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Melzer, Jurgen

11.08.2020 - 09:06 Uhr
atptour.com

Leander Paes has enjoyed success on the ATP Tour for more than two decades. According to some of the world's best doubles players, one of the major reasons why is his world-class feel."He has the best touch I’ve ever seen in my life," said World No. 8 Filip Polasek.Feel is a major weapon on the doubles court. The players who excel in that area of the game are able to escape bad positions mid-point and turn the rally in their favour. For years, players have put Paes in tough spots at net. Where many players would struggle to put a volley back into play, the Indian legend has managed to hit incredible reflex volleys and surprise opponents with stunning drop volleys.Which other doubles players have sensational feel? In this edition of ATPTour.com's 'Ultimate Doubles Player' series, doubles stars share their opinion and explain their choice.Leander Paes“He’s been a benchmark in doubles for a long time... When he was in his prime, he was an amazing athlete. His hands and reactions were cat-like. It didn’t really matter if you nailed the ball at him, he would still just do what he wanted up there.” - Robert Lindstedt“He has very good touch and feel. You can see how many volleys he hits short, cross, short. It doesn’t matter when he’s at the net. He has such feel in the hands. That’s why he was of course one of the best doubles players.” - Marcelo Melo“It’s amazing what these guys can do with their hands. You have a feeling you may have an advantage in a situation, but all of a sudden they come up with a shot you’re not really expecting and they produce it very well. They are always making points with it and doing it again and again. Sometimes it gets hard to accept how they make some great volleys and put you in tough positions.” - Filip PolasekPurav Raja“He’s a great player at the net. You can hit it as hard as you want at him and he’s somehow able to take all the pace off of it and deaden the ball. He can hit drop shots on balls that nobody else can, especially [using] angles from the net. He’s just a tough guy when he gets up close.” - Rajeev Ram“Purav Raja’s got unbelievable hands. When he’s at the net you hit a hard shot at him and he just hits a drop shot on everything. He’s the only player who does that.” - Joe SalisburyMarcelo Melo“When it comes to being able to reflex the tennis ball and have good feel for where the ball is going to be at any given time, someone who we always have to plan for is Marcelo Melo... He’s also got very fast hands, so you have to be sure that when you’re finishing through him, you’re quite accurate with your finish. If you combine his reach with his speed, it’s frustrating how often the ball comes back when he’s up there at net. He’s found a way to win points that the rest of us don’t win as often.” - Raven KlaasenJuan Sebastian Cabal“He’s very good with his hands around the net. He can flick lobs from the back. He can hit little dinks, little touches around you, and he has extremely quick hands. He’s very good on all surfaces. You would think he’s good on clay courts, hard courts. He won Wimbledon last year with Robert Farah, showing he’s an all-court player. His feel to me is off the charts.” - Neal SkupskiJean-Julien Rojer“He’s a very crafty player. Someone who doesn’t use power necessarily because he’s got the ability to create angles that many others don’t have and he uses the full range of the court. I think he’s another player who’s very good under pressure, someone who’s been at the top of the game for a long time. He’s someone who when you play against him, you try to avoid getting into those small battles around the net, because he does have that ability to make you go the wrong way and he can put the ball over you, around you, and if he wants to, through you.” - Ken SkupskiRajeev Ram“He’s got good feel, very soft hands. He spends a lot of time with the ball and is always very composed when hitting his shots.” - Jamie MurrayNicolas Mahut“He has the best feel around the net, especially on his backhand volley. It’s very touchy and whenever he needs to play short balls, he’s very good at it.” - Jurgen Melzer

09.08.2020 - 20:07 Uhr
atptour.com

Editor's Note: ATPTour.com is resurfacing features to bring fans closer to their favourite players and tournaments during the current suspension in tournament play. This story was originally published on 2 August 2018.It took 539 tour-level main draw matches for brothers Alexander Zverev and Mischa Zverev to finally meet on the ATP Tour. So when the brothers posed for a picture after the coin flip at the 2018 Citi Open, the emotions of the moment truly set in."We walked back, and the crowd was cheering, I almost had tears in my eyes," Mischa told Tennis Channel. "I was like, 'This feels so special. I wonder what my parents are thinking right now?' I needed a few seconds to actually bite my tongue and focus. To me, that was incredibly special."Once the match got going, it was ‘Sascha Zverev', as chair umpire Mohamed Fitouhi referred to him during the match, who beat his older brother 6-3, 7-5 to reach the quarter-finals in Washington, D.C. in the first tour-level meeting between brothers since the 2016 Generali Open, where Gerald Melzer beat Jurgen Melzer.The Zverev brothers had met on two previous occasions at the professional level — in qualifying of an ATP Challenger Tour event in Dallas six years ago and in qualifying of the 2014 Fayez Sarofim & Co. U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championship. But it was the 21-year-old Zverev who clinched their first FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting after one hour, 51 minutes."[It was] very special. As Mischa said, who can say you played your brother in one of the biggest tournaments in the world?" Sascha said. "It was unbelievably special. I hope this is not the last time. I hope we play a final one day or something like that. So hopefully [this was] the first of many."And while the stats show that Sascha saved two of three break points he faced while breaking his older brother three times, the memory they will retain came after Mischa sprinted forward and hit a drop shot into the net on match point. The brothers made a lengthy embrace on Sascha's side of the court.Sascha, the top seed, is the reigning champion in Washington, D.C. He is also the defending titlist at the Rogers Cup, which means he is defending a massive 1,500 ATP Rankings points between this week and next. Zverev is at a career-high World No. 3, and he has done well to back up his breakthrough five-title 2017. The 21-year-old clinched his third ATP Masters 1000 triumph at the Mutua Madrid Open, and also reached the final at the Miami Open presented by Itau and the Internazionali BNL d'Italia.Zverev will next face seventh seed Kei Nishikori, who defeated ninth seed Denis Shapovalov 7-6(1), 6-3. The Canadian had won their only previous FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting earlier this year on the hard courts of Acapulco, but the Japanese star evened their series with more consistent play from the baseline throughout the match. Nishikori is into his fifth tour-level quarter-final of the season, as he continues his comeback from a right wrist injury. The 2015 Washington, D.C. champion's clash against Zverev will be a rematch of the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters semi-finals, which Nishikori won in three sets to become the first Japanese player to reach the final of the event. The pair also played in the Citi Open semi-finals one year ago, with the German coming out on top. "I've got to do something better," Nishikori said. "I'll try to do my best, and see what happens."Did You Know?The Zverev brothers were opponents for just a moment. Later the same evening, they completed their rain-delayed first-round doubles match, ousting top seeds Oliver Marach and Mate Pavic. .videoWrapper { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; /* 16:9 */ padding-top: 25px; height: 0; } .videoWrapper iframe { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; }

28.07.2020 - 06:58 Uhr
atptour.com

In the ATP’s ‘Ultimate Doubles Player’ series, top doubles players only agreed unanimously on who has the best shot for one stroke or skill: Lukasz Kubot being the best aggressive returner. The Pole strikes fear into opponents with the way in which he attacks returns.“There are guys going pedal to the metal like a Lukasz Kubot, Filip Polasek as well,” former World No. 1 Jamie Murray said. “It’s go big or go home. I’ve faced a few Kubi bombs in my time, as I’m sure my partners have as well.”When a returner goes after the ball, it could instantly turn the point in his team’s favour. Not only do net players have almost no time to react, but the server could be forced to hit a low volley off a rocket return from deep in the court. The world's best say Kubot takes that to the extreme. Below, they explain how and why he is so good at it.Rajeev Ram“I feel like my serve is one of my strengths and when I step up to the line against Lukasz and he’s having a good day, you just feel like there’s nowhere to serve where he can’t hit a winner. He can hit a forehand winner or backhand winner and it comes at 100 miles per hour every single time. It feels like it comes faster than your serve goes sometimes. It’s just a really intimidating feeling, because you feel like if you hang your serve a little bit, he’s going to put your partner in the hospital.”Raven Klaasen“The way he returns is to go overly aggressive and to almost start and end the point at the same time. If he connects, it’s probably going to be on his racquet and he takes your racquet out of your hand a little bit. To be quite honest, if you put it in the wrong spot, your net partner could be in a heap of trouble up there. It’s pretty scary.”Marcelo Melo (Kubot's partner)“I have to say Kubi because if I don’t say anything for Kubi he’s going to kill me. Kubi’s very good on return. I will pick Kubi as [my] aggressive [returner] because when he’s on, everybody knows how dangerous he is. He can return cross-court, down the line. Players are normally afraid to make the volley or be on the net when he returns.”Jurgen Melzer“When he’s on, you never know where to serve, because bombs are coming back on both sides. It’s very difficult to play him.”Joe Salisbury“He’s definitely got the most dangerous return. I think when he’s on, you feel like there’s nothing you can do with your serve. You have to hit 130 miles per hour on the line to get it past him. Whenever he makes one, he’s winning the point.” Jamie Murray“You know it’s coming and a lot of times he might miss, but it’s that fear factor, and especially on a big point. When you feel like it can be totally taken out of your hands with just one swing of the racquet, that’s not a good feeling to have.”Filip Polasek“He can hit the ball by far the fastest and when he connects with the ball, it’s really tough to have the answer for it. When he’s on fire, he’s definitely the best returner.”Ken Skupski“When he’s feeling it, when he’s trying to be aggressive, in the big moments he’s looking to influence the point the most. He is the guy that I think is very difficult to guarantee if you put a big serve in that he’s not going to come out swinging and go for broke and potentially come up with a huge shot and take the point away from you.” Neal Skupski“He takes good, big cuts at the ball and it just puts you under pressure straight away. He’s very intimidating.”

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It turns out that even though Roger Federer is best with a tennis racquet, that’s not the only stick he is effective with.The Swiss joined fellow ATP Tour players and NHL stars for a hockey exhibition in Toronto at the 2014 Rogers Cup. Some of the hockey stars in attendance were Phil Kessel and Jason Spezza. Federer was clutch under pressure, smacking the ball into the net as time expired.“This is all about fun and it’s great fun doing this kind of stuff,” Federer said. “Getting hockey and tennis together on a centre court, which they built especially for this hockey promo, I think is great. I had a lot of fun meeting all the guys, they’re so relaxed. That I scored doesn’t matter one bit, but it was definitely a lot of fun.”Federer has collected NHL jerseys since he was a kid, saying he has “a nice collection”. But did he have potential on the ice?“I can’t skate at all, actually. A little bit, but I can’t stop, so I have to go in circles,” Federer said. “I used to play a little bit of ‘Unihockey’, we call it in Europe. It’s with a plastic stick, [using a] plastic ball with holes inside. It’s much lighter. That’s what I did for warm-ups for tennis back in the day.”The hockey stars paid their respects to Federer by wearing hats with his ‘RF’ logo, which the Swiss felt honoured by.“I’ve always been a big hockey fan,” Federer said. “So for them to put on the ‘RF’ hat, of course I appreciate it.”

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