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Are You Not Entertained? Tommy Paul Is

  • Posted: Mar 07, 2020

Are You Not Entertained? Tommy Paul Is

American is at a career-high No. 57 in the FedEx ATP Rankings

Tommy Paul’s parents introduced him to tennis at seven. He’d train on clay, with no hard courts available at the club where he played. But something that stuck with him during his junior years had nothing to do with his own tennis.

“I felt like there were a lot of kids my age when I was younger who were playing the same tournaments and practising at the same places as me that just felt like they were miserable when they were practising,” Paul told “I took pride in not feeling miserable on court. If I ever felt like I didn’t want to be there, [I would] just kind of mess around and have a little bit more fun with myself on the court. That’s always been my personality.”

The American, who will be making his first main draw appearance at the BNP Paribas Open next week, simply wants to enjoy his time on the tennis court. Once in a while Paul will get upset with a poor decision or shot, but more often he’ll crack a refreshing smile, even in a match’s tightest moments.

“I want people to have fun watching me. I want them to see me having fun and I want them to enjoy watching it. I don’t want to be a boring guy out on the court,” Paul said. “Sometimes I’m a little too quiet and sometimes I get a little too angry, but for the most part I like to have fun and entertain the crowd.”

Paul has plenty of reasons to smile these days. Following last year’s US Open, he cracked the Top 100 of the FedEx ATP Rankings for the first time. Six months later, he’s up to a career-best World No. 57, and he doesn’t appear to be slowing down.

“It’s about putting matches together. To really move up in the rankings, it is not [about] winning one or two matches in a row. You’ve got to have good weeks. You’ve got to play great for full weeks at a time and have multiple of those,” Paul said. “That’s my biggest focus this year, putting together full weeks of really good tennis.”

Mission accomplished thus far. Paul qualified for the Adelaide International in January, advancing to his first ATP Tour semi-final at that ATP 250. At the Australian Open, he beat 2017 Nitto ATP Finals champion Grigor Dimitrov. Most recently, the American earned his first Top 10 win against 2018 Nitto ATP Finals titlist Alexander Zverev at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel presentado por HSBC en route to the quarter-finals.

“[I just have to] continue to do the right things, try to stick with the same routines as I had at the end of last year and through the beginning of this year,” Paul said. “I’m still the same person, still having fun. Just trying to make better decisions.”

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Paul, With Courier’s Former Coach, Ready To Make Good On Potential

Paul has been open about the struggles he faced early on during his ATP Tour career. He won the 2015 Roland Garros boys’ singles crown and reached that year’s US Open boys’ singles final, but it took him more than four years after that to break into the Top 100. He has admitted to not fully taking care of his body.

But now he spends more time at the gym and with the physios, and that is reflected in his results. Towards the end of last season, Paul also began working with a new coach, Brad Stine, whom has mentored former World No. 1 Jim Courier and two-time Grand Slam finalist Kevin Anderson. In a way, Paul now has taken on more responsibility, which has only helped.

“I just feel like everything’s more comfortable for me and a lot less stress,” Paul said. “It’s cool. It’s different kind of coaching than I’ve been used to. He actually lives out in California, I live in South Florida. I fly him out to do practice weeks in Florida and he comes to all the tournaments with me. It’s different. I have to do a lot more stuff on my own, setting up practices on my own sometimes when he’s not there in South Florida. Kind of just taking more initiative.”

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Stine is not trying to reinvent Paul. Instead he is refining the 22-year-old, giving him the tools necessary to enjoy maximum success.

“One of the things I’ve said from the start is that I’m not trying to take the fun out of it for him; I want him to enjoy himself. I want him to have fun on the practice court, but at the same time be focussed on the things that we’re trying to accomplish,” Stine told “He’s been really, really good about that. Off-season was phenomenal with him. I was really impressed with his work ethic and attitude coming to the court every day.”

Paul has plenty of weapons to go with that. The 6’1” right-hander has a heavy forehand that he uses to find acute angles on the court and play aggressive baseline tennis. He is also extremely quick, which allows him to stay in points defensively. But perhaps most importantly, Paul embraces the big moments.

The American was struggling physically against Dimitrov late in their Melbourne clash. Paul let slip a two-set lead, and the Bulgarian served for the match in the fifth set and held a 30/0 lead. But Paul put a smile on his face and battled until the end, ultimately triumphing.

“I always felt like in juniors you kind of just love the battle. Some people thrive in those situations and I can’t think of a better situation to have fun on a tennis court than going five sets at the Australian Open,” Paul said. “That’s where everyone wants to be. If you’re not enjoying that, you shouldn’t be playing tennis.”

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Colombia Beats 2016 Champs Argentina To Reach Davis Cup Finals

  • Posted: Mar 07, 2020

Colombia Beats 2016 Champs Argentina To Reach Davis Cup Finals

Bryan Brothers send Americans to Madrid, Cilic clinches Croatia’s victory against India

Venue: Palacio de los Deportes, Bogotá, COL (clay – indoor)

Colombians Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah, the 2019 year-end No. 1 doubles team, won a tight doubles rubber on Saturday before Daniel Elahi Galan finished the job for the home country, defeating 2016 champions Argentina to reach the Davis Cup Finals.

Cabal and Farah broke a 1-1 split in the tie with a 6-3, 6-7(3), 7-5 victory against veterans Maximo Gonzalez and Horacio Zeballos to give Colombia the advantage. Gonzalez and Zeballos triumphed at 2019 Buenos Aires and reached another two ATP Tour finals together last year, and they put up a big battle against the Colombians. But Cabal and Farah did not face a break point in their victory, setting the stage for Galan.

The World No. 148 defeated Juan Ignacio Londero 6-3, 6-4 in 75 minutes to clinch the tie for his country. Galan also won his first singles rubber of the weekend on Friday, beating Santiago Giraldo.

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USA defeats UZBEKISTAN 4-0
Venue: Neal S. Blaisdell Center, Honolulu, USA (hard – indoor)

Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan rejoined the American Davis Cup team for one final tie before retiring at this year’s US Open. The twins went out in style, sending the Americans to Madrid with a 6-3, 6-4 win against Sanjar Fayziev and Denis Istomin.

“We’re always happy to do our job,” Mike Bryan told “To clinch a tie? We’ve only had that opportunity a few times in our career. That felt really good. You don’t get to run around with the flag on court at home very often.”

The Bryan Brothers are gathering momentum in their final season, recently lifting the trophy at the Delray Beach Open by

Tommy Paul, who was the only American to not yet see action, completed the 4-0 sweep with a 6-3, 6-0 triumph in the dead singles rubber against Istomin.

CROATIA defeats INDIA 3-1
Venue: Dom Sportova, Zagreb, CRO (hard – indoor)

Forty-six-year-old Leander Paes and countryman Rohan Bopanna won a thrilling doubles rubber on Saturday to keep India’s hopes alive, beating Croatia’s Mate Pavic and Franko Skugor 6-3, 6-7(9), 7-5. But it was not enough.

Marin Cilic sealed the tie for his country, routing Sumit Nagal 6-0, 6-1 to give Croatia an insurmountable 3-1 lead. The tie’s final rubber was not played. Cilic only lost eight service points in the match, breaking serve five times en route to a 56-minute victory. 

Venue: Memorial Drive Tennis Club, Adelaide, AUS (hard – outdoor)

Brazil put forth a valiant effort, wrestling the doubles point from Australia in Adelaide to begin play on Saturday. But John Millman refused to let down his country.

World No. 43 Millman clawed past Thiago Monteiro 6-7(6), 7-6(3), 7-6(3) to clinch Australia’s 3-1 win in the tie. It was the second time Millman had to win a second-set tie-break to force a decider in two days, but the 30-year-old came through once again.

“It was something pretty special this weekend and I enjoyed every second of it,” Millman told “It was so much fun, emotional roller-coaster, and so happy to get through and do it with these boys.”

Earlier in the day, Marcelo Demoliner and Felipe Meligeni Rodrigues Alves beat James Duckworth and John Peers 5-7, 7-5, 7-6(6) to keep Brazil’s hopes alive. 

ATP Heritage: Milestones. Records. Legends.

Venue: Steiermarkhalle Schwarzlsee, Graz I Premstätten, AUT (hard – indoor) 

Austrian doubles stalwarts Oliver Marach and Jurgen Melzer gave their country the edge against Uruguay to begin Saturday’s action in front of their home fans, and in-form Dennis Novak finished off the visitors.

Marach and Melzer rallied past Ariel Behar and Pablo Cuevas 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 in two hours and five minutes, converting the only break point they earned in the third set. Then Novak, who is at a career-high World No. 85, came back to beat Cuevas 2-6, 6-3, 6-4.

Novak defeated both Cuevas brothers in singles this weekend, easing past Martin Cuevas on Friday.

ECUADOR defeats JAPAN 3-0
Venue: Bourbon Beans Dome, Miki, JPN (hard – indoor)

Ecuador was the first country to win its Davis Cup Qualifier, beating Japan 3-0. Gonzalo Escobar and Diego Hidalgo clinched the tie with a 7-6(3), 6-3 victory against 2017 Tokyo champions Ben Mclachlan/Yasutaka Uchiyama.

Ecuador sprinted to the lead on Friday when Emilio Gomez and Roberto Quiroz both secured singles triumphs. There were no fans in the crowd for this tie as a precautionary measure due to the coronavirus.

SWEDEN defeats CHILE 3-1
Venue: The Royal Tennis Hall (Kungl. Tennishallen), Stockholm, SWE (hard – indoor)

Two generations of Swedish players led their country to the Davis Cup Finals on Saturday. Entering the day, Sweden and Chile were level at 1-1. But 42-year-old Robert Lindstedt and 30-year-old Markus Eriksson beat Chileans Marcelo Tomas Barrios Vera and Alejandro Tabilo (CHI) 6-4, 6-4 to give the home side the advantage.

2019 Next Gen ATP Finals competitor Mikael Ymer, 21, then rallied for a tie-clinching 3-6, 7-5, 6-3 win against Tabilo. Tabilo beat the older Ymer brother, Elias Ymer, on Friday. But Mikael broke three times in the second set to turn the tide and then converted his only opportunity in the decider to triumph.

Venue: Fonix Hall, Debrecen, HUN (clay – indoor)

Sander Gille and Joran Vliegen scored a 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 win against Attila Balazs and Marton Fucsovics to give Belgium a 2-1 lead on Saturday, but the Hungarians stormed back for a 3-2 victory in the tie.

Balazs levelled the tie by cruising past Kimmer Coppejans 6-3, 6-0, overcoming the disappointment of not only the doubles loss, but a Friday singles loss. That set the stage for a deciding rubber in which Fucsovics fought past Ruben Bemelmans 6-7(7), 6-4, 6-2.

ITALY defeats KOREA, REP. 4-0
Venue: Circolo Tennis Cagliari, Cagliari, ITA (clay – outdoor)

The Italians did not drop any of their eight sets played against South Korea, earning a 4-0 victory in their Davis Cup Qualifier.

Simone Bolelli and Fabio Fognini clinched the tie on Saturday with a 6-3, 6-1 win against Ji Sung Nam and Min-Kyu Song. Stefano Travaglia beat Yunseong Chung 6-0, 6-1 in a dead rubber.

Venue: Castello Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf, GER (hard – indoor)

Kevin Krawietz and Andreas Mies showed on Saturday the clutch part of their games that helped them win last year’s Roland Garros title and qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals. The doubles stars gave Germany a 2-1 lead over Belarus with a 6-4, 7-6(5) victory against Ilya Ivashka and Andrei Vasilevski.

That allowed powerful right-hander Jan-Lennard Struff to seal the tie with a 6-3, 6-2 win against Egor Gerasimov, who beat Philipp Kohlschreiber on Friday. Dominik Koepfer added a win for Germany, defeating Daniil Ostapenkov 6-0, 6-2.

Venue: National Tennis Center, Nur-Sultan, KAZ (hard – indoor)

Kazakhstan used an all-around team effort to earn its spot in Madrid, defeating the Netherlands 3-1.

Andrey Golubev and Aleksandr Nedovyesov won a crucial doubles rubber with a 6-3, 6-3 victory against Robin Haase and Jean-Julien Rojer. That gave in-form Alexander Bublik an opportunity to clinch the tie, and he did not let slip that chance.

Bublik beat Dutch veteran Haase 7-6(4), 6-1. The 22-year-old won both of his singles matches this weekend, also defeating Tallon Griekspoor on Friday.

Venue: AXA Arena NTC, Bratislava, SVK (clay – indoor)

2019 Nitto ATP Finals doubles competitor Filip Polasek and his countryman, Igor Zelenay, gave Slovakia its first point against the Czech Republic with a 6-4, 6-4 triumph against Jonas Forejtek and Zdenek Kolar.

But Jiri Vesely got his country back on track, defeating Andrej Martin 4-6, 7-5, 7-5 to send the Czech Republic to Madrid. Vesely, this year’s Pune champion, also beat Jozef Kovalik on Friday.

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Davis Cup: Ecuador stun Japan to reach Finals week in Madrid

  • Posted: Mar 07, 2020

Ecuador stunned Japan in Miki to reach Davis Cup Finals week in November.

The tie was played behind closed doors because of the coronavirus and world number 17s Japan were without key players against 27th-ranked Ecuador.

Gonzalo Escobar and Diego Hidalgo won the doubles rubbers 7-6 (7-3) 6-3 against Ben McLachlan and Yasutaka Uchiyama to complete a 3-0 victory.

Sweden, Austria and Hungary will all make their first appearance at the Finals, in Madrid from 23-29 November.

Defending champions Spain, 2019 runners-up Canada, semi-finalists Russia and Great Britain and wild cards Serbia and France were already assured of their places.

Hungary’s tie against Belgium was the only qualifier to go to a deciding rubber, with Marton Fucsovics defeating Ruben Bemelmans 6-7 (7) 6-4 6-2 to complete a comeback from 2-1 down for the hosts in Debrecen.

Sweden secured a 3-1 win over Chile as 21-year-old Mikael Ymer recorded a three-set victory against Alejandro Tabilo.

Austria were without their number one Dominic Thiem, but Dennis Novak beat Pablo Cuevas 2-6 6-3 6-4 after Jurgen Melzer and Oliver Marach had edged a tight doubles to seal a 3-1 win.

Last year’s quarter-finalists Germany saw off Belarus 4-1, while Alexander Bublik won both his singles matches to help Kazakhstan to a 3-1 success over the Netherlands.

Marin Cilic lost just one game against Sumit Nagal to give 2018 champions Croatia a 3-1 victory over India, while John Millman won three tie-breaks against Thiago Monteiro as Australia beat Brazil 3-1 in Adelaide.

Italy against South Korea was also played behind closed doors in Cagliari, the hosts easing to a 4-0 victory.

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Sock, Sandgren & 18-Year-Old Nakashima Headline Indian Wells Wild Cards

  • Posted: Mar 07, 2020

Sock, Sandgren & 18-Year-Old Nakashima Headline Indian Wells Wild Cards

16-year-old Spaniard Alcaraz receives a qualifying wild card

Former BNP Paribas Open singles semi-finalist Jack Sock leads the main draw wild cards at the season’s first ATP Masters 1000 event, the tournament announced Saturday. Four other Americans also received a wild card: two-time Australian Open quarter-finalist Tennys Sandgren, 18-year-old Brandon Nakashima, Marco Giron and Mitchell Krueger.

Sock, who reached the last four at Indian Wells in 2017, has climbed as high as No. 8 in the FedEx ATP Rankings. Currently World No. 768 after struggling with injuries, Sock has shown improved form at this week’s ATP Challenger Tour event held at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. He upset top-seeded Ugo Humbert in straight sets before battling past No. 13 seed Evgeny Donskoy and No. 11 seed Denis Kudla, both in three sets, to make the semi-finals.

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Sock’s opponent in that Challenger semi-final, Nakashima, is enjoying a breakthrough season. The teen won his first two tour-level matches at the Delray Beach Open by, and now he is two victories from earning his maiden ATP Challenger Tour crown.

Sandgren’s FedEx ATP Ranking of World No. 55 would be plenty to get him into the main draw if the cut-off was today, but it came before his run at this year’s Australian Open, where he fell just short against Roger Federer in the quarter-finals. The 28-year-old won his first ATP Tour title last year in Auckland, and he will be competing in the Indian Wells main draw for the third consecutive year.

ATP Heritage: Milestones. Records. Legends.

Giron and Krueger were awarded wild cards based on their performances over the course of the 2019-2020 Oracle Challenger Series. The series is comprised of four 125-level tournaments on the ATP Challenger Tour, moving from New Haven to Houston to Newport Beach and culminating this week in Indian Wells.

Giron reached the final in New Haven and lifted the trophy in Houston, before advancing to the quarter-finals this week. The California native scored one of the biggest results of his career at last year’s BNP Paribas Open, by qualifying and then defeating Jeremy Chardy and Alex de Minaur to reach the third round, where he lost a three-setter against Milos Raonic.

Krueger registered three semi-final finishes to punch his ticket, advancing to the last four in Houston, Newport Beach and Indian Wells. He earned his biggest victory over top seed Taylor Fritz in Newport Beach.

Qualifying wild cards were awarded to Americans Michael Mmoh, J.J. Wolf, Thai-Son Kwiatkowski and Govind Nanda, as well as 16-year-old Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz.

Did You Know?
Sock is a two-time doubles titlist at Indian Wells. He triumphed alongside Vasek Pospisil in 2015 and John Isner in 2018.

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Why The Math Adds Up For Milos Raonic

  • Posted: Mar 07, 2020

Why The Math Adds Up For Milos Raonic

Learn what makes the former World No. 3 tick

Milos Raonic has experienced some of tennis’ highest highs. A former World No. 3 and Grand Slam finalist, the Canadian has played on all the biggest stages against some of the best players in history. The eight-time ATP Tour champion owns multiple wins against Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka. But the 29-year-old is still hungry for more.

“It’s hard to define success because it changes so many times. Once you achieve a specific goal, then you always want more and then you don’t feel you are successful,” Raonic told “I think everybody has a personal idea of it. But have I achieved success to this point? I don’t think so.”

Raonic has faced plenty of obstacles throughout his career, with injuries affecting almost every part of his body, including his right hip, right foot, left wrist, back, right elbow, glute, thigh, right ankle, right calf and right knee. Currently No. 30 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, Raonic is far from where he wants to be, and he is defending 360 points at next week’s BNP Paribas Open, where he made the semi-finals last year.

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But Raonic is healthy, and he says that’s a good place to start as he pushes for a return to the top of the sport.

“It just gives you peace of mind, especially with how much I’ve struggled over the past few years with injuries. Also, it just gives me continuity,” Raonic said. “I don’t have to stop to recover any kind of ailment and I can just have continuous training. I also don’t have to push as hard because I have that continuity and I can work more on sustaining and maintaining my level and making little steps here and there throughout the season.”

Raonic is meticulous and process-driven. He believes that stems from his childhood, as both his father, Dusan and mother, Vesna, are engineers.

“Math was a big part of our lives growing up and that’s a process as well. You try to look at things as rationally and as logically as possible. I think that kind of association, that perspective on things, made a big difference for me because there were moments where I would get very emotional and frustrated or positive or negative about things. But those moments were hard to always justify,” Raonic said. “It could just be a feeling and sometimes, if you can’t explain those feelings to yourself, it can get out of hand. It could get out of control. So for me, the rationalisation of a process has been a very grounding thing. It’s not just in my tennis. It’s in every aspect of my life that I perceive things that way.”

The 29-year-old isn’t rushing for one deep run at a big event, although he’d be happy to earn one.

“What motivates me is the pursuit to improve and get better each and every day,” Raonic said. “I know if I could achieve those things on a day-to-day basis, I will achieve my goals.”

Raonic’s Five Most Recent Indian Wells Results

 2019  SF (l. to Thiem)
 2018  SF (l. to Del Potro)
 2016  Final (l. to Djokovic)
 2015  SF (l. to Federer)
 2014  QF (l. to Dolgopolov)

Step by step, day by day, the Canadian is trying to improve. Even if Raonic gets one per cent better at one stroke or aspect of his game per day, he feels that will add up to a noticeable improvement throughout the season. 

“The most enjoyable parts are going out and competing, but I think the [key is the] process before that of becoming a better tennis player, becoming a better athlete,” Raonic said. “Whether that be on the court or in the gym or on the track, wherever that may be, I think [it’s about] that process that goes in day-in and day-out.

“[It’s] where you have an idea, you have a path you’re trying to take and you hope that could get you closer to those moments when you go step out to compete with players of all levels, the best at the big events or against whomever it may be. You could give your best and you could feel like you’re a better tennis player each and every day.”

Raonic hasn’t always had the mindset he does today. The Canadian admits that early in his career it was the opposite before he realised he had to make a change.

“There were a lot of times that I lost matches that I was very disappointed about, where I would get emotional. I would get disappointed, I would get negative on court and the rationale behind it was [me thinking], ‘Sometimes you’re just your own worst enemy,’” Raonic said. “I decided [that] to get the best out of myself I have to try to put that aside as much as possible and try to be able to identify things throughout a match, throughout my season, from week to week, and that’s sort of where that rationale kicked in.”

Raonic isn’t guessing that this mentality works; it’s proven successful for him in the past. Even if he goes through a rough patch of results, he’s still going to focus on the process.

“After you lose a match, you can sometimes get so narrowed in on what happened over the past hour and a half, two hours, three hours or however long it is,” Raonic said. “I think it’s important that you can step back and try to see the big picture of things. [It’s about] if you can be honest with yourself and tell yourself, ‘Hey, I’m playing better.’”

ATP Heritage: Milestones. Records. Legends.

Fans saw glimpses of Raonic at his best at this year’s Australian Open. He didn’t lose a set en route to his fifth Melbourne quarter-final in the past five years. The big-serving Canadian did not lose serve in his first four matches — including wins against Cristian Garin, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Marin Cilic — and only eventual champion Novak Djokovic was able to stop him.

“It was an important and positive start for me, I think. I only played about three matches since Wimbledon last year to finish off the season. Came into Doha, lost early in that tournament. Was hoping to do better there,” Raonic said. “But then by the time I got into the Australian Open, practising with other players and these kinds of things, I started to feel more comfortable and I had a good run there.”

Raonic is now feeling good on and off the court. He has long enjoyed success at Indian Wells, advancing to at least the semi-finals in his past four appearances. In the desert, he’ll hope to take another step in his journey back to the top.

“If you do the right things, if you do put in the work, if you do stay dedicated and disciplined, those good moments catch up to you and you sort of flip a switch,” Raonic said. “You aren’t sure exactly how it happened or why it happened, but everything just starts to feel a little bit easier. When you have those moments, you really appreciate them and you try to make them last as long as possible.”

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Welcome To Novak's Lockdown Mode…

  • Posted: Mar 07, 2020

Welcome To Novak’s Lockdown Mode…

Djokovic comes up clutch when it matters most with his brand of no-miss tennis

Novak Djokovic is 18-0 to start the 2020 season. Impressive. He has also won 17 of the past 18 tie-breaks he has played dating back to the 2019 Wimbledon final. Possibly even more impressive.

An Infosys ATP Beyond The Numbers analysis of Djokovic’s dominance as the No. 1 player in the world reveals that his recent body of work has been rock solid, but his unwavering ability to finish what he started at the end of sets is from another world.

Djokovic sits atop the career Infosys ATP Stats Under Pressure Leaderboard. Tie-break performance is part of the overall metric, and Djokovic sits in 13th place with career tie-breaks won at 64.5 per cent. He has ratcheted that up to perfection mode in the first two months of this season. 

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The World No. 1 has played eight tie-breaks in 2019 and has won them all. His first match of the season at the ATP Cup was a 7-6(5), 7-6(6) victory over South Africa’s Kevin Anderson. The Serb saved a set point at 5/6 in the second-set tie-break and rolled from there. Djokovic then defeated Denis Shapovalov 4-6, 6-1, 7-6(4) in the quarter-finals and Rafael Nadal 6-2, 7-6(4) in the final to set the tie-break tone for January and February.

In the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships semi-final last week, Djokovic defeated Gael Monfils 2-6, 7-6(8), 6-1, coming back from 3/6 in the tie-break to save three consecutive match points and run away with the match in the third set.

So just how does Djokovic do it? How does the Super Serb play so even in a set with an opponent to get to a tie-break, then win 17 of 18 on the trot?

This jaw-dropping run started at the 2019 Wimbledon final, where Djokovic defeated Federer 7-6(5), 1-6, 7-6(4), 4-6, 13-12(3), with a 12-point tie-break played at 12-12 in the fifth set.

How Djokovic crafted his winning strategy in those three tie-breaks is the blueprint he employs for all of them. It’s about staying the course, playing the big points on his terms, trading baseline blows and not trying to pull a rabbit out of a hat or relying on spectacular shotmaking to cross the finish line.

ATP Heritage: Milestones. Records. Legends.

Tie-breaks are about not missing, and making the opponent uncomfortable having to hit one more shot in a pattern of play that they don’t really want to be in. Turning the screws is what the five-time Indian Wells champion relies on the most in the big moments.

For example, the three tie-breaks in the Wimbledon final against Federer contained 33 points. The following breakdown should stop you in your tracks.

2019 Wimbledon Final: Three Tie-Breaks (33 points)
Forehand & Backhand Errors (excluding returns)
• Djokovic = 1
• Federer = 19

My Point: Get The Players' Point Of View

Djokovic committed just one solitary forehand groundstroke error leading 5-1 in the second set tie-break. As a stark comparison, Federer led 5-3 in the first set tie-break and committed four straight groundstroke errors. Overall Federer hit seven winners and committed 20 total errors in the three tie-breaks while Djokovic committed just five errors (four return) and collected just two winners.

That’s what lockdown looks like on a tennis court.

Outside of the tie-breaks, Federer won 13/15 points serving and volleying and 51/65 points approaching the net from a baseline position. The net was Federer’s wheelhouse. But in the 33 total points in all three tie-breaks, Federer won just one point at the net from two trips forward.

Twenty of the 33 points (61%) were contested with both Djokovic and Federer standing at the baseline. Djokovic won 16 of them. Eight rallies reached double digits and Djokovic won six.

Tie-breaks are all about fastening the hatches and putting the ball in play. Don’t beat yourself. Make the opponent tap out chasing shots at the extremities of their competence. Djokovic is in a class of his own right now and his perfect start to the season is a reflection of his perfect record in tie-breaks.

Editor’s Note: Craig O’Shannessy is a former member of Novak Djokovic’s coaching team.

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Australia Surges To A 2-0 Lead Against Brazil In Davis Cup Qualifier

  • Posted: Mar 07, 2020

Australia Surges To A 2-0 Lead Against Brazil In Davis Cup Qualifier

Cilic helps Croatia to 2-0 lead against India


Venue: Memorial Drive Tennis Club, Adelaide, AUS (hard – outdoor)

#NextGenATP Brazilian Thiago Seyboth Wild carried the momentum of his triumph at the Chile Dove Men+Care Open into his battle against Aussie veteran John Millman on Friday in Davis Cup Qualifiers, serving for the match in the second set. But Millman never stopped battling, rallying past the 19-year-old 4-6, 7-6(0), 6-2 to give his country a 2-0 lead against Brazil.

“One of my most memorable [wins], without a doubt. You can have all the individual success you want, but, for me, I’ve said it on multiple occasions, the epitome is playing for your country, and that’s really special,” Millman told “I’m just glad Lleyton trusted me to give me the call-up and I could not just do it for the country, but do it for the team.”

Seyboth Wild was within two points of victory on his serve on two occasions. But Millman played his steadiest tennis in the key moments, earning the win after two hours and 51 minutes to give Australia a 2-0 lead.

In the day’s first match, Jordan Thompson defeated Thiago Monteiro 6-4, 6-4 in one hour and 24 minutes. The Aussie had lost his only previous match against a lefty this season when Albert Ramos-Vinolas beat him in Adelaide. But Thompson found good form against the Brazilian to give his country the advantage.

Thompson broke serve on four of five opportunities, while saving six of the eight break points he faced.

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Venue: Dom Sportova, Zagreb, CRO (hard – indoor)

Former World No. 3 Marin Cilic gave Croatia a strong 2-0 lead on the first day of Davis Cup Qualifiers, battling past 2018 Newport finalist Ramkumar Ramanathan 7-6(8), 7-6(8).

“Ramanathan played a great match today, he served really well and allowed me no breaks of serve,” Cilic told “I tried to do my own things well at my end of the court but as ever it’s difficult to play against an opponent with nothing to lose.”

Cilic moves to 7-4 at tour-level this season after crushing 18 aces and winning 85 per cent of his first-serve points. The World No. 37 triumphed after two hours and 12 minutes.

Earlier in the day his countryman, Borna Gojo, rallied past Prajnesh Gunneswaran 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 in one hour and 57 minutes. It was Gojo’s first tour-level win.

ITALY leads KOREA, REP. 2-0

Venue: Circolo Tennis Cagliari, Cagliari, ITA (clay – outdoor)

Fabio Fognini and Gianluca Mager did not drop a set in their singles matches on Friday, propelling Italy to a 2-0 lead against South Korea.

Fognini defeated Duckhee Lee 6-0, 6-3, and then Mager beat Ji Sung Nam 6-3, 7-5.

“I’m very happy to win for my country,” Mager told “It was a very difficult match, but I fight every point, I won and I’m happy.”

World No. 11 Fognini is the highest-ranked player in the FedEx ATP Rankings competing this weekend. The Italian only needed 64 minutes against Lee, breaking serve six times in his victory.

This tie is being played without fans in the stands due to coronavirus concerns.

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SWEDEN tied with CHILE 1-1

Venue: The Royal Tennis Hall (Kungl. Tennishallen), Stockholm, SWE (hard – indoor)

Mikael Ymer, a 2019 Next Gen ATP Finals competitor, helped Sweden earn a split on the first day of play in Stockholm against Chile. Ymer, a 21-year-old at a career-high FedEx ATP Ranking of No. 67, defeated Marcelo Tomas Barrios Vera 6-2, 6-3.

But Alejandro Tabilo levelled the tie at 1-1, beating the older Ymer brother, Elias Ymer, 6-4, 6-3.

AUSTRIA tied with URUGUAY 1-1

Venue: Steiermarkhalle Schwarzlsee, Graz I Premstätten, AUT (hard – indoor) 

Pablo Cuevas had to dig deep into the experience that once carried him into the world’s Top 20 on Friday, scratching past #NextGenATP Austrian Jurij Rodionov 6-7(7), 6-3, 7-6(5) in two hours and 49 minutes.

Rodionov came into the match with plenty of confidence after winning two ATP Challenger Tour titles in February. But World No. 60 Cuevas hit 12 aces and did not face a break point in his win, putting Uruguay on the board.

Earlier on, World No. 85 Dennis Novak cruised past Martin Cuevas 6-2, 6-4.


Venue: Bourbon Beans Dome, Miki, JPN (hard – indoor)

Both Japanese players in action on Friday held a higher FedEx ATP Ranking than either Ecuadorian man competing. But that did not stop Ecuador from taking a 2-0 lead against Japan, the home favourites.

World No. 151 Emilio Gomez clawed past Go Soeda 7-5, 7-6(3) to give his country the advantage, before World No. 276 Roberto Quiroz beat Top 100 player Yasutaka Uchiyama 7-6(4), 2-6, 7-6(8) to move Ecuador within one victory of advancing to Madrid for the Davis Cup Finals.

ATP Heritage: Milestones. Records. Legends.

GERMANY tied with BELARUS 1-1

Venue: Castello Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf, GER (hard – indoor)

Big-hitting Jan Lennard Struff got Germany off to a strong start against Belarus with a 6-4, 6-4 win against Ilya Ivashka, but it was not enough to keep his country in the lead at the end of the day.

Egor Gerasimov battled past veteran Philipp Kohlschreiber 4-6, 7-5, 7-6(3) to level the tie at 1-1. Gerasimov has been in the best form of his career in 2020, reaching a career-high World No. 65 in February. The Belarusian saved four of the five break points he faced to triumph after two hours and 38 minutes.


Venue: National Tennis Center, Nur-Sultan, KAZ (hard – indoor)

Kazakhstan and the Netherlands are level at one rubber apiece after Friday’s play in Kazakhstan.

Dutchman Robin Haase won a battle of veterans against Mikhail Kukushkin, navigating past the Kazakhstani 6-4, 6-7(2), 6-3. Kukushkin had won the pair’s two previous ATP Head2Head meetings, six years ago in Winston-Salem and last season in Rotterdam. But Haase hit 10 aces and broke four times to give his country the edge.

Alexander Bublik turned it around for Kazakhstan with a razor-tight 7-6(4), 7-6(4) victory against Tallon Griekspoor. World No. 51 Bublik is just four spots off his career-high FedEx ATP Ranking.


Venue: AXA Arena NTC, Bratislava, SVK (clay – indoor)

The Czech Republic doesn’t have stalwarts Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek competing any longer, with both men recently retiring. But the country still leads Slovakia 2-0 in their Davis Cup Qualifier.

Lefty Jiri Vesely, who lifted his second ATP Tour title in Pune this year, beat Jozef Kovalik 6-3, 7-5. Lukas Rosol, who stunned Rafael Nadal at 2012 Wimbledon, then defeated Andrej Martin 6-4, 6-4 to extend the Czech Republic’s lead.

Venue: Fonix Hall, Debrecen, HUN (clay – indoor)

Belgium and Hungary will head into Saturday action with their tie level at one rubber each.

Belgium’s Ruben Bemelmans worked hard to beat Rio Open presented by Claro semi-finalist Attila Balazs 5-7, 7-6(4), 6-4 on the Hungarian indoor clay. But Hungarian No. 1 Marton Fucsovics battled back for his country with a 6-2, 5-7, 6-4 win against Kimmer Coppejans.

Fucsovics got off to a strong start to his season with a trip to the fourth round of the Australian Open. He converted five of the six break points he earned against Coppejans.

Venue: Palacio de los Deportes, Bogotá, COL (clay – indoor)

Venue: Neal S. Blaisdell Center, Honolulu, USA (hard – indoor)

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Monterrey Open: Johanna Konta saves match point to reach semi-final in Mexico

  • Posted: Mar 07, 2020

British number one Johanna Konta saved two match points before sealing a place in the Monterrey Open semi-finals by beating Russia’s Anastasia Potapova.

Konta trailed 5-2 in the deciding set and saved match point on the 18-year-old’s serve at 5-4 before levelling.

The second seed, ranked 16th in the world, denied world number 89 Potapova again in the third-set tie-break and came through 6-7 (6-8) 6-3 7-6 (9-7).

She will play Czech world number 57 Marie Bouzkova in the last four.

Konta had gone out in the first round of her three events in 2020 before the run in Mexico.

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BNP Paribas Open Announces Coronavirus Countermeasures

  • Posted: Mar 07, 2020

BNP Paribas Open Announces Coronavirus Countermeasures

Event announces actions to prioritise fan health and safety

Following the direction and guidance of Dr. David Agus, Professor of Medicine and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Southern California, and Martin Massiello, Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer, Eisenhower Health, the BNP Paribas Open is taking action to continue prioritizing the health and safety of the fans, athletes, and everyone involved with the tournament.

First and foremost, any patron who has purchased tickets directly from the tournament may request a refund for the 2020 tournament, or a credit for the 2021 tournament. Patrons can visit to request a refund or credit.

Additional actions include:
More than 250 hand sanitizing stations have been placed throughout the facility
– Players will be required to manage their own towel on court and ball kids will not touch or move player towels. A chair will be placed at the back of the court for them to place their towel on for usage during the match
– Ball kids will wear gloves
– Restaurant and food supply workers will wear gloves
– Volunteers taking tickets at entrances will wear gloves
– N95 masks are being secured for first aid and health personnel to be prepared for any circumstances that would necessitate the use thereof
– Organised player and fan interaction will be limited at the tournament
– All common areas throughout the facility will be cleaned daily with an antiviral application
– Coordinating with local hospital and CDC approved testing for all individuals with symptoms

Further actions are being considered and evaluated on a daily basis in order to continue to ensure the safety of everyone associated with the event.

Please visit for updates.

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