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Serving To Nadal? Don't Drop The First Point

  • Posted: Mar 21, 2020

Serving To Nadal? Don’t Drop The First Point

Infosys ATP Beyond The Numbers examines why Top 10 players are so dangerous in return games

Would you rather be serving at Deuce or 0/15 against Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer or any other player in the Top 10 of the FedEx ATP Rankings?

When you’re serving at Deuce, members of the Top 10 like Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev are definitely a threat to break you. After all, they just need to win two points. From 0/15, their chances, at least at first glance, seem lower because they need to win an additional three points to break.

On the other side of the coin, as the server, you only need two points to hold at Deuce, but you need to win four points from 0/15.

An Infosys ATP Beyond The Numbers analysis of the year-end Top 10 from the 2019 season reveals that the world’s Top 10 were considerably more likely to break serve when returning from 0/15 than from Deuce.

Year-End Top 10: Percentage Breaking Serve
• From 0/15=42% (1330/3168)
• From Deuce=33% (674/2051)

From 0/15, the Top 10 broke serve 42 per cent of the time. From Deuce, the rate dropped to 33 per cent.

Of the 16 possible point scores, Nadal was the Top 10 leader in breaking serve from 13 of them. Djokovic took the honors in the other three: 0/40, 15/40 and 30/40.

Incredibly, Nadal was favoured to break serve last season when he won the first point of the game to move the score to 0/15, winning 50.7 per cent of return games from that position. The other nine members of the Top 10 averaged breaking serve 41.1 per cent (1177/2866) of the time from 0/15.

But when the server fell behind 0/40, Nadal was only sixth-best among his peers. He broke serve 84 per cent of the time, behind Djokovic (91%), Thiem (91%), Federer (90%), Monfils (89%) and Medvedev (85%).

From 15/40, Nadal broke serve 79 per cent of the time, the fifth-best percentage behind Djokovic (83%), Monfils (81%), Federer (81%) and Thiem (80%).

But the biggest lesson to be learned is that when playing a member of the Top 10, do everything you can to win the first point of your service game. You fall behind at your peril.

2019 Season-End Top 10: Percentage Breaking Serve From Points Score & Leader

Points Score

Top 10: Breaking Serve %

Top 10 Leader/Break %

0/40

85.2%

N. Djokovic/91%

15/40

76.5%

N. Djokovic/83%

30/40

76.5%

N. Djokovic/83%

0/30

64.4%

R. Nadal/72%

15/30

50.4%

R. Nadal/59%

0/15

42%

R. Nadal/50%

Deuce

32.9%

R. Nadal/41%

30/30

31.4%

R. Nadal/42%

15/15

28.8%

R. Nadal/37%

0/0

25.5%

R. Nadal/35%

15/0

15%

R. Nadal/22%

30/15

14.9%

R. Nadal/24%

40/30

13.1%

R. Nadal/19%

30/0

6.1%

R. Nadal/10%

40/15

4.4%

R. Nadal/8%

40/0

1.6%

R. Nadal/4%

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Sinner Opens Up To Fans In Instagram Q&A

  • Posted: Mar 21, 2020

Sinner Opens Up To Fans In Instagram Q&A

Italian reveals idol, favourite food and more

Jannik Sinner entertained his fans on Saturday with an Instagram question-and-answer session. The 18-year-old Italian, who captured the 2019 Next Gen ATP Finals title in Milan, revealed his idol, how he’s been passing time while staying inside due to coronavirus concerns, whom he enjoys playing doubles with and more.

What would you want to ask the #NextGenATP senation?

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Idol while growing up?
Roger Federer

Do you have times when you are sick of the game of tennis?
No, I always want to play.

<a href='https://www.atptour.com/en/players/jannik-sinner/s0ag/overview'>Jannik Sinner</a>

Who has the best tweener?
Roger Federer and Nick Kyrgios

Favourite shot?
Backhand👌

Sinner <a href='https://www.atptour.com/en/tournaments/next-gen-atp-finals/7696/overview'>Next Gen ATP Finals</a> 2019

How do you pass time?
PlayStation and physical training!

Do you like playing doubles?
Some fun doubles with Frances Tiafoe 😂😂

<a href='https://www.atptour.com/en/players/frances-tiafoe/td51/overview'>Frances Tiafoe</a>, <a href='https://www.atptour.com/en/players/jannik-sinner/s0ag/overview'>Jannik Sinner</a>

Favourite dish?
Pizza

So far which city is your favourite to play in?
Rome and Milan

<a href='https://www.atptour.com/en/players/jannik-sinner/s0ag/overview'>Jannik Sinner</a>

Which Grand Slam do you prefer?
US Open

What would you be if you were not a tennis player?
I don’t know 🤷‍♂️

Where do you practise skiing?
In front of my home door 😂🎿

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Sinner: ‘I Want That Feeling More And More’

Did You Know?
• Sinner made his first big breakthrough at last year’s Internazionali BNL d’Italia, winning his first ATP Masters 1000 match at the age of 17, defeating Steve Johnson. The next day, the teen practised with Federer, his idol, according to the Piatti Tennis Center Instagram page.

• At 13, Sinner moved to Riccardo Piatti’s academy. Before that, he was focussed on skiing, not tennis.


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Kevin Anderson: 'It’s Bigger Than Our Sport'

  • Posted: Mar 21, 2020

Kevin Anderson: ‘It’s Bigger Than Our Sport’

Anderson had been targeting a comeback on clay

Kevin Anderson was flying high in 2018, reaching his second Grand Slam final at Wimbledon, qualifying for the Nitto ATP Finals for the first time, and ascending to a career-high No. 5 in the FedEx ATP Rankings. But a series of injuries over the past year-plus has set back the South African star.

Most recently, the 33-year-old underwent surgery in February to repair a medial mensicus tear after playing three tournaments in 2020.

“My recovery’s gone great. I think it’s been really successful so far… I probably would have been ready for Monte-Carlo and the clay-court season. Obviously that’s not going to happen anymore, so we just had to readjust and now I’ll be at home and I feel like the toughest part of getting over the surgery and recovery has been done,” Anderson told ATPTour.com. “I feel quite confident where I am right now and I can maintain as much as I can while not being able to train properly and hopefully things settle down and it’s more safe to go outside, I’ll be able to resume and get back with things.”

At the beginning of last season, Anderson had elbow issues. Then at the beginning of the American summer, his knee became problematic, which led to surgery in September. During the off-season, he hurt his right knee again, and scans later revealed the medial meniscus tear.

“After my last tournament [at the New York Open] it seemed just going on like this wouldn’t make the most sense,” Anderson said. “But for the whole time I was in Australia and New York, I was told there was a chance I didn’t need the surgery, so I was a little bit unlucky that in the end I needed it, and that’s why I decided to get it done.”

Anderson is no stranger to comebacks, though. He cracked the Top 10 of the FedEx ATP Rankings in October 2015, before physical setbacks repelled him as low as World No. 80. The South African returned better than ever, reaching both of his Grand Slam finals (also the 2017 US Open).

“Each setback or obstacle is unique and you need to approach it differently. But having that experience in the past will help,” Anderson said of his new challenge. “Obviously now it’s two things: ‘A’ was getting over my surgery, which I feel I was doing a really good job with. [Then] we are faced with a sort of unprecedented time and obviously just like a lot of other players have expressed, the concern is more for globally getting this under control for many people. I think it’s bigger than our sport right now.”

The ATP Tour’s stars came together in a tremendous way during the Australian summer, with many supporting those suffering from the Aussie bushfires. Anderson believes tennis players could be strong models in helping combat coronavirus by using their platforms.

“The fires in Australia were terrible and that was a large-scale problem. What’s going on right now is even larger than that just in terms of how many people it’s affected and literally in so many countries around the world,” Anderson said. “I think the biggest message is just trying to stay safe. I think people with their social media followers or being able to reach more people, I think it’s important to try to spread those messages and I think it’ll be important as time goes on to see where things settle and of course everybody’s going to be affected. There will be a lot of loss, but I think we’ll be able to come together and come back stronger.”

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The six-time ATP Tour champion’s wife Kelsey gave birth to their first child, Keira, last September. Although he has spent much of his time during this period with his family, one of Anderson’s hobbies is playing guitar.

“I’ve been travelling with my guitar for years, it’s something that I really enjoy. I’d say at home, [I play it] when I can. Obviously it’s much more challenging having a baby to look after and trying to help out when I can,” Anderson said. “Probably not playing as much guitar as I would have in the past. But it’s always something that I really enjoy doing.

“I think I’ve just always really enjoyed music. I just decided at one point in time to get it done. The Bryan Brothers obviously play a lot and I remember talking to them, I was playing World TeamTennis and their father, Wayne Bryan, was showing us some guitar stuff. I remember thinking, ‘I should really do this’, and then a couple weeks later going to buy a guitar and I’ve just taught myself since then.”

For now, Anderson will focus on spending time with his family at home and keeping himself healthy for whenever players can return to the court.

“From a professional standpoint, of course it’s always a bit of an uphill battle coming back. Even if the [ATP] Tour resumes in a few months’ time, in the past year-and-a-half I’ve only played eight tournaments, not a lot of matches, and obviously my ranking will have gone down quite a lot, so I won’t be seeded,” Anderson said. “There are always challenges, but I know that if I stay healthy and keep trusting in my game, I’m going to give myself opportunities and I fully believe that I can get back there. But that’s the longterm goal right now, obviously there are other things happening right now and I just have to take it a day at a time.”

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Humbert: 'It's Important For Me To Leave A Mark'

  • Posted: Mar 21, 2020

Humbert: ‘It’s Important For Me To Leave A Mark’

Frenchman opens up on his sacrifices and ambition

Ugo Humbert has already checked off several of his personal goals this year. The 22-year-old clinched his first ATP Tour title in Auckland (d. Paire) and achieved his current career-high FedEx ATP Ranking of No. 42.

But for the humble Frenchman, his on-court achievements aren’t a surprise. They’re a result of the hard work he’s put in since he first picked up a racquet at age five.

”If I’m here today, I don’t think it’s unbelievable because I wanted it to happen and I worked really hard for it,” Humbert told ATP Uncovered presented by Peugeot. “I always dreamed of doing this, so when I take decisions, I don’t forget why I’m doing them. It’s because I want to be a tennis player. For me, it’s important. It’s not a sacrifice.”

Humbert’s father was an avid recreational player and introduced his son to the sport. He took an immediate liking to it and quickly decided that he wanted to play professionally. By age 12, Humbert had left home to train with the French Tennis Federation in Poitiers.

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”I was living in Metz, so it wasn’t close and I had to take the train for four hours,” Humbert said. “I was lucky that my parents gave me the choice to leave. I took the decision to leave because it was really what I wanted to do.”

Although Humbert’s determination was never in doubt, his body couldn’t withstand the demands of training in his early teenage years. A string of injuries related to growth spurts kept him off the court for 18 months and made his future in the sport unclear.

Humbert, then a teenager, began returning home to Metz on the weekends while his peers competed in tournaments. He briefly considered quitting, but his love for the sport convinced him to try to get back on the court.

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”Sometimes I thought about stopping, but when I told my parents, they said it was my decision,” Humbert said. “I liked what I did, so I kept fighting and thinking I would play again soon. I already had a strong character then. That’s why the coaches believed in me and kept me even if I hadn’t played in a year.”

When Humbert’s body allowed him to start training again, he quickly made up for lost time. By age 17, he cracked the Top 20 of the ITF Junior Rankings. By age 18, he was already making noise in pro events and scored his first win over a Top 100 player at the 2017 Rolex Paris Masters.

A solid 2018 season on the ATP Challenger Tour yielded three titles and set him up for his ATP Tour breakthrough last year. He entered January ranked just outside of the Top 100, but finished the year by qualifying for the Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan. His other highlights included tour-level semi-finals in Marseille, Newport and Antwerp, reaching the second week at Wimbledon and scoring three victories over Top 15 players. 

But Humbert isn’t content to rest on past results. He’s known as one of the hardest-working players on Tour and is determined to do whatever it takes to continue climbing the rankings.

”Tennis is a game for me. It’s fun. That’s why I love it, but it’s also a personal challenge for me. It’s more like a fulfillment,” Humbert explained. “I want to prove that I can do great things in this sport. It’s also because of this that I love tennis, practising and fighting every day against my opponents.

”I was lucky to have the right people around me and make the right decisions. I think it’s important for me to leave a mark. I would like to show my values… I want people to see that I enjoy myself when they watch me. I want them to play as well, or at least that they want to try when they watch me.”

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Ramos-Vinolas: 'I Didn't Feel I Was Going To Be A Professional'

  • Posted: Mar 21, 2020

Ramos-Vinolas: ‘I Didn’t Feel I Was Going To Be A Professional’

Spaniard details his road to success on the ATP Tour

Albert Ramos-Vinolas remembers as a kid following his parents to the local tennis club in Mataro, watching them play on the weekend. The Spaniard, who began the sport at five, would spend much of his time at the club’s fronton, where he’d hit against the wall. The lefty slowly began to pick up tennis and play tournaments in Catalonia and Spain. By 11, he began competing outside the country.

“I didn’t think anything. I just was playing,” Ramos-Vinolas told ATPTour.com. “I was playing, playing, playing and somehow I’m here. I didn’t feel it at any point that I was going to be a professional.”

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It has been a dream come true for Ramos-Vinolas. The 32-year-old once watched his parents hit tennis balls, and now he is doing so for a career. He is currently the No. 41 player in the FedEx ATP Rankings. With the exception of a three-month stretch in 2014, he has been inside the Top 100 since 13 June 2011.

“I think I’m pretty lucky to do something that I like a lot,” Ramos-Vinolas said. “For sure there are a lot of moments I think that it’s really tough, but I feel like I’m really lucky to be here and to do one thing I was doing all my life.”

Ramos-Vinolas has had his fair share of difficult moments, too, particularly after his junior career.

“I had two years when the results were not really good. I was lucky there that I had my coach and also my family, my wife, they told me to finish school and also start the university. I started to study a little bit in university, but online,” said Ramos-Vinolas, who studied business administration. “It helped me to have less pressure on the tennis and not to think just in tennis. It started to get better and better and then I stopped [studying] because it was a lot. To mix two things, it helped me a lot.

“If you just play tennis and you are No. 400 and you try to be better, but you are not earning a lot to just be a tennis player, you have to try another thing… I think it helped me a lot because if you don’t think just on one thing, you know that you have another thing [in your life], you can play much more relaxed and much better.”

When Ramos-Vinolas finishes his career, he says he might return to university to resume his studies. But for now, he’s focussed on getting as much as possible out of tennis. The Spaniard owns six Top 10 wins, has climbed as high as No. 17 in the FedEx ATP Rankings and won two ATP Tour titles. Perhaps most impressive was his run to the championship match of the 2017 Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters, beating then-World No. 1 Andy Murray along the way.

“The final in Monte-Carlo is the best result of my career. It changed my career a little bit, because I improved a lot my ranking. But I think I’m still doing the same thing as my whole career, trying to improve every day,” Ramos-Vinolas said. “You always have things to improve. Even sometimes you improve and the ranking is not improving as you want — I’m talking about myself. But I always try to keep improving, because it’s better to try to concentrate on the improvements, not on the results.

“Sometimes when I did good results, then I had more pressure on me and I played worse. Sometimes when I had bad results, I worked better to improve something I was not doing good.”

ATP Heritage: Milestones. Records. Legends.

Ramos-Vinolas has earned plenty of respect from his peers. At the 2015 Rolex Shanghai Masters, he defeated Roger Federer. Even superstars he hasn’t beaten, like Novak Djokovic (0-6), know they have to be at their best against the Spaniard.

“I had to earn it. I worked hard on the court,” Djokovic said after defeating Ramos-Vinolas at the 2018 Australian Open. “Ramos-Vinolas doesn’t hand you the win. He makes you earn it.”

That’s how Ramos-Vinolas wants fans to remember him.

“I would like that they remember me as a player who fights a lot and he’s doing his best on the court,” Ramos-Vinolas said. “I’m just doing my best to play well.”

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