Nico prepares for his first Davis Cup

There is a very good reason why Nico is not playing the challenger of Quimper this week. He’s selected for the French Davis cup team for the first time in his carreer. Tuesday last week, the selections were made public, and Clément had added Nico for the first time to his team.

The team arrived yesterday in Frankfurt, but the Arena wasn’t ready yet to practice in. In this video, they’re leaving for Frankfurt, arriving in their hotel and doing a fitness session in the gym.

Today was the first day they could practice in the Arena, and there’s a video from the training of Monfils and Simon too. Unfortunately no video yet from Nico, but he practiced for doubles today, with at least Benneteau on court too.

In the first place, Nico was named the fourth man in the team, with Gilles Simon and Gael Monfils and Richard Gasquet being the other ones. Gasquet got injured in Dubai last week, and was out of the selection. Therefore, captain Arnaud Clément added Edouard Roger-Vasselin to the team. Benneteau is still the fifth man, but in the next few days the real selection of 4 men will be made. It’s not 100 percent sure that Nico will be part of the doubles, but with the form how he played in Australia there’s a very good chance to be part of the doublesteam that will play against the Germans this weekend.

Hopefully we’ll be able to give you photos from Frankfurt this weekend, of Nico being part of the french Davis cup team. It’s a very exciting week already!

Allez Nico, bonne chance à Francfort!

Marseille summary

For the second time this year was a doubles tournament over earlier than expected for Nico due to injury of his partner. In january he and Pierre-Hugues had to retire  from Brisbane due to a back injury from PH. This time it was a fall in his singlesmatch on wednesday that made him retire in singles, and also from doubles on friday.

Like in Rotterdam, Marseille started in qualifying tournament too for Nico. He had to play 3 matches to make it all the way to the maindraw.
Round 1 vs Andres Artunedo: 76(2) 75
Round 2 vs Mischa Zverev: 76(5) 61 Round 3 vs Remi Boutillier: 63 75

In the maindraw he got as first opponent someone who is ranked 59 in the world, german Jan-Lennard Struff. This match was played on tuesday, and ended very tight. In the first set seemed it an easy match for Jan-Lennard, in less than half an hour he took the set with 6-1. Nico made a very strong comeback in the match, winning the seconbd set in tiebreak, and makiing it to a third set tiebreak too. Unfortunately, the tiebreak wasn’t meant to be, Struff defeated Nico in 3 sets: 6-1 6-7 ( 7-6 (1).

The first match doubles was against that same Jan-Lennard Struff with one of the Australian Open champions, Simone Bolelli. Nico and Pierre-Hugues didn’t have too much troubles with them, they won in straight sets 6-3 7-6 (4). They created 7 breakpoints, but only managed to use 1. Due to the injury of Pierre-Hugues, the team gave a walkover for the quarterfinal on friday. On the positive side, they had nothing to defend, which means that 45 doublesrankingspoints are added to their ranking next week!

Up next is the challenger of Cherbourg, only for singles. Nico will play Axel Michon (ATP 197) in his first round. Allez!! Let’s have some good wins to build confidence for the months to come.

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All photos from the official Open 13 facebook page. The last two are from the match against Struff, in singles.

Photoreport: Rotterdam 2015

Here are some photos from Rotterdam, from the qualifying matches, practices and the match against Andy Murray. Hope you enjoy! The first ones are from the first qualifying match on saturday, february 7th.

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These are from the second qualifying match, against Michael Berrer.

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Nico was every day on the practice courts of course, here with Pospisil to warm up for their doublesmatch on monday. (see the fourth photo).

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Here’s Nico practicing with Wawrinka, the day before the match against Andy Murray.

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Then the last performance of this year in Rotterdam, the match in the first roudn against topseed Andy Murray. Nico played a great match, but unfortunately Andy was better in the important moments and won in straight sets. Still a match to be proud of!

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Nico hit himself into the Marseille maindraw

Nico’s current ranking in singles doesn’t give him direct access to maindraws. That’s why he had to qualify himself last weekend to try to make it to the maindraw in Rotterdam. This weekend he did the same, he reached the maindraw of Marseille today.

Last week was a qualifying tournament of only two matches, with Nico winning in his first round over Nikoloz Basilashvili: 6-4 6-4. In the last round he faced german Michael Berrer, who was defeated in a very tight match: 5-7 6-4 7-6.
Monday was for doubles, with Canadian Vasek Pospisil. Both maindraws weren’t too lucky for Nico because he got to play the first seeds in doubles, Edouard Roger-Vasselin and Julien Benneteau, and was placed in the singlesdraw opposite of Andy Murray, numnber 1 seed in singles. The duo of Benneteau/Roger-Vasselin won in straight sets, which made Nico lose many points in the doublesrankings.

The match against Andy Murray was of a very good level. Nico made some beautiful points too, they had great rallies, but the Murray proved why he is one of the top players in the world. He won in straight sets over Nico, 6-3 6-2. The score make it look a n easy match for Andy, but many games were deuce games, and it wasn’t only Andy who made great points this match.

Next stop for Nico was Marseille, where he went on thursday, giving him some time to prepare for the next qualifying tournament in the south french city. The qualifying tournament in Marseille was in 3 rounds, and they went like this:
Round 1: 7-6 7-5 over Andres Artunedo
Round 2: 7-6 6-1 over Mischa Zverev
Round 3: 6-3 7-5 over Remi Boutillier

Tomorrow brings more action in Marseille, because Nico plays his first round of the maindraw against Jan-Lennard Struff, a young german player. It’s the same Struff he plays in doubles later, when the Australian Open finalists are back together for a tournament. Nicolas and Pierre-Hugues will play against Bolelli/Struff in their first round tomorrow, second match after 4pm on court 1.

One quick look at the ATP rankings of this week: in singles is Nico now on spot 119. That’s 10 places lower than last week, because he had a second round to defend in Rotterdam from last year (45 points). It’s gonna be interesting this week in Marseille, because here’s a quarterfinal to defend, worth 45 points too.
In doubles it’s a different story. In the race to London, Nico and PH are now third team. Nico individual, as a doublesplayer is ranked 20, 3 places lower after losing the Rotterdam title doubles points. He has nothing to defend in Marseille, they can go all the way in doubles!

Some photos from both Rotterdam and Marseille follow tomorrow, stay tuned.

Allez Nico, let’s go for some great matches in Marseille!

Rotterdam up next for Nicolas

Let’s look forward, to the near future. The next tournament in which Nico will participate is in Rotterdam, next week.

He’ll play in the first weekend in the qualifying tournament in singles. He will also play in doubles, not with Pierre-Hugues, but with Vasek Pospisil from Canada. This makes a combination of a Wimbledon champion and an Australian Open runner up. Not bad, right?

This weeks rankings in doubles are very positive. If you look at the teamrankings, Pierre -Hugues and Nico are second after their great run in Melbourne. Nico, as individual doublesplayer, is 17th of the world, that’s 4 places higher than before. (Pierre Hugues is 30, that’s 34 places higher). In singles rises Nico 2 spots, from 114 to 112. But remember, no matter how small the steps are, it’s a step in right direction again!

We won’t know untill friday evening who Nico will play in the qualifying Rotterdam, so stay tuned for that. And as always: alllezzzz Nicolas!

No crown in Melbourne, but a bright future awaits

A few days later and we can hopefully look a bit more from a distance back on the doublesfinal last saturday. Nicolas was in his second Grand Slam final of his carreer, this time next to Pierre-Hugues Herbert. They lost in straight sets to Simone Bolelli and Fabio Fognini: 6-4 6-4. Right now, we know too that Pierre-Hugues suffered before the match, with an infection.

It’s a bit more easy talking now, because we know more of the situation, but compared to the other matches, there were more errors on the french side. Shots going wide, or landing in the net. Of course, this happens too because of the opponents, who put the pressure on the french team. They did get chances on the italians serve, but couldn’t push through most of the times. They got 7 breakpoints during the match, only converted the first one, for the 3-1 lead in the first set. A game later, the Italians broke the servicegame of Pierre Hugues, and it was back on serve. Later in the same set, Pierre Hugues lost his serve for the second time, and the Italian team could serve the set out.

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In the second set the French started with holding serve, for the first games. One very curious ball in the fifth game here, when we could see in the replay that Nico touched the ball twice, but the point was for the French because the umpire didn’t see it. The only breakchances for Nico and Pierre Hugues were at 4-3 15-40. Unfortunately they couldn’t use their chances and instead, Nico lost his serve in the game after for 4-5. Again, the opponents served for the set, and this time for the match and the championship: 6-4 6-4 for Bolelli and Fognini after one hour and 21 minutes.

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It was hard not to be affected by the few words spoken by Nico after recieving the trophies for runner ups. Pierre Hugues didn’t say something at all, but only looked very disappointed. Maybe they didn’t realise it then, but hopefully they do realise now that reaching a Grand Slam final is an excellent performance.

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Here’s a video from the Australian Open with highlights of the final http://youtu.be/J4PsFPC5A4g , and the little video where Pierre Hugues got hit on the head by a serve from Nico. http://youtu.be/dp7seHpCtUM
Also a few more photo’s from the last match in Melbourne for this year (all photos: Getty Images). We can only be very proud now, and looking forward to the future. Remember, this is only the fourth occasion that Nico and Pierre-Hugues teamed up for doubles, and then already in a Grand Slam final is an incredible result. Their games suit very well together and both players seem to feel eachother very good. The future is bright for this doublesteam! They seem to have the goal to be in London at the end of the year, for the World Tour finals, so here´s a goal to support them in for the rest of the season. ALLEZ!

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Nicolas and Pierre Hugues search the doubles title in Melbourne

It’s saturday evening in Melbourne, and in less than hours we’ve got the most important match of the tournament coming up. Nicolas and Pierre Hugues take on courtafter the ladies final, to play against the also unseeded doublespair of Fabio Fognini and Simone Bolelli.

The Italians have had a bit the same story as Nico and Pierre, they were not getting too much attention in the run to the final, but defeated the 10th seeds Paes/Klaasen in the second round, and the 6th seeds Tecau/Rojer in their semifinal two days ago. Looking at the stats of their matches, they don’t hit as many winners as Nico and Pierre do, and the average speed of serve is lower too. Hopefully this gives some advantage to our team in todays final.
In case you missed it, here’s the stats of Nico and Pierre Hugues last match, for you to read:

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It would be cool if they can convert more of the breakpoints that they get, but that’s easier said than done. Nico and Pierre Hugues, have had a fantastic tournament already, beating several seeded teams during the weeks. Finally the photographers have found the mens doubles too. That’s why we’ll leave you for now with some pictures from the semifinal against Melo/Dodig. Fingers crossed for today, and everyone behind Nico and Pierre Hugues in their search for the Grand Slam title!

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Nico and Pierre-Hugues have reached the quarterfinals Australian Open

In their first Grand Slam together as a doublesteam, Nicolas and Pierre-Hugues have reached the quarterfinals in Melbourne. They defeated quite easy the eigth seeds Qureshi/Zimonjic with 6-3 6-3.

Like last year, we find Nico again in the second week of the Australian Open. The route to the quarterfinals has been like this:
Round 1: 7-6 7-6 over Martin Klizan and Philipp Oswald
Round 2: 6-3 6-4 over Cabal/Farah (11th seeds)
Round 3: 6-3 6-3 over Zimonjic/Qureshi (8th seeds)

Nico and Pierre-Hugues look are like a machine that works better the more it is used. In their first match they needed nerves of steel to stay cool and finish the match in two tiebreaks. Especially for PH was it a great moment, because it was his first win in a Grand Slam. We’ve compared all matches and one thing especially catches the eye. In the first match they only hit 5 winners, but this turned around in the other matches, with 34 winners in the second match, and 24 winning strokes in the third round match. One last number, the french duo have won all the breakpoints that they got, so that’s 100 percent of breakpoint conversion so far this tournament!

The double faults have reduced too, in the first match there were 5 doublefaults, but in the other matches it were only 2 doublefaults. We’re going in the right direction. which is good. The next match is the quarterfinal against the other french Lacoste team of Edouard Roger-Vasselin and Julien Benneteau. These two are already Grand Slam champions, having won Roland Garros last year together. The match is not on tomorrows schedule, so both guys can focus on a 2 hour practice. (schedule says practice from 10.00-12.00)

Allez!! Things look very good for these two in Melbourne, the only way is forward!

Here’s some photos that we got from their first round match on one of the smaller courts in Melbourne. Enjoy!

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From the two other matches we can only give you a few screenshots from the streams, but better than nothing. From the second round match vs Cabal/Farah:

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And a few from the Zimonjic/Qureshi match. Hope you enjoy the screencaps. The last one even made it to Nico’s official facebook page… ;)

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And a little sidenote: voulez-vous lire ce blog en français aussi? Nous pouvons essayer de écrice nos blogs en deux langues? Let us know! ;)

The Australian Open doubles draw is out

Things can start for real now as they made last night the doublesdraw for this Australian Open. Nico and Pierre-Hughes play their first round against the couple of Martin Klizan (Slovakia) and Philipp Oswald (Austria). In case they win the first round, they might play the 11th seeds from Colombia, Cabal/Farah.

Here’s the full doubles draw: http://www.ausopen.com/en_AU/scores/draws/md/r1s2.html

Allez!! Let’s go for some great results!

Qualification Australian Open ends in round 1, focus on doubles now

The first singlesmatch of the year wasn’t as succesfull as we hoped, because Nico lost yesterday to Jan Hernych in two sets: 7-6 6-1.
In the first set were definately some opportunities for Nico, he broke in the first game of the set, but lost the break a couple of games later with a weaker own servicegame. Then at the end of the set, he broke the Hernych serve again and could serve for the match. Nico had a setpoint there, but could not use to to close the set. Hernych broke him back, and played a better tiebreak to take the first set in 59 minutes. Nico could only use 2 of his 6 breakchances, while Hernych used 2 of 3.

In the second set was the first game still for Nico, but then Herncyh was in total control of the set, breaking Nico three times and winning the set with 6-1. Most of the time he forced Nico to make the mistakes, playing with power, but also coming to the net to round off things. Nico went to the net too, made some beautiful points during the match, but it was not enough to get the win today.

We’ve got some pictures for you from the match, enjoy them! The Australian Open is not finished yet for Nico, he’ll play in doubles with Herbert, who also lost in the first round qualifying yesterday. They have some time to prepare themselves for that, because the doublestournament only starts next week.

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In case you missed the match, you can still watch it on the youtube channel from the Australian Open. GO here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KqlnF96zTyg to watch it. Nico’s match starts around 7h.16.