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Qureshi Seeks To Feed 10,000 Pakistani Families

  • Posted: Jun 15, 2020

Qureshi Seeks To Feed 10,000 Pakistani Families

Stars Against Hunger auction continues with signed memorabilia from Djokovic, Medvedev, Tsitsipas and more

Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi’s foundation, Stop War Start Tennis, has supported more than 2,500 families in Pakistan with ration bags since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Pakistani is nowhere near done helping his community, though.

The two-time Arthur Ashe Humanitarian of the Year in May launched a charity auction, Stars Against Hunger, in conjunction with his foundation to raise funds to provide as many ration bags as possible for the Pakistani daily workers who have been unable to work during these tough times. Qureshi’s goal is to support 10,000 more families. 

Items that remain available in the auction include an autographed shirt from Novak Djokovic and signed racquets from Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Grigor Dimitrov.

“I’d like to make a huge request to all the tennis fans and the tennis fraternity to help me out with this cause,” Qureshi said. “All the proceedings, every single penny that is raised from this auction, will go to distributing ration bags among the poor and the needy and the daily wagers.”

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Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi

Some auction items already sold include a signed pair of Roger Federer’s shoes ($20,000) and an autographed shirt from Rafael Nadal (€10,000). The Stars Against Hunger campaign has so far raised enough money to provide rations for 2,000 families. Distribution of those rations begins Thursday.

Qureshi says that his hometown of Lahore, Pakistan is soon going into lockdown because of COVID-19, making the ration bags — which feed a family of five with flour, rice, oil, grains, tea, milk and soap — even more important.

“My city Lahore is going into a lockdown once again for 15 days,” Qureshi said. “We have a lot of people [who are] needy who are going to suffer from this. The rate of coronavirus is actually growing in Pakistan… it’s a really tough moment for us.”

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The Day Haas Stunned Federer In Halle

  • Posted: Jun 15, 2020

The Day Haas Stunned Federer In Halle

Haas ended career with 26-13 record in Halle

Between 2003 and 2008, Roger Federer won 25 consecutive matches and five titles at the NOVENTI OPEN in Halle. Following a final loss to Lleyton Hewitt in 2010, the Swiss returned to the German ATP 500 in 2012 seeking his sixth title at the event.

For the seventh straight appearance, the Swiss advanced to the championship match after wins against Florian Mayer, Milos Raonic and Mikhail Youzhny. Standing between Federer and the trophy was home favourite Tommy Haas.

Like Federer, Haas had dropped just one set en route to the final to book a third Halle meeting against the five-time champion. The pair had previously met at the event in the 2005 and 2006 semi-finals, with Federer winning both matches en route to the trophy.

But, since then, Haas had enjoyed success of his own in Halle. In 2009, the former World No. 2 beat Top 10 stars Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Novak Djokovic to claim his maiden ATP Tour title on grass.

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Federer made the perfect start to the championship match, striking a cross-court forehand winner to break serve in the opening game. But Haas quickly responded and edged the opening set in a tie-break with a powerful serve to Federer’s backhand.

The second set was decided by one of the points of the tournament. Facing break point at 4-4, Federer moved up the court to take time away from his opponent. Haas responded with a pinpoint backhand lob, before Federer neutralised the rally with a high, no-look forehand.

After coming to the net for a second time, Federer was punished as Haas fired a cross-court backhand passing shot winner to break serve. Haas held his next service game to clinch his second Halle crown 7-6(5), 6-4 after one hour and 35 minutes.

“If someone had said before that I was going to beat Roger Federer, probably the best player of all time, I would have thought they were mad,” said Haas.

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The following year, Federer gained his revenge in a third semi-final between the pair in Halle with a three-set win. The Swiss then secured a comeback victory against Youzhny to lift his sixth title at the event.

Haas made two further appearances in Halle in 2015 and 2017, suffering first-round defeats on both occasions. His 2017 loss to Bernard Tomic was the final grass-court match of his career on German soil.

After that match, Haas was greeted on court by his daughter, Valentina. Waving to the crowd, the two-time champion walked off the court for the final time with his daughter in his arms.

“Walking with Valentina in my arms is always special, but leaving the court this way for the last time is icing on the cake,” said Haas.


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History Maker: Murray’s Title Runs At The Queen’s Club

  • Posted: Jun 15, 2020

History Maker: Murray’s Title Runs At The Queen’s Club

Brit owns tournament record five singles titles

The Fever-Tree Championships’ honour roll is filled with some of the greatest players in tennis history. From John McEnroe to Rafael Nadal, the sport’s elite players have showcased their best level at the grass-court ATP 500 ahead of The Championships at Wimbledon.

Between 1979 and 2007, McEnroe, Boris Becker, Lleyton Hewitt and Andy Roddick captured the trophy on four occasions to equal the tournament titles record. Just nine years later, their achievements were surpassed by home favourite Andy Murray.

From 2009 to 2016, the Brit compiled a 26-3 record at the event to become the tournament’s first five-time singles champion. In terms of titles won, it is the most successful event of the 46-time tour-level titlist’s career. takes a look back at Murray’s title runs in West London:

2009: A British Winner
For the first time since 1938, a British singles champion was crowned at The Queen’s Club in 2009. Competing at his first grass-court event of the year, Murray cruised past Andreas Seppi, Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, Mardy Fish and Juan Carlos Ferrero to reach his first ATP Tour final on the surface without dropping a set. In the championship match, the Brit converted each of his three break points against James Blake to earn a 7-5, 6-4 victory after 68 minutes.

“I was quite nervous because people were telling me no Briton had won here for quite a while, but when I had my chances I managed to take them,” said Murray.

<a href=Andy Murray beats James Blake to win his first title at The Queen’s Club in 2009.” />

2011: A Classic Final
After a Round of 16 loss in 2010, Murray made a successful return to The Queen’s Club in 2011. The World No. 4 booked his place in the championship match with victories against Xavier Malisse, Janko Tipsarevic and four-time winner Roddick.

Following rain on Sunday, Murray was pushed to the limit by Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in a Monday final. The Frenchman led by a set and held a break point at 5-5 in the second set, before Murray raised his game to claim a 3-6, 7-6(2), 6-4 win.

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2013: Hat-trick Complete
Competing on grass for the first time since beating Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer in back-to-back matches to capture the Olympic gold medal at Wimbledon in 2012, Murray added to his grass-court resume with a third trophy at The Queen’s Club in 2013.

Murray, who had missed Roland Garros with a lower back injury, recovered from a set down in consecutive matches against Tsonga and defending champion Marin Cilic to take the title. Three weeks later, the 6’3” right-hander beat Djokovic in straight sets to become the first British man to win the Gentlemen’s Singles title at Wimbledon since Fred Perry in 1936.

2015: An Exclusive Club
In 2015, Murray joined McEnroe, Becker, Hewitt and Roddick as four-time winners at the event. After a comeback victory against Gilles Muller in the quarter-finals, Saturday rain forced Murray to play two matches on Sunday.

Murray rose to the challenge, beating Viktor Troicki and Kevin Anderson in straight sets to lift his fourth trophy at the historic event. Murray needed just 64 minutes to overcome Anderson in the championship match, converting a single break point in each set to secure the win.

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2016: Record Breaker
Seven years after his maiden triumph at The Queen’s Club, Murray claimed his second straight title at the event to become the first five-time singles champion in tournament history.

Murray was tested en route to the final, needing three sets to beat Kyle Edmund and 2012 champion Cilic. In the final, Murray outlasted Milos Raonic 6-7(5), 6-4, 6-3 after two hours and 13 minutes. Three weeks later, Murray defeated the Canadian in straight sets to claim his second Wimbledon crown.

“To do it means a lot… It’s a tournament that obviously means a lot to me. It’s been my most successful tournament,” said Murray.

2019: Doubles Success
After returning from an 11-month absence at The Queen’s Club with a narrow 2-6, 7-6(4), 7-5 loss to Nick Kyrgios in 2018, Murray made another comeback appearance at The Queen’s Club after a second hip surgery in 2019. Competing alongside Feliciano Lopez in doubles, the Brit survived back-to-back Match Tie-breaks to claim his first ATP Tour doubles title since 2011.

<a href=Feliciano Lopez and Andy Murray hold the Queen’s Club 2019 doubles trophy” />

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Coaching Wawrinka & Murray: Vallverdu's Wild Ride

  • Posted: Jun 15, 2020

Coaching Wawrinka & Murray: Vallverdu’s Wild Ride

Venezuelan leads fundraising efforts to help coaches during COVID-19 pandemic

As some players begin to resume their training, coaches are starting to return as well. Daniel Vallverdu has been working in Monaco with Stan Wawrinka for the past two weeks and believes the Swiss can continue to build on his solid form at the start of 2020 when action resumes on the ATP Tour.

“We were on a good path before the pandemic hit. He was finding his way again after injury and getting his game back in some of the biggest events,” Vallverdu said on the latest ATP Tennis Radio podcast. “We had good momentum going from last year and a good off-season… The most important thing is that he’s feeling fit and [has] no injuries. I hope we can have a good couple of months of practice now.

“He’s coming towards the late stage of his career and quite a tough surgery [in 2017], so the main thing when we’re training and scheduling is how everything will benefit or hurt his body. We’re looking at how he can peak physically when he steps on court at events and obviously how much time you give the body to recover. We spoke about scheduling a lot in December because Stan needs a lot of balls to gain confidence and needs matches, but we also need time for him to rest.”

The 34-year-old Venezuelan’s resume would make it easy for any player to heed his advice. Vallverdu was part of the team that helped guide Andy Murray to two Grand Slam titles (2012 Wimbledon, 2013 US Open) and a gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics. He also brought Tomas Berdych to his career-high FedEx ATP Ranking of No. 4 in 2015 and steered Grigor Dimitrov to the title at the 2017 Nitto ATP Finals. But while his credentials speak for themselves, he attributed good fortune to getting his initial break.

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“I was offered a great job with Andy when I was 23 years old. He was No. 2 in the rankings and it worked quite well from the beginning, so that was the luckiest part of my life,” Vallverdu said. “He was winning tournaments and a contender for the big tournaments from the moment I started working with him, so it put my name out there a lot. Obviously I did something right when I started working with other players after that.”

Vallverdu is now leading the effort to raise funds for fellow coaches who have been impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. He teamed up with other members of the ATP Coach Programme, in collaboration with ATP, to enable fans to bid on a series of exclusive fan experiences through online fundraising platform Givergy.

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ATP Coaches Launch Fan Experience

These include private coaching sessions with Paul Annacone, Boris Becker, Darren Cahill, Brad Gilbert, Goran Ivanisevic, Ivan Lendl, Ivan Ljubicic, Carlos Moya, Patrick Mouratoglou and Marian Vajda. The experiences will be held on site at Grand Slam and ATP Tour events worldwide and include a combination of behind-the-scenes access, match tickets and premium hospitality. Fans can also enter drawings for exclusive merchandise and signed player memorabilia, with a percentage of the funds raised going to COVID-19 relief efforts.

“I’m just trying to help as much as I can by putting this auction together,” Vallverdu said. “We’re offering some pretty amazing experiences with some of the coaches. It’s difficult to find that kind of access.”

For more information on available experiences and merchandise or to donate to the initiative, please visit the Givergy website.

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The Queen’s Club: Where History Is Made

  • Posted: Jun 15, 2020

The Queen’s Club: Where History Is Made

Learn more about the Fever-Tree Championships, an ATP 500 event

The Fever-Tree Championships has been staged for more than a century at The Queen’s Club in London.

The 2020 edition of the event would have been held this week, if not for the Tour suspension due to the COVID-19 pandemic. looks at five things to know about the tournament.

1) An Award-Winning Event
In recent years, the Fever-Tree Championships has consistently been recognised by players as one of the finest events on the ATP Tour. In 2013 and 2014, the event was named ATP 250 Tournament of the Year.

Following its move to ATP 500 status in 2015, the event was also voted ATP 500 Tournament of the Year in 2015, 2016 and 2018. Since 2013, only the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells — the recipient of the past six ATP Masters 1000 Tournament of the Year awards — has been recognised by players more often.

 Tournament Director Stephen Farrow receives a trophy from <a href=Mark Philippoussis, recognising the Fever-Tree Championships as the ATP 500 Tournament of the Year in the 2018 ATP Awards.” width=”100%” src=”” />

2) The Perfect Preparation
Since 1981, seven players have translated title runs at The Queen’s Club to success at Wimbledon. The ATP 500 — held roughly four miles north of the All England Club — has provided players with the perfect preparation for a title bid at SW19.

John McEnroe (1981, ’84), Jimmy Connors (1982), Boris Becker (1985), Pete Sampras (1995, ’99), Lleyton Hewitt (2002) and Rafael Nadal (2008) have each triumphed at Queen’s and Wimbledon in the same year. The most recent man to join the exclusive club was Andy Murray, who achieved the feat in 2013 and 2016.

<a href=John McEnroe captured his fourth title at The Queen’s Club in 1984.” width=”100%” src=”” />

3) The Hewitt/Roddick Years
In the opening eight editions of the event in the 21st century (2000-’07), Hewitt and Andy Roddick were the dominant forces at The Queen’s Club. During that period, they each captured four titles and compiled a combined 50-6 record at the grass-court tournament.

One of those six losses came in 2004, when Roddick defeated Hewitt in straight sets to reach his second straight final. The American also ended Hewitt’s title bid in 2009, winning their second-round clash in two tie-breaks.

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4) Murray Makes History In 2016
From 1979 to 2007, four men won the tournament on four occasions: McEnroe (1979-’81, ’84), Becker (1985, ’87-’88, ’96), Hewitt (2000-’02, ’06) and Roddick (2003-’05, ’07). Backed passionately by British fans since his tournament debut in 2005, Murray joined the list of four-time Open Era champions in 2015.

One year later, as the top seed, Murray battled through three consecutive three-set matches to become the first man to win five singles titles at the event. Murray overcame countryman Kyle Edmund and Marin Cilic to reach the championship match, before rallying from a set down to beat Milos Raonic for the trophy. Three weeks later, Murray also defeated the Canadian in straight sets to claim his second Wimbledon crown.

In doubles, Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan have also lifted an Open Era record five titles at the event.

5) Lopez’s Greatest Career Moments
Three years after failing to convert championship point in the 2014 final, Feliciano Lopez captured his first title at The Queen’s Club in his 12th tournament appearance. The big-serving Spaniard beat three Top 15 players en route to the final, where he saved championship point against two-time winner Marin Cilic. Lopez described his run to the 2017 trophy as ‘the best week of my career’ but, just two years later, he was forced to correct that statement.

In 2019, the left-hander earned his second title at The Queen’s Club in dramatic fashion. The 37-year-old defeated Canadians Raonic and Felix Auger-Aliassime in three sets to reach his third final, where he outlasted Gilles Simon in a final-set tie-break to become the oldest Open Era champion (since 1968) at the event.

“I thought the best moment of my career was when I won this tournament in 2017, but it’s right now,” said Lopez.

Later in the day, Lopez completed a dream week at the grass-court ATP 500 by lifting the doubles title alongside Andy Murray.

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