Wed. May 29th, 2024

Neal Skupski on his dream visit to boyhood Liverpool’s training ground as a reward for winning Wimbledon, talking fame with Mohamed Salah… and Jurgen Klopp cancelling a game of padel due to a hamstring injury!<!-- wp:html --><p><a href="https://whatsnew2day.com/">WhatsNew2Day - Latest News And Breaking Headlines</a></p> <div> <p class="mol-para-with-font">Neal Skupski recently ticked one off his bucket list when he was invited for a day at Liverpool’s training headquarters, and at one point struck up a conversation with Mo Salah.</p> <p class="mol-para-with-font">Before long, they were comparing notes on their contrasting ability to walk unhindered through the streets of Skupski’s hometown.</p> <p class="mol-para-with-font">‘We talked about him being very famous and what he can and can’t do. It is often difficult for him to go outside, so he prefers to stay indoors with his family. He was a really nice guy,” said the world number 3 doubles player and half of the reigning Wimbledon doubles champions.</p> <p class="mol-para-with-font">‘I can go wherever I want when I’m at home in Liverpool and hardly be noticed. I’ve been number 1 in the world in my sport, but it’s not reported much locally, so I’ve come to terms with that.’</p> <p class="mol-para-with-font">However, his success was striking enough to penetrate the consciousness of Jurgen Klopp’s assistant Pep Lijnders. After meeting Skupski and his brother and coach Ken at Wimbledon, the Dutchman invited them to watch their team in training.</p> <div class="artSplitter mol-img-group"> <div class="mol-img"> <div class="image-wrap"> </div> </div> <p class="imageCaption">Neal Skupski (right) has reached the top of doubles tennis, but is not in the spotlight</p> </div> <div class="artSplitter mol-img-group"> <div class="mol-img"> <div class="image-wrap"> </div> </div> <p class="imageCaption">His stunning array of accolades includes winning the men’s doubles at Wimbledon this year</p> </div> <div class="artSplitter mol-img-group"> <div class="mol-img"> <div class="image-wrap"> </div> </div> <p class="imageCaption">The British tennis star, a youth fan of Liverpool, was recently invited to the club’s training base</p> </div> <p class="mol-para-with-font">The original idea was to play a game of Padel tennis on the AXA Center court, the use of which is popular among players and technical staff. That didn’t happen this time as the manager played sparingly since going down with an injured hamstring while celebrating a goal against Tottenham.</p> <p class="mol-para-with-font">However, Klopp was among those who took time out of their visit to chat with the tennis-playing brothers. That followed the Davis Cup group stage in Manchester, in which Skupski and Dan Evans saved match points in a decisive rubber against France to advance to this week’s last eight in Malaga.</p> <p class="mol-para-with-font">‘I’ve been a fan since I was a kid, so it was a fantastic experience. I spoke to Salah and a few other players, like Virgil van Dijk. I don’t know if he was aware, but he seemed to know quite a bit about us.</p> <p class="mol-para-with-font">‘Jurgen came for coffee and we talked for about half an hour. He turned out so that it felt like I had known him for years. His father was a football goalkeeper (and also an avid amateur tennis player) and so was mine, so we had that in common. It was fascinating to listen to him talk about the importance of never giving up until the end; it’s never over until it’s over.</p> <p class="mol-para-with-font">‘He obviously follows tennis and he loves Padel, even if he can’t play as much as he wants at the moment. It was all great, the people we met were very down to earth.’</p> <p class="mol-para-with-font">Skupski is not unusual in that he is a big Liverpool football fan, but is unique in that he is enjoying so much success in a game that is hardly associated with the city. His father was more typical, playing in goal for AFC Marine while joining Merseyside Police.</p> <p class="mol-para-with-font">The key to his sons’ choice of sport was due to the geographical coincidence of growing up next to the Palmerston Lawn Tennis Club. “I actually just had to leave the garden through the back gate, and there are six tennis courts,” he says.</p> <p class="mol-para-with-font">It took him until he was 30 to reach his peak, which may be related to where he grew up.</p> <div class="artSplitter mol-img-group"> <div class="mol-img"> <div class="image-wrap"> </div> </div> <p class="imageCaption">Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp (L) and captain Virgil van Dijk were two people Skupski spoke to</p> </div> <div class="art-ins mol-factbox sport floatRHS"> <h3 class="mol-factbox-title">NEAL SKUPSKI Q&A </h3> <div class="ins cleared mol-factbox-body"> <p class="mol-para-with-font"><span class="mol-style-bold">Who is your favorite Liverpool player of all time?</span></p> <p class="mol-para-with-font">Steven Gerrard.</p> <p class="mol-para-with-font"><span class="mol-style-bold">When was your first visit to Anfield?</span></p> <p class="mol-para-with-font">It was actually for the 1996 Youth Cup final against West Ham.</p> <p class="mol-para-with-font"><span class="mol-style-bold">Who was your tennis hero growing up?</span></p> <p class="mol-para-with-font">Piet Sampras.</p> <p class="mol-para-with-font"><span class="mol-style-bold">Who is your favorite current player to watch?</span></p> <p class="mol-para-with-font">Carlos Alcaraz.</p> <p class="mol-para-with-font"><span class="mol-style-bold">What’s the most obscure place you’ve played professional tennis?</span></p> <p class="mol-para-with-font">A Challenger event in Guadeloupe in the French Caribbean. We stayed at an all-inclusive resort, it was very windy and the tracks had large cracks. But very beautiful and it was hard to leave.</p> <p class="mol-para-with-font"><span class="mol-style-bold">Your favorite place to play tennis?</span></p> <p class="mol-para-with-font">The Center Court of Wimbledon.</p> </div> </div> <p class="mol-para-with-font">‘If I had lived in London I might have had more contact with top coaches and the National Tennis Centre, but I never really thought I should go there because I had such a good player to practice with in Ken. I haven’t played that many junior tournaments.’</p> <p class="mol-para-with-font">Instead, he took the route of attending Louisiana State University and then embarking on a professional career, soon shifting his focus to doubles when his higher-ranked brother offered to form a partnership to take him through the lower rungs to support the tour.</p> <p class="mol-para-with-font">From there he has reached world number 1, winning a Wimbledon men’s doubles title and two mixed doubles titles along the way. The first was achieved this summer with Wesley Koolhof, but the Dutchman gave him an unwelcome surprise at the beginning of this month by telling him he was splitting up their partnership.</p> <p class="mol-para-with-font">Skupski has a calm temperament, but was clearly shocked, even though he knew full well that doubles is a notorious carousel. They failed to reach the group stage of the ATP Finals last week.</p> <p class="mol-para-with-font">“He sent me a message the Saturday night before the Paris Masters saying he wanted to have a conversation,” said Skupski, who will play with Mexican Santiago Gonzalez next year. ‘I would have preferred if we had spoken to each other earlier as a team. A lot of the changes (of partnerships) were settled around the time of Shanghai in October, so I didn’t have many options.</p> <p class="mol-para-with-font">‘I think we’d won Wimbledon and reached number 1 in the world and he felt that had affected his motivation and he wanted something new. I was taken by surprise because I just assumed we would continue next year, and I wasn’t really ready for it yet.”</p> <p class="mol-para-with-font">His final act of the season could be to face Serbia and Novak Djokovic in doubles in Thursday’s quarterfinals. If GB can win one singles match – the hope will be that the in-form Jack Draper can get a point on the board – then the doubles match is likely to be decisive for who makes it to the weekend’s semi-finals and final. He will be partner Joe Salisbury.</p> <p class="mol-para-with-font">Djokovic is the most brilliant singles player, but in the two-man code he is a mere mortal: “I’ve played against Novak in the past, Jamie and I beat him in Shanghai,” says Skupski. </p> <p class="mol-para-with-font">“He’s there, but just try to focus on yourself. That was clearly the case when we played against Nadal (in the 2019 final) and I am confident that we will play well again against another great player.”</p> <div class="artSplitter mol-img-group"> <div class="mol-img"> <div class="image-wrap"> </div> </div> <p class="imageCaption">Skupski was shocked to hear that Wesley Koolhof wanted to end their run as a doubles partnership</p> </div> <div class="artSplitter mol-img-group"> <div class="mol-img"> <div class="image-wrap"> </div> </div> <p class="imageCaption">Skupski is not impressed by the possible confrontation with Novak Djokovic in the quarter-finals of the Davis Cup</p> </div> </div> <p><a href="https://whatsnew2day.com/neal-skupski-on-his-dream-visit-to-boyhood-liverpools-training-ground-as-a-reward-for-winning-wimbledon-talking-fame-with-mohamed-salah-and-jurgen-klopp-cancelling-a-game-of-padel-due-to-a-hamstr/">Neal Skupski on his dream visit to boyhood Liverpool’s training ground as a reward for winning Wimbledon, talking fame with Mohamed Salah… and Jurgen Klopp cancelling a game of padel due to a hamstring injury!</a></p><!-- /wp:html -->

WhatsNew2Day – Latest News And Breaking Headlines

Neal Skupski recently ticked one off his bucket list when he was invited for a day at Liverpool’s training headquarters, and at one point struck up a conversation with Mo Salah.

Before long, they were comparing notes on their contrasting ability to walk unhindered through the streets of Skupski’s hometown.

‘We talked about him being very famous and what he can and can’t do. It is often difficult for him to go outside, so he prefers to stay indoors with his family. He was a really nice guy,” said the world number 3 doubles player and half of the reigning Wimbledon doubles champions.

‘I can go wherever I want when I’m at home in Liverpool and hardly be noticed. I’ve been number 1 in the world in my sport, but it’s not reported much locally, so I’ve come to terms with that.’

However, his success was striking enough to penetrate the consciousness of Jurgen Klopp’s assistant Pep Lijnders. After meeting Skupski and his brother and coach Ken at Wimbledon, the Dutchman invited them to watch their team in training.

Neal Skupski (right) has reached the top of doubles tennis, but is not in the spotlight

His stunning array of accolades includes winning the men’s doubles at Wimbledon this year

The British tennis star, a youth fan of Liverpool, was recently invited to the club’s training base

The original idea was to play a game of Padel tennis on the AXA Center court, the use of which is popular among players and technical staff. That didn’t happen this time as the manager played sparingly since going down with an injured hamstring while celebrating a goal against Tottenham.

However, Klopp was among those who took time out of their visit to chat with the tennis-playing brothers. That followed the Davis Cup group stage in Manchester, in which Skupski and Dan Evans saved match points in a decisive rubber against France to advance to this week’s last eight in Malaga.

‘I’ve been a fan since I was a kid, so it was a fantastic experience. I spoke to Salah and a few other players, like Virgil van Dijk. I don’t know if he was aware, but he seemed to know quite a bit about us.

‘Jurgen came for coffee and we talked for about half an hour. He turned out so that it felt like I had known him for years. His father was a football goalkeeper (and also an avid amateur tennis player) and so was mine, so we had that in common. It was fascinating to listen to him talk about the importance of never giving up until the end; it’s never over until it’s over.

‘He obviously follows tennis and he loves Padel, even if he can’t play as much as he wants at the moment. It was all great, the people we met were very down to earth.’

Skupski is not unusual in that he is a big Liverpool football fan, but is unique in that he is enjoying so much success in a game that is hardly associated with the city. His father was more typical, playing in goal for AFC Marine while joining Merseyside Police.

The key to his sons’ choice of sport was due to the geographical coincidence of growing up next to the Palmerston Lawn Tennis Club. “I actually just had to leave the garden through the back gate, and there are six tennis courts,” he says.

It took him until he was 30 to reach his peak, which may be related to where he grew up.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp (L) and captain Virgil van Dijk were two people Skupski spoke to

NEAL SKUPSKI Q&A

Who is your favorite Liverpool player of all time?

Steven Gerrard.

When was your first visit to Anfield?

It was actually for the 1996 Youth Cup final against West Ham.

Who was your tennis hero growing up?

Piet Sampras.

Who is your favorite current player to watch?

Carlos Alcaraz.

What’s the most obscure place you’ve played professional tennis?

A Challenger event in Guadeloupe in the French Caribbean. We stayed at an all-inclusive resort, it was very windy and the tracks had large cracks. But very beautiful and it was hard to leave.

Your favorite place to play tennis?

The Center Court of Wimbledon.

‘If I had lived in London I might have had more contact with top coaches and the National Tennis Centre, but I never really thought I should go there because I had such a good player to practice with in Ken. I haven’t played that many junior tournaments.’

Instead, he took the route of attending Louisiana State University and then embarking on a professional career, soon shifting his focus to doubles when his higher-ranked brother offered to form a partnership to take him through the lower rungs to support the tour.

From there he has reached world number 1, winning a Wimbledon men’s doubles title and two mixed doubles titles along the way. The first was achieved this summer with Wesley Koolhof, but the Dutchman gave him an unwelcome surprise at the beginning of this month by telling him he was splitting up their partnership.

Skupski has a calm temperament, but was clearly shocked, even though he knew full well that doubles is a notorious carousel. They failed to reach the group stage of the ATP Finals last week.

“He sent me a message the Saturday night before the Paris Masters saying he wanted to have a conversation,” said Skupski, who will play with Mexican Santiago Gonzalez next year. ‘I would have preferred if we had spoken to each other earlier as a team. A lot of the changes (of partnerships) were settled around the time of Shanghai in October, so I didn’t have many options.

‘I think we’d won Wimbledon and reached number 1 in the world and he felt that had affected his motivation and he wanted something new. I was taken by surprise because I just assumed we would continue next year, and I wasn’t really ready for it yet.”

His final act of the season could be to face Serbia and Novak Djokovic in doubles in Thursday’s quarterfinals. If GB can win one singles match – the hope will be that the in-form Jack Draper can get a point on the board – then the doubles match is likely to be decisive for who makes it to the weekend’s semi-finals and final. He will be partner Joe Salisbury.

Djokovic is the most brilliant singles player, but in the two-man code he is a mere mortal: “I’ve played against Novak in the past, Jamie and I beat him in Shanghai,” says Skupski.

“He’s there, but just try to focus on yourself. That was clearly the case when we played against Nadal (in the 2019 final) and I am confident that we will play well again against another great player.”

Skupski was shocked to hear that Wesley Koolhof wanted to end their run as a doubles partnership

Skupski is not impressed by the possible confrontation with Novak Djokovic in the quarter-finals of the Davis Cup

Neal Skupski on his dream visit to boyhood Liverpool’s training ground as a reward for winning Wimbledon, talking fame with Mohamed Salah… and Jurgen Klopp cancelling a game of padel due to a hamstring injury!

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