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Updated: 3 days 9 hours ago

Preview: Wednesday's QF Matches

Tue, 01/24/2017 - 9:25pm

Wednesday's Australian Open quarter-final winners will receive the same prize – a semi-final berth – but just how special that last-four appearance will feel should vary for all four players taking the court on Day 10 Down Under.

No. 11 David Goffin (BEL) v. No. 15 Grigor Dimitrov (BUL)

FedEx ATP Head2Head: Dimitrov leads 1-0

For Goffin and Dimitrov, the next round is almost brand-new territory. Bulgaria's Dimitrov has reached the semi-finals at a Grand Slam only one prior time – 2014 Wimbledon. Goffin will be going for his first semi-final showing. The Belgian fell during his only other Grand Slam quarter-final appearance, 2016 Roland Garros.

Dimitrov won their only prior FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting, a four-set win that also took place on hard courts at a Grand Slam – 2014 US Open. The 25 year old has looked on target on the Australian hard courts as well.

Dimitrov is 9-0 this season, having beaten three Top 10 players – then-No. 8 Dominic Thiem, No. 3 Milos Raonic and No. 5 Kei Nishikori – to win the Brisbane International presented by Suncorp earlier this month. If Dimitrov beats Goffin, he'll match the best win streak of his career. In 2014, he also won 10 consecutive matches at The Queen's Club and Wimbledon.

“I feel good right now. At the same time [I'm] also humbled with the results I have had so far. But now you enter into a different phase of the tournament, so I'm just focused on that,” Dimitrov said.

Goffin, as he often does, has gone under the radar at the season's first Grand Slam. But the soft-spoken right-hander has quietly been producing big win after big win. He's fought off two of the game's biggest servers, young American Reilly Opelka and Croatian Ivo Karlovic. In the fourth round, Goffin earned revenge against Thiem, who had beaten Goffin in the Roland Garros quarter-finals last year.

“I knew that I had the level. The key was to play my best tennis in the match and not only during practice,” Goffin said. “But I'm doing that more often than in the past. That's why I'm more confident and I win some more matches.”

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No. 3 Milos Raonic (CAN) v. No. 9 Rafael Nadal (ESP)

FedEx ATP Head2Head: Nadal leads 6-2

Nadal has waited nearly two years to get back to a Grand Slam quarter-final. The left-hander last played in a Grand Slam last-eight match at the 2015 Roland Garros, when he fell to Novak Djokovic in straight sets. Beat Raonic and Nadal will play in his 24th Grand Slam semi-final.

The 2009 Australian Open champion will try to stay aggressive against Raonic, who will look for every opportunity to attack. The Spaniard leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry, but Raonic has won two of their past three meetings, including earlier this season in Brisbane.

“He's an opponent that makes you feel that you're playing with a lot of pressure all the time because his serve is huge and he's playing very aggressive from the baseline,” Nadal said. “I need to be very focused with my serve and play aggressive. If I am not playing aggressive, then I am dead, because he plays aggressive.”

Nadal might be more familiar with the Grand Slam quarter-final stage, but Raonic has been there more recently. Just last year, the Canadian ascended to the Wimbledon final and, in Australia, he made the semi-finals, falling to Andy Murray in five sets.

With Murray and Djokovic out, Raonic, the third seed, is the highest remaining seed and likely feels this could be a golden opportunity to capture his maiden Grand Slam title. Raonic was asked to compare his run in Melbourne last year to his Australian success of 2017.

“I think I did it with a lot more conviction this year than I did last year, personally as well. I was playing great this time last year, but I didn't know where I was coming from from the year before,” Raonic said. “Coming together now, putting in a great finish to the season last year, playing what I feel is some of my best tennis right now, it's just a different circumstance, but both pretty special.”

Roddick On Federer: 'He's Lucky I Retired'

Tue, 01/24/2017 - 6:28pm

“I beat him the last time. He's lucky I retired,” Andy Roddick joked in Melbourne on Monday during a press conference to promote his induction into the International Tennis Hall of Fame. The former World No. 1 was referring to Roger Federer, whom he defeated in three sets at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 in Miami in 2012, their last tour-level meeting.

When told in press what Roddick said, the Swiss replied: “We joke a lot, the two of us… If I'm not wrong, he won the last match we played against each other and I won the first, so everything in between is a blur.”

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That blur included some very memorable clashes. Federer maintains a winning record against Roddick (21-3), but the American still takes it in stride.

“It's weird because you share history with someone,” the 34-year-old said. “It becomes a part of your definition for a long time. I'm happy that a part of my definition is as respectful, as classy and as good of a human as Roger. It would be tougher for me to hear if the person that ruined me on court for a decade didn't have the moral fiber of someone like Roger.”

While Roddick prepares to be cemented in Hall of Fame history this summer, Federer continues to battle on the tennis court, reaching the semi-finals of the Australian Open Monday evening.

Read: Federer To Meet Wawrinka After Ending Zverev's Run

“What Roger's doing and maintaining at 35 years old... I know everyone talks about it,” said Roddick. “Everyone here is going to talk about it in every story they write for the rest of this tournament, and I still don't know if that's enough. It's pretty amazing.”

Federer returned the praise, on Twitter as well as in his post-match press conference.

“I'm very psyched for him. I think Andy's a great guy, enormous tennis player,” said Federer. “So well-deserved. I'm always happy to see old friends that I can even call 'Hall of Famers' now. It's very cool for him. I'm super happy.”

A boss, A legend, A father, A husband, A Rod. Congrats on the hall of fame @andyroddick, so happy for you pic.twitter.com/xPQuOvaH01

 

Roger Federer (@rogerfederer) January 24, 2017

 

 

Bryans Close In On 10th Australian Open Final 2017

Tue, 01/24/2017 - 6:23pm
Watch highlights as the Bryan brothers beat No. 9 seeds Ivan Dodig and Marcel Granollers for a place in the Australian Open semi-finals. Video courtesy Tennis Australia. Getty Images photo.

Confident Wawrinka Beats Tsonga In 2017 Aussie Open Qfs

Tue, 01/24/2017 - 6:22pm
Watch highlights as Stan Wawrinka beats Jo-Wilfried Tsonga during the 2017 Australian Open quarter-finals. Video courtesy Tennis Australia. Getty Images photo.

Federer Gets Past Zverev In 2017 Australian Open QFs

Tue, 01/24/2017 - 5:36pm
Watch highlights as Roger Federer beats Mischa Zverev in the quarter-finals of the 2017 Australian Open. Video courtesy Tennis Australia. Getty Images photo.

Behind Sock's Steady Climb

Tue, 01/24/2017 - 5:18pm
ATP World Tour Uncovered presented by Peugeot goes behind the scenes with Jack Sock, who recently cracked the Top 20 of the Emirates ATP Rankings and wants to reach the Top 10 in 2017. Getty Images photo.

Down On Serve, Stan Shows The Way Out

Tue, 01/24/2017 - 4:14pm

Would you rather be down 0/30 or 30/40 when serving? Would you rather be two points away from losing serve while trailing your opponent by two points, or just a single point away from being broken but also just one point away from getting back to even?

The feel and position of these two challenging point scores for the server seem different on the surface, but statistically, they are basically one in the same. An Infosys ATP Beyond The Numbers analysis of the Top 10 in the Emirates ATP Rankings during the 2016 season uncovers the hidden parallels of 0/30 and 30/40 at the elite level of our sport.

Top 10 2016 Season – Percentage Chance of Holding Serve

0/30 = 49.7%

30/40 = 51%

Holding serve when trailing 0/30 or 30/40 is basically a 50-50 proposition for the Top 10. Holding from 30/40 is a slightly higher possibility, at 51 per cent, while holding from 0/30 slightly trails, at 49.7 per cent.

Top 10 2016 Season

No. Player Holding From 0/30 Holding From 30/40Andy Murray 45.5% 50.9% 2  Novak Djokovic 53.9% 53.8% 3  Milos Raonic 51.4% 52.9% 4  Stan Wawrinka 61.4% 57.1% 5  Kei Nishikori 50.5% 52.8% 6 Marin Cilic  47.9% 50.9% 7 Gael Monfils 51.2% 47.9% 8 Dominic Thiem 44.9% 44.5% 9 Rafael Nadal 47.8% 45.4% 10 Tomas Berdych 42.9% 53.2%

Performance at both point scores varied considerably in the Top 10, with World No. 4 Stan Wawrinka clearly dominating in 2016 when these specific scorelines arrived in his service games.

From 0/30, Wawrinka held 61.4 per cent of the time, which was 7.5 percentage points clear of second-placed Novak Djokovic, at 53.9 per cent. The only other players to be above 50 per cent holding from 0/30 were Milos Raonic, Gael Monfils and Kei Nishikori.

Interestingly, some players held at almost identical percentages from both scorelines, while performance greatly varied from others. Tomas Berdych’s hold percentage jumped dramatically, from 42.9 per cent at 0/30 to 53.2 percent at 30/40. World No. 1 Andy Murray also preferred the 30/40 scoreline, jumping 5.4 percentage points, while Marin Cilic similarly rose three percentage points from 0/30 to 30/40.

And then there were others, such as Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem, who were the opposite. They performed better at 0/30 than 30/40.

Top 10 2016 Season – Point Score Totals

Even though the hold percentages were basically even, the Top 10 had to navigate a 30/40 scoreline substantially more often than 0/30.

0/30 = 895 times (41%)

30/40 = 1302 times (59%)

Understanding the percentages of holding serve from specific scorelines in a game can highlight where a player excels, both physically and mentally, and where energy needs to be focused in order to improve.

Emirates ATP Rankings Update 23 January 2017

Tue, 01/24/2017 - 12:47pm
See how the Emirates ATP Rankings look on 23 January 2017, midway through the Australian Open

Down On Serve, Stan Shows The Way Out

Tue, 01/24/2017 - 12:46pm
Infosys ATP Beyond The Numbers analysis of the Top 10 in the Emirates ATP Rankings looks at how the elite perform at 0/30 and 30/40. Getty Images photo.

Under Pressure On Serve At 0 30 And 30 40

Tue, 01/24/2017 - 12:46pm
Infosys ATP Beyond The Numbers analysis of the Top 10 in the Emirates ATP Rankings looks at how the elite perform at 0/30 and 30/40.

Australian Open 2017 Scene Set

Tue, 01/24/2017 - 12:46pm
ATP World Tour Uncovered presented by Peugeot takes you behind the scenes at the Australian Open, including an interview with Denis Istomin, who beat Novak Djokovic.

Bryans Close In On 10th Australian Open Final

Tue, 01/24/2017 - 12:07pm

Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan are one match away from reaching their 30th Grand Slam doubles championship final (16-13) and their 10th title match at the Australian Open (6-3).

The third-seeded twins, who are bidding to lift their 17th major trophy, knocked out No. 9 seeds Ivan Dodig and Marcel Granollers 7-6(5), 5-7, 6-4 in two hours and 26 minutes for a place in the semi-finals. Dodig and Granollers hit 73 winners, but the Bryans held their nerve on serve. The Americans have an outstanding 112-54 record in tour-level finals.

The Bryans go on to face Spaniards Pablo Carreno Busta and Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, who had a battle to overcome Kiwis Alex Bolt and Bradley Mousley 7-6(4), 4-6, 6-3 in two hours and 13 minutes. Carreno Busta and Garcia-Lopez reached the 2016 US Open final (l. to Jamie Murray/Bruno Soares).

On Wednesday, top seeds Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut meet Australians Marc Polmans and Andrew Whittington. Fourth seeds and last year’s ATP Finals champions Henri Kontinen and John Peers face Australians Sam Groth and Chris Guccione.

Stars Reflect On Federer At Australian Open 2017

Tue, 01/24/2017 - 10:33am
Former ATP World Tour stars Todd Woodbridge, Thomas Johansson, Mark Philippoussis and Pat Cash look at the chances of Roger Federer at the 2017 Australian Open.

Federer To Meet Wawrinka After Ending Zverev's Run

Tue, 01/24/2017 - 9:53am

Four-time former champion Roger Federer set up a blockbuster semi-final at the Australian Open against 2014 titlist and fellow Swiss Stan Wawrinka on Tuesday night.

Federer, the No. 17 seed, ended the dream run of Andy Murray’s conqueror, Mischa Zverev, 6-1, 7-5, 6-2 at Melbourne Park for a place in his 41st Grand Slam championship semi-final (and his 13th at the Australian Open).

“I'm pleased with the way I started the match,” said Federer. “Right away, again, I got off to a great start against him, as I did against him a few years ago. After that, naturally everything's easier. The second set was definitely a key to shut it down for him. It was good that I was able to break back after he played a good game there. Then in the third set, I think, I was rolling. It was a nice match. I think I played great. Mischa had a wonderful tournament, so well done to him.”

The 35-year-old Federer leads Wawrinka, the fourth seed, 18-3 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series. Pete Sampras, who won the final match of his career in the 2002 US Open final, was the last No. 17 seed to capture a major title.

"If someone would have told me I'd play in the semis against Stan, never would I have called that," said Federer, who returned from a six-month injury lay-off at the start of 2017. "For Stan, yes, but not for me. I honestly didn't even know a few days ago that he was in my section of the draw or I'm in his section. I figured it out eventually that he was playing on my days, but I never really looked in that quarter of the draw because that was just too unrealistic for me.”

Federer took advantage of early nerves for 29-year-old Zverev by winning the first five games – and losing seven points. The first set lasted 20 minutes.

World No. 50 Zverev regrouped and covered the net to keep Federer on the back foot, but, ultimately, was left to rue a missed volley that could have edged him closer to a 4-1 lead. The doubts started to set in and Federer sensed his opportunity, fighting back to break to love for a 6-5 lead.

Zverev kept battling, but his resistance faltered in the fifth game and a 26-point seventh game of the third set. Federer hit 65 winners overall, committing just 13 unforced errors in the one-hour and 32-minute encounter.

“I think he did not really let me play,” said Zverev. “It's more like his shots were a little bit different than Andy's (Murray). It was definitely hard to read where he was going, where he's returning. He just has so many more options. How he can, like, outplay me or pass me. It was different, definitely different.”

Federer is the oldest player to reach a Grand Slam semi-final since Jimmy Connors (39 years, six days) reached the last four at the 1991 US Open. Federer is now 85-13 at the Australian Open – the most match wins he has amassed at any of the four majors.

Wawrinka beat French No. 12 seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in straight sets earlier in the day.

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Confident Wawrinka Cruises Past Tsonga Into SFs

Tue, 01/24/2017 - 7:07am

Fourth seed Stan Wawrinka remains on course to add to his 2014 Australian Open title by cruising past No. 12 seed and 2008 finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-6(2), 6-4, 6-3 in two hours and 14 minutes on Tuesday. It was the 250th hard-court match win of his career.

“It’s not easy to play against him,” said Wawrinka, during an on-court interview. “He’s a strong player. I think conditions were quite fast today [and] it was a bit windy. So not easy to control. I started to move a bit better, to be a bit more aggressive from the first shot and I think that’s made the difference.”

The Swiss will next play his Swiss compatriot Roger Federer, the No. 17 seed and four-time former champion, in the semi-finals.

“It's going to be a great match, for sure,” said Wawrinka. “Last time, I think, I got killed in US Open [in 2015, losing 6-4, 6-3, 6-1]. “He was playing way better than me, moving really well, really aggressive on the court. So it's going to be interesting match. He's playing so well since the beginning of the tournament… It's great to see him back at that level.

“When I step on the court, it doesn't matter who I play, I know what I have to do if I want to win. Against Roger, it's always special, because he's so good. He's the best player of all time. He has an answer for everything. But I managed to beat him in a Grand Slam [2015 Roland Garros quarter-finals], so we'll see.”

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Wawrinka came through a tight first set, but it was Tsonga who clinched the first service break after 80 minutes for a 4-3 lead in the second set. But Wawrinka broke back immediately to love, capitalising on forehand errors. It was the start of a six-game run for the Swiss, who saved one break point at 4-2 in the third set. The 31 year old advanced to his eighth Grand Slam championship semi-final when Tsonga pushed a lob long. He is now 5-3 lifetime against the Frenchmen.

“I'm disappointed,” said Tsonga. “I wish I could have played a better match. I was not able to beat him today, because I was not enough good. That was the difference. He was a little bit better than me.

”It’s really a promising [start for me],” said Tsonga, when asked about his form at the tournament. “It's good for me to play a quarter-final. After what I did at the end of last year, it's still on the same level. But if I want to do better… Of course, I wish I could win today. I hope I will continue to learn for the next time.”

Roddick To Be Inducted Into Tennis Hall Of Fame

Tue, 01/24/2017 - 2:53am

Former World No. 1 Andy Roddick has been elected to receive the highest honour in tennis – induction into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

Of the honour, Roddick stated, “It's really special. I love this sport and I love being part of it. I'm moved to know that my presence in the sport will be forever part of tennis history, and I am just incredibly honoured to be inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame. I look forward to the induction ceremony in Newport in July.”

The American, in addition to being a former World No. 1, is also a US Open champion and a five-time ATP World Tour Masters 1000 titlist. Roddick held the No. 1 Emirates ATP Ranking for 13 weeks, and he was year-end No. 1 in 2003.

He finished the season in the Top 10 of the Emirates ATP Rankings for nine straight years (2002 - 2010). Roddick held rankings inside the Top 5 for 187 weeks during the course of his career.

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In 2003, he defeated Juan Carlos Ferrero to win the US Open title, closing out the match on three straight aces. He returned to the final in 2006, and he was also a three-time finalist at Wimbledon. Roddick won 32 singles tour-level titles.

The Nebraska native was a dedicated team member of the United States Davis Cup team for 10 years. In 2007, he was instrumental in leading the U.S. to defeat Russia for their 32nd Davis Cup victory.

Roddick is the founder of the Andy Roddick Foundation, a non-profit that is dedicated to offering enrichment programs for kids outside of the classroom to provide growth opportunities in literacy, STEM, art, and sports. Since retiring from the ATP World Tour, Roddick has stayed active in the sport, competing in WorldTeam Tennis and PowerShares Series events. He has also worked in broadcast for Fox Sports and the BBC.

Joining Roddick in the Hall of Fame Class of 2017 will be Kim Clijsters, a former WTA World No. 1, and Monique Kalkman-van den Bosch, a four-time Paralympic medalist in wheelchair tennis.

Additionally, two individuals will be inducted in the Contributor Category. Steve Flink, a distinguished tennis historian and journalist, has been elected for induction. Vic Braden, a ground-breaking tennis instructor who was among the first to apply sports science to his instructional tactics, will be inducted posthumously.

Tsonga Touched By Thank-You Note From Aussie Ball Girl

Tue, 01/24/2017 - 12:25am

Sometimes ATP World Tour professionals commit nice gestures and no one notices. Other times, they receive a touching thank-you letter that lets them know just how much they're appreciated.

During his second-round match at the 2016 Australian Open, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga stopped play and helped a tearful ball girl who had just been hit in the face by a ball. The Frenchman walked over to the girl, who was standing behind him, wrapped her arm around his and walked her off the court so she could receive help.

The gesture was lauded by journalists and on social media, and Tsonga was praised as a gentleman. “It's just normal. She was really in trouble and the eyes were a bit [teary]. It was just normal to help her to go out of the stadium. I hope she's going well now,” Tsonga said last year after the match, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

On Sunday, Tsonga shared the “Merci” note the ball girl, whose name is Giuliana, had sent to him. “Dear Mr Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, I wanted to take the opportunity to say thank you for helping me out on court during your round 2 match of the Australian Open 2016,” the letter begins. “I'm not sure if you remember me but I was the ballgirl you escorted off court. I would also like to take the opportunity to apologise for the times when you asked for the ball but I did not service it to you or acknowledge you.”

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Giuliana continued, explaining why she might have been off her game that day. “I had picked up a virus which I was unaware of and it caused me to become dizzy and lightheaded. This also affected my vision and hearing,” she wrote. “I apologise for not being able to perform my duties as a ballkid to the high standards that are expected.

“Thank you so much for the kindness that you showed me. I really appreciate that you were able to see that I needed some help and were kind enough to escort me off court.”

Giuliana concluded the note with a good-luck message to Tsonga, who plays Stan Wawrinka in the Australian Open quarter-finals on Tuesday. “Congratulations on making it to the next round. I wish you all the best for your upcoming games and I hope you are able to make it to the very end of the Australian Open!

“Thank-you again, from

“Giuliana AO Ballkid no. 180.”

Thank you very much for your letter Giuliana !!!

Preview: Tuesday's Australian Open QFs

Mon, 01/23/2017 - 10:27pm

Will Stan The Man take the battle of big hitters against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga? Can Roger wind back the clock once more and play vintage Federer tennis against his old-school foe, Mischa Zverev, who will try to keep points as precise as possible?

Tuesday's Australian Open quarter-final match-ups should feature two very different but equally as intriguing contests for fans. They'll also feature a bit of history. For only the second time in the Open Era, all eight Grand Slam quarter-finalists have lost two or more sets before their last-eight match-ups. The last time that happened was almost 45 years ago, at the 1972 US Open.

No. 4 Stan Wawrinka (SUI) v No. 12 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA)

FedEx ATP Head2Head: Wawrinka leads 4-3

In the first quarter-final on Rod Laver Arena, third seed Stan Wawrinka will try to reach the Australian Open semi-finals for the third time, all of which have come since 2014, when he won the Melbourne title for his first Grand Slam triumph.

Wawrinka has won four of his seven match-ups against Tsonga during their FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry, including all three of their Grand Slam meetings. But the trio of Grand Slam contests have come on clay in Paris, and the two haven't met on a hard court in 10 years (Metz, 2007).

“It's going to be just an interesting match,” Wawrinka said after rattling off some of Tsonga's second-week experience at the Aussie Open.

The 31-year-old Frenchman reached the semi-finals in 2010. He played in the last four in 2008 en route to his only Australian Open final, when he lost to Novak Djokovic. Tsonga will also be seeking personal revenge against Wawrinka as he's lost their past three meetings.

“It's going to be a good challenge,” Tsonga said. “He's playing really good. It's going to be important for me... to play my best level. I think I will be ready.”

No. 17 Roger Federer (SUI) v Mischa Zverev (GER)

FedEx ATP Head2Head: Federer leads 2-0

The second quarter-final on Rod Laver Arena will likely feature more precision than power when Roger Federer takes on the veteran Mischa Zverev. Federer has surprised nearly everyone, including himself, with his four-match win streak in Melbourne, a run that's included two Top 10 wins (Berdych, Nishikori). The Swiss icon is going for his 13th Australian Open semi-final, which would extend his Open-Era record of 12.

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The 35 year old has beaten Zverev during both of their FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings, but the two haven't played since 2013 – Federer won 6-0, 6-0 in Halle – and Zverev is producing the best tennis of his career right now. On Sunday, the left-hander upset top seed Andy Murray, charging the net 118 times and winning more than half of those points. Before that match, Murray had won 30 of his past 31 contests.

“He's feeling great. Probably feels the best he's ever felt on a tennis court. That's how I would feel after the win... against Murray,” Federer said. “It's going to be tough and different and tricky. That's my mindset.”

Read More: 10 Things To Know About Zverev

The German shouldn't feel any pressure during the quarter-final match. Two years ago, he was ranked No. 1,067 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, and, by reaching the quarter-finals in Melbourne, he's already achieved his best result at a Grand Slam. “Definitely the best match of my life,” he said after beating Murray.

Many fans have latched on to Zverev's comeback story. But there's little doubt Federer, who's going for his 18th Grand Slam title, will still be the crowd favourite.

“I've been always super welcomed here,” Federer said. “I think it helps to come back here for almost the 20th year now. They got to know me. I had a chance to speak to them in the post match or in the press. Got to meet a lot of people playing in this country. It clearly has been a benefit.”

Dimitrov Dishes On Tennis Love

Mon, 01/23/2017 - 10:26pm

Let’s talk about falling in love.

“What are you referring to? Go ahead, say it to me. It's okay,” Grigor Dimitrov said with a smile in Interview Room 1 in Melbourne on Monday. The Bulgarian had all the answers when defeating Denis Istomin to reach the Australian Open quarter-finals, but in his post-match press conference, he was faced with an atypical question.

“When I was young, I liked very much the young girls,” said the interviewer. “Sometimes I got distracted. So I'd like to know if you get distracted, too.”

“Let me think about it,” the No. 15 seed said with a laugh. “That was the greatest thing I've heard, man. Oh, wow… I obviously have a soft spot for that. On a serious note, I always try to keep whatever else outside the court.

"I think when I was younger, I was struggling to differentiate love from a personal love or a tennis love or whatever else. There was time, a period, that I wasn't sure how to deal with both things in the same time... I don't want to say I've learned from my mistakes, but I've learned myself a little bit better. I think that helps me. Hopefully it's going to help me for the future through any kind of falling-in-love stuff.”

Dimitrov, who remains unbeaten at 9-0 in 2017, will next face No. 11 seed David Goffin. He looks to continue his positive momentum so far this year, which saw him win his fifth ATP World Tour title at the Brisbane International presented by Suncorp (d. Nishikori). The 25 year old reflected on his relationship with tennis after reaching the last eight at Melbourne Park for the second time (also 2014).

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“I fell in love with tennis many years ago,” he said. “It was just a time that I wasn't in a really good mental place. I was, I don't want say grumpy, but there were things going on around [me]. I just needed to find that inspiration again. I needed to find that way of playing and enjoying again, loving again.

“So my best friend was tennis. 'The person,' I was counting on… That's why I said I fell in love with the game again. It gives me the excitement. It gives me all those butterflies every day coming out to a match. I count [on] those moments, and I appreciate them way more than actually some of the wins or anything like that.”

Based on Dimitrov’s current run in Melbourne, it seems like tennis is also feeling the love and reciprocating.

Mischa Zverev's Long Road Back

Mon, 01/23/2017 - 3:46pm