from her favorite restaurant and try out some traditional fish and chips, when her coach is not watching.

“Maybe I will try one day even without the coach.”

Bernard Tomic Toronto

Bernard Tomic battled his way through a tough three-setter with Julien Benneteau.

Tomic regained his focus and registered his first back-to-back in since February.

“It’s been a Roller Coaster, I tell you.

“But now I’m happy I won these two matches, so it’s a lot of confidence.”

But the seagulls had reason to squawk their disappointment as the remaining Brits in the women’s draw all exited.

Caroline Wozniacki

First up, Laura Robson put up a better fight against Caroline Wozniacki a couple of weeks after facing her in the first round at Roland-Garros.

Her score line was slightly better – Wozniacki defeated her in straight sets 6-4, 6-4 (it was 6-3, 6-2 in France), but it could still have been a winnable match for the British No. 1.

“Today there were a lot of points where I set everything up and did all the right things and then just missed the last forehand,” Robson said.

Robson also found herself perhaps shocking the dentures off the typical Eastbourne populous with a few words of earthy Anglo-Saxon, picked up by the on-court BBC microphones.

 

Heather Watson

Heather Watson

Next up, and on their way to London was Heather Watson, who lost a topsy-turvy three-setter against Elena Vesnina.

She admitted that it was not necessarily a physical issue, still on her comeback after recovering rom glandular fever.

“I didn’t have much focus, and I thought it was a good opportunity wasted.

I’ve just got to sweep that one under the rug, get back on the practice court, work hard and make sure it’s a good week next week.”

These half-on half-off days are becoming few and far between, and Watson said that she works with a sports psychologist (when she is in Florida), and may be overdue a visit.

baltachaJJA_1209-BaltachaFS

Elena Baltacha also dropped out of the draw in a grinding three-setter at the heat of the day (the ice-cream van did great trade today).

Baltacha has improved key areas in her game, and takes positives from every game she gets under her belt since coming back from a long injury lay off.

She had identified that the top players move well, and serve well – all elements she has worked to improve, crediting the LTA’s Louis Cayer who has focused on her how she sees herself as a player.

“I’ve realized I’m more skillful,” she said, “tweaking certain areas like my serve, understanding what I need to do in certain parts on the court, where I recover to, and certain movement patterns.”SimonCincy

The evening finished with a close tussle between Gilles Simon, who had been struggling with injury this week, and the new young British hope Kyle Edmund.

“Even though I’m looking at positives, I’m not like, Oh, I’m happy I lost.

“I’m disappointed I lost.”

Edmund pushed the world no. 16 to two tiebreak sets.

“I thought the first one was close and I played a pretty good tiebreak.

“The second one was a little bit sloppy at times.

“There were just some really long rallies towards the end, and, yeah, he just came out on top.”

British hopes still fly in the men’s doubles, along with the seagulls.

 

Ros Satar is a British Journalist- an IT journalist by day, and a sports journalist in all the gaps in between. She’s covering the AEGON International this week as media for Tennis Panorama News. Follow her tournament updates on twitter @TennisNewsTPN. She is the co-founder of Britwatch Sports (britwatchsports.com). Follow her personal twitter at @rfsatar.

AEGONInternational

AEGON INTERNATIONAL
Eastbourne, England
June 17-22, 2013
Grass/Outdoors

Results – Wednesday, June 19, 2013
WTA Singles – Second Round
(2/WC) Li Na (CHN) d. Marion Bartoli (FRA) w/o (viral illness)
Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) d. (3) Angelique Kerber (GER) 63 64
Yanina Wickmayer (BEL) d. (4) Petra Kvitova (CZE) 36 64 75
(5) Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) d. Laura Robson (GBR) 64 64
(6) Maria Kirilenko (RUS) d. (WC) Elena Baltacha (GBR) 46 64 63
Lucie Safarova (CZE) d. (WC) Samantha Stosur (AUS) 76(5) 63
Elena Vesnina (RUS) d. Heather Watson (GBR) 61 36 62
(Q) Jamie Hampton (USA) d. Hsieh Su-Wei (TPE) 64 76(2)

WTA Doubles – Quarterfinals
(1) Petrova/Srebotnik (RUS/SLO) d. Hsieh/Lucic-Baroni (TPE/CRO) 62 75
Niculescu/Zakopalova (ROU/CZE) d. (2) Huber/Mirza (USA/IND) 63 36 119 (Match TB)

WTA Doubles – First Round
(3) Groenefeld/Peschke (GER/CZE) d. (WC) Keothavong/Murray (GBR/GBR) 64 63

ATP Singles – Second Round
I Dodig (CRO) d [1] [WC] M Raonic (CAN) 62 76(7)
[2] G Simon (FRA) d [WC] K Edmund (GBR) 76(5) 76(3)
R Stepanek (CZE) d [3] P Kohlschreiber (GER) 75 63
F Lopez (ESP) d [4] J Monaco (ARG) 64 64
[7] A Seppi (ITA) d [Q] R Harrison (USA) 36 75 63
[8] F Fognini (ITA) d M Klizan (SVK) 67(6) 62 62
F Verdasco (ESP) d A Ramos (ESP) 64 60
B Tomic (AUS) d J Benneteau (FRA) 62 57 76(4)

ATP Doubles – Quarterfinals
[1] A Peya (AUT) / B Soares (BRA) d M Klizan (SVK) / M Matosevic (AUS) 64 75
J Murray (GBR) / J Peers (AUS) d [3] L Paes (IND) / R Stepanek (CZE) 16 63 10-5
[4] C Fleming (GBR) / J Marray (GBR) d [PR] E Butorac (USA) / A Ram (ISR) 75 76(2)
M Matkowski (POL) / F Nielsen (DEN) d P Hanley (AUS) / K Skupski (GBR) 75 76(3)

Order Of Play – Thursday, June 20, 2013

CENTRE COURT start 11:00 am
F Lopez (ESP) vs F Verdasco (ESP) – ATP

Not Before 1:00 PM
E Vesnina (RUS) vs [2] [WC] N Li (CHN) – WTA
E Makarova (RUS) vs [5] C Wozniacki (DEN) – WTA

Not Before 4:00 PM
B Tomic (AUS) vs [2] G Simon (FRA) – ATP
[4] C Fleming (GBR) / J Marray (GBR) vs M Matkowski (POL) / F Nielsen (DEN) – ATP

COURT 1 start 11:00 am
[Q] J Hampton (USA) vs L Safarova (CZE) – WTA
I Dodig (CRO) vs [8] F Fognini (ITA) – ATP
[7] A Seppi (ITA) vs R Stepanek (CZE) – ATP
[6] M Kirilenko (RUS) vs Y Wickmayer (BEL) – WTA
O Kalashnikova (GEO) / A Rosolska (POL) vs [3] A Groenefeld (GER) / K Peschke (CZE) – WTA

COURT 2 start 2:00 PM

Not Before 2:00 PM
[1] A Peya (AUT) / B Soares (BRA) vs J Murray (GBR) / J Peers (AUS) – ATP
[4] F Pennetta (ITA) / E Vesnina (RUS) vs H Chan (TPE) / L Safarova (CZE) – WTA – After Suitable Rest

 

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