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Kyrgios Makes Special Connection At Charity Event

  • Posted: Dec 16, 2018

Kyrgios Makes Special Connection At Charity Event

More than $5,000 raised for the NK Foundation

Nick Kyrgios has thrilled countless fans throughout the world with his tennis. But the Australian continues to prove that his kindness off the court makes an impact, too.

Kyrgios, who has ramped up the work with his NK Foundation in 2018, participated in the Get Set Games Charity Challenge at the Kaleen Tennis Club in Canberra, Australia on Saturday. The event raised more than $5,000 for his foundation.

But more important were the memories that Kyrgios helped create for the nearly 100 children in attendance. One girl, Loga Gandhi, caught Kyrgios’ eye.

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For the past 18 months, the eight-year-old has been recovering from a bone marrow transplant that was performed to treat leukemia. Gandhi was forced to stop playing tennis once diagnosed with leukemia in order to focus on her recovery. So for Kyrgios, it was an honour just to be able to hit some balls with her.

“For her to come out to have a hit, she felt up to it and that was pretty special,” Kyrgios told the Canberra Times. “She found out about [her illness] when she started playing tennis, so she couldn’t continue. I put a whole bag of stuff — clothes, tennis racquets and everything — and gave it to her. To hit with her was great, I got pretty emotional. It was heartwarming, but it breaks me as well.”

The NK Foundation is continuing to raise funds in order to open a facility in Dandenong, Australia, where underprivileged youth can visit for a safe haven. There will be tennis courts, basketball courts, a gym and a pool to give kids a chance to participate in various physical activities when they might not have an opportunity to do so elsewhere.

Saturday’s charity event was just another example of what Kyrgios wants to do to help children for years to come. For all the kids who walked away with a smile on their face after taking a picture with this year’s Brisbane International champion or even getting to hit a ball with him, Kyrgios smiled, too.

“I was excited to get out here and to get out with the kids again,” Kyrgios said. “To see the smiles on their faces [is great].”

View Kyrgios’ Charity Profile

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Tennis legend King honoured at Sports Personality

  • Posted: Dec 16, 2018

Legendary tennis player Billie Jean King has been honoured with the lifetime achievement award at the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year show.

The 75-year-old American, one of the greatest female tennis players of all time, won 39 Grand Slam titles in singles and doubles competitions.

King is an advocate for gender equality and in 1973 won the Battle of the Sexes match against Bobby Riggs.

She is also the founder of the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA).

“We all stand on the shoulders of those who came before us and we all have an opportunity to share our lives, our experiences and our vision for the future,” King said.

“Each of us is an influencer, and to all the athletes who truly have a platform, let’s continue to use the power of our voices and our actions to inspire others.”

  • Sports Personality ceremony as it happened
  • Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas voted Sports Personality 2018
  • How the night unfolded on social media
  • Full list of winners

Speaking from Miami, three-time Sports Personality of the Year Andy Murray said she “was one of the best of all time on the court”, but that her achievements away from the court were even more impressive.

“She has been a huge advocate for women’s rights and equal rights and I think that has translated into tennis, unlike many other sports,” he said.

“We have pretty equal prize money across the men’s and women’s tours, and that is extremely significant. She was advocating for that probably 30-40 years ahead of her time and that is one of the most impressive things she’s done.

“She is someone who stood up for what she believed. I imagine at the time she went through a lot, but ultimately she has changed our sport for the better by doing that. More athletes should take her lead.”

King turned professional in 1959 and gained global recognition two years later when she and Karen Hantze Susman became the youngest pair to win the women’s doubles title at Wimbledon.

In 1966, she won her first major singles title, again at Wimbledon, and was crowned world number one for the first time – a ranking she held for five further years (1967-1968, 1971-1972 and 1974).

She retained her Wimbledon titles in both 1967 and 1968 – the years in which she also won her first US Open and Australian Open singles titles respectively.

In total, King won a record 20 Wimbledon titles as well as 13 US Open, four French Open and two Australian Open crowns between 1961 and 1979. She collected three Grand Slam titles in one year in 1972.

She won 129 singles titles in all, 78 of which were WTA titles. In addition, she won seven Fed Cups as a player and four as the US team’s captain.

King retired from professional tennis in 1983.

Fight for equality and social justice

Off the court, King was a pioneer in campaigning for equal prize money in tennis, and in 1971 became the first female player to earn more than $100,000 in prize money.

However, when she won the US Open in 1972, she received $15,000 less than the men’s champion and vowed not to return the following year unless the prize money was equal.

In 1973, the US Open became the first major tournament to offer equal prize money for men and women.

Her campaigning didn’t end there, though, and throughout the 1970s – the height of her competitive years – she led player efforts to support the formation of the first professional women’s tour and became the first president of the WTA.

In 1974, along with then-husband Larry King, she started the Women’s Sports Foundation, which works to ensure all girls have access to sport.

Battle of the Sexes

Perhaps the most high-profile moment in King’s fight for equality within tennis was her 1973 exhibition match against former men’s number one Riggs.

Riggs, who won three Grand Slam singles titles in the 1930s and 1940s, was a self-proclaimed chauvinist and had claimed the women’s game was inferior to the men’s.

After challenging and defeating 24-time Grand Slam singles champion Margaret Court, Riggs challenged King to play him for a prize of $100,000.

Dubbed the Battle of the Sexes, the King-Riggs match took place in Texas in front of an estimated worldwide television audience of 90 million – making it the most-watched tennis match of all time.

King beat Riggs 6-4 6-3 6-3 and the match was considered a significant event in garnering greater respect for women’s tennis.

The Battle of the Sexes was the subject of the 2017 film of the same name, in which King was played by Oscar winner Emma Stone.

Other achievements

  • Elected to the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1987
  • The home of the US Open Grand Slam tennis tournament was renamed the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in 2006
  • Awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the United States’ highest civilian honour, by President Barack Obama in 2009

Billie Jean King’s speech in full

I would like to thank everyone at the BBC for this lifetime achievement award and for including me in this historic evening.

This part of the world has played a major role in my life and my career. I won my first national championship at the Irish Open in 1963 and I won my final professional WTA Tour title right here in Birmingham in 1983.

Next year, I’ll be going to Wimbledon again. It will be my 59th consecutive year of going. It’s like a second home for me.

I first played tennis at 11, and the second time I picked up a racquet I knew I wanted to be the number one player in the world and to win Wimbledon.

At 12, I had an epiphany while sitting at the Los Angeles Tennis Club. Everybody who played played in white shoes, white clothes, played with white tennis balls and everybody who played tennis was white.

At 12, I asked myself, where is everybody else? From that moment on, I committed myself to fight for equality and inclusion for all for the rest of my life.

At 13, I had the privilege of seeing the great Althea Gibson play. She was the first black player to ever win a major title – the French in 1956 – and for the first time I saw what being the number one player in the world looked like. That’s how good you have to be.

If you can see it, you can be it.

We all stand on the shoulders of those who came before us and we all have an opportunity to share our lives, our experiences and our vision for the future.

Each of us is an influencer, and to all the athletes who truly have a platform, let’s continue to use the power of our voices and our actions to inspire others.

Thank you so much for tonight.

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Best of 2018: First-Time Winners Part 1

  • Posted: Dec 16, 2018

Best of 2018: First-Time Winners Part 1

ATP World Tour Season In Review: First-Time Winners

Continuing our Season In Review series, pays tribute to the first-time winners of the 2018 season. In part one of our two-part series, we look at the year’s first seven first-time winners.

Daniil Medvedev – Sydney [First-Time Winner Spotlight] 
In the youngest ATP World Tour final since Rafael Nadal defeated Novak Djokovic at the 2007 BNP Paribas Open, Daniil Medvedev overcame home favourite and first-time tour-level finalist Alex de Minaur 1-6, 6-4, 7-5 at the Sydney International.

“It’s amazing,” Medvedev said. “I’m really happy. To make it through the qualies, there were so many circumstances. I wanted to go to Auckland, because my girlfriend had a visa to New Zealand, and not even one guy withdrew from Auckland… now I won here. So [it’s] just amazing.”

One year on from appearing in his first final in Chennai (l. to Bautista Agut), Medvedev needed two hours and 13 minutes to capture his maiden tour-level trophy. It proved to be the catalyst for a stellar 2018 season, with the Russian also lifting titles in Winston-Salem and Tokyo.

Mirza Basic – Sofia [First-Time Winner Spotlight] 
In a meeting of first-time tour-level finalists, Mirza Basic overcame Marius Copil 7-6(6), 6-7(4), 6-4 to lift his maiden ATP World Tour singles crown at the Diema Xtra Sofia Open.

“It’s a dream come true,” said Basic. “I made the breakthrough to the Top 100 [of the ATP Rankings] and I won my first ATP [World Tour] title, so I’m very happy. Winning the first Best of 2018: First-Time Winners Part 1 from the first [final] is a very good thing.”

The 26-year-old became just the second player from Bosnia and Herzegovina to win a tour-level title, following compatriot Damir Dzumhur, who earned his maiden crown at the 2017 St. Petersburg Open. Basic, en route to the trophy, scored his first Top 20 win, upsetting Stan Wawrinka in the semi-finals.


Roberto Carballes Baena – Quito [First-Time Winner Spotlight] 
Entering the tournament seeking his first tour-level match win in almost a year, Roberto Carballes Baena could not have written a more dramatic script to lift his first ATP World Tour trophy at the Ecuador Open.

The Spanish qualifier won six matches in seven days, upsetting fourth seed Paolo Lorenzi and eighth seed Nicolas Jarry en route to the final, before overcoming second-seeded countryman Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 in two hours and 28 minutes to finish off the dream run.

“Many feelings come to my mind and many years of training to achieve this,” said Carballes Baena. “I thank my family, my parents in particular. They have been with me since I was little and have been behind me for a long time. We will celebrate this in Spain.” 

Carballes Baena

Frances Tiafoe – Delray Beach [First-Time Winner Spotlight] 
After defeating Juan Martin del Potro, Hyeon Chung and Denis Shapovalov en route to the final, wild card Frances Tiafoe coasted to his first ATP World Tour title in Delray Beach. The Maryland native beat Peter Gojowczyk of Germany 6-1, 6-4 to become the youngest American to win an ATP World Tour title since 19-year-old Andy Roddick at 2002 Houston.

Before his appearance at the New York Open the previous week, Tiafoe had won nine tour-level matches (9-31) and had never reached a tour-level quarter-final. But after reaching the last eight in New York (l. to Anderson) and triumphing in Delray Beach, Tiafoe almost doubled his tour-level win count (16) in two weeks.

“It’s unbelievable. It’s obviously a dream to win your first title,” said Tiafoe. “Now I have got that off my back, so that feels pretty good so early in my career. It’s an amazing feeling and I just hope I can get many more as I go along.”

Marco Cecchinato – Budapest [First-Time Winner Spotlight] 
After losing in the final round of qualifying in straight sets, Marco Cecchinato was handed a lifeline at the Gazprom Hungarian Open, gaining entry to the main draw as a lucky loser.

Seven days later, the World No. 92, who had never reached a tour-level semi-final before his arrival in Budapest, defeated fellow first-time tour-level finalist John Millman 7-5, 6-4 to claim his maiden trophy.

“I lost Sunday and now I won the tournament. It’s amazing for me,” Cecchinato said. “Maybe it’s a dream.”

The victory proved to be the start of a special run for the Italian, who stunned Novak Djokovic en route to the Roland Garros semi-finals and picked up his second title at the Plava Laguna Croatia Open Umag in July.

Taro Daniel – Istanbul [First-Time Winner Spotlight] 
In another meeting of first-time tour-level finalists, Taro Daniel capped a memorable week in Istanbul with a 7-6(4), 6-4 win over Malek Jaziri at the TEB BNP Paribas Istanbul Open.

Prior to his arrival in Istanbul, the Japanese had never advanced to an ATP World Tour semi-final. He had owned a 6-15 record at all levels since October 2017. In his quarter-final against Rogerio Dutra Silva, Daniel came within one point of trailing 5-0 in the deciding set, but recovered well and then later found his best tennis against Jaziri in the two-hour, 22-minute championship match.

“Obviously [I am] really happy. I think today was a great match, a lot of long rallies from the beginning until the end,” said Daniel. “I’m obviously pretty surprised that I suddenly won an ATP [World Tour title]. But I guess things like this happen.”


Marton Fucsovics – Geneva [First-Time Winner Spotlight] 
Marton Fucsovics made Hungarian history in front of a packed crowd at the Banque Eric Sturdza Geneva Open, ousting Peter Gojowczyk 6-2, 6-2 in one hour and eight minutes to become the first Hungarian to claim a tour-level crown since 1982. 

Following in the footsteps of countryman Balazs Taroczy, who lifted the last of his 13 titles in Hilversum, Fuscovics also assured himself of a place inside the Top 50 in the ATP Rankings for the first time. Fucsovics rose to No. 45 after his title run, becoming the first player from his country to break into the Top 50 since former World No. 12 Taroczy.

“I really love Switzerland,” Fucsovics exclaimed. “Last year, I played my first ATP quarter-final in Basel and now I won my first title here, so it’s really special for me. We’ve been working a long time for this. The last two years were very hard for me in my life, but hopefully I will have a very long career after this.”


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The Numbers Game: 2018 ATP Challenger Tour

  • Posted: Dec 16, 2018

The Numbers Game: 2018 ATP Challenger Tour examines the ATP Challenger Tour storylines behind the numbers in 2018

Win-Loss Percentage Leaders
Australia’s Jordan Thompson was the lone player to eclipse the 50-win mark this year, capping his campaign with a 52-17 record. It is the second-most match wins in a single season in Challenger history, behind only Carlos Berlocq’s 57 victories in 2010.

Meanwhile, Vasek Pospisil was the most consistent performer with a tour-leading .784 win percentage (min. 25 matches played). Pospisil, Reilly Opelka (.756), Thompson (.754) and Christian Garin (.754) were the top performers on the circuit. 

Player Wins-Losses Percentage
Vasek Pospisil 29-8 .784
Reilly Opelka 34-11 .756
Jordan Thompson 52-17 .754
Christian Garin 46-15 .754
Pablo Andujar 21-8 .724
Ugo Humbert  34-13  .723 
Guido Andreozzi  38-15  .717 
Juan Ignacio Londero  40-17  .702 
Hubert Hurkacz 28-12  .700 
Michael Mmoh  30-13  .698 

Singles Title Leaders
A total of seven players won at least three titles this year, with Guido Andreozzi earning a tour-leading four crowns. The Argentine tasted victory throughout the world, lifting trophies on three different continents – South America (Punta del Este, Uruguay & Guayaquil, Ecuador), Africa (Tunis, Tunisia) and Europe (Szczecin, Poland).

It was a frantic finish to the season for Christian Garin, Jordan Thompson and Reilly Opelka, earning their third titles of the year in dramatic fashion. Garin capped his campaign on a 15-0 run, securing all of his crowns in October and November. Thompson finished on a 10-0 run with back-to-back victories on home soil in Australia, while Opelka streaked to a 9-0 finish behind a pair of titles at home in the U.S.

Player Total Clay Grass  Hard  Carpet
Guido Andreozzi 4      
Pablo Andujar 3      
Hugo Dellien 3      
Christian Garin 3      
Ugo Humbert 3     1
Reilly Opelka 3 1    
Jordan Thompson 3      
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Teen Titlists (8)
Seven different teenagers accounted for a total of eight Challenger titles this year, with Felix Auger-Aliassime the lone player to win multiple crowns (Lyon, France & Tashkent, Uzbekistan). At 17 years, 10 months, his repeat victory in Lyon made him the youngest player to successfully defend a title. And in October, the Canadian became the second-youngest player to win his fourth Challenger crown, behind only Richard Gasquet.

Germany’s Rudolf Molleker became the youngest champion of the year, at 17 years and six months, on home soil in Heilbronn. Austrian teen Jurij Rodionov is the youngest from his country to lift a trophy since 1986, triumphing in Almaty, Kazakhstan. 

It was also the third straight season in which a teenager reached a final on both the ATP World Tour and ATP Challenger Tour. Alex de Minaur followed in Taylor Fritz (2016) and Andrey Rublev’s (2017) footsteps in achieving the feat.

Player Title Age
Rudolf Molleker Heilbronn, GER 17 yrs, 6 mos.
Felix Auger-Aliassime Lyon, FRA 17 yrs, 10 mos.
Felix Auger-Aliassime Tashkent, UZB 18 yrs, 2 mos.
Alexei Popyrin Jinan, CHN 19 yrs
Jurij Rodionov Almaty, KAZ 19 yrs, 1 mo.
Miomir Kecmanovic Shenzhen, CHN 19 yrs, 2 mos.
Alex de Minaur Nottingham, UK 19 yrs, 4 mos.
Corentin Moutet Istanbul, TUR 19 yrs, 5 mos.

Title Leaders By Country
Players from 38 countries won titles this year, with Hugo Dellien becoming the first from Bolivia to lift a trophy since 1983. Australia and the United States boasted a tour-leading 17 winners apiece, with 12 different champions from each nation.


Finals W-L


United States


Opelka-3, Rubin-2, Mmoh-2, Klahn-2, Fritz-1, Novikov-1, Kudla-1, Eubanks-1, McDonald-1, Blanch-1, Fratangelo-1, Paul-1



Thompson-3, Millman-2, Kokkinakis-2, Kubler-2, Polmans-1, Bolt-1, Ebden-1, De Minaur-1, Popyrin-1, Banes-1, Tomic-1, Duckworth-1



Quinzi-2, Lorenzi-2, Seppi-1, Berrettini-1, Cecchinato-1, Travaglia-1, Vanni-1, Caruso-1, Sonego-1, Giannessi-1, Baldi-1, Fabbiano-1



Andujar-3, Munar-2, Granollers-2, Menendez Maceiras-1, Robredo-1, Martinez-1, Gutierrez Ferrol-1, Ferrer-1, Carballes Baena-1



Humbert-3, Halys-2, Robert-1, Barrere-1, Chardy-1, Lestienne-1, Couacaud-1, Moutet-1, Monfils-1, Hoang-1



Andreozzi-4, Londero-2, Berlocq-1, Trungelliti-1, Bagnis-1, Delbonis-1, Pella-1

Outside Top 400 Winners (7)
The slipper fit for seven Cinderella stories, with a bevy of players ranked outside the Top 400 tasting success. At No. 598, Pablo Andujar was the lowest-ranked of the group, winning on home soil in Alicante in his first Challenger event in two years (elbow surgery).

Player Tournament ATP Ranking
Pablo Andujar Alicante, ESP No. 598
Enzo Couacaud Cassis, FRA No. 560
Ulises Blanch Perugia, ITA No. 508
Rudolf Molleker Heilbronn, GER No. 497
James Duckworth Cary, USA No. 418
Gregoire Barrere Lille, FRA No. 406
Jurij Rodionov Almaty, KAZ No. 406

ATP World Tour & ATP Challenger Tour Winners (8)
Eight players lifted trophies on both the ATP World Tour and ATP Challenger Tour this year. Andujar became the first to win Challenger and tour-level crowns in consecutive weeks since David Goffin in 2014.

Player ATP World Tour event ATP Challenger Tour event
Pablo Andujar Marrakech Alicante, ESP; Florence, ITA & Buenos Aires, ARG
Marco Cecchinato Budapest & Umag Santiago, CHI
Matteo Berrettini Gstaad Bergamo, ITA
Martin Klizan Kitzbuhel Indian Wells, USA
Gael Monfils Doha Kaohsiung, TPE
Bernard Tomic Chengdu Mallorca, ESP
Yoshihito Nishioka Shenzhen Gimcheon, KOR
Roberto Carballes Baena Quito Barcelona, ESP

Match Points Saved In Finals (2)
Aljaz Bedene and Daniel Evans were the only players to save a match point in a Challenger championship. Bedene denied one in the Orleans final, rallying past Antoine Hoang 4-6, 6-1, 7-6(6). Evans also turned aside one in the Vancouver final, overcoming Jason Kubler 4-6, 7-5, 7-6(3).

Player M.P. Saved Tournament
Aljaz Bedene 1 Orleans, FRA
Daniel Evans 1 Vancouver, CAN

Oldest Winners
At 39 years, seven months, Ivo Karlovic became the oldest champion in Challenger history with his victory in Calgary, Canada. Just two weeks prior, Karlovic and David Ferrer created another slice of history with their final match-up in Monterrey, Mexico. At 76 years and one month, it was the oldest combined final ever.

Player Title Age
Ivo Karlovic Calgary, CAN 39 yrs, 7 mos.
Stephane Robert Burnie, AUS 37 yrs, 8 mos.
Paolo Lorenzi Cordenons, ITA 36 yrs, 8 mos.
Paolo Lorenzi Sopot, POL 36 yrs, 7 mos.
David Ferrer Monterrey, MEX 36 yrs, 6 mos.
Tommy Robredo Lisbon, POR 36 yrs

Doubles Title Leaders
Five players claimed a tour-leading seven doubles titles this year, but it was Luke Bambridge who enjoyed the biggest rise in the ATP Doubles Rankings. The Brit soared from No. 142 to a year-end position of No. 56, behind five ATP Challenger Tour titles and his first ATP World Tour crowns.

In addition to tour-level crowns in Eastbourne and Stockholm with Jonny O’Mara, Bambridge won on all three surfaces with different partners on the Challenger circuit. He prevailed on the clay of Savannah (w/Santillan), grass of Surbiton (w/O’Mara), outdoor hard courts of Vancouver and Chicago (w/N Skupski) and indoor hard courts of Orleans (w/O’Mara). 

Fast Facts

  • A total of 34 different players enjoyed their maiden moments of glory this year. Molleker was the youngest of the group at the age of 17, while 29-year-old Spaniard Sergio Gutierrez-Ferrol was the oldest.
  • Qualifiers won 14 titles, with Kimmer Coppejans defeating Alex Molcan in an all-qualifier final in Sevilla, Spain.
  • For the first time in Challenger history, multiple lucky losers won titles in a single season. Both are #NextGenATP Americans – Ulises Blanch (Perugia, Italy) and Tommy Paul (Charlottesville, USA).
  • Two players successfully defended titles: Felix Auger-Aliassime (Lyon, France) and Elias Ymer (Mouilleron-le-Captif, France).
  • Six unseeded wild cards won titles: Mats Moraing, Pablo Andujar, Gianluigi Quinzi, Rudolf Molleker, Thiemo de Bakker and Dragos Dima.
  • Among first-time winners, Blanch won the title in Perugia, Italy in his Challenger debut, while Molleker won in Heilbronn, Germany having never previously won a main draw match.
  • Dutch brothers Scott Griekspoor and Tallon Griekspoor both won their maiden titles, in Blois, France and Tampere, Finland, respectively. They are just the fourth pair of brothers to triumph in the same season since 2000.
  • Longest final: The longest final registered at three hours and 24 minutes, with Alessandro Giannessi beating Carlos Berlocq 6-7(6), 6-4, 6-4 in Banja Luka, Bosnia & Herzegovina. It is just seven minutes shy of the record (3:31 in Winnetka 2015).
  • Shortest completed final: At 47 minutes, Mats Moraing downed Kenny De Schepper 6-2, 6-1 in Koblenz, Germany, in the shortest final of the year.

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