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Daniil Medvedev makes a bold statement with ATP Finals crown | Tennis News

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“Nice trophy,” Daniil Medvedev said, admiring the silverware in his hands, “but it’s heavy”. Unlike his light but lethal game.
Medvedev, the world No.4, beat the Austrian sledgehammer Dominic Thiem 4-6, 7-6 (7-4), 6-4 to claim the biggest title of his career — the Nitto ATP Finals. The 24-year-old is the first to defeat the world’s top three players in the season-finale, beating No.1 Novak Djokovic in the group stage of the competition and second-ranked Rafael Nadal in the semifinals before taking down the No.3 Thiem on Sunday at London’s O2 Arena.
“To win it you beat everybody in the top-10 anyway, but also, the best players in the world,” Medvedev said. “At this moment, maybe someone was not at his best, but it doesn’t matter. They are still the best players in tennis right now.”

After Medvedev served out the match following 2 hours and 42 minutes of intense exchanges, during which there were only two breaks of serve, he turned in the direction of his box, a hesitant half-smile crossing his face. As if he was unsure of the victory.
Medvedev is delighted when he wins matches, it’s what he plays for. Even if he chooses to punctuate his victories with an anaemic display of emotion.
Last year at the US Open, after trading barbs with the crowd during early round matches, Medvedev reached out to fans. He apologized, accepting he’d made a mistake. Then, following the final in which he went down in five sets to Nadal, he tendered an emotional appreciation of the full house.

“It’s something I decided to do,” Medvedev said of a decision he arrived at in the autumn of 2019. “At one moment of their career, everybody decides to do something special. In tennis maybe I’m the first one, some players in football don’t celebrate their goals. I don’t celebrate my victories. That’s just my thing. I like it.”
The world No.4’s victory ensured Russians bookended London’s 12-year run as host city of the season-ending championships, with compatriot and boyhood hero Nikolay Davydenko having won the first edition in the British capital in 2009.
A month ago, Medvedev was far away from the form that saw him sweep to ten straight wins, claiming titles in Paris and then London. The Moscow native, who arrived in Paris with just three wins from his last eight matches, was searching for his first trophy in 13 months.

The foundation of Medvedev’s play is his light-footed coverage. Hopelessly out of position, he still manages to make it. At times it seems like he’s walking on air. Floating on it. An invigorating mix of delicate all-court skills, flat maybe the Russian’s style, but his game carries the bite of a blade. Ask Thiem.
The two-time finalist said, “two guys faced-off, (both) in great form. It was great level all three sets.”
In a compliment to his opponent, Medvedev billed his win in the final, the best victory of his life.
“To beat Dominic the way he played today, not even talking about the title,” he said, adding that his form augurs well for 2021. “My level of game, especially the last two matches, is just unbelievable. It gives me a lot of confidence for the future.”
The fashion in which the finalists matched up on the court — power and precision, determined and deft, courage and canny — was an expression of the respect each has for the other’s play. Strains of a Federer and Nadal face-off on a grass court.
Some three years apart in age, their first meeting as teenagers was unforgettable. It was in Umag, Croatia, in a junior tournament. Medvedev was only 14, while Thiem, by then, had already made the final of the Roland Garros boys event. The 17-year-old was, as Medvedev took pains to explain, ‘a superstar among juniors’.
Their courses collided in the second round of the clay court event, the Austrian walked away with a 6-2, 6-0 win.
“I had a crazy attitude on the court, like 10 times worse than right now,” Medvedev explained. “After the match he told me, ‘you’re going to have a good future maybe, but you need to be a little bit more calm’.”
There is a serenity about Medvedev’s play now, especially when his game is crackling. It burns.
MEDVEDEV @ ATP FINALS
Aces: 43
Aces off second serve: 0
Aces from Deuce Court: 22; Aces from Ad Court: 21
Average First Serve speed: 123.72 MPH,
Average Second Serve speed: 99.24 MPH
No of aces when trailing 15-40: 3
No of aces when leading 40-15: 5
Broken in five matches: 5
Break points converted: 12/46
– Statistics by INFOSYS


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IPL 2021: Malinga among seven players released by Mumbai Indians | Cricket News

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NEW DELHI: Veteran Sri Lanka fast bowler Lasith Malinga, the all-time top wicket-taker in the Indian Premier League (IPL), is among the seven players who Mumbai Indians (MI) have released ahead of the 2021 edition.
MI have also released Australia fast bowlers James Pattinson and Nathan Coulter-Nile and New Zealand fast bowler Mitch McClenaghan.

The IPL players auction is expected to take place next month.
Retained players:Rohit Sharma, Quinton de Kock, Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, Chris Lynn, Anmolpreet Singh, Saurabh Tiwary, Aditya Tare, Kieron Pollard, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Anukul Roy, Jasprit Bumrah, Trent Boult, Rahul Chahar, Jayant Yadav, Dhawal Kulkarni, Mohsin Khan
Released players: Lasith Malinga, Mitch McClenaghan, James Pattinson, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Sherfane Rutherford, Prince Balwant Rai, Digivijay Deshmukh



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IPL 2021: CSK retain Raina, release Kedar, Chawla and Vijay | Cricket News

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CHENNAI: Ahead of the upcoming Indian Premier League (IPL) season, MS Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings (CSK) on Wednesday released Harbhajan Singh, Kedar Jadhav, Murali Vijay and Piyush Chawla from the squad.
Shane Watson who had retired after the IPL 2020 season will also not be seen in action. Apart from the Aussie all-rounder, no other foreign player has been released from the squad.

With the mini-auction inching closer, franchises looking to retain players were asked to complete the process by Wednesday.
Mahendra Dhoni-led CSK had a dismal outing in last year’s IPL. The Chennai based franchise finished at the seventh position in the points table.

In the 2020 season, Kedar Jadhav received a lot of flak from fans after his underwhelming performances. Suresh Raina had missed the IPL 2020 season after pulling out of the tournament due to personal reasons.
CSK has won the IPL thrice and it is regarded as one of the most successful franchises in T20 history.
CSK retained players: MS Dhoni, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Suresh Raina, Sam Curran, Josh Hazlewood, Imran Tahir, Faf du Plessis, Dwayne Bravo, Shardul Thakur, Deepak Chahar, Karn Sharma, Ambati Rayudu, Mitchell Santner, Ravindra Jadeja, Narayan Jagadeesan, KM Asif, Lungi Ngidi, Sai Kishore.
Released players: Kedar Jadhav, Monu Singh, Murali Vijay, Harbhajan Singh, Shane Watson, Piyush Chawla.



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Djokovic hits back at criticism over Australian Open quarantine stance | Tennis News

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MELBOURNE: World number one Novak Djokovic on Wednesday hit back at criticism of his letter to Australian Open chief Craig Tiley in which he suggested easing of quarantine restrictions, saying his good intentions were “misconstrued”.
As many as 72 players are confined to their hotel rooms for 14 days and unable to train for the Feb. 8-21 Australian Open after passengers on three charter flights carrying them to Melbourne tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

Djokovic reportedly asked for reduced isolation periods and having players in hard quarantine moved to “private houses with tennis courts”, drawing a backlash from Australians.
Tiley confirmed they were suggestions and not demands.
“My good intentions for my fellow competitors in Melbourne have been misconstrued as being selfish, difficult and ungrateful,” the Serbian, who is isolating in Adelaide along with other top players, said in a lengthy statement.
“This couldn’t be farther from the truth.
“… at times when I see the aftermath of things, I do tend to ask myself if I should just sit back and enjoy my benefits instead of paying attention to other people’s struggles.”
Tennis coach Daniel Vallverdu told Reuters that players in hard quarantine should get preferential treatment from organisers such as prime practice times and matches scheduled in the cooler hours of the day.
Djokovic, who last year quit as the ATP Players Council chief to launch a breakaway players body, won a record eighth Australian Open title in Melbourne in 2020.
Former Australian Davis Cup player Sam Groth accused Djokovic’s letter as a “selfish political move” while Nick Kyrgios called the Serbian a “tool”.
Djokovic said he “genuinely” cared about fellow players.
“I’ve earned my privileges the hard way … it is very difficult for me to be a mere onlooker knowing how much every help, gesture, and good word mattered to me when I was small and insignificant in the world pecking order,” he said.
“Hence, I use my position of privilege to be of service as much as I can where and when needed.”
Djokovic also expressed gratitude towards organisers TA, the Australian government and the citizens to allow the players to compete amid the pandemic.
“Things in the media escalated and there was a general impression that the players (including myself) are ungrateful, weak and selfish because of their unpleasant feelings in quarantine,” he added.
“I am very sorry that it has come to that because I do know how grateful many are. We all came to Australia to compete. Not being able to train and prepare before the tournament starts is really not easy.
“None of us ever questioned 14 days of quarantine despite what is being said by media outlets.”



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