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Challenger Vault: David Ferrer

  • Posted: Oct 10, 2018

Challenger Vault: David Ferrer

In this edition of the Challenger Vault, David Ferrer discusses the importance of the ATP Challenger Tour and reflects on his early-career successes on the circuit.

Next year, David Ferrer will close the book on his illustrious career, as the former World No. 3 prepares to hang up his racquet after 19 seasons on the ATP World Tour.

But last week, the 36-year-old had one final chapter to write in 2018 as he kicked off his farewell tour. Over the years, Ferrer has found a second home in Mexico and his visit to the ATP Challenger Tour event in Monterrey was no exception. A four-time champion at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel in Acapulco, the Spanish veteran was embraced by the home crowd throughout the week. Fans packed the Stadium Court to witness his dogged tenacity on full display.

Ferrer did not disappoint, dropping just one set en route to the Abierto GNP Seguros title. Making his first Challenger appearance in 14 years, he improved to 6-0 in finals on the circuit with aplomb. As the Monterrey faithful jockeyed for position to get selfies and autographs with the Spanish legend, the moment transcended sports.

It is a career that most would dream of. A peak ATP Ranking of No. 3 was predicated on hard work and dedication to his craft. He exhibited a persistent, indefatigable attitude regardless of the conditions or situation on the court. Ferrer would go on to lift 27 trophies on the ATP World Tour, including the 2012 Rolex Paris Masters, and reach the final at both the 2007 Nitto ATP Finals and 2013 Roland Garros.


But Ferrer did not stroll onto the ATP World Tour and immediately lift trophies. He got his start far from the bright lights and mammoth stadiums. It was apropos that Ferrer would return to his roots in Monterrey, giving one final farewell to the ATP Challenger Tour.

“When I was younger, the tour really helped me a lot, because in order to be a professional you have to play these Challenger tournaments,” Ferrer told “I had the luck of spending a little time at this level and then I quickly played tournaments on the ATP World Tour. The Challengers are a phase that everyone has to go through, to rise to the top. I was only 17 or 18 years old playing tournaments on the ATP World Tour, so I made it fast.”

Ferrer raised five trophies between 2001 and 2002, claiming his maiden crown in Sopot, Poland, before dominating on the clay of Italy with titles in Napoli, Sassuolo and Manerbio. A native of Javea, Spain, he would also reign in nearby Valencia, giving the home fans the opportunity to watch a star in the making. Two months later, he would break into the Top 100 of the ATP Rankings at the ripe age of 20.

“I still remember the first Challenger I won in Sopot (Poland) and also when I won in Napoli (Italy), because I beat Marc Rosset. I saw him play on television many times and to play against him in a match was different. He was the first big player I beat. Great memories.

“The Challenger circuit is very difficult and it is not easy to win there. Of course no one wants to stay playing at the level, but it is a stage that everyone has to pass. It is a big jump to play on the ATP World Tour, but it is clear that these players are at a high level.”

You May Also Like: Ferrer Caps 2018 Campaign With Monterrey Crown

In the early 2000s, the proud tennis-rich Spanish contingent was beginning to say ‘adios’ to legends Juan Carlos Ferrero and Carlos Moya, as a new era commenced with Ferrer and Rafael Nadal. Now, a similar transition is taking shape, as the Next Generation is already taking aim behind the likes of Jaume Munar, Pedro Martinez, Carlos Taberner, Nicola Kuhn and Alejandro Davidovich Fokina. Munar, Martinez and Kuhn have already captured their maiden titles.

“The Spanish players in Challengers are really good. Jaume Munar already is in the Top 100 and has passed this level. Pedro Martinez is on this path and Carlos Taberner also. They are very young players but I am sure they will be in the Top 100 soon. It is true that we also have teenagers like Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, Nicola Kuhn and Carlos Gimeno Valero who are the future.

“I have trained a lot with Martinez and also with Gimeno, because he is from Valencia. I was also with Davidovich in Marbella and he is a player that I also like a lot.”

Ferrer will open his 2019 campaign at the ASB Classic in Auckland, where he is a four-time champion. He plans to call it a career in either Barcelona or Madrid.

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A Point So Good, Even Roger Was Happy To Lose It

  • Posted: Oct 10, 2018

A Point So Good, Even Roger Was Happy To Lose It

Federer reflects on that awe-inspiring volley from Medvedev

It is not often that players go onto court against Roger Federer, for the first time, and manage not only to handle the pressure, but also play perhaps the best shot of their career. But, at the Rolex Shanghai Masters on Wednesday, that could be said of Daniil Medvedev.

The newly crowned Russian No. 1 may have lost in three-sets to the defending champion, but he won a number of fans and took Hot Shot honours after winning one of the best rallies of the tournament in jaw-dropping circumstances. In fact, the volley Medvedev played not only forced a smile from Federer, but the 20-time Grand Slam champion even gave his opponent a quick round of applause after making a volley that had so much backspin, it bounced back onto Medvedev’s side of the court.

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“What was great about that shot is he didn’t maybe want that, but he gave himself the best chance to make the ball,” said Federer. “When you have the right intention, right belief and right stretch, good things do happen.”

The 6’6″ Moscow-born star is producing his best season yet on the ATP World Tour, having recently won his third title of the season at the Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships (d. Nishikori). Medvedev also lifted trophies in Sydney and Winston-Salem and has risen 62 places in the ATP Rankings in just nine months, from No. 84 to No. 22. The 22-year-old Medvedev also qualified for the inaugural Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan last year.

“This was one of the perfect examples that we both played a great point, and at the end, a little magic happens,” said Federer. “It was good fun to see it. In the beginning, you’re like, ‘I can’t believe it happened’, then you’re actually happy for the guy that he actually pulled off a great shot.”

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Federer Impressed By Shanghai Faithful During Opening Win

  • Posted: Oct 10, 2018

Federer Impressed By Shanghai Faithful During Opening Win

Swiss will next meet 2016 finalist Bautista Agut

Roger Federer has played more than 1,400 matches all over the world during his 21-year professional career. So, to be sure, he’s seen a few passionate crowds in his day, which makes his comments about the Rolex Shanghai Masters fans on Wednesday all that more meaningful.

The top-seeded Federer beat Russian Daniil Medvedev 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 in his opener at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event. But Federer credited some of the victory to the faithful inside Qi Zhong Stadium.

You May Also Like: Roger Survives Shanghai Scare Against Medvedev

The defending champion was tested by Medvedev, who won his biggest title on Sunday in Tokyo, before breaking the Russian in the ninth game of the decider and serving it out.

“I really feel parts of the victory belong to the fans here in Shanghai. I thought they were phenomenal for the first round and they understood I was in trouble and I appreciate that,” Federer said.

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“I like when the crowds cheer. If they cheer for me, that’s better, but if they cheer for the opponent, that’s okay, too, as long as there is a great crowd. But I’m very thankful and very happy when I see everybody’s having a good time. Thankfully I’m used to it. Good, big crowds, loud crowds.”

The 37-year-old was particularly impressed by a legion of fans in the upper deck that sported matching “Allez Federer” banners. He’ll hope for another big crowd when he faces Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut in the third round.

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“You very rarely get a chance to see a group of guys getting together like this, sitting in a row, I don’t know, a hundred, and a few rows up, as well, and holding up massive banners. It’s not what tennis usually is about. It’s splintered, splintered groups all around the stadium.

“I feel like that’s very unique here in Shanghai. They devote their time and creativity, almost like a football fan, and they are all together there to support me,” Federer said.

“So I appreciate that they take the time to think of me also when I’m not here in Shanghai, and when I do show up, they are so excited and so happy, and that obviously gives me a lift, a big one. I can’t thank them enough.”

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ATP Media & ATP Double Up As Winners At Leaders Sports Awards

  • Posted: Oct 10, 2018

ATP Media & ATP Double Up As Winners At Leaders Sports Awards

Live-streaming platform and tournament innovations are recognised

Men’s tennis was at the heart of celebrations last night as ATP Media and the ATP picked up two awards at the inaugural Leaders Sports Awards in London.  ATP Media’s live-streaming platform, Tennis TV won the On Screen Experience category and Next Gen ATP Finals won the Innovation category for the ATP.

The new Leaders Sports Awards recognizes companies shaping the future of sports around the world and the submissions are judged by some of the top executives and experts in the industry. 

As the awards have an international focus, both submissions overcame stiff competition and were up against some of the biggest names in sport globally.

Tennis TV streams 2000 tennis matches a year live and on demand and more than 1000 hours of classic ATP World Tour matches to subscribers globally. Targeting the  avid tennis fan, the product is available to users across streaming devices, smartphones and tablets as well as on desktop and laptops. Its bold design delivers a consistent user experience across devices, whatever the size of the screen.

ATP Media’s ambition was to deliver the best possible product for tennis, making virtually every ATP match available, and setting a new benchmark for OTT sports services, whilst providing the potential of a complementary product for its global broadcast partners.  The product was re-launched ready for the 2017 season and has continued to innovate and evolve since then, launching across more devices, and connecting with more fans globally.

Stuart Watts, COO of ATP Media said, “We are delighted for Tennis TV to be recognised by such esteemed peers in our industry.  We are tremendously proud of the efforts our team have put in over the last few years to get Tennis TV to this point – not only for its re-launch in 2017 but since then in continuing to improve the service we deliver to tennis fans around the world”.

The inaugural Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan took place in November 2017 with a fundamental mission to trial rule changes and innovation in a high profile real tournament environment. The tournament, organised by the ATP in partnership with the Italian Tennis Federation and the Italian National Olympic Committee, championed innovation throughout with the objective of not only promoting the next generation of players, but also targeting the next generation of fans.  

The tournament took place under an innovative fast-paced and cutting-edge TV-friendly format, while at the same time showcasing various technological advances in the sport, including a world-first use of Hawk Eye Live.  The progressive tournament also led to a pioneering new global partnership agreement between ATP, ATP Media and Amazon Prime Video.

Chris Kermode, ATP Executive Chairman & President, said: “We’re very proud of what we achieved in year one of the Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan in 2017, and it’s particularly rewarding to see our bold vision for the event recognised with this award  in what was an extremely competitive category. The Next Gen ATP Finals have provided us with an unprecedented platform not only to promote the future stars of the sport but to also trial various innovations, and we look forward to another successful event this coming November.” 

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Wimbledon chief warns players on respect after Verdasco incident

  • Posted: Oct 10, 2018

A Wimbledon chief has called for greater “mutual respect” after a video clip showed Fernando Verdasco gesturing at a ball boy to hurry up with a towel during last month’s Shenzhen Open.

Mick Desmond, commercial and media director of the All England Club, added he was “not afraid” to fine players.

“There’s an etiquette. The ball boys and ball girls of Wimbledon are all volunteers,” Desmond told BBC Sport.

But he suggested an idea to introduce towel rails was unlikely to be adopted.

British tennis coach Judy Murray suggested a rule change after the footage of the world number 28 emerged in September, showing him motioning for the ball boy to get his towel to him more quickly between points.

“Well, you never say never,” said Desmond. “But I don’t think so. I think there’s still a sense to make sure a match stays at speed – but there needs to be a mutual respect between the two entities.

“We expect any individual at Wimbledon – whether it’s a player, whether it’s a ball boy or whether it’s a cleaner to have mutual respect for each other.”

He said the All England club, which stages Wimbledon, would talk to the ATP and the WTA – the organisers of the men’s and women’s tours – about player behaviour.

“Wimbledon is not afraid to fine the players whatever their standing,” Desmond added.

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Johanna Konta splits with coach Michael Joyce

  • Posted: Oct 10, 2018

British number one Johanna Konta has parted company with coach Michael Joyce after less than a year together.

The 27-year-old began the year as a top 10 player, but is now 45th after struggling at the Grand Slams in 2018.

Konta is playing in Moscow next week and hopes to have a new coach in place in time for pre-season training.

American Joyce was Konta’s third coach in as many years, joining her after she had worked with Esteban Carril and Wim Fissette.

Konta reached the second round at the Australian Open and Wimbledon, and went out at the first-round stage of the French Open and US Open.

She made it to the final of the Nottingham Open in June, her only final of the year, but has not been beyond the second round of her past six tournaments.

Joyce spent six years as part of Maria Sharapova’s team, the Russian winning the US Open and the Australian Open as well as becoming world number one while the pair worked together.


BBC tennis correspondent Russell Fuller

Konta’s ranking has fallen from nine to 45 in 2018. There have been some solid results on tour, but only two matches won at Grand Slams – which is a poor return for a player who had reached a Grand Slam semi-final in each of the two previous years.

And so, for the third year in a row, Konta has decided to make a change. At 27, can she find someone who might take her out of her comfort zone in order to compete again with the world’s top 10?

Konta will play her final event of the year in Moscow next week and hopes to have a new coach in position in time for winter training.

She has also moved management companies, and is now with StarWing Sports, which has enjoyed success with Stan Wawrinka and signed Kyle Edmund this time last year.

Since the agency paired Edmund with Freddie Rosengren and Mark Hilton, the British number one has reached the semi-finals of the Australian Open and a career-high ranking of 14.

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Zverev Moves A Step Closer, Now Plays De Minaur In Shanghai

  • Posted: Oct 10, 2018

Zverev Moves A Step Closer, Now Plays De Minaur In Shanghai

De Minaur beats Paire for the third time

Alexander Zverev moved one step closer to qualifying for the Nitto ATP Finals on Wednesday by winning his opening match at the Rolex Shanghai Masters. The fourth-seeded German knocked out in-form Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia 7-5, 6-4 in just over 90 minutes at the Qi Zhong Stadium.

“I played all right,” said Zverev. “I played a solid match. I did everything that I needed to win. Focused a lot, focused on my game. As you can probably hear in my voice, I’m a little sick right now, so feeling a little bit low energy, but I hope it will get better over the next few days.”

Zverev, the next in line to qualify for November’s season finale, improved to 47-15 on the season – second only to Dominic Thiem (48) for most tour-level match wins in 2018. He must reach at least the Shanghai semi-finals in order to join Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Juan Martin del Potro and Roger Federer at The O2 in London from 11-18 November. Buy Your London Tickets

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After an early exchange of service breaks, Zverev saved three break points at 3-4 and completed the 50-minute opener with an ace, to end a run of three straight games. The 21-year-old broke clear in the third game of the second set against Basilashvili, last week’s China Open titlist (d. Del Potro).

Zverev, who is through to the Shanghai third round for the third consecutive year, lifted his third ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crown earlier this year at the Mutua Madrid Open (d. Thiem), becoming the first player to win a clay-court title without being broken since the ATP started keeping stats in 1991. He also retained silverware at the BMW Open by FWU (d. Kohlschreiber) and the Citi Open, beating Australia’s Alex de Minaur, his next opponent.

When asked about De Minaur, Zverev said, “He’s had a fantastic year. He’s nearly Top 30 and obviously playing great tennis, as well. I played him twice this year. Once was a very tough match in Davis Cup, which went to a very long five sets [and] the other one was in the Washington final where I played great. Obviously, it’s not going to be an easy match, especially on this surface. I’m looking forward to it.”

De Minaur, a fellow #NextGenATP star, advanced to the third round of a Masters 1000 for the first time in beating France’s Benoit Paire 6-4, 6-3 in 90 minutes. The two-time ATP World Tour finalist, now 26-24 on the year, is a contender to qualify for the 2018 Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan from 6-10 November. Buy Your Milan Tickets

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Shanghai Masters: Kyle Edmund through to last 16 after straight-set win

  • Posted: Oct 10, 2018

British number one Kyle Edmund went through to the last 16 of the Shanghai Masters with a straight-set victory against Italy’s Andreas Seppi.

Edmund, ranked 14th in the world, broke twice in the first set and early in the second to win 6-3 6-4 in one hour and 20 minutes.

The 23-year-old will next face Chile’s world number 48 Nicolas Jarry.

German fourth seed Alexander Zverev is also through after he beat Georgia’s Nikoloz Basilashvili 7-5 6-4.

  • Edmund reaches career-high world ranking
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