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Tuesday Preview: De Minaur Battles Davidovich Fokina In Milan

  • Posted: Nov 04, 2019

Tuesday Preview: De Minaur Battles Davidovich Fokina In Milan

Tiafoe to face Sinner in the evening

Alex de Minaur used his runner-up finish at last year’s Next Gen ATP Finals as a springboard to even greater success, clinching three ATP Tour titles and cracking the Top 20 of the ATP Rankings this year. He returns to Milan as the top seed and looks to go one step further at the 21-and-under season finale. He begins his campaign on Tuesday against Spaniard Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in Group A.

The Aussie has proved his mettle indoors by finishing runner-up two weeks ago in Basel (l. to Federer), but he now faces the pressure of being the favourite to take the title. He’ll need to bring his best against Davidovich Fokina, who captured his first two ATP Challenger Tour crowns in the past two months. The crafty Spaniard thrives on a rowdy atmosphere and said that playing in Milan will be the highlight of his year.

“I’m so lucky to be here,” Davidovich Fokina said. “I’m happy to be here, play against the other guys and have some fun.”

Read More: Scouting Report: The Next Gen ATP Finals Field

Fellow Group A competitors, Norwegian Casper Ruud and Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic, kick off this year’s event as the opening match at the Allianz Cloud. The two #NextGenATP stars enjoyed success as one of the world’s top junior doubles teams in 2015 and 2016 before turning their attention to the pros.

Kecmanovic won their only previous FedEx ATP Head2Head match two months ago in Zhuhai after Ruud was forced to retire after dropping the first set. Although the 21-year-old Ruud has primarily excelled on clay — reaching his first ATP Tour final this April in Houston (l. to Garin) — he believes he’s ready for a big run on a faster surface.

“Most of our matches on Tour are against guys who are much older, so it’s fun to measure our powers against each other,” Ruud said. “Everybody here can beat each other with the [unique] scoring system, so it’s something we should be prepared for. One set can just be a difference of one or two points, so it will be a fun event.”

Read More: Ruud: ‘This Is The Week All Of Us Have Been Waiting For’

Twelve months ago, Jannik Sinner was watching the Next Gen ATP Finals from the stands. This year, he’s playing in them. The 18-year-old Italian will take part in the night session against second-seeded American Frances Tiafoe in Group B action.

Sinner defeated Tiafoe in their only previous FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting three weeks ago in Antwerp. The victory was especially poignant because Sinner took in last year’s event in Milan specifically to see “how the players like Denis Shapovalov and Frances Tiafoe are playing, especially in the important points”.

The Italian’s rise up the ATP Rankings is the most pronounced of anyone in the draw. He began this season at No. 551, but is now the youngest player inside the Top 100. His breakout year has included a maiden ATP Tour semi-final in Antwerp, first ATP Masters 1000 main draw win in Rome and a pair of ATP Challenger Tour titles.

Read More: Sinner: ‘The Young Generation Is Growing’

Tiafoe started his season on a high by reaching his first Grand Slam quarter-final at the Australian Open and advancing to the last eight in Miami, but admitted struggling to handle the expectations that came with those results. The 21-year-old has bounced back in recent weeks, recording another quarter-final in Antwerp. He is now embracing the pressure that comes with being one of the rising stars in tennis.

”I think it’s a privilege to have pressure, to be in a unique position,” Tiafoe said. “To play on a big stage with high stakes, you could be in a much worse situation.”

Group B competitors Mikael Ymer of Sweden and Ugo Humbert of France will also square off in the evening session. Both men have excelled indoors in recent weeks, with Humbert advancing to the semi-finals in Antwerp and Ymer scoring back-to-back ATP Challenger Tour crowns in Orleans and Mouilleron le Captif.

Stadium Court start 2:00pm
[1] Alex de Minaur (AUS) vs Alejandro Davidovich Fokina (ESP)

Start 4:00pm
Casper Ruud (NOR) vs Miomir Kecmanovic (SRB)

Start 7:30pm
Ugo Humbert (FRA) vs Mikael Ymer (SWE)

Start 9:30pm
[2] Frances Tiafoe (USA) vs Jannik Sinner (ITA)

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Tiafoe On #NextGenATP Friendships: 'Togetherness Is A Big Thing'

  • Posted: Nov 04, 2019

Tiafoe On #NextGenATP Friendships: ‘Togetherness Is A Big Thing’

American playing in Milan for second consecutive year

Frances Tiafoe has a knack for lighting up any room he enters.

The Next Gen ATP Finals launch party this Saturday was a perfect example of the 21-year-old in his element. He posed for photos with fans, chatted with the media in attendance and led the ongoing banter with his fellow competitors in Milan. Tiafoe thrives on a festive atmosphere off the court, which extends to his love on the court for packed stadiums at ATP Tour events worldwide.

”I’ve always liked the spotlight,” Tiafoe said ahead of his second appearance at this event. “You can always count on me playing my best tennis on a big court. The crowd getting into it is what makes it fun. That’s when all the work you’ve done in the dark comes out.

”I think it’s a privilege to have pressure, to be in a unique position. To play on a big stage with high stakes, you could be in a much worse situation.”

Read More: Tiafoe Lives For The Biggest Moment

A vocal crowd is just one of the reasons that Tiafoe looked forward to returning to Milan. Tiafoe relished the unique format of this event last year, utilising the in-match coaching option and feeding off the fan-friendly environment. Although he didn’t advance out of Group B, he still looked back on the week with fond memories.

Tiafoe also enjoyed how the event provideed an opportunity to spend time away from the court with his #NextGenATP peers. The affable American is one of the most well-liked players in the locker room, and it’s evident when he walks around the Allianz Cloud. When he’s not preparing for his first match on Tuesday against Jannik Sinner, he’s cracking jokes with other players or mingling with tournament staff, buzzing around the complex with the vigour of a seasoned politician.

”I’m really close with Alex de Minaur. Miomir Kecmanovic is a good friend of mine,” Tiafoe said. “I’ve seen Mikael Ymer around since the juniors. I don’t know a lot of the other guys here as well. It’s a new group for me, so I’m looking forward to getting to know them.”

Read More: 5 Things To Know About Milan-Bound Tiafoe

Tiafoe has no problem getting down to business when a match starts, though. The American’s intensity was on full display when he kicked off this season with his maiden Grand Slam quarter-final at the Australian Open. He celebrated victories with roars of approval, ripped off his shirt and even mimicked the chest-thumping celebrations of NBA star LeBron James.

The 21-year-old believes the intensity he brings to a match is a sign of respect for his opponent. But once a match is over, he’s able to leave it on the court.

“You want to respect their time. When you’re playing them, it’s still a job,” Tiafoe said. “There’s money on the line, [ATP Rankings] points, opportunity… For those two or three hours, we’ll compete, but then I promise you we’ll be friends after. Some people take [losing] personally, but I’ll talk to you in the locker room 10 minutes later.”

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Scouting Report: The Next Gen ATP Finals Field

Tiafoe is known for being a class act after tough losses, offering a hug or hearty handshake to his opponents. Maintaining relationships has always been a high priority for him. But if the reception he’s gotten from his peers this week is any indication, losing those connections isn’t something he needs to worry about.

”I think togetherness is a big thing. You hope to have these relationships forever,” Tiafoe said. “You’re playing against each other, but they’re also your colleagues for the next 15 or 20 years. I’m competitive, but I also want the best for everyone.”

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Scouting Report: The Next Gen ATP Finals Field

  • Posted: Nov 04, 2019

Scouting Report: The Next Gen ATP Finals Field

Learn more about the eight players set to compete in Milan

The third edition of the Next Gen ATP Finals is the strongest field in the tournament’s short history.

The Milan field will include four players who have made an appearance inside the Top 50 of the ATP Rankings this season and for the first time all eight players will be ranked inside the Top 100. Here is a look at the outstanding field assembled:

Alex de Minaur
The Aussie is the youngest three-time ATP Tour champion in 2019, and one of only six players to capture at least three tour-level trophies this season. Last year’s Milan finalist reached a career-high No. 18 on 28 October, and he has a career-high 34 wins.

De Minaur, who has earned his first three Top 10 victories this season, was outside the Top 200 this time two years ago.

Read Feature: De Minaur, Teeming With Confidence, Eager For More

Frances Tiafoe
The 2018 Delray Beach champion cracked the Top 30 in the ATP Rankings at No. 29 on 11 February. That breakthrough came after Tiafoe reached his first Grand Slam quarter-final at the Australian Open, a run during which he defeated then-World No. 6 Kevin Anderson and 2017 Nitto ATP Finals champion Grigor Dimitrov.

Tiafoe reached five tour-level quarter-finals this season, and this is the second straight year in which he qualified for the Next Gen ATP Finals.

Read Feature: Five Things To Know About Tiafoe

Miomir Kecmanovic
This former junior World No. 1 reached his first ATP Tour final in Antalya. He earned all 22 of his career tour-level wins this year, and climbed to a career-high No. 47 on 9 September.

Kecmanovic was the last Serbian man remaining at the BNP Paribas Open, where he advanced to the fourth round. He claimed his first Top 10 triumph against Alexander Zverev in Cincinnati.

Read Feature: Under Pressure, Kecmanovic Already Plays Like A Top 30 Player

Ugo Humbert
This Frenchman was the last player to miss out on a spot at the Next Gen ATP Finals last year, and he used that as motivation to make his Milan debut in 2019.

Humbert reached his first three ATP Tour semi-finals this season, and he broke into the Top 50 after reaching the fourth round at Wimbledon. He climbed to a career-high No. 46 on 22 July.

Read Feature: Humbert, The Piano Man & #NextGenATP Star

Casper Ruud
This Norwegian is following in the footsteps of his father and coach, former World No. 39 Christian Ruud. He reached his first ATP Tour final in Houston, and also made two semi-finals and two quarter-finals in 2019, while winning a personal-best 22 matches.

Ruud ascended to a personal-best ATP Ranking of No. 54 on 12 August, 15 spots off his father’s top mark.

Read Feature: How Ruud Plans To Follow In Nadal & Thiem’s Footsteps

Mikael Ymer
The Swede, brother of fellow player Elias Ymer, captured his first four ATP Challenger Tour titles this year with a 39-10 record, and he will be the first player from his country to finish inside the Top 100 of the year-end ATP Rankings since No. 13 Robin Soderling in 2011.

Ymer was World No. 288 when the 2018 Next Gen ATP Finals took place. Now he is World No. 74.

Read Ymer Feature: ‘I’m Not Only Playing For Me’

Alejandro Davidovich Fokina
This Spaniard climbed 149 ATP Ranking spots to his career-high of No. 82 by reaching his first ATP Tour semi-final in Estoril and winning two ATP Challenger Tour titles. He earned a 34-11 Challenger record this year.

It is the second consecutive year in which a Spaniard has competed in Milan, after Jaume Munar made the semi-finals of this event last year.

Read Feature: Davidovich Fokina On His Top 100 Breakthrough

Jannik Sinner
This 18-year-old Italian wild card is the youngest player in the field. He won two ATP Challenger Tour titles this season, the first of which made him the youngest Italian Challenger winner.

Sinner, who claimed his first ATP Masters 1000 win in Rome this year, is the youngest player in the Top 100.

Read Feature: Sinner’s Rapid Rise From Spectator To Playing In Milan

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Kim Clijsters comeback: Former Grand Slam winner delays WTA return

  • Posted: Nov 04, 2019

Four-time Grand Slam champion Kim Clijsters has delayed her WTA Tour comeback because of a knee injury.

Clijsters, 36, says she will not be able to compete in January as she continues rehabilitation and treatment.

“It’s a setback but I’m determined as ever to get back to the game I love,” the Belgian mother of three said.

Clijsters, who first retired in 2007 to start a family, says she has been “inspired” by other mothers such as Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka.

The former world number one returned in 2009 and won three more Grand Slams before her second retirement in 2012.

When her latest return was announced in September, Clijsters said she was targeting a return in January when the 2020 season starts but added she would remain flexible in her scheduling.

As a former world number one, Clijsters is eligible for unlimited wildcards at WTA tournaments. She will need to play three tournaments or earn 10 ranking points to re-establish a ranking.

She said not having to play a set number of tournaments a year has “made the choice a little bit easier”.

Clijsters won 41 WTA titles and spent 20 weeks as world number one in her two previous spells.

Her daughter Jada was born in 2008, followed by sons Jack in 2013 and Blake in 2016.

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#NextGenATP First-Time Winner: Thiago Seyboth Wild

  • Posted: Nov 04, 2019

#NextGenATP First-Time Winner: Thiago Seyboth Wild

The 19-year-old Brazilian discusses his dream week in Guayaquil

It has been a resurgent 2019 campaign for Brazil on the ATP Challenger Tour. Four different players have won a total of six titles. With the season coming to a close, the proud tennis nation is launching itself on the map once again.

On Sunday, Thiago Seyboth Wild claimed a slice of history for the South American country, becoming just its fourth teenage Challenger champion. The 19-year-old routed top seed Hugo Dellien 6-4, 6-0 for the title in Guayaquil, Ecuador, completing an impressive week that saw him reel off six wins in six days and also reach the doubles final.  

The Brazilian dropped just one set all week to triumph on Ecuadorian soil, including a trio of statement wins over Dellien, a red-hot Thiago Monteiro, Jozef Kovalik and Juan Pablo Varillas. He has won three matches over Top 100 opponents in the past two weeks, tripling his career total.

Teenage Challenger Champions In 2019

Player Age
Title Won
Jannik Sinner
17 yrs, 6 mos. Bergamo, Italy
Jannik Sinner 17 yrs, 11 mos. Lexington, USA
Nicola Kuhn 19 yrs, 4 mos. Segovia, Spain
Thiago Seyboth Wild 19 yrs, 7 mos. Guayaquil, Ecuador
Corentin Moutet 19 yrs, 9 mos. Chennai, India

With Monteiro lifting three trophies and Joao Menezes bursting onto the scene with his maiden crown in Samarkand and a gold medal at the Pan-American Games, Brazil has steadily been making progress this year. As the youngest member of the contingent, Seyboth Wild is the latest to enter the fray.

The budding #NextGenATP prospect – also the US Open boys’ champion in 2018 – joins strong company in becoming just the fourth different teen to win this year, along with Jannik Sinner, Nicola Kuhn and Corentin Moutet. He rises 76 spots to a career-high No. 235 in the ATP Rankings.


Seyboth Wild spoke to after lifting the trophy at the Challenger Ciudad de Guayaquil…

Thiago, congrats on winning your first Challenger title. How does it feel to lift the trophy?
To get my first title is an amazing feeling. I can’t even describe the sensations right now. It’s just the start of something I’ve been planning for so long. I’m sure if I keep working hard and stay on the right path, I’ll keep winning.

To win your first title is never easy. What was the key this week? How did you get it done?
It doesn’t really matter if it’s your first title or not. It’s always really hard to play at this level and in a final match. My mentality was super strong this week and also my serve really helped me.

Talk about the final. Did you feel nervous at all against Hugo? It’s the second straight year you met in Guayaquil.
Yeah, I was actually pretty tight before the match. I think I managed the emotions pretty well.


Winning six matches in six days, including two over Top 100 players, is a big achievement. How rewarding is it to finish the season on such a high note?
I think that lifting a trophy is always pretty amazing, especially at the end of a season. I’m going for my best ranking right now and probably getting into the Australian Open qualies. That was one of the goals I had in these final weeks. I can check that off.

You hadn’t reached a semi-final at this level and here you are with your first trophy. How do you explain this sudden surge?
I have been working really hard with my mentality and my fitness. I can actually tell that I’m getting there. I have a lot to improve and I know that I’m on the right path. I think that if I keep working hard and look towards bigger things, I’ll have better results.

Brazilian Teenage Challenger Champions

Player Age Title Won
Jaime Oncins 19 yrs, 1 mo. Lins 1989
Roberto Jabali 19 yrs, 1 mo. Sao Paulo 1989
Guilherme Clezar 19 yrs, 4 mos. Rio Quente 2012
Thiago Seyboth Wild 19 yrs, 7 mos. Guayaquil 2019

As you’ve moved from juniors to pros, what have you learned about your game at this level? How has your game grown?
Going from juniors to pros is two different worlds. The intensity of the matches is very different. The level of tennis you have to play is different. You pretty much have to be out there with just your coach the whole year. You have to stay strong, keep working hard and thinking about yourself.

You are the fourth different Brazilian player to win a title this year. What is the current state of tennis in your country?
Brazil has had some good moments and the current group we have are pretty solid. Thiago Monteiro is in the Top 100 and Joao Menezes is Top 200. Both of them have won Challenger titles. I’m pretty sure we have good players on top in the next few years.

Do you hope to inspire more Brazilians? How important is it to grow the game back home?
The goal is always to help people and make them dream. But we should always be thinking about ourselves too and our own goals. Planning what you have to do, writing it down and focusing on your short-term goals is the best thing you can do. You have to focus on things that are doables in the short term and think about what you can do at this moment, not five years from now.


What did you enjoy most about your time in Guayaquil?
I didn’t have time to enjoy the city much because I was playing singles and doubles every day. But I did enjoy my time in general. The traffic here is nowhere near Brazil. It’s a lot better. You usually get stuck in traffic in Brazil for hours and hours. Here you go to the hotel and come back to the site in 10 minutes. It’s one of the best things for players.

For those of us who don’t know much about you, tell us something. What do you enjoy doing off the court? Do you have any passions outside of tennis?
My mom wanted me to go to college when I was younger. I’m actually taking online classes at the moment. It helps me keep my focus when I’m on the road for a long time, and so I don’t waste energy on stuff I shouldn’t be.

ATP Challenger Tour 

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Challenger Q&A: Pospisil Goes Back-To-Back With Charlottesville Crown

  • Posted: Nov 04, 2019

Challenger Q&A: Pospisil Goes Back-To-Back With Charlottesville Crown

Canadian sits down with broadcaster Mike Cation after taking the title in Charlottesville

Vasek Pospisil opened his 2019 campaign in a position no player desires. The Candian was laying on an operating table after undergoing back surgery to repair a herniated disc. He would miss the next five months of the season, before returning at Wimbledon.

Now, the former World No. 25 is working to rebuild his ranking one tournament at a time. His recent results will go a long way to achieve that. On Sunday, Pospisil defeated countryman Brayden Schnur 7-6(2), 3-6, 6-2 to capture the crown at the ATP Challenger Tour event in Charlottesville.

Watch Hot Shots: Pospisil On Fire In Charlottesville

Pospisil went back-to-back in Las Vegas and Charlottesville, securing his second straight title. The 29-year-old dropped a combined one set between the two tournaments, extending his win streak to 11 straight with his victory at the Boar’s Head Sports Club.

It marked the first time two Canadians met in a Challenger final outside of Canada since 1999, when Frederic Niemeyer defeated Sebastien Lareau in Urbana. Ironically, Niemeyer is now coaching Schnur.

Up to No. 153 in the ATP Rankings, Pospisil is in a hurry to return to return to the ATP Tour. Just last month he streaked to the Round of 16 at the Rolex Shanghai Masters as a qualifier, securing a Top 20 upset of Diego Schwartzman along the way. The Vernon native has won 15 of his last 16 matches overall and is making a late-season push to return to the Top 100.

Pospisil spoke to broadcaster Mike Cation following the final…

Congrats Vasek. Your second title in a row. I can imagine the Vegas win meant a lot to you, in terms of that final push to have a trophy before the end of the year. What does this one in Charlottesville mean to you?
They both feel great. Obviously, Vegas was amazing coming back from the surgery I had in January. I had a different perspective on the sport and on life. A lot of things have changed and it’s the first time I’m coming back from a major injury.

You’re never quite sure how your body and your game is going to respond, being the first time. So far it’s much better than I expected. I put in a lot of hard work to come back to this level. I didn’t expect it to be this fast, but right now I’m feeling great.

You played 16 matches in your last three tournaments, between Shanghai, Vegas and now Charlottesville. In the second set it looked like the groin might be tight. How’s the body right now?
You know, it was on one return in the tie-break where I lunged and made a weird step. My hip was hurting a little bit. That is to be expected. I haven’t played this many matches in more than a year. When you’re doing that after a surgery, it just shows that I’m in better shape than expected. I was getting a little tired and the last couple days there was stiffness in my lower back. You can’t take any chances, but I think it took a toll definitely.

All week long you were able to get into your patterns, hitting the backhand slice up the line and setting up in the deuce corner with the forehand cross. You moved in to the net a lot too. Brayden took you out of that a little today. How did you acclimate?
He did and honestly I thought he was playing really well. At one point at the end of the second set and beginning of the third, I was accepting that he was serving better than me. I was a little off with my serve to start. I was just playing scrappy tennis at the time, just to hang in there, because he was being very offensive off the return.

I made an adjustment on my serve in the third set and that maybe made a bit of a difference. I was able to relax more in my service games and it allowed me to be more aggressive. It changed the match around.

What were your goals when you first started and how have they changed now with your successes in the last month?
I wasn’t even setting any goals. It was a situation where I was first coming back and wasn’t sure how my body would even react to match play. My goal was to finish the year healthy and get to the offseason in a good state of mind and a good physical state. And to then focus on 2020. That was it.

Obviously, not playing for most of the year will make you go that route. Right now, with the results I’ve had the past couple months, it’s completely unexpected and I won’t take it for granted. I’m more ready than I thought to climb back up the rankings. I’ll be going into the Australian Open with higher goals after this past month.

Being at No. 152 with nothing to defend until July is a pretty good situation.
Yeah for sure, it’s a pretty good spot to be in.


You mentioned you have a fresh perspective after the surgery. How do you now view Challengers and their role in pro tennis?
That’s a complex question. It’s such an important level and there are still things to improve, including continuing to build on the prize money. They aren’t the biggest events we have and they aren’t bringing in big revenue, but there has to be a balance where the major events are contributing more.

Long term that will affect the sport in a positive way, when you have more than 300 guys who can make a living. Maybe more guys will play tennis and more will invest in their bodies to make a better product. If there’s a way to funnel more money into these smaller events, that would be important.

You celebrated with a drink in Las Vegas. How will you celebrate now as you’re heading to Knoxville?
Taco Bell.

That’s the weirdest one I’ve ever heard.
You know, my coach Frank Dancevic and I were driving by Taco Bell and said how much we love it. But we never eat it. We decided if I win the tournament we’re going to have a big cheat meal and absolutely destroy it. That’s what we’re doing.

ATP Challenger Tour 

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Nadal Returns To ATP World No. 1 Today

  • Posted: Nov 04, 2019

Nadal Returns To ATP World No. 1 Today

Spaniard passes Djokovic for top spot

Spain’s Rafael Nadal today returned to the top of the ATP Rankings for an eighth stint at the pinnacle of men’s professional tennis, exactly 12 months to the day since he completed his 196th and most recent week at No. 1 on 4 November 2018.

As the second-oldest No. 1 in ATP Rankings history (since 1973), after Switzerland’s Roger Federer (aged 36 in 2018), 33-year-old Nadal will now look to stay ahead of Serbia’s Novak Djokovic and finish atop the year-end rankings for the fifth time in his career (2008, 2010, 2013, 2017). Should Nadal clinch year-end No. 1 at the Nitto ATP Finals, he would be the oldest player to do so in history.

“I’m super happy with my season,” said Nadal. “It was a tough beginning but then I was able to find a way to be back playing at a very high level of tennis and be in the situation that I am today. I’m very proud about the year that I am having.”

The Mallorcan first ascended to No. 1 on 18 August 2008 at the age of 22, spending 46 weeks in the top spot until 5 July 2009. He returned to the top spot on six further occasions between 7 June 2010 and 3 July 2011 (56 weeks), from 7 October 2013 to 6 July 2014 (39 weeks), from 21 August 2017 to 18 February 2018 (26 weeks), from 2 April to 13 May 2018 (six weeks), from 21 May to 17 June 2018 (four weeks) and from 25 June to 4 November 2018 (19 weeks).

Nadal, whose eight stints at No. 1 equal the mark of Ivan Lendl, trails Americans John McEnroe (14), Pete Sampras (11), Jimmy Connors (9) for most periods at No. 1. The Spaniard has now been in the top spot at some stage in nine of the past 12 years (2008-11, 2013-14, 2017-19).

Chris Kermode, ATP Executive Chairman and President, said, “Rafa has made a habit of setting the highest of standards throughout his career and his return to No. 1 is just the latest example. It’s an incredible achievement and he continues to amaze with his longevity at the top of the game – many congratulations to him and his team.”

The Spanish superstar, who ended the 2018 season early due to injury, has returned in 2019 playing some of the best tennis of his career. In compiling a 51-6 match record, Nadal has captured four trophies this season, including a historic 12th title at Roland Garros (d. Thiem) in June and a fourth at the US Open (d. Medvedev) in September. He won a ninth Internazionali BNL d’Italia crown (d. Djokovic) in Rome in May and a record-extending 35th ATP Masters 1000 trophy in August at the Coupe Rogers in Montreal. He also reached the Australian Open final (l. to Djokovic) in January and has now contested three Grand Slam championship finals in a calendar year on four occasions (also 2010-11, 2017).

On 11 July, Nadal became the first player to qualify for the 2019 season-ending Nitto ATP Finals. It is the 15th straight year that he has qualified for the elite eight-player tournament.

A list of the total number of weeks each player has spent at No. 1 in the history of the ATP Rankings (since 1973):

Player Total Weeks At No. 1
Roger Federer (SUI) 310
Pete Sampras (USA) 286
Novak Djokovic (SRB) 275
Ivan Lendl (CZE/USA) 270
Jimmy Connors (USA) 268
Rafael Nadal (ESP) 197 (as of 4 November 2019)
John McEnroe (USA) 170
Bjorn Borg (SWE) 109
Andre Agassi (USA) 101
Lleyton Hewitt (AUS) 80
Stefan Edberg (SWE) 72
Jim Courier (USA) 58
Gustavo Kuerten (BRA) 43
Andy Murray (GBR) 41
Ilie Nastase (ROU) 40
Mats Wilander (SWE) 20
Andy Roddick (USA) 13
Boris Becker (GER) 12
Marat Safin (RUS) 9
Juan Carlos Ferrero (ESP) 8
John Newcombe (AUS) 8
Yevgeny Kafelnikov (RUS) 6
Thomas Muster (AUT) 6
Marcelo Rios (CHI) 6
Carlos Moya (ESP) 2
Patrick Rafter (AUS) 1

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Three Breakout Milan Performances To Remember

  • Posted: Nov 04, 2019

Three Breakout Milan Performances To Remember

Relive Chung, Tsitsipas & De Minaur’s Milan runs

If you’re looking to predict who will make noise on the ATP Tour next season, the Next Gen ATP Finals have proven to be an excellent barometer.

Several current and past #NextGenATP stars have used the tournament as a springboard to their career-best seasons on Tour, often creating headlines mere months after their breakout runs in Milan. looks back at three of the most inspired performances at this event.

Hyeon Chung – 2017
The South Korean was seventh in the ATP Race To Milan and one of the last players to qualify for this event, but punched well above his weight when play began. The South Korean swept all three of his matches in Group A, then finished off a dramatic five-set semi-final against Russian Daniil Medvedev with a 4-0 shutout in the decider.

The man known as “The Professor” finished at the top of the #NextGenATP class by rallying from a set down to defeat Russian Andrey Rublev 3-4(5), 4-3(2), 4-2, 4-2 in the championship match.

“I’m just really, really happy… I really don’t know how I won here in Milan,” Chung said. “[It was a] really tough match tonight against Rublev. He was better than the last time [we played]. So I was just trying to play my best.”

Fueled by his Milan breakthrough, Chung started 2018 by defeating Medvedev, Alexander Zverev and Novak Djokovic to reach his first Grand Slam semi-final at the Australian Open. But just as he was primed to crack the Top 20 of the ATP Rankings, ankle and foot injuries hampered much of his season. Chung was then sidelined for five months this year with a back injury.

The 23-year-old is finally healthy again, though. He returned to action in August with an ATP Challenger Tour title in Chengdu and came through qualifying to reach the third round of the US Open. If he remains injury-free, expect Chung to quickly climb back up the ATP Rankings next year.

Stefanos Tsitsipas – 2018
Tsitsipas was an alternate at the inaugural event in Milan, but arrived in 2018 as the top seed. He reached his first ATP Masters 1000 final that August in Toronto (l. to Nadal) and became the first Greek to lift an ATP Tour trophy just three weeks before Milan at the Intrum Stockholm Open (d. Gulbis).

Tsitsipas lived up to his billing in Milan by powering through his three round-robin matches in Group A before scoring an epic fifth-set tie-break win in the semi-finals against 2017 runner-up Rublev. Tsitsipas joined Chung as undefeated champions in Milan with a 2-4, 4-1, 4-3(3), 4-3 victory in the final against Aussie Alex de Minaur.

“It feels great. I’ve been playing some great tennis this week here in Milan,” Tsitsipas said. “It’s a very special moment. I think I can get some confidence out of it and play better in the future.”

The similarities to Chung didn’t stop in Milan as Tsitsipas also reached his maiden Grand Slam semi-final two months later at the Australian Open, which included a fourth-round upset against two-time defending champion Roger Federer. But the Greek carved his own path from there with a banner season that included titles in Marseille (d. Kukushkin) and Estoril (d. Cuevas), in addition to another Masters 1000 final in Madrid (l. to Djokovic).

Last month, Tsitsipas qualified for his maiden appearance at the Nitto ATP Finals. He clinched the milestone moment on the same day he defeated Djokovic in the Shanghai quarter-finals, marking his first win over a current World No. 1.

“It’s great,” said Tsitsipas. “It’s sweet. It’s something that I have been trying to get, and it was in my bucket list from the beginning of the year.”

Alex de Minaur – 2018
The Sydney native immediately took to the unique scoring format in Milan, sweeping Group B with a four-set win over Rublev and dropping a combined 11 games in victories over American Taylor Fritz and Italian Liam Caruana. He then showed off his supreme fitness by outlasting Spaniard Jaume Munar in a lengthy five-set semi-final before falling to Tsitsipas in the championship match.

But the hard-working Aussie took plenty of confidence from his runner-up finish. After going 0-2 in finals last year, De Minaur kicked off this season with his maiden ATP Tour title on home soil in Sydney (d. Seppi).

“That’s something that has been tough. I’ve played a lot of finals and they haven’t gone my way,” De Minaur said. “So the amount of relief I got after winning today, I was finally able to just let go. I’m really looking forward to what’s next.”

Two more tour-level crowns in Atlanta (d. Fritz) and Zhuhai (d. Mannarino) accompanied a runner-up finish in Basel (l. to Federer), propelling De Minaur to a current career-high ATP Ranking of No. 18. He returns to Milan this year as the top seed and looks to cap off his banner year with another title.

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Next Gen ATP Finals: Format & Rules

  • Posted: Nov 04, 2019

Next Gen ATP Finals: Format & Rules

Wearable technology added for this year’s event in Milan

The format and rules of the Next Gen ATP Finals are unique to any other event on the ATP Tour. Brush up on how this year’s event in Milan will unfold and the exciting innovations that players can utilise during competition.

The tournament has a round-robin format, with eight players divided into two groups of four. The eight seeds are determined by the ATP Race To Milan standings on the Monday following the Rolex Paris Masters. All singles matches are the best-of-five sets, with each set the first to four games (not six games).

The top-seeded player is placed in Group A and the second-seeded player is placed in Group B. Players seeded 3 and 4, 5 and 6, 7 and 8, are then drawn in pairs with the first drawn placed in Group A. Each player plays the three other players in his group. The winner of each group (best overall record) is placed in separate semi-final brackets, with the top player in Group A playing the runner-up in Group B, and vice versa. If two or more players are tied after the round-robin matches, the ties are broken by a tie-break procedure.

Semi-final Qualifying Procedure
The final standings of each group is determined by the first of the following methods that apply:
a) Greatest number of wins;
b) Greatest number of matches played;
    Comment: 2-1 won-loss record beats a 2-0 won-loss record; a 1-2 record beats a 1-0 record.
c) Head-to-head results if only two (2) players are tied.

The third edition of this event will see the following innovations:

Wearable Technology
For the first time on the ATP Tour, players will be permitted to use wearable technology in competition this year. The data collected will allow players and coaches to quantify the demands of the competition, better understand athlete loading and make key performance decisions that are supported with objective data. 

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Wearable Technology In-Competition To Debut At 2019 Next Gen ATP Finals

Shorter Format: First to Four games sets (Tie-Break at 3-All), Best-of-Five sets, with No-Ad scoring
Shorter set format designed to increase number of pivotal moments in a match, while the best-of-five set format does not alter the number of games required to win a match (12) from the traditional scoring format, and No-Ad scoring.

Shorter Warm-Up
Matches begin precisely four minutes from the second player walk-on.

Shot Clock
A shot clock is used in between points to ensure strict regulation of the 25-second rule, as well as during set breaks, Medical Time-Outs, and the four-minute countdown from the player walk-on to the first point of the match.

Medical Time-Outs
A limit of one medical time out per player per match.

Player Coaching
Players and coaches can communicate at certain points in the match, providing additional content and entertainment value for broadcast. Coaches will not be allowed on-court.

Towel Rack
Players are instructed to use a towel rack at the back of the court to remove the onus on ball kids to handle towels.

‘Free Movement’ Policy
A ‘free movement’ policy is applied to the crowd (except behind the baselines) throughout the tournament. The policy enables fans to move freely in and out of the stadium during matches, providing a relaxed fan-friendly atmosphere and ensuring fans are not restricted entry into the stadium at any time.

Video Review
Video review is available to further analyse judgement calls from the chair umpire, including the following incidents: double bounces; foul shots, such as a double hit or a carry; touches – when the ball might skim a racquet or clothing; and invasion – when the player, or anything he’s wearing or carrying, makes contact with the opponent’s side of the court while the ball is in play. Players were able to challenge any such calls.

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