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Murray targets return at September's French Open

  • Posted: Apr 22, 2020

Andy Murray says he would definitely play on clay in September if the rearranged French Open goes ahead.

But in an interview with CNN, Murray says he would be surprised if the tournament can proceed as planned.

The former world number one says he expects tennis will be one of the last sports to get back to normality.

The Scot, 32, also revealed he felt “a little bit sick for two or three days about four weeks ago,” but does not know whether he contracted coronavirus.

  • Tennis world planning multi-million dollar financial aid for lower-ranked players
  • Federer wants ATP and WTA to merge

Professional tennis has been suspended since 12 March because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The French Open, due to take place between 24 May and 7 June, has been pushed back four months to 20 September to 4 October. While Wimbledon, due to be played between 29 June and 12 July, has been cancelled.

Murray, who has not played since November because of complications arising from his hip operation, says he would play at Roland Garros but doubts such an international event will be allowed to go ahead.

“I would definitely play on the clay if it goes ahead. I’m a bit sceptical whether it will,” he said.

“I would imagine tennis would be one of the last sports to get back to normality because you’ve obviously got players and coaches and teams coming from all over the world into one area. I would be surprised if they were back playing sport by September-time.

“You have to feel like the whole world is working normally again and travelling normally before tennis would go back, especially the major competitions.

“If you took the French Open, let’s say things in Europe have improved, but there are certain countries that might still have issues.

“If you then have a tournament where people or players from a certain continent or countries are not allowed to come in to compete. I think the tournament loses.”

Organisers of the four Grand Slams and the sport’s three governing bodies are finalising a package of financial assistance, estimated to be worth around $6m (£4.9m), for lower-ranked players struggling because of the coronavirus shutdown.

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

Murray agrees that lower-ranked players should be given support during the crisis, but also suggests that prize money should be distributed more evenly when tournaments resume.

“Players ranked 250-300 in the world; it’s going to be really, really challenging for them,” said Murray. “And I think in the last few years, there has been some improvements and some changes, but probably not enough.

“Sometimes you see the prize money cheque for the winner of the Grand Slams. And it’s like, I don’t know what it is exactly, but something like $4 million. Could that money be used better and spent elsewhere in the earlier rounds or the qualifying draws, or maybe used to grow some of the smaller events?”

Murray also says he displayed some of the symptoms of coronavirus at the start of the pandemic last month and chose to self-isolate, though he was never tested for the virus.

“I was a little bit sick for two or three days about four weeks ago,” he added. “So actually, before the beginning of when the quarantine started, I was sort of isolating for probably four or five days before that.

“Most people I’ve spoken to have had some sort of symptoms and felt a little bit sick, but it’s quite difficult to know whether you have actually had the virus or not.

“And obviously, the test should be saved for people that are in severe situations and the frontline NHS workers in this country.”

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ATP Tour Launches Fan Essay Contest

  • Posted: Apr 22, 2020

ATP Tour Launches Fan Essay Contest

First topic announced in competition series

Are you 18 and under with a passion for tennis writing? If so, you now have a chance to be featured on ATPTour.com.

The ATP Tour is calling on its young fans to get creative and submit essays of 500 words or less on a selection of tennis topics. Each week, the three winning entries chosen by the ATP editorial team will be published on ATPTour.com.

The first topic is: ‘How has an ATP Tour player motivated or inspired you?’ The deadline to submit your first essay is Friday 1 May, 12 noon ET.

Essays will be judged based on the following criteria:
1) Knowledge of the ATP Tour and its players;
2) Message clarity;
3) Quality of expression;
4) Creative style;

Each criteria will be given equal weight.

Entrants are limited to one entry per essay topic, but can submit entries for each question in the weekly competition. There will be a new topic each week. Essays must be written in English and submitted to [email protected]

Click here for full terms and conditions.

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Brilliant In Barcelona: Recounting Nadal's 11 Titles

  • Posted: Apr 22, 2020

Brilliant In Barcelona: Recounting Nadal’s 11 Titles

ATPTour.com looks back on Rafael Nadal’s 11 title runs in Barcelona

Rafael Nadal, who first competed at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell as a 16-year-old in 2003, has made the Real Club de Tennis Barcelona a second home, winning 11 titles across 15 appearances. Nadal has lost just one set in posting a staggering 11-0 record in Barcelona finals. Three years ago, the centre court was renamed in the Spaniard’s honour as ‘Pista Rafa Nadal. No player has won an ATP 500-level tournament on more occasions.

The Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell was set for this week, but due to the global outbreak of COVID-19, this year’s tournament will not proceed as scheduled.

ATPTour.com breakdown Nadal’s title runs at the famous 121-year-old club, where he has 61-4 record.

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2005: The Reign Begins
Just two years after his Barcelona debut, Nadal returned to begin his eight-year reign. Full of confidence after listing his first ATP Masters 1000 crown at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters, the 18-year-old beat former champion Juan Carlos Ferrero 6-1, 7-6(4), 6-3 in just under three hours for his first trophy on home soil. “I’m delighted and feel incredibly happy with what has been an amazing two months,” said Nadal, amidst a record 24-match winning streak for a teenager. “It’s brilliant to be ranked number seven in the world as early as April and it’s been a dream come true to win here and in Monte Carlo. It’s been a fantastic two weeks.” With his fourth ATP Tour title of 2005, he moved into the Top 10 of the FedEx ATP Rankings for the first time.

2006: Nadal Moves Past Borg
Down a set and 1-4 against Jarkko Nieminen in the quarter-finals, Nadal looked a long way from retaining his Barcelona title. But fight back he did, and the World No. 2 went on to record a 6-4, 6-4, 6-0 victory against 2004 champion Tommy Robredo in the final. “This was not an easy match for me,” said Nadal. “It’s a dream to keep on winning. Tommy is a tough fighter but I was able to beat him. I’m playing well on clay. I’m working to keep my level. I will need this kind of form in the coming weeks.” Nadal powered his way to a 47th match win on clay courts, surpassing the impressive run of Bjorn Borg in 1979, with only Guillermo Vilas’ 1977 record of 53 consecutive victories in sight. “I think I can reach the record, but I can’t say how long it will take,” said Nadal.

Nadal

2007: Nadal Matches Wilander With Third Straight Title
The 20-year-old Nadal underlined his status as the foremost clay-court performer with his third Barcelona crown, making the 20th title of his career. The Spaniard did not drop a set all week, beating Guillermo Canas, who’d twice overcome Roger Federer the previous month, 6-3, 6-4. “To win another final, in Barcelona, at home here, it’s a great feeling,” said Nadal. “The first time I won it was like a dream, so what can I say, to win it for a third time, to win my 20th title here, it is an amazing feeling.” As the first player since Mats Wilander to win three successive Barcelona crowns (1982-84), the victory also took his record winning streak on red dirt to 72 matches.

2008: Nadal Hits 25th Career Trophy
Nadal swept into his fourth consecutive Barcelona final without the loss of a set, but came up against stiff resistance from David Ferrer in a 6-1, 4-6, 6-1 victory in two hours and 14 minutes. “The one thing I wanted to do was to not let him dominate early on, but he started so strongly,” said Ferrer. “I think I played a good match but what can you do? That’s Rafa. He has been playing at this level for four years now and you never have a moment to relax against him.” It was the 25th title of Nadal’s career, and afterwards he said, “The first set I played very well, almost perfect, but he was very strong in the second set and I am just very happy to have won here again,” said Nadal. “When I did make mistakes, in the second set, David was unstoppable, but I kept very focused throughout and I am very happy to be the first man to win four years in a row.”

2009: Nadal Beats Ferrer Again
For the second time, Nadal captured the Barcelona trophy without dropping a set, beating Ferrer for the second consecutive year in the final, 6-2, 7-5. “I could have never even imagined that I could win here for the fifth time,” said Nadal, who also beat World No. 8 Nikolay Davydenko in the semi-finals. “For me, this is much more than a dream.”

2011: Nadal Returns For Milestone Win
After missing the 2010 tournament, Nadal returned to the Real Club de Tennis Barcelona and once again did not drop a set. The 24-year-old recorded the 500th match win of his career by beating Ivan Dodig in the semi-finals, becoming the second-youngest to reach the mark behind Borg, who was 23 and seven months. Nadal met World No. 6 Ferrer, who he’d beaten in the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters final the week before, for the third time in a Barcelona final and completed a 6-2, 6-4 win in one hour and 49 minutes. “It’s incredible to come back here to my tournament after not being able to play last year,” said Nadal. “I am very, very happy for the win. It’s my sixth title here and it’s a huge delight.”

Nadal

2012: Nadal Hits Another Record
Nadal completed a stunning week to become the first man in the Open Era to capture two ATP Tour events at least seven times (also Monte Carlo). He saved five set points to clinch the first set tie-break in a 7-6(1), 7-5 victory over Ferrer. “This is the hardest match I had on clay courts this season, David always takes you to the limit,” said Nadal. “A bit of it was lottery, luck fell on my side today.” The victory also marked the 10th anniversary of his first match on the main tour. On 29 April 2002, Nadal beat Ramon Delgado 6-4 6-4 in Mallorca.

2013: Nadal Wins Eighth Crown
After losing to Novak Djokovic in the Monte Carlo final, the week before, Nadal recovered from a 0-3 deficit against Nicolas Almagro in wet conditions during the Barcelona final for a 6-4, 6-3 win over one hour and 32 minutes. Almagro had won 37 of his 39 service games to reach the final, but Nadal broke him four times. “I am very happy,” Nadal said. “It has been an important week for me to win here again and a great source of joy after everything I have been through. I didn’t know in 2005 that I would win again or that in 2013 I would still be winning.”

2014, 2016: Almagro Ends Streak, Returns To Winning Ways
Nadal, who had not dropped a set in Barcelona since the 2008 final, suffered a 2-6, 7-6(5), 6-4 loss to Nicolas Almagro in the 2014 quarter-finals, bringing to an end his 41-match winning streak — and run of 44 straight sets — at the tournament. World No. 20 Almagro converted his second match point by hitting a forehand down the line for his first victory over his fellow Spaniard at the 11th attempt. “I had a lot of opportunities in the second set,” said Nadal, who didn’t convert five break points in the set. “I didn’t take advantage of break points, so credit goes to him.” Almagro said, “This is an important win for my career.”

After his earliest Barcelona loss in 12 years to Fabio Fognini in the 2015 third round, Nadal bounced back in style the following year. After avenging his loss to Fognini in the quarter-finals 6-2, 7-6(1), the Spaniard dethroned two-time defending champion Kei Nishikori in a 6-4, 7-5 final victory over two hours and four minutes. In notching his 49th clay-court crown, Nadal drew level with Guillermo Vilas atop the Open Era clay-court titles list.

2017: Nadal Wins La Decima In Barcelona
One week after securing a record 10th Monte Carlo title, Nadal etched his name in the history books once again, lifting a 10th Barcelona trophy with a 6-4, 6-1 win over World No. 5 Dominic Thiem. “I’m very satisfied. It’s been an emotional day for me,” said Nadal. “Playing in front of my crowd and my club and winning a 10th title here is something that’s impossible to even dream of. It’s very special and unique. I played my best match of the tournament this afternoon against probably the toughest opponent in the tournament, so I’m very happy.” He was only broken twice in 47 service games throughout the week.

2018: Nadal Storms To 11th Crown
Twenty-four hours after recording the 400th clay-court win of his career, a 6-4, 6-0 semi-final victory over David Goffin, Nadal stormed past Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-2, 6-1 for his 11th crown. “It’s very difficult to describe how to win 11 titles at one tournament. To win 11 Monte-Carlos and 11 Barcelonas is something I couldn’t imagine doing. I’m just enjoying every week and the fact I’m playing in a tournament that I enjoy so much means a lot to me.” He extended his winning streak on clay to 19 matches and sets-won streak on the surface to 46 in a row. Last year, Nadal saw his 18-match run end at the hands of Dominic Thiem in the semi-finals.

Watch over 165 classic ATP Tour matches from the 90s

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Flashback: Berrettini's Budapest Launching Pad

  • Posted: Apr 22, 2020

Flashback: Berrettini’s Budapest Launching Pad

Relive the Italian’s run to the Budapest title

Matteo Berrettini arrived at the 2019 Hungarian Open in Budapest with little momentum, carrying a five-match tour-level losing streak. He had won the ATP Challenger Tour event in Phoenix, but wasn’t in his best form.

That didn’t stop the Italian, who upset seventh seed Mikhail Kukushkin in the first round and never looked back. Berrettini, who was the No. 55 player in the FedEx ATP Rankings, used his championship run at the ATP 250 as a launching pad to the best season of his career, eventually becoming the fourth Italian to crack the world’s Top 10 and later qualifying for the Nitto ATP Finals.

“I didn’t win a lot of matches this year because I played the best tournaments in the world, so it’s always tough against these guys,” Berrettini said after reaching the semi-finals in Budapest. “I’m really happy because I’m sure on clay I am better now, and I improved a lot on the fast surfaces, so I’m happy because I’m doing a lot of new experiences and I’m proud of.”

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Berrettini ran into a physical issue in the quarter-finals. He won the match 6-3, 1-6, 6-3 against Pablo Cuevas, but the Italian turned his right ankle. That got him worried about not only that match, but the rest of the week and tournaments ahead.

“I twisted my ankle and I was a little bit nervous, because last year also I twisted my ankle here. I was thinking about last year, about my injuries,” Berrettini said. “I was really focussed on the third set. I just thought to fight point after point.”

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

That mentality served Berrettini well, as he cruised past Laslo Djere 6-4, 6-2 in the semi-finals, and then maintained his form for a 4-6, 6-3, 6-1 victory against Filip Krajinovic in the championship match.

“It was a really tough match. The conditions [were tough], it was cold and windy. The balls were moving a lot. So I was really focussed on my game,” Berrettini said. “After the first set, I just told myself to fight game after game, point after point, and I’m really happy, because it was really difficult.”

It was a big turnaround for Berrettini, who then made the Munich final the following week. The Italian won his third ATP Tour title less than two months later in Stuttgart, surged massively at the US Open — where he made his first Grand Slam semi-final — and he has not suffered any setbacks since.

Berrettini’s serve has proven a big weapon, which he follows up with a powerful baseline game, spearheaded by a dangerous forehand. The confidence he earned last year in Budapest helped give him the confidence he needed to continue his ascent.

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'Merge tennis' governing bodies,' says Roger Federer

  • Posted: Apr 22, 2020

Roger Federer believes “it is time for men’s and women’s tennis to be united” in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.

The 20-time Grand Slam champion wants the men’s Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) and the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) to merge.

“We can come out of this with two weakened bodies or one stronger body,” said Federer, who added it “probably should have happened a long time ago”.

Last year WTA president Micky Lawler said it should be seriously discussed.

In a series of social media posts on Wednesday, Federer added: “I am not talking about merging competition on the court but merging the two governing bodies that oversee the men’s and women’s professional tours.

“It’s too confusing for the fans when there are different ranking systems, different logos, different websites, different tournament categories.”

Wimbledon champion Simona Halep said Federer “was not the only one” who thought the two bodies should merge, while Argentine Diego Schwartzman and two-time Grand Slam champion Garbine Muguruza also agreed.

All tennis has been abandoned until at least 13 July, with Wimbledon cancelling its grass court tournament for the first time since World War Two because of the coronavirus pandemic.

It followed the postponement of the French Open, which was due to begin in May but has been rescheduled to take place in Paris from 20 September-4 October.

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Murray's Kilt, Hurkacz's Floor Lava: Tennis At Home Roundup

  • Posted: Apr 22, 2020

Murray’s Kilt, Hurkacz’s Floor Lava: Tennis At Home Roundup

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

Your favourite players are all at home, but they’re finding plenty of ways to occupy their time. From Andy Murray’s colourful attire, to Hubert Hurkacz’s unique obstacle course, find out how the biggest names in tennis are keeping busy.

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Andy Murray needed to explain to his daughters that a skirt is not the same thing as a kilt.

 

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When your daughters want to play dress up and say “daddy put on your skirt!”. I tried to explain it was a kilt not a skirt but they assured me it was definitely a skirt😂 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿. #kids #meninkilts #skirts

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Hubert Hurkacz participated in #thefloorislava challenge and showed he could have a second career as a stunt double.

 

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Thanks @oskimichalek for nomination #thefloorislava 😃 I nominate @zielaczekk @steviej345 @klimekinc @atptour @wojtek_marek_ @zuniotennis @michal_przysiezny @johnrisner #tennisathome @grupa_lotos @emocjedopelna @yonex_tennis @tennistv

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Stefanos Tsitsipas found the humour in his current situation.

 

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I skipped on lunch for this . . . . . . . . 💭: @dudewithsign | #dudewithsign

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

Karen Khachanov celebrated Orthodox Easter with his family.

 

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С праздником Светлой Пасхи всех❤️🙏🏻☦️🐣 ⠀ #StayAtHome Happy Orthodox Easter everyone ❤️🙏🏻☦️🐣

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Andreas Seppi braved the elements to make a viral video.

 

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Enjoying the springtime in Colorado… -12 degrees 😳🤷🏼‍♂️🤦🏼‍♂️🥶☃️🎅🏼 #usa #colorado #boulder #spring #flip #stayhome #stayactive #tennisathome

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Reilly Opelka indulged his creative side.

 

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A day in @friedrichkunath ‘s studio

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Dusan Lajovic invited fans to join him for some gaming.

Juan Sebastian Cabal offered himself up as a human canvas in order to entertain his son.

 

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Les gusta lo que @jacobocabal intento hacer en mi cuerpo ?? 👨🏻‍🎨👨🏻‍🎨 . . . #quedateencasa #tennisathome

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Jo-Wilfried Tsonga celebrated turning 35.

 

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Merci à tous pour vos gentils messages ! 😇 Thank you for all your birthday wishes ! 🙏🏽 On vous embrasse 😘 #tsongateam #birthday #family #merci #thankyou

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