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How The Stars Are Helping Qureshi Feed Pakistanis In Need

  • Posted: May 14, 2020

How The Stars Are Helping Qureshi Feed Pakistanis In Need

Learn about the Pakistani doubles star’s charity auction

Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi has played doubles against Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic during his career. But now, the legends are helping Qureshi as he continues his efforts to ensure that Pakistanis in need receive ration bags during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Qureshi has launched a charity auction, Stars Against Hunger, in conjunction with his foundation, Stop War Start Tennis, to raise funds to provide as many ration bags as possible for daily workers who have been unable to work during these tough times. 

“As an athlete, as a sportsman, I feel like tennis has given me so much, and it’s a way of me giving back to the communities,” Qureshi said. “I’ve been all over the world, there are so many people who have touched my heart, and that’s why I feel like helping everybody I can in any way possible.”

Learn More About The Auction

Federer, Nadal, Djokovic and Qureshi have all won the ATP’s Arthur Ashe Humanitarian of the Year Award. The Pakistani admires all the work the legends do off the court.

“Every single item is going to be very close to my heart. It’s going to go a long way for me to raise funds here in Pakistan. There’s a huge population that loves tennis. These guys are legends here. Everybody loves each and every one of them,” Qureshi said. “They’re unbelievable guys and human beings. None of them hesitated. The second I asked them if I can use any kind of memorabilia from them, they were more than happy to send it to me. I can’t thank them enough… Pakistan can’t thank you guys enough.”

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

Other players who have contributed are reigning Nitto ATP Finals champion Stefanos Tsitsipas, 2017 Nitto ATP Finals winner Grigor Dimitrov, World No. 5 Daniil Medvedev and WTA star Sania Mirza.

Athletes from other sports who have donated memorablia for the auction are boxer Amir Khan, field hockey player Shahbaz Ahmed, squash player Jahangir Khan and cricketers Sarfaraz Ahmed, Shoaib Akhtar, Wasim Akram and Shoaib Malik.

In order to bid on the items, you must send an email to the address at the bottom of the Stars Against Hunger website. According to Qureshi, the auction will end on 24 May. You also can donate directly to Qureshi’s cause here.

Qureshi, who himself has delivered rations, says the bags include flour, rice, oil, grains, tea, milk and soap, and can feed a family of five. One ration bag costs 3,500 rupees, or approximately $45. The campaign has already supported more than 2,000 families in Pakistan.

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Why Federer, Nadal Don’t Have A Need For Speed

  • Posted: May 14, 2020

Why Federer, Nadal Don’t Have A Need For Speed

Data show the pace of second serves is not a measure of success

Are you hitting your second serve too fast?

An Infosys ATP Beyond The Numbers analysis of the Top 10 from the 2019 season uncovers a paradoxical relationship between second serve speed and the corresponding win percentages. A more powerful shot in tennis, especially with a serve, has always been looked upon as more desirable than a slower shot. That belief may not be as set in concrete as we once thought.

The first thing to start with is to organise the 2019 year-end Top 10 in order of fastest to slowest with average second-serve speed.

2019 Year-End Top 10: Average 2nd Serve Speed

Rating Player Average 2nd Serve Speed
1 Matteo Berrettini 102.8 mph
2 Alexander Zverev 100.6 mph
3 Gael Monfils 99.9 mph
4 Dominic Thiem 99.0 mph
5 Stefanos Tsitsipas 97.0 mph
6 Rafael Nadal 96.4 mph
7 Novak Djokovic 96.1 mph
8 Roger Federer 95.9 mph
9 Daniil Medvedev 95.8 mph
10 Roberto Bautista Agut 93.5 mph

When you cut the group in half, combining the fastest five averages and the slowest five averages, something eye-opening emerges. The five players who had the slowest second-serve speed all climbed higher in the group when examining win percentages. The only player to be in the leading five players in average speed and win percentage was Dominic Thiem.

Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Daniil Medvedev and Roberto Bautista Agut owned the five slowest averages of the Top 10 ranked players in 2019. They combined to average 95.5 mph for their second serve while the five leading players averaged right at 100 mph.

The following table re-orders the Top 10 with percentage of points won from second serves in 2019.

2019 Year-End Top 10: 2nd Serve Win Percentages

Rating Player Average 2nd Serve Win %
1 Rafael Nadal 59.64%
2 Roger Federer 59.44%
3 Novak Djokovic 57.02%
4 Roberto Bautista Agut 55.96%
5 Dominic Thiem 55.28%
6 Daniil Medvedev 54.57%
7 Matteo Berrettini 53.77%
8 Stefanos Tsitsipas 52.92%
9 Gael Monfils 50.47%
10 Alexander Zverev 44.31%

The clear pattern is that the five slowest servers all climbed the ladder to a higher position when analysing their win percentages while the five fastest servers all dropped to a lower rating when comparing mph to win percentages.

Comparison: Five Slowest Second Servers

•Rafael Nadal: Speed = 6th / Win % = 1st
•Roger Federer: Speed = 8th / Win % = 2nd
•Novak Djokovic: Speed = 7th / Win % = 3rd
•Roberto Bautista Agut: Speed = 10th / Win % = 4th
•Daniil Medvedev: Speed = 9th / Win % = 6th

Comparison: Five Fastest Second Servers

•Matteo Berrettini: Speed = 1st / Win % = 7th
•Alexander Zverev: Speed = 2nd / Win % = 10th
•Gael Monfils: Speed = 3rd / Win % = 9th
•Dominic Thiem: Speed = 4th / Win % = 5th
•Stefanos Tsitsipas: Speed = 5th / Win % = 8th

Below are five strategic possibilities why this dynamic is occurring:

1. A faster second serve gets back to the server faster, taking time away to prepare.
2. The five slower servers are stronger defensively with their Serve +1 forehand and backhand.
3. The returner is “out in front” of the slower second serve, not timing it as well.
4. The five slower servers have a better mix of location to keep the returner guessing.
5. The five slower servers rely more on spin, direction & depth to win second-serve points.

Performance around second serves is critical to reaching the elite level of our sport. Raw speed is just one of the layers that directly effects how many second-serve points you win.

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Coric's Bonding Time: Tennis At Home Roundup

  • Posted: May 14, 2020

Coric’s Bonding Time: 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 Borna Coric’s dog walks to Jack Sock’s wedding planning, find out how the biggest names in tennis are keeping busy.

Coric kept up his morning routine of long walks with his dog, Nala.

Sock confirmed that Nick Kyrgios and John Isner will be groomsmen at his wedding this year.

 

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SOCK PARTY OF 22 coming soon!! 😎🍾 So thankful that even though it couldn’t be in person, we were able to ask our friends and see their incredible reactions! I can’t wait to have all of you beside us on our big day!!

A post shared by Jack Sock (@jack.sock) on

Novak Djokovic shared a throwback video of his basketball skills.

Roberto Bautista Agut took on Villarreal CF football star Santi Cazorla in a fun challenge.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga got the whole family involved in his goal of TikTok stardom.

 

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Mood à la fin du confinement 🎶😂 #tsongateam #tiktok #tiktokdance

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Benoit Paire appeared to ditch his beard grooming habits while in lockdown

 

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Heureusement que le confinement se termine bientôt!!!! 🤷🏽‍♂️

A post shared by Benoit Paire (@benpaire) on

Juan Ignacio Londero continued to stay on top of his fitness.

Juan Sebastian Cabal enjoyed some bonding time with his newborn son.

 

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Por mil noches mas así 😍😍 . . . @jvasquezb

A post shared by Juan Sebastián Cabal (@jscabal) on

John Millman gave a shout-out to one of the winners in the Emirates ATP Fan Essay Contest, who wrote about how the Aussie inspired him.

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US Open Temporary Hospital Shutting Down

  • Posted: May 14, 2020

US Open Temporary Hospital Shutting Down

The temporary hospital began seeing patients the second week of April

The USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, home of the US Open, opened its doors to support the city’s battle against the coronavirus, transforming into a temporary hospital.

The tournament announced on its website Thursday that the final patient being treated at the temporary hospital has left, and the space used for it — 12 indoor courts — will now be broken down, sanitised, and returned to its original form.

“The hospital has officially closed, and we are currently in the shutting-down mode,” USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center Chief Operating Officer Danny Zausner said, according to the US Open’s website. “[Crews] will be in there for the next three to four weeks disassembling, sanitising and getting us ready to open up for indoor business when we can.”

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

The first patients began arriving at the temporary hospital the second week of April, but the facility was never forced to maximum capacity. 

Teams have utilised Louis Armstrong Stadium, the centre’s second-largest stadium, to fulfill meal packages to be sent to patients, healthcare workers and school children. Since starting by preparing 150,000 meals per day, the program has been scaled back to provide hot food for first responders. Zausner says food production is set to end on 22 May.

“We were just trying to do our part. We were limited in terms of what our capabilities were, but we were able to provide a safe haven for first responders and, with our food service partners and Restaurant Associates, were able to feed them,” Zausner said. “We felt really good about that. But as we said all along, relative to what people are doing out there day by day, 24 hours a day, we were just scratching the surface.”

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Mager's Momentum Halted By Lockdown

  • Posted: May 14, 2020

Mager’s Momentum Halted By Lockdown

Italian reflects on inspired week in Rio and the ‘new normal’ for ATP Tour players

After seven years of persistence as a pro tennis player, Gianluca Mager was rewarded by cracking the Top 100 after reaching his maiden ATP Tour final this February at the Rio Open presented by Claro. But the Italian is still waiting to enjoy the benefits of his labour.

Two weeks after his inspired run, the COVID-19 pandemic halted play on Tour and Mager returned to his hometown of Sanremo. The 25-year-old has remained at home since then, but normalcy is slowly returning to daily life in Italy and he recently resumed some of his training.

“We’ve started to play tennis for the past week,” Mager told ATPTour.com. “I tried to do some exercises in my house before that, a lot of core work and stretching. I tried to eat well and not gain too much weight. It’s not easy because my house isn’t that big and I couldn’t go out, but I did my best.

“The situation is a bit difficult because our job is to travel every week, so to stay in one place for three months and do the same thing every day is strange. But I’m happy because I can stay with my family and my girlfriend. I’m trying to take advantage of spending time with them.”

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

A smile still flashes across Mager’s face when he talks about his week in Rio de Janeiro. He arrived with two tour-level wins in his career, but came through qualifying and took out Buenos Aires champion Casper Ruud in the opening round, then followed up with a stunning quarter-final upset over then-World No. 4 Dominic Thiem. Mager moved from No. 128 to a career-high standing of No. 77.

Although Mager initially imagined that he’d be competing in ATP Masters 1000 events and making his Grand Slam main draw debut this month at Roland Garros, the pandemic has shifted his priorities. With more than 223,000 cases of COVID-19 in Italy and 31,368 related deaths as of 14 May, he’s simply grateful to be healthy.

“I feel a bit sorry because this is the first time I could play in the main draw of ATP Tour events and Grand Slams. I was playing well, felt confident and could have done even better in my results,” Mager said. “But I’m still happy because my family is healthy and nobody got sick [with COVID-19]. A lot of people died in Italy, so in these moments, tennis is only a second priority.”

Mager’s surge into the Top 100 is even more surprising given his unconventional path. He only competed in three ITF junior events and preferred to spend his teenage years enjoying the picturesque views of his hometown. But after being introduced to former ATP Tour player Diego Nargiso, he ditched his partying ways and dedicated himself to the sport at age 18.

In his first year as a pro, Mager took a train and bus every day to practise in Beausoleil, a French commune that adjoins Monaco. Despite the grueling commute, he never missed a training session.

“I didn’t give too much importance to tennis when I was younger. I preferred to be with my friends and stay outside,” Mager admitted. “When I was 18, I started to take it seriously. I stopped going out and started going to bed early. When I met Diego, he helped me to become motivated and it finally became a real passion for me. I started to practise better and was more professional.”

It’s a lifestyle that the Italian has grown accustomed to. Although he’s enjoyed strengthening his relationships with loved ones that he doesn’t get to see much during a normal year, Mager is eager for play to resume on Tour.

“I can’t wait to enjoy the tournaments that I would have played during the lockdown,” Mager said. “I was playing a lot of smaller tournaments before this, but now I’ll get to be on the ATP Tour and it’s going to be a completely different thing.”

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Murray To Rashford: 'You're Getting Me Box Tickets!'

  • Posted: May 14, 2020

Murray To Rashford: ‘You’re Getting Me Box Tickets!’

Find out how much Murray and Rashford know about each other’s career

Former World No. 1 Andy Murray is on a roll off the court.

Two weeks ago, the 32-year-old won a video game tournament: the Mutua Madrid Open Virtual Pro. Now, he has won a quiz contest against Manchester United star Marcus Rashford.

“If I win, you’re getting me box tickets!” Murray proclaimed before the quiz began.

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

For his part, Murray said that if he lost, he would get Rashford Wimbledon Centre Court tickets. But the 46-time tour-level titlist cruised to victory, 4-2.

Murray knew how many goals Rashford scored in his first-team debut (2), his jersey number (10), how many goals Rashford has scored for England (10) and the year he won the FA Cup with Manchester United (2016).

“I’m happy with my day’s work now,” Murray said. “How are you planning on delivering those tickets to me?”

“You can steal my box for the game,” Rashord responded with a smile.

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Flashback: The Day Thiem Toppled Nadal In Rome

  • Posted: May 14, 2020

Flashback: The Day Thiem Toppled Nadal In Rome

Relive Thiem’s 2017 victory against the Spaniard at the Foro Italico

Rafael Nadal played an incredible clay-court season in 2017, going 24-1 with four titles, including a triumph at Roland Garros. However, a 23-year-old Dominic Thiem prevented the Spaniard from clay perfection that season.

Thiem stunned the legendary lefty 6-4, 6-3 in the quarter-finals of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia for one of the biggest wins of his career, ending Nadal’s 17-match winning streak.

“It’s a great achievement for me. If you’re up a set and a break, you never feel safe because he just doesn’t give you one easy point. You really have to finish the match off, and that’s what I did today,” Thiem said. “He’s this kind of player who never gives up. [He is] probably the best fighter in tennis. Especially on clay, it’s one of the toughest things to beat him.”

What makes the Austrian’s straight-sets victory even more impressive is that earlier that clay season, he lost twice against Nadal without winning a set. Entering their clash at the Foro Italico, the Spaniard led their ATP Head2Head series 4-1. Nadal’s four victories came in straight sets, and Thiem needed a final-set tie-break in his win.

But Thiem came out firing in Rome, looking to dictate play at every opportunity in his one-hour, 51-minute win.

“I came in with a very aggressive game style, because I knew that if I wanted to have a chance, then I would have to do something different and be more aggressive,” Thiem said. “I knew that if it goes in, everything, maybe I have a chance. If not, maybe I’d also lose easily. But today was one of these days where I really felt the ball great on the racquet, and a lot of risky shots went in.

“It was a very, very good performance and I think probably one of my best matches.”

Thiem was clutch under pressure, saving six of seven break points he faced. He won more points behind his second serve (58%) than Nadal did behind his first serve (55%).

“The opponent played very well. [I] just congratulate him, because he was better than me this afternoon,” Nadal said. “He played great in all aspects. Just well done for him.”

Thiem, who lost in the next round against Novak Djokovic, went on to reach his second consecutive Roland Garros semi-final. But against Nadal, he wasn’t able to conjure the same level he found at the Foro Italica. Nadal dismissed the Austrian 6-3, 6-4, 6-0, and he went on to lift the trophy without dropping a set.

Did You Know?
Nadal currently leads Thiem 9-5 in their ATP Head2Head series.

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Five Things To Know About David Goffin

  • Posted: May 14, 2020

Five Things To Know About David Goffin

Learn more about the Belgian’s career, from dream debut runs to ATP Cup history

David Goffin is the No. 10 player in the FedEx ATP Rankings with four ATP Tour titles to his name.

ATPTour.com looks at five things you should know about the 29-year-old.

1) He Played His Idol On His Roland Garros Debut
In 2012, as a lucky loser, Goffin survived two five-set matches en route to the Round of 16 at Roland Garros. The 21-year-old faced his idol, Roger Federer, for a place in the quarter-finals.

After taking the opener, Goffin pushed Federer in the second set before falling to a four-set defeat. Following the match, Goffin and Federer shared a joint interview on Court Suzanne-Lenglen.

Roger Federer and David Goffin share a joint on-court interview after their 2012 Roland Garros Round of 16 match on Court Suzanne-Lenglen.

2) He Returned In Style In 2014
After breaking his left wrist in September 2013, Goffin reached new heights the following year. The Belgian arrived at the 2014 Generali Open on a 15-match and 30-set winning streak, after capturing ATP Challenger Tour titles in Scheveningen, Poznan and Tampere.

Searching for his first ATP Tour trophy, the 23-year-old cruised through to the semi-finals in Kitzbühel without dropping a set, before earning three-set comeback wins against Maximo Gonzalez and Dominic Thiem to take the title. At the 2014 Nitto ATP Finals, the Rocourt native received the 2014 Comeback Player of the Year trophy.

3) He Ended 2017 In Top Form
At the 2017 Nitto ATP Finals, Goffin earned three Top 4 victories en route to the championship match. The 26-year-old overcame Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem to advance to the semi-finals, where he rallied from a set down to upset six-time champion Roger Federer.

Goffin met World No. 6 Grigor Dimitrov in the final, but fell in three sets to the Bulgarian. With titles in Tokyo and Shenzhen, Goffin ended the year with a 59-24 record.

4) 2019 Was A Year Of Two Halves
“Last year was a lot of ups and downs for me. At the beginning of the year, it was really tough. I was a little bit lost,” said Goffin.

In his opening 15 tournaments of the 2019 ATP Tour season, Goffin earned just two Top 30 victories and failed to win more than two matches at any event. But the Belgian reversed his fortunes at the NOVENTI OPEN in Halle, beating three Top 30 players in four matches to earn his place in the championship match.

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

Despite his loss to Federer in the final, Goffin continued to build in confidence through the remainder of the year. After a quarter-final run at Wimbledon, the four-time ATP Tour titlist reached his first ATP Masters 1000 final at the Western & Southern Open and advanced to the Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships semi-finals in Tokyo.

“I changed coaches. I started to work with Thomas Johansson and then week-after-week, I started to play much better,” said Goffin. “The second half was much better. I finished the year No. 11 [in the FedEx ATP Rankings] so, at the end, it was a good year.”

5) He Entered The History Books At The 2020 ATP Cup
Remember this for future quiz nights: David Goffin was the first player to use Video Review in ATP Cup history.

In his opening match of the 2020 ATP Tour season, the 5’11” right-hander unsuccessfully challenged a foot fault call during his match against Radu Albot. Goffin went on to clinch the tie for Team Belgium with a 6-4, 6-1 victory and ended the team competition with a 3-1 record.

In the Final Eight, Goffin became only the second man to beat Nadal in singles while playing for Spain (excluding Olympics). Nadal had won 32 straight such contests heading into the match (32-2).

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