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Djokovic's Influence On Serbian Tennis To Be On Display At ATP Cup

  • Posted: Dec 05, 2019

Djokovic’s Influence On Serbian Tennis To Be On Display At ATP Cup

World No. 2 has inspired countless to pursue their ATP Tour dreams

Novak Djokovic earned his first ATP Rankings points in July 2003. At the time, there were only two Serbians – Janko Tipsarevic (No. 147) and Boris Pashanski (No. 254) – in the Top 300 of the ATP Rankings.

But 17 years later, after Djokovic’s 77 tour-level titles, including 16 Grand Slams and 34 ATP Masters 1000s, it’s clear the effect Serbia’s top sportsman has had on his home country.

Serbia has five players inside the Top 60 of the ATP Rankings, behind only France (eight) and tied for second with Spain and the USA. Djokovic, at No. 2 in the ATP Rankings, leads the country and is the oldest among his compatriots in the Top 60.

The players who rose with Djokovic – Janko Tipsarevic and Viktor Troicki – have retired or fallen in the ATP Rankings. But Djokovic, at 32, remains in his prime and is leading the Next Generation of Serbian talent.

At next month’s ATP Cup, the Serbian team will be a blend of experience and youth as Djokovic will compete with Troicki (33 years old), Nikola Cacic (28), Nikola Milojevic (24) and Dusan Lajovic (29).

I think it’s great for Serbian tennis,” Djokovic said of Lajovic’s 2019 play, which included his maiden title at the Plava Laguna Croatia Open Umag. “I think it’s important that other players from Serbia are also doing really well in big tournaments. That inspires obviously many more younger tennis players to dream big.”

Serbians In The Top 60 Of 2018 Year-End ATP Rankings





Novak Djokovic



Dusan Lajovic



Laslo Djere



Filip Krajinovic



Miomir Kecmanovic


Young Serbian players had plenty of inspiring moments to choose from in 2019. Djokovic won two Grand Slam titles (Australian Open, Wimbledon) and two Masters 1000 titles (Madrid, Paris). He finished just behind Rafael Nadal at No. 2 in the year-end ATP Rankings, his eighth Top 2 year-end finish.

Djokovic also played a contributing role in the other high moments. In February, Laslo Djere upset Dominic Thiem at the Rio Open presented by Claro and went onto win his maiden title at the ATP 500 event (d. Auger-Aliassime).

Djere said of Djokovic’s influence: “We know each other and always say a few words when we see each other at tournaments… He sent me a message when I reached the Top 100 [of the ATP Rankings] and called me to play doubles with him at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, when I was nowhere close to the Top 100. He’s a great guy and an inspiration to all of us.”

In March, #NextGenATP Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic, then 19, became the first lucky loser to reach the BNP Paribas Open quarter-finals in Indian Wells since the Masters 1000 series began in 1990. Kecmanovic was the last Serbian standing at an event Djokovic has dominated.

Kecmanovic finished his season at the Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan, becoming the first Serbian to compete at the event, which debuted in 2017.

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For Kecmanovic, Djokovic has been the encouraging voice in his corner when things haven’t always gone as planned. “Obviously sometimes you don’t feel like doing anything. You feel like not practising or maybe quitting. And to hear him saying, ‘No, you have to keep going. Push through it,’ give some encouraging advice like that, I think that helped me a lot,” Kecmanovic said.

Lajovic, like Djere and Kecmanovic, compiled his best season yet on the ATP Tour. In addition to his title in Umag, the 29-year-old beat Thiem and Russian Daniil Medvedev to make his first Masters 1000 final at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters (l. to Fognini). At Roland Garros, Lajovic reached his third Round of 32 at a major championship.

He hasn’t surprised me with the level of tennis on clay, because I knew that he has the ability to play at a really high level,” Djokovic said of Lajovic. “But to do it day after day at such a big tournament and to win against big players like Dominic Thiem is phenomenal, and I congratulate him for the great success.”

Filip Krajinovic struggled with expectations in 2018 after his surprise run to the 2017 Rolex Paris Masters final (l. to Sock). But the Serbian reached two more ATP Tour finals in 2019 – Budapest, Stockholm – and finished the season at No. 40 in the year-end ATP Rankings, only six off his 2017 year-end spot. He, like his peers, feels fortunate to have Djokovic representing Serbia.

He’s amazing, one of the best ever. So it’s a pleasure, and we are so proud to have him. And, of course, he gives us advice. He went through all [these situations] like we are now. So we are very pleased and happy that we have Novak,” Krajinovic said.

Milojevic, who will compete alongside Djokovic at the ATP Cup, said Djokovic’s influence extends to every Serbian with a racquet.

Milojevic, Djokovic

“Since he became No. 1 and has done all these amazing things, things got better for the players back home. In terms of improving conditions to practise in Serbia and having a lot more courts to play on, we owe it all to him,” Milojevic told

But none of them know the secret to why Serbia has risen to the top of the tennis world. Or perhaps there is no secret at all: Just follow Djokovic’s example.

It’s amazing that a small country like Serbia has so many good players,” Krajinovic said. “I don’t think there is any difference [between other countries]. We [are] just a small country, and we have a lot of very good sportsmen. And I think we do everything like other countries, I think. We [are] just strong and we work a lot. That’s it.”

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The Biggest Grand Slam Upsets Of 2019

  • Posted: Dec 05, 2019

The Biggest Grand Slam Upsets Of 2019

ATP Tour Season In Review: Biggest Grand Slam Match Upsets

Continuing our Season In Review series, looks at the five biggest Grand Slam match upset in 2019.

5) Pierre-Hugues Herbert d. Daniil Medvedev, Roland Garros First Round, Paris, France, 27 May 2019 (Match Stats)
Daniil Medvedev had won eight of his first 10 matches on European clay this year, but two straight opening-round exits leading into Roland Garros meant the Russian, who later in the season would rip through the North American hard-court swing, was vulnerable for an upset. Pierre-Hugues Herbert, who’d turned his back on doubles in favour of singles competition after completing the career doubles Grand Slam with Nicolas Mahut at the Australian Open in January, was primed for the biggest win of his career on the second day in Paris.

Riding on the crest of a wave and buoyed by his French supporters, 28-year-old Herbert recovered from two-sets-to-love down and broke Medvedev in the penultimate game en route to his seventh tour-level victory against a player in the Top 20 of the ATP Rankings (7-24 lifetime). Falling to the ground in celebration, Herbert rightly savoured his 4-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 7-5 win over No. 12 seed Medvedev in three hours and 54 minutes on Court 14.

“It was one of the best, for sure,” said Herbert. “Maybe, emotion-wise, maybe the best, yes. The atmosphere was incredible… The crowd was incredible, [a] very precious help. I used the crowd. They pushed me in difficult moments. When you’re two sets down, it’s very difficult. It’s in part thanks to the crowd that I was able to win today.” Herbert lost 6-2, 6-2, 5-7, 6-7(6), 11-9 in the second round to fellow Frenchman Benoit Paire. 

Tsitsipas, Fabbiano

4) Thomas Fabbiano d. Stefanos Tsitsipas, Wimbledon First Round, London, England, 1 July 2019 (Match Stats)
Stefanos Tsitsipas needed just over 90 minutes to beat Thomas Fabbiano in the 2018 Wimbledon third round, but what a difference a year makes. Fabbiano, who’d never won a set against a Top 20 opponent, sprung a stunning upset on day one at the All England Club, when the Italian showed no fear in a 6-4, 3-6, 6-4, 6-7(8), 6-3 win over sixth seed Tsitsipas in three hours and 22 minutes.

Tsitsipas, who let slip two match points at 6/7 and 7/8 in the fourth-set tie-break, looked set to rally in the decider on No. 2 Court, but instead of getting down on himself, Fabbiano remained calm, saving three break points in his first service game of the fifth set. Then from 2-3 down, the World No. 89 won the final four games of the match, breaking Tsitsipas’ serve twice, to move to 4-0 in fifth-set matches.

Greek Tsitsipas was scathing of his own performance, admitting, “People expected things from me. I didn’t deliver. When you get so much support, so much energy, so much positivity from everyone, and just ruin everything by yourself, it’s devastating… Last year his forehand was not the same. He improved a lot on his forehand. It’s very uncomfortable. You basically have to guess where he’s going to play. Last year was kind of easy, the easiest victory I had in Wimbledon. I played unbelievable in that match. Somehow, I didn’t manage to get even close to that level that I played last year. I just saw a more improved, more solid player than he was last year.” 

3) Grigor Dimitrov d. Roger Federer, US Open Quarter-finals, New York City, United States, 4 September 2019 (Match Stats) 

Grigor Dimitrov arrived at the US Open mired in one of the deepest slumps of his career, losing seven of his eight matches leading into the season’s final major. But the World No. 78 started to find his groove at Flushing Meadows and broke a seven-match losing streak against Roger Federer by coming back from two sets to one down to shock the five-time former champion  3-6, 6-4, 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 for a place in the semi-finals.

“I think the past six, seven months have been pretty rough for me,” said Dimitrov, who’d won just two of 18 sets in previous matches against Federer. “But I had somebody to lean on, my friends, my family. I kept on believing again in the work, the rehab I had to put behind my shoulder, the exercise, the practice, fixing up the racquet a little bit. There were so many things I had to adjust in such a small but big period of time. Next thing you know, you’re almost [at the] end of the year, you have a result like that. It’s pretty special to me.” With victory in three hours and 45 minutes, Dimitrov became the lowest-ranked Grand Slam semi-finalist since Rainer Schuettler did so as World No. 94 at Wimbledon 11 years ago.

Federer started brightly to take a 3-0 lead, but Dimitrov made his key breakthrough when he broke for 4-2 in the second set. Federer broke twice in the third set to capture the momentum, but like in the second set, he was unable to get off to a quick start in the fourth, and that proved costly. After Dimitrov forced a decider, Federer left the court for a medical timeout as the Bulgarian did push-ups on his bench to stay warm. Dimitrov raced to a double break and 4-0 lead in the fifth set as Federer continued to make unforced errors, struggling to find a surge of energy. And finally, after holding to love, Dimitrov put his hands on his head and let out a massive roar after securing the win.


2) Guido Pella d. Milos Raonic, Wimbledon Fourth Round, London, England, 8 July 2019 (Match Stats)
On mown lawns, Milos Raonic’s senses always heighten and, this season, memories of a right knee injury that saw him miss the entire spring European clay-court swing, began to subside as he entered the Wimbledon fourth round with a 10-2 record on grass. The draw was opening up after Guido Pella beat the 2018 finalist and fourth seed Kevin Anderson in the third round, and fans pondered whether Raonic may make another deep run, as he did to the 2016 final. But Pella, who’d also upset former finalist Marin Cilic in the 2017 second round, had other ideas on No. 3 Court.

Through two sets, No. 15 seed Raonic didn’t face a break point and served for the match at 5-3 in the fourth set against Pella, who at the time was tied with Rafael Nadal with a tour-leading 21 clay-court match wins in 2019. But No. 26 seed Pella started to find his range with deep returns against the net-rushing Canadian and pulled away in the fourth set tie-break prior to Raonic erasing three match points while serving in the fifth set – 4-5, Ad Out; 5-6, 15/40. Pella eventually broke through for a 3-6, 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(3), 8-6 victory when the Canadian sliced a backhand volley into the net to end the three-hour and 42-minute encounter.

“When I lost the third match point I wanted to cry,” said Pella, who’d never before advanced past the third round of a Grand Slam championship. “He was serving so good in those points that I couldn’t do anything. But I think I kept playing, kept fighting for every ball.”

It was the first time that Raonic had lost a match after winning the first two sets. The Canadian, who hit 80 winners, including 33 aces, and won 74 of 110 points at the net, said, “I wasn’t efficient and wasn’t able to play the way I needed to. He started getting in more points and I had to find a way to create like I did early on in the match.” 


1) Stefanos Tsitsipas d. Roger Federer, Australian Open Fourth Round, Melbourne, Australia, 20 January 2019 (Match Stats)
Tsitsipas declared himself “the happiest man on earth right now” after executing a rock-solid defence in beating six-time champion Federer, winner of the past two Australian Open titles, 6-7(11), 7-6(3), 7-5, 7-6(5) over three hours and 45 minutes.

Serving at 6-7(11), 4-5, Tsitsipas saved four set points and won the final four points of the second-set tie-break to even the match. The Greek, who’d won the Next Gen ATP Finals crown just two months earlier, had to bide his time before netting his first break points in the third set after two hours and 54 minutes of play. Once Tsitsipas received a quick massage of the thighs, to relieve cramp, after five games of the fourth set, he found his groove and while Federer forced a tie-break at 5/5, Tsitsipas struck a forehand winner en route to the best day of his career (to date).

“I have massive regrets tonight… I felt like I had to win the second set,” said Federer, who failed to convert any of his 12 break point opportunities. “I don’t care how I do it, but I had to do it.”

Tsitsipas, who struck 20 aces en route to becoming the youngest Australian Open quarter-finalist since Nick Kyrgios in 2015, admitted, “It was a very emotional moment. It was a beginning of something really big. I felt joy. I felt happiness. I felt a huge relief going out of my shoulders. That moment is definitely something that I will never, ever, ever forget. This match point is going to stay, I’m pretty much sure, forever, for the rest of my life.”

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No. 1 Rafael Nadal Keeps Getting Better

  • Posted: Dec 05, 2019

No. 1 Rafael Nadal Keeps Getting Better

Infosys ATP Beyond The Numbers shows how the Spaniard’s serve keeps improving

He is No. 1, and the scary part is that he is still improving.

An Infosys ATP Beyond The Numbers analysis of Rafael Nadal’s serving side of the equation this season uncovered that he averaged serving more aces per match in 2019 than any year of his illustrious career.

Nadal averaged serving 4.5 aces per match this season, which was well up from his 2018 average of 2.6, and significantly higher than his previous best of 3.8 back in 2010.

Nadal has served 3,449 aces in his career, with 271 (12.7%) coming this season. He served only 122 aces last season. A snapshot of where those aces were directed in 2019 can be seen from the 105 aces he served this year at ATP Masters 1000 events and the Nitto ATP Finals.

Deuce Court Aces (54)
Wide = 39 (72%)
T = 15 (28%)

Ad Court Aces (51)
Wide = 21 (41%)
T = 30 (59%)

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Nadal served almost the same amount of aces in the Deuce court and Ad court (54 to 51), with 74 per cent struck against right-handed opponents, and 26 per cent against left-handed opponents.

Aces To The Forehand (70)
vs. lefty = 14
vs. righty = 56

Aces To The Backhand (35)
vs. lefty = 13
vs. righty = 22

The biggest disparity in ace location came against right-handed opponents in the Deuce court, where he served 33 out wide to the forehand and just nine down the T to the backhand. Overall, Nadal served two out of three (66.7%) aces to his opponent’s forehand wing, going against the grain of his primary first-serve location, which is to the backhand return.

The other two members of the “Big Three” had solid serve metrics in 2019 as well, with Roger Federer averaging 7.6 aces per match and Novak Djokovic at 5.7.

Big Three: Career-Best Season Aces Per Match
Roger Federer = 9.3 (2017 & 2009)
Novak Djokovic = 6.5 (2004)
Rafael Nadal = 4.5 (2019)

Nadal finished in first place on the ATP Stats Return LEADERBOARD, powered by Infosys NIA Data, with a 170.8 rating. The beefed-up ace metrics helped him elevate to sixth place on the ATP Stats Serve LEADERBOARD, powered by Infosys NIA Data, with a 292.7 rating.

Nadal has only 1,560 ATP Rankings points to defend in 2020 until the clay-court season kicks off in April, representing just 15 per cent of his yearly total in the first quarter. Catch him if you can…

Big Three: Average Aces Per Match Per Season



















































































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Bryan Brothers, Jack Nicklaus Help Raise $1.2 Million For Charity During 'Fore Love'

  • Posted: Dec 05, 2019

Bryan Brothers, Jack Nicklaus Help Raise $1.2 Million For Charity During ‘Fore Love’

Tennis and golf legends lend their time for charitable event

Bob Bryan, Mike Bryan and golf legend Jack Nicklaus hosted the third annual “Fore Love” event on Monday and Tuesday in North Palm Beach and Jupiter, Florida, raising $1.2 million for the Bryan Bros. Foundation and the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation.

The Bryans met Jack and Barbara Nicklaus nine years ago through a mutual friend and share a passion for philanthropy. The first Fore Love tournament took place in 2017 and the event has raised $3.4 million for children’s charities.

“Mike and I are are proud to have had another successful year with our Fore Love Tournament,” said Bob. “We owe so much to Jack and Barbara Nicklaus, the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation, the incredible lineup of golf and tennis pros,  and the generous support of our donors. We had a great couple days competing at the Bear’s Club and Jack’s pristine grass courts. We are beyond grateful for the friendship of the Nicklaus family and the NCHCF. The proceeds from these events have and will continue to positively impact the lives of many children.”

Bryans Fore Love 2019

The Fore Love tournament combined a golf pro-am on Monday and tennis pro-am on Tuesday. Current ATP Tour players who joined the Bryans for the tennis pro-am included Kevin Anderson, Reilly Opelka, Tommy Paul and Stefan Kozlov. Former World No. 1 Jim Courier supported the cause alongside former Top 10 players Guillermo Canas, Gaston Gaudio and Juan Monaco. WTA players Caroline Wozniacki, Sofia Kenin, Monica Puig and Coco Gauff also participated in the event. 

“Anytime we’re able to give back as athletes, we’re lucky. There’s a culture in both golf and tennis where everyone helps each other for events like this. It’s a fabulous culture,” Courier said. “This is a busy time of the year for everyone, getting ready for the new year, but there’s nothing more important than giving back and doing good. We’re all doing that here… Why not say yes to that?”

Tennis Fore Love 2019Nicklaus, along with PGA players Lee Trevino, Gary Player, Rory McIlroy, Luke Donald and Donald Berger, took part in the golf pro-am.

“It doesn’t happen without people like you and without the athletes coming to give their time and be part of what we do,” Nicklaus said to those in attendance. “In golf, charity was there, but we never thought much about it while we were playing. All of a sudden, most tournaments became for charity… Tennis is following a very similar course.”

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The Bryan Bros. Foundation is dedicated to helping children across the country gain the skills and support they need to succeed in life. Through tennis, music, and the arts, the foundation promotes values such as hard work and perseverance to reach goals. 

The Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation was founded in 2004 to support pediatric facilities nationwide. In 2015, the Miami Children’s Health System was renamed the Nicklaus Children’s Health System to honour their continued commitment to pediatric health care.

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