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Naomi Osaka: World number one splits with coach Sascha Bajin

  • Posted: Feb 11, 2019

World number one Naomi Osaka has split with her coach Sascha Bajin 16 days after winning the Australian Open.

The Japanese 21-year-old, whose win in Melbourne sealed back-to-back Grand Slam titles, worked with the German for just over a year.

“I will no longer be working together with Sascha,” Osaka tweeted. “I thank him for his work and wish him all the best in the future.”

Bajin was named WTA coach of the year for 2018.

He is a former hitting partner of Grand Slam champions Serena Williams, Victoria Azarenka and Caroline Wozniacki.

Bajin thanked Osaka and said he wished her “nothing but the best”.

“What a ride that was,” he tweeted. “Thank you for letting me be part of this.”

Under Bajin, Osaka rose from world number 72 at the start of the 2018 to the summit of the rankings little over a year later.

No reason has been given for the split, which comes less than six months after he said he was in it for the long haul.

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Wawrinka Battles Past Paire In Rotterdam

  • Posted: Feb 11, 2019

Wawrinka Battles Past Paire In Rotterdam

Seppi, Kukushkin advance into R2 on Monday

Stan Wawrinka got the better of his good friend Benoit Paire in a match of power-hitting on Monday night at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam.

“It was difficult to play against a good friend and we played some good shots. Winning the first set was the key and I played with confidence in the second set,” said Wawrinka. “Being back in Rotterdam is great. There is a great atmosphere here and [tournament director] Richard Krajicek is doing a great job to keep improving the tournament.”

Wawrinka, the 2015 champion, was ultimately more consistent, saving three set points in the first set en route to a 7-6(4), 6-1 victory in 71 minutes. He will next face fourth-seeded Canadian Milos Raonic or Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany.

“I feel good in general. I had a good off-season and took the time to get back in shape,” said Wawrinka. “I now need matches to build my confidence, but I have to be patient with that. It was a long year to get back physically, but now I’m playing well.”

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Paire broke serve for a 4-3 advantage, courtesy of consecutive groundstroke errors from Wawrinka, but the Swiss wild card saved a set point with an ace two games later at 30/40. Two further opportunities went begging for Paire on serve at 5-4 — a backhand error, and a clever play by Wawrinka that opened up the court for a winner.

In the tie-break, Wawrinka stepped inside the baseline to gain the momentum. After losing the opening game of the second set, he won the next six games to close out the match.

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Monday’s evening session also saw No. 9 seed Nikoloz Basilashvili rally from down a set and a break to defeat Hyeon Chung 4-6, 7-6(1), 6-2. Although the Georgian was unable to serve out the second set at 5-3, he raised his level in the tie-break to even the match. The final set saw Basilashvili go on a five-game run and eventually wrap up the win after two hours and 17 minutes. 

Awaiting Basilashvili in the next round is the winner between Martin Klizan of Hungary and Marton Fucsovics of Hungary, who finished runner-up last week in Sofia (l. to Medvedev).

Other first-round matches on Monday saw Andreas Seppi survive a mid-match surge from qualifier Peter Gojowczyk to prevail 7-6, 3-6, 6-2, while Mikhail Kukushkin didn’t drop serve in his 6-2, 7-6(4) win over home favourite Robin Haase.

Tuesday’s night session features top seed Kei Nishikori of Japan squaring off against Pierre-Hugues Herbert of France, followed by second seed Karen Khachanov of Russia taking on local wild card Tallon Griekspoor. Raonic and Kohlschreiber open up the day session.

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Tickets On Sale For 2019 Nitto ATP Finals

  • Posted: Feb 11, 2019

Tickets On Sale For 2019 Nitto ATP Finals

Secure your tickets today to the elite season finale in November

Tickets to the 2019 Nitto ATP Finals are now on public sale, the ATP announced on Monday. From today, fans can secure their place at the prestigious season-ending showdown from 10-17 November at The O2 in London, featuring only the best eight qualified singles players and doubles teams, by purchasing tickets at

Just over a month into the 2019 ATP Tour season, all eight qualification spots in singles and doubles remain up for grabs as players continue to battle throughout the season for a chance to compete for the last title of the year at the showpiece event in London.

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Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal lead the current ATP Race to London standings in first and second place respectively, with 20-year-old reigning Next Gen ATP Finals champion Stefanos Tsitsipas in third place following his impressive run to the Australian Open semi-finals in January. In doubles, the all-French pairing of Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut lead the race for qualification following their title run in Melbourne, which saw them complete the Career Grand Slam.

Chris Kermode, ATP Executive Chairman & President, said: “Since 2009, the Nitto ATP Finals at The O2 have provided a spectacular finish to each season on the ATP Tour, and we expect this year’s tournament to be as exciting as ever. We would like to thank the 2.5 million fans who have come out in such great numbers to support the world’s best players at The O2 over the past 10 years in London, and we look forward to another successful event in 2019.”

To mark the launch of public ticket sales, the ATP has unveiled a ‘Pick Your Eight’ contest in which fans can select the eight singles players they believe will qualify for the 2019 Nitto ATP Finals. The lucky winner will receive a VIP prize for two, including tickets for the semi-finals and final of the tournament. The prize includes hospitality, a backstage tour to meet a player and a tournament gift basket, featuring a full Lacoste tennis outfit, a Tecnifibre racquet, a box of Dunlop ATP tennis balls and a pair of Maui Jim sunglasses. Visit to pick your eight players.

The 2018 season-ending tournament welcomed more than 240,000 fans across the eight days of competition as 21-year-old Alexander Zverev produced a breakthrough performance to defeat World No.1 Djokovic to capture the biggest title of his career to date.

This year’s tournament will offer a record breaking US$ 9 million in prize money. The season-ending event has been contested in major cities around the world with a rich history dating back to The Masters in 1970 in Tokyo. Since 2000, the event has taken place in cities such as Lisbon, Sydney and Shanghai, before moving to London in 2009 where it will be held through 2020.

The Nitto ATP Finals is the year-end climax to the men’s professional tennis season, featuring only the world’s best eight qualified singles players and doubles teams as they battle it out for the last title of the season. Players compete for ATP Rankings points throughout the season in a bid to earn one of the eight coveted berths and a chance to win the biggest indoor tennis tournament in the world. Played using a round-robin format, each player plays three matches as they compete for a berth in the knockout semi-finals and beyond. The prestigious tournament has been contested in major cities around the world with a rich history dating back to the birth of The Masters in 1970 in Tokyo. Since 2000 the event has taken place in cities such as Lisbon, Sydney, and Shanghai. In 2009 the tournament was moved to London, where it will be played through 2020.

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First-Time Winner Spotlight: Juan Ignacio Londero

  • Posted: Feb 11, 2019

First-Time Winner Spotlight: Juan Ignacio Londero

Argentine speaks with about what the milestone week means to him

Juan Ignacio Londero hadn’t won a tour-level match before playing at the Cordoba Open. But on Sunday, the 25-year-old Argentine beat compatriot Guido Pella to win his first ATP Tour title. Londero spoke with about the surprise milestone.

You’ve won your first ATP Tour title in your home country. What does that mean to you?
The truth is that I do not know what to tell you. It is an incredible feeling, for sure, and I did not expect to win the tournament. I came hoping to win one, two matches, even though I felt I was on a very good level. I knew I was training well, winning practice sets… It’s really something that I will never forget.

At the age of 25, did you ever imagine winning your first ATP Tour title?
I saw Schwartzman, Fognini, Carreno Busta [walking around]… Having played so few ATP tournaments, I did not know if I would be able to win against them. But I loved the challenge. I really wanted to come to the tournament and measure myself against players I had never faced.

I’ll speak from the heart: I never expected to win a tournament, not even close. Never thought about it. But I knew I could reach a semi-final, a few quarter-finals maybe. The truth is that I had doubts, but it is not that [the title] fell from the sky: I have done a great job. I have been playing very well and working hard and I showed it all this week. I lost a single set, played with great players and it was not a coincidence that I have this result. But still I did not expect it.

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Is it extra special with family and friends to be here watching you win your first ATP Tour title?
Very special having won the tournament here, in Cordoba, in the first edition of the tournament. But only today I could start looking at the people on court to see them. Before I did not look at anybody, I did not want to look in order stay focused.

I just looked at my coach, at my team… At first, I enjoyed very little because I had tremendous nerves. But focusing was the key all week. Yesterday we went to have dinner, the day before the final, and it was my coach, my manager and me, the three of us alone. I was focused on what I had to do, and nobody else came. But it’s amazing. I can win any other tournament in my life but none will be like this, trust me.

How were you feeling going into your first ATP Tour final against your countryman who was playing in his fourth final and was the favourite?
I was very nervous before the match… I could not even speak before entering. My physical trainer said to look at him before the match and to be calm, to try to let it go. It was the match that I enjoyed the most from the start. I knew that Guido had experience, but the audience helped me too.

Londero enjoyed home support all week in Cordoba. Photo: Córdoba Open / A. Del Bosco

You came into the tournament having never won a tour-level match. Are you surprised to win the title in your first tournament?
It was an incredible emotion just to win my first ATP main draw match against Nicolas Jarry, a great player who plays very well. The matches were going on and I wanted more, Gringo (my coach) was talking about believing in me, that I was close. He told me to trust myself, that I could do it. I outplayed them all, and I never believed or trusted in myself too much. He was behind me, talking to me and today it came real.

You did not lose a set en route to the final. What part of your game were you most happy with?
That’s the confidence I had. I was able to do things well on the court and knew that it was possible. It confirms that I am at a great level, and little by little I believe more and more that this success will continue.

Read More: Londero On Dream Run: “It’s All Very Crazy”

You are now into the Top 100 of the ATP Rankings for the first time, at No. 69 from No. 112. How does it feel to be in the Top 100?
Incredible, it is a very difficult question. I am very emotional. You have to understand that I came to try to play this tournament to see if I could win a round and that way I could be closer to defending the 130 points I had. I knew I had minimal chance of entering the Roland Garros main draw, but now I’m in. Now the new ATP Ranking will appear and I cannot explain it. I will look at it several times to believe it.

Now that you are in the Top 100 and have captured your first ATP Tour title, what are your goals for the rest of 2019?
It is very crazy, everything that happened to me in this tournament, and I will take everything week by week. First I must think why everything this week happened, and then set new goals for the rest of the year… This is a big step for my motivation. Nowadays I am a player who is going forward, and I want to continue like this.

Is there anyone you would like to thank for helping you get to this level in your career?
To all my team, of course, for those who have supported me for a long time, to Gringo, Agus, Roberto, the SportsLab team, my psychologist, my Yoga teacher that I started working with this year and the families that helped me. To all of them, thank you very much.

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Rotterdam 2019

  • Posted: Feb 11, 2019

Rotterdam 2019

The content of this article took place at ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament

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