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Air quality fears at GB's ATP Cup venue as bushfires rage

  • Posted: Jan 01, 2020

Medical experts will monitor air quality during the ATP Cup in Australia as bushfires rage close to the tournament’s Sydney venue.

Measures have been taken to ensure the safety of players, staff and spectators in the Ken Rosewall Arena in Sydney’s Olympic Tennis Centre.

The British team will play their group games at the venue, which will also host all knockout matches.

GB’s opening tie against Bulgaria will start at 06:30 GMT on 3 January.

Some of the world’s top players are due to take part in the new 24-nation men’s team event, including Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.

Matches will also take place in Brisbane and Perth, which have so far been unaffected by the bushfires that have killed at least eight people in the Sydney area and across the states of New South Wales and neighbouring Victoria.

  • Australia fires: Death toll rises & more than 200 homes destroyed
  • ATP Cup: Rafael Nadal & Novak Djokovic in action at new event
  • Air quality: How’s bad is Sydney’s smoke for health?

“We have got medical experts on site during the tournament who will be advising in relation to conditions and ensuring it is safe for players to play and also safe for our fans and our ball boys and staff,” said tournament director Tom Larner.

It is not yet clear what measures will be taken if health concerns are raised.

Two of the six groups of four teams are due to play their three round-robin ties in Sydney.

Belgium and Moldova, the other two teams along with Britain and Bulgaria in Group C, will contest the first match at the Ken Rosewall Arena from 23:00 GMT on Thursday, 2 January.

Countries in Group E – Austria, Croatia, Argentina and Poland – will also play their opening matches in Sydney before the eight qualifiers relocate to the city for the knockout stages, which are due to take place from 9-11 January.

Dan Evans, James Ward and Cameron Norrie will compete as singles players for Britain, with doubles specialists Jamie Murray and Joe Salisbury completing the five-man team. Andy Murray was forced to withdraw due to injury.

The WTA’s Brisbane International is also due to take place from 6 January, while the Australian Open gets under way in Adelaide on 20 January.

  • Brisbane International: Maria Sharapova handed wildcard

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Djokovic Meets Australia's Mascot, The Koala

  • Posted: Jan 01, 2020

Djokovic Meets Australia’s Mascot, The Koala

Team Serbia kicks off their ATP Cup run on Saturday

Novak Djokovic admires the simplicity, the restorative aspects of the koala lifestyle. The irresistible animals rarely stray from their eucalyptus trees in eastern Australia and sleep for up to 18 hours a day.

Djokovic, however, the No. 2 player in the FedEx ATP Rankings, doesn’t think it’d be such a good idea for him or Team Serbia to act more like koalas at the ATP Cup in Brisbane.

“I don’t think the koala lifestyle would help us tennis players a lot, even though at times we could definitely learn something from them,” Djokovic said on Wednesday while standing next to a couple of cuddly koalas at the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary in Brisbane. “Sometimes the simple things are the best things, just relaxing and being present, kind of recuperating and being outdoors, being in the nature.”

Serbia’s No. 1 grew up exploring nature and the Serbian mountains, and that’s where Djokovic learned to appreciate wildlife and animals.

“I love animals, spending times close to them but respecting their space, which I think is very important because we sometimes as people try to act as the most dominant species, which we consider ourselves to be. But I truly believe we all should live in harmony and respect and there is a higher order of nature that we should all be aware of,” Djokovic said. “I’m very close to a koala at the moment. I see that they’re sleeping and resting so I don’t want to disturb them too much but it’s definitely a very unique experience.”

Djokovic and his ATP Cup teammates Dusan Lajovic, Nikola Milojevic, Nikola Cacic and Viktor Troicki have been adapting the koala lifestyle at times – enjoying each other’s company off the court and relaxing away from the tennis. But they’ve been employing their usual routines – those of hard-working tennis players – most of the time Down Under.

Serbia plays its first match on Saturday against South Africa.

“Many, many different things that we can do also off the court as well we get to enjoy. We stay together and play different sports. We spend quality time and it’s fun, because the concept of ATP Cup is a team concept, team format, and so it does give us an opportunity to represent our country and be a part of the team which is not something that we do experience throughout the year very often,” Djokovic said.

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Venus Williams pulls out of Brisbane warm-up

  • Posted: Jan 01, 2020

Former world number one Venus Williams has withdrawn from the season-opening Brisbane International after suffering an “unexpected setback” in training.

The 39-year-old, who won the last of her seven Grand Slam singles titles in 2008, hopes to play in Adelaide before the Australian Open on 20 January.

A replacement for the world number 52 will be announced on Thursday.

World number one Ashleigh Barty and Australian Open champion Naomi Osaka are among a strong field.

The tournament begins on 6 January.

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Anderson: ‘ATP Cup Is Going To Be An Awesome Event’

  • Posted: Jan 01, 2020

Anderson: ‘ATP Cup Is Going To Be An Awesome Event’

South African returns to competitive play for the first time in six months

Kevin Anderson will make a welcome return to the ATP Tour for the first time in six months, representing Team South Africa at the inaugural ATP Cup, which is being held in Brisbane, Perth and Sydney from 3 January.

“It’s going to be an awesome event representing South Africa and also for the sport of tennis,” Anderson told “Coming back to a big stage, with guaranteed matches is a perfect way to start the season.

Anderson, who has not played competitively since 5 July due to a right knee injury, will lead Team South Africa in Brisbane alongside Lloyd Harris, Ruan Roelofse, Khololwam Montsi and Raven Klaasen.

“It’s a great opportunity to represent South Africa in this format, which makes a lot of sense for players,” said Anderson. “We have a good team with Lloyd, who continues to get better, and Raven, who had an amazing year in doubles.

“I’ll be healthy and ready to go, I bring a lot of experience and have played a lot of these guys before. Coming back from injuries is always a little bit tricky, but the way my practises have been going, I’ll be ready to go from the very first match.”

Anderson was restricted to just 15 matches in the 2019 season, which included lifting his sixth ATP Tour title at the Tata Open Maharashtra in Pune (d. Karlovic). His final match of the year came against Guido Pella in the Wimbledon third round on 5 July. The former World No. 5 and his wife, Kelsey, then welcomed their first child, Keira, on 27 September.

“2019 was a bit of a tough year for me on the tennis court,” said Anderson. “Coming in after my best year in 2018, starting the year off well and winning in Pune. Then the injuries came upon me, first the elbow then the knee, after the elbow had been better for the week.

“Looking back, you always think you could have done better, but off the court my wife and I knew we’d be having our first baby. So it was a blessing in disguise, to be able to spend more time with them, especially at home. All in all, I’m looking forward to getting back on the match court.”

Last month, Anderson hosted Courtside Cause, his third charity event, at the Boca Grove Golf & Tennis Club. The event benefitted First Serve, Dezzy’s Second Chance Animal Rescue and Ocean Conservancy’s Trash Free Seas Alliance.

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Why Unity Will Be 'Most Powerful Weapon' For Team Bulgaria

  • Posted: Jan 01, 2020

Why Unity Will Be ‘Most Powerful Weapon’ For Team Bulgaria

Playing captain Dimitrov looks to lead his country to Sydney success

When Team Bulgaria’s Adrian Andreev was seven, he was at the tennis club where he trained, practising like normal, when the recent Wimbledon Boys’ Singles champion stopped by for a hit. Grigor Dimitrov was only 17 at the time, but he was already showing the potential of becoming a superstar.

“It was awesome,” Andreev recalled. “Everyone was talking about him and they said he’s upcoming and he made it to the very top, so that’s great.”

Not only has Dimitrov reached No. 3 in the ATP Rankings and won the 2017 Nitto ATP Finals, but he has inspired the next generation of Bulgarian tennis players. The 28-year-old will be hands-on with Andreev, Dimitar Kuzmanov, Alexandar Lazarov and Alexander Donski as Team Bulgaria’s playing captain at the ATP Cup in Sydney.

“For me tennis has always been my passion and I think growing up in Bulgaria, I always wanted to bring something back to the country if I would have ever made it to the top, and I think now I feel obviously the weight of a little bit of what I have achieved throughout all the years,” Dimitrov said. “Being able to have these guys by my side, it’s great to be able to give a little bit of an insight into what it is to be on the next level and hopefully they can achieve the same thing one day.”

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Dimitrov & Team Bulgaria: ‘We’re Going To Try To Take It All In’

It’s no secret what Dimitrov has accomplished on the court. But according to Bulgaria’s No. 2 singles player, Kuzmanov, the eight-time titlist’s success has transcended tennis in their country.

“Obviously it’s great for the whole country and for each sport, not only in tennis, but in every other sport. He’s a role model, an ambassador for our country, for our sport, for our mentality, for our traditions and it’s great,” Kuzmanov said. “The last time we had someone like him was probably [Hristo] Stoichkov, so it’s amazing to have someone like him.”

Stoichkov, a retired football star, received the prestigious Ballon d’Or — given to the football player considered the best in the world for that year — in 1994, putting Dimitrov in elite company. And since the World No. 20 is the only Bulgarian in the Top 100, qualifying his country for the ATP Cup gives his teammates a special opportunity to compete on one of the sport’s biggest stages.

“It’s a great experience and that’s why we were really happy when we found out that we were going to take part in the ATP Cup with Grigor as a captain. He’s one of the best tennis players in the world and we can only learn from him and that’s what we did the past few days since we came here,” Kuzmanov said. “He’s really open and he’s helping each one of us and looking forward for the upcoming 10 days and trying to learn as much as I can and [I think it’s the same] for everyone on the team.”

Team Bulgaria will compete in Group C at the ATP Cup.

Dimitrov will do all he can to earn as many wins as possible when he is competing. But he is also doing everything in his power to empower his countrymen.

“I’m very happy to share, spend a lot of time with them. I just basically tell them, ‘Guys, ask me anything you want, anything you need.’ To me it’s a pure honour,” Dimitrov said. “I’ve always played for Bulgaria and now to be able to participate in the ATP Cup is something very special and it’s special for them. I’m not taking that role as a playing captain lightly, and hopefully I [can] help them.”

Dimitrov has been on court assisting teammates with their games, a new role for the Bulgarian No. 1. He will also be able to coach during matches as captain.

“I think being a coach is one of the toughest jobs, and now I know what it is to be a little bit on the other end,” Dimitrov said. “In the past days I’ve spent some time with the boys on the court and I was just on the side basically. It’s very different.

“I think all the guys are doing an amazing job for being in such an environment. I think it’s very new for them. I understand that… Also to be with the other top guys, clearly when I’m with the team, I don’t really think of me in any other way, just part of the team. They’re doing great, honestly. They’re doing great. I’m very happy and proud of each one of them.”

Eight of the Top 10 players in the ATP Rankings are competing, and there are six countries with multiple Top 30 players playing in this 24-team event. So it won’t be easy, but the Bulgarians believe they bring strong intangibles that will help them succeed.

From early practices ahead of the ATP Cup, it is clear that there will be plenty of team-based factors that play a role in individual matches.

“It’s going to be because we have a great team spirit,” Kuzmanov said. “It’s in our veins, it’s in our history as a nation. That is what our most powerful weapon is and once again we expect a lot of Bulgarians living here in Australia are going to cheer for us and we’ll try to make our country proud.”

Dimitrov may be the biggest star for Team Bulgaria. But he agrees with Kuzmanov that the best players in the ATP Rankings may not always come out on top at the ATP Cup.

“The unity, that’s always been the key,” Dimitrov said. “I think we have a legitimate chance in every corner, on every level. If we stay united, if we do things the right way, anything can happen.”

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ATP Cup: Rafael Nadal & Novak Djokovic in action at new event in Australia

  • Posted: Jan 01, 2020

Men’s team tennis in a World Cup-style format – haven’t we only just had an event like that?

Less than six weeks after Rafael Nadal helped Spain win the inaugural Davis Cup finals in Madrid, the world’s best male players will again represent their countries at a rival team competition, the ATP Cup.

Set up by the men’s tour with the carrot of huge prize money and ranking points, the new event features 24 teams playing over 10 days in three Australian cities in January.

Great Britain are among the nations competing after Andy Murray, using an injury protected ranking of two, made a late decision to enter.

However, former world number one Murray pulled out of the event – and the Australian Open, which starts on 20 January – with a pelvic injury just six days before Britain’s opening match.

Here is everything you need to know about the new addition to the start of the 2020 tennis calendar.

  • Murray uses protected ranking to ensure Great Britain a place at ATP Cup
  • Henman leading GB at ATP Cup is ‘really positive’ – Murray
  • Djokovic believes ATP Cup will attract top players

What is the ATP Cup?

The 24-nation event features six groups of four teams, who each play three round-robin ties. The ties – comprising two singles matches and one doubles – are best of three.

The six group winners, plus the best two runners-up, will progress to the quarter-finals.

Group matches are taking place on outdoor hard courts in Sydney, Brisbane and Perth. The knockout stage – the Final Eight – will be played at Sydney’s Ken Rosewall Arena.

The final is on 12 January, which is eight days before the start of the opening Grand Slam event of the year – the Australian Open.

There is a prize pot of 22m Australian dollars (£11.6m) and a player can win up to 750 singles ranking points.

Nine of the world’s top 10 players are in action, with only Swiss great Roger Federer absent after he withdrew to spend more time with his family.

The strongest team on paper in terms of their two highest ranked singles players are Spain, with world number one Rafael Nadal and world number nine Roberto Bautista Agut.

The six groups
Group A: Serbia, France, South Africa, Chile
Group B: Spain, Japan, Georgia, Uruguay
Group C: Belgium, Great Britain, Bulgaria, Moldova
Group D: Russia, Italy, United States, Norway
Group E: Austria, Croatia, Argentina, Poland
Group F: Germany, Greece, Canada, Australia

How is the ATP Cup different to the Davis Cup?

What many onlookers from inside and outside tennis are struggling to fathom is why another national team knockout competition is taking place so soon after the Davis Cup, which itself was a revamped event played over a week in a round-robin/knockout format.

But there are several differences between the two.

The ATP Cup has been created by the men’s tour, rather than the International Tennis Federation (ITF), which runs the 119-year-old Davis Cup.

Qualification for the ATP Cup is based on a country’s top-ranked singles player, while in the Davis Cup teams play qualifying ties to reach the week-long finals.

The offer of rankings points is a feature of the new event only – a player who plays and wins all possible singles matches can earn 750 ATP rankings points. The only events where more points are on offer are at the four Grand Slams (2000 for winner), ATP Finals (1500) and nine Masters events (1000).

The number of rankings points to be awarded will depend on the ranking of the opponent and the round of the result. Doubles ranking points are also being offered.

Like at the Davis Cup, the singles matches will be best-of-three tie-break sets. But the difference in the doubles here is that there will be no-advantage scoring and a match tie-break instead of a third set.

While the Davis Cup came at the end of a gruelling season, the ATP Cup falls at the beginning and will serve as a useful warm-up for the Australian Open.

But the creation of two separate, but very similar, events at either end of an already long season has left some players having to make tough choices.

Swiss 20-time Grand Slam champion Federer withdrew from the ATP Cup for family reasons, while Russian world number five Daniil Medvedev and German world number seven Alexander Zverev skipped the Davis Cup finals.

World number two Novak Djokovic has called for the two events to be merged, saying: “Looking long term, I don’t think that the two events can coexist six weeks apart. It’s just a bit too congested.”

Barcelona footballer Gerard Pique, whose Kosmos investment group is behind the overhaul of the Davis Cup, maintains he is open to finding a solution with the ATP over combining the events.

“We are really open to sit down with the ATP and try to arrive to a deal, to make a unique competition, a super event of two weeks and try to find the best part in the calendar,” Pique said at the Madrid event in November.

“In the next few months I think we will start talking again with the ATP. And I hope in the next few months we can announce something.”

Top players at ATP Cup (world ranking in brackets)
Rafael Nadal, Spain (1) Alexander Zverev, Germany (7)
Novak Djokovic, Serbia (2) Matteo Berretini, Italy (8)
Daniil Medvedev, Russia (4) Roberto Bautista Agut, Spain (9)
Dominic Thiem, Austria (5) Gael Monfils, France (10)
Stefanos Tsitispas, Greece (6)

Who are Great Britain playing?

If it had not been for Andy Murray’s late decision to use his protected world ranking of two, Great Britain might not have qualified for the inaugural event because their other players may not have been ranked high enough.

But then the 32-year-old Scot, who only had career-saving hip surgery last January, announced on Saturday he would not play after “a setback” with the pelvic injury he has been nursing since the Davis Cup finals in November.

That has led to James Ward being called up alongside British number one Dan Evans and Cameron Norrie as the singles players, with doubles specialists Jamie Murray and Joe Salisbury completing the five-man team.

As the nation’s leading player, three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray was able to choose the team captain and picked his mentor Tim Henman for the job.

“He’s got a lot of experience, he’s a fun guy to be around and he played lots of Davis Cups,” Murray said in November.

Great Britain open their Group C campaign against Bulgaria in Sydney on 3 January (06:30 GMT), with world number 42 Evans taking on former Wimbledon semi-finalist and world number 20 Grigor Dimitrov in the first match of the tie.

Their other round-robin ties are against Belgium on 5 January and Moldova two days after that.

Belgium’s top-ranked player is world number 11 David Goffin, while Moldova’s is world number 46 Radu Albot.

Great Britain reached the semi-finals of the Davis Cup in November, losing to eventual champions Spain.

What have Becker and Safin got to do with it?

With each country’s top-ranked player allowed to select their team’s captain, the ATP Cup features the return of some familiar names in charge.

Germany will be captained by six-time Grand Slam champion Boris Becker (chosen by world number seven Alexander Zverev), while Russia will be led by former world number one Marat Safin (picked by world number five Daniil Medvedev).

Other captains include 1995 French Open champion Thomas Muster (Austria) and two-time Grand Slam champion Lleyton Hewitt (Australia).

Meanwhile, Bulgaria’s highest ranked player Dimitrov has picked none other than himself as captain.


ATP Cup group-stage schedule (times GMT, * day before)
Brisbane Perth Sydney
3 Jan – early Greece v Canada (00:00) USA v Norway (02:00) Belgium v Moldova (23:00*)
– late Germany v Australia (07:30) Russia v Italy (09:30) Bulgaria v Great Britain (06:30)
4 Jan – early France v Chile (00:00) Japan v Uruguay (02:00) Argentina v Poland (23:00*)
– late Serbia v South Africa Spain v Georgia (09:30) Austria v Croatia (06:30)
5 Jan – early Canada v Australia (00:00) Italy v Norway (02:00) Bulgaria v Moldova (23:00*)
– late Germany v Greece (07:30) Russia v USA (09:30) Belgium v Great Britain (06:30)
6 Jan – early South Africa v Chile (00:00) Japan v Georgia (02:00) Croatia v Poland (23:00*)
– late Serbia v France (07:30) Spain v Uruguay (09:30) Austria v Argentina (06:30)
7 Jan – early Germany v Canada (00:00) Russia v Norway (02:00) Great Britain v Moldova (23:00*)
– late Greece v Australia (07:30) Italy v USA (09:30) Bulgaria v Belgium (06:30)
8 Jan – early Serbia v Chile (00:00) Spain v Japan (02:00) Austria v Poland (23:00*)
– late France v South Africa (07:30) Georgia v Uruguay (09:30) Croatia v Argentina (06:30)

Knockout stage

Thursday, 9 January – two quarter-finals (23:00* and 06:30)

Friday, 10 January – two quarter-finals (23:00* and 06:30)

Saturday, 11 January – semi-finals (00:00 and 07:30)

Sunday, 12 January – final (07:30)

  • Live scores, schedule and results
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To Zverev-Led Germany, Bare Foot Bowling Rolls Naturally In Brisbane

  • Posted: Jan 01, 2020

To Zverev-Led Germany, Bare Foot Bowling Rolls Naturally In Brisbane

Germans face Australia on Friday evening in Brisbane

If the bare foot bowls game between Germany and Canada on Wednesday serves as any indication, the Germans, led by No. 7 Alexander Zverev, will be quick to start at the ATP Cup in Brisbane.

The Germans beat the Canadians, led by #NextGenATP stars Denis Shapovalov, No. 15 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, and Felix Auger-Aliassime, No. 21, in an abbreviated game of the traditional Aussie past-time at the Merthyr Bowls Club in Brisbane.

The past-time could be considered a mix of a few sports. First, the obvious comparison: bowling, because in bare foot bowls, you roll a ball underhand on a manicured green, similar to those found on golf courses. Horseshoes also comes to mind because the team that delivers the ball closest to the white ball, or the “jack”, wins. And as the club’s greens director, Ian Warden, explained, bare foot bowls is also “just like tennis”.

“You play forehand and backhand in balls; you play forehand and backhand in tennis,” Warden said of rolling the ball with either the right or left hand.

But instead of using a racquet to hit a light fuzzy ball, in bare foot bowls, you use your hands to roll a weighted, hard ball that can weigh about two kilos and often meanders as it sees fit, as the Germans and Canadians learned.

“That’s not good, boys!” Canada’s Peter Polansky shouted after a errant roll.

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Germany won both games of three-on-three, partly thanks to reigning Roland Garros doubles champion Andreas Mies, who won the Grand Slam title with countryman Kevin Krawietz, both of whom are representing their country at the ATP Cup.

It’s the first time we’ve played this game. I have no experience with this, and it was a lot of fun. I was up and down, one shot was good, one was terrible, one was good,” Mies said. “But in the end, we got the win.”

Germany will look to Mies and Krawietz to play clutch on the court as well as doubles will be the final match of the three (also two singles) to be played in every team contest. The Germans open against Australia at 5:30 p.m. Friday.

Canada, however, said a little gamesmanship might have been involved on New Year’s Day.

“Our goal was to not show our tough competitiveness at this time because we’re going to play them in the round robin, so we don’t want to give them everything we’ve got in the beginning,” Canadian captain Adriano Fuorivia said.

Fuorivia, Shapovalov’s former coach, and the Canadians kick off the ATP Cup in Brisbane at 10 a.m. Friday against Greece. Canada will face Germany at 10 a.m. Tuesday 7 January, both teams’ final group match.

It’s good to have these team events. We don’t get a lot of these throughout the year,” Auger-Aliassime said. “There’s a great chemistry with us together. A lot of good times, a lot of positive vibes, I think everyone is going to be pushing in the right direction this week, so hopefully we get good results out of that.”

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Team Spain Hits Rottnest Island For Quokka Selfies & Barbeque

  • Posted: Jan 01, 2020

Team Spain Hits Rottnest Island For Quokka Selfies & Barbeque

World No. 1 Nadal makes friends with friendly Western Australia wildlife

World No. 1 Rafael Nadal and Team Spain took a trip on Wednesday to Rottnest Island, 18 kilometres west of mainland Australia, ahead of the start of the inaugural ATP Cup that begins on 3 January.

Roberto Bautista Agut, Pablo Carreno Busta, Feliciano Lopez and captain Francisco Roig joined Nadal on a helicopter trip to the popular holiday island, which is full of sandy beaches and unique wildlife.

Team Spain swam in the sea, posed with the island’s wildlife, including taking selfies with Quokkas, and rode e-bikes to Little Parakeet Bay for a beach barbeque with local seafood.

“Rottnest is really amazing,” said Nadal. “For us, it was a little bit of an early wake-up call with jetlag still affecting us, but the beaches and wildlife are something we will remember for a long time. The Quokkas are super-friendly, and they weren’t afraid to be close. We had some fun with them.

“It’s great to be in Perth and I’m excited to play at the ATP Cup. The people are very supportive to tennis, all around the country, and it’s exciting to share this competition with great team mates. We want to do well.”

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Paul Papalia, Tourism WA Minister, officially welcomed Team Spain on Rottnest Island, saying: “It’s really exciting to have the ATP Cup in Perth and Western Australia. We have the best players in the world here, so people can get up close to watch them in the next few days. Importantly, we’re pleased to have Team Spain here promoting Western Australia, and one of the key visits is to come to Rottnest and get selfies with Quokkas.”

Nadal, Bautista Agut en route to Rottnest Island

“We are very happy to be here in Perth,” said Lopez. “Tennis is an individual sport, but we’ll be sharing everything that’s going to happen in the week. We’ll be ready to play our first matches on Sunday.”

Team Spain is competing in Group B at the RAC Arena in Perth alongside Japan, Georgia and Uruguay. For latest tournament information, live scores, group standings and more, visit

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Team Great Britain's Thrilling 'Change-Up' On Sydney Harbour

  • Posted: Jan 01, 2020

Team Great Britain’s Thrilling ‘Change-Up’ On Sydney Harbour

Brits begin their campaign Friday against Bulgaria

Team Great Britain spends plenty of time together throughout the year, from going to dinners to watching football matches. But on Wednesday afternoon, they enjoyed a special group experience, going for an hour-long boat ride on Sydney Harbour before getting down to business at the inaugural ATP Cup.

Captain Tim Henman, Daniel Evans, Cameron Norrie, James Ward, Joe Salisbury and Jamie Murray all took their phones out as soon as they arrived at the harbour, taking in the great views before bonding on the boat.

“It’s such a great city and you know you’ve got a lot of iconic features with the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House,” Henman said. “It really is a beautiful city and it’s great to be back.”

Team Great Britain

The group posed for plenty of pictures as the boat passed under the Sydney Harbour Bridge, with some members of the team marvelling at people who were climbing the iconic landmark. They stepped around to the front of the boat to lounge and check out the rest of the Sydney skyline, including Sydney Opera House.

“It’s a great change-up. It’s nice to be here,” Ward said. “I love coming to Australia every year and obviously a new event and representing your country is always a special thing and hopefully we’ll have a lot of fun this week.”

Team Great Britain will begin its ATP Cup efforts on Friday evening at 530pm local time against Team Bulgaria. The other countries competing in Group C are Belgium and Moldova, with the winner automatically advancing to the Final Eight, also taking place in Sydney.

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ATP Cup: 5 Countries To Watch In Doubles

  • Posted: Jan 01, 2020

ATP Cup: 5 Countries To Watch In Doubles

Action kicks off on Friday

A doubles match will wrap up each tie at the ATP Cup and could play a crucial role in determining which country leaves with the trophy, making it imperative that the world’s best doubles players are in top form from the first ball. looks at five countries that could be dominant in doubles during the 10-day event. Team captains decide which players will pair up and the official doubles lineups for each tie are still to be determined.

Germany (Kevin Krawietz & Andreas Mies)
Krawietz/Mies produced the biggest doubles surprise of 2019 by storming through the Roland Garros draw as an unseeded duo for their first Grand Slam title (d. Chardy/Martin). The German pair also lifted tour-level crowns in Long Island (d. Gonzalez/Qureshi) and Antwerp (d. Ram/Salisbury), reached the semi-finals at the US Open and qualified for their maiden appearance at the season-ending Nitto ATP Finals in London.

France (Nicolas Mahut & Edouard Roger-Vasselin)
Mahut and Roger-Vasselin enjoyed success together and with other partners this past season. They prevailed in Tokyo (d. Mektic/Skugor) to earn their seventh ATP Tour team doubles title.

Roger-Vasselin also won in Montpellier (w/Dodig), Lyon (w/Dodig) and Stockholm (w/Kontinen). Meanwhile, Mahut teamed with fellow Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert to complete their Career Grand Slam at the Australian Open (d. Kontinen/Peers). They ended the year with titles at the ATP Masters 1000 event in Paris (d. Khachanov/Rublev) and the season finale in London (d. Klaasen/Venus).

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Croatia (Ivan Dodig & Nikola Mektic)
After prevailing with Roger-Vasselin in Montpellier and Lyon, Dodig enjoyed a remarkable second half of 2019 with Slovakian Filip Polasek. One month after reaching the Wimbledon semi-finals, they won their first Masters 1000 team title in Cincinnati (d. Cabal/Farah). The pair followed up with a trophy in Beijing (d. Kubot/Melo) and eventually qualified for the season finale in London.

Mektic proved his versatility by enjoying success with multiple partners. He won his first two Masters 1000 crowns in Indian Wells (w/Zeballos) and Monte-Carlo (w/Skugor), in addition to taking the title in Sofia (w/Melzer).

Great Britain (Jamie Murray & Joe Salisbury)
Salisbury looks to build on his breakout season with American Rajeev Ram. They earned titles this past year in Dubai (d. McLachlan/Struff) and Vienna (d. Kubot/Melo) to help clinch their spot in the season-ending championships, marking Salisbury’s maiden appearance at The O2 in London.

Murray, a two-time men’s doubles Grand Slam champion and former No. 1 player in the ATP Doubles Rankings, is still one of the most dangerous competitors on Tour. His consistent 2019 season included prevailing in Sydney and finishing runner-up in Barcelona (both w/Soares), in addition to semi-final showings at the US Open (w/N. Skupski) and Masters 1000 events in Monte-Carlo, Cincinnati and Shanghai.

United States (Rajeev Ram & Austin Krajicek)
Ram’s stellar year with Salisbury brought the 35-year-old into his third appearance at the Nitto ATP Finals. Krajicek also produced another solid season in 2019. Shortly after reaching the Acapulco final with Kiwi Artem Sitak (l. to Zverev/Zverev), he enjoyed success with Brit Dominic Inglot. The pair triumphed in ’s-Hertogenbosch (d. Daniell/Koolhof) and Atlanta (d. Bryan/Bryan), and also advanced to the final in Los Cabos (l. to Arneodo/Nys).

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