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School's In As John Isner Queries Young Americans

  • Posted: Apr 21, 2020

School’s In As John Isner Queries Young Americans

Isner catches up with Fritz, Opelka, Paul and Tiafoe

On the second episode of Tennis United, American John Isner moderated a chat between his countrymen: Taylor Fritz, Reilly Opelka, Tommy Paul and Frances Tiafoe, all of whom grew up together. All the players have a great relationship with each other, which showed.

Everyone immediately took notice of a gaming chair Fritz was using.

“Reilly, where’s your gaming chair?” Isner wondered.

“It doesn’t exist,” Opelka quickly replied.

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How many hours has Fritz been spending on video games during the COVID-19 pandemic?

“It depends, it depends,” Fritz said.

“That’s how you know it’s a bad number!” Paul joked.

Isner then took the group through a quiz in which he’d ask a question, and the quartet of young Americans had to reach a consensus.

Who is always late?
Taylor Fritz

“Fritz is consistently late every time,” Opelka said.

“But Frances will be way later,” Fritz replied. “One time Frances was telling me he was coming down in the elevator for like an hour!”

Who’s the biggest eater?
Reilly Opelka

“It’s got to be the big man,” Isner said. “We’re similar in stature and I know I eat a lot!”

Watch over 165 classic ATP Tour matches from the 90s

Who is the messiest?
Taylor Fritz

“Frances I’ve got to say, I saw that little ATP Cribs thing and there were clothes everywhere,” Isner said.

“Bro that was a disaster!” Tiafoe responded, cracking into laughter.

Who would you least want to be in quarantine with?
“I’d love to be in quarantine with all three of these guys,” Fritz said.

“Us four in quarantine would be ideal,” Paul said.

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Who Wants To Coach Kyrgios: Djokovic Or Fognini?

  • Posted: Apr 21, 2020

Who Wants To Coach Kyrgios: Djokovic Or Fognini?

Djokovic and Fognini discuss who they’d like to coach during an Instagram Live

If you could pick one ATP Tour star to coach, who would it be and why?

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic and Italian star Fabio Fognini answered that question during an Instagram Live session on Tuesday.

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“You would definitely be one of the players that I would like to coach,” Djokovic told the Italian.

“Serbia! Serbia! Serbia!” Fognini quickly chanted, drawing a laugh from Djokovic.

“I think you are one of the most talented players that I have ever seen, that I have ever played against,” Djokovic said. “I think your team and your coaches are already doing a very good job, but I feel I can contribute a little bit more!”

Djokovic and Fognini then got serious, looking at other players besides each other. Fognini picked a player who is a shotmaker like himself.

“Kyrgios,” Fognini said, before Djokovic responded.

“Kyrgios, I knew it!”

Djokovic revealed that there are some younger players whom he’d enjoy mentoring.

“I would probably coach Felix Auger-Aliassime,” the World No. 1 said. “I would love to coach him because I think he’s a great guy, very talented, fantastic work ethic. And Shapo as well, great guys. Tsitsipas [too].”

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Tennis Unites To Create COVID-19 Player Relief Programme

  • Posted: Apr 21, 2020

Tennis Unites To Create COVID-19 Player Relief Programme

Statement on behalf of the governing bodies of world tennis

With so much uncertainty around when it will be safe to restart the professional tennis tours, the International governing bodies of world tennis can confirm they are in discussions to create a Player Relief Programme to provide much-needed assistance to the players who are particularly affected during this time of the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.

These discussions have been progressing well and details are being finalised with an announcement expected in the near future. Already agreed is that the ATP and the WTA will administer the Player Relief Programme and all seven stakeholders will make a significant contribution.

The health and safety of everyone involved in tennis is the absolute priority for all the governing bodies, and the tennis community has been unwavering in playing its part in limiting the spread of the infection.

This is particularly true of our players, with so many engaging their fans through messages of hope while reiterating the importance of staying safe at home, as well as demonstrating creative ways to stay fit and practice our sport to be ready for when the time comes that play can begin again.

We know that for our players, as well as for so many people worldwide, there is the need for financial support for those who need it most and we look forward to finalizing and sharing the further details of a plan in due course.

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Thiem & Nishikori To Compete In Mutua Madrid Open Virtual Pro

  • Posted: Apr 21, 2020

Thiem & Nishikori To Compete In Mutua Madrid Open Virtual Pro

Three days remain before the draw is made

With three days to go until the draw for the Mutua Madrid Open Virtual Pro, the organisers have confirmed that Dominic Thiem and Kei Nishikori will also participate in the innovative tournament.

The best tennis players in the world will face off with one another virtually from their homes from 27-30 April. The biggest ATP and WTA stars will swap their racquets for a PlayStation 4 to clash in a Manolo Santana Stadium that has been recreated in exquisite detail in the Tennis World Tour video game (Nacon Gaming).

Thiem, a two-time Mutua Madrid Open finalist (2017 and 2018), is currently the No. 3 player in the FedEx ATP Rankings. The Austrian, who started 2020 by reaching the final of the Australian Open, will clash against some of his biggest rivals in the Mutua Madrid Open Virtual Pro, including Rafael Nadal and Alexander Zverev.

“I’m looking very much forward to the Mutua Madrid Open Virtual Pro tournament,” said Thiem. “Of course this won’t be the same to play virtual compared to the real one, but it’s a great initiative and I’m very excited about it, still. It’s my first time ever to play an event like this. Again, I’m really looking forward to my first match! It’s going to be great.”

Nishikori, a 12-time ATP Tour titlist, has accepted the challenge of the new tournament, thus contributing to the competition’s main cause.

“Excited to help the Madrid tournament with this unique experience,” said Nishikori. “We are all hoping to be back on court soon, but as we are all staying safe inside for now… this will hopefully provide fans with some much needed positive entertainment.”

They will both have the chance to help the tennis players most in need at this time, to help those without income get and those affected by the virus get through these months of inactivity in the pioneering online charity competition.

The tournament will include a purse of €150,000 in both draws (ATP and WTA), from which the winners will be able to decide on how much they donate to the tennis players currently suffering economically, and €50,000 that will all go towards reducing the social impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The format for the Mutua Madrid Open Virtual Pro will be as follows: 16 singles players in each of the two draws (ATP and WTA) initially divided into four groups. The champion of each group will progress to the quarter-finals, which will also include the runner-up of each group. From there, the tournament will be played as a knock-out. In addition, in parallel with the official competition, there will be a series of benefit matches that will see some of the biggest content creators in the gaming world take on the professional tennis players to raise funds to help those affected by COVID-19.

All fans will be able to follow the tournament online, on television and on the Mutua Madrid Open’s social media, with a spectacular production that will include commentary on all the matches, analysis and highlights programmes and interviews with the winners after each match.

The other previously announced ATP Tour stars competing are Nadal, Zverev, Andy Murray, Gael Monfils, David Goffin, Fabio Fognini, Diego Schwartzman, Karen Khachanov, John Isner, Lucas Pouille, David Ferrer and Frances Tiafoe. The WTA field will consist of Karolina Pliskova, Elina Svitolina, Bianca Andreescu Belinda Bencic, Kiki Bertens, Angelique Kerber, Madison Keys, Kristina Mladenovic, Carla Suárez, Victoria Azarenka, Johanna Konta, Fiona Ferro, Eugenie Bouchard and Sorana Cirstea. The organisers of the Mutua Madrid Open will soon reveal the remaining participants, as well as other news of the competition.

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From The Vault: Watch 20 Classic Challenger Matches On Demand

  • Posted: Apr 21, 2020

From The Vault: Watch 20 Classic Challenger Matches On Demand

A trip down memory lane on the ATP Challenger Tour

With the ATP Challenger Tour on hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we open the vault for some of the classic matches from the past six years. From Alexander Zverev battling David Goffin in Mons 2014 to the all-Canadian clash between Denis Shapovalov and Felix Auger-Aliassime in Drummondville 2017, and this year’s epic encounter between Frances Tiafoe and Brandon Nakashima in Dallas, enjoy these full matches for free and on demand…

David Goffin vs. Alexander Zverev – Mons, Belgium
It’s the only time in which two players in the current Top 10 faced off on the ATP Challenger Tour. A 17-year-old Zverev was first embarking on his professional journey, while Goffin was in the midst of his Comeback Player of the Year campaign. The Belgian would reel off 20 straight Challenger-level matches and 36 sets in a row.

Nick Kyrgios vs. Filip Krajinovic – Sarasota, USA
This would mark the beginning of Kyrgios’ breakthrough season in 2014. Sitting outside the Top 200 at the time, the 18-year-old Aussie would capture back-to-back titles in Sarasota and Savannah, before lifting his first grass-court trophy in Nottingham and stunning Rafael Nadal en route to the Wimbledon quarter-finals. It all started on the green clay of the Sarasota Open.

Borna Coric vs. Malek Jaziri – Izmir, Turkey
It was not only the first title of Coric’s budding career, but his first Top 100 victory as well. The 17-year-old enjoyed his maiden moment on the hard courts of Izmir in 2014 after a two-hour and 30-minute marathon.

Alexander Zverev vs. Paul-Henri Mathieu – Braunschweig, Germany
One of the youngest champions on the circuit in the past decade, Zverev was just 17 years and two months old when he lifted his first trophy in Braunschweig in 2014. The local favourite, sitting at No. 665 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, had won just one Challenger-level match entering the tournament. He would leave with the trophy, capped by a comeback victory over former World No. 12 Mathieu.

Taylor Fritz vs. Jared Donaldson – Sacramento, USA
It was a story of survival and mental fortitude for the 17-year-old Fritz on a windy afternoon in Sacramento. The California native saved a remarkable 34 of 37 break points faced throughout the week, including 15 of 16 in the final. Competing in just his second Challenger main draw, Fritz would become the youngest American titlist on the circuit in eight years.

Diego Schwartzman vs. Guido Pella – Porto Alegre, Brazil
Today they are the highest-ranked players from Argentina, but in 2015, Schwartzman and Pella were still battling to gain full-time status on the ATP Tour. With the season winding to a close, the pair met for the title in Porto Alegre. Just one year later, Schwartzman would lift his maiden ATP crown in Istanbul and Pella would stun Dominic Thiem en route to the final at the 500-level event in Rio de Janeiro.

Noah Rubin vs. Tommy Paul – Charlottesville, USA
It was one of the most remarkable comebacks you’ll see in a final. Leading by a set and a double break, Paul had one hand on the trophy, but Rubin would not be denied his maiden moment. The New York native saved two match points and stormed back from 3-6, 1-5 down to take the all-teen championship clash in Charlottesville 2015.

Dustin Brown vs. Rajeev Ram – Manchester, UK
It was vintage Brown throughout the week in Manchester. The human highlight reel put on a show on the lawns of the The Northern, diving for volleys and slicing and dicing his way to his first grass-court title. His first-round upset of second seed Ram was a memorable one, including an array of trick shots.

Frances Tiafoe vs. Ernesto Escobedo – Lexington, USA
At the time, Tiafoe and Escobedo were two #NextGenATP prospects looking to make a name for themselves on the professional scene. Both were in search of their first Challenger title in the 2016 Lexington championship and an epic encounter would ensue. They left it all on the court for nearly two and a half hours, with Escobedo eventually prevailing in a deciding tie-break. Tiafoe wouldn’t wait long for his maiden moment in the spotlight, lifting his first trophy one week later in Granby.

Stefanos Tsitsipas vs. Andrey Rublev – Quimper, France
They would later meet in two high-profile matches at the tour-level, but it was the first encounter between Tsitsipas and Rublev that provided an instant spark to their budding rivalry. The first-round meeting on the indoor hard courts of Quimper would be settled in a deciding tie-break, with both teens looking to make a statement. Just one year later, they would find themselves in a five-set battle at the Next Gen ATP Finals, before squaring off once again at the 2019 US Open.

Denis Shapovalov vs. Felix Auger-Aliassime – Drummondville, Canada
The indoor hard courts of Drummondville would not only produce Shapo’s maiden Challenger crown in 2017, but the first professional encounter between the two Canadian prodigies. It was one of the most highly-anticipated matches on Canadian soil and it was standing room only from first ball to match point. From outside the Top 250 at the time to Top 20 stars today – just three years later.

Tennys Sandgren vs. Tommy Paul – Savannah, USA
Pulsating rallies, Hot Shots, incredible drama. This match had it all, as Sandgren and Paul battled for a spot in the Savannah final in 2017. All three meetings between the American pair have had a flair for the dramatic and their very first encounter was no exception.

Felix Auger-Aliassime vs. Casper Ruud – Lyon, France
We anticipate many more meetings between these budding stars. It was on the clay of Lyon in 2017 that they launched a new rivalry. At the age of 16 years and 10 months, Auger-Aliassime would go on to become one of the youngest champions in Challenger history, but he first had to get through Ruud. After three sets and more than two hours, it was a memorable quarter-final.

Alex de Minaur vs. Daniel Evans – Nottingham, UK
De Minaur’s maiden moment arrived on a sun-kissed afternoon in Nottingham. After falling in four previous Challenger finals, the Aussie would finally break through with his first trophy. Two of the game’s best grass-court performers clashed in the championship, with Evans going on to take the title the following year.

Jay Clarke vs. Jordan Thompson – Binghamton, USA
One of the more entertaining finals in recent history, the 2018 Binghamton championship provided plenty of drama. Thompson had break points to serve for the title in the second set and led 4/0 in the ensuing tie-break, before Clarke mounted a monumental comeback.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga vs. Mikael Ymer – Cassis, France
After undergoing left knee surgery, Tsonga admits that his future as a pro was in doubt. But late last year, the Frenchman said that playing Challenger tournaments helped him find the reasons he was playing tennis again. That comment was made after he sprinted to the title on home soil in Cassis. He did not drop a set all week, but faced a stern test from #NextGenATP star Ymer in the semis. It was a high-octane encounter on the hard courts of the Tennis Sporting Club, with the Swede giving the home favourite all he could handle.

Vasek Pospisil vs. Hyeon Chung – Vancouver, Canada
Arguably the match of the year in 2019 was a first-round meeting between the Canadian and the Korean in Vancouver. Pospisil had the crowd behind him, but Chung was riding a wave of momentum in his comeback from a back injury, winning seven straight matches. They exchanged baseline bombs for more than two hours, before Chung saved three match points to triumph.

Dominik Koepfer vs. Dennis Novak – Ilkley, UK
For Koepfer, it all started in Ilkley last year. The German enjoyed a successful summer stretch that included a Grand Slam debut at Wimbledon and fourth round appearance at the US Open, but those results would not have been possible without his breakthrough Challenger title in northern England. Koepfer saved a match point to defeat Austria’s Novak in a deciding tie-break in the final. The lead swayed back and forth for two hours, before Koepfer seized his maiden moment in thrilling fashion.

Tommy Paul vs. Thanasi Kokkinakis – Tiburon, USA
Paul claimed an instant classic against Kokkinakis in last year’s Tiburon final. The 22-year-old survived after two hours and 46 minutes, converting five of 12 break chances. With the wind howling across the Peninsula Club throughout the day, both players were forced to make plenty of adjustments. They would manage the conditions well, blasting winners off both wings and delighting the packed crowd in the San Francisco suburb. And despite relinquishing a set and a break lead, Paul came up clutch in the critical moments for his third title of the year.

Frances Tiafoe vs. Brandon Nakashima – Dallas, USA
It was arguably the match of the year, prior to the tour’s suspension due to the COVID-19 pandemic. No match on the ATP Challenger Tour is easy, even for a perrenial Top 50 talent like Tiafoe, and the American was put to the test early and often. Tiafoe had his back against the wall against 18-year-old Brandon Nakashima and was made to fight for more than two hours in front of a packed crowd at T Bar M Racquet Club. Nakashima brought his A-game and forced Tiafoe to raise his, resulting in blistering baseline exchanges and incredible drama.

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Schwartzman's ChamPlay Event Raises More Than $275,000

  • Posted: Apr 21, 2020

Schwartzman’s ChamPlay Event Raises More Than $275,000

Schwartzman didn’t win, but enjoyed a special charity weekend

Diego Schwartzman had an unusual weekend, but one that was just as intense as competing on the ATP Tour. The World No. 13 organised the ChamPlay Solidaria charity event, which raised more than $275,000 for the Argentine Red Cross.

On Sunday, it was Schwartzman’s turn to take to the pitch for the FIFA event. He fell in the American Zone final against Boca Juniors player ‘Toto’ Salvio, 1-0.

“It ruined my weekend… all the good things that were happening over the weekend with donations, I don’t like losing,” Schwartzman said, cracking a laugh. “I deserved better, I was ready to win!”

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What was different about these two days for the Argentine?

“We always play on the PlayStation amongst ourselves, but playing with so many people watching and being able to help is different… There were a lot of details that were difficult to coordinate online and with everyone being remote, but we achieved the goal of getting a lot of people to donate lots of money, to have a fun weekend at home and to help those that need it the most,” Schwartzman explained.

“I have to thank all the people that participated, my whole family, who did a lot to help. We had fun and a lot of money was raised, both from companies and from people’s contributions. It turned out really well, we were able to help a lot of people and that makes me happy.”

Watch over 165 classic ATP Tour matches from the 90s

The event was made up of 14 celebrities, including World No. 3 Dominic Thiem, former Argentine star Juan Monaco, and other well-known athletes.

“There was a lot of frustration from those that lost,” Schwartzman said, laughing. “Agüero was really angry, and others drowned their sorrows while they were watching the matches, we really laughed a lot.”

Schwartzman began his run in the event on Sunday with a 3-0 win over singer Paulo Londra, and then a 4-1 victory against the Brazilian Filipe Luis.

“Filipe is a huge football lover, he’s been to Madrid to watch the tournament, he’s friends with Thiem,” Schwartzman said.

“I’m a big fan of ‘El Peque’. I played tennis until I was 14, it’s an incredible sport. It served him mentally, he went behind against me and pulled it back”, said the footballer.

Mónaco also played in ChamPlay on Sunday with one victory, before losing in the semi-finals. The Argentine started with a 2-0 win over singer René before bowing out to the eventual champion, Salvio.
However, the former World No. 10 enjoyed taking part in the event from Miami, where he is residing during this time.

“You have to be generous,” said the man from Tandil. “To me it was nice to join ‘El Peque’’s initiative alongside Paulo.”

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Federer's Wall Challenge Sends Dimitrov Back To Childhood

  • Posted: Apr 21, 2020

Federer’s Wall Challenge Sends Dimitrov Back To Childhood

Dimitrov recalls childhood story during Tennis United

Roger Federer put on a social distancing show at the end of March, playing tennis in the snow against a wall, showing off his racquet skills with plenty of tweeners and behind-the-back shots.

During his recent Tennis United segment, 2017 Nitto ATP Finals champion Grigor Dimitrov revealed that the viral video reminded him of his own childhood.

“I remember every morning with my dad in the early development of my life. We used to go in the morning in the hall. It was very cold when it was snowing outside,” Dimitrov said. “We used to put scotch tape on the wooden floor and we used to play with gloves and everything because it was so cold in the morning. We didn’t have a heater in the hall.

“This brings a very good example of tenacity and just wanting to do more. It’s a great video to see from every perspective. I think it’s also inspiring at the same time. When you want something, there are no limits to it, no way it can be stopped.”

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

As far as seeing Federer show off his racquet skills, Dimitrov enjoyed that, too.

“You know sometimes you’ve got to work on those shots!” Dimitrov said.

Another video Dimitrov highlighted was Fabio Fognini and his wife, 2015 US Open champion Flavia Pennetta, playing makeshift tennis in their backyard with a baby carriage — neither of their two children were in it — serving as a net.

“We have our finest in the business… Fabio and Flavia,” Dimitrov said. “This is what happens when two competitive people are locked in for a while with kids. She’s still got it, look at those moves! Between the legs, behind the back. Fabio is just being Fabio!”

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Tennis world planning multi-million dollar financial aid for lower-ranked players

  • Posted: Apr 21, 2020

The four Grand Slams and tennis’ three governing bodies are finalising a multi-million dollar package of financial assistance for lower-ranked players.

Details of the package, which is likely to be worth at least $6 million, are expected to be announced later this week.

A player’s ranking will be used as a starting point, but previous earnings and other income may be taken into consideration when players apply for support.

Discussions, which have proved complex, began shortly after professional tennis was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic on 12 March.

Meanwhile, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are hoping top 100 singles and top 20 doubles players will contribute to a separate $1m fund for men ranked outside the top 250.

In a letter written by Djokovic, president of the ATP Player Council, and first revealed in Sports Illustrated, they suggest donations on a sliding scale. So the world’s top five – the three of them, Dominic Thiem and Daniil Medvedev – would contribute $30,000 each, and those ranked between 51 and 100, $5,000 each.

They calculate that would allow singles players ranked between 250 and 700 to receive a further grant of $10,000 each.

The sentiment is admirable, but it may be difficult to persuade some players just inside the top 100, and currently without any income, to part with $5,000.

There may also be those who question whether it is right to award $10,000 to someone like the current world number 700 (Germany’s Dominik Boehler), as it amounts to more than his combined singles and doubles earnings for the whole of 2019.

Fairness has also been uppermost in the mind of the four Grand Slams, the ITF, the ATP and the WTA. They hope to come up with a scheme which, while simple to access, also benefits those most in need. That will not be easy, given older players – who may not have much in the way of savings – are more likely to have a family to support, and mortgage payments to meet.

There is currently no indication the leading women’s players are considering a proposal like the one put forward by the ATP Player Council. But the WTA chief executive Steve Simon says the organisation has already distributed over $3m to players since the suspension of play in March.

It is thought some of that money comes from the return of tour membership fees, and the reimbursement of travel expenses to tournaments which had to be cancelled at short notice.

Players may also have access to support from their national federations. In the UK, for example, the LTA are offering a grant of £1140 for singles players ranked between 101 and 750 – as long as they are not already in possession of funding from the governing body.

Professional tennis is suspended until at least 13 July, but with play behind closed doors an unattractive proposition for tournaments and promoters, the expectation is that the tours will not return until late summer at the very earliest.

Wimbledon has already been cancelled, and the US Tennis Association will decide in June whether the US Open can go ahead in New York from 31 August.

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Tournament Heritage: Barcelona

  • Posted: Apr 21, 2020

Tournament Heritage: Barcelona

One of three ATP Tour tournament’s held in Spain each season

The Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell started in 1953 and was a founding member of the ATP Tour in 1990. looks at five things to know about the ATP 500-level tournament.

Historic Venue
The Real Club de Tennis Barcelona 1899 is the oldest tennis club in Spain, established as the Barcelona Lawn Tennis Club by English families, shortly after the founding of the city’s world-famous football club. Situated in the north-west of Barcelona, the 18-court club has hosted the Trofeo Conde de Godo, named after Carlos Godo Valls, Count of Godo, since 1953. The silver trophy, weighing 13 kilograms and featuring miniature tennis players at the top, was designed by jewellers Soler Cabot.

American Victor Seixas beat Enrique Morea of Argentina 6-3, 6-4, 22-20 in the 1953 final, which at 61 games is the most games in a singles final at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell. Today aged 96, Seixas is one of 10 players to have lifted the trophy without losing a set during the tournament week. The final was a best-of-five sets match until 2007.

In 1999, the Real Club de Tenis Barcelona celebrated its 100th anniversary, which was recognised by His Majesty King Juan Carlos I.

Barcelona trophy

Gomez, A ‘Double’ Winner
With the reorganisation of the professional tennis calendar and the first ATP Tour in 1990, Andres Gomez travelled to Barcelona just seven months after beating Ivan Lendl and Horst Skoff for the title in September 1989. Upon retaining his title in April 1990, after beating Guillermo Perez-Roldan 6-0, 7-6(3), 3-6, 6-0, 6-2 over three hours, he broke into the Top 10, his highest position for more than two years. Fourth seed Gomez had saved four match points against Michiel Schapers in the opening round.

Afterwards, Gomez said he’d be donating $7,000 to homeless children in Ecuador. “I dedicate this victory to the people of my country.” The previous week, Gomez and his family had visited the Statuary of Fatima during the Estoril tournament. “We are a Catholic family and I made a promise to the Virgin Mary, when I asked her to help a family member and to give me strength to win the tournament,” said Gomez. “I will keep my promise and give $7,000 to homeless children in my country.”

Gomez added to his success by partnering Javier Sanchez to the doubles title with a 7-6(1), 7-5 victory over Sergio Casal and Emilio Sanchez. “This was the only doubles title – among the top clay-court titles – that I hadn’t won,” he said. “It was a good week.”

Gomez remains the last of nine ‘double’ champions, joining Seixas (1953), Tony Trabert (1954), Neale Fraser (1959), Roy Emerson (1963-64), Manuel Orantes (1969-70), Ilie Nastase (1973-74), Bjorn Borg (1975) and Ivan Lendl (1980) as winners of the singles and doubles titles in the same week.

Nadal, The Serial Champion
Rafael Nadal, who is one of seven left-handed singles champions in the 67-year history of the tournament, first appeared at the ATP 500-level event as a 16-year-old in 2003, when he lost to Alex Corretja 3-6, 6-2, 6-1 in the second round. Since then, his record — and across the entire Spring European clay-court swing, particularly — has been amazing. On 26 April 2017, the centre court was renamed ‘Pista Rafa Nadal’ and later that year, following his 10th Barcelona crown (d. Thiem), the then Tournament Director, Albert Costa, and Javier Godo presented Nadal with a 13kg silver replica of the trophy.

The 33-year-old has an outstanding 61-4 record, including 11 titles (2005-09, 2011-13, 2016-18). Between 2005 and 2014, Nadal compiled a 41-match winning streak in Barcelona, from a 6-0, 6-2 victory over Gilles Muller in the 2005 first round to a 2-6, 7-6(5), 6-4 loss to Nicolas Almagro in the 2014 quarter-finals. On eight of his 11 title runs, Nadal has won the title without dropping a set (2005, 2007, 2011-13, 2016-18) and two years ago, he became the oldest winner at 31 years and 10 months.

Nadal, winner of the 2018 tournament

Lopez Makes Most Singles Appearances
Feliciano Lopez has competed at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell on 19 occasions (1998, 2001-12, 2014-19), with two back-to-back quarter-finals in 2011 (l. to Dodig) and 2012 (l. to Ferrer) being his best singles performances (21-19 match record). The Spaniard, who continues his playing career in addition to his work as Tournament Director of the Mutua Madrid Open, partnered Rafael Nadal to the 2005 Barcelona doubles final (l. to. Paes/Zimonjic), Marc Lopez to the 2012 final (l. to Fyrstenberg/Matkowski) and he finally lifted the team crown with Lopez in 2018 (d. Qureshi/Rojer). The 2004 Barcelona singles champion Tommy Robredo (17), 1969 and 1971 titlist Orantes and Albert Montanes (16) are in second and tied-third positions on the list of most tournament appearances.

ACES For Charity
Banc Sabadell, the tournament’s title sponsor, has given $50 for every ace served by a singles player during Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell since 2008, raising €260,000 ($283,000). The money has been donated to 36 different charities, including: Special Olympics; UNICEF Catalonia, Nelson Mandela Foundation and Lionel Messi Foundation. Last year, €25,000 ($27,000) was donated to five charities, the Fundación El Gancho, Fundación Emilio Sánchez Vicario, Asociación Valenciana de Caridad, Fundación Ana Carolina Díez Mahou y “El Legado de Maria de Villota” y Fundación ChAc. On average, the number of aces hit per tournament edition has been 470, with a record 634 aces struck in 2008.

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Tournament Heritage: Budapest

  • Posted: Apr 21, 2020

Tournament Heritage: Budapest

Learn more about the Hungarian Open, an ATP 250 event

The Hungarian Open is the only ATP Tour event to ever take place in Hungary, and it has already proven a key tournament for several players since its inception in 2017. takes a closer look at the ATP 250.

1) Pouille Kicked Off The Event In Style In 2017
The Hungarian Open is on the rise, as the ATP 250 made its debut in 2017. That event marked the first time that Hungary hosted an ATP Tour event. France’s Lucas Pouille won the inaugural edition of the clay-court tournament.

Pouille, who was the top seed that year, saved two match points in his opening-round match against Jiri Vesely, needing a final-set tie-break in that match. The Frenchman did not look back from there, winning the tournament without losing a set the rest of the way. That was the first of three ATP Tour titles for Pouille in 2017, when he lifted a trophy on clay (Budapest), grass (Stuttgart) and hard (Vienna).

2) Lucky Loser Champion
Marco Cecchinato won his first ATP Tour trophy at 2018 Budapest, but for a moment it appeared he wouldn’t make the main draw.

The Italian entered the week as the No. 92 player in the FedEx ATP Rankings, forcing him to go through qualifying. He won just six games in the final round of qualifying against then-World No. 133 Jurgen Zopp, but Cecchinato got into the main draw as a lucky loser.

Five wins later, Cecchinato lifted the trophy. There were eight qualifiers who earned ATP Tour titles in 2018, but Cecchinato was the only lucky loser to accomplish the feat that season.

The Italian carried that momentum into Roland Garros one month later, shocking the world by defeating Novak Djokovic en route to the semi-finals. That run helped him reach a career-high World No. 16 last February, and it all started in Budapest.

3) Berrettini’s Launching Pad
Matteo Berrettini is the reigning Budapest champion, and he used his triumph in Hungary as a launching pad towards the Top 10.

The Italian did not claim his first ATP Tour crown at 2019 Budapest, but it was an important triumph for him nonetheless. Berrettini arrived in Hungary on a five-match tour-level losing streak, ranked World No. 55. But he battled through two three-setters to win his first title of the season.

By the end of the year, Berrettini was not only inside the Top 10, but he earned a spot in the 2019 Nitto ATP Finals.

4) ATP ACES For Charity Recipient
The Hungarian Open, a 2018 ATP ACES For Charity grant recipient, held a successful kids’ day on 25 April 2018 in Budapest, benefitting more than 400 children. The tournament also donated three junior-sized sports wheelchairs, which kids used to play tennis with the help of wheelchair tennis instructors and ATP Tour pros.

Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvili, Bosnia & Herzegovina’s Damir Dzumhur, Colombian Santiago Gonzalez, Briton Dominic Inglot, Germans Yannick Maden and Maximilian Marterer, Japan’s Ben McLachlan, Aussie John Millman, Hungarian Zsombor Piros, top seed Lucas Pouille, #NextGenATP Canadian Denis Shapovalov, Croatian Franko Skugor, Ukrainian Sergiy Stakhovsky, and Swede Elias Ymer joined the festivities to help create a memorable experience for all of the kids.

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Flashback: Successful Kids’ Day Supports More Than 400 Children In Budapest

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5) Dinner With Denis
Two years ago, Denis Shapovalov took fans behind the scenes into his life off the court, allowing a camera crew to join his team at dinner in Budapest. The Canadian was accompanied by then-coach Martin Laurendeau, Hungarian practice partner Peter Nagy and physio Stefano De Pirro.

“When we’re on site or during the day it’s a lot of business, a lot of hard work,” Shapovalov said. “It’s nice to get away from that and just spend some quality time with the guys, not talk about tennis, just talk about life.”

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