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Norrie loses to teenager Auger-Aliassime in Indian Wells

  • Posted: Mar 07, 2019

British number two Cameron Norrie lost in straight sets in the first round to Canada’s 18-year-old world number 58 Felix Auger-Aliassime in Indian Wells.

In the first meeting between the pair, the Canadian teenager took the first set 6-3 in 33 minutes.

Auger-Aliassime, who reached his first ATP final at last month’s Rio Open, raced through the second 6-2 to wrap up the match in 62 minutes.

He now faces Stefanos Tsitsipas, who won the Marseille title last month.

British number one Kyle Edmund, who received a bye, awaits the winner of the match between Nicolas Jarry of Chile and American Frances Tiafoe.

Qualifier Dan Evans, who missed out on his first ATP Tour title when he lost the Delray Beach Open final against Moldova’s Radu Albot last month, faces three-time Grand Slam winner Stan Wawrinka, the world number 40, in the opening round on Friday.

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Kermode To Depart ATP At The End Of 2019

  • Posted: Mar 07, 2019

Kermode To Depart ATP At The End Of 2019

During six-year tenure, Kermode instrumental in creation of landmark ATP events

Chris Kermode’s tenure as ATP Executive Chairman & President will not extend beyond his current term which expires at the end 2019, the ATP announced on Thursday.

Kermode became ATP Executive Chairman & President at the beginning of 2014. His six-year tenure at the helm of the ATP has seen record prize money and commercial growth for the organisation, while attendance and viewership of the ATP Tour has soared.

Kermode’s vision and leadership since 2014 has been instrumental in the creation of landmark new ATP events such as the award-winning Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan, as well as the upcoming ATP Cup in 2020 in partnership with Tennis Australia.  He has overseen the remarkable success of the Nitto ATP Finals in London since 2009 and has also played a critical role in forging some of the biggest sponsorships in the sport, such as the ATP Premier Partnership with Emirates since 2015.

“It’s been a privilege to serve as ATP Executive Chairman & President since 2014 and I’m very proud of what we have achieved during this time. I would like to thank everyone at the ATP, and all the players and tournaments for the support over the years. I remain fully dedicated to the role for the remainder of my term and wish the organisation every success in the future.”

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Nadal warns against ousting ATP chief Kermode

  • Posted: Mar 07, 2019

Rafael Nadal has warned players intent on ousting the head of the ATP that changing the president will “stop the process of improving the sport”.

A vote on Briton Chris Kermode’s future is due to take place at an ATP board meeting in Indian Wells on Thursday.

The 54-year-old’s second three-year term expires at the end of the year.

To secure a new term, Kermode needs the support of tournament and player representatives, but some influential players are agitating for change.

But 17-time Grand Slam champion Nadal’s view is that change right now would be counterproductive.

“I believe in long-term projects,” the 32-year-old Spaniard told a group of reporters at Indian Wells.

“I am not a very big fan of changing things very often. I really think there’s a lot of things to do – we need to sign a contract for the World Tour Finals, and there’s a new ATP Cup.

“When you change, you go through a process. A new president needs time to know all the things and create a team, so in my opinion changing the president will stop the process of improving our sport.

“I personally believe Chris did a good job. He is a good guy, who did good things for our sport and it would be good if he stays for a while more.”

  • Players must show ‘good values’ – Nadal on Kyrgios
  • ‘In my heart, I believe he can do it’ – Bryan thinks Murray can return to singles

The ATP board consists of three tournament representatives, and three player representatives. Kermode will need the support of at least two of each to stay in his post.

The player representatives are likely to be heavily influenced by the deliberations of the ATP Player Council, which met under the presidency of world number one Novak Djokovic on Tuesday.

Sources suggest Kermode does not enjoy their majority support and that player representatives are minded to vote against an extension of his contract.

Supporters of Kermode point to large increases in prize money and pension contributions, as well as innovative new events like the Next Gen ATP Finals.

One of his chief critics is Canadian player Vasek Pospisil. The world number 114 is a member of the Player Council and at the Australian Open wrote a letter to fellow players which ended up in the public domain.

He argues players do not receive nearly enough of the revenue generated by the sport.

“We need a CEO that first and foremost represents OUR interests,” he wrote.

“We need a structure that prevents influence peddling by the deep-pocketed tournaments. In short, we need to start acting and running like a business, not like a bunch of scared kids.”

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Scouting Report: 10 Things To Watch In Indian Wells

  • Posted: Mar 07, 2019

Scouting Report: 10 Things To Watch In Indian Wells

An executive summary of what every fan should know about the coming week on the ATP Tour

1. 30 Years of ATP Masters 1000s: The 2019 BNP Paribas Open ushers in the 30th year of ATP Masters 1000 tennis. Indian Wells is the first of nine elite events each year that unite the top players in the ATP Rankings. It is also one of seven ATP Masters 1000 events that have been part of the series since its start in 1990. The other originals are Miami, Monte-Carlo, Rome, Canada, Cincinnati and Paris.

2. Back at his Best: Last year in Indian Wells, Novak Djokovic lost his opener to 109th-ranked qualifier Taro Daniel. What a different a year makes. Djokovic returns as the World No. 1 and champion of the past three Grand Slam tournaments and two of the last three ATP Masters 1000 events. Djokovic has not played since winning his seventh Australian Open title on 27 January.

View ATP Tour Media Notes For Indian Wells

3. Roger’s Records: Djokovic and Roger Federer are tied for the most BNP Paribas Open titles with five. Federer held three championship points to make it six before losing to Juan Martin del Potro in 2018. Recent memories are fonder for the Swiss, who on 2 March won his 100th tour-level title of his career at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. Federer has defeated 50 different opponents for his 100 titles – 25 of whom are now retired.

4. Semi-Fedal: Rafael Nadal is also a five-time BNP Paribas Open champion with three singles and two doubles titles. Nadal and Federer are playing at the same ATP Tour event for the first time since the 2017 Nitto ATP Finals. Federer is on a five-match win streak against Nadal, including a 6-2, 6-3 victory at 2017 Indian Wells. The living legends could meet in the semi-finals on 16 March.

5. Historic Start: Stefanos Tsitsipas is 15-5 to begin the 2019 season, highlighted by a win over Federer en route to the Australian Open semi-finals and his second ATP Tour title at the Open 13 Provence (d. Kukushkin). Tsitsipas, 20, became the youngest Grand Slam semi-finalist since Djokovic, 20, at the 2007 US Open. Though he fell to Federer in the Dubai final, Tsitsipas became the first Greek to break into the Top 10 of the ATP Rankings on 4 March.

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6. Best of Next: Three #NextGenATP players are seeded in Indian Wells: No. 9 Tsitsipas, No. 23 Alex de Minaur and No. 24 Denis Shapovalov. All three youngsters won their BNP Paribas Open main draw debut in 2018. Australian Open quarter-finalist Frances Tiafoe is also in the field.

7. Nick of Time: Nick Kyrgios went 10-10 in his past 20 matches entering the Abierto Mexicano Telcel presentado por HSBC last week, where he saved three match points against Nadal and earned three Top-10 wins for the Acapulco title. Kyrgios could meet Djokovic in the third round after beating him in Acapulco and Indian Wells two years ago.

8. On the Rise: Like Kyrgios and Tsitsipas, Gael Monfils is in good form as he seeks his first ATP Masters 1000 title. Monfils is 11-2 since 5 February, highlighted by the second ATP 500 title of his career at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam. The 32-year-old Frenchman also reached semi-finals at the Sofia Open and Dubai.

9. Wild Cards: Rio de Janeiro champion Laslo Djere and runner-up Felix Auger-Aliassime earned wild cards. Djere beat the #NextGenATP player Auger-Aliassime again at the Brasil Open in Sao Paulo on 1 March. He is seeded 30th and ranked a career-high 32nd, while Auger-Aliassime is a career-high 58th.

10. Doubles Debuts: The Indian Wells doubles field features eight year-end Top 10 teams and seven duos making their debut. Djokovic and Fabio Fognini are among the first-time teams and will face fellow debutants Jeremy Chardy and Milos Raonic in the opening round. Tsitsipas is also doing double duty, joining forces for the first time with 46th-ranked doubles specialist Wesley Koolhof.

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'In my heart, I believe he can do it' – Bryan thinks Murray can return to singles

  • Posted: Mar 07, 2019

American doubles player Bob Bryan says there are “no limitations” to what he can do, seven months after a similar hip surgery to Andy Murray’s.

Murray, 31, hopes to resume his singles career and thinks it may be possible to return to the world’s top 50.

Bryan, 40, is back playing with twin brother Mike, winning their 117th title as a pair in Florida last month.

“It feels way better than it did even five years ago when the hip was supposedly in great shape,” Bryan said.

Former world number one Murray had the hip resurfacing operation – which keeps more of the damaged bone than a hip replacement, smoothing the ball down and covering it with a metal cap – in London on 28 January.

Murray told BBC Sport on Wednesday he was “pain-free” following the surgery but believes his chance of playing singles at this year’s Wimbledon was “less than 50%”.

The third Grand Slam of the year begins on 1 July.

Bryan, who has won 23 Grand Slam doubles titles, had the same surgery last year and was back playing alongside Mike again five months later.

At Indian Wells this week, the twins will be playing their seventh tournament of the year.

“When they cut in the glute area, it takes a while to activate the muscles,” Bob Bryan told BBC Sport.

“It’s not as strong as my left side, but it’s really getting close and I’m very, very pleased with the way it’s gone.

“There is no pain, that’s the crazy thing. There’s no pain walking, there’s no pain running, there’s no pain after matches.

“I’ve also taken a couple of spills. I dived in Acapulco, right on my hip, and it didn’t dislocate, so I’m very, very pleased.”

  • Players must show ‘good values’ – Nadal
  • Britain’s Konta defeats Parmentier in Indian Wells

Bryan spends about half an hour working exclusively on his right hip before matches and practice sessions. Sitting at home last year, and having to watch his brother play for Grand Slam titles, has given him all the incentive he needs.

And with Murray still in the early stages of rehabilitation, the pair remain in regular contact.

“We’ve gone back and forth on WhatsApp,” Bryan said.

“He’s sent me some videos on the stuff he’s doing. We’ve actually talked a couple of times.

“It looks like he’s really doing great. He’s in a good place, mentally. It’s kind of how I felt after I got the surgery. I felt like there was help.

“Now he’s got a chance. It’s unchartered territory. No-one’s ever come back with a hip replacement to play singles, as we all know, so it’s going to be a tough road. But in my heart, I believe he can do it.”

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Rafael Nadal: World number two says players need to show 'good values'

  • Posted: Mar 07, 2019

Rafael Nadal says he has immense respect for Nick Kyrgios’s talent, despite his criticism of the Australian last week in Acapulco.

But the Spaniard also said that players need to show “good values”.

Kyrgios survived three match points to beat Nadal in the quarter-finals but afterwards Nadal claimed that Kyrgios “lacked respect”.

“I never said nothing too negative about Nick, even if he took it more personally,” said the Spaniard.

“But there’s other stuff in my opinion he can do better.”

  • Nadal warns against ousting ATP chief Kermode
  • ‘In my heart, I believe he can do it’ – Bryan thinks Murray can return to singles

The 17-time Grand Slam winner added that his comments had nothing to do Kyrgios hitting an underarm serve during the match, which he said did not make him feel disrespected.

During the match, Kyrgios also complained of illness and taunted the crowd, the vast majority of whom were backing Nadal.

“I heard that he took it very personally. I really didn’t see it but somebody told me he put some stuff on his social networks,” said the world number two, who is competing at this week’s Indian Wells Masters.

“I understand this part of the game and I think it’s a good show for the game.

“Everybody is free to do whatever they want, but, in my opinion, he has an impact on the new generations. He’s young, he’s a famous player and in my opinion we need to show good values for the kids.”

Kyrgios, who jumped 39 places in the rankings to 33 in the world after he won the tournament in Acapulco, his first ATP title in more than a year, said last week he wasn’t interested in Nadal’s opinion.

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Nadal Talks Perspective After Past Injury Struggles

  • Posted: Mar 07, 2019

Nadal Talks Perspective After Past Injury Struggles

Spaniard healthy and ready to fight in Indian Wells

After being forced to miss last year’s BNP Paribas Open with a right hip injury, Rafael Nadal is raring to go this year in Indian Wells.

The Spaniard is the second seed and will open his campaign against American wild card Jared Donaldson or Japanese qualifier Tatsuma Ito. Nadal said his second-round exit last week to Nick Kyrgios at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel presentado por HSBC is already off his mind and that he’s pleased with how his body has held up to start the season.

“I would have loved to win the Australian Open and Acapulco…but these things happen,” said Nadal. “I should not be unhappy after all I went through over the past four or five months.”

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Nadal returned to action in January after sitting out four months with injuries to his abdomen, right knee and right ankle. Given his injury woes, he’s happy to simply be healthy and competing again.

“There are too many issues that have happened to my body over the past year-and-a-half, but I’ve managed it well to still be competitive and still be fighting for the most important events,” said Nadal. “This is an important part of the season for me…[so] that’s important for my mental health, too, to feel that I’m competitive when I’m ready to play.”

Nadal has enjoyed plenty of success at this event, having won twice (2007, 2012) and finished runner-up in 2011. While some people refer to this tournament as “the fifth Grand Slam,” Nadal said he believes the rich history of the event is worthy of being recognised on its own.

“This tournament is important enough to stand on its own name,” said Nadal. “I love not being in a big city and the calm we have out here in the desert. I love the views and the organisation here is one of the best.

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100 Titles Later, Federer Is Still Just Like Us

  • Posted: Mar 07, 2019

100 Titles Later, Federer Is Still Just Like Us

Swiss star takes low-key approach in quest to sixth Indian Wells title

There’s a crowd wherever Roger Federer plays and the BNP Paribas Open is no exception.

From his practises to simply walking around the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, he’s surrounded by fans offering well-wishes or asking for autographs. Having won this event five times (2004-2006, 2012, 2017) and in position to snatch the record he shares with Novak Djokovic by adding a sixth crown, it’s easy to understand why.

But while the 100-time ATP Tour singles champion has a celebrity status at this event, he doesn’t see himself that way.

“People always elevate superstar athletes to a status like we’re superhuman, but you get to meet them and realise he’s just another normal guy. It just happens that he does great in what he does,” said Federer. “Being perfect doesn’t exist. Everybody has their flaws and so do I. But if I can make the game more popular, be good for fans or have them enjoy the sport more through me, then that’s great.”

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Federer is the fourth seed this year and is making his 18th main draw appearance at this event. Apart from undergoing knee surgery in 2016, he has remained free of major injuries for more than 20 years. Smart scheduling has played a crucial role in prolonging his career, but Federer has also made recovery efforts as much of a priority as his on-court practise sessions.

“The most important thing for any athlete is understanding your own body. Knowing what is pain and what is injury pain, what could result in an injury, being able to play through that many times…but then also knowing when to step off the gas and give yourself a break,” said Federer. “Then there’s having enough sleep, eating the right food, recovery, knowing the schedule…it all helps. At the end of the day, you need to have smart people around you who are educated in that way and you have to buy into that idea. Some of it is genetics, too, and then you still need luck.”

The Swiss star hasn’t had much chance to celebrate capturing his 100th ATP Tour title last week at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships (d. Tsitsipas). Although Federer has always been one to look ahead and will be eager to add to his ATP Tour title collection in the desert, he allowed himself the chance to assess the historic moment on the long-haul trip from Dubai to Indian Wells.

“What I like about [the 100th title] is that it gives some time to reflect on these great moments and great titles that are all important to me,” said Federer. “It’s an achievement I never thought I’d make and something I only started thinking about in the past nine months. When you get to No. 98, No. 99, you start to think it’d be a pity to retire without hitting 100. It was nice to get there on the first attempt in a final.”

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Isner: Indian Wells Doubles Title Sparked Singles Success

  • Posted: Mar 07, 2019

Isner: Indian Wells Doubles Title Sparked Singles Success

American to compete in singles and doubles at Indian Wells Tennis Garden

Even though John Isner lost his opening-round match at last year’s BNP Paribas Open, the tournament proved to be the springboard for his career-best year in singles.

Eager for matches after a disappointing 2-6 start to his 2018 season in singles, Isner teamed with Jack Sock and took the doubles title without dropping a set. With an ATP Masters 1000 doubles title under his belt, the American headed to the Miami Open presented by Itau and promptly won his first ATP Masters 1000 singles title by defeating Alexander Zverev in the final.

“Coming into this tournament [last year], I had no results to lean on. But the doubles went my way and that meant everything for me,” said Isner. “I finally left a tournament feeling good about my game. Winning this event is a huge accomplishment and it was a good springboard for the rest of my 2018.”

Isner returns to Indian Wells this year as the eighth seed. From his doubles title last year to a singles runner-up showing in 2012 (l. to Federer), he’s created plenty of positive memories at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. The American also readily admitted his results here have fluctuated and said he won’t be leaning on his past highlights.

“I won the last match I played here and not a lot of guys can say that,” joked Isner. “Everyone knows how tough this tournament is, though. I’ve tripped up in the first round and I’ve made it to the final. There’s a big delta in what I’m capable of doing here.”

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To ensure he stays match tough, Isner is teaming with Sam Querrey in the doubles draw. They’ll face top seeds Pierre-Hugues Herbert/Nicolas Mahut in a blockbuster first-round clash. The American is hopeful more doubles success at this event will add confidence that carries into his singles game.

“Matches are matches. We all practise a lot, but you can’t emulate match play,” he said. “As everyone knows, my matches can be inherently close. Playing a lot of matches gets me tougher in those moments where it comes down to a couple of points here or there. If I’m not playing with much confidence, I can very easily lose a lot of close matches for a few weeks in a row. I think I’ve turned the corner on that this year, so we’ll see how it goes.”

Isner also has his family with him in the desert, including his wife Madison, and their six-month-old daugher, Hunter. Being content in his personal life has carried over to success in his professional life. After enjoying a career-best season at an age where many of his peers have retired, the 33-year-old said he has no plans to stop competing anytime soon.

“I want to play as long as I possibly can,” said Isner. “I see Roger Federer still doing what he’s doing at 37, with four kids, and he’s still one of the greatest of all time. Eventually, I won’t be playing this game anymore, but I’d like to do that on my own terms.”

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