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Wawrinka, Rublev Headline 2020 Doha Field

  • Posted: Dec 02, 2019

Wawrinka, Rublev Headline 2020 Doha Field

Tsonga, Raonic also to participate in ATP 250

Swiss Stan Wawrinka will lead the field at the 2019 Qatar ExxonMobil Open, to be held 6-12 January in Doha. The Swiss No. 2 will be making his sixth appearance and second consecutive at the ATP 250 event.

Wawrinka made the quarter-finals last year (l. to Bautista Agut) and the final in 2008 (l. to Murray). He will be joined by Andrey Rublev of Russia, France’s Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and former World No. 3 Milos Raonic of Canada, among others.

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Rublev made the Doha final in 2018 (l. to Monfils) and is coming off his best season, having finished the year at No. 23 in the ATP Rankings, one spot away from his career-high of No. 22.

Tsonga continued his recovery from a 2018 knee surgery in 2019, winning two titles (Metz, Montpellier) and finishing at No. 29 in the year-end ATP Rankings.

Raonic reached two semi-finals in 2019, including at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, the season’s first ATP Masters 1000 event.

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Roger Federer's Face To Go On Swiss Coin

  • Posted: Dec 02, 2019

Roger Federer’s Face To Go On Swiss Coin

First time Swissmint has created coins after a living person

Roger Federer fans can now have the Swiss legend with them at all times. Swissmint has created a 20-franc silver coin bearing Federer’s image. It’s the first time in its history that Swissmint has created a commemorative coin to honour a living person.

Federer is perhaps Switzerland’s most well-known individual, having won 103 tour-level titles, including 20 Grand Slam crowns and 28 ATP Masters 1000s. He has also spent a record 310 weeks at No. 1 in the ATP Rankings.

The 38-year-old finished No. 3 in the 2019 year-end standings, marking the 15th time he’s finished in the Top 3, which is a record. He also became the oldest player to end his season at No. 3.

Off the court, the Swiss engages in philanthropic activity around the world with his self-named foundation, which he created in 2003. Federer has had other off-court commemorations as well. In 2012, the German city of Halle, where Federer is now a 10-time champion, named a street after the Swiss. In 2007, Swiss Post released a Roger Federer stamp in his birthplace of Basel.

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More coins will have Federer’s face next year. In May 2020, Swissmint plans to issue a Federer 50-franc gold coin featuring a different design.

For the 20-franc coin, the pre-sale began on Monday 2 December and continues until 19 December 2019, or until the first minting run of 55,000 units has sold out, whichever comes first.

Fans shouldn’t despair, however, if they miss out on the first run. If demand exceeds the initial run, Swissmint “reserves the right to produce a further 40,000 coins and issue them in May 2020.”

All of the Federer coins can be purchased through the Swissmint’s website.

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The Best ATP Tour Matches Of 2019

  • Posted: Dec 02, 2019

The Best ATP Tour Matches Of 2019

ATP Tour Season In Review: Best ATP Tour Matches

Continuing our Season In Review series, looks at the six best ATP Tour matches in 2019. (The best Grand Slam matches will be featured Tuesday.)

6) Alexander Zverev d. Roger Federer, Rolex Shanghai Masters, Shanghai Quarter-finals, 11 October 2019 (Match Stats)
Alexander Zverev arrived at the Rolex Shanghai Masters without having made an ATP Masters 1000 semi-final all year. In the quarter-finals, he faced a tough test against two-time champion Roger Federer. But despite letting slip five match points in the second set, the German battled hard for a 6-3, 6-7(7), 6-3 victory against the 38-year-old Swiss, who had never previously lost a Shanghai quarter-final (5-1).

Zverev served for the match at 6-3, 6-5 40/0, but Federer raised his level, with two sensational volleys in particular helping him to win the next five points and then save two additional match points in the tie-break. But the German settled down and continued to play the aggressive tennis that earned him the lead in the first place, using that to triumph after two hours and four minutes. Zverev (4-3) joined Rafael Nadal (24-16) and Novak Djokovic (now 26-23) as the three active players with at least seven matches and a winning FedEx ATP Head2Head record against Federer.

Read More: Zverev Upsets Federer In Shanghai

“Obviously it was an important match. The head-to-head is obviously a great thing to have, but more importantly for me is it was a match to kind of maybe turn my year around a little bit,” Zverev said. “The [ATP] Race to London is also very important.”

Entering the week, Zverev was in eighth place in the Race, with his spot in the season finale still in doubt. But he used this match to move past Roberto Bautista Agut for seventh, and he’d end up qualifying for the Nitto ATP Finals for the third straight year, riding his renewed form to a spot in the London semi-finals to finish his season on a high note.

<a href=''>Alexander Zverev</a> celebrates his three-set win against <a href=''>Roger Federer</a> on Friday at the <a href=''>Rolex Shanghai Masters</a>.

5) Novak Djokovic d. Juan Martin del Potro, Internazionali BNL d’Italia, Rome Quarter-finals, 17 May 2019 (Match Stats)
Rain washed out Wednesday action in Rome this year, meaning the players would need to win two matches on Thursday to reach the quarter-finals. Given it was only Juan Martin del Potro’s third tournament of the season as he continued his recovery from a knee injury, it seemed that would give the edge to World No. 1 Novak Djokovic for their clash in the last eight on Friday.

Djokovic had won the pair’s two past FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings in Rome and seven of their previous eight matches. But Del Potro came out swinging, giving the Serbian all he could handle. Djokovic needed to save two match points to navigate past the Argentine’s powerful best, triumphing 4-6, 7-6(6), 6-4 in the early hours of Saturday morning.

Read More: Novak Saves 2 MPs Against Delpo In Rome

“[There was] luck in the decisive moments in the second set tie-break. He was playing really good. I tried my best obviously all the way till the end…He was playing really well. Gave me a lot of trouble,” Djokovic said. “But I never lost faith I could come back to the match.”

This battle was a classic match of relentless offence against dogged defence, and it was Djokovic’s defence that prevailed after three hours and one minute. The Serbian went on to reach the final and the semi-finals at Roland Garros, while Del Potro only played two more tournaments the rest of the season, re-injuring his knee at the Fever-Tree Championships.

<a href=''>Novak Djokovic</a> faces <a href=''>Juan Martin del Potro</a> on Saturday night in Rome

4) Stefanos Tsitsipas d. Dominic Thiem, Nitto ATP Finals, London Final, 17 November 2019 (Match Stats)
The championship match of the 2019 Nitto ATP Finals had a lot at stake for both Stefanos Tsitsipas and Dominic Thiem, with both men pursuing the biggest title of their career. But despite letting slip a break in the deciding set, it was Tsitsipas who triumphed one year on from claiming the Next Gen ATP Finals trophy in Milan, defeating the Austrian 6-7(6), 6-2, 7-6(4) after two hours and 35 minutes.

“It was pretty frustrating for me to be playing with such nerves for the first time in such a big event. I was a break up, I couldn’t manage to hold it,” Tsitsipas said. “Things were decided in the tie-break and I am so relieved by this outstanding performance and fight that I gave out on the court.”

Read More: Stefanos Lands London Crown

Tsitsipas served as a hitting partner at the 2016 Nitto ATP Finals, at the time posting a picture on social media with Thiem, with whom he trained during the Austrian’s debut at the season finale. Just three years later, he lifted the trophy, becoming the fourth straight first-time champion at the event. He was also the first player since David Nalbandian in 2005 to recover from losing the opening set and claim the title.

“[The crowd support] is just phenomenal, having such an army behind me while I am on the court. They give me so much energy. They give me belief that I can achieve the things I want to achieve on the court.”

Tsitsipas’ biggest weapons had been his serve and forehand. But it was backhand that stood out against the big-hitting Thiem, as the Greek played more than a set of the match without missing a backhand, using that to turn things around.

Tsitsipas trophy

3) Nick Kyrgios d. Stefanos Tsitspas, Citi Open, Washington, D.C. SF, 4 August 2019 (Match Stats)
When high-quality tennis and entertainment go hand-in-hand, the outcome is usually pretty special. And that was the case in Nick Kyrgios’ 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(7) win against Stefanos Tsitsipas in the Citi Open semi-finals.

Early in the match, everything the Aussie touched seemingly turned to gold, going for every shot you could think of, using his power to overwhelm the Greek. But even after dropping his level in the second set, Kyrgios regained his form, saving a match point at 5/6 in the final-set tie-break with a service winner and clinching the semi-final with a booming serve-and-forehand combo.

But while the tennis was memorable in itself, it was everything that went with it that made this one of the matches of the year. After finding an acute angle on a backhand drop volley in the first set, Kyrgios jogged several metres to the side of the court to fist bump some fans.

Read More: Nick Saves 1 MP, Battles Past Stefanos

Later on, for the second straight match, Tsitsipas needed a shoe delivery in the middle of the match. And Kyrgios, who was waiting at the back of the court for the end of the changeover, willingly ran shoes from Apostolos Tsitsipas over to the top seed, getting down on one knee and holding them out as Tsitsipas cracked up in laughter.

The theatrics weren’t done just yet, as Kyrgios continued a trend he began earlier in the week by asking a fan where to serve on match point. Kyrgios improved to 4-1 against Top 10 players on the season, and he would go on to defeat Daniil Medvedev for his second ATP 500 title of the year.

“This week has been awesome. It’s probably one of the best tournament weeks of my life. I’ve really enjoyed myself. D.C. has been a lot of fun. Crowds have been awesome,” Kyrgios said. “But I’m just doing the right things. I’m having the same routine every day. I’m trying to improve on a lot of little habits, and it’s paying off. Five days in a row competing, I’m pretty happy with myself.”

<a href=''>Nick Kyrgios</a> celebrates reaching the <a href=''>Citi Open</a> final in Washington, D.C., with his new friend/advisor

2) Dominic Thiem d. Roger Federer, BNP Paribas Open, Indian Wells Final, 17 March 2019 (Match Stats)
Dominic Thiem got off to a slow start in 2019, losing four of his first seven matches, including two defeats on clay. The Austrian had never won an ATP Masters 1000 event, making both of his finals at that level on the clay of Madrid.

But that did not stop Thiem from playing some of the best tennis of his career in Indian Wells, defeating five-time champion Roger Federer 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 to win the BNP Paribas Open crown on hard courts.

“It feels just unreal what happened in these ten days during the tournament. I came from a really bad form in all categories, and now I’m the champion of Indian Wells. It feels not real at all,” Thiem said. “It was a great week, and I think also a very good final today. Just amazing that I got here, my first really big title.”

Read More: Thiem Topples Federer For Maiden Masters 1000 Title

Thiem showed that when he is firing on all cylinders, he can succeed on any surface. Then 25, he used his power from the baseline and heavy spin to hit winners from all angles, totalling 24 in the match, increasing his level to top what was a strong effort from Federer, who had won 20 straight finals after claiming the first set.

“I’m not too disappointed. I feel like he had to come up with the goods, and it did feel like to some extent it was on my racquet,” Federer said. “[I] just came up against somebody who was on the day a bit better when it really mattered.”

Neither player gave up ground from the baseline, and Thiem saved a break point at 3-4 in the decider. Federer came within two points of victory at 5-4, as Thiem slipped and fell on the baseline, resulting in a bloody elbow. But the Austrian got out of trouble and chased down a couple of drop shots en route to his decisive break, ultimately leading to his biggest triumph.


1) Dominic Thiem d. Novak Djokovic, Nitto ATP Finals, London RR, 12 November 2019 (Match Stats)
Every match at the Nitto ATP Finals was critical for Novak Djokovic, as the Serbian was making a late push to secure the year-end No. 1 ATP Ranking for a record-tying sixth time. But Thiem put a dent in those plans, rallying from 1/4 down in a final-set tie-break to defeat Djokovic 6-7(5), 6-3, 7-6(5).

“Probably it was maybe the best match I ever played. It was a real classic and epic match which will happen from time to time at these big tournaments,” Thiem said. “It had everything what a match like this needs. He was up; I was up. He was playing amazing points. Me, I was playing amazing points. And then I think the match deserved an end in the third-set tiebreak.”

Thiem had won just one match in each of his first three visits to the Nitto ATP Finals. But this victory gave him back-to-back wins over Roger Federer and Djokovic to start his 2019 campaign at The O2, guaranteeing himself a spot in the semi-finals.

”This was really one of these special matches, what I’ve practised all my life for, all my childhood for,” Thiem said. “[It was a] really epic one in an amazing atmosphere, beating a legend of our game. And also I’ve qualified for the semi-finals, which is the best.”

Read More: Thiem Stuns Djokovic At The O2

This was the first time that Thiem defeated Djokovic on hard court, and it was due in large part to the 26-year-old raising his aggression to an incredibly high level. Djokovic has long proven himself one of the best defenders in the world, but even the Serbian’s speed and Gumby-like flexibility was not enough to match the Austrian’s onslaught.

“I thought he deserved to win. He just played very courageous tennis and [was] just smacking the ball. He went for broke,” Djokovic said. “The entire match he played same way he played the last point. I mean, I have to put my hat down and congratulate him, because he just played a great match.”

This victory forced Djokovic to defeat Federer in his final round-robin match to maintain his dreams of capturing year-end No. 1, but it was not to be for the Serbian, who fell to the Swiss in straight sets.


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Roger Federer to become first living person to be celebrated on Swiss coins

  • Posted: Dec 02, 2019

Switzerland’s 20-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer will become the first living person to be celebrated on a coin in the country.

The Federal Mint, Swissmint, will release a 20 Swiss francs silver commemorative coin in January.

It plans to add a Federer SFr50 gold coin in May.

“Thank you Switzerland and Swissmint for this incredible honour and privilege,” said the 38-year-old world number three.

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Bautista Agut, Fognini Lead No. 2 Singles Players At ATP Cup

  • Posted: Dec 02, 2019

Bautista Agut, Fognini Lead No. 2 Singles Players At ATP Cup

Five current or former Top 10 players will be the No. 2 singles player for their country

The inaugural ATP Cup is set to begin on 3 January in Brisbane, Perth and Sydney, with 24 teams across six groups competing for eight spots in the Final Eight, to be held in Sydney.

All countries were qualified based on the ATP Ranking of their No. 1 singles players. But there are plenty of countries with highly-ranked No. 2 players, too.

Leading the way is World No. 9 Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain. The Spaniard had the best season of his career in 2019, defeating then-World No. 1 Novak Djokovic en route to capturing the Doha title at the start of the season. He never looked back from there, cracking the Top 10 for the first time on 19 August. Spain is the only country with two Top 10 players in the ATP Rankings, as Bautista Agut is part of a team that includes World No. 1 Rafael Nadal.

“I’m excited because it’s going to be the first time [having this event] in Australia and Rafa and I are going to play there,” Bautista Agut said. “I hope we have a good team and can play a good week for Spain.”

Not far behind in the ATP Rankings is Fabio Fognini, the World No. 12 who reached a career-high No. 9 this year. He was the third Italian to crack the Top 10 of the ATP Rankings, with Matteo Berrettini, the country’s current No. 1 player and Nitto ATP Finals qualifier, becoming the fourth less than five months later.

The third No. 2 player for a country who was inside the Top 10 at one point in 2019 is Russian Karen Khachanov, the 2018 Rolex Paris Masters champion who reached a career-high No. 8 this July. The World No. 17 has won four ATP Tour titles in his career. He’s behind World No. 5 Daniil Medvedev, who captured two ATP Masters 1000 trophies this season.

Top 5 No. 2 Singles Players At ATP Cup By ATP Ranking

 Player  Country  ATP Ranking
 Roberto Bautista Agut  Spain  No. 9
 Fabio Fognini  Italy  No. 12
 Karen Khachanov  Russia  No. 17
 Felix Auger-Aliassime  Canada  No. 21
 Lucas Pouille  France  No. 22

Felix Auger-Aliassime is the highest-ranked #NextGenATP No. 2 player, heading into the ATP Cup at World No. 21. The Canadian, just six spots behind good friend and countryman Denis Shapovalov, is the second-youngest player in the Top 100 behind only Jannik Sinner, the Next Gen ATP Finals champion.

Other standout No. 2 players are 2014 US Open champion and former World No. 3 Marin Cilic, 2018 Australian Open semi-finalist and former World No. 10 Lucas Pouille of France, World No. 25 Guido Pella of Argentina, and World No. 30 Nick Kyrgios of Australia. There are 12 No. 2 players inside the Top 50 of the ATP Rankings.

“It’s going to be an awesome event. I know everyone on the Tour wants to be with their teammates,” Kyrgios said. “There’s nothing better than playing for your country against the other best players in the world.”

One group to keep an eye on in terms of matches between No. 2 players is Group D, with three of the four No. 2 players inside the Top 35 of the ATP Rankings. The four players are No. 12 Fognini, No. 17 Khachanov, No. 32 Taylor Fritz and Norway’s Viktor Durasovic.

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