Spaniards Pablo Andujar and Roberto Carballes Baena, both former ATP Tour titlists, fought through three-setters on Monday to advance at the J. Safra Sarasin Swiss Open Gstaad.
Andujar, 2014 champion and seventh seed, rallied after a mid-match dip to beat Austrian Dennis Novak 6-1, 3-6, 6-3, and sixth seed Carballes Baena needed two hours, 33 minutes to beat Italy’s Paolo Lorenzi 6-7(1), 6-3, 6-2.
Andujar will meet the winner between Italian qualifier Filippo Baldi and Japan’s Taro Daniel. Carballes Baena, the 2018 Ecuador Open champion, will face another Italian in Stefano Travaglia, who beat Colombian Daniel Elahi Galan 7-6(7), 6-3.
Seven Spaniards are in the Gstaad singles draw, including the top two seeds, Roberto Bautista Agut and Fernando Verdasco, along with Tommy Robredo, 2018 Next Gen ATP Finals semi-finalist Jaume Munar and Albert Ramos-Vinolas.
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Elsewhere, Italian Thomas Fabbiano set up a second-round meeting with countryman and Antalya champion Lorenzo Sonego, the fourth seed. Fabbiano saved 10 of 12 break points against Swiss wild card Sandro Ehrat and advanced 6-4, 7-5. Czech Jiri Vesely broke four times and beat Latvian Ernests Gulbis 7-5, 7-5. The left-hander will next meet German Cedrik-Marcel Stebe, a 6-4, 6-4 winner against #NextGenATP Frenchman and eighth seed Corentin Moutet.
Kyrgios Enjoys Learning New Tricks From Harlem Globetrotter
Aussie begins Atlanta doubles campaign with Paul on Monday evening
Nick Kyrgios has hit some thrilling trick shots, and his campaign in the BB&T Atlanta Open has not begun yet.
On Monday, the Aussie met with Torch George of the Harlem Globetrotters, a basketball team known for its high-flying acrobatics and tricks. The pair shared their love for basketball before heading out to a couple of hoops on the grounds to compete against one another and challenge a ball boy and a fan. It was a long time coming for Kyrgios, who watched the Globetrotters at home in Canberra when he was a kid.
“It was a lot of fun. Obviously, basketball is a sport that I probably can’t live without. I’m always following it,” Kyrgios told ATPTour.com. “So to have someone like Torch come down, someone who has played in the WNBA, she’s amazing. She taught me some new tricks, which was really fun. It was awesome.”
Before heading out to play, George presented Kyrgios with a Globetrotters jersey. There was also a jersey for the Washington Generals, the team that battles the Globetrotters in all their games.
“The Generals? I want to be on your team!” Kyrgios joked.
A crowd quickly gathered as Kyrgios and George began shooting various shots — from the normal variety to behind the back and between-the-legs shots. After playing each other in a game of ‘HORSE’, the stars then invited a fan and a ball boy to a challenge before signing autographs for the fans who gathered.
“It was awesome, I’m so excited. He was so cool and down to Earth. One of the biggest tennis stars in the world, the fact that he’s so down to Earth is so cool,” George said. “His love for the game of basketball, he’s so passionate about it, so we instantly clicked. It was so natural. We had a good time playing HORSE and meeting the fans out there, so it was cool, a great day.”
Kyrgios is partnering American Tommy Paul on Monday evening against fourth seeds Radu Albot and Artem Sitak. Kyrgios, who is not competing in singles in Atlanta, claimed his lone ATP Tour doubles title last year in Lyon alongside Jack Sock.
George will return to Atlantic Station Monday evening to watch her first professional tennis match with Kyrgios in action. “Have you seen his highlights? Oh my God!”
Kyrgios is excited to perform in front of his new friend.
“I’m going to try to put on a show for you, and at the end of the day we’ll hopefully get a win as well.”
Infosys ATP Beyond The Numbers shows where the Big Three return their best
You are hitting a first serve to any of the Big Three with the goal of avoiding a deep return. Where is it best to serve: wide or T?
An Infosys ATP Beyond The Numbers analysis of Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer’s return depth against first serves identifies that serving down the T will draw more short returns than serving out wide. The data set comes from ATP Masters 1000 events and Nitto ATP Finals from 2011 to 2019.
When you combine both the Deuce and Ad Court data, serving down the T brings more short returns back into the service box and fewer returns deep near the baseline from the Big Three.
The three depths of return: Short = in the service box Mid-Court = service line to halfway back to the baseline Deep = Halfway between the service line and baseline, back to the baseline
An initial guesstimate that serving wide would elicit fewer returns deep in the court because of a greater distance the ball has to come back is unfounded.
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A counter-argument may have more weight, that there is more “runway” to land the ball crosscourt, therefore the players are going for more with their return from a wider position. A tennis court is 78′ long straight down the middle, but 82’6” from corner to corner.
Djokovic, Federer & Nadal Combined: Return Depth from Wide and T
First Serve T (Deuce & Ad Court)
First Serve Wide (Deuce & Ad Court)
Novak Djokovic The World No. 1 hits his deepest returns against a first serve from out wide in the Ad Court with his backhand return, at 29 per cent. Overall, Djokovic’s backhand return from wide in the Ad Court was able to get the ball deeper than any location compared to Federer or Nadal.
Djokovic’s First-Serve Returns
Wide Deuce Court
T Deuce Court
Wide Ad Court
T Ad Court
Rafael Nadal Nadal stands the deepest in the court to return first serves, and correspondingly hits his return the shortest in the court compared to Djokovic and Federer. The location where Nadal was able to get the return the deepest was from wide in the Deuce Court with a backhand return.
Nadal’s First-Serve Returns
Wide Deuce Court
T Deuce Court
Wide Ad Court
T Ad Court
Roger Federer Federer’s forehand return from wide in the Deuce Court got the ball the deepest, at 28 per cent. The other three locations were all very even, within a percentage point.
Federer’s First-Serve Returns
Wide Deuce Court
T Deuce Court
Wide Ad Court
T Ad Court
Returning the ball deep is not always possible against an accurate serve to the corners in the service box, but this insight provides a new layer of understanding as to how the Big Three are able to get their returns deep against the biggest shot in our sport.
#NextGenATP Molleker Knocks Out Two-Time Champ In Hamburg
18-year-old German at it again at his home ATP 500 event
There’s something about playing at the Hamburg European Open for #NextGenATP German Rudolf Molleker. For the second year in a row, the teenager spurred an upset to begin the ATP 500 clay-court tournament.
Molleker, 18, knocked out two-time champion Leonardo Mayer of Argentina on Monday 7-6(8), 6-4, saving all three break points against the 2014 and 2017 champion. Molleker beat Mayer in 2017 Hamburg qualifying before the veteran right-hander took advantage of his lucky-loser entry and raced to the title.
On Monday, Molleker saved two set points in the opener, broke in the first game of the second set and never faced a break point the rest of the way. It’s his fourth tour-level win (4-8) and best by ATP Ranking (No. 51). Molleker beat No. 62 David Ferrer last year in Hamburg.
The win against Mayer will only propel the 18-year-old in the ATP Race To Milan standings. Molleker is currently in 15th place in the Race (250 points), which will determine seven of the eight 21-and-under players who compete at the Next Gen ATP Finals, to be held 5-9 November at the Palalido Allianz Cloud in Milan.
The eighth place will go to an Italian wild card. Molleker is 388 points behind seventh-placed Ugo Humbert of France.
More On #NextGenATP Molleker See Who Molleker Is Chasing In The ATP Race To Milan Flashback: Molleker Stuns Ferrer In Hamburg Molleker Joins Exclusive Club With Maiden Challenger Title
Hungary’s Marton Fucsovics rushed past German veteran Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-3, 6-0 in only 65 minutes to pick up his first victory in Hamburg.
The 27-year-old Fucsovics, who won his maiden ATP Tour title last year on clay in Geneva, broke five times against the 35-year-old Kohlschreiber, a two-time semi-finalist in Hamburg, and will next meet top seed Dominic Thiem or Uruguay’s Pablo Cuevas, who are scheduled to play on Tuesday.
Russian Andrey Rublev, a two-time Next Gen ATP Finals semi-finalist (2017 finalist, l. to Chung; 2018 l. to Tsitsipas) upset eighth seed Cristian Garin, a two-time clay-court titlist this year (Houston, Munich), 6-4, 7-6(5). Rublev improved to 10-9 on the season and will face the winner of #NextGenATP Norwegian Casper Ruud and Dutchman Robin Haase in the second round.
In other action, France’s Jeremy Chardy outlasted fifth seed Benoit Paire 6-7(4), 7-5, 6-3, and 2016 titlist Martin Klizan converted all five break points to rout German wild card Daniel Altmaier 6-2, 6-2. Chardy will play countryman Richard Gasquet or Indian qualifier Sumit Nagal, and Klizan will face a Serbian, either sixth seed Laslo Djere or Filip Krajinovic.
My Story: Zverev Discusses Life On The ATP Tour With His Family
World No. 5 enjoys life on the ATP Tour with regular family support
When most players return to their home tournament, their week is filled with rare opportunities to enjoy home comforts and spend time with family.
But that isn’t the case for Alexander Zverev, who is preparing to make his first appearance at the Hamburg European Open since 2016. The Hamburg-born star travels with his closest relatives, who provide a vast support system as he battles for the top prizes on the ATP Tour.
“Most of the time I’m with everyone, basically,” said Zverev. “My Dad as a coach, my brother as a player and my mum, my little puppy, Mischa’s wife now and hopefully his child is going to come on Tour a lot as well.
“Basically, the whole family is always together. [We] always travel together and do all the fun activities… in different cities.”
Spending more than 10 months of the year on the road, Zverev is rarely away from his family which includes his coach, Alexander Zverev Sr. and his brother, Mischa Zverev. In March, Zverev joined forces with his brother to lift the doubles title at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel presentado por HSBC. The siblings have reached seven ATP Tour doubles finals as a team and also triumphed at the 2017 Open Sud de France.
“It is obviously great to have your family around, you never really get homesick,” said Zverev. “You never really have the urgency to go home like other players maybe do. It is obviously great to have the close ones that know you the best and to always have them around.”
The 6’6″ German has compiled a 25-14 tour-level record in 2019, which includes a title run at the Banque Eric Sturdza Geneva Open. In the championship match, Zverev saved two championship points to defeat Nicolas Jarry, the man he will meet in the first round in Hamburg.
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Aside from his father and brother, Zverev has the support of two more key figures in his life on the ATP Tour. His mother, Irina, and his beloved dog, Lovik, both provide their own unique support off the court.
“My mum is very important with nutrition stuff and my dog always keeps me in a good mood,” said Zverev. “That is very nice of him. He is the easiest travel dog there is, you get him on a 16-hour plane and he just sleeps.
“He doesn’t bark, he doesn’t walk around, he doesn’t do anything. As long as he is around everybody, when he is around me and my mother, he can sit there quietly for as much time as he wants. So everybody has their own role.”
While every week may feel like a home tournament for Zverev, the World No. 5 will be keen to make another deep run in Hamburg. As a 17-year-old, Zverev dropped one set en route to the 2014 semi-finals before falling to David Ferrer.
De Minaur On Return To Form: ‘It’s Just A Matter Of Time’
The #NextGenATP Aussie is the third seed in Atlanta this week
Alex de Minaur got used to playing through pain. Early this season, the #NextGenATP Aussie was suffering from a groin injury that nagged at him, but did not deter him. Flying high off a run to the championship match of the 2018 Next Gen ATP Finals and his maiden ATP Tour title in Sydney earlier this year, De Minaur climbed as high as No. 24 in the ATP Rankings at just 20 years old.
But the pain got worse. At the BNP Paribas Open, De Minaur was on anti-inflammatory medication, and he “could still barely move out there on court”. The 6’ right-hander’s game relies heavily on his supreme movement, yet he was struggling with a key part of his body that allows him to do so. After winning the first set 6-1, the Aussie lost in the first round at Indian Wells against World No. 217 Marcos Giron.
“That was when I was like, ‘I’ve got to stop’,” De Minaur, the third seed at this week’s BB&T Atlanta Open, told ATPTour.com.
De Minaur returned to his residence in Alicante, Spain, where for two weeks, he was okay with recovering. But then, the competitive juices began to kick in.
“I’m not used to being at home for that long and, I mean, us tennis players, we need to go out there and compete, at least me. I’m a very competitive person, and it was tough for me. I had my outlets. I was playing golf a lot. But still, I needed to get back on court,” De Minaur told ATPTour.com. “Obviously seeing people go ahead of you and guys are playing these tournaments and seeing the results they were doing and me not being able to actually even be able to be out there and competing, that was very tough.”
De Minaur missed less than two months, but perhaps more glaringly, he let slip his momentum. Since returning at the Millennium Estoril Open in April, the #NextGenATP star has lost five of his seven tour-level matches.
“You get told to prepare for it and how you’re going to feel and it’s nothing like you think it’s going to be,” De Minaur said. “You come back, it takes a lot out of you, a lot of time to recover, and then you expect you’re going to be back to the same level you left off, so it was very tough.”
The World No. 34 does not think he needs to reinvent the wheel to change his fortunes. He is working hard on and off the court daily, and giving his best effort to regain his momentum.
“[It’s] just confidence. Playing matches, playing the big points right. It’s something that you take for granted when things are going well. But when you have to stop and try to get back into it, it’s tough,” De Minaur said. “At the moment, I’m in a very good headspace. I feel like I’ve been training the house down, playing some great tennis. Now I’m just keen to go out there and compete and play some good tennis.”
The Sydney-born De Minaur will hope that starts at this week’s ATP 250 tournament in Atlanta, where he will face American Bradley Klahn or Romanian Marius Copil in the second round. A year ago on his debut here, De Minaur fell in his second match against five-time champion John Isner. But most importantly, he is happy to be battling out on the court.
“The beauty of this sport is that you have the highest of highs when you win, and the lowest lows. Just being able to keep grinding and getting that winning feeling, it overcomes any bad feeling you’ve had in the past month,” De Minaur said. “To just be tough, you’re playing against an opponent. It’s almost like war out there, you’re trying to prove that you’re tougher than him and you’re not going to give up, and that’s very powerful once you get off the court.”
De Minaur isn’t thinking about returning to his career-high ATP Ranking or adding another title to his resume or even regaining the level that helped him ascend from outside the Top 200 at the start of last season well into the Top 50. His focus is as high as he can find.
“You can never be content. Even though I had an incredible rise, the next year is always 10 times harder because you’ve got to back up everything. Everyone knows you. Everyone’s out there to get you, so you have to keep improving every single day, and I feel like that’s what I’ve been doing and how I’m putting myself in great positions,” De Minaur said. “You’ve got to keep pushing until you get to the highest you can get. That’s the ultimate goal for anyone. I’m never going to be happy being where I am. I’ll always want to be even higher. That’s just my competitive spirit and willingness to just keep improving and keep getting better. It’s my passion and I’m fortunate enough to be able to call my job my passion, so it’s not that bad.”
And if De Minaur should lose early this week in the Georgia heat, the Aussie is not going to be overwhelmingly concerned. Last year’s Sydney and Washington, D.C. runner-up knows that it is simply back to work.
“I feel like I’m doing all the right things, putting myself out there. If it doesn’t happen this week, next week or the week after, I’m going to keep doing the same things,” De Minaur said. “I’m going to do all the right things, be mentally strong, physically strong and I’m playing good tennis, so I think it’s just a matter of time.”
ATPTour.com looks at the top Movers of the Week in the ATP Rankings, as of Monday, 22 July 2019
No. 38 (Career High) Nicolas Jarry, +26 In his third ATP Tour championship match, Jarry claimed his maiden title at the Swedish Open. The Chilean did not drop a set en route to the trophy, beating Cordoba titlist Juan Ignacio Londero in the championship match. Jarry joins his grandfather Jaime Fillol Sr. as a tour-level champion and soars 26 spots to a career-high No. 38 in the ATP Rankings. Read More.
No. 26 Dusan Lajovic, +10 Three months after contesting his maiden tour-level final at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters (l. to Fognini), Lajovic captured his first ATP Tour crown at the Plava Laguna Croatia Open Umag. The fourth seed defeated 2017 titlist Andrey Rublev in his opening match and overcame qualifier Attila Balazs in the championship match. Lajovic jumps 10 positions to No. 26 in the ATP Rankings, three places from his career-high mark of No. 23. Read More.
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No. 56 (Career High) Juan Ignacio Londero, +15 The Argentine battled through the draw in Båstad to reach his second ATP Tour final. Londero rallied from a set down against Hugo Dellien and 2018 runner-up Richard Gasquet to reach the semi-finals, where he defeated 2016 champion Albert Ramos-Vinolas. Despite falling to Jarry in the final, Londero rises 15 spots to a career-high No. 56 in the ATP Rankings.
No. 71 (Career High) Alexander Bublik, +12 The 22-year-old claimed four straight three-set victories to reach his first tour-level championship match at the Hall of Fame Open. Bublik defeated Alex Bolt, Viktor Troicki, Tennys Sandgren and Marcel Granollers, before a straight-sets loss to four-time winner John Isner. Bublik leaps 12 places to No. 71, a career-high position for the Kazakh, in the ATP Rankings.
Other Notable Movers No. 49 Joao Sousa, +7 No. 51 Leonardo Mayer, +9 No. 63 Marco Cecchinato, -23 No. 65 Richard Gasquet, -15 No. 85 Albert Ramos-Vinolas, +14 No. 93 Steve Johnson, -25 No. 94 Bradley Klahn, -10 No. 100 Matthew Ebden, +10
An executive summary of what every fan should know about the coming week on the ATP Tour
For the second straight week, there are three events for fans to enjoy on the ATP Tour this week. Top 10 stars Dominic Thiem, Alexander Zverev and Fabio Fognini headline ATP 500 action at the Hamburg European Open, with ATP 250 events in Atlanta and Gstaad also taking place. Five-time champion John Isner returns to the BB&T Atlanta Open, fresh from lifting his fourth Hall of Fame Open trophy, while last year’s runner-up Roberto Bautista Agut leads the way at the J. Safra Sarasin Swiss Open Gstaad. Here are 30 things to watch from the ATP Tour events:
10 Things To Watch In Hamburg
1) Summer in Swing: The European clay-court circuit continues this week with ATP Tour events in Hamburg and Gstaad, while the first hard-court event since March takes place in Atlanta. Top 10 stars Dominic Thiem, Alexander Zverev, and Fabio Fognini join defending champion Nikoloz Basilashvili as the top four seeds at the 2019 Hamburg European Open.
2) Dominant Thiem: Top seed Thiem continues to be an impressive force on clay in 2019. The Austrian beat Rafael Nadal on the surface for the fourth straight season, claiming a win over the Spaniard en route to the title in Barcelona. Thiem also reached the Roland Garros final for the second straight year, before losing to Nadal. Nine of Thiem’s 13 titles have come on clay.
3) Hometown Hero: No. 2 seed Zverev, who was born in Hamburg, is making his first appearance at the tournament since 2016. Zverev reached the Hamburg semi-finals in 2014, but lost in the opening round in the next two years. Five of his 11 titles have come on clay, including two at a different clay-court event in Germany – he triumphed in Munich in 2017 and 2018.
4) Fog Rising: Fognini has already achieved many milestones during 2019. The Italian No. 1 won the first ATP Masters 1000 title of his career in Monte-Carlo, becoming the first Italian to hoist one of those trophies. That victory helped the 32-year-old make his Top 10 debut on 10 June, becoming the oldest player to break into the Top 10 for the first time. Fognini won the Hamburg title in 2013.
5) Great Georgian: Basilashvili came into last year’s event as an 81st-ranked qualifier, but came through the field, defeating former finalist Pablo Cuevas in the second round and ousting defending champion Leonardo Mayer in the final for his maiden singles crown, and the first tour-level title for a Georgian. Basilashvili went on to win a second 2018 ATP 500 title in Beijing, and is currently ranked a career-high No. 16.
6) Return Engagements: Mayer won the 2017 title as a lucky loser, and the player who beat him in qualifying that year, Rudolf Molleker, is his first-round opponent this year. Two-time champion Mayer, Fognini, Basilashvili, and 2016 titlist Martin Klizan are the former champions in the draw.
7) Going Wild: #NextGenATP contender Molleker is one of four German wild cards in the draw, joining Zverev, Daniel Altmaier, and Yannick Hanfmann. The 18-year-old qualified for his first two Grand Slam main draws this year, at the Australian Open and Roland Garros.
8) Déjà Vu: Nicolas Jarry claimed his first ATP Tour singles title at Bastad on Sunday, but he nearly hit that mark earlier in 2019, when he held two match points in the Geneva final before falling to Zverev. Jarry had beaten Zverev earlier in the year in Barcelona; both of their meetings ended in final-set tie-breaks. They will meet for a third time this year, in the first round this week.
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9) First Wins Club: Jarry is one of 13 first-time ATP Tour singles titlists this year. Other Hamburg competitors in that group include No. 6 seed Laslo Djere, who won in Rio de Janeiro, No. 8 seed Cristian Garin, who triumphed in Houston and Munich, and Cordoba titlist Juan Ignacio Londero.
10) Doubles Duty: Croats Ivan Dodig and Mate Pavic team up as the top seeds to attempt to reclaim the Hamburg doubles title they won together in 2017. Pavic also reached the final last year paired with Oliver Marach. Marach, who won the 2011 title, is seeded third with Jurgen Melzer this year.
10 Things To Watch In Atlanta
1) Isner for Six: World No. 15 John Isner is looking to notch his sixth title in Atlanta this year. Not only would it be his sixth triumph, but it would also be his third in a row. Isner achieved that feat for the first time from 2013 to 2015. The Georgia Bulldog has reached the championship match in eight of his nine tournament appearances, including every final since 2013.
2) Back to Back: After picking up his fourth Hall of Fame tournament title this weekend in Newport, Isner looks to continue his stellar form by winning his second tournament in as many weeks.
3) Fresh Start: Four of the eight seeded players — Pierre-Hugues Herbert, Radu Albot, Jordan Thompson, Ugo Humbert — are making their Atlanta main draw debuts this week.
4) American Advantage: Since 2010, an American has won eight of the nine editions of the event, with four of the finals containing only Americans. This year, the 10 Americans in the main draw look to continue the trend.
5) #NextGenATP Field: Six #NextGenATP players — Alex de Minaur, Cole Gromley, Ugo Humbert, Miomir Kecmanovic, Alexei Popyrin, Frances Tiafoe — look to leave their mark, with De Minaur (6th), Kecmanovic (8th) and Tiafoe (4th) looking to solidify their spots in the ATP Race to Milan.
6) First-Time Champion Possibility: With Isner’s dominance in the last six editions of the Atlanta Open and Nick Kyrgios only playing doubles in this year’s tournament, there is a possibility that the Atlanta Open will feature a first-time winner for the first time in three years and only the fourth time in nine years.
7) Outside Looking In: For the first time since the 2012 Paris Masters, World No. 52 Grigor Dimitrov enters a tournament ranked outside of the Top 50 in the ATP Rankings. The former World No. 3 and 2017 Nitto ATP Finals champion will look to move up the ATP Rankings again with a successful run in Atlanta.
Read Atlanta: All You Need To Know
8) Youthful Matchup: The combined age of the first-round match between Ugo Humbert (21) and Cole Gromley (19) is 40. There are five players in the doubles draw aged over that mark: Leander Paes, 46; Jonathan Erlich, 42; Robert Lindstedt, 42; Bob Bryan, 41 and Mike Bryan, 41.
9) Odd-Year Magic: The Bryans will look to capture their third Atlanta Open doubles title. Their previous two title runs came in the two most recent odd-numbered years (2015, 2017).
10) Sock Returns: Jack Sock will look to bounce back from thumb surgery as he makes his first appearance in a main draw since his first-round loss at the Australian Open in January.
10 Things To Watch In Gstaad
1) Clay Competition Continues: With the 2019 summer season in full swing, clay competition turns to Gstaad, Switzerland. Gstaad is one of three remaining clay events this year, including Hamburg this week, and Kitzbuhel next week.
2) Former Champ: 2014 champion and No. 7 seed Pablo Andujar returns to Gstaad for the first time since 2015, when he fell in the quarter-finals. So far this season, Andujar has won three Challenger events and reached the finals in Marrakech (l. to Paire).
3) Runner-up Returners: Past Gstaad finalists Roberto Bautista Agut and Fernando Verdasco enter the draw as the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds, respectively. Bautista Agut fell in the 2018 final to Matteo Berrettini, while Verdasco was beaten by countryman Marcel Granollers in 2011.
4) Homecoming Success: Wild card Sandro Ehrat of Switzerland returns to Gstaad for the first time in seven years. Gstaad was the site of his first career ATP Tour-level event, and his return here marks his second career tour-level appearance.
5) Next Gen Star: No. 8 seed and 20-year-old Corentin Moutet of France is the lone Next Gen ATP Finals contender in Gstaad. He reached the second round at Wimbledon, defeating Grigor Dimitrov in the first round before falling to #NextGenATP Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime. World No. 80 Moutet is appearing in Gstaad at a career-high ATP Ranking.
6) Career Milestone: No. 3 seed Dusan Lajovic won his maiden title in Umag, Croatia on Sunday, defeating qualifier Attila Balazs 7-5, 7-5 to rise to No. 26 in the ATP Rankings. Umag marked Lajovic’s second career final, the first of which came in April at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters.
7) Veteran Status: Tommy Robredo and Paolo Lorenzi represent the two oldest men in the singles draw at 37 years of age. Gstaad marks Robredo’s first tour-level main draw appearance since the 2018 US Open (l. to Tsitsipas). Lorenzi is 4-8 at tour-level this season, highlighted by his run to the New York Open quarter-finals.
Read Gstaad: All You Need To Know
8) Spanish Army: Seven Spaniards join the 2019 Gstaad singles draw, four of which make up the top eight seeds: Bautista Agut, Verdasco, Andujar and Roberto Carballes Baena. They are joined by Robredo, Jaume Munar and Albert Ramos-Vinolas.
9) Doubles Champs Unite: Former Gstaad doubles title holders Philipp Oswald (2017 w/Marach) and Filip Polasek (2011 w/Cermak; 2008 w/Levinsky) team up this year as the top seeds in Gstaad. Polasek also finished as runner-up in 2009 (w/Levinsky).
10) Finalists Return: Doubles team Denys Molchanov and Igor Zelenay return to Gstaad as the No. 2 seeds after reaching the championship match in 2018. The pairing dropped two tie-break sets to Italian duo Matteo Berrettini and Daniele Bracciali.
Fun-loving and gentleman Australian, whose personality radiated
Peter McNamara, who joined forces with Paul McNamee to become one of the best doubles teams of the early 1980s and reached the singles Top 10 in the ATP Rankings, passed away aged 64 on Saturday, at his home in Sonthofen, southern Germany, after a long and private battle with prostate cancer.
McNamara, whose fun-loving personality, dry sense of humour and no-nonsense Australian attitude lit up the sport, as much as his consistent clean ball-striking on a variety of surfaces, was a universally respected professional, inspirational coach and mentor for more 40 years.
“Peter was a hero of mine,” Pat Cash told ATPTour.com. “In fact, I ball boy-ed for him in a state final in Melbourne when I was a kid. He was someone I looked up to as he was the top Australian at the time. We were so proud that a fellow Melbournian had cracking the Top 10 in 1981.
“As a player he possessed one of the game’s greatest single-handed backhands, which he thumped with incredible power, taking the ball on the rise with consistency and precision. At times it was unplayable, breath-taking and I tried to emulate it. He was truly a forerunner and ahead of the game with this shot, which can be seen today in a player like Roger Federer.”
As the best prospect to come out of Australia since the era of Rod Laver, Ken Rosewall and John Newcombe, Melbourne-born McNamara broke into the Top 10 of the ATP Rankings on 27 July 1981 — the first Australian man to do so since John Alexander in 1975 — two months after he had beaten Jimmy Connors 7-6, 6-1, 4-6, 6-4 in the German Open final on Hamburg’s clay. The 6’1”, 160-pound right-hander also defeated then World No. 1 Ivan Lendl 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 for the 1983 Brussels Indoors title — his fifth singles crown in his 12th final.
McNamara’s best Grand Slam championship singles performances came at the Australian Open, where in 1980 and 1982 he advanced to the semi-finals. He held one match point at 5-3 in the fifth set of his 1982 semi-final against Johan Kriek, when he was left to rue not attacking a second delivery. He also made the quarter-finals at 1981 Wimbledon and 1982 Roland Garros.
His turnaround in singles fortunes came about in February 1981, when McNamee and Kiwi Chris Lewis, both using over-sized racquets, consistently got the better of McNamara in reflex volleying drills on courts in Florida, close to where he lived in Madiera Beach. Having broken a string in his only racquet, McNamara picked up one of Lewis’ spare frames and found it to his liking. The switch provided marginal improvement on his serve, but his forehand — once a problem for the Australian — became a major weapon.
McNamara’s greatest successes were in tandem with his childhood friend McNamee, which included the 1979 Australian Open and two Wimbledons in 1980 and 1982, among 14 doubles titles in under four years. The pair also won the 1981 Masters Doubles title on the World Champions Tennis tour, which lasted until the emergence of the ATP Tour in 1990. They were later significant influences on the ‘Woodies’, Todd Woodbridge and Mark Woodforde.
Their nickname, ‘Super Macs’, originating from a poster produced by their racquet sponsor Prince shortly after their first Wimbledon win, may never have seen the light of day. In June 1980, their form was scratchy and a run to the Roland Garros semi-finals did not dissuade McNamara from securing a new partner, Bruce Manson, for that year’s championship. But while McNamee admitted they needed a break, and the Wimbledon doubles deadline looming, upon his visit to McNamara’s hotel room, he managed to talk around his partner.
McNamara sprained an ankle in his first-round singles loss to Warren Maher and two days later, ahead of their first doubles match, he couldn’t put any weight on the leg. Miraculously, they persisted and beat Byron Bertram and Bernard Mitton, before three days of rain ensured McNamara was able to sufficiently recover to continue at The Championships. By the time they beat Bob Lutz and Stan Smith 7-6, 6-3, 7-6, 6-4 on the old No. 1 Court at Wimbledon, as a result of Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe epic 18-16 fourth-set tie-break match on Centre Court, their partnership was cemented.
In 1982, the ‘Super Macs’ captured their second Wimbledon title with a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Peter Fleming and McEnroe, who, still seething from his five-set singles final loss to Connors earlier in the day, had successfully petitioned the All England Club committee to make doubles final be best-of-three sets, rather than best-of-five because of the fading light.
When back spasms sidelined McNamee, McNamara partnered Heinz Gunthardt to four trophies, but the pair had to default ahead of the 1981 US Open doubles final after the Swiss became ill.
A couple of days after beating Lendl for the 1983 Brussels title, McNamara’s peak performance days were significantly dented in a freak accident in Rotterdam, when one of his legs twisted in the joins of the indoor carpet during a first-round match against Czech Jiri Granat. It resulted in a near two-year absence and upon his return at the 1985 Western Australian Open, and later that season at Wimbledon, where he reunited with McNamee, McNamara wore long trousers to cover up the full extent of his injury.
He attained a singles career-high of No. 7 on 14 March 1983, rose to No. 3 in the ATP Doubles Rankings on 13 December 1982 and represented Australia in 21 Davis Cup singles and doubles rubbers over a six-year period, culminating in the 1986 title run. McNamara missed out of being a part of Australia’s 1983 Cup-winning team due to his knee injury.
After retiring as a player aged 28 in 1987, McNamara enjoyed a successful coaching career with the likes of Mark Philippoussis, Grigor Dimitrov (as a part of the Mouratoglou Tennis Academy in Paris from 2009), Matt Ebden and, until February this year, with China’s Wang Qiang, who broke into the Top 20 of the WTA Rankings shortly prior to illness preventing him from undertaking further international travel. For many years, he was a highly entertaining competitor on the ATP Champions Tour, regularly featuring in December at the Royal Albert Hall in London.
Ebden told ATPTour.com, “He was a real genuine, honest guy, very disciplined and hard working. He called it how it was and didn’t beat around the bush. He was really respectful, with sound ethics. An authentic person. He is a great Australian. He always liked to say he’d take the front seat in the car, as he got to No. 7 in singles.”
McNamara, who lived in Melbourne and Florida during his playing career, and most recently in Germany for many years, is survived by his wife, Petra, and two children, Justin and Rochelle.
“He never ever complained about his illness and just got on with his coaching work,” Cash told ATPTour.com. “He achieved great results with his Chinese players and was a regular on the legends tour. His baseline hitting, and net play made any match he played in fantastic entertainment. I’m proud to say that he was an inspiration to me. Peter will be sadly missed around the circuit.”
Peter McNamara, tennis player and coach, born 5 July 1955, died 21 July 2019
TENNIS WORLD PAYS TRIBUTE
McNamara family statement: We are sad to announce the passing of tennis icon and former professional player Peter McNamara who passed away in Germany on the 20th of July after a long-losing battle with cancer.
“Peter, “Macca”, was a former top ATP player who won five singles titles on the ATP tour and 19 doubles titles throughout his career. He reached his highest career ranking of No. 7 in March 1983. Through his passion for tennis, he touched many lives and shared his wealth of experience through coaching juniors as well as professional players such as Marc Philippoussis, Grigor Dimitrov and Qiang Wang. Macca lived his life to the fullest, and was always a great company with a good sense of humour. He’ll be remembered very fondly in the tennis community around the world and he leaves behind his wife, children, grandchildren and the rest of his family and friends.
“The family is incredibly proud of Peter’s achievements, but most of all the strength and determination he showed in his battle with cancer. For more than 10 years he kept it discreet and never allowed it to stop him from doing what he loved — to play tennis.”
Peter Fleming told ATPTour.com, “Macca was one of the most talented players of our era and a fierce competitor. More importantly, he had a heart of gold, a great friend to a lot of people.”
Stan Smith told ATPTour.com, “Peter was one of the great Australians who along with Paul McNamee beat us in the Wimbledon doubles final. More than that he was a great guy who was always enjoyable to be with and had a great attitude about life. I always liked him.”
Revisit the week that was on the ATP Challenger Tour as we applaud the achievements of those on the rise and look ahead to the week to come
A LOOK BACK Challenger Banque Nationale de Gatineau (Gatineau, Canada): We’ve heard this story all too often… Jason Kubler kicked his comeback into high gear, lifting a trophy in his return from injury. On Sunday, the Aussie tasted success on the hard courts of Gatineau, seizing his first title of the year.
Kubler, who missed three months with a knee ailment earlier in the year, is hoping to stay healthy and gather momentum in the second half of 2019. This was the perfect start. One week after finishing runner-up in Winnetka, he did not drop a set en route to the title in Gatineau. The 26-year-old defeated Enzo Couacaud 6-4, 6-4 to capture the crown.
“It’s very humid and bouncy here, which I like,” said Kubler. “Similar to Brisbane, where I’m from. I love the people here too, so it’s a home away from home in Canada. But to be honest, I got lucky not having to play three-set matches this week. Everyone else was having long matches and I was lucky enough to get through without a grinding match. It takes a lot out of you.”
For Kubler, it has been a battle to stay healthy over the years. His story is well-documented, having been forced to play exclusively on clay earlier in his career due to a hereditary knee condition. Then, a shoulder injury proved another setback in 2017. But the Aussie has shown incredible resilience and fortitude and he would proceed to climb 841 spots in 2018, breaking into the Top 100 of the ATP Rankings. He’s hoping this latest obstacle is just a minor setback.
“I just have to keep grinding and fighting. I’m going to enjoy this win and head to Granby tomorrow morning. We’ll see how it goes.”
Kubler’s victory in Gatineau was his fifth Challenger title and first since he triumphed in Winnipeg exactly one year ago. Canada has become a second home for the Brisbane native, who also reached the final in Vancouver last August. Now, he is plotting his Top 100 return, vaulting 22 spots to No. 189.
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San Benedetto Tennis Cup (San Benedetto, Italy): One year ago, Renzo Olivo strongly considered hanging up his racquet. Coming off an impressive 2017 campaign, which included an upset of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga at Roland Garros and a Top 100 breakthrough, the Argentine was soaring. But, 2018 proved to be a trying year for Olivo and he would fall outside the Top 500 of the ATP Rankings.
“I was close to stopping, but mentally I came out of it,” said Olivo. “And I’m ready to start again.”
Now, the 27-year-old is back on track after clinching his third ATP Challenger Tour title, triumphing in the Italian coastal city of San Benedetto. He defeated Alessandro Giannessi 5-7, 7-6(4), 6-4 in a marathon two-hour and 54-minute final.
Back inside the Top 300, Olivo earned a 71-spot boost thanks to his victory on Sunday. The former World No. 78 will hope to carry the momentum to the Challenger in Tampere, Finland, opening against Ivan Gakhov on Tuesday.
Located on the Adriatic Sea, the tournament in San Benedetto is just steps from the beach and is the perfect mid-season retreat for players. Fans packed the stands all week, providing a festive atmosphere for tennis under the lights.
President’s Cup (Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan): Evgeny Donskoy has played his best tennis over the years in Kazakhstan. This week, it was more of the same from the Russian. Donskoy battled to his third title in Nur-Sultan, defeating Sebastian Korda 7-6(5), 3-6, 6-4 on a scorching Sunday afternoon in the Kazakh capital.
Donskoy previously lifted the trophy in Astana in 2012 and 2016. Earlier this year, the city was renamed Nur-Sultan after former president Nursultan Nazarbayev.
For the 29-year-old Russian, it was his 12th Challenger title in total and first in two years. He is projected to rise to No. 115 in the ATP Rankings on Monday.
Meanwhile, the week was also a special one for Korda, who became the sixth teenager to reach a Challenger final in 2019. The 19-year-old advanced to his first title match on the circuit, securing impressive wins over three seeded players. The Australian Open junior champion a year ago, Korda rises 75 spots to a career-high No. 307.
Van Mossel Kia Dutch Open (Amersfoort, Netherlands): Professional tennis returned to Amersfoort after an 11-year hiatus, with Mats Moraing emerging victorious on Sunday. The fifth-seeded German captured his second ATP Challenger Tour title with a 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 win over Kimmer Coppejans.
Moraing converted five of nine break chances to lift the trophy, returning to the winners’ circle in efficent fashion. It was his first victory on tour since claiming his maiden title in Koblenz, Germany, last year.
A LOOK AHEAD The three-week Canadian swing comes to a close in Granby, with top seed Norbert Gombos seeking a second title in three weeks and second seed Peter Polansky looking to retain his crown. Fourth seed Vasek Pospisil won the title in 2012.
In Binghamton, New York, Marcel Granollers leads the pack, with 2014 winner Sergiy Stakhovsky seeded third. Italian teenage phenom Jannik Sinner makes his U.S. debut, seeded ninth.
Meanwhile, in Prague, Moraing eyes a second straight title, while Attila Balazs hopes to extend his strong form. The Hungarian is coming off a first ATP Tour appearance in Umag, as a qualifier.
And in Tampere, Finland, the longest-running tournament on the ATP Challenger Tour enters its 38th edition. Pedro Sousa is the top seed, with the Ymer brothers – Mikael and Elias – seeded second and third, respectively.