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Wawrinka To Kick Off Restart At Prague Challengers

  • Posted: Aug 11, 2020

Wawrinka To Kick Off Restart At Prague Challengers

Swiss accepts wild card into back-to-back ATP Challenger Tour events in Prague

As players return to the court for the restart of the ATP Challenger Tour, one thing is certain: there will be no shortage of star power on display.

Stan Wawrinka will kick off his return to action at the upcoming Prague Challengers, the Czech Tennis Association announced. The World No. 17 is poised to resume his 2020 campaign next week, competing in back-to-back Challenger 125 events in the Czech capital.

“It’s a privilege to be back on court doing what we love,” Wawrinka said. “I’m looking forward to returning to beautiful Prague after many years.”

Set to commence on 17 August, the ATP Challenger Tour tournaments in Prague and Todi, Italy mark the resumption of men’s professional tennis after a five-month stoppage due to the COVID-19 pandemic. After such a lengthy hiatus, Wawrinka knows that rediscovering his match rhythm is the first priority.

The Swiss recently joined Dani Vallverdu for two practice weeks in Monaco and is currently training in Switzerland with coach Magnus Norman. With such a strong field accompanying him in Prague, including 21 players in the Top 150 of the FedEx ATP Rankings, the Challenger event provides an ideal opening test.

“I’ve been working hard and practising well during the last few weeks. Now I can’t wait to be back in competition and to play matches again.”

The former World No. 3 posted an 8-3 record in January and February, prior to the tour’s suspension. A semi-finalist to open the year in Doha, he also reached the quarters at both the Australian Open and the ATP 500 event in Acapulco.

Recent Top 40 Players To Enter A Challenger

Player Tournament Result
No. 17 Stan Wawrinka 2020 Prague TBD
No. 34 Taylor Fritz 2020 Newport Beach Third Round
No. 39 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 2019 Orleans Semi-finals
No. 32 Lucas Pouille 2019 Bordeaux Won Title
No. 21 David Goffin 2019 Phoenix Quarter-finals
No. 27 Kyle Edmund 2019 Indian Wells Won Title

This will be Wawrinka’s first Challenger event in more than a decade, since he lifted the trophy on home soil in Lugano, Switzerland in 2010. He owns six titles on the circuit in total.

“It’s a real honour to see a triple Grand Slam winner Stan Wawrinka play at our tournament,” said Prague tournament director and club manager Vladislav Savrda. “In the very long history of the oldest club in Czech Republic, we’ve had many top players come here in the past. It’s always an honour. I am confident that the first ATP Challenger after six months will run very smoothly.”

Wawrinka will compete alongside #NextGenATP star Emil Ruusuvuori, former World No. 16 Philipp Kohlschreiber, top Czech Jiri Vesely and 2020 Challenger wins leader Arthur Rinderknech at the I. Cesky Lawn Tennis Klub. One of the oldest venues on the ATP Challenger Tour (founded in 1893), the 127-year-old facility is located on Stvanice Island in Prague’s city centre. It will host the 23rd edition of the I.CLTK Prague Open by Moneta.

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Strong Entry Lists Welcome ATP Challenger Tour Restart

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Magnificent In Montreal: Djokovic's First Win Against Federer

  • Posted: Aug 11, 2020

Magnificent In Montreal: Djokovic’s First Win Against Federer

Relive Djokovic’s historic Canadian run, capped by his victory against Federer

During the third set of the 2007 Coupe Rogers final between Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic, a fan in the Montreal crowd shouted that it was “Roger’s Cup”, urging the Swiss star on.

“Nothing against the sponsor,” Djokovic said. “But obviously I’m going to have to arrange somebody to call [it the] Novak’s Cup for next year.”

That’s because the Serbian beat Federer 7-6(2), 2-6, 7-6(2) to complete a memorable run in Canada, lifting his second ATP Masters 1000 trophy.

“I can’t describe the feeling I have right now. It’s like a dream come true, especially against Federer in the finals, to win those tie-breaks was just incredible,” Djokovic said. “I managed to win these tie-breaks against a player who probably has the best score in tie-breaks, who is the strongest player mentally in the world right now.”

ATP Heritage: Milestones. Records. Legends.

Djokovic was just one week removed from a surprising second-round defeat on Umag’s clay against good friend and World No. 176 Viktor Troicki. But the World No. 4 found his form, beating World No. 3 Andy Roddick and World No. 2 Rafael Nadal in the quarter-finals and semi-finals, respectively, without losing a set.

With his upset of Federer, Djokovic became the first player to beat the world’s top three players in the same tournament since Boris Becker defeated No. 3 Michael Stich, No. 1 Pete Sampras and No. 2 Goran Ivanisevic at the 1994 Stockholm Open.

The 20-year-old saved six set points in the first set against the Swiss, showing no fear despite losing their first four ATP Head2Head meetings. Defending champion Federer battled back to force a decider, though, making the Serbian work hard for the victory.

Djokovic took the fight to the top seed in the third set, breaking in the first game with aggressive play, especially on the forehand side. While Federer used his greater experience to hang in the match and get back on serve, the Serbian was determined to seize his opportunity. Djokovic completed his victory with a volley lob, which Federer couldn’t track down in time, ending the championship match after two hours and 12 minutes.

My Point: Get The Players' Point Of View

“This first set was really crucial I can say,” said Djokovic. “The first set was really important. I saved a couple of set points and I had 40/0 at 5-5 on my serve but I lost it and then after that I really fought for every point and I managed to win that first set.

“To win two tie-breaks against the World No. 1, probably the strongest player mentally on the Tour, it’s another achievement. It’s another success so I’m really, really happy.”

At the time, Federer was already well-established as the No. 1 player in the FedEx ATP Rankings. Djokovic, however, had only won his first ATP Tour title 13 months earlier.

“It’s still a long way to the first place of the world for me,” Djokovic said. “I can’t exactly say that I’m thinking about becoming No. 1 next year, in two years. That’s my lifetime goal, to be the No. 1 player of the world. But I have a lot of time.”

Djokovic has accomplished that goal, spending 282 weeks atop the FedEx ATP Rankings. Only Federer (310) and Pete Sampras (286) have held the top spot longer. The Serbian has also come a long way since that first victory against Federer, currently leading their ATP Head2Head series 27-23.

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Thiem, Zverev, Berrettini Headline Stellar Kitzbühel Entry List

  • Posted: Aug 11, 2020

Thiem, Zverev, Berrettini Headline Stellar Kitzbühel Entry List

17 players within Top 31 of FedEx ATP Rankings

Three Top 10 stars — defending champion Dominic Thiem, Alexander Zverev and Matteo Berrettini — headline a stellar entry list for the 2020 Generali Open, which is scheduled to take place in Kitzbühel between 8-13 September.

Thiem, who ended the home crowd’s 26-year wait for a first Austrian champion since 1993 winner Thomas Muster in 2019, is among 10 players in the Top 20 of the FedEx ATP Rankings on the entry list.

Fabio Fognini, Roberto Bautista Agut, Diego Schwartzman, Andrey Rublev, Denis Shapovalov, Cristian Garin and Felix Auger-Aliassime are also set to play at the ATP 250 level tournament, to be held during the second week of the US Open (31 August-13 September). The entry cut-off for Kitzbühel is at No. 31 (Kei Nishikori).

To be eligible to compete in the 28-player Kitzbühel singles main draw, Top 10 players (as of 3 August 2020) must have competed and lost at the US Open — singles or doubles — by the start of the qualifying competition or by 7 September, whichever is earlier. All other players who are still playing at the Grand Slam championship will be withdrawn at this deadline. The doubles field will include 16 teams.

The ATP Tour is set to resume on 20 August with the Western & Southern Open, an ATP Masters 1000 event which, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, has moved from Cincinnati to the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York.

Kitzbühel Main Draw Singles Entry List
No. 3 Dominic Thiem (AUT)
No. 7 Alexander Zverev (GER)
No. 8 Matteo Berrettini (ITA)
No. 11 Fabio Fognini (ITA)
No. 12 Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP)
No. 13 Diego Schwartzman (ARG)
No. 14 Andrey Rublev (RUS)
No. 16 Denis Shapovalov (CAN)
No. 18 Cristian Garin (CHI)
No. 20 Felix Auger-Aliassime (CAN)
No. 23 Dusan Lajovic (SRB)
No. 24 Taylor Fritz (USA)
No. 25 Pablo Carreno Busta (ESP)
No. 26 Alex de Minaur (AUS)
No. 27 Nikoloz Basilashvili (GEO)
No. 29 Hubert Hurkacz (POL)
No. 31 Kei Nishikori (JPN)

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Paes' Feel: 'He Has The Best Touch I've Ever Seen'

  • Posted: Aug 11, 2020

Paes’ Feel: ‘He Has The Best Touch I’ve Ever Seen’’s ‘Ultimate Doubles Player’ series examines players with great feel

Leander Paes has enjoyed success on the ATP Tour for more than two decades. According to some of the world’s best doubles players, one of the major reasons why is his world-class feel.

“He has the best touch I’ve ever seen in my life,” said World No. 8 Filip Polasek.

Feel is a major weapon on the doubles court. The players who excel in that area of the game are able to escape bad positions mid-point and turn the rally in their favour. For years, players have put Paes in tough spots at net. Where many players would struggle to put a volley back into play, the Indian legend has managed to hit incredible reflex volleys and surprise opponents with stunning drop volleys.

Which other doubles players have sensational feel? In this edition of’s ‘Ultimate Doubles Player’ series, doubles stars share their opinion and explain their choice.

Leander Paes
“He’s been a benchmark in doubles for a long time… When he was in his prime, he was an amazing athlete. His hands and reactions were cat-like. It didn’t really matter if you nailed the ball at him, he would still just do what he wanted up there.” – Robert Lindstedt

“He has very good touch and feel. You can see how many volleys he hits short, cross, short. It doesn’t matter when he’s at the net. He has such feel in the hands. That’s why he was of course one of the best doubles players.” – Marcelo Melo

“It’s amazing what these guys can do with their hands. You have a feeling you may have an advantage in a situation, but all of a sudden they come up with a shot you’re not really expecting and they produce it very well. They are always making points with it and doing it again and again. Sometimes it gets hard to accept how they make some great volleys and put you in tough positions.” – Filip Polasek

Purav Raja
“He’s a great player at the net. You can hit it as hard as you want at him and he’s somehow able to take all the pace off of it and deaden the ball. He can hit drop shots on balls that nobody else can, especially [using] angles from the net. He’s just a tough guy when he gets up close.” – Rajeev Ram

“Purav Raja’s got unbelievable hands. When he’s at the net you hit a hard shot at him and he just hits a drop shot on everything. He’s the only player who does that.” – Joe Salisbury

Raja, Paes

Marcelo Melo
“When it comes to being able to reflex the tennis ball and have good feel for where the ball is going to be at any given time, someone who we always have to plan for is Marcelo Melo… He’s also got very fast hands, so you have to be sure that when you’re finishing through him, you’re quite accurate with your finish. If you combine his reach with his speed, it’s frustrating how often the ball comes back when he’s up there at net. He’s found a way to win points that the rest of us don’t win as often.” – Raven Klaasen

Juan Sebastian Cabal
“He’s very good with his hands around the net. He can flick lobs from the back. He can hit little dinks, little touches around you, and he has extremely quick hands. He’s very good on all surfaces. You would think he’s good on clay courts, hard courts. He won Wimbledon last year with Robert Farah, showing he’s an all-court player. His feel to me is off the charts.” – Neal Skupski

Jean-Julien Rojer
“He’s a very crafty player. Someone who doesn’t use power necessarily because he’s got the ability to create angles that many others don’t have and he uses the full range of the court. I think he’s another player who’s very good under pressure, someone who’s been at the top of the game for a long time. He’s someone who when you play against him, you try to avoid getting into those small battles around the net, because he does have that ability to make you go the wrong way and he can put the ball over you, around you, and if he wants to, through you.” – Ken Skupski

Rajeev Ram
“He’s got good feel, very soft hands. He spends a lot of time with the ball and is always very composed when hitting his shots.” – Jamie Murray

Nicolas Mahut
“He has the best feel around the net, especially on his backhand volley. It’s very touchy and whenever he needs to play short balls, he’s very good at it.” – Jurgen Melzer

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