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Photographers’ Faves: Best Pics Of 2019

  • Posted: Dec 12, 2019

Photographers’ Faves: Best Pics Of 2019

Clive Brunskill, Julian Finney, Matthew Stockman, Peter Staples share their picks

For the second straight year, we tasked some of the best tennis photographers — Clive Brunskill, Julian Finney and Matthew Stockman from Getty Images, as well as’s own Peter Staples — to share their favourite photos from a memorable 2019 ATP Tour season. As Stockman mentioned, “2019 was an exciting year to cover tennis as I really started to see a blending of the old guard with the Next Gen players.”

The photographers describe their favourite images of the year, ranging from Rafael Nadal on clay to Bob Bryan’s triumphant return from surgery, and share their many other selections in the gallery below.

Photographer Clive Brunkill's Best of 2019 pick: <a href=''>Rafael Nadal</a> in action at the 2019 <a href=''>Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters</a>.

Clive Brunskill: Rafael Nadal at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters
Follow on Instagram at @clivebrunskill

It’s very unusual to get this type of shot and in this light! Rafa was lobbed and he turned to sprint back looking up at the ball. I’m just glad I was on a short lense so that I managed to also get the shadow and ball in! 

I call Rafa my lucky player. No matter what point I walk into his matches, he always makes me a cool shot. I’ve been very lucky over the years to get to know Rafa very well and do many exclusive photo shoots with him around the world and in his native Mallorca. He’s one of the greatest athletes I’ve shot in my 38 years shooting all sports and one of the nicest super stars on the planet.

Shooting at the Monte-Carlo Country Club is like no other place on the circuit and the main reason is the beautiful light. It’s crystal clear as it’s not hot enough at that time of year to have heat haze. It’s just magical light in the late afternoon. It’s also a proper tennis club set in a wonderful, magical location. It really does not get any better than this when the sun shines!

Madrid 2019. <a href=''>Albert Ramos-Vinolas</a> serves to <a href=''>Taro Daniel</a> at La Caja Magica. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Julian Finney: Albert Ramos-Vinolas at the Mutua Madrid Open
Follow on Instagram at @julianfinney

Shooting in Madrid is very interesting, especially when working in an elevated position above the court. As the sun moves around during the day it creates interesting shadows on the clay court with different shapes formed from the roof structure. This year I wanted to work with these shapes even more and managed to compose a triangle shape using another part of the stadium’s structure to shoot through.

With Ramos-Vinolas wearing a nice yellow, being left-handed too, made this picture work and become an instant stand-out favourite of mine from 2019. A few minutes before or after this moment in the day and this picture would be missed.

Miami 2019. <a href=''>Felix Auger-Aliassime</a> stretches for a ball while playing <a href=''>Nikoloz Basilashvili</a> in Masters 1000 action. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Matthew Stockman: Felix Auger-Aliassime at Miami Open presented by Itau
For me, 2019 was an exciting year to cover tennis as I really started to see a blending of the old guard with the Next Gen players. To see the still rough-around-the-edges play of players such as Zverev, Tsitsipas and Medvedev on centre court with the true legends of the game, Roger, Rafa and Novak, is quite special.

I like to capture the nuances in each player’s game that makes them unique. My favourite images are ones that show the physicality, as well as the poise, necessary to compete at the top level of the men’s game.

Peter Staples' Best of 2019 pick: <a href=''>Bob Bryan</a> receives a piggyback ride from wife Michelle after winning his first title since returning from hip surgery.

Peter Staples: Bob Bryan at Delray Beach Open by
[My favourite photos is of] Bob Bryan after his first win with Mike since surgery the year before, at Delray Beach, celebrating with his wife Michelle giving him a piggyback ride watched by two of their kids. It was an emotional win especially as he had doubts in December that he would ever be able to play professional tennis again.

After many years of photographing Bob and Mike they were very comfortable with me documenting their celebration with family and friends, and I think it’s always in the back of their minds that there won’t be too many chances left in their careers to win with the kids watching. Bob spontaneously leapt on his wife’s back (apparently something they do at home) and I was lucky to catch the moment.I love his young daughter off to the left, hands on hips, smiling at her parents.

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Photographers’ Faves: Best Pics Of 2018

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Isner & Fritz Seek More Team Success In ATP Cup

  • Posted: Dec 12, 2019

Isner & Fritz Seek More Team Success In ATP Cup

American duo to suit up for singles during inaugural event 

The 24 teams competing in the inaugural ATP Cup present a wide range of ages and experience on the ATP Tour. But the diversity of Team United States is especially noteworthy with its top two singles players, John Isner and Taylor Fritz.

The 34-year-old Isner and 22-year-old Fritz hold the biggest age difference between the top two singles players among any country in this event. Although they possess different playing styles and personalities, they’re aligned in their ability to thrive during team competitions. They will seek to continue that trend when they compete alongside Reilly Opelka, Rajeev Ram and Austin Krajicek in Group D in Perth, facing Russia, Italy and Norway.

”We don’t get to compete that often as a team, with fellow players cheering you on from the side of the court. Winning and losing certainly adds a lot of extra energy to matches when you’re playing for your country, but I’ve found it does help me to play better,” Fritz said. “It’s going to be great to play alongside John.”

Read More: Fritz: ‘Team USA Will Bring A Lot Of Firepower’

Fritz generated headlines this year by posting a career-best season, capturing his maiden ATP Tour title in Eastbourne (d. Querrey) and cracking the Top 25 of the ATP Rankings in August. His Laver Cup win for Team World against Dominic Thiem also marked his first victory against a Top 5 player. 

Isner finished inside the Top 20 for the 10th consecutive year, a feat that only the Big Three of Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer have also accomplished. The veteran American prevailed in Newport (d. Bublik) and finished runner-up at the ATP Masters 1000 event in Miami (l. to Federer). Isner also represented Team World for the third straight year and said he’s always eager to take part in team events.

”I’ve always enjoyed playing for a team. I’ve really done it my whole life. Playing in the team events… has been a joy for me and you definitely can get your competitive juices flowing after a pretty long layoff,” Isner said. “It’ll be pressure-packed on top of that, being out there playing for your country right out of the gate. I do think that will be a very good thing for me and hopefully it will bode well for the Australian Open next year.”

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Isner has been the top gun of American tennis for most of this decade, finishing as the highest-ranked American player in seven of the past eight seasons. Although he credits hard work and staying healthy as pivotal to his strong results, he also believes the resources he’s had access to on home soil will continue to shape his success.

”It’s the greatest country in the world,” Isner said. “You have the most opportunity to do amazing things in this country and I’ve been afforded that opportunity through tennis. Everything you really want to do is at your disposal if you work hard, focus, make the right decisions and respect the people that you need to respect. I think that’s what I’ve done my whole life.”

Isner and Fritz have also been on opposite sides of the net, with the veteran American leading 2-1 their FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry. But now that their strengths will be united, both men believe that they can defeat any team if they’re in top form.

”Even though I can hit a serve, I’ve always admired John’s serve. He makes it look so effortless, but I know just how hard he works to develop repetition and rhythm, so when it comes to a match, his big weapon is on,” Fritz said. “I think the serve and power will be the key weapons of [Team] USA. It’s going to be tricky to compete against countries with two highly-ranked players, but that’s going to be the big challenge.”

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ATP Cup: Dodig Reveals The One Croatian Stroke He Would Take

  • Posted: Dec 12, 2019

ATP Cup: Dodig Reveals The One Croatian Stroke He Would Take

The 34-year-old joins Coric, Cilic, Mektic and Galovic on Team Croatia

Ivan Dodig is Croatia’s No. 1 doubles player at World No. 12, and the 34-year-old may play a key role at the inaugural ATP Cup. Dodig will likely partner the world’s No. 15 doubles player, Nikola Mektic, when their country competes in Group E action in Sydney against Argentina, Austria and Poland. Croatia’s other players are Borna Coric, Marin Cilic and Viktor Galovic. catches up with Dodig to find out which Croat he looked up to growing up, which shot from a countryman he’d like to add to his repertoire and more.

Which countrymen did you watch playing tennis when you were growing up?
Obviously for all us Croatian players, Goran Ivanisevic was the first guy. We were looking at him, he was our idol and I think many of us would say Goran was the main key for us to start playing tennis. He was a big inspiration for many kids and he is still the reason why I think many good Croatian players are coming on the Tour.

If you could take one stroke from any other player on your ATP Cup team and add it to your game, what would that stroke be?
I would take Cilic’s forehand. He has a powerful forehand. I think it is his best stroke. My forehand, when I played singles, was my weakest shot. I improved every year, but still I always did much better [with the] backhand. I was missing that forehand.

What are the first Australian animals that come into your head?
I know everybody is scared of the spiders there. Kangaroos.

What are the three things you love most about Croatia?
Sea, weather and food.

What do you like most about Australia?
I like Australia a lot. I always said it would be my second country I would choose to live in. It has beautiful weather, beautiful cities and amazing food. It is the perfect country to live [in]. Unfortunately for us from Europe, it is a little bit too far to travel in our sport but, in general, I very much like the country.

Which player would most likely be late for an ATP Cup dinner?
It is going to be Marin Cilic or Borna Coric. One of them. They are always a bit… It’s okay, they are stars, they are our first two players, so they can always get a little bit of credit.

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