Australian Open day nine: Cameron Norrie exit ends British singles challenge

By Sports Desk January 22, 2024

British interest in the singles at the Australian Open ended with Cameron Norrie’s five-set defeat to Alexander Zverev in the fourth round.

The 19th seed came agonisingly close to another upset but lost out in a deciding tie-break.

Carlos Alcaraz eased into the last eight in Melbourne for the first time while Zheng Qinwen is the only seed left in the top half of the women’s draw.

Picture of the dayTweet of the dayStat of the dayJunior powerMixed doubles

Unusually, no British players have made the quarter-finals of the men’s doubles. But there is guaranteed to be a British semi-finalist in the mixed doubles, where Joe Salisbury and Heather Watson play Neal Skupski and his American partner Desirae Krawczyk.

Fallen seeds

Women: Victoria Azarenka (18), Elina Svitolina (19), Jasmine Paolini (26)
Men: Cameron Norrie (19)

Who’s up next?

The quarter-finals get under way on Tuesday, with Novak Djokovic again given a day-session slot for his clash with American Taylor Fritz.

Coco Gauff is first up taking on unseeded Ukrainian Marta Kostyuk, while defending women’s champion Aryna Sabalenka plays Barbora Krejcikova at night.

The final match of the day pits fourth seed Jannik Sinner, who is yet to drop a set, against fifth seed Andrey Rublev.

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  • Murray eyed for PTPA role by Pospisil as retirement looms Murray eyed for PTPA role by Pospisil as retirement looms

    As three-time grand slam champion Andy Murray prepares to bow out from the sport he loves at the Paris Olympics, he could soon be a man in demand.

    The two-time Wimbledon victor got the fitting tribute his career deserved at his home slam, but not in the circumstances he wanted.

    A back injury ruled him out of the singles, and his last match on centre court was a doubles defeat alongside his brother Jamie.

    Murray will retire following the summer games, where he hopes to add to his two Olympic golds won at London 2012 and Rio 2016.
    But one tennis rival may already have his next career path in mind.

    When Vasek Pospisil is not on the court, he is busy pushing for improvements for players off the court with the Professional Tennis Players' Association.

    Co-founded with 24-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic, the PTPA aims to 'address player challenges and calls for change within the business of professional tennis.'

    What started as an idea thought up by Pospisil and Djokovic in 2019 was formally created two years later. 

    Three years and 'thousands of hours' on, players across the ATP and WTA Tours are reaping the rewards.

    "The first few years were just growing pains. It was so many thousands of hours. The amount of hours, especially those first three or four years to get some momentum and organise players and just try to get the building blocks in place," Pospisil told Stats Perform.

    "Tennis has a long way to go from the player side. But as a sport, it's an incredible sport. It's one-on-one combat.

    "That's why it's the third or fourth most watched sport in the world. So there's so much there. And players have been underserviced and it's time for change. And that's where we come in."

    "We want hundreds of players to be able to make a living. When I say hundreds, I mean three or 400 on the men's side and three or 400 on the women's side.

    "Currently it's about a hundred on each, right? And that's unacceptable in a multi-billion dollar industry with the value that these players are bringing to the table.

    "In the meantime, we're trying to generate revenue for players, extra revenue through group licensing programs that hasn't existed prior to the PTPA."

    Murray, who Pospisil has competed against on six occasions and beaten just once, has long been a voice of reason on the ATP tour, and has gained respect for his support of the WTA.

    That hasn't gone unnoticed by Pospisil, who plans to reach out to the Brit once the curtain comes down on his illustrious career.

    "I really like Andy. He was always so nice in the locker room and just a good guy," he said.

    "And I know that in previous years, I'd seen several quotes and articles and in the press where he'd spoken out about the importance of having independent player representation.

    "I haven't spoken to him in a few years since the start of the PTPA, and it's something that I definitely want to revisit. 

    "When you really look under the hood, you look past all the all the nonsense that's been spewed as a counter argument to why the PTPA shouldn't exist and why it's bad for tennis.

    "So I think if any reasonable person were to sit down and have a 30-minute conversation listening to the PTPA from the horse's mouth, I would be shocked if someone were to leave that conversation and say, 'oh, that doesn't make sense'.

    "I'm going to follow up with Andy and some of these big players that are on their way out. I think it would be great to get their endorsement and get them involved."

    Should Murray take up the offer, he'll join the likes of Ons Jabeur and Hubert Hurkacz, who sit on the PTPA executive committee.

  • Alcaraz backed to get 'very close' to Djokovic slam record Alcaraz backed to get 'very close' to Djokovic slam record

    Carlos Alcaraz "can do everything" and could get "very close" to Novak Djokovic's record of 24 grand slam titles, having denied the tennis great his 25th at Wimbledon.

    That is according to Vasek Pospisil, who believes "all the signs" point towards Alcaraz having a career to compare with Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

    Alcaraz beat Djokovic in the All England Club final to win his fourth major at the age of just 21.

    He is still 20 titles short of his opponent, who holds the men's record and has matched Margaret Court's all-time singles benchmark.

    But former Wimbledon doubles champion Pospisil, speaking to Stats Perform as the co-founder of the Professional Tennis Players Association (PTPA), believes that gap can quickly close.

    Pospisil said: "We can't see into the future, but the fact that he's just 21 and he already has four grand slams...

    "You put things into perspective: Stan Wawrinka and Andy Murray both have three each, if I'm not mistaken. He already has one more, and he's 21.

    "So, for sure, unless he gets injured or unlucky or something out of his control pops up, all the signs are there that he'll be very close to those records if he keeps on the track that he's going, if not break them.

    "I mean, we never know, right? Obviously at this stage, time will tell. But these grand slams can tally up pretty quickly.

    "Just two years ago, he won his first one, and he's already got four. We just barely even blinked, and he has four slams already.

    "So, it'll be interesting to see where he's at in five or six years. He'll be just really entering his prime and he may have 10, 11, 12 grand slams in five years."

    Djokovic did not win his fourth major until he was 24, while Federer was 23.

    Of the three all-time greats, Nadal was the youngest to that mark, with a fourth successive French Open title coming days after his 22nd birthday.

    And it is a young Nadal, another Spaniard, who Pospisil sees in Alcaraz, although the Wimbledon champion might even have a more complete game.

    "He brings a similar kind of intensity that Nadal did when he burst onto the scene," Pospisil told Stats Perform.

    "It was something that we weren't really used to seeing, someone playing with that kind of force and energy in every shot that he hit, so Alcaraz brings some of that to the table.

    "But then he is also just hitting through the court a little bit more. Rafa was a little bit more passive and then started being more aggressive as he got older.

    "Alcaraz, right from the get-go, he's really just using that athleticism and power to really put a lot of pressure on players. He can do everything. He's a full-court, all-court player.

    "You see he's already won at least one grand slam per surface, so he's clearly extremely versatile."

  • Rune hoping Hamburg run can atone for Wimbledon woe Rune hoping Hamburg run can atone for Wimbledon woe

    Holger Rune advanced to the Hamburg Open quarter-finals on Thursday as he looks to move on swiftly from his Wimbledon disappointment.

    Rune's All England Club campaign was ruthlessly ended by Novak Djokovic in the fourth round, beaten in straight sets by the eventual finalist.

    The Dane gave himself little time to lick his wounds and has quickly returned to the court and returned to form with his debut in Hamburg.

    Looking for his first ATP Tour title of the year, the second seed followed up a straight-sets win over Fabian Marozsan by defeating Marco Trungelliti 6-4 6-3.

    "It's been very intense since Wimbledon," Rune said. "I only had one day off, actually.

    "I was like, 'I don’t want to rest, I want to go straight back to practice', because I was very disappointed.

    "I went straight back to work on the things that needed to be done, and now I have the chance to train those things in matches."

    Next up will be Arthur Fils, who booked his last-eight place by beating 2023 Hamburg finalist Laslo Djere 7-6 (7-3) 6-2.

    Top seed Alexander Zverev remains a threat in the top half of the draw, however, and he will face Zhang Zhizhen in the quarters.

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