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De Minaur's Golf Skills, Murray's Tiger Backboard: Tennis At Home Roundup

  • Posted: Apr 16, 2020

De Minaur’s Golf Skills, Murray’s Tiger Backboard: 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 Alex de Minaur’s unique putting game, to Andy Murray’s tiger backboard, find out how the biggest names in tennis are keeping busy.

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De Minaur shifted his competitive focus to mastering a unique putting skill.

Murray posed a question to fans that showed he’s been watching Netflix series “Tiger King”.

 

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Hey there cool cats and kittens! 🐯. Who would you feed to the tiger? 1. Joe Exotic 2. Doc Antle 3. Carole Baskin 4. All 3. There is only one correct answer. Thanks to @rebowall for the fun practice wall👍. #tiger #tennis #stayhome #staysafe #animalabuse #animalrights

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Alexander Zverev and Mischa Zverev took part in an early morning workout with their favourite football team.

Novak Djokovic expressed how we all feel.

Gael Monfils and Elina Svitolina didn’t hold back in an intense game of table tennis.

 

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🧩🧩

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

Pablo Andujar found a unique substitute for a tennis racquet.

 

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I keep training at home 💪🏻. My dustpan it´s my new racquet and my tennis ball 🎾 are my socks. What’re yours? I challenge you to keep your “tennis ball” up as many times as you can 😉. I´ve done 10! Tag me @pabloandujaroficial with the hashtags #TennisAtHome and #TeamLacoste 🐊. I will share the best ones on my stories 🤗

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Meanwhile, JC Aragone demonstrated that a tennis racquet has more uses than you might think.

Stan Wawrinka dug deep into his photo archive to pull out a classic photo with Roger Federer.

Guido Pella took on the dance craze known as the Savage Challenge.

Taro Daniel passed the time with a classic Japanese toy.

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US Open decision 'in June' but 'unlikely' to be played without fans

  • Posted: Apr 16, 2020

The fate of this year’s US Open will not be decided until June, but it is “highly unlikely” to be staged behind closed doors.

The US Tennis Association (USTA) has set up a medical advisory group to help them determine whether it will be safe to play the tournament.

The US Open is due to begin at Flushing Meadows in New York on 31 August.

More than 10,000 people have died from coronavirus in the city and lockdown measures have been extended to 15 May.

Nearly three quarters of a million people attended last year’s US Open, and when asked if they would play without fans, USTA chief executive Mike Dowse said: “We’re not taking anything off the table right now, but to be honest and open, I think that’s highly unlikely.

“That’s not really in the spirit of the celebration of tennis, and it also goes back to the health and wellbeing of our players and support staff that help run the tournament.

“Unless the medical experts come up with a solution that truly is foolproof and safe, we don’t see that as an option.”

A tournament behind closed doors still involves several thousand people. The USTA would be able to fulfil its commitment to broadcasters, but would still have to pay the players while missing out on vast revenue from ticket sales, food and drink, and merchandise.

The USTA is still aiming to run the tournament as scheduled, but has previously indicated it may explore the possibility of pushing it back into the autumn.

The French Tennis Federation has already rescheduled Roland Garros to run from 20 September to 4 October, pushing the tournament back four months from its original date of 24 May to 7 June.

While Wimbledon, due to be played between 29 June and 12 July, has been cancelled.

“In one sense we’re very fortunate that we are the fourth Grand Slam to go, so time is on our side at this point,” Dowse continued.

“The driving factor will be the health and wellbeing of the players, the fans and our staff. And to that, we just don’t have enough information if we can run the tournament safely.

“We’ve set a time frame around June to make that decision, and the way we are approaching it is through a medical advisory group.

“We have five or six doctors consulting with us on a regular basis, and based on that information we will ultimately make the decision if it’s safe to play the tournament or not.”

The Billie Jean King National Tennis Centre, which stages the US Open every year, is currently operating as a 450-bed hospital for the people of New York.

Dowse says they are also making 25,000 meals a day for health care professionals, and for children who are missing out on school lunches.

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Wawrinka v Federer: The Long-Awaited All-Swiss Final In Monte Carlo

  • Posted: Apr 16, 2020

Wawrinka v Federer: The Long-Awaited All-Swiss Final In Monte Carlo

Australian Open champion snapped 11-match losing streak against countryman

In his first ATP Tour championship match at the 2000 Open 13 Provence in Marseille, Roger Federer fell in a final-set tie-break to countryman Marc Rosset. By the time the next all-Swiss final was contested on the ATP Tour, Swiss tennis would find itself in an unrecognisable landscape.

It took more than 14 years to reach that moment at the 2014 Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters, when 78-time tour-level titlist Federer faced Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka for the trophy. World No. 3 Wawrinka, who had recently overtaken his rival as Swiss No. 1, and World No. 4 Federer were meeting for the 15th time in their ATP Head2Head series (Federer led 13-1).

Wawrinka entered the contest in the best form of his career, seeking his third title of 2014 (Chennai, Australian Open) after a 19-3 start to the year. On the opposite side of the net, Federer was aiming to lift an elusive first Monte Carlo trophy, having finished as runner-up to Rafael Nadal on three consecutive visits to the Principality from 2006 to 2008.

Federer claimed the opening set with a single break of serve to move one set away from a 12th straight victory against his gold medal-winning 2008 Beijing Olympics doubles partner. But, in 2014, Wawrinka had made a habit of ending long-standing losing streaks against the biggest stars on the ATP Tour. At the Australian Open, the 29-year-old ended 14 and 12-match losing streaks against Novak Djokovic and Nadal, respectively, en route to the trophy.

Wawrinka held his nerve in a tightly contested second set, moving up the court to finish points in a must-win tie-break to force the match to a third set. Riding his momentum into the decider, Wawrinka took time away from Federer with powerful groundstrokes to establish a 4-0 advantage. From there, the Australian Open titlist comfortably held his next two service games to claim his maiden Masters 1000 trophy.

“It’s always special to play Roger,” said Wawrinka. “We know it’s always a strange match, especially being in the final here. He’s my best friend on the Tour. We respect each other so much. I’m just trying on the court to win the match. Before and after, we are still very good friends. During the match, we just try everything to win. Today, I’m really happy to take that one.”

<a href='https://www.atptour.com/en/players/roger-federer/f324/overview'>Roger Federer</a> entered the 2014 <a href='https://www.atptour.com/en/tournaments/monte-carlo/410/overview'>Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters</a> final with a 13-1 ATP Head2Head record against <a href='https://www.atptour.com/en/players/stan-wawrinka/w367/overview'>Stan Wawrinka</a>.

It was Wawrinka’s second ATP Head2Head triumph against Federer, adding to his 2009 victory at the same event. By lifting the trophy, Wawrinka became only the third man to clinch a Masters 1000 crown outside the ‘Big Four’ of Nadal, Djokovic, Federer and Andy Murray since the 2010 edition of the tournament. Rolex Paris Masters champions Robin Soderling (2010) and David Ferrer (2012) were the only other men to achieve the feat during that period.

“Of course, I’m very happy for Stan,” said Federer. “It’s a huge win for him after winning his first Grand Slam this year, also to win his first Masters 1000. To take the opportunities when they’re there, that’s key in a tennis player’s career. So I’m very happy for him.”

Wawrinka’s sixth Top 10 victory of the year (6-0) catapulted him to No. 1 in the ATP Race To London. The newly-crowned Australian Open winner went on to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals, making his second of four straight appearances at The O2 from 2013 to 2016, before falling to Federer in the semi-finals. The semi-final encounter was later named ATPTour.com’s Match of the Year.

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Emirates SkyCargo Delivers COVID-19 Support Across The World

  • Posted: Apr 16, 2020

Emirates SkyCargo Delivers COVID-19 Support Across The World

ATP’s premier partner is stepping up during the coronavirus pandemic

From Sao Paulo to Mumbai, Emirates SkyCargo is providing vital support to cities across the world during the COVID-19 pandemic. Emirates, the ATP’s premier partner, is delivering essential supplies, including testing kits, masks and food across the globe.

Testing Kits And Medical Supplies
On 30 March, an Emirates SkyCargo flight carrying close to 500,000 COVID-19 testing kits landed at Sao Paulo airport in Brazil. The kits were moved from Guangzhou via Dubai by the air cargo carrier on the first of two flights operated to transport supplies to Sao Paulo.

During the same week, Emirates also executed two special charters carrying almost 200 tonnes of medical supplies such as hand sanitisers and protective face masks from Hong Kong to Sydney while another flight transported pharmaceutical supplies to Karachi.

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Hospital Equipment And Pharmaceuticals
As part of a special charter operation, an Emirates Boeing 777 freighter transported close to 100 tonnes of relief material, including hospital equipment, to Milan and over 55 tonnes of highly temperature sensitive pharmaceuticals were flown to New York from Mumbai. Between March and April, the air cargo carrier will also be operating nine freighter flights to Budapest as part of a charter to transport supplies such as face masks and equipment to Hungary. 

Food Materials
In addition to transporting critical medical supplies around the world, Emirates SkyCargo is also playing a vital role in bringing food materials into the UAE and the Middle East. During the last week of March, the carrier operated special flights from Pakistan and India to bring in more than 150 tonnes of perishables to Dubai. Dedicated cargo flights from Cairo and Nairobi have also been transporting perishables to Dubai and onwards to other destinations within the Middle East.

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“In these trying times, we more than ever stand by our commitment for Emirates SkyCargo to act as a global conveyor belt for the transport of much needed commodities such as food and medicines and also for flying in equipment, machinery and other components which are vital for business continuity across essential industries,” said Nabil Sultan, Emirates Divisional Senior Vice President, Cargo.

“As an extremely agile and customer-focused business, we have been able to establish a new network and schedule for our cargo operations within a very short period of time, utilising lower deck capacity on our widebody Boeing 777 passenger aircraft, which supplement the cargo capacity, we offer on our freighter aircraft. 

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Coco Gauff says she had depression a year before stunning Wimbledon run

  • Posted: Apr 16, 2020

Coco Gauff says she had depression because of the “pressure that she needed to do well” little more than a year before she stunned the tennis world at Wimbledon in 2019.

American Gauff, then 15, reached the last 16 at the All England Club, most notably defeating five-time champion Venus Williams in the first round.

But she says she struggled with a “dark mindset” for a year around 2017-18.

“I was struggling to figure out if this was really what I wanted,” Gauff said.

In a piece for Behind the Racquet, the 16-year-old added: “I always had the results so that wasn’t the issue, I just found myself not enjoying what I loved.”

In qualifying for Wimbledon, Gauff became the youngest player in the Open era to qualify for the main draw.

But she says achieving firsts in the past contributed to her struggles.

“Throughout my life, I was always the youngest to do things, which added hype that I didn’t want,” she said.

“It added this pressure that I needed to do well fast.”

She added: “I realised I needed to start playing for myself and not other people. For about a year I was really depressed. That was the toughest year for me so far.

“When you are in that dark mindset you don’t look on the bright side of things too often, which is the hardest part.

“I don’t think it had much to do with tennis, maybe just about juggling it all. I knew that I wanted to play tennis but didn’t know how I wanted to go about it.”

Such was her unhappiness, Gauff considered taking a year off tennis – a decision she is glad she never made.

“Choosing not to obviously was the right choice but I was close to not going in that direction,” she said.

“I was just lost. It took many moments sitting, thinking and crying. I came out of it stronger and knowing myself better than ever.”

  • Ex-Wimbledon junior champion gives players chance to open up with Behind the Racquet

‘I don’t like being compared to Serena or Venus’

After her Wimbledon run and similar performances at the US and Australian Opens, Gauff says she is “getting used to” the idea of being a role model. However, she admits that brings pressure of its own.

“I know people are watching every move,” she said. “For the most part it is easy because I am always just being myself, not putting up a front, which people seem to be OK with.

“I don’t feel like I have to flip a switch or anything. In the beginning I thought I had to be perfect but I’ve done a lot of soul searching and moved past it.”

But she dislikes comparisons with Serena and Venus Williams, who share 30 Grand Slam singles titles between them and were her inspirations to get into the sport.

“For me, one of the biggest things is to continue breaking barriers,” she said. “At the same time, I don’t like being compared to Serena or Venus.

“First, I am not at their level yet. I always feel like it’s not fair to the Williams sisters to be compared to someone who is just coming up. It just doesn’t feel right yet, I still look at them as my idols.

“With all their accolades, I shouldn’t be put in the same group yet.

“Of course I hope to get to where they are but they are the two women that set the pathway for myself, which is why I can never be them.”

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Fashion, Food & More: Five Things To Know About Reilly Opelka

  • Posted: Apr 16, 2020

Fashion, Food & More: Five Things To Know About Reilly Opelka

Learn about the American’s on-court success and off-court hobbies

Reilly Opelka has quickly become one of the toughest players to face on the ATP Tour, backed with one of the world’s biggest serves and underrated movement that allows him to compete well from the baseline. 

The 22-year-old doesn’t allow just his tennis to define him, though, as he enjoys various hobbies off the court to stay busy when he’s not working hard towards his on-court goals.

ATPTour.com takes a look at five things to know about the American.

1) The American Loves Fashion
Throughout the world at various ATP Tour events, there’s one thing you can count on: Opelka will spend some of his free time on fashion. Whether in Tokyo, which he calls the “menswear fashion capital of the world”, or New York, where he enjoys fashion shows, the 22-year-old always has his eyes on the fashion scene.

In some cases, like in Tokyo, Opelka isn’t necessarily looking to buy anything. He simply enjoys checking out what local designers come up. Vogue’s editor-in-chief, Anna Wintour, frequents tennis tournaments, and Opelka would enjoy the chance to meet her one day.

“I’d love to [meet her]. For sure [it’s on the bucket list],” Opelka said. “I follow Harper’s Bazaar, I read a lot. I read all different types of outlets from that [fashion] standpoint.”

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<a href='https://www.atptour.com/en/players/reilly-opelka/o522/overview'>Reilly Opelka</a>
Photo Credit: Reilly Opelka
2) Opelka Is A ‘Foodie’
Opelka doesn’t solely focus on fashion. He enjoys high-quality food, too.

“In New York, I was eating good. I love this restaurant called Moreia. I love Italian. I was ordering an Italian dish there as well, Gnocchetti. Carbone is really good there. I was going to Per Se. I was eating [at a] ton of good foodie spots pretty much every night. Le Coucou is another one,” Opelka said.

Will you catch the big man cooking, though?

“Absolutely not,” Opelka said. “Zero chance. Never.”

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

3) He Has Lifted Trophies In Two Straight Seasons
The American won his two ATP Tour trophies only 53 weeks apart.

Opelka clinched his maiden tour-level title last February at the New York Open by defeating Brayden Schnur in a third-set tie-break. He also saved six match points against John Isner in a thrilling semi-final clash. Opelka finished the week with 156 aces, including 43 in the championship match, and closed out the tournament with 68 consecutive service holds.

He also triumphed at this year’s Delray Beach Open by VITACOST.com, doing double duty on the tournament’s final day. Opelka rallied past former World No. 3 Milos Raonic, saving a match point in the semi-finals to triumph 4-6, 7-6(6), 6-3, before crushing 27 aces en route to a 7-5, 6-7(4), 6-2 victory against Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka for the title.

4) He Has Been Quarantining With Tommy Paul
Opelka is good friends with his fellow rising Americans, including Taylor Fritz, Frances Tiafoe and Tommy Paul, and he has been quarantining with Paul during the COVID-19 pandemic. One day, he posted on Instagram that they were watching the Scripps National Spelling Bee on ESPN.

5) Opelka Graduated From Challengers
Opelka set up his breakthrough 2019 season with a dominant run in 2018 on the ATP Challenger Tour. He finished the year with back-to-back Challenger titles in the United States and reached the championship match in four of his last six Challenger events.

“It was the first time I consistently put together a lot of matches in a row. I reached a lot of semi-finals and I think the year before there wasn’t one week where I had won three matches in a row,” Opelka said. “Being able to play on the Challenger Tour and not as many ATP Tour events helped me string all those matches together. It gave me a lot of confidence and I learned a lot about myself and my tennis. It allowed me to work on some things that I knew needed to be addressed.”

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Heather Watson: Tennis star's TikTok obsession during lockdown

  • Posted: Apr 16, 2020

While some sportspeople have dabbled in painting or reading during the coronavirus lockdown, others have been tapping into a slightly newer phenomenon – TikTok.

In the fourth part of our ‘In isolation with…’ series, British tennis player Heather Watson talks about her rising fame on the video-making app.

Like millions of others across the world, I have been passing the time during lockdown by discovering TikTok. And now I’m obsessed!

That’s even though I suspect that, at the age of 27, I’m a little old for it! It seems as if it is mainly younger people under 20 and famous celebrities who use the app.

But I don’t care if I’m too ‘old’ or not. I’m having so much fun doing lots of silly videos and I’m getting positive responses from people who are enjoying watching them.

For those of you who don’t have a clue what TikTok is, or who have heard of it but don’t have an account, it is a fun app where you basically create videos. You can create anything.

The most popular ones are lip syncs and dance moves, but there are also cooking tips and now pop stars even use it to promote new songs.

I prefer going down the funny route and making fun of myself, dressing up and doing stupid stuff.

One of my TikTok inspirations is an American girl called Liza Koshy, who is a super famous blogger, Instagrammer, YouTuber… she is absolutely hilarious.

She is very creative in what she does and I’m a creative person too, so I’m loving doing something like this. Usually I wouldn’t have the time to do it while I’m on tour.

Like everyone else, I’m not able to play tennis so lockdown means I’m staying at home in London with my boyfriend Courtney.

He is an athlete too – he plays football for Yeovil Town – so that means we both have daily fitness schedules to do to make sure we’re staying in shape for whenever we can start playing again.

But it also leaves lots of time to create TikTok videos! Here are the five which I’ve enjoyed doing the most…

Flipping The Switch with Drake (and Courtney)

Everyone loves this one! I think it is my most popular video. But Courtney is the star of it.

So, this is where two people stand in front of the mirror, one recording and one dancing to the intro of Drake’s Nonstop song.

Then when the lyric comes in, it goes dark. You literally flip the switch off. When the light comes back on you have swapped clothes and you’re doing what the other person is doing.

In my video I’m wearing a super-girly, summery outfit – a crop top with frills and frilly pants – doing a cute dance.

Courtney is wearing a big puffa jacket and some grey tracksuit bottoms with his hood up, looking mean and moody.

When we flip the switch he’s wearing my dress and doing a sexy dance! We had to find a stretchy one he could fit into…

He didn’t take too much persuading to do that video but afterwards he got loads of stick from his friends. So now it is hard persuading him to do another one with me…

‘I’m claustrophobic, Darren!’ – going all TOWIE

From what I’ve seen of her I find reality television star Gemma Collins really funny – and this video allowed me to delve into my inner TOWIE.

One of her most famous moments came on Celebrity Big Brother when she went on a rant and ended by claiming to Darren Day that she is claustrophobic.

I’ve never really watched TOWIE or Celebrity Big Brother, but I know this clip so I thought it would be good for one of the videos.

I don’t necessarily pick a video because of the person, I pick it more because of what they are saying. This Gemma Collins clip was a bit ridiculous, becoming an iconic bit of reality TV.

So I thought I’m just going to dress up in the most bougie outfit I can find in my wardrobe. That wasn’t hard because I’ve got the weirdest clothes – as you can probably tell.

I put on a sports bra with a fluffy coat, clipped in a hair extension, and chucked on some jewellery and lipstick.

And I enjoyed putting on an Essex accent. I do that for fun just in my house when I’m alone and bored at home anyway.

Keeping Up With The… Kardashian impressions

Again, I’m not exactly a massive fan of Keeping Up With The Kardashians but this was another scene which I thought I could do something funny with.

Most people know who the Kardashians are, it is a long-running show and it is ingrained in popular culture.

So everyone will get it straight away, even if they don’t watch the show.

In this video you see me in three different outfits for a 12-second video, but honestly it doesn’t take me long to get ready.

First up is Kim Kardashian and I’m wearing pink-flared trousers with a matching tie-up top. They have lemons all over it.

I don’t know what I was thinking when I bought that outfit… I’ve never worn it. It was probably in the sale. At least it has been put to a good use now.

Next was her sister Kourtney. With her I put on a sparkly, sequinned dress, chucked some red lipstick on and took the wig off. The final one is their mum Kris Jenner – I put the wig and glasses back on.

I’ve never done any acting before, but my friends would say if any of us were to be an actress then it would be me – because I’m pretty dramatic.

Could it be magic?…

I joked the impersonation of Gemma Collins was the start of my acting career and I want to do everything now because of TikTok – acting, singing, dancing, magic…

I just scroll through the trends on the app and pick ones which I think I can be creative with, some of them are just so random.

One of my most watched videos was my first magic trick. I’ve never been into magic before this either.

Basically, what I do is… actually, I won’t spoil the illusion! Just watch the video below…

Blowing up on TikTok

After Courtney got stick for the ‘Flip The Switch’ video, I’ve had to negotiate extra PlayStation time for him to do more TikTok videos with me.

We did the Couples Challenge, where you are asked questions like ‘who initiated the first kiss?’, ‘who is the funny one?’ and ‘who is grumpiest in the morning?’, then both point to who you think the answer is, without looking at each other. I think we did pretty well.

I also got him to do one which uses ‘bubbleheads’, where our heads are blowing up while we are singing Soulja Boy’s ‘Hey You There’. It is so funny.

The lockdown is a difficult time for everyone so it is a bonus other people think my videos are funny too and are being cheered up by them.

I am loving doing the videos and will continue to do them to stay creative until I can play tennis again. Enjoy!

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Heather Watson was talking to BBC Sport’s Jonathan Jurejko.

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