ATP

Dimitrov's boast as he hits with Serena Williams: My practice partner is better than yours!

By Sports Desk February 28, 2021

Serena Williams showed there would be no letting up in her relentless pursuit of tennis history as she hit the practice courts with one of the biggest names on the men's tour.

A semi-final defeat to Naomi Osaka at the Australian Open was the latest blow for Williams in her attempt to match Margaret Court's record of 24 grand slam titles.

Stuck on 23 since winning at Melbourne Park in 2017, Williams has gone repeatedly close in the subsequent years without getting her hands on a major trophy.

She took to the courts with Bulgarian ace Grigor Dimitrov, a beaten quarter-finalist in Australia and former world number three, as part of her continuing bid to keep improving and stay focused on those title goals.

Dimitrov could not resist boasting about the prowess of the player he was hitting with, posting a video of their session and writing on Instagram: "My practice partner is better than yours."

He added a goat emoji, signalling his belief that Williams is the greatest of all time.

Williams gestured a fond goodbye to the Australian Open crowds after her loss to Osaka, and became tearful in an after-match news conference when asked if it was a final farewell.

"I don't know. If I ever say farewell, I wouldn't tell anyone," said the 39-year-old.

Her next appearance on tour is expected to be at the Miami Open, starting on March 23, a tournament which has confirmed Williams, Osaka, Bianca Andreescu and Simona Halep among its field.

There was a little sibling envy from Venus Williams on Sunday when she questioned where Serena and Dimitrov were rallying.

"Omg are you guys hitting now? Where is my invite??" Venus wrote.

The next grand slam on the calendar is the French Open, beginning on May 23, while Serena may see Wimbledon, beginning on June 28, as providing her best chance of another slam.

She has won seven times at the All England Club, two behind the record held by Martina Navratilova.

Related items

  • Medvedev pulls out of Monte Carlo Masters after positive coronavirus test Medvedev pulls out of Monte Carlo Masters after positive coronavirus test

    World number two Daniil Medvedev has pulled out of the Monte Carlo Masters after returning a positive coronavirus test.

    The Russian, who was given a bye for the first round, went into isolation after returning a positive test on Monday.

    "It's a big disappointment not to play in Monte Carlo," he said in a statement. "My focus is now on recovery and I look forward to getting back out on Tour as soon and as safely as possible."

    Medvedev, who lost the Australian Open final to Novak Djokovic in January, had been practising with 11-time Monte Carlo champion Rafael Nadal on Monday.

    The 25-year-old last played at the Miami Open at the end of March, where he lost in the quarter-finals to Roberto Bautista Agut.

  • Rogers wins at MUSC Health Women's Open, Doi retires in three-hour epic Rogers wins at MUSC Health Women's Open, Doi retires in three-hour epic

    Third seed Shelby Rogers eased into the second round of the MUSC Women's Health Open while fifth seed Misaki Doi retired in a three-hour epic on Monday in Charleston.

    World number 46 Rogers, who reached the last 16 at last week's Volvo Car Open in Charleston, proved too good for fellow American Caty McNally winning 6-0 6-1 in just over an hour.

    Doi's match with countrywoman Nao Hibino lasted much longer, extending to three hours and nine minutes with the latter progressing in a walkover 7-5 5-7 6-6. Doi succumbed to cramps in the third set tiebreaker.

    Seventh seed Lauren Davis defeated Coco Vandeweghe 7-6 (7-3) 6-4 in their All American battle while Australian sixth seed Ajla Tomljanovic cruised past Renata Zarazua 6-1 6-1 in the final match of the first day.

    Eighth seed Madison Brengle also progressed in three sets past Natalia Vikhlyantseva and unseeded Dane Clara Tauson won 6-3 6-3 over Liudmila Samsonova.

  • Karatsev sees off Musetti in rainy Monte Carlo Karatsev sees off Musetti in rainy Monte Carlo

    Rain curtailed much of Monday's schedule at the Monte Carlo Masters but it could not prevent Aslan Karatsev from continuing his hugely impressive start to the season.

    Karatsev, a surprise Australian Open semi-finalist and a champion in Dubai last month, overcame Lorenzo Musetti, the Italian teenager who was a semi-finalist in Acapulco in March, in straight sets after a four-hour rain delay.

    He went into that interruption with a 4-3 lead in the first set and duly polished off the next two games on his return to the court.

    The Russian sent down 23 winners as he completed a 6-3 6-4 win in 88 minutes, his last a cross-court backhand that set up a second-round meeting with Stefanos Tsitsipas.

    "It was a really tough match [for] my first match of the season on clay [with] tough weather conditions," said Karatsev.

    "We started in the morning [and] I started pretty well, I broke him and then the court was getting heavy, the ball was heavy.

    "It is tough to play against him. [He is] really fit, [he] runs a lot and gives everything back, so you have to build the point by yourself and close the point by yourself."

    There were mixed fortunes for Australians Alex de Minaur and John Millman in Monaco.

    De Minaur went down to a surprise straight-sets defeat to Alejandro Davidovich Fokina but Millman broke Ugo Humbert four times in a 6-3 6-3 win.

    Next for Millman is either Felix Auger-Aliassime or Cristian Garin, whose first-round contest was among those unable to finish because of the inclement weather on the Cote d'Azur.

    Tommy Paul also progressed to the next round, with five matches on court when play was cancelled for the day.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.