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Here's Why Slow Starts Against Djokovic Spell Quick Trouble

  • Posted: Jul 13, 2020

Here’s Why Slow Starts Against Djokovic Spell Quick Trouble

Infosys ATP Beyond The Numbers analyses the Serbian’s first-set dominance

Novak Djokovic activates the scoreboard as a secondary opponent better than any player in the past three decades.

An Infosys ATP Beyond The Numbers analysis of players who win the highest percentage of games in set one finds the Serbian at the top of the tree, winning almost six out of 10 games in the opening stanza. The data set includes 442 players who have competed in at least 100 ATP and Grand Slam matches from 1991-2020.

Djokovic is a phenomenal front-runner, quickly jumping out of the blocks to win 59.58 per cent (5990/10,053) of games in set one to immediately hold the upper hand in the match. He does not ease his way into the encounter. He actually tries to end it – at least mentally and emotionally in his opponents’ mind – before it begins.

Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer were the only other two players since 1991 to cross the 58 per cent threshold, with Nadal winning 59.43 per cent and Federer winning 59.03 per cent. Interestingly, the Big Three are all within half a percentage point of each other, all feeding off each other to take the game to new levels.

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Why Djokovic’s Points Won Tally Is Superhuman

When players obtain an early lead in a match, opponents often feel compelled to gravitate to higher risk patterns of play, such as going for more winners early in the point to get back into the contest. By getting ahead early, Djokovic can keep playing his high percentage patterns of play, while opponents feel like they have to “red-line” their game to hang with him because they are already in an early hole. The scoreboard simply becomes a silent weapon for Djokovic.

The leading 10 players since 1991 with the highest percentage of games won in the opening set are in the table below.

Set 1: Percentage Games Won 1991-2020



Set 1: Games Won %


Novak Djokovic



Rafael Nadal



Roger Federer



Andre Agassi



Pete Sampras



Stefan Edberg



Andy Murray



Andy Roddick



Jim Courier



Michael Chang


Djokovic slightly elevates his win percentage when you filter the data set to include only hardcourt matches. The leading five players on hard courts are:

1. Djokovic = 60.13%
2. Federer = 59.37%
3. Sampras = 58.66%
4. Agassi = 58.32%
5. Ivan Lendl = 57.33%

Djokovic is the only player who has won the “Career Golden Masters” by triumphing in all nine ATP Masters 1000 events. He has performed best in Shanghai, Indian Wells and Miami, winning north of 60 per cent of games in the opening set at all three events.

Masters 1000 & Nitto ATP Finals: Djokovic Games Won Percentage In Set 1


Set 1: Games Won %





Indian Wells










Nitto ATP Finals






Djokovic’s visible weapons in a match include his aggressive forehands, rock-solid backhands, and a potent return of serve that quickly rebounds deep down the middle of the court, right back at the server. When you look at the scoreboard and see him ahead in the game count, you can add that to the extensive list.

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Mardy Fish Wins Celebrity Golf Tournament Featuring Canelo Alvarez, Steph Curry

  • Posted: Jul 13, 2020

Mardy Fish Wins Celebrity Golf Tournament Featuring Canelo Alvarez, Steph Curry

Former Top 10 star James Blake also competed in the event

Mardy Fish is known for his efforts on the tennis court, climbing as high as No. 7 in the FedEx ATP Rankings and winning six ATP Tour titles. But the American showed his prowess for another sport this past weekend: golf.

The 38-year-old won the American Century Championship, a celebrity golf tournament with the $600,000 purse going to charity. Fish competed against superstars from throughout the sports world, including Stephen Curry, Jerry Rice, Patrick Mahomes, Aaron Rodgers and Canelo Alvarez. 

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“This is the least amount of golf I’ve played going into one of these things, so maybe there’s something to that. Maybe there’s something to riding in the cart with no caddie, maybe,” Fish said. “But maybe I was just due for a win here.”

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Mardy Fish: We’ll Get Through This Together

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The three-day event is based on the Stableford scoring format, in which players are awarded points depending on how they score on a hole compared to their handicap. In normal golf scoring, Fish shot a 63 on Saturday to put himself in great position for the win.

“I can hit it with most people. And then if I can make some putts, I can play really well,” Fish said. “I didn’t light it on fire today or the first day. So I had one great day, but it was enough.”

Former World No. 4 James Blake also played the tournament, finishing in a tie for 26th.

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How Federer Found His Clay-Court Footing In Hamburg

  • Posted: Jul 13, 2020

How Federer Found His Clay-Court Footing In Hamburg

Swiss is four-time champion at this event

The Hamburg European Open will always hold a special place in Roger Federer’s career as the site of his first ATP Masters 1000 title in 2002.

Prior to arriving that year, Federer had little reason to be confident about his clay-court game. He endured convincing early-round defeats in Monte Carlo and Rome, and stared down a draw in Hamburg that featured nine of the Top 10 players in the FedEx ATP Rankings. The No. 11 seed also received one of the most challenging first-rounds opponents he could have faced  in former Top 10 player Nicolas Lapentti.

Federer Hamburg 2002

But the 20-year-old found his form from the first ball in Hamburg. He powered into the quarter-finals without dropping a set before taking out second seed Gustavo Kuerten in a three-set affair, which included blitzing the Brazilian 6-0 in the opening set. Another quick victory soon followed against Max Mirnyi before Federer dominated sixth seed Marat Safin 6-1, 6-3, 6-4 in the championship match.

“I find it incredible what has happened,” Federer said afterwards. “I lost my first 11 [tour-level] matches on clay, played badly here before, and in Monte Carlo and in Rome, and felt negative coming into the tournament. I never thought that I would take a title on this surface.”

Federer reduced Safin to a spectator in the first half of the match, launching winners from all parts of the court as he stormed to a 6-1, 5-1 lead. Although the Swiss still performed at a high level in the latter stages of the match, he admitted that his dip in form was due in part to seeing the finish line too quickly.

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Federer, Nadal Lead Impressive Honour Roll In Hamburg

“At 6-1, 5-1, you think ‘How am I going to celebrate?’ and ‘What am I going to say?’” Federer said. “These things come into your mind. You just can’t help it.”

His title defence the following year resulted in a third-round defeat to Mark Philippoussis, but Federer rebounded by scoring a hat-trick of victories in Hamburg. He prevailed in 2004 (d. Coria) and defended his crown by powering through the field in 2005 without dropping a set (d. Gasquet). Federer missed the 2006 edition of this event, but returned to score one of the most significant victories of his career.

Following wins against Juan Carlos Ferrero, David Ferrer and Carlos Moya, Federer rallied from a set down in the 2007 final to stun Rafael Nadal 2-6, 6-2, 6-0. The match ended Nadal’s 81-match winning streak on clay dating back to April 2005 and also marked Federer’s first victory over the Spaniard on this surface. He lifted his head to the sky and yelled in delight after a Nadal forehand found the net on match point.

<a href=Roger Federer owns a tournament record four titles at the Hamburg European Open.” />

“It’s an absolute breakthrough,” Federer said. “It’s just nice to be playing well again. It’s not that I was playing so badly, but it’s my first clay-court title in a couple of years, so that’s great.”

Nadal would get revenge by defeating Federer in the 2008 final, but by that point the Swiss had established himself as the only player in tournament history to win four singles titles. It’s a record that has yet to be matched more than a decade later.

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Anderson's Comeback Goals: Grand Slam & Masters 1000 Titles

  • Posted: Jul 13, 2020

Anderson’s Comeback Goals: Grand Slam & Masters 1000 Titles

South African speaks to ATP Tennis Radio

Kevin Anderson already has a pair of Grand Slam finals (2017 US Open, 2018 Wimbledon) and a career-high FedEx ATP Ranking of No. 5 to his name. When action resumes on the ATP Tour, the South African is determined to push well beyond those career highlights.

“In 2021, If I’m a Grand Slam champion with some ATP Masters 1000 titles, that would be a very successful year-and-a-half,” Anderson told ATP Tennis Radio. “That’s what I’m aiming for along with my team. I’m really looking forward to pushing myself and giving myself that opportunity.”

The 34-year-old knows doing so will require being at full health. Anderson has endured a challenging 18 months between injuries and the current suspension of play due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Issues with his right knee limited him to six tournaments since February 2019 and required a pair of surgeries last September and this February. But the always-determined Anderson found a silver lining and used the extra time at home to strengthen his body.

“At this point in my career, it’s the most important thing for me. Everything revolves around that,” Anderson said.  “We probably err on the side of caution right now, whereas with tournaments, you might push through a little bit. I extended my recovery period by four or five weeks before getting back on court. I’ve been training and have a friend who has a court at his house, which has been a nice setup.

“It’s been quite some time since I was in that regular routine of competing and playing in tournaments. I’m trying to take care of my body as much as I can. Hopefully I can take this six months that I haven’t been playing and add that to the end of my career.”

Anderson has had plenty to keep him busy while at home in Florida. He and his wife, Kelsey, welcomed their first child last September, a baby girl named Keira. He also serves as Vice President on the ATP Player Council and has remained an active presence.

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But Anderson has also worked on continuing to embrace the concept that sometimes less is more. He’s long been known as one of the hardest-working players on Tour, which prompted one of his coaches, Jay Bosworth, to encourage the South African to trust his training and adopt a more relaxed approach mentally. Although shifting his mindset wasn’t easy at first, Anderson believes it will serve him well in the long run.

“Some of my biggest strengths that helped me get to where I was [in 2018] needed to change a little bit. I’ve always had a good work ethic and always wanted to keep improving… But I also needed to trust my abilities and the work I had put in,” Anderson said. “That was a very difficult change for me at first. Stepping out of your comfort zone and seeing what needs to be done can be challenging, but it’s something I’ve embraced and I can see how it helps you become a tennis player.”

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Feeling Lucky? Win A Signed 'Big Four' Racquet Collection!

  • Posted: Jul 13, 2020

Feeling Lucky? Win A Signed ‘Big Four’ Racquet Collection!

Funds raised will support members of the ATP Coach Programme in most need due to the COVID-19 pandemic

For more than a decade, the ‘Big Four’ of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray have used their skill, fitness and determination to create ATP Tour history.

In the latest prize draw in support of the ATP Coach Programme, all you will need is a slice of luck to take home a dream prize. The historic group, which owns a combined 313 tour-level singles trophies, each donated a signed racquet to create a framed collection of four racquets for one lucky entrant to win. 

Enter Now!

ATP Coach Programme

Funds raised from the ‘Big Four’ prize draw will be allocated by the ATP Coaches Committee to support the members of the ATP Coach Programme, whose ability to work has been impacted by the ongoing pandemic. In addition, a part of proceeds will be donated to a global COVID-19 relief fund.

The prize draw follows an initial three-week bidding window, which ended on 29 June, for a range of private coaching experiences with legendary ATP Tour coaches. A two-hour session with Ivan Lendl at the 2021 US Open, complete with an exclusive VIP experience package, raised US$19,000 for the programme.

Other items up for grabs this round include packages headlined by a hit with Andy Murray at Wimbledon, a session with Stan Wawrinka and his team at an event to be determined and much more.

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Båstad: An Award-Winning Event Defined By Swedish Success

  • Posted: Jul 13, 2020

Båstad: An Award-Winning Event Defined By Swedish Success

Learn more about the Normea Open, an ATP 250 event

Held the week after Wimbledon, the Normea Open is one of two Swedish events on the ATP Tour alongside the Stockholm Open.

The ATP 250 tournament 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 ATP 250 tournament.

A Player Favourite
ATP Tour players voted the Normea Open as ATP 250 Tournament of the Year for 11 straight years between 2002 and 2012. Based in Båstad, one of Sweden’s most popular summer tourism destinations, the event has been held each year since 1948 and has consistently improved its venue. Held at Båstad Tennisstadion, the tournament is located just minutes away from the local harbour and beach.


Swedish History
Since the beginning of the Open Era in 1968, the tournament has consistently crowned Swedish champions in both singles and doubles. Sixteen editions of the singles tournament have been won by Swedish players and 27 editions of the doubles event have featured a Swedish winner.

Magnus Gustafsson owns an Open Era record four singles trophies in Båstad, followed closely by three-time champions Bjorn Borg and Mats Wilander. Magnus Norman and Robin Soderling own two titles at the event, while Henrik Sundstrom and Joakim Nystrom both earned single tournament victories.

Between 1982 and 2014, only seven editions of the doubles tournament did not feature a Swedish champion. During that time, Jonas Bjorkman captured an Open Era record seven doubles trophies at the event.

Bjorg Wilander Edberg

Nadal Begins Rivalry In Memorable Fashion
After quarter-final runs in 2003 and 2004, Rafael Nadal returned to Båstad in 2005 as the World No. 3 and newly crowned Roland Garros champion. The 19-year-old cruised through to his eighth final of the season without dropping a set, following wins against Juan Monaco, Alberto Martin, Juan Carlos Ferrero and Tommy Robredo.

In the championship match, Nadal recovered from a set down to defeat Tomas Berdych in their first ATP Head2Head encounter. The Spaniard won 20 of 24 meetings against Berdych, including their only other final clash at Wimbledon in 2010.

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Cuevas’ Maiden Moment
Pablo Cuevas owns six ATP Tour trophies on clay and reached a career-high No. 19 in the FedEx ATP Rankings in 2016. But when the Uruguayan arrived in Båstad in 2014, he was attempting to reach his first ATP Tour championship match.

Ranked No. 111, Cuevas dropped just one set en route to a final clash against Joao Sousa. The 28-year-old dropped just three games against the World No. 40 to take the trophy after 59 minutes. Following the event, Cuevas jumped 50 positions to re-enter the Top 100 in the FedEx ATP Rankings for the first time in almost three years. The six-time ATP Tour titlist is the lowest-ranked Båstad champion in the Open Era.

Ferrer’s Record Run
Alongside Borg and Wilander, David Ferrer is one of three players to have lifted the Båstad trophy on three occasions in the Open Era. The Spaniard beat Nicolas Almagro in both the 2007 and 2012 championship matches, before a record-breaking run in 2017.

The World No. 46 overcame Federico Delbonis, Dustin Brown, Henri Laaksonen, Fernando Verdasco and Alexandr Dolgopolov to capture his 27th and final ATP Tour title. Aged 35, Ferrer became the oldest Båstad champion in the Open Era.

<a href=David Ferrer owns three Normea Open titles.” />

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Newport: Where Past And Present Stars Share The Spotlight

  • Posted: Jul 13, 2020

Newport: Where Past And Present Stars Share The Spotlight

Learn more about the Hall of Fame Open, an ATP 250 event

Held the week after Wimbledon, the Hall of Fame Open is the final grass-court event on the ATP Tour calendar.

The ATP 250 tournament 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 ATP 250 tournament.

A Unique Event
Held on the legendary grass courts of The International Tennis Hall of Fame and Museum, the Hall of Fame Open is the only tour-level grass-court event in North America. The first U.S. National Lawn Tennis Championship, which evolved into the US Open, was hosted at the site in 1881.

The ATP 250 event, which takes place the week after Wimbledon, has been won by many former Top 10 players. Brian Teacher (1979), Johan Kriek (1981), Bill Scanlon (1986), Greg Rusedski (1993, ’04-’05), Mark Philippoussis (2006), Mardy Fish (2010), John Isner (2011, ’12, ’17, ’19) and Lleyton Hewitt (2014) have all captured the Newport trophy.

Download ATP Tour App

The International Tennis Hall Of Fame
Each year, during the Hall of Fame Open, the International Tennis Hall of Fame hosts its annual ceremony to induct past legends of the sport. In the Class of 2019, former World No. 1 Yevgeny Kafelnikov joined the exclusive club alongside WTA legends Li Na and Mary Pierce.

“It’s one of those things where I understand that finally my whole career is completed,” Kafelnikov said. “This was the last sort of pinnacle that every professional athlete wants to accomplish. To be recognised as a Hall of Famer, it’s a huge honour.”

Former World No. 2 and 2001 Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanisevic will become the latest inductee into the International Hall of Fame in 2021, alongside 1994 Wimbledon titlist Conchita Martinez.

American Success
Since 1976, 22 editions of the singles tournament have been won by American players and 23 editions of the doubles event have featured an American winner. John Isner leads the way with a tournament record four singles trophies. Bryan Shelton (1991-’92) and Rajeev Ram (2009, ’15) also own multiple titles in Newport.

In doubles, Australia’s Jordan Kerr owns a record five Newport trophies. Jim Thomas owns the most doubles titles by an American man, having partnered Kerr to the title in 2004, 2005 and 2007. Bob Bryan, Mike Bryan and Rajeev Ram have all captured the Newport doubles trophy twice.

Isner Makes History
After falling in the first round on his first two appearances in Newport, John Isner dropped just one set across his next 10 matches at the ATP 250 to become the fourth man to win back-to-back Newport trophies in 2012. The American added a third title to his collection in 2017 and returned to the event in 2019 with history in his sights.

Bidding to break a tie with fellow three-time winner Vijay Amritraj, Isner survived three-set encounters against Kamil Majchrzak, Matthew Ebden and Ugo Humbert to reach his fourth Newport final. Isner needed 75 minutes to move past first-time ATP Tour finalist Alexander Bublik in straight sets to enter the history books.

Isner celebrates with his family at Newport 2019

Third Time Lucky For Ivo
Between 2004 and 2006, Ivo Karlovic contested final-set tie-breaks each year in the Newport final. After falling short of the trophy in 2004 and 2005, the 6’11” Croat made sure he did not suffer the same fate in 2006.

After recovering from a set down, Karlovic saved three championship points against Gilles Muller to clinch the trophy 6-7(2), 7-6(5), 7-6(12) after two hours and 56 minutes. The 37-year-old became the oldest champion in tournament history, passing 35-year-old Fabrice Santoro’s previous record set in 2008.

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Federer, Nadal Lead Impressive Honour Roll In Hamburg

  • Posted: Jul 13, 2020

Federer, Nadal Lead Impressive Honour Roll In Hamburg

Learn more about the Hamburg European Open, an ATP 500 event

Held the week after Wimbledon, the Hamburg European Open has a rich history of welcoming the best players on the ATP Tour.

The tournament, one of four German ATP Tour events, would have been held this week if not for the Tour suspension due to coronavirus. looks at five things to know about the ATP 500 tournament.

Hamburg History
Many of the greatest players in the history of the sport have triumphed at the Rothenbaum Tennis Centre. In fact, seven former World No. 1s have lifted the Hamburg trophy.

John Newcombe (1968), Ivan Lendl (1987, ’89), Stefan Edberg (1992), Marcelo Rios (1999), Gustavo Kuerten (2000), Roger Federer (2002, ’04, ’05, ’07) and Rafael Nadal (2008, ’15) have all enjoyed title runs in the German port city.

The list of doubles champions also features a number of high-profile names, including Stefan Edberg (1984), Daniel Nestor (1996, ’03, ’08), Mark Woodforde (2000), Todd Woodbridge (2000, ’01), Bob Bryan (2007) and Mike Bryan (2007). Emilio Sanchez owns a tournament record four doubles trophies (1986, ’89, ’91-’92).

Federer’s Four
Federer owns a tournament record four singles titles in Hamburg. The Swiss captured his maiden ATP Masters 1000 title at the event in 2002, beating Top 10 stars Gustavo Kuerten and Marat Safin en route to the trophy. After a third-round loss to Mark Philippoussis in 2003, Federer claimed 10 straight victories in Hamburg to claim back-to-back trophies in 2004 and 2005.

The Basel native missed the event in 2006, before adding another five matches to his win streak to claim a record-breaking fourth trophy. Following wins against Juan Carlos Ferrero, David Ferrer and Carlos Moya, Federer ended Nadal’s record 81-match winning streak on clay to move clear of fellow three-time Hamburg winners Eddie Dibbs and Andrei Medvedev. Federer, who owns a 32-5 record at the ATP 500, also reached the 2008 championship match, falling in three sets to Nadal.

<a href=Roger Federer owns a tournament record four titles at the Hamburg European Open.” />

Success For Nadal
Across four appearances in Hamburg, Nadal has reached the championship match on three occasions (2-1) and compiled a 16-2 tournament record. As a 16-year-old, the Spaniard reached the third round on his tournament debut in 2003.

Four years later, Nadal beat Fernando Gonzalez and Lleyton Hewitt to reach his maiden Hamburg championship match against Federer. Since his three-set loss to the Swiss, the 6’1” left-hander has claimed 10 straight victories in Hamburg. Nadal beat fellow ‘Big Four’ members Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer en route to his maiden trophy at the event in 2008 and defeated Fabio Fognini in the 2015 championship match to double his Hamburg trophy count.


New Look
Over the past 18 months, the site of the Hamburg European Open has been transformed. With the Rothenbaum Tennis Stadium at the heart of the tournament’s renovations, the ATP 500 event has modernised its centre court with an updated retractable roof and stadium facade, complete with new seats for spectators.

Alongside improvements to its main stadium, which has decreased its capacity from 13,200 to 10,000 fans, the event has also renovated its players’ centre, press centre and site entrance. The tournament’s previous Hall of Fame has also been upgraded, with a new, digital ‘Walk of Champions’ taking its place.

The tournament received €10m in funding to complete the site improvements, including an €8m donation from The Alexander Otto Sports Foundation. The City of Hamburg, the German Tennis Federation and local tennis and field hockey club, Club an der Alster, provided the remaining funds for the project.

As part of its €10m renovation project, the <a href=Hamburg European Open has upgraded facilities at the Rothenbaum Tennis Stadium.” />

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