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Rogers Cup: Rafael Nadal beats Dan Evans in Montreal

  • Posted: Aug 07, 2019

British number two Dan Evans pushed Spanish great Rafael Nadal in their first meeting before going down in straight sets at the Rogers Cup.

Evans, 29, lost 7-6 (8-6) 6-4 in a second-round match disrupted by rain in Montreal.

Qualifier Evans could not convert two set points before losing the tight opener, Nadal upping his game at the start of the second to take control.

Top seed and champion Nadal faces Guido Pella in the last 16.

Frenchman Richard Gasquet upset Japanese fifth seed Kei Nishikori 6-7 (6-8) 6-2 7-6 (7-4) while Croatian 14th seed Marin Cilic was a 6-3 6-4 winner over Australia’s John Millman and Wimbledon semi-finalist Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain beat Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman 6-2 7-5.

Nadal overcomes slow start to progress

Eighteen-time Grand Slam winner Nadal – playing his first match since losing to Roger Federer in the Wimbledon semi-finals last month – struggled to cope with the Briton’s aggressive and accurate approach play in an entertaining first set.

Evans has moved to the cusp of the world’s top 50 after an impressive year which has seen him rise from 190th to 53rd, proving again in Montreal against Nadal he has the ability to cause problems for the top players.

The Briton made the ideal start by breaking 33-year-old Nadal’s serve in the first game of the match and holding to love in the next, before the world number two fought back to 3-3 and go on to claim two set points at 5-4.

Evans boldly employed serve and volley tactics to save both and, after a rain delay lasting almost half an hour, dominated the early part of the tie-break to earn two set points.

But Nadal responded with a forehand winner and a smart second serve to save both, carrying on his momentum to claim the opener.

Nadal had lost only one of his previous 75 matches after winning the first set – against Nick Kyrgios in Acapulco this year – and it looked ominous when he broke Evans in the first game of the second set.

A second, lengthier rain delay disrupted the Spaniard as he allowed Evans to break back in the first game after the resumption, but a break of the Briton’s next service game proved decisive as Nadal wrapped up victory.

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An Honourary Signing In Montreal: John Isner To The Canadiens

  • Posted: Aug 07, 2019

An Honourary Signing In Montreal: John Isner To The Canadiens

American receives Canadiens jersey before second-round match

John Isner is a massive Carolina Hurricanes fan, and the American No. 1 loves hockey in general. But the 15-time ATP Tour champion has signed as a free agent with an additional team, at least for this week.

At the Coupe Rogers on Wednesday, Montreal Canadiens Senior Vice President for Public Affairs and Communications Paul Wilson presented Isner with his own Canadiens jersey, customised with his name and the number ‘1’ on the back. Although the Hurricanes will always be the American’s favourite team, Isner was thrilled to be made an honourary Canadien.

“I think it’s fantastic, especially in a city like this that just loves their sports,” Isner told “They support this tournament so incredibly well. The men, we come here every other year and they get really, really excited about it. But this city’s true love is the Montreal Canadiens, so [I’m] very honoured to wear that.”

You May Also Like: Isner Wins Thriller Against Thompson In Montreal

That’s not the only reason this ATP Masters 1000 tournament has been special, though. Isner has had two NHL players in Montreal supporting him: current Vancouver Canuck Antoine Roussel and recently-retired Alexandre Burrows.

“It’s very cool. I think in general hockey players really enjoy tennis. I enjoy hockey so much, so through that whole connection I’ve gotten to know a lot of very cool NHL players, a lot of them that I call my friends now,” Isner said. “Same thing here in Montreal, I have two buddies here… I’ve gotten to know them pretty well and they’re here supporting, so it’s very cool.”

<a href=''>John Isner</a> hits a backhand in Montreal.

Isner battled through a tight first-round match on Tuesday against Aussie Jordan Thompson 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(6) after two hours and 19 minutes. And on Wednesday he’ll face Chilean Cristian Garin. It doesn’t hurt that he has professional athletes to motivate him in his corner.

“Those guys are the toughest of the tough. Having a guy like Antoine sit and watch me play, I tell myself I need to stay focussed and stay as tough as possible out here because that is what these guys do all the time,” Isner said. “They’re taking pucks to the faces, they’re throwing gloves around. We’re not playing a contact sport. Yes, it’s hot out there and it’s tough, but I need to show as much mental resolve on the court as I can. I think I did a little in my match, so having him there helped.”

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Challenger Chronicles: Norbert Gombos

  • Posted: Aug 07, 2019

Challenger Chronicles: Norbert Gombos

Get to know the personalities and passions of the ATP Challenger Tour’s stars, as we explore their lives beyond the court.

In the first installment of the Challenger Chronicles, we feature Norbert Gombos.

In 2019, no player has won more matches on the ATP Challenger Tour than Slovakia’s Norbert Gombos. At the age of 28, Gombos is enjoying a breakout campaign behind a staggering 36-16 record and consecutive titles in Winnipeg, Canada and his hometown of Bratislava. His victory in his home capital was a special one, with friends and family in attendance.

Gombos’ career has had its fair share of successes and struggles, including surgery in 2016, a Top 100 breakthrough in 2017, a dip in form in 2018 and resurgence in recent months. After seven years fighting on the Challenger circuit, Gombos is finally reaping the rewards as he sets his sights on a transition to the ATP Tour.

It is all coming together for the Slovakian. He is fresh off a first tour-level quarter-final at the Citi Open in Washington, rising to No. 118 in the ATP Rankings on Monday.


So, how did Gombos get here? Where did he get his start? What is important to him in life? We spoke to the Slovakian…

Norbert, it’s been an incredible summer for you. How do you think you performed over the past month and how happy are you with your game right now?
I am very happy with my game. Last year I was struggling the whole year. Winning those titles [in Bratislava and Winnipeg] for me is so important and finally I feel that I can play better and better and can start thinking about the Top 100 so I am really happy about it.

It’s been a busy stretch for you on all surfaces. How have you managed your summer schedule?
It all started on clay in Bratislava, but it was actually not in my plans at first. I wanted to prepare for Wimbledon by competing in Ilkley. The cut-off was so strong, so I had to play in Bratislava. It did not matter too much as I could play at the club where I practise throughout the year and that made me happy. I was so happy to win in my hometown in front of my family, friends and coaches.

I went to Wimbledon straight after, with no preparation on grass before the first match. I arrived at three in the morning, practised for 30 minutes and went straight on court to play the match. It was actually pretty impressive that I played well. Right after Wimbledon I went home to prepare for the hard-court season and travelled alone to Winnipeg. I won the tournament by myself with no help which was very good for me.


What was the experience like to win a title at home? You rarely get to play in front of friends and family.
I was pretty happy about it. I practise there and it is a great club and they did a good job with the courts and overall organisation of the tournament. It was great for me to win the title there because a lot of people in Bratislava thought that my tennis was over after the last couple of years when I was not playing well. That made me more motivated as I really wanted to show them that I can play really good tennis.

The tournament was very strong with players like Klizan as well as other Slovakian Davis Cup players, so it was really special for me to win. My whole team, family and friends that have not seen me play before were extremely happy for me and I was so happy to win a tournament after a year and a half.

There are a lot of great champions from Slovakia. When you were growing up, did you feel the strong tennis tradition there and did that inspire you?
When I was younger, I did not follow tennis too much. My father put me on the court and said ‘you will play tennis’. He was really sporty so that is how I ended up in tennis. Years later, I was following a lot more tennis, especially Davis Cup. Our best Slovakian players like Karol Kucera, Karol Beck and Dominik Hrbaty made the final so it was a huge achievement for our country. I was more motivated after that to be like them and to compete against those players.

I was not very good in juniors. I was losing a lot of first rounds but my father was always seeing potential in me and supporting me all the time. I was so motivated to show everyone that I can play on the international stage. I was getting a bit older and started to play more Challengers and it went from there. I am so happy that I can play so well and I hope that the results will come.


You had surgery in 2016 and then broke inside the Top 100 the year after. But last year was very difficult for you. What has the past four years been like with all the ups and downs?
It was difficult for me when I had my surgery. I lost a lot of time and I was losing all the time in the first round and dropped out of the Top 300. But I started to play well at the end of the year and won some Challengers. In two and a half months I moved from outside the Top 300 to inside the Top 130 and a few months later I broke into the Top 100. It was one of the best moments of my career. I could play the biggest tournaments and for me it was an amazing experience.

But the problem was, I did not defend my points after that and I dropped a bit. My game was not going well and I was expecting too much from myself all the time. I was very frustrated and low. As you can see, there were many highs and lows. And then this year I changed my coach and became more motivated again. We made a big improvement in my game and I am playing great again. It is great to be thinking about the Top 100 again.

What has been the biggest difference from last year to this year?
I am looking at things from another angle. Last year I was always thinking about how I was playing when I was Top 100. I was thinking about the past a lot. Now I am focused on the present and always thinking to improve my game. That is the main thing that I changed in my game and my thinking. I am focusing on myself and to be better and better every day.


You are working with Ilya Marchenko’s old coach, right? Does he get a lot of credit for this improvement? He helped Ilya have a great run in his career too.
Yes, Tibor Toth is the Davis Cup coach as well. We started to work together in November last year. He has so much experience. He used to coach Dominik Hrbaty and Sergiy Stakhovsky too. I trust him completely and doing everything that he says. It is a very good way for me and hopefully I will do better and better results.

You were talking about being injured and dropping out of the Top 100 before finding your form again. What do you feel are the biggest challenges of being a professional tennis player?
I am so motivated to play ATP Tour events and it is not easy to get there. The biggest challenge is to get there and compete at these big tournaments against the best players. I would like to keep improving and get to play those tournaments regularly. I have to fight for every point, every result and hopefully play there in the future.

It is a new level from Challengers to the tour-level. The players get better and better and you have to keep working and improve your game.

What would you say to young Slovakian kids who want to become professional players like yourself?
To work a lot. Have a lot of motivation and just do your best. Try and win as many much as they can and do not be too hard on yourself. The results will come if you keep working hard. Put everything into your game and the results will come.

Are you married?
No, I am not. I have had a girlfriend for over five years.

Does she travel with you?
Sometimes. She works so she cannot travel all the time. It is not very often but it is really good for me when she is at the tournaments. Players love to have family with them. It is a lonely sport and it is important to have people with you. It is great to have your family supporting you and that is why a lot of players perform really well at their home tournaments.


Your countryman Andrei Martin mentioned that there is a floorball league among Slovakian players. Is that something you play? What other sports do you enjoy outside of tennis?
They do, but I do not play because I am not very good at floorball. I love ice hockey and I follow NHL matches as well, but I support my country more than anything else. In the NHL my favourite team is the Chicago Blackhawks. I have not been to a game yet. I have only watched Florida Panthers play live. I hope one day I can go to Chicago and see a game.

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Marin Cilic's Road Back To 'Perfect Tennis'

  • Posted: Aug 07, 2019

Marin Cilic’s Road Back To ‘Perfect Tennis’

Croat reflects on early-season struggles and rounding into form

If you said Marin Cilic’s 2018 season was one of the best of his career, there would be little room for arguing otherwise. The Croat, who is the No. 14 seed at this week’s Coupe Rogers, reached a career-high No. 3 in the ATP Rankings, advanced to his third Grand Slam final at the Australian Open, claimed an ATP 500 title at the Fever-Tree Championships, qualified for the Nitto ATP Finals and led Croatia to the Davis Cup title.

But the 30-year-old struggled to maintain his momentum. He is currently World No. 16, which is nothing to sniff at, but Cilic has not made it past the quarter-finals in 12 tournaments, dropping from the Top 15 for the first time since August 2014.

“My first six months were not great. I felt just a bit drained from the season before, finishing late, it was very emotional with the Davis Cup, winning it in 2018,” Cilic told “We put a lot of emotions into that and just maybe my body felt a little bit tired from everything.”

A knee injury hindered him at the Australian Open, and also kept him out of the ATP 500 event at Rotterdam in February, which made getting the season rolling even more difficult. But Cilic is showing signs of progress, ousting in-form #NextGenATP star Felix Auger-Aliassime at the Citi Open before dropping a tight two-setter against Daniil Medvedev, who later made the final.

“Now I’m feeling really good. I had some time off back at home, enjoyed the Croatian coast [after Wimbledon], enjoyed my time and practised really well. I just felt I played quite good tennis in Washington and I’m hoping I can continue this really good throughout the summer.”

Cilic has finished inside the year-end Top 10 of the ATP Rankings in four of the past five years, so there was never a question of what the Croat is capable of. But perhaps some R&R and an additional voice in his corner will spur a turnaround.

The veteran began a trial period with former World No. 6 and 15-time ATP Tour champion Wayne Ferreira during the grass-court season. And the South African is not concerned about his charge ever finding his top level again.

“It’s not an issue that he’s going to get it back. The only difficulty is that the lower his [ATP] Ranking is, the harder your draw is, so you have to beat a lot better players earlier on,” Ferreira told “You have to beat better guys more regularly. He’ll get it back, he just needs to build on that. After last week, this will be a telling week. If he plays the same way as he did last week, then he’s back on. And he’ll be absolutely fine. Then it’s just having those wins and getting his Ranking back up and hopefully getting the Ranking to the level to where the matches are a little bit easier for him in earlier rounds.”

Ferreira has not been in the coaching game on the ATP Tour before. In fact, this is his first job working with a professional since retiring almost 15 years ago. But Cilic’s agent gave him a call ‘out of the blue’, and they’ve been off ever since, on a trial at least through the US Open. While there are some small things Ferreira is tinkering with in the Croat’s game, he says there is truly one key: confidence.

“He’s struggling a little bit confidence-wise. He hasn’t had the best year of results, so the first thing is trying to get him out of a little bit of a slump, making himself feel good, and from there building on some other things to improve,” Ferreira said. “I think he did a great job last week. I was very impressed with how he played. It was very positive again and he was doing the right things. But at the same time we’ve been working on a few things like on the serve and with a couple of things on the groundstrokes to try to help as well. You’ve always got to keep thinking about things to improve as well. So it’s been good, it’s been a good time. But the initial thing is getting him over the confidence thing.”

It’s a normal problem to have, though. No player is perfect, after all.

“Losing your confidence, everybody has it. It’s the toughest thing in a way because there isn’t really a set trigger that gets you out of it. Winning matches is really what it comes down to, but if you’re feeling nervous and playing tight, sometimes it doesn’t always happen,” Ferreira said. “But it’s also one of those things that doesn’t take a lot to turn around as well. It’s just finding that happy medium somewhere. For him it was more just playing a few more matches in a row, that was helpful. But when the matches are tighter, playing the big points well, it’s a confidence thing.”

One of the things the Cilic camp has been focussing on is his first-serve percentage. Ferreira feels that when Cilic lands his first delivery, he can win a lot of ‘free points’, get through his service games more easily, and build more confidence that way as well. In addition to his Croatian holiday, Cilic also spent a week where Ferreira lives — in Hilton Head — to get to know one another even better and continue working on his game.

“It’s been so far really positive in every sense. Wayne is a great guy, really down to earth and a very, very smart person as well. He had an amazing career,” Cilic said. “The way he played, I admired it a lot. He was a hard worker on court and he brings that every single time when I’m on the court, so it’s just a joy to work with him and hopefully we can have a really long relationship, and an extremely successful one, too.”

Ferreira says since he hasn’t been travelling the Tour, he has been keen to pay close attention to all the players, practices and so on. And with what he sees in Cilic, he is plenty confident that things will move in the right direction.

“He strikes the ball so impressively well. It’s so clean and so hard, he is very solid everywhere. There’s no weakness in his game at all. He’s very strong mentally. Okay, he struggled a little bit on the confidence, but he’s very focussed. His groundstrokes are great. He has the ability to beat anybody,” Ferreira said. “He has the ability to come out and just play awesome, perfect tennis.”

Even if his ATP Ranking has slightly dipped, as soon as Cilic gathers momentum, that will be a scary thought for the rest of the ATP Tour.

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Tennis players dominate Forbes' female rich list

  • Posted: Aug 07, 2019

The top 11 highest-earning female sport athletes over the past year are all tennis players.

Serena Williams, 37, a 23-time Grand Slam winner, tops the rich list, after earning $29.2m (£24.3m), including $25m (£20.57m) in endorsements, according to Forbes.

Japan’s Naomi Osaka, who beat Williams in the US Open final, is second.

US World Cup-winning striker Alex Morgan is the first non-tennis player at 12 after earning $5.8m (£4.77m).

  • The Indian sports star on £126,000 a week

Germany’s Angelique Kerber, 31, completes the top three despite slipping to 13th in the world rankings while current Wimbledon champion Simona Halep, 27, is fourth.

Williams is the only woman to make it onto the Forbes top 100 best paid athletes list, coming in at number 63 in the list complied in June.

Osaka’s rise up the tennis world rankings following her debut Grand Slam win, which took the 21-year-old to number one, and earned her a lucrative sponsorship deal with Nike, with her earnings growing to an estimated $16m (£13.14m) in the past 12 months.

Of the top 15 athletes on the list, 12 are tennis players, with Morgan, 30, joined by Indian badminton player PV Sindhu, 24, in 13th and 23-year-old Thai golfer Ariya Jutanugarn at 15th.

Top 15 highest-earning female sports stars
Name Total earnings Prize money/salary Endorsements
Serena Williams £24.3m ($29.2m) £3.45m ($4.2m) £20.57m ($25m)
Naomi Osaka £20m ($24.3m) £6.8m ($8.3m) £13.14 ($16m)
Angelique Kerber £9.71m ($11.8m) £4.85m ($5.3m) £5.34m ($6.5m)
Simona Halep, £8.39m ($10.2m) £5.09m ($6.2m) £3.2m ($4m)
Sloane Stephens £7.90m ($9.6m) £3.36m ($4.1m) £4.59m ($5.5m)
Caroline Wozniacki £6.17m ($7.5m) £2.87m ($3.5m) £3.2m ($4m)
Maria Sharapova £5.76 ($7m) £823k ($1m) £4.92m ($6m)
Karolina Pliskova £5.18 ($6.3m) £3.77m ($4.6m) £1.39m ($1.7m)
Elina Svitolina £5.02m ($6.1m) £3.77m ($4.6m) £1.2m ($1.5m)
Venus Williams £4.84m ($5.9m) £739k ($900k) £4.1m ($5m)
Garbine Muguruza £4.84m ($5.9m) £1.97m ($2.4m) £2.87m ($3.5m)
Alex Morgan £4.77m ($5.8m) £205,416 ($250k) £4.51m ($5.5m)
PV Sindhu £4.53m ($5.5m) £410,833 ($500k) £4.1m ($5m)
Madison Keys £4.53m ($5.5m) £2.04m ($2.5m) £2.46m ($3m)
Ariya Jutanugarn £4.35 ($5.3m) £2.7m ($3.3m) £1.64m ($2m)

*All amounts are estimates

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Murray/Lopez Save 1 M.P. To Beat Kubot/Melo In Montreal

  • Posted: Aug 07, 2019

Murray/Lopez Save 1 M.P. To Beat Kubot/Melo In Montreal

Kontinen/Peers advance on Tuesday

Andy Murray and Feliciano Lopez took the title in their debut outing as a team two months ago at the Fever-Tree Championships. They continued their unbeaten streak on Tuesday at the Coupe Rogers in Montreal, saving a match point in their first-round upset over second seeds Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo 6-7(5), 6-3, 11-9.

”In the Match Tie-break, it felt like we were hitting so many good shots and not getting rewarded for it,” said Murray. “It was tight at the end, but we did well to get through.”

Lopez erased a match point with an ace at 8/9 in the Match Tie-break before his team advanced in one hour 58 minutes. Their draw doesn’t get any easier as they face Roland Garros finalists Jeremy Chardy and Fabrice Martin in the next round.

”Whenever I play with Andy, it’s a lot of fun,” said Lopez. “Today was very special as well. I think we deserved the win because we played well overall.”

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Defending champions Henri Kontinen and John Peers became the first seeded team to prevail this week in Montreal. The sixth seeds completed a wild 6-7(3), 6-2, 15-13 win over Radu Albot and Karen Khachanov by saving two match points at 10/11 and 12/13 in the Match Tie-break. Kontinen/Peers will now face Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos, who also saved a match point at 4-5, 40/40 in the second set to defeat Ivan Dodig and Filip Polasek 3-6, 7-6(5), 10-3.

Rohan Bopanna and Denis Shapovalov scored a 4-6, 6-1, 10-6 comeback victory over fourth seeds and Wimbledon finalists Nicolas Mahut and Edouard Roger-Vasselin. Bopanna/Shapovalov recorded their first ATP Tour doubles final as a team this June in Stuttgart (l. Peers/Soares).

Benoit Paire and Stan Wawrinka saved four set points to close out their 6-4, 7-6(7) win over Fabio Fognini and Lucas Pouille. Paire/Wawrinka fought back from 3/6 and 6/7 in the second-set tie-break to advance in one hour and 20 minutes. Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury rallied from 2-5 in the second set and saved two set points at 4-5 en route to a 7-5, 7-5 victory against Jamie Murray and Neal Skupski.

Rounding out the day were Canadian wild cards Peter Polansky and Brayden Schnur, who moved past Marcus Daniell and Laslo Djere 6-4, 7-6(3).

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Former Champion Zverev Fights Through Montreal Opener

  • Posted: Aug 07, 2019

Former Champion Zverev Fights Through Montreal Opener

German looking for second title of 2019

Alexander Zverev finished with the trophy at the Coupe Rogers in Montreal two years ago, beating Roger Federer to ensure the Swiss would have to wait at least another two years to win his first Montreal title.

It wasn’t as pretty as his 2017 title run, but the third-seeded German fought like a champion again on Tuesday to screech out a win against Brit Cameron Norrie 7-6(4), 6-4.

“It was fun going out on this court again. I hope I play many more matches this week here. We’ll see how it goes, but I’m happy with the start,” Zverev said.

The 22-year-old recovered from disappointments within the match to extend his stay at the Canadian ATP Masters 1000 tournament. The World No. 7 led 5-6, 40/0 in the first set but was pushed to deuce and faced a set point. He didn’t panic, however, and later controlled the tie-break.

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The three-time Masters 1000 titlist loosened up in the second, hitting a tweener to win the point of the match and delivering a backhand laser to bring up three match points. Zverev will next meet 13th seed Nikoloz Basilashvili, who beat the German in the Hamburg European Open semi-finals last month en route to his third ATP 500 title. The Georgian beat Jan-Lennard Struff 2-6, 6-2, 6-3.

Brit Kyle Edmund ended the six-match winning streak of Nick Kyrgios 6-3, 6-4. The Aussie won his second ATP 500 title of the year on Sunday at the Citi Open in Washington, D.C., notching two Top 10 wins along the way (Tsitsipas, Medvedev).

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“It was obviously very tricky playing Nick… He’s got a very good serve, probably one of the best on Tour. It’s a mini battle in itself, trying to get that back,” Edmund said. “I managed my game well, I served very well today. I thought I just controlled the points with balls in play. It was a really good win for me.”

Edmund will meet eighth seed Daniil Medvedev, who fell to Kyrgios in the Citi Open title match. The top Brit leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head series 2-0, but they haven’t played since the 2018 Mutua Madrid Open.

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Preview & Schedule: Nadal Begins Montreal Title Defence

  • Posted: Aug 07, 2019

Preview & Schedule: Nadal Begins Montreal Title Defence

Thiem, Tsitsipas and Nishikori headline packed Wednesday schedule

Rafael Nadal has prevailed in Canada in his teens, 20s and 30s, but now looks to accomplish a first for him at this event: successfully defending his title. The top seed and defending champion starts his week off at the Coupe Rogers in Montreal by facing British qualifier Daniel Evans on Wednesday.

“When I get to a tournament, I try to work on my things and work on my game,” said Nadal. “There are many great players here, so I have to just prepare myself as soon as possible and be ready for the action.”

Nadal arrives with a 34-8 record in Canada and has reached at least the quarter-finals in seven of his past nine appearances at this event. The four-time champion faces a tough opening test against a resurgent Evans, who finished runner-up this February in Delray Beach (l. to Albot) and has climbed 140 spots in the ATP Rankings this year.

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Second-seeded Austrian Dominic Thiem kicks off his week against home favourite Denis Shapovalov. Thiem won their lone FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting last year in Acapulco and arrives on a wave of confidence after taking the title last week in Kitzbuhel (d. Ramos-Vinolas).

But the #NextGenATP Canadian thrives on playing in Canada and specifically in Montreal. Shapovalov’s semi-final run two years ago saw him defeat Rafael Nadal and Juan Martin del Potro, and he’ll look to create more Montreal magic on Court Central.

“He’s definitely going to be very confident right now. He’s coming off a win. It’s always tricky to play a guy that’s full confidence, that’s won a lot of matches under his belt,” said Shapovalov. “I’m just going to try to go out there, enjoy myself, put up the best fight I can. I think I do have a chance to win this match. I really believe it.”

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Fourth seed and 2018 runner-up Stefanos Tsitsipas looks for another big week in Canada when he meets rising Pole Hubert Hurkacz. The #NextGenATP Greek leads his FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry with Hurkacz 3-0, including victories this year in Marseille and Dubai. Tsitsipas used his Toronto run 12 months ago as a springboard to his current career-high ATP Ranking of No. 5.

Fifth-seeded Japanese Kei Nishikori looks to close the gap in his FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry with Richard Gasquet. The Frenchman leads their series 7-3, but Nishikori has won three of their past four matches. Nishikori has enjoyed success in Canada before, finishing runner-up in 2016 (l. to Djokovic) and advancing to the semi-finals in 2015.

Other notable matches include sixth-seeded Russian Karen Khachanov taking on Swiss Stan Wawrinka, #NextGenATP star Felix Auger-Aliassime facing No. 17 seed and 2013 runner-up Milos Raonic in an all-Canadian clash, and seventh-seeded Italian Fabio Fognini squaring off with American qualifier Tommy Paul.


Court Centrale start 12:00 noon
[1] Rafael Nadal vs [Q] Daniel Evans
NB 2:00 pm
[2] Dominic Thiem vs Denis Shapovalov
NB 6:30 pm
[17] Milos Raonic vs Felix Auger-Aliassime
[7] Fabio Fognini vs [Q] Tommy Paul

Banque Nationale start 12:00 noon
[5] Kei Nishikori vs Richard Gasquet
[8] Daniil Medvedev vs Kyle Edmund
[4] Stefanos Tsitsipas vs Hubert Hurkacz
NB 6:30 pm
[6] Karen Khachanov vs Stan Wawrinka
[WC] Feliciano Lopez / Andy Murray vs Jeremy Chardy / Fabrice Martin

Click here to view the schedule for all other courts.

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Tommy Paul: 'I Can Play With Anybody'

  • Posted: Aug 07, 2019

Tommy Paul: ‘I Can Play With Anybody’

American reflects on injury struggles, recent success and his potential

At Roland Garros, 22-year-old American Tommy Paul was in prime position to spring a stunning upset. The 2015 Paris Boys’ Singles champion was knotted at one set all against 2018 finalist Dominic Thiem, who over the past few years has established himself as one of the best clay-court players in the world.

In the third-set tie-break, Paul took a 4/0 lead. But he’d lose seven of the next eight points to drop the set, ultimately dropping the match in four sets. There were many things going through the American’s head when he walked off the court, but he felt he belonged. He was not out of his element at all.

“One hundred per cent. I was pissed because I should have won the third set,” Paul told “There were a lot of things going through my mind after that match, but one of them was definitely that I’m really not far from that level at all. I felt like I could have beaten him that day. I felt like I almost should have beaten him that day.

“It just makes you want to beat him.”

Opportunities on the sport’s biggest stages against the best players in the world don’t come around often. And sometimes, the spotlight that comes with those moments can shine too bright. But the pressure did not faze Paul.

In his mind, performing in that setting against a superstar like Thiem was something he was capable of doing. The former junior World No. 3 believes he has the level to be comfortable in those situations.

“Everybody’s searching for more. I’m obviously searching for more, but I definitely feel like my game is there. I can play with anybody, I know that,” Paul said. “Anyone who watches some of the matches against the top guys can see that, too. I think it’s more just having the experience of playing against them and having those matches.”

Paul qualified for this week’s Coupe Rogers, an ATP Masters 1000 tournament. And he wasted little time in earning a victory in the first round of the main draw, needing only 65 minutes to move past home favourite Brayden Schnur.

After the match, the first thing Paul did was go to the gym. For most of his career, that has not been the norm. In fact, he quickly said, “definitely not”.

“Now I’m travelling with a trainer,” Paul said. “He’s been helping out just these past couple weeks since Atlanta. I still haven’t gotten over the fact that all he does is drink mate. I hate it. But we’ll get over that. I think it’s good, just taking care of my body even when I lose matches, just keep going back to the gym and taking care of my body.”

Nagging injuries have plagued him at moments when he believed he was playing good tennis. The American missed nearly three months earlier this year due to a quad tendon issue. Last season, he dealt with a knee ailment for a majority of the year. Paul knew he had to make a change, because not always doing things “the right way” was beginning to cost him.

“I had a couple pretty annoying injuries that set me out six months at a time. Those weren’t fun and I just made a decision that I want to do everything I can to prevent injuries and keep my body flexible,” Paul said. “That’s part of the reason I have the trainer on the road with me right now and work with physios when I’m on the road.”

Last November, Paul claimed his maiden ATP Challenger Tour title in Charlottesville, Virginia. After defeating Peter Polansky in the final, he knelt down near his chair to reflect on the tough 2018 he endured. Paul won his second Challenger crown in April.

“I’m having fun. When you’re playing well, you’re always having fun. In the gym, it’s not always so fun,” Paul said. “But I’m hanging out with a lot of cool people, having fun off the court, having fun on the court, so it’s good.”

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And perhaps most importantly, now at a career-high No. 128 in the ATP Rankings, Paul has been spending more time at tour-level events, having not played a Challenger since the first week of June. He’s starting to build up momentum by stringing matches together at the highest level, last week falling in a tight two-setter against Stefanos Tsitsipas at the Citi Open.

“This is where I want to be. Obviously I’m happy that I’m playing these tournaments… the level from here to Challengers is closer than you think, though,” Paul said. “Of course these guys can play and they’re the best in the world, but everyone can play, even in the Challengers. I’m happy that I’m here.”

Paul is moving closer to joining the ranks of his fellow rising Americans, with close friends Taylor Fritz and Reilly Opelka both having the best seasons of their careers. That too is a motivator for Paul.

“Definitely. Fritz had his breakout a lot earlier. It’s much easier to invest in your career when you break out a lot earlier. He did a really good job with that early. He was very professional right out of juniors. He knew what he wanted and he did it. I’m happy for him and that’s definitely the way he should do it. Reilly was always good about investing in his career when he could. That’s a big thing,” Paul said. “I’m always happy for them, but obviously I want to do that too. I want to win every tournament I play, but when they do well and as long as they’re not beating me, I’m happy that they’re winning at tournaments.”

John Isner is the No. 1 American, and he defeated Paul in a drama-less straight-sets victory two years ago in Cincinnati. But the 15-time ATP Tour champion believes that his countryman has truly grown since.

“I think Tommy is finally starting to figure it all out. I think he’s dealt with a lot of injuries. His confidence has been up and down, but nobody’s ever really doubted his ability or talent. But sometimes it takes a while to figure it out and he’s still so young,” Isner said. “But he’s now 22 years old and he’s finally starting to figure it out on Tour. His talent is immense and he’s got a great game. I think if he keeps on this path, we’re going to be seeing him in a lot of big tournaments for a lot of years to come.”.

Paul has proven he’s capable. Now it’s just about executing, and he’ll have another chance to do so on Wednesday against seventh-seeded Italian Fabio Fognini.

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