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ATP Cup: Why France's Stacked Lineup Makes Them Title Contenders

  • Posted: Dec 11, 2019

ATP Cup: Why France’s Stacked Lineup Makes Them Title Contenders

French squad competes in Group A in Brisbane

The depth and experience of Team France have immediately marked them as one of the frontrunners to prevail at the inaugural ATP Cup.

Gael Monfils, Benoit Paire, Lucas Pouille, Nicolas Mahut and Edouard Roger-Vasselin look to bring France out of Group A in Brisbane, where they’ll take on Serbia, South Africa and Chile. All five players have experience in team competitions and thrive on the opportunity to represent their country.

”I played in all the teams since I was 14 in France. I played under-14, under-16 and under-18. To me, French teams are really important,” Mahut said. “When you play tennis, you are mostly alone on the court or sharing good and bad moments with your coach. For once a year, you are with your teammates wanting to achieve the same goal. It is what I like in team sports.”

There are no weak links in the lineup. France is the only team with three players inside the Top 25 of the ATP Rankings.

Teams With Top 25 Singles Players

Country Total Players
France 3 Gael Monfils, Benoit Paire, Lucas Pouille
Russia 2 Daniil Medvedev, Karen Khachanov
Italy 2 Matteo Berrettini, Fabio Fognini
Spain 2 Rafael Nadal, Roberto Bautista Agut
Canada 2 Denis Shapovalov, Felix Auger-Aliassime

Monfils returned to the Top 10 last month after an outstanding season that included an ATP Tour title in Rotterdam (d. Wawrinka) and semi-final finish at the ATP Masters 1000 event in Montreal. Paire re-entered the Top 25 on the back of tour-level crowns in Marrakech (d. Andujar) and Lyon (d. Auger-Aliassime). Pouille recorded his maiden Grand Slam semi-final at the Australian Open and reached the quarter-finals at the Masters 1000 event in Cincinnati.

The trio regularly practise and spend time together during tournaments, creating a strong bond over the years that will only deepen during the event.

”I like being on a team a lot. You can feel the pressure when you’re playing for your country, so I’m very happy to play in the ATP Cup,” Paire said. “Monfils is older than me and Pouille is younger than me, but I know them well and we are good friends. It will be interesting to be on the same team.”

Mahut and Roger-Vasselin bring a wealth of experience and success on the doubles court. Their combined ATP Doubles Ranking is the second-best among the 24 participating teams.

Best Combined ATP Doubles Rankings

Country Combined Rankings Players
Germany 20 Kevin Krawietz (9) and Andreas Mies (11)
France 21 Nicolas Mahut (5) and Edouard Roger-Vasselin (16)
Croatia 27 Ivan Dodig (12) and Nikola Mektic (15)
Great Britain 45 Jamie Murray (23) and Joe Salisbury (22)
United States 66 Austin Krajicek (42) and Rajeev Ram (24)

The pair first teamed up at the pro level in 2002 and quickly hit it off, sparking a partnership that has only continued to grow. They’ve won six ATP Tour doubles crowns together and took the title this October in Tokyo (d. Mektic/Skugor), in addition to reaching their maiden Grand Slam final as a team this year at Wimbledon (l. to Cabal/Farah). Mahut also enjoyed success this season with another Frenchman in Pierre-Hugues Herbert, prevailing at the Nitto ATP Finals (d. Klaasen/Venus) Australian Open (d. Kontinen/Peers) and Masters 1000 event in Paris (d. Khachanov/Rublev).

Roger-Vasselin said, “We are coming from the same area in France, so we grew up [together]. We’re almost the same age, so we know each other for a long time. It’s definitely better to win with a friend and it helps on court to know each other for a long time.”

The depth of France’s lineup even extends to their captain, Gilles Simon. The veteran player is currently No. 55 in the ATP Rankings, which would be good enough to play singles on several of the teams competing this year. With plenty of experience competing against his teammates and their opponents, Simon will be able to offer valuable insight that could help lead France to victory.

”I am really excited to be on the court with him on the bench… [He’s] a good friend of mine,” Mahut said. “Tactically, he is really strong. He can see quick on the court.

”We will start in Brisbane and hopefully finish in Sydney (as part of the Final Eight). I want to see how this works. I am really excited about this competition.”

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Nadal’s Many Happy Returns To World No. 1

  • Posted: Dec 11, 2019

Nadal’s Many Happy Returns To World No. 1

Infosys ATP Beyond The Numbers explains how Nadal turned in a historic returning season

Rafael Nadal just posted the fourth-best return numbers by a year-end No. 1 in the past 29 years.

An Infosys ATP Beyond The Numbers breakdown of year-end No. 1 players since 1991 identifies that Nadal’s 2019 season eclipses the other four times he finished year-end No. 1 in 2017, 2013, 2010 and 2008. The analysis comes from the ATP Return LEADERBOARD, powered by Infosys NIA Data, and is determined by adding the winning percentages in the following four areas:

  • First-Serve Return Points Won
  • Second-Serve Return Points Won
  • Return Games Won
  • Break Points Converted
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Interestingly, the leading five spots for return metrics by a year-end No. 1 from 1991 to 2019 are all from the previous nine years (2011-2019), showing a clear correlation that we are currently in the “golden era” of the service return.

Leading Five Years 1991 – 2019: Return Rating
2011 – N. Djokovic (180.3)
2012 – N. Djokovic (172.2)
2016 – A. Murray (172.2)
2019 – R. Nadal (170.8)
2013 – R. Nadal (169.6)

As a comparison with serving, only two year-end No. 1 players (Djokovic 2015 / Nadal 2017) from the past decade are also ranked in the top 10 spots for serving.

Nadal’s 2019 return rating of 170.8 was also good enough to elevate him to the top spot on Tour in the specific category in 2019, a place he has not occupied since 2016.

Rafael Nadal: 2019 Season Return Win Percentage & Rating

Return Strategy

Win %


First-Serve Return Points Won



Return Games Won



Second-Serve Return Points Won



Break Points Converted



The return has always been a strength of Nadal’s game. Amazingly, at 33 years of age, the Spaniard is finding ways to squeeze more out of it, helping elevate him back to the No. 1 ATP Ranking, which he has now occupied for 202 weeks in his illustrious career.

Rafael Nadal: 2004 – 2019 Year-End Ranking & Return Rating

Year-End Ranking


Return Rating



















































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Best of 2019: First-Time Winners Part 2

  • Posted: Dec 11, 2019

Best of 2019: First-Time Winners Part 2

ATP Tour Season In Review: First-Time Winners

Continuing our Season In Review series, pays tribute to the first-time winners of the 2019 season. In part two of our two-part series, we look at the year’s final seven first-time winners.

Adrian Mannarino – ‘s-Hertogenbosch [First-Time Winner Spotlight] 
Adrian Mannarino reached a career-high World No. 22 in 2018, but he had lost the first six ATP Tour finals of his career. The French lefty overcame that record at the Libema Open in ’s-Hertogenbosch, defeating Jordan Thompson 7-6(7), 6-3 to finally taste a tour-level title.

“People are going to stop talking [about my finals record],” said Mannarino. “In France, we have another player, Julien Benneteau, who lost 10 finals and never won a title. Every time I was losing a [final] I was on my way to Benneteau… This is a big achievement for me. I am not pretending to be Top 10 or anything. Winning a title on the ATP Tour level is already something amazing for me, and I cannot be more thankful to all the people who helped me get to this title.”

Mannarino advanced to two more ATP Tour finals this season, falling short in Zhuhai and Moscow.

<a href=''>Adrian Mannarino</a> defeats <a href=''>Jordan Thompson</a> in two hours and one minute to win the <a href=''>Libema Open</a> title on Sunday.

Taylor Fritz – Eastbourne [First-Time Winner Spotlight]In February 2016, at 18 years and three months, Taylor Fritz reached the Memphis final. That made him the youngest American to reach a tour-level final since then 17-year-old Michael Chang won the Wembley 1989 crown, and the first American teenager to advance to a championship match since Andy Roddick in 2002.

More than three years later, Fritz reached his second ATP Tour final at the Nature Valley International, and he would not let slip the opportunity, defeating countryman Sam Querrey 6-3, 6-4 for the trophy.

“It’s so amazing. I almost can’t even believe it. I’m still trying to take it in,” Fritz said. “I’ve wanted to win a Tour title ever since I made the final of one when I was 18. It feels like I’ve just been waiting so long. I’m so happy.”

Fritz made two more finals in 2019, finishing runner-up in Atlanta and Los Cabos.

<a href=''>Taylor Fritz</a> dropped one set en route to the <a href=''>Nature Valley International</a> trophy.

Lorenzo Sonego – Antalya [First-Time Winner Spotlight]This year’s Turkish Airlines Open Antalya featured two first-time ATP Tour finalists in Lorenzo Sonego and Miomir Kecmanovic. And although Kecmanovic earned a championship point in the second set, it was Sonego who was victorious 6-7(5), 7-6(5), 6-1.

The Italian carried a six-match tour-level losing streak into the tournament, but he won three three-setters en route to the title.

“It is the first title and I am so happy for my family, for my coach, for all the people who support me,” said Sonego. “I like, so much, playing on the grass, it was fun.”  

<a href=''>Lorenzo Sonego</a> celebrates with ball kids after capturing the <a href=''>Turkish Airlines Open Antalya</a> trophy on Saturday.

Nicolas Jarry – Bastad [Match Report]
In his third ATP Tour championship match, Nicolas Jarry made his breakthrough at the Swedish Open, defeating Juan Ignacio Londero 7-6(7), 6-4 for his first title.

“It is amazing. I am really happy for [the title],” said Jarry. “It was a really tough match… Juan Ignacio was playing great. There was a lot of wind and I couldn’t manage to play as well as the other days, but [with] titles, you have to win them as you can and I am really happy to be able to pull this one off.”

Jarry joins his grandfather, Jaime Fillol Sr., as a tour-level titlist. Fillol Sr. lifted six tour-level trophies between 1971 and 1982, including four crowns on clay, and he reached a career-high No. 14 in the ATP Rankings in 1974.

<a href=''>Nicolas Jarry</a> converts two of two break points to beat <a href=''>Juan Ignacio Londero</a> in the Swedish Open final on Sunday.

Dusan Lajovic – Umag [Match Report]
Dusan Lajovic reached his first ATP Masters 1000 final at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters. And although he didn’t lift the trophy, it didn’t take long for the Serbian to enter the ATP Tour winners’ circle.

Lajovic beat qualifier Attila Balazs 7-5, 7-5 to win the Plava Laguna Croatia Open Umag. “It was a match that I’ll remember for the rest of my career,” said Lajovic. “I couldn’t be happier that I won. I had to work for every point, so I’m tired now, but also relieved to have to won my first title.”

Lajovic lost only one set in the tournament, ousting big-hitting Russian Andrey Rublev in his opening match. He broke four times in the final to triumph after one hour and 51 minutes.

<a href=''>Dusan Lajovic</a> wins the title at 2019 Umag

Hubert Hurkacz – Winston-Salem [First-Time Winner Spotlight] 
Hubert Hurkacz entered the spotlight in 2018 when he qualified for the Next Gen ATP Finals. The Pole did not let slip his momentum in 2019, winning his first ATP Tour title at the Winston-Salem Open with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 triumph against Benoit Paire.

Hurkacz became the first Pole to capture a tour-level crown since Wojtek Fibak’s WCT Chicago victory in 1982. Hurkacz needed three sets three times during the week, and he also defeated Denis Shapovalov in straight sets in the semi-finals.

“I am so glad that I have been able to win an ATP Tour event,” said Hurkacz. “I hope many more guys will join me soon and that I will win some more. It means a lot to me and I am glad that I won this tournament here.”

<a href=''>Hubert Hurkacz</a> is the 14th first-time tour-level titlist of 2019.

Denis Shapovalov – Stockholm [First-Time Winner Spotlight]Shapovalov reached his eighth tour-level semi-final at the Stockholm Open. The Canadian had been winless in his first seven semi-finals.

But Shapovalov would not be denied in Sweden, ousting Yuichi Sugita in the last four and then Filip Krajinovic in the final to lift his maiden ATP Tour trophy. The lefty saved the only break point he faced to beat the Serbian 6-4, 6-4 in the championship match.

“I am definitely super happy and just really proud,” said Shapovalov. “Me and my team have worked really hard to get into this position of lifting a title, so I am really proud of myself and proud of my team right now.”

Shapovalov rode the momentum to his first ATP Masters 1000 final at the Rolex Paris Masters, where he fell short against Novak Djokovic. Nevertheless, the Canadian climbed to a career-high ATP Ranking of No. 15 to finish the season.

<a href=''>Denis Shapovalov</a> wins 93 per cent of first-serve points (28/30) to beat <a href=''>Filip Krajinovic</a> in the Intrum <a href=''>Stockholm Open</a> final on Sunday.

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ATP Appoints Massimo Calvelli As ATP Chief Executive Officer

  • Posted: Dec 11, 2019

ATP Appoints Massimo Calvelli As ATP Chief Executive Officer

Calvelli to work closely with fellow Italian Gaudenzi starting in 2020

The ATP has announced the appointment of Massimo Calvelli as the ATP Chief Executive Officer, beginning 1 January 2020.

Calvelli brings a wide range of tennis and executive experience to the position and was the unanimous choice of the ATP Board of Directors. The 45-year-old Italian has been a highly respected sports executive in global sales, marketing, operations and product development for the past 20 years.

Calvelli will work closely with fellow Italian Andrea Gaudenzi, who becomes the new Chairman of the ATP on 1 January 2020. The two will serve in a new split role at the helm of the ATP, replacing the combined position of ATP Executive Chairman and President, currently held by Chris Kermode through to the end of 2019.

“I am delighted and honoured to be appointed as the new CEO of the ATP,” said Calvelli. “I have been involved in professional tennis for most of my life and I look forward to bringing my passion and knowledge of the sport into this role. It’s a very exciting time to be involved with the ATP Tour as we strive to build on the growth of recent years, and I look forward to getting started in January.”

Most recently, Calvelli was employed by Nike where he worked across multiple functions and oversaw all aspects of global tennis sports marketing. During his time at Nike, he has led negotiations with many of the sport’s global icons. Previously, the former professional tennis player was the Global Business Director for Wilson Sporting Goods.

Gaudenzi said: “Together with the ATP Board of Directors, I am delighted to welcome Massimo as the new CEO of the ATP. We share a great passion for the sport and I’m confident our diverse business experiences will serve the Tour well as we work on the future direction of men’s professional tennis.”

The appointment of Calvelli concludes an extensive leadership recruitment process undertaken over the last eight months by the ATP Board of Directors, with the assistance of global leadership advisory and executive search firm Russell Reynolds Associates.

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