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Durasovic/Ruud Complete Comeback For Norway

  • Posted: Jan 03, 2020

Durasovic/Ruud Complete Comeback For Norway

Bulgaria edges marathon against Great Britain

After saving two match points against John Isner to force a winner-takes-all doubles match at the ATP Cup, Casper Ruud combined with Viktor Durasovic to earn a 2-1 win for Team Norway against Team United States on Friday.

The Norwegian duo recovered from a set down in Perth to beat Austin Krajicek and Rajeev Ram 4-6, 6-3, 10-5 and move to 1-0 in Group D. Ruud and Durasovic won 78 per cent of service points (45/58) throughout the encounter to claim the win after 76 minutes.

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“I think I made a great effort today,” said Ruud. “We were one point away from losing the tie, and even if I’d lost [against Isner] 7-6, 7-6, I wouldn’t have thought I’d done a lot wrong. We tried to play aggressively in the doubles, against two good doubles players, but we’re good singles players and tried to win our way, not coming to the net a lot. We’re very happy to beat Team United States”.

Team Bulgaria also recovered from two match points down en route to a 2-1 victory in its opening tie against Team Great Britain. Grigor Dimitrov and Alexandar Lazarov claimed four consecutive points from 7/9 down in the Match Tie-break to stun Jamie Murray and Joe Salisbury 7-6(5), 6-7(2), 11-9. The tie, which featured deciding sets in each of its three matches, ended at 2:46am local time.

“I was just telling them, ‘Guys, this easily can be a historical moment for us. Just do it to remember.’ I don’t know if in the history, per se, but I think it means a lot for the whole team,” Dimitrov said. “That’s why we’re here. That’s why we play. I think this event has been a great start for us, great start of the year, great start of the event. But all I can say is I’m just really proud of the boys.”

After winning their singles matches, Felix Auger-Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov earned a third victory for Canada against Greece at Pat Rafter Arena. The #NextGenATP stars dropped just two points behind their first serves (24/26) to beat Michail Pervolarakis and Petros Tsitsipas 6-2, 6-3.

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Karen Khachanov and Daniil Medvedev were both on double duty for Team Russia in Perth. After Khachanov defeated Stefano Travaglia and Medvedev overcame Fabio Fognini in singles action, the Russian stars combined to beat Simone Bolelli and Paolo Lorenzi 6-4, 6-3.

Belgium secured its own 3-0 victory with doubles success as Sander Gille and Joran Vliegen edged Radu Albot and Alexander Cozbinov 6-7(5), 7-6(4), 11-9. Gille and Vliegen, who lifted three ATP Tour titles together in 2019, entered the contest with victory confirmed for Belgium after Steve Darcis and David Goffin’s singles victories.

There was also a home win for Team Australia’s Chris Guccione and John Peers. The doubles pairing added to the singles triumphs of Alex de Minaur and Nick Kyrgios to complete the 3-0 sweep for the home nation, defeating Nitto ATP Finals qualifiers Andreas Mies and Kevin Krawietz 6-3, 6-4.

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10 Take Aways From Day 1 At The ATP Cup

  • Posted: Jan 03, 2020

10 Take Aways From Day 1 At The ATP Cup

ATP Cup starts in style with six ties across Brisbane, Perth and Sydney

With fast starts, big upsets and winner-takes-all doubles contests, Day 1 featured plenty of excitement for ATP Cup fans in Brisbane, Perth and Sydney.

Here are 10 of the biggest take aways from the opening day of action:

1) Canada’s Next Gen: In the opening tie at Pat Rafter Arena, Canada began its bid for the ATP Cup crown with an impressive 3-0 victory against Greece. Felix Auger-Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov swept all six sets contested in the tie, claiming singles victories before combining well on the doubles court.

2) Kyrgios Shares Bushfire Emotions: After his straight-sets win against Jan-Lennard Struff in Brisbane, Nick Kyrgios took a moment to discuss the devastating bushfires across Australia and shared his heartache at conditions in his hometown of Canberra. Alongside the ATP Cup’s pledge to donate $10 to relief efforts for every ace hit during the 10-day competition, Kyrgios is one of many Team Australia stars that will be making personal donations for every ace they serve. There were 216 aces hit across Brisbane, Perth and Sydney on Day 1, raising $21,600.

3) Ruud Rallies: After Taylor Fritz’s win against Viktor Durasovic, John Isner held two match points against Casper Ruud in a second-set tie-break to claim victory for Team United States. But Ruud responded emphatically, stunning Isner in three sets before combining with Durasovic for a Match Tie-break win against Austin Krajicek and Rajeev Ram to earn Team Norway its first ATP Cup victory.

4) Never Give Up: Team Norway were not the only side to claim victory from the brink of defeat. In a tie-deciding doubles Match Tie-break against Team Great Britain, Team Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov and Alexandar Lazarov also recovered from two match points down to secure a 2-1 triumph for their country. Dimitrov and Lazarov won four consecutive points from 7/9 down to stun Jamie Murray and Joe Salisbury 7-6(5), 6-7(2), 11-9.

5) Video Review Makes ATP Cup Debut: David Goffin made ATP Cup history on Friday, becoming the first player to request a video review challenge. While his challenge to overturn a foot-fault call was unsuccessful, the World No. 11 did manage to gain the victory he needed most.

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6) Extra Warm Ups = Success: Due to the unpredictable nature of Steve Darcis’ match, Goffin warmed up on three separate occasions for his opening encounter. Once he found his way onto the court, the Belgian defeated Radu Albot 6-4, 6-1 to earn his country an unassailable 2-0 lead.

7) A Home Win: Team Australia made the perfect start to its ATP Cup title bid, defeating Team Germany 3-0. Nick Kyrgios gave the home nation its opening point, before Alex de Minaur recovered from 4-6, 2-4 down to beat Alexander Zverev for the first time in five ATP Head2Head clashes 4-6, 7-6(3), 6-2. Chris Guccione and John Peers completed the tie with a 6-3, 6-4 triumph against Roland Garros champions Kevin Krawietz and Andreas Mies.

8) Russia Rolling: Karen Khachanov and Daniil Medvedev carried Team Russia to a 3-0 victory against Team Italy in their opening tie at the ATP Cup. Khachanov’s 7-5, 6-3 win against Stefano Travaglia earned Marat Safin’s side a 1-0 lead, before Medvedev doubled Team Russia’s advantage with a 1-6, 6-1, 6-3 triumph against Fabio Fognini. The two stars combined in doubles, beating Simone Bolelli and Paolo Lorenzi 6-4, 6-3.

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9) Team Zone Success: Team spirit was on full show on Day 1, as players were seated in designated Team Zones in the corners of the Brisbane, Sydney and Perth’s stadium courts. Players, captains and coaches on received regular support from their team and took advantage of real-time statistics, data, insights and match vision.

10) Doubles Deciders: Occupying the third and final match slot in all ATP Cup ties, there is always a chance of doubles playing a winner-takes-all role at the tournament. In two of six Day 1 ties, the winning country was decided by doubles clashes as Team Norway and Team Bulgaria both triumphed in Match Tie-breaks.

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Australian bushfires: Nick Kyrgios tearful after raising A$4,000 in ATP Cup win

  • Posted: Jan 03, 2020

Australian number two Nick Kyrgios says it is “tough” to see the impact of widespread bushfires in the country after he raised 4,000 Australian dollars to help tackle the issue.

Kyrgios, 24, has pledged to donate 200 dollars for every ace he hits at every tournament he enters in January.

He hit 20 aces in his ATP Cup match against Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff.

“I don’t care about the praise too much. We have the ability and platform to do something,” Kyrgios said.

World number 30 Kyrgios, along with a number of other players, are donating money for every ace hit in events held in Australia in January to help those affected by the bushfires.

Tennis Australia has committed a 100 Australian dollar (£53) donation for every ace served at the ATP Cup in Brisbane, Perth and Sydney.

The first day of the tournament saw $21,600 (£11,500) raised for the Australian Red Cross bushfire disaster relief after the players hit 216 aces. Big-serving American John Isner served out more aces (33) in his match against Norway’s Casper Ruud than any other player.

Kyrgios said: “I just chucked up a tweet and everyone got behind it. It is bigger than tennis.

“It’s going to all the families, firefighters, animals, everyone who is losing homes, losing families. It’s a real thing.

“My hometown is Canberra and it’s got the most toxic air in the world. That’s sad. It is tough.”

Kyrgios is one of the players taking part in a specially arranged exhibition match in Melbourne to raise funds for bushfire relief.

The exhibition match at Rod Laver Arena on Wednesday, 15 January is one of a number of fundraising events before the Australian Open.

Tennis Australia says “many of the world’s best players” will take part, with others involved to be revealed in the coming days.

“It is heartbreaking to see the devastation the bushfires are wreaking across the country,” said Tennis Australia boss Craig Tiley.

“We are working closely with the top players and have already had a great response, with many of them keen to help this incredibly important cause.”

The Apis Canberra International tournament, which is an men’s ATP Challenger and women’s ITF event, will relocate to Bendigo because of the fires in the region.

British player Katie Swan is set to play in the event and expressed her sympathies to those affected in what she described as a “terrible time”.

The Australian navy has evacuated around 1,000 tourists and residents who were trapped in the fire-ravaged town of Mallacoota on the Victoria coast, about 300 miles east of Melbourne.

Thousands of people are also fleeing parts of neighbouring New South Wales, where a week-long state of emergency is in force.

Since September, fires have killed at least 20 people in the two states and dozens remain missing.

The Australian Open, which is the first Grand Slam of the year, starts in Melbourne on 20 January.

Meanwhile, leading Australian horse racing jockeys say they will donate winnings this month to those affected by the bushfires.

The multiple Group One-winning Sydney rider Tommy Berry has pledged 250 Australian dollars (£133) for every winner in January to the Red Cross Bushfire Appeal.

Fellow jockey Damian Lane said he would match the offer, while apprentice Chris Williams also pledged to donate.

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ATP Cup: Great Britain lose to Bulgaria after Jamie Murray and Joe Salisbury defeat

  • Posted: Jan 03, 2020

Britain lost their opening ATP Cup tie after Jamie Murray and Joe Salisbury were beaten in a thrilling match ending at 2:47am local time in Sydney.

With the tie with Bulgaria locked at 1-1 after the singles, Salisbury and Murray lost 7-6 (7-5) 6-7 (2-7) 11-9 to Grigor Dimitrov and Alexandar Lazarov.

The Britons were unable to convert two match points in the match tie-break.

Britain started the inaugural event with Cameron Norrie’s win before Dan Evans lost to Dimitrov in the singles.

Norrie gave his side a 1-0 lead in the tie with a 6-2 3-6 6-2 victory over world number 423 Dimitar Kuzmanov, but Bulgaria levelled when US Open semi-finalist Dimitrov beat Evans 6-2 4-6 6-1 to set up the deciding doubles rubber.

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After taking on Bulgaria, Britain face Belgium on Sunday and Moldova on Tuesday in their other round-robin ties.

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.

James Ward was called up alongside Evans and Norrie as the singles players, with doubles specialists Jamie Murray and Salisbury completing the five-man team.

Norrie, ranked 53rd in the world, was far from his best against the lower-ranked Kuzmanov, but eventually had enough quality to come through by converting his sixth break point of the match to win in almost two hours.

Murray’s absence means Evans, the world number 42, is Britain’s leading player and that pitted him against former world number three Dimitrov.

After a confident opening set where he broke serve three times, Evans lost his way in the second and allowed Dimitrov to level with a crucial break in what proved to be the final game of the set.

From that point Dimitrov took control and clinched victory in two hours and 16 minutes at about 12:10am local time, meaning the doubles rubber would not start until about 1am.

What else happened on the opening day?

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.

Australia took an unassailable 2-0 lead over Group F rivals Germany after wins for Nick Kyrgios, who broke into tears when speaking about the wild bushfires across Australia after the match, and Alex de Minaur.

Kyrgios won 6-4 7-6 (7-4) against Jan-Lennard Struff before 20-year-old De Minaur fought back from a set and a break down to beat world number seven Alexander Zverev 4-6 7-6 (7-3) 6-2.

The hosts completed a 3-0 win when John Peers and Chris Guccione won 6-3 6-4 against French Open men’s doubles champions Kevin Krawietz and Andreas Mies.

In the same group, Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov led their nation, who were runners-up at the Davis Cup finals in November, to a 3-0 win over Greece.

Norway earned a shock win over the United States in Group D. Talented 21-year-old Casper Ruud led them to victory by beating big-serving John Isner in three sets.

The Americans had led through Taylor Fritz’s straight-set win over Viktor Durasovic but Ruud saved two match points before levelling the tie with a 6-7 (3-7) 7-6 (12-10) 7-5 win over the world number 19 in two hours and 43 minutes.

Ruud then teamed up with Durasovic to beat Rajeev Ram and Austin Krajicek and spark jubilant celebrations from the Norway squad.

In Britain’s Group C, Belgium eased to a 3-0 victory over Moldova, who received an apology after the wrong anthem was played before their tie.

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Dimitrov Delivers, Doubles To Decide Tie

  • Posted: Jan 03, 2020

Dimitrov Delivers, Doubles To Decide Tie

Norrie gave Great Britain the advantage after the first match

Grigor Dimitrov has delivered in a big way for his country in the early moments of Saturday morning, forcing a deciding doubles match to determine the winner between his Team Bulgaria and Team Great Britain on the first day of the inaugural ATP Cup.

Dimitrov beat Daniel Evans 2-6, 6-4, 6-1 in an entertaining all-court affair that ended at 12:10am local time in Sydney. Bulgaria’s No. 1 singles player and captain could now elect to return to Ken Rosewall Arena for the doubles match.

The eight-time ATP Tour titlist entered his match with Evans with a 2-1 FedEx ATP Head2Head series lead against the Brit, whom he defeated in straight sets in Chengdu last September. But in the early going, the 2017 Nitto ATP Finals champion struggled to find a rhythm against the slicing and dicing off Evans’ racquet.

However, Dimitrov never dipped his head in his first match of the season, blasting away on the backhand side, creating a highlight reel of one-handed lasers. And after two hours and 16 minutes, Dimitrov earned the victory when Evans mishit a volley.

<a href=''>Cameron Norrie</a>

In the tie’s No. 2 singles match, Cameron Norrie beat Dimitar Kuzmanov 6-2, 3-6, 6-2 to give Team Great Britain a 1-0 lead.

Norrie first played Kuzmanov at a Futures event in 2014, losing just two games. The lefty didn’t have it anywhere near as easy Friday evening in Sydney, but he got the job done nonetheless.

“It was a tough match. It’s the first match of the year. So, yeah, I came out playing great. It was a real physical first set, and then literally one little lapse in concentration, and then I was down a break and he actually played solid. I didn’t really have any chances in the second,” Norrie said. “Obviously there were a couple doubts in the second, but no, I was actually real happy with the way I competed and the way I carried myself.”

The difference in the match was Norrie’s success with his swinging lefty serve, helping him win 83 per cent of his first-serve points en route to a two-hour victory. He broke serve six times, including on four occasions in the third set.

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Interestingly Norrie won his lowest rate of first-serve points in the final set (69%), but he improved his return pressure, winning 74 per cent of his return points in the decider.

The 24-year-old Norrie enjoyed the best season of his young career in 2019, breaking into the Top 50 of the FedEx ATP Rankings in March before reaching a career-high No. 41 in May. And with his triumph against Kuzmanov, the Brit appears poised for a fast start once again.

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Team Zones Prove A Hit At 2020 ATP Cup

  • Posted: Jan 03, 2020

Team Zones Prove A Hit At 2020 ATP Cup

Real-time stats and close proximity to team mates develops team spirit

Tennis fans attending the ATP Cup in Brisbane, Perth or Sydney, or tuning in globally to coverage may be struck by the number of breaks with tradition at the 2020 ATP Tour season opener.

One such innovation is Team Zones, positioned in the corners of the three stadium courts, bringing a highly visibly support team to each player, with captain, players and even coaching all working together in support of the star stepping between the lines.

Teams competing across the three Australian cities on Friday welcomed the addition, replacing traditional benches located by the umpire’s chair, and the real-time statistics, data, insights and match vision on offer in the Team Zone.

“In ATP tournaments normally you cannot even communicate with your coach, you’re by yourself and thinking by yourself,” said Karen Khachanov, who looked at real-time statistics with captain Marat Safin when representing Team Russia in Perth. “You’re trying to analyse what’s going on and here you have your whole team behind you, your personal coach, captain. The stats enable you to talk about every point and I think it’s a really good addition.”

John Isner, competing for Team United States at the RAC Arena in Perth, and Felix Auger-Aliassime, who won for Team Canada on Pat Rafter Arena in Brisbane on Friday, welcomed the addition of being closer to coaches and team mates.

“I thought it was different walking to the other side of the court, but I liked it,” said Isner. “I think the concept out there is very cool and very unique. I think every player’s enjoying it, I enjoy playing on a team. When you play on a team, it’s awesome when you win and help your team out, but it stinks when you lose.”

“You hear more people behind your back, so it’s a different feeling,” said Auger-Aliassime. “I personally like this feeling. It’s good to have teammates cheering you on and it’s exciting.”

“As soon as they have something or they saw something that they want to share with me, it will could be said straight away,” said David Goffin of Team Belgium. “It’s going to be fun. Also, to have them just really close from the baseline, because it’s in the two corners. So it’s going to be nice.”

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For Stefanos Tsitsipas, who is currently No. 6 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, bringing Team Greece to Brisbane for the ATP Cup experience is something positive for his players.

The World No. 6 said: “Surely I cannot picture anything better than this right now. There hasn’t been an event which draws so much attention like the ATP Cup. For me, it’s an extra honour to be sharing the court with and giving the opportunity to my fellow tennis players from the same country and giving me the opportunity to witness this and play in a big stage. The ATP Cup was No. 1 priority for me when it was announced.”

Denis Shapovalov, who beat Tsitsipas in Group F on Friday for Team Canada, said: “It’s just an unbelievable feeling and obviously tournaments like this are just so much fun. And I think for the fans it’s so much more fun as well, because it gets so loud and they really get more into it. So I think it’s great for everyone.”

Team Norway captain Christian Ruud, who helped his son Casper Ruud to save two match points in victory over Isner in Perth on Friday, welcomed the statistical insight, but was cautious about relying on it too much.

“We were looking at mostly where John served, but it’s always difficult with statistics,” said Christian Ruud. “He was serving a lot wide in the Ad court, then served four aces down the T. So we were hoping on big points he was going wide, but then he changes his rhythm. So it’s a little hard to read. But the opponent can also see what Casper is trying to do. It’s a useful tool, but it can also confuse you. Casper got angry with me, because I told him that Isner was serving a lot wide, then he served down the T. So I stopped looking at it for a few games and you have to get the feel for what’s coming. You can’t always look at statistics because you have to play the ball and every ball is different.”

After recording the biggest win of his career, Casper Ruud said: “It was a fun thing to do to try out and credit to the ATP for trying something new out, as tennis has been the same for many years. ATP is trying to make some small, slight chances. It’s not the biggest deal, but it’s nice to have your coach there. You get that team spirit feeling.”

When asked about the atmosphere in the Team Zone, Diego Schwartzman of Team Argentina, said: “It’s very nice, because every single part of the tournament we are enjoying a little bit more, with the players from Argentina, with our coaches. So everything I think has a plus, and it’s very nice for every single player in the team.”

“It’s a great idea,” said Team Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz. “It’s going to be so much fun with all of the players here from Poland, and obviously with a coach being on the side trying to help me. So it’s going to be a lot of fun.”

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Spain Ready To Fight For ATP Cup Trophy

  • Posted: Jan 03, 2020

Spain Ready To Fight For ATP Cup Trophy

Nadal leads the squad in Group F in Perth

With World No. 1 Rafael Nadal leading the way, Spain will begin their campaign in the inaugural ATP Cup against Georgia this Saturday in Perth. They have their sights set on reaching the Final Eight in Sydney and emerging victorious in the new team competition, which brings 24 countries together to open the 2020 season on the ATP Tour.

Captained by Francisco Roig, Nadal, Roberto Bautista Agut, Pablo Carreno Busta, Feliciano Lopez and Albert Ramos-Vinolas will initially be bidding to come through Group B, which also includes Japan and Uruguay. In the build-up to Spain’s opener, the players spoke to about their expectations of the ATP Cup and their chances at victory.

Nadal: We’re talking about a new competition that we’re all really excited about. Being able to share these days with teammates makes it a unique and special situation. We’ve always had a good understanding as a team. It personally makes me happy to start the 2020 season by sharing the ATP Cup with them.

Bautista Agut: It means a lot to me to be with the Spanish team here in Perth. I have dreamed of being in the group since I was little because of the atmosphere and spirit within the team. I think that’s what makes us truly special.

Carreno Busta: For me, being at the ATP Cup is also a good opportunity. But we are Spain and that means that I’m in the same team as the No. 1 and No. 9 in the [ATP Rankings], so there’s not much chance of me playing singles matches. Regarding the competition, I’m going to give my all. Training sessions this week will be essential to find some rhythm for the rest of the season.

Lopez: It’s a good chance for us to prepare well and be able to play in this new event, which will be a very positive thing. Playing in a team is different, but I really like it. [I like] being able to experience everything that happens throughout these days with with teammates I’ve known for many years. Let’s see if we have a little luck and things turn out well.

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Bautista Agut: Hopefully we can do something significant this week. The team is ready to play well. Tennis is a very difficult sport, but team tournaments are even more so. That’s why they’re so special.

Nadal: We have to be ready to fight for everything. Our team is complete and if we’re all playing our best, we have a chance to do something significant. We have to work to find our best individual games.

Ramos-Vinolas. I’m very happy to be here, to have the opportunity to play in the ATP Cup with these great players. All of them are great champions. I know that maybe I won’t play many matches, but coming to Perth was a good idea in terms of the opportunity to prepare well for other tournaments. I hope to be able to enjoy the competition from the outside.

Lopez: We all have to be prepared so that if we have the opportunity to compete, we are at 100 per cent and can perform well.

Nadal: At the end of the day, we have to be honest with ourselves. What we have to achieve is for every individual to perform their best. That’s the basic principle of success. Of course, we want the atmosphere to be good, as it almost always has been in recent years. It helps you work with an energy that helps everyone be able to find that extra level we need.

Lopez: The good vibes among the team are fundamental, but Spain has had so much success because of the possible combinations available to us. It’s a blessing and an advantage that few other countries have.

Nadal: You have to keep an eye on the decisions that are made during the competition for doubles, resting… We’re lucky to have Francis here, who has been on the Tour for many years and knows us all very well. That’ll make decisions easier for him, which could be decisive in important moments in terms of our chances for victory.

Roig: It’s an honour to be captain of this team. Each one of them comes here after their pre-season and they are already prepared. As soon as we got to Perth, we tried to get the maximum out of each player. I think the team looks pretty good. I’m confident that we will continue to improve so that we are firing on all cylinders and things go well in the coming days.

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ATP Cup: Moldova receive apology after wrong anthem played in Australia

  • Posted: Jan 03, 2020

ATP Cup organisers have apologised to Moldova after the wrong national anthem was played before their opening match in the new team tournament.

The Romanian national anthem was instead played before their match against Belgium in Sydney on Friday.

“At the start of the Moldova v Belgium match we mistakenly played the wrong national anthem for Moldova,” the ATP said.

“We are sincerely sorry and have apologised personally to Team Moldova.”

  • All you need to know about the ATP Cup
  • Kyrgios to donate aces money to bushfires fundraising efforts

Moldova was one of the last countries to qualify for the inaugural team event being played in Sydney, Brisbane and Perth.

The European nation is being led by world number 46 Radu Albot, who became his country’s first ATP Tour title winner when he beat Britain’s Dan Evans at last year’s Delray Beach Open in Florida.

Moldova have been drawn in the same group as Britain, who are without the injured Andy Murray, as well as Belgium and Bulgaria.

The ATP Cup sees 24 nations split into six groups across the three Australian cities, with eight teams qualifying from the round-robin stage to compete in a knockout phase in Sydney.

The start of the tournament has been overshadowed by the widespread bushfires which have affected Australia.

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Team Spain Captain Roig Excited To Start Playing At ATP Cup

  • Posted: Jan 03, 2020

Team Spain Captain Roig Excited To Start Playing At ATP Cup

Nadal’s coach optimistic of his squad’s chances

Ahead of Spain’s first match at the ATP Cup on Saturday against Georgia in Group F action, team captain Francisco Roig shared his thoughts on getting the team ready for battle.

My experience as captain of the Spanish ATP Cup team after a few days in Perth has been very positive.

The main thing over these days has been organising the schedules for the training sessions because we have five players on the team. It’s something you have to start thinking about the day before. If you leave it until the night, you’re too late. You have to reserve the court time, manage the press side of things and the player obligations. We have everything scheduled, but you have to organise the training sessions for the five players and take each of their individual preferences into account.

It’s true that you don’t have to make many decisions later because the top two-ranked players have the right to play in singles and it’s up to them. The place where you can intervene is in the doubles, where there is more of an opportunity to play with a strategy.

We’ve trained really well and the atmosphere is very good, as it always is on the Spanish team. From day to day, the ATP Cup is similar to the team competitions we are familiar with, but it’s different than what we are used to on the ATP Tour, where everyone does their own thing. Some days we’ve gone to dinner together as a team, but on other days it’s depended on their individual schedules.

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The reality is that we are well-prepared. On top of that, we have a favourable draw. We’re going to train for doubles tomorrow and the team is very excited to take to the court and play.

Even though I’m the captain, I’m also really going to rely on the players’ coaches, as we did this week in training sessions. Rafael Nadal is my player. With Roberto Bautista Agut, I’ll have his coach, Pepe Vendrell, by my side so I can tell him anything I might see. There will be a lot of communication because we’ll all be together on the bench.

There’s not long left now until our opener, so we’re going to play training matches today in competition conditions. One will be between Pablo Carreno Busta and Feliciano Lopez, and then another with Albert Ramos-Vinolas and [Russian] Teymuraz Gabashvili. These matches are very good because they are real matches with an umpire and ball boys.

I am fully confident that they will all be ready for when we start on Saturday against Georgia.

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