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Charades, Charity & More: Tennis United Episode 5 Preview

  • Posted: May 07, 2020

Charades, Charity & More: Tennis United Episode 5 Preview

Schwartzman, Thiem among this week’s guests

Tennis United is set to debut an exciting fifth episode on Friday, featuring a fun game with some of your favourite players. It will also explore important charity work being done by one of the world’s best doubles teams.

Dominic Thiem, Diego Schwartzman and Dennis Novak join one of the show’s hosts, Vasek Pospisil, for a fun game of charades. Schwartzman and Novak test their guessing skills against Thiem and Pospisil. 

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

Kevin Krawietz and Andreas Mies, 2019 Roland Garros champions, have been doing their best to help their communities in Germany. Krawietz has been working in a supermarket, and Mies has been delivering fruit to essential workers and the special needs community. Want to learn more? Make sure to tune in at 2 p.m. EDT when this episode debuts on the ATP Tour’s Facebook page.

 

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Why Plotting A Game Plan Against Daniil Medvedev Is A Nightmare

  • Posted: May 07, 2020

Why Plotting A Game Plan Against Daniil Medvedev Is A Nightmare

The long and short of Russian’s success formula comes to life

Daniil Medvedev excels in the art of tactical deception.

He is a “First Strike” assassin who also masquerades as a king of consistency. Nobody plays more long, grueling points than the Russian, but at the same time, nobody is as efficient at winning the short rallies. You think he is all about the long while he is fleecing you at the short.

An Infosys ATP Insights deep dive into rally length data from the start of the 2019 season uncovers the paradoxical nature of Medvedev’s game. He is incredibly gifted at both very short and very long rallies. The data set comprises players who have contested a minimum of 20 matches on Hawk Eye courts at tour-level events since the beginning of the 2019 season.

Long Rallies of 9+ Shots
This is where Medvedev has forged his identity. The 6’6” Moscow native continually clubs ultra-flat groundstrokes that get through the court fast and low, giving opponents a much different look than the regular “heavy” topspin ball most players employ.

Stefanos Tsitsipas said in August 2019 that Medvedev has “… a very weird game. It’s very sloppy, but a good sloppy. He’s just very uncomfortable to play against.” Tsitsipas added, “He has this completely different way of playing, flat and low, without giving you much angle to work with. It can be very disturbing to play against him. He can make you miss without understanding why you missed.”

With the data set, Medvedev has played the most rallies of 9+ shots (1393) since the beginning of the 2019 season, confounding opponents with myriad balls that annoyingly come back out of a player’s
strike zone. Medvedev has won 52.5 per cent (731/1393) of those points, with Yoshihito Nishioka having the highest win percentage at 56.6 per cent (392/693).

The leading five players who have played the most extended rallies of 9+ shots are:

1. Daniil Medvedev = 1393
2. Gael Monfils = 1309
3. Novak Djokovic = 1285
4. Stefanos Tsitsipas = 1227
5. Roberto Bautista Agut = 1066

“First Strike” Rallies of 0-4 Shots
Medvedev will punish you in long rallies and also in short ones. Nobody had a higher win percentage in the data set in 0-4 shot rallies than the Russian. Those data showcase his versatility to also dominate with just the first two shots he hits in a rally.

The leading five players who had the highest win percentage in the 0-4 shot rally length are:

1. Daniil Medvedev = 54.98%
2. Stan Wawrinka = 54.04%
3. John Isner = 53.97%
4. Roger Federer = 53.75%
5. Novak Djokovic = 53.54%

Medvedev was a pedestrian 25th best in 5-8 shot rallies, winning just 50.86 per cent (1031/2027). The disparity of short and long points is where he thrives.

There is a reason why opponents, like Tsitsipas, find the Russian so uncomfortable and perplexing to play. They can’t pin down his game style. They can’t figure out whether to attack early in the point or try to forge an advantage by extending it. Medvedev hurts you at both ends of the spectrum without leaving a tell-tale trail of how and why.

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Cilic's Family Time, Anderson's Recipe: Tennis At Home Roundup

  • Posted: May 07, 2020

Cilic’s Family Time, Anderson’s Recipe: 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 pass the time. From Marin Cilic bonding with his infant son, to Kevin Anderson sharing kitchen tips, ATPTour.com looks at how the world’s best players are keeping busy.

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Wawrinka’s Cheat Day, Anderson’s Gaming: Tennis At Home Roundup

Cilic has enjoyed plenty of quality moments with his three-month old son.

Anderson gave his fans a healthy recipe for overnight oats.

 

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I wanted to share one of my go-to recipes the past few weeks – Overnight Oats or “Bircher Muesli”. The recipe for one serving is as follows, and watch me to see how it’s made 😊 30g organic rolled oats 2 tbsp chia seeds 120 ml Almond Milk 1/4 banana mashed 1 tbsp raw cacao powder 1 tbsp natural or coconut yoghurt 1 tbsp nut butter 1 tsp honey 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon *I also add @atp_labs whey protein Leave overnight in the refrigerator and enjoy the next morning 👍 Recipe from “The Healthy Life” by @jshealth

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Novak Djokovic owned up to his “fanboying” more than a decade ago around Maria Sharapova in their Instagram Live.

John Isner was one of the ATP Tour players to take part in #Set4Success, which featured players congratulating graduating college seniors at their respective alma maters.

Felix Auger-Aliassime had fun with the new ATP Tour Instagram filter.

Jaume Munar celebrated his 23rd birthday.

 

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Y como siempre hay que aprender a ver el lado positivo de las cosas: Soplando las velas en casa después de MUCHOS MUCHOS años. #23 🔋

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Rajeev Ram helped make a donation of more than 1,000 water bottles to frontline healthcare workers in New York.

 

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Hydrate the Frontline Heroes: My friends and I at @VOSSWorld teamed up in making a donation of 1,020 bottles to Mount Sinai’s South Nassau in New York City, the hardest hit city in the world, to give the frontline doctors and nurses a much needed resource during this difficult time. Thank you @vossworld for this generous gesture. Swipe for some of my favorite moments from the delivery drop today! If you want to get involved, check out @vossworld as they continue to donate nearly 700,000 bottles for the frontlines 🙏🏻💧

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Jimmy Connors wasted no time on his Cinco de Mayo celebrations.

Joao Sousa reflected on his title run on home soil two years ago in Estoril.

 

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Those happy days 🤗🍾 #2yearsago #millenniumaquiconsigo @millenniumbcp #mikedavis76 @mikedavis76 #wilson @meoinstagram @jomasport @isdinportugal @isdin @bangolufsenbygms #centroporscheporto #centroporschebraga #goldathletes

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Auger-Aliassime: The Big Three Are Pushing Barriers At Their Age

  • Posted: May 07, 2020

Auger-Aliassime: The Big Three Are Pushing Barriers At Their Age

Canadian reflects on the push of the current and recent #NextGenATP

Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime joined former World No. 1s Boris Becker and Mats Wilander on Eurosport this week, explaining the dilemma the #NextGenATP players faced before the COVID-19 pandemic forced the suspension of play.

“Obviously people need to see new faces win big tournaments. I’m a part of that, and there are players a bit older than me that are also getting much closer with [Daniil] Medvedev, [Stefanos] Tsitsipas, [Alexander] Zverev and Dominic [Thiem],” Auger-Aliassime said. “For sure, we have to push. But I think the tough part is the level that these top three guys still play [at], and I think with the commitment and the knowledge on the high level, now they’re pushing limits in terms of how long they can sustain that level.

“I think they’re always pushing barriers in terms of playing well at their older age.”

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

Auger-Aliassime was referring to the success of the ‘Big Three’ — Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal — who have combined to win the past 13 major trophies. The youngest member of the elite trio is Djokovic, who turns 33 on 22 May.

The 19-year-old Auger-Aliassime also pointed to former World No. 3 Stan Wawrinka winning his first Grand Slam title at 28 to show that players have enjoyed success at a relatively older age recently.

“We need young people,” Wilander told Auger-Aliassime. “We need people like you guys to start winning these Grand Slam tournaments.”

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

Becker and Wilander are two of the legends of the sport. Although Auger-Aliassime is a teenager, he spoke about how much he appreciates the history of the sport.

“I like the history of tennis. I like the way it’s played. Obviously I feel the need to bring interesting things [to the court], but I’m not quite sure of the way, because I like the duel… I like the tension of the two players competing,” Auger-Aliassime said. “You have to respect the history of the sport and the duel and the fight like two gladiators going on court. I think that’s essentially the essence of tennis, so for my part I am a big fan of that.”

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Nadal, Federer and Djokovic’s Madrid Success

  • Posted: May 07, 2020

Nadal, Federer and Djokovic’s Madrid Success

A look back at the Big Three’s dominance in the Spanish capital

Since 2005, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic have captured a combined 11 of 15 trophies at the Mutua Madrid Open. The event, which began in 2002, has proven a successful stop on the ATP Tour for the Big Three, with the trio winning titles in the Spanish capital on indoor hard courts and outdoor clay courts, red or blue.

ATPTour.com takes a closer look at the Big Three’s dominance of the fourth ATP Masters 1000 event on the ATP Tour calendar:

Rafael Nadal
Titles: 5 (2005, 2010, 2013, 2014 and 2017)
Tournament record: 52-12

Two years after a three-set loss to Alex Corretja on his tournament debut in 2003, Nadal advanced to his first tour-level indoor final in Madrid. The Roland Garros champion, chasing an 11th trophy in his breakthrough season, did not drop a set en route to a final meeting against Ivan Ljubicic. After dropping the opening two sets to the Croat, Nadal fought his way to a final-set tie-break in front of a packed, partisan crowd at Madrid Arena. The Spaniard trusted his forehand in the early stages to open a 5/2 lead and collapsed to the ground as Ljubicic fired a forehand into the net on triple match point at 6/3.

It would take five years for Nadal to double his tally in the Spanish capital. In the second edition of the tournament since its move to the Caja Magica, Nadal added to earlier Masters 1000 titles in Monte-Carlo and Rome to complete the sweep of clay Masters 1000 trophies in 2010. In his second straight Madrid final against Federer, Nadal avenged his 2009 loss to the Swiss with a straight-sets victory. With his 18th Masters 1000 crown, Nadal overtook Andre Agassi as the all-time leader in the Masters 1000 titles list.

Nadal dropped just one set to earn a third Madrid crown in 2013 and repeated the feat in 2014 to become the first player to win back-to-back trophies at the event. After losses to Andy Murray in 2015 and 2016, Nadal returned to the winners’ circle at the Caja Magica in 2017 with five consecutive Top 30 wins. The Manacor native overcame Fabio Fognini, Nick Kyrgios, David Goffin, Novak Djokovic and Dominic Thiem to earn a record-extending fifth trophy at his home Masters 1000 event. It pushed Nadal’s unbeaten record on clay that year to 15 matches, following titles in Monte-Carlo and Barcelona.

“Today is a day to be satisfied, to be happy and to have this trophy,” Nadal said. “This is a very emotional period of the season. I really enjoy these tournaments. I just try to go for all of them. I try to compete. I did well in Monte-Carlo and Barcelona, and also here.”

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Roger Federer
Titles: 3 (2006, 2009 and 2012)
Tournament record: 37-9

Federer is the only player in Madrid history to have triumphed on each of the tournament’s three surfaces since its inaugural edition in 2002. After a three-year absence, the Swiss returned to Madrid in 2006 and did not drop a set on the Madrid Arena indoor hard courts to take his first ATP Tour title in Spain. Federer dropped just four games to beat World No. 4 David Nalbandian in the semi-finals, before cruising past Fernando Gonzalez, after a competitive opening set in the championship match.

In 2009, the first edition of the tournament to be held at the Caja Magica, Federer claimed his second title in the Spanish capital. The 27-year-old moved past Robin Soderling, James Blake, Andy Roddick and Juan Martin del Potro to earn a final meeting against Nadal. Despite entering the contest with one win from 10 FedEx ATP Head2Head encounters against the Spaniard on clay, Federer needed just 86 minutes to capture the trophy.

Three years later, on blue clay, Federer triumphed for a third time in Madrid. The Swiss almost fell at the first hurdle against Milos Raonic, but survived a final-set tie-break before breezing past Richard Gasquet, David Ferrer and Janko Tipsarevic without dropping serve. Once more, Federer was tested in a gripping final against Tomas Berdych. The Swiss rallied from a set down to defeat the Czech 3-6, 7-5, 7-5 after two hours and 38 minutes.

“I could have lost in the first round. This is always special, winning a title 7-5 in the third when things get tough. The crowd was amazing, and I’m very happy.”

<a href='https://www.atptour.com/en/players/roger-federer/f324/overview'>Roger Federer</a>

Novak Djokovic
Titles: 3 (2011, 2016 and 2019)
Tournament record: 28-8

After semi-final runs in two of his opening four appearances in Madrid, Djokovic arrived at the Caja Magica with an unbeaten 27-0 record in 2011. The Serbian eased past Top 15 stars Stan Wawrinka and Robin Soderling, before surviving a final-set tie-break against Andy Murray to reach his first championship match at the Masters 1000 tournament.

In a repeat of the Indian Wells and Miami finals, Djokovic once again faced World No. 1 Nadal for the title. He entered the contest with a 0-9 ATP Head2Head record against the Spaniard on clay, but broke Nadal on five occasions to secure his maiden Madrid crown with a 7-5, 6-4 victory.

“Under the circumstances, I’ve played probably the best match of my life on clay against the World No. 1 and the player to beat on this surface,” said Djokovic.

After missing the tournament in 2014 and 2015, Djokovic made a successful return to Madrid in 2016. The Serbian, who entered the event with a 28-2 record in 2016, earned straight-sets wins against Borna Coric, Roberto Bautista Agut, Milos Raonic and Kei Nishikori to book a final meeting against Andy Murray. In a repeat of the 2016 Australian Open final, Djokovic overcame the Brit in three sets to lift the trophy.

Last year, Djokovic added a third Madrid trophy to his collection. The World No. 1 took the title without dropping a set, beating Top 10 stars Dominic Thiem and Stefanos Tsitsipas in back-to-back matches to claim the crown. Djokovic’s victory against Tsitsipas was the Serbian’s 200th win against Top 10 opposition.

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Ymer Brothers To Compete In Tennis Against Corona

  • Posted: May 07, 2020

Ymer Brothers To Compete In Tennis Against Corona

Top-ranked Swedes to meet in Stockholm on Sunday

Mikael Ymer and Elias Ymer will compete against each other at Tennis Against Corona, a new initiative created by the Stockholm Open to contribute to the Red Cross’ Global COVID-19 Emergency Relief.

The top-ranked Swedish players in the FedEx ATP Rankings will meet in a best-of-three set match on Sunday at the Royal Swedish Tennis Hall in front of empty stands and a small TV crew. The Stockholm Open and the Ymer brothers are excited to present the new online charity event, which will assist those who are suffering due to the current COVID-19 crisis.

“The ongoing pandemic is the worst health crisis of our time, a time to come together and help where you can,” said Thomas Enqvist, Stockholm Open Tournament Director. “Tennis Against Corona is our way of contributing through help organisations and, at the same time, bringing great tennis to the world.”

The Ymer Battle will be broadcast online at SolidSport.com at 1pm UTC for a fee of €3.99. All surplus from the global campaign will be donated to the Red Cross Global COVID-19 Emergency Relief. The match will also be broadcast on Swedish national TV, SVT1 and SVT Play.

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Furthermore, the Stockholm Open team will look for more opportunities to contribute to the Red Cross Global COVID-19 Emergency Relief through Tennis Against Corona, also hoping to inspire other ATP Tour events.

“COVID-19 is a global threat putting the lives of thousands of already vulnerable people in even greater danger. It requires a global response and global solidarity. We thank Elias and Mikael Ymer and the Stockholm Open for this great initiative. We are all in this together and only together we can make a difference,” said Sofia Calltorp, International Director of Swedish Red Cross.

The Ymer Battle will also be covered by design photographer Bjorn Ceder, in collaboration with Hasselblad. His photographs will be shown at the Tennis
Against Corona exhibition at this year’s Stockholm Open.

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Flashback: Kyrgios' Stunning Upset Against Federer At 2015 Madrid

  • Posted: May 07, 2020

Flashback: Kyrgios’ Stunning Upset Against Federer At 2015 Madrid

Aussie, then 20, won the pair’s first ATP Head2Head clash

Roger Federer and Nick Kyrgios met for the first time at the 2015 Mutua Madrid Open, and it’s a match nobody will soon forget.

Kyrgios, then only 20, saved two match points en route to a thrilling 6-7(2), 7-6(5), 7-6(12) victory over two hours and 37 minutes. The Aussie relished the opportunity to perform against Federer on one of the sport’s biggest stages.

“I guess that’s why you play the game, to play on these big courts against these big players.  He’s the greatest of all‑time, no doubt,” Kyrgios said. “When you’re growing up and playing and watching these guys, you want to go out there.  That’s one thing I think about every time I step out against one of these guys on a court like that.”

Kyrgios had upset Rafael Nadal the previous year at Wimbledon, stunning the Spaniard in four sets. But that was on grass, which caters to the Aussie’s aggressive game.

Kyrgios showed no fear of the Swiss star on Madrid’s clay, though, thrusting both arms in the air after Federer pushed an inside-out forehand wide to end the match.

“I definitely knew from the start that I could make an impact in the match,” Kyrgios said. “I thought I served really well. I got a bit of luck and I took the chances [I had].”

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Kyrgios hit 22 aces and won 79 per cent of his first-serve points, which was better than Federer’s 78 per cent behind his first delivery. World No. 2 Federer won four more points than the World No. 35, but it was not enough.

“He likes the big stage and he’s got nothing to lose, no fear and he’s got a great game,” Federer said. “He can rely on his serve so much that it keeps him in the match regardless of how he plays from the baseline. It’s one of those matches, but no doubt about it, it was impressive.”

Kyrgios lost his next match against John Isner, but he left Spain with a victory to remember. Federer has won their six ATP Head2Head matches since, but four of those battles have gone to a deciding set, with two going to a final-set tie-break.

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Connors On No.1: 'A Lonely Spot, But It Has The Best View'

  • Posted: May 07, 2020

Connors On No.1: ‘A Lonely Spot, But It Has The Best View’

The American remains the record match wins and titles holder leader

In the third profile in our series on the 26 players to rise to No. 1 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, ATPTour.com looks back on the career of Jimmy Connors. View Full List

First week at No. 1: 29 July 1974
Total weeks at No. 1: 268
Year-End No. 1s: 1974-78

As World No. 1
Jimmy Connors rose to No. 1 in the FedEx ATP Rankings for the first time at the age of 21 on 29 July 1974, during the best year of his career. In that first stint, when he replaced Australia’s John Newcombe, he spent 160 weeks in top spot — a record for consecutive weeks that was not broken until 26 February 2007, in Roger Federer’s run of 237 straight weeks at No. 1 between 2 February 2004 and 17 August 2008. “There is only one No. 1,” says Connors. “It’s a lonely spot, but it has got the best view of all… Being No. 2 is like being No. 200.” In 1981, Connors, who had not been No. 1 since 9 July 1979, said,
“I’m working hard to be No. 1 in the world this year. I don’t want to hang around, if I can’t be the best in the world. As far as I’m concerned No. 1 is the only number, and for me not to think I can be No. 1 is ridiculous.” The American rose to top spot once more on 13 September 1981, and he concluded nine different periods at the summit with a three-week stint starting on 13 June 1983. He was ranked in the world’s year-end Top 10 on 16 occasions between 1973 and 1988, and his five year-end No. 1 equals those of Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic. Only Pete Sampras (1993-98) has finished a season at the top on more occasions. 

Grand Slam Highlights
Connors made his major championship debut in 1970 at the US Open, where on 14 of 22 appearances he made the semi-finals or better. Between 1974 and 1985, the American never lost before the semi-finals, winning on five occasions (1974 on grass, 1976 on clay and in 1978, 1982-83 on hard courts) from seven finals. Beginning in 1974, Connors played in five successive US Open finals, the first man to do so since Bill Tilden, who featured in eight title matches between 1918 and 1925. Connors, who was the first since Fred Perry (1933-34, ’36) to win the US titles on three occasions, also won at Wimbledon in 1974 and 1982, from six finals, and at the 1974 Australian Open. Denied the opportunity to play at 1974 Roland Garros, due to his association with World Team Tennis, Connors is one of six players in the Open Era (since April 1968) to win three or more Grand Slam championships in a calendar year (also Rod Laver in 1969, Mats Wilander in 1988, Federer 2004, 2006-07, Nadal in 2010 and Djokovic in 2011 and 2015. Connors still holds the record for 107 grass-court match wins at Wimbledon between 1972 and 1991 and 98 US Open match wins between 1972 and 1992. He also won 19 doubles titles, including two majors at 1973 Wimbledon and the 1975 US Open (both with Ilie Nastase).

Nitto ATP Finals Highlights
The American made 11 appearances at the season-ending championships, starting with his debut at Barcelona in 1973, when he reached the semi-finals (l. to Nastase). After a three-year absence, Connors returned in the first year the Masters [now named the Nitto ATP Finals] was held at Madison Square Garden in New York, recovering from a loss to Guillermo Vilas during the round-robin stage to beat Bjorn Borg 6-4, 1-6, 6-4 in the 1977 final. He advanced to the semi-finals eight times, while his final attempt came in 1987.

 

Tour Highlights
Connors, who turned professional in 1972, winning his first tournament in Jacksonville, Florida (d. Graebner), continued at a prodigious pace, earning a men’s record 109th title at Tel Aviv in 1989. To-date, he has also won more singles matches than any other male tennis professional, 1274, although Federer is now closing in with 1,242 victories. Refusing to join the ATP in 1972, Connors and his manager Bill Riordan brought lawsuits against the new union in 1974, when he compiled a sparkling 99-4 record and won 15 tournaments, because of his Roland Garros ban. The lawsuit was dropped shortly after Connors lost to Arthur Ashe, the then ATP President, in the 1975 Wimbledon final. Connors won a record nine hard-court titles in 1973, a mark subsequently equaled by Federer, and won 10-plus trophies on four occasions between 1973-1978. He was a part of the United States Davis Cup winning team in 1981. By the age of 27, critics thought Connors was washed up, but he proved the doubters wrong. After losing in the 1996 Atlanta first round, a 44-year-old Connors was the only player who had been on FedEx ATP Rankings since its inception on 23 August 1973, at No. 1,304.

Overall ATP Singles Match Win-Loss Record: 1274-283
Overall ATP Singles Titles/Finals Record: 109-54

Biggest Rivalries
No love was lost between Connors and John McEnroe, but ultimately they both respected each other and, against Borg, developed terrific rivalries during an era when the sport boomed. Connors won eight of his 12 meetings against Borg, who triumphed in the 1977 and 1978 Wimbledon finals. Connors, who beat Borg at the 1976 and 1978 US Opens, ended up with an 8-15 record against the Swede. Connors played the role of spoiler in 1980 to McEnroe and Borg, who were battling for World No. 1. Connors had a winning record against McEnroe, until the younger American won 12 of their last 14 meetings (McEnroe led 20-14 overall). The 29-year-old Connors beat McEnroe over five sets in the 1982 Wimbledon final, one of three wins in nine major meetings. Connors also had significant rivalries against Nastase, early in his career, and later with Ivan Lendl. “I had true rivalries,” said Connors. “Not only did I want to beat my opponent, but I didn’t want to let him up, either. I had a rivalry with Mac, Lendl, Borg. Everybody knew there was tension between us, on court and off. That’s what’s really ingrained in my mind: ‘This is real. This isn’t a soft rivalry.’ There were no hugs and kisses.”

Legacy
Taught by his mother, Gloria, and ‘two-moms’ grandmother, Bertha, Connors is one of the most significant players in the sport’s history. As an electric, fiery, outspoken, but utterly competitive player, his fighting spirit is perhaps only matched today by Nadal. His on-court antics often got the crowd involved, but his prowess wasn’t questioned. His return was considered the best on the circuit, and, having learned to hit the ball on the rise, his flat two-handed backhand from the baseline countered the serve-volleyers of the 1970s and 1980s. Because of his career longevity and his rivalry with Borg and McEnroe, the trio were able to transcend the sport and draw in new audiences and greater purses. In retirement, he became an astute commentator and tried his hand at coaching, first with Andy Roddick between 2006 and 2008, then short spells with Maria Sharapova (2013) and Eugenie Bouchard (2015).

Memorable Moments
Troubled by a deteriorated left wrist in 1990, he dropped to No. 936 in the FedEx ATP Rankings before undergoing surgery. He returned in 1991 to play 14 tournaments, climaxing in his 14th US Open semi-final, where he celebrated his 39th birthday with a tumultuous fourth-round victory over Aaron Krickstein, soaring from 2-5 in the fifth set to win 3-6, 7-6(8), 1-6, 6-3, 7-6(4). Connors, who won 10 of 11 matches on his birthday at the US Open, famously remarked at 6-6 in the decider, “This is what they paid for. This is what they want.” He then continued his magical run by battling back from a set and a break down against Paul Haarhuis, but lost to Jim Courier, becoming the oldest semi-finalist since 39-year-old Ken Rosewall lost the title match to none other than Connors himself 17 years before. He was subsequently named as the ATP Comeback Player of the Year for 1991. “If you took the 10 greatest moments or points in US Open history, six or seven of them would be his, and three or four would be at the 1991 Open,” said McEnroe. Highlights of the Krickstein match are reshown each year at Flushing Meadows, venue of the US Open, and it cemented Connors’ reputation as the people’s champion in New York.

McEnroe on Connors
“One of the things I respected about Connors was that one second he would be spewing a four-letter word, the next second he would do something that had people falling off the aisles. Yet he never seemed to lose his concentration.”

Connors on Connors
“Tennis was never work for me; tennis was fun. And the tougher the battle, and the longer the match, the more fun I had.”

Journalist/Broadcaster Graeme Agars on Connors
Connors was the ultimate showman on court, delivering not only a fierce, never-give-an-inch playing performance, but he also knew better than most how to get a crowd involved in a match and how to perform on ‘stage’. That showman approach was part of the reason that Connors used the unorthodox Wilson T2000 metal framed racquet, with the stringing wound around the outside of the exposed steel frame. The racquet had a tiny head and a sweet spot the size of a pea, but Connors knew how to use it to great effect during the early to middle stages of his glittering career. Even though he could have gained more power with other racquets on the market, Connors stuck with the T2000 for a long time. When asked in a press conference why he used the racquet, he explained “because I like the way the light shines off the frame when I play at night.” At another press conference, at the US Open in New York, he once explained he was running out of the racquets because they were well out of production and hard to find. This sparked an amazing response from his fans who sent in dozens of the racquets to keep their idol well supplied.

ATP Heritage: Milestones. Records. Legends.

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Resurfaced: World Record Broken In Madrid

  • Posted: May 07, 2020

Resurfaced: World Record Broken In Madrid

Wawrinka, Nishikori, Berdych and Tsonga take part in world record attempt

Editor’s Note: ATPTour.com is resurfacing features to bring fans closer to their favourite players during the current suspension in tournament play. This story was originally published on 1 May 2016.

The Mutua Madrid Open made history on Sunday morning by setting a new Guinness World Record for the most people bouncing tennis balls on racquets at the same time for 10 seconds.

ATP Tour stars Stan Wawrinka, Kei Nishikori, Tomas Berdych and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga took to the Manolo Santana court at Caja Mágica along with Tournament Director Santana and owner Ion Tiriac to take part in the record attempt. With help from a host of spectators, the Mutua Madrid Open beat the record of 767 people set at the China Open last year.

In total, according to the official count from the assistant judges and the official Guinness World Record judge Anna Orford, the number achieved in Madrid was 1,474, giving the Mutua Madrid Open a new record.

On International Workers’ Day, the Mutua Madrid Open ran the event in celebration of 15 years of employment at the tournament and to recognise the more than 8,000 workers who have in some way contributed to this event.

“It is important that the people know that we create a huge number of jobs every year,” said Santana. “It would have been impossible for the Mutua Madrid Open to reach 15 years without the great workers we have had and that is why this Guinness record was a great tribute to all of them.”

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ATP Partners With Coursera To Help Players Learn New Skills During Tour Suspension And Beyond

  • Posted: May 07, 2020

ATP Partners With Coursera To Help Players Learn New Skills During Tour Suspension And Beyond

Top-quality online learning available to ATP players as COVID-19 forces suspension of play on the Tour

LONDON: The ATP today announced a partnership with the world’s leading online learning platform Coursera to provide ATP players around the world with access to over 4,000 courses. This will allow players to learn new skills during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has currently forced the suspension of play on the Tour, and even after the crisis when competitive play resumes.

Players can choose from a variety of courses across business, technology, data science, personal development, and mental well-being, learning new skills that will serve them throughout their playing and non-playing careers. Courses are taught by the world’s top university and industry educators such as Imperial College London, the University of Pennsylvania, and IBM.

Supporting the mental and physical wellness of players is a key priority for ATP. The partnership is going live at a particularly relevant moment in parallel with Mental Health Awareness Month in the US. Through course offerings such as The Science of Well-Being from Yale University, players will have access to highly relevant mental wellness content.

“Our partnership with Coursera gives players the chance to develop valuable new skills and knowledge that will be of benefit to them for the rest of their lives,” said ATP Chairman Andrea Gaudenzi. “We have a duty of care to our players and this is an excellent opportunity for them to think long-term beyond their playing careers. The online format and versatility offered by the Coursera platform is a perfect fit not only while at home, but also on the road once the Tour resumes.”

“Coursera, along with its community of partners, is proud to serve hard-working athletes who bring so much joy and inspiration to our lives,” said Kim Caldbeck, CMO of Coursera. “ATP players can now learn new skills from the best online courses in the world during this disruption and in between their commitments once the Tour resumes.”

Starting May 7, 2020, players will receive an email invitation to start learning. After setting up a profile on Coursera, they will be able to enroll in unlimited courses for free. Players will also have access to curated course collections in business, technology, and data science to help navigate Coursera’s expansive course catalog.

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