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Flashback: The Day Fognini Shocked Nadal In Monte Carlo

  • Posted: Apr 14, 2020

Flashback: The Day Fognini Shocked Nadal In Monte Carlo

Relive one of the biggest victories of the Italian’s career

Fabio Fognini walked onto Court Rainier III for the semi-finals of last year’s Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters with nothing to lose. The Italian had plenty to gain, trying to reach his first ATP Masters 1000 final. But across the net was Rafael Nadal, an 11-time champion in the Principality.

Nadal had won six consecutive ATP Head2Head clashes against Fognini, winning 12 of their 14 sets during that stretch to take an 11-3 lead in their rivalry. Fognini had shown his propensity to find his best level in the big moments, but beating Nadal where the Spaniard owned a 71-4 record seemed a titanic challenge.

However, Fognini was unafraid, as the Italian had already been on the brink of defeat during the tournament. Fognini entered the event on a five-match clay-court losing streak and looked set to fall to a sixth straight defeat on the surface in his opening match. But after Andrey Rublev led the Italian 6-4, 4-1, Fognini found his best tennis to survive, and later defeated then-World No. 3 Alexander Zverev and ninth seed Borna Coric en route to the semi-finals.

“If you told me at the beginning of the week, I will see you on Sunday, I would [have] laughed in your face,” said Fognini. “I was 6-4, 4-1 down and break point for 5-1, and I [hit an] ace on the line. But that’s incredible sport. So I was lucky.”

Fognini was the heavy underdog, but he took confidence from two of his three previous wins against Nadal coming on clay.

“I was telling him yesterday that I [knew I had] the game to play against him,” Fognini said. “Sometimes I won a few matches. [I won] one crazy one at the US Open and two times on clay. So I knew that I had nothing to lose, because, of course, especially when you go with him on clay, it’s always really tough.”

Fognini produced the performance of his career, stunning Nadal 6-4, 6-2 to reach the championship match. He claimed 11 of 14 games from 1-3 down in the first set to upset the then 33-time Masters 1000 champion after one hour and 36 minutes. Fognini’s victory ended Nadal’s 18-match and 25-set winning streaks in the Principality.

“I probably played one of the worst matches on clay in 14 years,” Nadal said. “When that happens, you have to lose. And today I deserved to lose because I played against a player that was better than me today.”

Watch over 165 classic ATP Tour matches from the 90s

Fognini joined Novak Djokovic as the only players to defeat Nadal at the Monte-Carlo Country Club after the quarter-finals. He also followed in the footsteps of Djokovic, David Ferrer (2014) and Guillermo Coria (2003) as the only men to beat Nadal in Monaco.

Then 31, Fognini took time away from Nadal at every opportunity, striking any available short balls to push Nadal out of position and into errors. That propelled him into the final against Serbian Dusan Lajovic, another first-time Masters 1000 finalist.

Tennis At Home | How ATP Players Make The Most Of Stay At Home

Fognini took full advantage of his big win against Nadal, defeating Lajovic 6-3, 6-4 to become the first Italian Masters 1000 titlist.

“I just feel happy because I won a big tournament that was always my goal in my career,” Fognini said. “I think everybody, when you’re growing up and you start and you decide to play tennis, you are dreaming to win a big tournament. We are talking about a Masters [1000].” 

Two months later, Fognini became the oldest player to break into the Top 10 of the FedEx ATP Rankings for the first time since 38-year-old Ken Rosewall and 35-year-old Rod Laver on 23 August 1973, when the ATP Rankings were first established. Fognini was just the third Italian man to crack the elite group, joining Adriano Panatta and Corrado Barazzutti. The trio was later joined by Matteo Berrettini.

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ATP Serves: How Stars Are Helping Combat The COVID-19 Pandemic

  • Posted: Apr 14, 2020

ATP Serves: How Stars Are Helping Combat The COVID-19 Pandemic

Learn what players are doing to support their communities

The ATP Tour’s stars thrill fans worldwide with their efforts on the tennis court. But perhaps more important is what they’ve been doing off court.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been no matches. However, many players and tournaments have done their part to the combat the virus, whether raising money for charity or purchasing necessary medical equipment to support those on the frontlines.

Tennis At Home | How ATP Players Make The Most Of Stay At Home

Learn more about those actions below:

Players

Cabal Launches Campaign To Help Colombian Families Combat COVID-19
Juan Sebastian Cabal, the No. 2 player in the FedEx ATP Doubles Rankings, launched an initiative with his brother to help the most vulnerable people in his hometown of Cali, Colombia. Cabal promoted a campaign on social media to raise funds for buying food in local markets and delivering it to families in need.

Dimitrov Donates Ventilators To Hometown Hospital
Grigor Dimitrov, the 2017 Nitto ATP Finals champion, is currently in California, but his home nation is close to his heart. The Bulgarian donated ventilators to the hospital in his hometown of Haskovo in a bid to help those affected by COVID-19 in his country.

Djokovic Family Donating €1 Million Of Ventilators To Serbia
Novak Djokovic and Jelena Djokovic announced a €1 million donation through the Novak Djokovic Foundation for the purchase of ventilators and medical equipment to support hospitals and other medical institutions in Serbia’s battle against coronavirus.

Jelena Djokovic, <a href='https://www.atptour.com/en/players/novak-djokovic/d643/overview'>Novak Djokovic</a>

Federer Makes Big Donation To Vulnerable Swiss Families
Roger Federer and his wife Mirka donated one million Swiss Francs (USD $1.02 million) to vulnerable families in Switzerland in the global fight against COVID-19.

How Kiefer Is Doing His Part In Coronavirus Efforts
Former World No. 4 Nicolas Kiefer has worked with the producer of his clothing line, NK #kiwifash, to help promote the spread of reusable masks in Germany.

<a href='https://www.atptour.com/en/players/nicolas-kiefer/k316/overview'>Nicolas Kiefer</a>

Knock, Knock, It’s Nick: Kyrgios Could Be At Your Door
Nick Kyrgios posted on Instagram that fans who are struggling during the pandemic should feel free to reach out to him for help through direct message. Soon thereafter he followed through.

“Hey guys, tomorrow I will be doing as many deliveries as I can throughout the day to the nearest people I have been in contact with. If I haven’t read your message yet, trust me I will do my absolute best to get to yours,” Kyrgios wrote. “And to my international friends around the world, I wish I could do more, but right now things are tough, stay strong, brighter days are coming.”

Mahut Organises FIFA Tournament To Raise Funds
Frenchman Nicolas Mahut organised the #RestezChezVousTrophy to offer gamers the opportunity to compete in an online FIFA 20 tournament with entry fees being donated to hospital staff. Mahut took to his Instagram account to announce details of the event and invite French players, including Gael Monfils and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, to join the fun and help save lives by staying at home and reducing the spread of the virus.

 

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La situation sanitaire en France nous contraint à devoir rester chez nous et il est important que nous respections tous les règles! Avec mes fils, Thiefaine et Natanel, nous avons décidé d’organiser le #restezchezvous Trophy sur #fifa20 ⚽️ 🏆 4 tournois disputés un jour sur deux et un masters réunissant les 4 vainqueurs. Le vainqueur de chaque tournoi recevra au choix une raquette dédicacée de ma part ou une tenue! Le vainqueur du masters recevra 2 places pour @rolandgarros Pour les les inscriptions et les regles >> écrivez en DM sur Instagram à @thiefaine_t Les copains @iamgaelmonfils @lucaspouille @pierrehuguesherbert @tsongaofficiel @jimchardy @richardgasquet34 @edouardrogervasselin je vous attends? 😉 Pour le premier tournoi, les 32 premiers seront inscrits, et suivant les demandes on augmentera la taille des tableaux!! 😉 inscription à partir de…. MAINTENANT et premier tournoi lundi 23 Mars à 16h avec retransmission en direct de la finale sur instagram ! À très vite et n’oubliez pas # RESTEZCHEZVOUS 🙏

A post shared by Nicolas Mahut (@nicomahut) on

Nadal Offers Refuge To Juniors Stranded By Coronavirus
In response to the global outbreak of COVID-19, Nadal took measures to ensure the safety of players stranded at the Rafa Nadal Academy by Movistar. While following orders and recommendations from authorities, the 19-time Grand Slam champion made arrangements for players at his facility who could not return home due to a variety of issues, including travel restrictions.

Nadal & Gasol Support Red Cross In Fighting Coronavirus
Rafael Nadal and six-time NBA All-Star Pau Gasol launched the #NuestraMejorVictoria (Our Best Victory) campaign to encourage donations from Spanish sportsmen and sportswomen in the fight against COVID-19. The initiative, which forms part of the #CruzRojaResponde (Red Cross Responds) project, aims to raise €11 million and help citizens in need during this health emergency.

Nadal Donates ‘Precious Object’ For Charity Auction
As part of his continuing efforts to support those in need during these tough times, Nadal donated one of his 2019 Roland Garros final match shirts to the ‘La Mejor Asistencia’ (The Best Assistance) auction, organised by Liga ACB, Spain’s top professional basketball division.

Qureshi Delivering For 1,000 Families In Pakistan
Two-time Arthur Ashe Humanitarian of the Year winner Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi will not allow Pakistan’s daily workers to be forgotten during this pandemic. Through his foundation Stop War Start Tennis, Qureshi committed to financially supporting ration bags for 1,000 families that have been unable to work and earn their daily sustenance.
Each ration bag consists of flour, rice, oil, grains, tea, milk and soap, and can feed a family of five. Qureshi got out in the field himself, making deliveries to those families.

Roddick: ‘We Have To Serve Families That Put Their Faith In Us’
The Andy Roddick Foundation announced the creation of a Family Emergency Fund to help families in need in Austin, Texas. Roddick’s foundation largely revolves around after-school and summer programming for the children in those families, but it has pivoted to support them through this pandemic. Roddick says the closing of schools hurt childhood education, but that it causes other issues in that there are families in the area that rely on the two meals per day kids get at school.

Sinner Sets Pizza Challenge To Raise Funds
Sinner launched the #SinnerPizzaChallenge, which went viral. He promised to donate €10 alongside his management company Starwing Sports for every photo he receives of a pizza that resembles himself or any past or present Italian figure. The money raised will be used to fund vital medical supplies in Italy during the pandemic. 

Alongside his management company Starwing Sports, <a href='https://www.atptour.com/en/players/jannik-sinner/s0ag/overview'>Jannik Sinner</a> pledges to donate €10 for every #SinnerPizzaChallenge post on Instagram.

Sinner & Team Make Donation In Support Of Coronavirus Battle
#NextGenATP Italian sensation Jannik Sinner is doing his part in the battle against coronavirus. The 18-year-old announced on his social media that in conjunction with his management company, StarWing Sports, and coach, Riccardo Piatti, he is donating €12,500 to Cesvi, a humanitarian organisation, to aid with medical emergencies in Bergamo. 

Tournaments

Truist Atlanta Open Feeding Frontline Healthcare Workers
The Truist Atlanta Open announced that it is joining with partner, CIGNA, to feed some of Metro Atlanta’s frontline healthcare workers at Northside Hospital Cherokee on behalf of GF Sports, the Truist Atlanta Open, CIGNA and Waffle House.
The Waffle House Food Truck will visit Northside Hospital Cherokee on Tuesday, 14 April from 10am-2pm to feed the daytime shift and on Wednesday, 15 April, from 8pm-12am for the night shift.

Truist Atlanta Open, Waffle House

US Open Site To Be Converted Into Temporary Hospital, Number Of Beds To Be Increased
A temporary hospital was constructed at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, home of the US Open. The hospital is housed inside the Indoor Training Center at the NTC, which has 12 courts with about 100,000 square feet of space.
Additionally, according to USOpen.org, teams are utilising Louis Armstrong Stadium, the facility’s second-largest stadium, to fulfill meal packages to be sent to patients, workers and school children. There are 25,000 packages being produced per day, with those consisting of two days’ worth of breakfast, lunch and dinner.

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Corentin Moutet: 'I Will Never Give Up'

  • Posted: Apr 14, 2020

Corentin Moutet: ‘I Will Never Give Up’

Learn more about the #NextGenATP Frenchman’s mindset

Frenchman Corentin Moutet is only 20, and he has played just 40 tour-level matches in his young career. But the #NextGenATP star is wise beyond his years, and is already thinking about more than wins and losses.

“I want to try to inspire many people around the world when they are watching tennis, just to make them like this sport. I want to be remembered as a fighter, as a player who never gives up and gives everything on the court,” Moutet told ATP Uncovered presented by Peugeot. “[There are] always bad moments and good moments, but [I am] always here to play until the last point to inspire many people and make them want to push more in their life. I want them to believe in themselves.”

Moutet, the No. 75 player in the FedEx ATP Rankings, has long had people who believed in him. The lefty’s mother bought him a racquet when he was two. His parents, brother and sister are not quite as into tennis as he is, but they have been there to support his dreams from the beginning.

“It’s important when you begin, you can share your passion with all the people you love, so that’s always really good,” Moutet said. “I like to share good moments and bad moments as well, of course. But the good moments, [sharing them] with my family and my friends is really important to me.

“I’ve really enjoyed this game since the first day I remember. All my friends were playing, all my family, so it was always a shared moment together.”

ATP Uncovered presented by Peugeot | Unrivalled Access

Moutet is making his fair share of sacrifices; his childhood friends are going to school in France, while he is traveling the world to compete on the ATP Tour. But for this year’s Doha finalist, it’s worth it, and he has plenty of support from those friends.

“All my friends are doing school and other things, but they understand that I can’t go out all the time and I can’t do student life. I can’t have fun every day and every night. I have to focus on tennis,” Moutet said. “They understand that, so it’s much easier for me.”

When Moutet was 12, he moved to southern France to enhance his training with the help of the French federation, and then he started travelling internationally.

“I just saw that there are many players around the world and not only in France. I had some tough losses, but I learned a lot,” Moutet said. “It’s because of those losses that I managed to improve my game.”

The piano-playing Moutet presses all they keys on the court, too, showing no fear of the forecourt, with the drop shot and volley his favourite shots. His all-court skills have helped make him the fifth-youngest player in the world’s Top 100.

“You just start to play tennis and then year by year, you just continue to play and you’re getting better and better. You win some matches, and it’s fun. It’s fun to win matches and see how the players [you have known for] a long time are improving as well,” Moutet said. “It’s an inspiring life. You learn every day about yourself and about the others.”

Moutet prides himself on his competitive edge. He knows that every moment won’t go the way he hopes, but he wants to inspire others to battle through those tough times and give their all no matter what.

“I like the tough moments on the court, when you’re feeling bad and you are under pressure,” Moutet said. “On court it’s uncomfortable, but at the end you just learn about yourself and you are a better person at the end of the day, a better player… it’s good for the mind to open your mind, challenging myself every day.”

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Felix Auger-Aliassime: 'We Have To Face It All Together'

  • Posted: Apr 14, 2020

Felix Auger-Aliassime: ‘We Have To Face It All Together’

#NextGenATP Canadian pens an exclusive blog from his home in Montreal

I hope you all are doing well and staying safe during this pandemic.

I’m not used to being away from the courts for this long. It’s almost like what happens when you’re dealing with an injury, but I’m not actually hurt.

The good thing is I’m holding up well. My spirits are good. Luckily everyone in my family is healthy. My grandparents are good, everyone is healthy. I’m happy about that. But I know it’s not the same for all the families out there, unfortunately, especially for grandparents and older people.

I haven’t slowed down on my fitness, and I am keeping up with my routines. As tennis players, we don’t have many months to train and to get better physically, so I’m taking this time to do that. I can stay active and keep getting better, which is good. There’s never a day when you can’t improve somehow. In every aspect of my life, personal or professional, I try to do things better and move forward in the right direction.

I’m also making sure I take enough time to rest and spend time with my family. My days have been busy, that’s for sure.

Our family rarely has opportunities to be together for such an extended period because of my career. It’s probably going to go on for weeks and months more, so it’s good to feel like it’s back in the day when I was a kid, spending time with my sister and parents.

We’re playing board games, having long discussions. Usually I’d need to go to sleep early because I have a match or training the next day. Now since I’m doing things on my own schedule and I can create more time, we are able to gather for longer dinners, and board games. I’ve been playing some Scrabble with my sister and mom, so that’s good, and it’s definitely bringing out my competitive side.

Tennis At Home | How ATP Players Make The Most Of Stay At Home

My sister beat me by one point the last time we played and that was pretty frustrating! Even though I’m not on court, I need to find a way to be competitive in some part of my life. I beat my mom by a few points the other day, so the games have been pretty tight. It’s been a lot of fun.

I’ve been able to reflect a bit on the first few months of the season, what I would do differently and what I would not do differently; what I’ve been good with, and not as good. I’ve had time to call my coaches and analyse a few matches, which is also keeping me busy. But at the same time, I try not to look at the past too much. I like to stay patient and focus on what I do every day to get better.

It’s a crazy time, and I think everyone is realising that the world is taking a break. It’s kind of a forced break for us. We’re pushing our world to the limit, and now with how fast the virus has spread, we’re seeing that a problem in one country is everyone’s problem.

I think everyone is realising that it’s a time to stay apart, stay home, but also to unite in our actions. Whatever we do from now on is going to affect everyone else’s lives. It’s not just governments that are realising this, it’s everybody.

This virus is affecting everyone. We’re all facing the same problem. We have to face it all together as one world united, and hopefully this will bring everyone together.

– as told to Andrew Eichenholz

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ATP Classic: Muster's Stunning Monte-Carlo Comeback Against Becker In 1995

  • Posted: Apr 14, 2020

ATP Classic: Muster’s Stunning Monte-Carlo Comeback Against Becker In 1995

ATP Tour Uncovered presented by Peugeot looks back on an epic final

Thomas Muster dug deep in the 1995 Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters final, while Boris Becker considers it one of the toughest losses of his career.

Muster had barely been able to complete his semi-final victory over Andrea Gaudenzi, the current ATP Chairman, the day before, suffering from fatigue, dehydration and a lack of sugar in his blood. But after 10 hours’ sleep and a doctor’s green light, Muster extended his clay-court winning streak to 22 matches after recovering from a two-sets-to-love deficit against Becker in the final.

Muster, the 1992 champion, saved two match points in the fourth set of a 4-6, 5-7, 6-1, 7-6(6), 6-0 victory over three hours and 16 minutes.

“I don’t know how I won the match,” said Muster, afterwards. “After what happened yesterday, I didn’t think I could be able to play today. I would like to thank the medical service that got me ready to play.”

Watch over 165 classic ATP Tour matches from the 90s

Becker led 6/4 in the fourth set tie-break, double faulting on his first match point and hitting a forehand into the net on the second. But his Austrian opponent fought back to capture his 20th red dirt title since 1990.

“I was feeling confident,” said Becker, who committed 82 unforced errors. “I was risking a lot on my second serve all week. At that moment I had a gut feeling to risk it on my second serve. I had all the chances in the world. But he didn’t give up.”

Unfortunately for former Monte Carlo resident Becker, who also appeared in the 1989 and 1991 finals, he finished his career without a clay-court crown. Muster rose to No. 1 in the FedEx ATP Rankings on 12 February 1996.

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Zeljko's Notebook: Monte Carlo Casino, Nadal, Federer & One Speedy Scooter

  • Posted: Apr 14, 2020

Zeljko’s Notebook: Monte Carlo Casino, Nadal, Federer & One Speedy Scooter

During the COVID-19 global pandemic, ATPTour.com talks to Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters Tournament Director Zeljko Franulovic

There are few finer sights on the ATP Tour than looking out from the Art Deco clubhouse on a cloudless day at the Monte-Carlo Country Club, perched on top of the glistening Mediterranean, where the beautiful people — and their grand yachts in the near distance — come to be seen in early Spring. If you happen to be present at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters on a Wednesday afternoon, shortly after diners have taken lunch on the terrace, you can close your eyes and listen to the roar of the galleries as Rafael Nadal steps onto Court Central for the first time.

It is where Zeljko Franulovic, the vastly experienced Tournament Director since 2005, takes great pride in welcoming the tennis world, and where Nadal, for an incredible 11 of the past 14 years, has shook the hand of His Serene Highness The Sovereign Prince of Monaco as the champion on the final day. “Rafa and the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters will go down in the history books as a very special and unique relationship, between the player and the tournament – simple as that,” Franulovic told ATPTour.com.

“After having won the event for the eighth straight year in 2012, it was obvious that Monte-Carlo was turning into a success story for Rafa, to put it mildly. Since he won his first event in 2005, the year I first became the Tournament Director, it was sort of a success story for me too. I said to Rafa, half-jokingly, in the locker room that year, during a rain delay, ‘Hey Rafa, it seems to me that our destinies are linked. As long as you keep winning, I should be okay as well. I count on you to win this event, otherwise I get fired!’”

Nadal

The 72-year-old Franulovic can only smile over the influence of Nadal, who, when the ATP Tour looked to restructure the calendar and trim the number of Masters 1000 tournaments from nine to eight in 2007, became one of the most vocal to protect the status of Monte-Carlo. “What’s more important than his 11 titles, is his personality,” says Franulovic. His image as a sports personality, as a champion. It’s not just his presence around the Country Club, whether playing or practising, but it’s his huge respect and attachment to the tournament. Having such a champion adds to the prestige of the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters, or when people watch his press conferences, it’s the best publicity a tournament can have. Because when the tournament really needed player support in 2007 not to be downgraded, he was one of the most vocal to protect the Masters 1000 status.”

While the ambiance of the Monte Carlo tournament week is centred on tennis, when the world’s best players find their clay feet in a picturesque setting, there is also the Gala, La Grande Nuit de Tennis or the Players’ Revue, founded by Gloria Butler more than 70 years ago, and a huge success to this day. In 2006, the organisers decided to promote the tournament for the first time in the heart of Monaco, live on television. Featuring Nadal, the defending champion, and then World No. 1 Roger Federer, it remains one of Franulovic’s favourite memories.

“I will never forget it, as it was the first one, the perfect choreography in front of the Hôtel de Paris, a mini tennis court and the Monte Carlo Casino in the background,” recalls Franulovic. “Rafa and Roger were supposed to arrive in this beautiful, vintage convertible, a Mercedes, when the company was a Tour sponsor. It was a unique model in the world, but difficult to drive. When we found out that neither Roger or Rafa could drive it, we started to panic as we’d imagined Roger or Rafa behind the wheel driving to the Casino Square with the TV and photographers.

“We lost 15-20 minutes trying to find a solution and we ended up having a local Mercedes rep driving the car. It broke our choreography and caused confusion, significant delays to appear on this mini tennis court. When Roger and Rafa arrived, guess what? Rafa did not have his racquet. So his PR agent [Benito Perez-Barbadillo, who was then working for the ATP], had to jump onto his scooter and rushed back to the hotel. He must have broken the Formula 1 record, but he got the racquet back. That lost us another 15 minutes. Another delay, but it makes me laugh. It was a lesson that you can never plan to the last detail.”

Court Central, Monte-Carlo

Franulovic, the player, won the tournament by beating the likes of Ilie Nastase and Manuel Orantes in 1970, the year he also reached the Roland Garros Final. A right shoulder injury ended his peak performance days only two years later, and, during his long rehabilitation, he went on to complete a law degree in Split over five years. He later began a long career in tennis management, which included nine editions as Tournament Director of the season-ending championships [now named Nitto ATP Finals], when it was held in Frankfurt and Hanover. It is his mixed background, which also includes stints as ATP Marketing Director and then Executive Vice President, Europe, that has helped Franulovic develop the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters over the past 15 years.

“Our venue has improved, the different player areas and facilities, locker rooms, medical services, restaurants, interview rooms,” says Franulovic, who has a small full-time support staff and 800 people working during the ATP Masters 1000 tournament. “We’ve one of the best hotels on the ATP Tour, so I have always made sure to improve and satisfy player needs. We need to attract them to come to Monaco, but to also return the next year. Being a player helped me, as I knew what the players wanted. I came from a solid background as a player, and a tournament background, ATP administration, ATP Finals director.

“Monte Carlo has always been mine, and many other players’ favourite tournament. In those times, in the 1970s, we did not have 60-plus events to play. We now sometimes have three events to play in a single week. I remember waiting impatiently for Monte Carlo to begin. Arriving on the French Riviera, seeing the sunshine, Mediterranean weather, sand, and a bit of glitz and glamour, which Monaco is famous for. In short, Monte Carlo was not only a fantastic place to play as a player, it was the place to be in April.”

Due to the global outbreak of COVID-19, the 2020 Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters will not proceed as scheduled.

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Almagro: One Year After His Farewell To Tennis

  • Posted: Apr 14, 2020

Almagro: One Year After His Farewell To Tennis

The Spaniard announced his retirement on 8 April 2019

A little more than 12 months ago ago, Spain’s Nicolas Almagro ended one chapter of his life in order to focus on family duties. Speaking from his hometown of Murcia, during the COVID-19 global pandemic, the former World No. 9 talks about his post-playing life.

How are you coping with quarantine?
Very well, relaxed at home with the two children [Nico and Leo]. We’re fine, learning things, and above all, respecting the rules of confinement so that we can go outside as soon as possible.

It’s now been a year since you announced your retirement…
Now I have a peaceful life; a family life with my wife and my children. But also, as much as possible, I try to help at tournaments like Acapulco, where I went to join the team. I’m also doing my bit for a series of players who have asked me to help them make it as professionals.

At the Abierto Mexicano Telcel presentado por HSBC in Acapulco you were able to enjoy a different outlook on tennis.
Yes, I spoke to Raul Zurutuza, the Tournament Director, and I was commenting on matches, helping with sponsors… It was fun.

In addition to tournaments, we mustn’t forget you are helping young players with their games.
I’m helping three US players between 15 and 18 years of age, with the intention of helping them progress. They contacted me to work together and I liked the idea. I decided to start with them, but the current situation we are going through means we haven’t been able to get the project going yet.

ATP Heritage: Milestones. Records. Legends.

What is it you miss the most about the ATP Tour?
The adrenaline of competition. You go from one hundred to zero and that is probably the thing you miss the most. It’s not something I think about too much though, I have a new adrenaline now, which is learning to educate my two kids and I’m pretty busy with that.

Your routine has changed completely.
You miss the travelling, because every week we would go from one place to another and you miss that. But before I couldn’t be at home for more than two weeks in a row and now I can. Also, I’m watching my children grow up, helping at home… It’s a different kind of life that I hope to enjoy just as much as my career in sport.

When you sit down with friends and reminisce about stories from the tour, which is the one that comes up most?
What we remember are the moments we have shared together: the three Roland Garros quarter-finals with Rafa [Nadal] and the [2012] final of the Davis Cup in Prague… These are the moments that they were lucky to experience close up, and they always say that if they didn’t know me they would probably never have seen it.

You will also provide role model for your children to follow at home…
It will take a while longer with them, because they are still very small. But I’m sure that in the future they’ll ask, and with my wife I’ll be able to show them what their Dad did in his playing career.

 

Would you like to see them on the court some day?
I would like them to be happy. I’ll be by their side being their father, supporting them 100 per cent in everything I can, and, if they decide to be tennis players, I will welcome it. I will try to help, but it won’t be me who is 100 per cent running their career. They will have their coach and their teacher at first. You have to be patient, and if they want to be tennis players then they can be. But I will support them equally in whatever they want to do.

 

Even though it is impossible to go back, were you satisfied when you retired, or do you have any regrets?
I left very satisfied. I retired at the time I wanted to. I didn’t feel fit enough to play anymore. I decided to step aside. I had a very successful career. Could it have been better? Of course. Could it have been worse? That too. It was my way of living my life, of enjoying myself and I think that, in the end, I achieved much more than I ever dreamed of.

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Djokovic's Challenge, Isner's Flashback: Tennis At Home Roundup

  • Posted: Apr 14, 2020

Djokovic’s Challenge, Isner’s Flashback: Tennis At Home Roundup

ATPTour.com looks at what your favourite players have been up to

Your favourite players are all back at home, but they’re finding plenty of ways to stay active. From Novak Djokovic’s gymnastic skills, to John Isner’s trip down memory lane, find out how the biggest names in tennis are keeping busy.

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Djokovic and his wife, Jelena, called on fans to take an acro yoga challenge.

Isner reassured his followers that the lockdown feels like it’s moving slowly for everyone.

Marin Cilic took time to wish everyone a Happy Easter.

Nick Kyrgios showed off his new sleeve.

 

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Kobe and the king with me forever & some Jordan 1’s 💉 @dseeart

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Yasutaka Uchiyama didn’t even take Easter Sunday off from working on his fitness.

Tennis At Home | How ATP Players Make The Most Of Stay At Home

Leander Paes’ frying pan challenge led to a reunion with his former doubles partner, Mahesh Bhupathi.

Felix Auger-Aliassime broke out his hockey gear.

Todd Woodbridge joined the kids on TikTok.

Fabrice Santoro raised the stakes in trick shots by also using his feet.

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Food Court: Hurkacz’s Vegan Diet & Guilty Pleasures

  • Posted: Apr 14, 2020

Food Court: Hurkacz’s Vegan Diet & Guilty Pleasures

Away from home in lockdown, the Polish star talks about how he’s learned to love salad and veggies

Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz, who has been isolating in Florida in recent weeks, is reading plenty of books, watching movies and attempting to stay fit during the COVID-19 global pandemic.

The 23-year-old, who has adhered to a vegan diet for the past two years, caught up with ATPTour.com this week about his food choices and favourite meals.

What made you go vegan? Was it a result of tests or a recommendation?
It was a little bit of recommendation, but also watching programmes about food. I started to feel pretty good, with more energy, so I continued with it.

What is your go-to meal to cook during the stay-at-home order?
With my cooking skills, it’s pasta, with some veggies, tomato sauce and maybe some nuts. That would be for lunch.

What foods would you eat in Poland that you can’t find anywhere else?
It’s pretty easy to find all sorts of foods, but I do like Indian, Thai food, Pad Thai, which I’ve eaten for a couple of days. It’s still okay to get food where I am in Florida, maybe with the exception of toilet paper, which is pretty tough.

What unhealthy foods would you like to eat but you don’t?
I’m not really a fan of sweets, but I do love ice cream. There are some vegan options too.

Aside from pasta, what other food do you like to cook?
I eat some Burritos, with some veggies inside, and guacamole.

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What’s your favourite fruit?
I really like strawberries, I think they taste great.

Are there any foods you disliked as a kid that you eat now to help your diet, or just because you like it?
I think when I was a kid, I didn’t like salad at all and I didn’t like most of the veggies. Now I’ve got used to them and they taste good.

What do you typically eat during a match? Anything particularly interesting?
I’d probably eat something two hours before a match, but it’s tougher when they play best-of-five as you never know when you may start. You can eat snacks, but I eat rice, veggies and tomato sauce before a match. During the match, I eat bananas and dates that give me energy.

Which city on the ATP Tour has the best food and why?
I think Shanghai is very good. They have catering from Austria, it’s really great and you can order whatever you want.

Which three heroes/celebrities would you invite to dinner and why?
It would be nice to have dinner with Roger [Federer], Robert Lewandowski, a Polish footballer, and I’m struggling for a third person…!

Tennis At Home | How ATP Players Make The Most Of Stay At Home

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