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Chicago To Make Challenger Debut In September

  • Posted: Jul 18, 2018

Chicago To Make Challenger Debut In September

ATP Challenger Tour descends on the Windy City with new $150,000 event

It is long known for its revolutionary architecture, fascinating museums, thriving sports scene and of course deep dish pizza. And now, the bustling city of Chicago is an ATP Challenger Tour destination.

The third-largest city in the United States will host a Challenger tournament for the first time, as a new $150,000 event descends on the metropolis in September. The event will be held at the XS Tennis Village during the second week of the US Open, from 2-9 September. It will be the second Challenger in the greater Chicago area, with nearby Winnetka celebrating its 27th anniversary last week.

“We are thrilled to welcome the Oracle Challenger Series to Chicago this September,” said Kamau Murray, President and CEO of XS Tennis Village and Executive Director of XS Tennis and Education Foundation. “We’re proud to work with Oracle on this great event and support the incredible work that they do. Their commitment to the sport goes hand-in-hand with our mission at XS to provide a positive pathway to future success through tennis.”

Murray’s foundation was established in 2005 to offer tennis opportunities to at-risk youth in Chicago. His recently-opened $15 million 13-acre facility features 13 outdoor hard courts, 12 indoor hard courts, four clay courts, a track and turf field and a $10,000 square-foot gym.

Continuing its commitment to grow the game at the Challenger level and provide more opportunities for players in world-class settings, Oracle announced the addition of the tournament as part of the Oracle Challenger Series. 

Earlier this year, the series launched with a pair of successful events in Southern California. #NextGenATP star Taylor Fritz kicked off his charge in the ATP Race To Milan with a title run in Newport Beach, the fourth victory in his young career, while former World No. 24 Martin Klizan returned to the winners’ circle in Indian Wells.

The 2018-19 Oracle Challenger Series will begin in Chicago, with additional events to be added at a later date. It will culminate at the 2019 BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, the first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event of the year, where the two Americans who accumulate the most points over the course of the series will receive wild cards into the singles main draw.

You May Also Like: Indian Wells Shines In Challenger Debut

The Oracle Challenger Series builds on Oracle’s commitment to help support U.S. tennis at both the professional and collegiate level. Oracle sponsors the Oracle US Tennis Awards, two $100,000 grants awarded annually to assist young players as they transition from college into the professional ranks. In addition to sponsoring the Intercollegiate Tennis Association rankings, Oracle also hosts the Oracle ITA Masters tournament in Malibu, California and the Oracle ITA National Fall Championships which will be held at the Surprise Tennis Center in Surprise, Arizona in 2018.

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Cecchinato Battles Past Vesely In Umag

  • Posted: Jul 18, 2018

Cecchinato Battles Past Vesely In Umag

Djere defeats Marterer in straight sets

Marco Cecchinato continued his strong run of recent form on clay, beating Jiri Vesely 2-6, 7-5, 7-5 at the Plava Laguna Croatia Open Umag on Wednesday.

The Gazprom Hungarian Open titlist recorded his 16th tour-level win in 28 matches this season, after converting his seventh match point, to overcome the 25-year-old after two hours and 19 minutes. Roland Garros semi-finalist Cecchinato, who became the first Italian man to reach a Grand Slam semi-final since Corrado Barazzutti in 1978, saved eight of 10 break points and fired nine aces en route to victory.

Vesely entered the tournament in fine form after winning six of eight matches during the grass-court season. The Czech reached the Round of 16 at Wimbledon (l. to Nadal) after falling to eventual champion Damir Dzumhur in the Turkish Airlines Open Antalya semi-finals.

Cecchinato will meet Laslo Djere for a spot in the semi-finals. Djere upset ninth-seeded Maximilian Marterer 7-6(4), 6-3.

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After defeating 2014 champion Pablo Cuevas in the first round, Djere dropped just five first-serve points (29/34) to reach his second tour-level quarter-final this season. In May, the World No. 100 enjoyed a run to the TEB BNP Paribas Istanbul Open semi-finals.

Mutua Madrid Open quarter-finalist Dusan Lajovic also overcame seeded opposition, eliminating fifth seed Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6-3, 1-6, 6-0.

Lajovic levelled his FedEx ATP Head2Head series against the Spaniard at 2-2 after one hour and 39 minutes, converting four of 14 break-point opportunities to reach the quarter-finals. Lajovic will meet Aljaz Bedene or Guido Pella for a place in the final four.

Did You Know?
Andrey Rublev is bidding to become the third man to win back-to-back Plava Laguna Croatia Open Umag titles. Thomas Muster (1992-1993) and Carlos Moya (2001- 2003) are the only men to ever successfully retain their title at the event.

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Ask The Pro: Playing Experience Helps Martin As Newport Tournament Director

  • Posted: Jul 18, 2018

Ask The Pro: Playing Experience Helps Martin As Newport Tournament Director

Newport Tournament Director among dozens of former players who have become leaders of ATP World Tour events

Todd Martin knew he didn’t have the street clout of a Pete Sampras or an Andre Agassi. But back in the winter of 1991, Martin also knew he deserved better treatment than what he was receiving at the prominent indoor ATP World Tour tournament held in the midwest of the United States.

Martin, then 21, approached the tournament desk and inquired about a practice court. The young American was preparing for the qualifying section of the tournament.

But the person at the desk was dumbfounded. The official stopped everything, glanced at Martin and then yelled back at the manager, “What do we do with these guys, these qualifier guys?”

The words stuck with Martin, who, almost 30 years later, as the tournament director of this week’s Dell Technologies Hall of Fame Open in Newport, knows exactly what to do with “these guys”: Treat them like you would any other player.

They were equipped to give me a practice court. They just didn’t how to handle somebody that wasn’t John McEnroe or Pete Sampras or the like,” Martin told

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Martin is among a small group of former ATP World Tour players who have found successful second careers in tennis as tournament directors, including recent additions Tommy Haas (Indian Wells) and James Blake (Miami).

Some of the former players turned bosses tried coaching after their playing days, or even still stay involved with guiding up-and-comers. But ultimately, the former greats decided to focus their unique expertise on helping improve the tournament experience for fans, sponsors, coaches and especially players.

I’m trying to be a tournament director and see things through the player’s eyes, and make sure that we’re trying to provide for their needs while still delivering an amazing product to the consumer,” Martin said.

The eight-time ATP World Tour titlist wasn’t set on leading a tournament when he finished playing in 2004, after reaching No. 4 in the ATP Rankings and playing in two Grand Slam finals (1999 US Open, l. to Andre Agassi; 1994 Australian Open, l. to Pete Sampras). Martin wanted to coach.

He worked with Mardy Fish and Novak Djokovic in the following years, but coaching ATP World Tour stars meant travelling, and Martin, who had a young family at the time, wasn’t interested in any more globetrotting.


Todd Martin, left, and Pete Sampras hug after competing in the 1994 Australian Open final. (Ian Kenins/AFP/Getty Images)

So he started his own business, Todd Martin Tennis, and invited players of all ages and their coaches to come to Florida, where they could train and learn together from Martin.

“I knew I wanted to be a leader of a business, not a participant in a business, so I felt like as much as anything, diving in head first was going to be the best way for me to be educated,” Martin said.

But in running the business, he quickly became more of an accountant, marketer and sales executive than a tennis coach. When the Newport opportunity became open, he was intrigued.

“I always have felt that tennis history has an incredible inspirational and dynamic capability to it,” said Martin, who started as CEO-designate in April 2014.

Read More: Hall of Fame Announces Germany’s Stich As 2018 Inductee

“So I really felt like when I took this job there was an opportunity to better leverage that inspirational quality, and the fact that the responsibility was great, being international and being the International Tennis Hall of Fame. For me, personally, I felt like if I’m going to work really hard at something, I’ve been conditioned over the years to having it mean something. And I really feel like the work here, no matter how hard it is at times, it means something when it’s being done and when it’s done. And that really satisfies me.”

The tournament director part of the job wasn’t a must have for Martin. But he thought his past experience, including eight years as president of the ATP World Tour Player Council, prepared him well for that particular role. Martin has also relied on his tournament experiences as a player, including his time as a qualifier.

For instance, on the Sunday before main draw play begins, when only qualifying matches are taking place at Newport, Martin makes sure players have food from the tournament’s caterers, even if it means extra costs.

There’s a lot of activity getting set up for the tournament so providing that service a day earlier is not easy. But if it were the day before Roger Federer was playing, guess what? Roger Federer would have food on property. And that’s what we have to do, is try to imagine Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in every person that we service,” Martin said.


Simon Aspelin, right, has transitioned from an ATP World Tour doubles champion to an ATP World Tour Tournament Director. (Michael Steele/Getty Images)

Simon Aspelin, like Martin, didn’t plan on becoming a tournament director after he retired in 2011. The 2007 US Open doubles titlist (with Julian Knowle) studied economics at Pepperdine University, where he played collegiate tennis, and thought he’d spend his post-playing days working in finance.

I wanted to try to try something different after my career,” Aspelin told “[But] after a long tennis career, it wasn’t really my passion, I didn’t enjoy it as much.”

So after a year in finance, he returned to tennis, coaching at the Good to Great Tennis Academy, which was founded by Magnus Norman, Nicklas Kulti and Mikael Tillstrom. The travel, however, deterred Aspelin as well, and after a year at the Stockholm academy, he joined Lagardere, which runs both the SkiStar Swedish Open in Bastad, which started Monday, and the Intrum Stockholm Open.

I know what the players appreciate, and I enjoy working with the sport that I love and working with an organization that delivers two really nice tournaments,” said Aspelin, who will direct his third edition of the Stockholm tournament in October.

Read More: Stockholm Tournament Honoured

When Aspelin was playing, he always remembered the feel of the tournament, the hospitality of the event. That’s why in Stockholm, he and his staff go out of their way to accommodate player requests.

“We want the players to feel like they can pretty much ask for anything and we will solve it for them,” he said. “We always try to be accommodating with any special hotel requests. We make sure that transportation is working, and that players can be picked up whenever they arrive.”

Aspelin, his staff and his team of 400-plus volunteers also make sure to satisfy one other special ask they always receive. It goes against one of their dining meal goals, which is to have variety.

But the players at this Swedish tournament request this food over and over again, for nearly every meal, so the tournament provides it. The players love the tournament’s Swedish meatballs.

“Every day, every meal – pretty much – they want to have that as an option,” Aspelin said. “We try to have a good variety but then we get the feedback that the meatballs should be on the menu every day. I guess they never have anything close to meatballs during the year.”

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Bolelli Upsets Schwartzman In Båstad; Spaniards Advance

  • Posted: Jul 18, 2018

Bolelli Upsets Schwartzman In Båstad; Spaniards Advance

Carreno Busta to face two-time former finalist Verdasco on Friday

Italian qualifier Simone Bolelli completed a dramatic first-set comeback at the SkiStar Swedish Open on Wednesday to knock out top-seeded Argentine Diego Schwartzman 7-6(8), 6-3 in one hour and 55 minutes.

Bolelli recovered from 2-5 down in the first set and saved set points at 6/7 and 7/8 in the tie-break en route to his highest-ranked match win since he beat then No. 5-ranked Tomas Berdych in September 2015 at the St. Petersburg Open. He will next play last year’s quarter-finalist Henri Laaksonen, a Swiss lucky loser, who beat Matteo Berrettini of Italy 6-2, 6-2 in 59 minutes.

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Later in the day, second seed Pablo Carreno Busta set up a quarter-final clash against fellow Spaniard Fernando Verdasco, the fifth seed and two-time finalist.

Carreno Busta overcame Thiago Monteiro of Brazil 6-4, 6-3, while Verdasco, the 2013 and 2016 runner-up, knocked out Pedro Sousa of Portugal 6-3, 6-2 in 64 minutes.

Did You Know?
Eight different Spaniards — Manuel Orantes (1972, 1975), Emilio Sanchez (1986), Carlos Moya (2002), Rafael Nadal (2005), Tommy Robredo (2006, 2008), David Ferrer (2007, 2012, 2017), Tommy Robredo (2008) and Albert Ramos-Vinolas (2016) — have won the ATP World Tour 250 tournament title since the first edition in 1970.

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BBC coverage: British Open Wheelchair Tennis Championships on the BBC

  • Posted: Jul 18, 2018

The British Open Wheelchair Tennis Championships take place at Nottingham Tennis Centre from 17-22 July – and are live on the BBC website, app and Connected TVs from Thursday.

The British Open, fifth of six Super Series tournaments, welcomes one of the strongest fields ever assembled for this event with eight of the world’s top 10 men’s and women’s players competing.

Former finalists Alfie Hewett and Gordon Reid, won a third successive Wimbledon wheelchair doubles title on Saturday, head the home challenge in the men’s event, with the aim of becoming the first British winner of the title.

Japan’s five-time winner Shingo Kunieda is one of five former champions from five different countries in the men’s field.

British number one Lucy Shuker, Louise Hunt and Lauren Jones, who alongside Shuker won a bronze medal for Great Britain in the 2018 World Team Cup, represent the host nation in the women’s event.

All four Super Series women’s titles so far this season have been shared equally between two players – Wimbledon champion Diede de Groot of the Netherlands and 2017 British Open winner Yui Kamiji of Japan.

The field for the quad singles will feature eight of the world’s top 10 players. Three of those players – Great Britain’s Andy Lapthorne, American David Wagner and Lucas Sithole of South Africa – arrive in Nottingham after playing in the first ever quad doubles exhibition at Wimbledon.


All times BST. Times are subject to change. The BBC is not responsible for any changes that may be made.

Thursday 19 July

09:25-18:00, Connected TV and online

Men’s, women’s & quad quarter-finals and semi-final matches

Friday 20 July

09:25-18:00, Connected TV and online

Men’s, women’s & quad semi-final matches

Saturday 21 July

09:55-18:00, Connected TV and online

Men’s, women’s and quad doubles finals

Sunday 22 July

09:55-18:00, Connected TV and online

Men’s, women’s & quad singles finals


Audiences can access all of BBC Sport’s digital coverage from via a web browser on PCs and handheld devices or the BBC Sport app for mobiles and tablets (iOS and Android). The BBC Sport app for connected TVs will also provide all live streams and video highlights.


You can view TV and red button broadcasts as well as listen to our radio sports programming on the BBC iPlayer.

National and regional variations

National and regional variations have been included in this list where possible, but please check your local listings for more detailed information.

NB. All times are BST and are subject to change. The BBC is not responsible for any changes that may be made. Also coverage on BBC Red Button can experience late schedule changes, so details may differ from this page. Further programmes and times will appear when confirmed.

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Like Old Times: Karlovic Saves 1 M.P. In Newport

  • Posted: Jul 18, 2018

Like Old Times: Karlovic Saves 1 M.P. In Newport

39-year-old hits 19 aces, overcomes #NextGenATP Aussie

Ivo Karlovic is up to his old tricks again at the Dell Technologies Hall of Fame Open in Newport. The 39-year-old Croatian saved a match point against 19-year-old Aussie Alex de Minaur on Tuesday to advance to the second round of the season’s final grass-court tournament 6-7(2), 7-6(3), 7-5.

Karlovic was serving at 4-5, 30/40 in the third set when De Minaur saw a second serve but netted it. The three-time grass-court titlist took advantage, breaking the #NextGenATP right-hander the next game and later serving it out to 15.

“He was playing well. I didn’t really feel the ball [well]. I was missing a lot but I was hanging in there,” Karlovic said. “[The match point] was a second serve. I hit it well, and he was not able to return it so I was happy about it.”

The 6’11” Croatian saved three championship points during the 2016 Newport final to claim his first Dell Technologies Hall of Fame Open title (d. Muller).

Karlovic will next face Israel’s Dudi Sela, who upset Aussie Bernard Tomic, a 2011 Wimbledon quarter-finalist, 6-3, 1-6, 6-2. Sela dropped only five first-serve points (29/34) in the 65-minute first-round contest.

It will be a match of contrasting heights: Karlovic is 6’11”; Sela 5’9”. The taller of the two has won all six of their FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings, but there’ are no hard feelings from Sela. The last time they played, in 2014 Bogota, they hugged it out.

Sixth seed and 2016 finalist Gilles Muller landed less than half of his first serves but found a way to beat Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis 7-6(5), 6-3.

Read More: The Two People Who Push Muller To Success

“Tough match, like always against Marcos… It was a little bit up and down but the most important thing was to get through,” said Muller, who improved to 2-3 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series.

Muller will next meet Spain’s Marcel Granollers, who beat American qualifier JC Aragone 7-6(6), 6-0.

American wild card Christian Harrison edged Aussie qualifier Alex Bolt 6-3, 4-6, 7-5 to set a second-round meeting with third seed Steve Johnson of the U.S.

Harrison’s older brother, fifth seed Ryan Harrison, retired down 2-6, 0-2 to France’s Nicolas Mahut, a four-time grass-court champion, including Newport in 2013.

“Many good memories from here,” Mahut said. “I really enjoy the tournament.”

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