Wawrinka Returns To Top 50 After Rotterdam Final Run

Switzerland’s Stanislas Wawrinka returns the ball to Japan’s Kei Nishikori during their Rotterdam ATP tournament tennis match, on February 16, 2019.
Koen van Weel / ANP / AFP

 

Stan Wawrinka returned to the world’s top 50 on Monday for the first time since last year’s French Open after his run to the final in Rotterdam.

The three-time Grand Slam champion is on the road back to his best after serious knee injuries and reached his first final last week since losing to Novak Djokovic at Roland Garros in 2017.

The 33-year-old Swiss was beaten in three sets by Gael Monfils, though, with the Frenchman climbing 10 spots to 23rd.

Wawrinka sits 41st in the rankings after a rise of 27 places.

ATP top 20

1. Novak Djokovic (SRB) 10,955 pts

2. Rafael Nadal (ESP) 8,320

3. Alexander Zverev (GER) 6,475

4. Juan Martin del Potro (ARG) 5,060

5. Kevin Anderson (RSA) 4,595

6. Kei Nishikori (JPN) 4,190 (+1)

7. Roger Federer (SUI) 4,100 (-1)

8. Dominic Thiem (AUT) 3,800

9. John Isner (USA) 3,225

10. Marin Cilic (CRO) 3,140

11. Karen Khachanov (RUS) 2,880

12. Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE) 2,805

13. Borna Coric (CRO) 2,605

14. Milos Raonic (CAN) 2,275

15. Daniil Medvedev (RUS) 2,230 (+1)

16. Fabio Fognini (ITA) 2,225 (-1)

17. Marco Cecchinato (ITA) 2,091 (+1)

18. Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP) 1,955 (-1)

19. Diego Schwartzman (ARG) 1,940

20. Nikoloz Basilashvili (GEO) 1,820

Selected:

41. Stan Wawrinka (SUI) 1,040 (+27)

Federer Chases History In Rotterdam With Return To Summit

(FILE PHOTO) Switzerland’s Roger Federer 
PETER PARKS / AFP

Roger Federer will target a return to the top of the rankings as the Rotterdam World Tennis tournament starts on Monday, with the Swiss aiming to become the oldest number one player in ATP history.

The test begins at the Ahoy stadium when the 36-year-old, who claimed his 20th Grand Slam title a fortnight ago in Melbourne, returns to the Dutch port city for the first time since 2013.

Top seed Federer starts in the first round against a qualifier in an event he has won twice before, lifting the trophy in 2005 and 2012.

Should he reach the semi-finals, Federer would pass Rafael Nadal to take over the world’s top ranking.

But his quarter-final opponent could well be long-time friend Stan Wawrinka, seeded fifth as he comes back from 2017 knee surgery.

Federer lies just 155 points behind the injured Nadal in the standings, with a possible 180 points available for making the last four in Rotterdam.

The Swiss would surpass Andre Agassi, who held the top spot in 2003 aged 33 years and 131 days.

The evergreen Federer has repeatedly said he has no intention of stopping in the foreseeable future, but realises that maintaining his longevity requires his trademark precise planning, of which the decision to compete in Rotterdam is the latest example.

“I’ve won three slams now in 12 months. I can’t believe it myself. I just got to keep a good schedule, stay hungry, then maybe good things can happen.

“I don’t think age is an issue, per se. It’s just a number,” he said after winning the Melbourne title for a sixth time.

“But I need to be very careful in my planning, really decide beforehand what are my goals, what are my priorities. I think that’s what’s going to dictate how successful I will be.”

Out to stop the Federer progress will be second seed Grigor Dimitrov, winner of the London year-end showpiece in November and an Australian Open quarter-finalist.

“The more top players, the better it is,” Dimitrov said of Federer’s presence. “You want to play the top players in the clutch matches.

“That’s what I’m here for – to compete, it’s why we play tennis.”

Dimitrov faces Japan’s Yuichi Sugita in the first round, while rising German Alexander Zverev takes on Spanish veteran David Ferrer.

Belgium’s David Goffin is seeded fourth ahead of Wawrinka. 2014 champion Tomas Berdych is sixth and Frenchman Lucas Pouille stands seventh.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the defending champion, injured a hamstring in Saturday’s Montpellier semi-finals and will be unable to take his place in the field, while Nick Kyrgios was forced out by an elbow problem.

AFP

Mourinho Tasks Manchester United To Impress In Feyenoord Clash

Mourinho, Manchester United, FeyenoordManchester United Coach, Jose Mourinho, has directed his squad to impress against Feyenoord in Thursday’s Europa League tie.

The club website said the Portuguese made the call after he proposed he would make changes for the clash.

Ten of the 20-man squad could register their first starts of the season in Rotterdam and the manager has challenged the fringe men to stake their claims.

“With all the years I have as a manager, I know only one way to select players which is performance.

“Perform and you play, it is as simple as that.

“Now some of the boys can really compete for the positions because when they are on the pitch, they can show how good they are,” Mourinho said at his pre-match press conference.

Mourinho has rested Red Devils captain, Wayne Rooney, saying he had played every game since the start of the season.

Rotterdam Coach Praises Super Eagles

Rotterdam FC coach Michel Vonk says he is impressed with the attacking style of the Super Eagles after his side lost by a lone goal in a warm-up match against the country’s senior national team.

The team shrugged off an unimpressive outing against Cape Verde and beat the Sparta Rotterdam in a game played behind closed doors in Faro Portugal.

The eagles attacked non-stop and were rewarded when Emenike put them ahead, at the end of a perfect Mikel Obi pass in the 14th minute.

He was however critical of the way the eagles failed to convert on the numerous chances they created and cautioned that the team must learn to convert their changes at the Nations Cup.

Ejide Billed To Make AFCON 2013

The Super Eagles camp will be full of so much relieve now as the Nigeria medical team reported that injured goalkeeper Austin Ejide will gain full recovery from his thigh injury in two weeks, which was seen as a major setback for the squad.

Austin Ejide who mounted the goalpost for the Super Eagles in a friendly against Cape Verde ahead of the AFCON 2013 got injured during this game which ended in a 0-0 draw can be rest assured to make the nations cup 2013 taking place in South Africa.

The medical report coming from the medical team with the squad in Faro has indicated that the thigh injury which the player sustained will heal in eight days but the player has also been given some time off the training pitch so he can be back to full recovery and join the squad for full training after wards.

The Chief Coach of the Super Eagles; Stephen Keshi said Ejide will be fully fit for the opening clash of the Super Eagles come January 21 but he is however standing by Daniel Akpenyi in camp as a possible replacement for Ejide if plans change.

“In fact, he should be ready for our opening Group C game against Burkina Faso on January 21.

“The doctor has explained that he has started his recovery therapy already and in four days, before we leave Portugal for South Africa, we should have a progress report on whether he has improved or not.

“If we have any negatives we may be forced to make a change but we don’t expect that. However we are still keeping Daniel Akpeyi in camp to forestall any unforeseen circumstance”, he said.