Henri Leconte thinks 2017 has been 'vintage season'

ATP Season 2017, 31st December 2017

Former French tennis player Henri Leconte thinks it has been a vintage season on the Tour so far.
2017 has been marked by the resurgence of Spain's Rafa Nadal and Swiss Roger Federer.
Nadal ended champion at the French Open and US Open, while Federer made it all the way at the Australian Open and Wimbledon.
The two have also combined for seven Masters 1000 titles this season.
Nadal has made a comeback to the No. 1 spot, while Federer is ranked just behind him at No. 2.
Nadal and Federer finished their 2016 season earlier as their goal was to get healthy and prepare for this campaign.
Some stars of the game won't be gladly remembering the 2017 season.
Grand Slam champions Novak Djokovic, Stan Wawrinka, as well as promising Nick Kyrgios, Milos Raonic, Kei Nishikori, Tomas Berdych are done for the season.
Though not official yet, Murray, who hasn't played since Wimbledon, is expected to skip the Paris Masters and automatically end this year.
"Roger and Rafa have dominated like the old days. It seems like they have only two players on the ATP tour but it's been a vintage year because of the amount of injuries," Leconte said.
"Tennis has changed. It's quicker, harder, and players have to be more prepared to stay at the very top level."




Henri Leconte: "Alex don't rush, be yourself"

Alexander Zverev has said multiple times he knows how to deal with pressure as he has been facing pressure since he was a kid, but the 1988 Roland Garros finalist and former world no. 5 Henri Leconte doesn't think the 20-year-old is matured enough.

Zverev had a a full schedule this year, in which he has played 23 tournaments so far, including the Erste Bank Open in Vienna where he is competing this week and he still has a couple more tournaments to go, starting with the Paris Masters and the ATP World Tour Finals in London.
He could also play in the ATP Next Gen Finals in Milan. 'He has a great future and everybody is expecting him to win a Grand Slam tournament. But he has put a lot of pressure on himself - he has to slow down a little bit,' Leconte told Sky Sports. 'He has to try and enjoy it and really have fun.
He has to really prepare himself - that's the way the game is now. But sometimes it's important to release everything and enjoy the moment.' Zverev won 52 matches and lost 18 in 2015, triumphing in five tournaments.
But Leconte believes he needs to take more rest and relax more. 'When you try and do too much, like the horses; you're running, running and running, and you don't look around. He has great potential, but he's tough on himself - he's always pushing.
If you're like that then it can be dangerous because you can pick up injuries. He has more pressure because people see him as a future world no. 1. It takes time, don't rush, be yourself.' 


2017 Rafael Nadal

Watching Nadal rack up 17 consecutive victories during which he swept through Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Madrid was like turning the clock back a decade when to challenge him on a claycourt was an act of folly.

“I thought the only player you can really believe will win the French Open is Rafa,” Henri Leconte, the last Frenchman to reach the final in 1988, told Reuters.

“I was with Boris Becker in Monte Carlo watching him beat David Goffin and it was amazing. And now he made it. Unbelievable. I'm very happy for him, Leconte told us. Congratulations to Rafa!"


Novak Djokovic could be on the verge of "something special" after teaming up with Andre Agassi for the French Open, former Roland Garros runner-up Henri Leconte said on Tuesday.

Djokovic, the defending French Open champion, announced on Sunday that he would have eight-times grand slam champion Agassi in his corner in Paris after parting ways with his coaching team earlier this month.

"It's brand new and good for tennis," Leconte, the last Frenchman to reach the final in 1988, told us.

"I really hope it works because if it does, it could be something special for Novak."

Twelve-times grand slam winner Djokovic ended a three-year partnership with Boris Becker late last year when he lost his world No.1 status to Andy Murray.

He has struggled to rediscover his best form since winning last year's French Open to complete a career grand slam and this season has seen a run of surprise losses.

Leconte says American Agassi, who came back from a career slump to win the 1999 French Open, could help the 30-year-old Serbian find the spark that appears to have been missing.

"I really believe that he can help Novak find his way back to the top," Leconte, who will work as a pundit for Eurosport during the French Open, said.

"Andre has the strength of personality to give Novak advice.

"He had the experience of coming back after injury problems and other setbacks to come back from 150 in the world to number one.

"It's not about coaching.

"I think the likes of Novak, Roger (Federer) and Rafa (Nadal) just need something new; a brand new direction.

"I really hope Novak has enough strength and power to produce what he produced last year."








Have you been surprised by Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal's great performance so far in 2017?

I'm very happy!They are tennis stars! They're very professional, hard working and very polite with the press. As I said last year we need them as they are already tennis icon and champions. So we are lucky that they are back again! It is unbelievable what they have already accomplished in their careers.

Nadal is the bull, so you can't be surprised that he is fighting hard. Federer impressed us also in the past 5 months. He was so relaxed on court, enjoying his time, hitting and moving so well as he always did. Unfortunately Federer will not play now at the French Open but he will play at the MercedesCup in Stuttgart and Gerry Weber in Halle where I will see him again.


Which Next Generation player has caught your attention?

Alexander Zverev. I've been incredibly impressed by him. That match against Rafael Nadal at the Australian Open (Nadal won in five sets in the third round). 

He was fighting and giving everything. He earned a lot of respect from the players and the public for that performance. He won the BMW Open at Munich and the ATP Masters in Rome in May 2017. Congratulations!

He seems to want it and looks very focused. He leads the way for the next generation at the moment.





#RogerFederer #RafaelNadal #AustralianOpen

Roger Federer won his 18th Grand Slam title and first for five years with a thrilling five-set victory over Rafael Nadal in the Australian Open final 2017.

The 35-year-old Swiss won 6-4 3-6 6-1 3-6 6-3 to claim his fifth Melbourne title and extend his lead at the top of the all-time men's major winners' list.
Nadal, 30, remains tied in second with Pete Sampras on 14 Grand Slams following his first final since 2014.
Federer's previous major title came at Wimbledon in 2012.
"I've been coming here for almost 20 years now," he said. "I've always enjoy it. "Thanks again for everything, to everybody. I hope to see you next year. If not, this was a wonderful run here and I can't be more happy to win."



Australian Open Legends Tournament

Rafa's new couch is leading the legends team

Former world No.1 and the newest addition to Rafael Nadal’s coaching team Carlos Moya will lead the star-studded field at Melbourne Park in the Australian Open Legends Tournament.
Also new to the field in 2017 is Australian Open singles finalists Todd Martin (USA) andMary Joe Fernandez (USA) and Australian Open doubles champions Fabrice Santoro (FRA)Jacco Eltingh (NED) and Paul Haarhuis (NED).
They will be joined by Henri Leconte (FRA), Pat Cash (Vic), Goran Ivanisevic (CRO), the Swedish contingent of Jonas Bjorkman and Thomas Johansson, Mansour Bahrami (FRA), Michael Chang (USA), Wayne Ferreira (RSA) and Aussie favourites Mark Philippoussis (Vic),Todd Woodbridge (NSW), Mark Woodforde (SA) and Wayne Arthurs (Vic).
Joining Fernandez in the women’s field is Aranxta Sanchez-Vicario (ESP), Barbara Schett(AUT), Iva Majoli (CRO), Lindsay Davenport (USA), Martina Navratilova (USA), Nicole Bradtke (Vic) and Rennae Stubbs (NSW).

Season 2017

Will Federer and Nadal come back to the Top 10 this year? 
'It's never easy to come back at a very high level ' Leconte said. 'It's hard for anyone! Even if you are Roger Federer. This year we will still see Djokovic, Murray, Wawrinka and Raonic winning tournaments and other players as well like Dominic Thiem. Hopefully Federer and Nadal will play major tournaments because we need them. You have to realize one thing: when these guys retire, it will be difficult for tennis sport as two characters are missing. 




Royal Albert Hall, London 2016

You’re also playing this year at Champions Tennis. What’s been your favorite memory of playing at the Royal Albert Hall?

I’m lucky that I’ve gotten to play there many times. The atmosphere and the acoustics are unbelievable. It’s like you’re in a theater. I’ve had some great matches there against John McEnroe and against other players as well. It’s just the place to be at that time of the year.

Do you find it easier to build friendships on the Champions Tour than in your playing days?

Of course. It’s much more relaxed because we have nothing to prove anymore, but we still have good tennis and good competition.

We know you like to entertain the fans, but does the competitiveness still come out in your matches?

We always try to do the best we can, to win and produce some good tennis. But I’m mainly just happy to be able to play and be healthy. It’s much more fun than it used to be.