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Was That Roger Federer Or Wayne Gretzky In Toronto?

  • Posted: Aug 12, 2020

Was That Roger Federer Or Wayne Gretzky In Toronto? looks back at when Federer played hockey in Toronto

It turns out that even though Roger Federer is best with a tennis racquet, that’s not the only stick he is effective with.

The Swiss joined fellow ATP Tour players and NHL stars for a hockey exhibition in Toronto at the 2014 Rogers Cup. Some of the hockey stars in attendance were Phil Kessel and Jason Spezza. Federer was clutch under pressure, smacking the ball into the net as time expired.

“This is all about fun and it’s great fun doing this kind of stuff,” Federer said. “Getting hockey and tennis together on a centre court, which they built especially for this hockey promo, I think is great. I had a lot of fun meeting all the guys, they’re so relaxed. That I scored doesn’t matter one bit, but it was definitely a lot of fun.”

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Federer has collected NHL jerseys since he was a kid, saying he has “a nice collection”. But did he have potential on the ice?

“I can’t skate at all, actually. A little bit, but I can’t stop, so I have to go in circles,” Federer said. “I used to play a little bit of ‘Unihockey’, we call it in Europe. It’s with a plastic stick, [using a] plastic ball with holes inside. It’s much lighter. That’s what I did for warm-ups for tennis back in the day.”

The hockey stars paid their respects to Federer by wearing hats with his ‘RF’ logo, which the Swiss felt honoured by.

“I’ve always been a big hockey fan,” Federer said. “So for them to put on the ‘RF’ hat, of course I appreciate it.”

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Federer's 100th & Djokovic's Missing Masters Top Unforgettable Titles

  • Posted: Aug 12, 2020

Federer’s 100th & Djokovic’s Missing Masters Top Unforgettable Titles

ATP Uncovered presented by Peugeot relives iconic moments

What are your favourite ATP Tour title moments? looks back at 10 memorable tournament victories from recent years, from the breakthrough of stars to all-time greats achieving unforgettable milestones.

10. Juan Martin Del Potro, 2018 BNP Paribas Open
Del Potro’s run at Indian Wells in 2018 proved the peak of his comeback from three left wrist surgeries. The Argentine saved three championship points before defeating Roger Federer 6-4, 6-7(8), 7-6(2) for the title.

The ‘Tower of Tandil’ had lost his first three ATP Masters 1000 finals, but with his win over Federer he became the first Argentine to win the BNP Paribas Open in tournament history (since 1976) and the first South American titlist in Indian Wells since Marcelo Rios in 1998.

9. Dominic Thiem, 2019 BNP Paribas Open
Thiem had long ago proven his abilities at the highest levels on clay. But the Austrian sprung a surprise last year, claiming his first Masters 1000 title on the hard courts of Indian Wells.

For the second consecutive year, Federer suffered heartbreak in the BNP Paribas Open final. Thiem rallied from a set down to beat the Swiss star 3-6, 6-3, 7-5, denying Federer a record sixth Indian Wells crown.

8. Stefanos Tsitsipas, 2019 Nitto ATP Finals
When Tsitsipas won the 2018 Next Gen ATP Finals, it was clear the Greek was a star of the future. But he proved he was ready to compete against the world’s best now when he triumphed at the 2019 Nitto ATP Finals.

Tsitsipas beat Federer in the semi-finals and Dominic Thiem in the final at The O2 to lift the biggest trophy of his career. At 21 years and three months, he became the youngest season finale champion since former World No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt (20) at 2001 Sydney.

7. Fabio Fognini, 2019 Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters
Fognini caused the upset of the tournament at 2019 Monte Carlo, defeating Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals. He didn’t suffer a letdown in the final, becoming the first Italian to win an ATP Masters 1000 title by beating Dusan Lajovic 6-3, 6-4. Fognini, the 13th seed, was the lowest seeded player to lift the trophy since fellow 13th seed Gustavo Kuerten in 1999.

6. Andy Murray, 2019 European Open
Murray was unsure if he’d ever play again after undergoing a second hip surgery following the 2019 Australian Open. Little did the former World No. 1 know that by the end of the year he’d be lifting an ATP Tour trophy again.

In only the sixth tour-level singles event of his comeback, Murray rallied past former World No. 3 Stan Wawrinka 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 in an emotional final to win his first title since 2017 Dubai.

5. Rafael Nadal, 2005 Internazionali BNL d’Italia
The legendary Spaniard has won 59 tour-level titles on clay, including 12 at Roland Garros. But before any of his victories in Paris, Nadal won a memorable final at the 2005 Internazionali BNL d’Italia in his first Rome appearance.

Nadal, then only 18, showed his trademark fighting spirit to rally from down 0-3 in the fifth set to defeat 2004 Roland Garros finalist Guillermo Coria 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 4-6, 7-6(6) in a gut-wrenching five hours and 14 minutes for the trophy.

4. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, 2014 Rogers Cup
It was four days of shock and awe in Toronto for Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in 2014. The 29-year-old Frenchman beat World No. 1 Novak Djokovic, No. 9 Andy Murray, No. 8 Grigor Dimitrov and No. 3 Roger Federer in four consecutive days to win his second ATP Masters 1000 crown, and his first ATP Tour trophy in nearly 18 months.

3. David Nalbandian, 2007 Madrid
Nalbandian won his first ATP Masters 1000 title at the 2007 Mutua Madrid Open. How the Argentine baseliner did so is perhaps most impressive.

Nalbandian earned a 0.35 winning percentage (11-20) against the ‘Big Three’ of Novak Djokovic (1-4), Roger Federer (8-11) and Rafael Nadal (2-5) in his career. But at 2007 Madrid he became the first player to defeat them all in the same tournament, upsetting Federer 1-6, 6-3, 6-3 for the trophy.

2. Novak Djokovic, 2018 Western & Southern Open
For five years, Djokovic needed only one more title to become the first player to complete the Career Golden Masters, lifting all nine ATP Masters 1000 trophies. But the Serbian could not get over the finish line at the Western & Southern Open.

That was until 2018, when Djokovic refused to be denied. Federer had beaten him in three previous Cincinnati finals, finishing each match in straight sets. But Djokovic wouldn’t let Federer spoil his efforts a fourth time, defeating the Swiss 6-4, 6-4 for a memorable victory.

1. Roger Federer, 2019 Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships
Federer claimed his 99th tour-level title at 2018 Basel in front of his home fans. There wasn’t a long wait for him to hit the century mark.

After dropping a set in his first two matches of the 2019 Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, Federer rounded into form, storming through the rest of the draw to become the second player to win 100 tour-level titles, joining former World No. 1 Jimmy Connors (109). The Swiss had lost to Stefanos Tsitsipas earlier in the year at the Australian Open, but he got his revenge with a 6-4, 6-4 victory to reach the historic milestone.

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Classy In Canada: Nadal's Fab Five

  • Posted: Aug 12, 2020

Classy In Canada: Nadal’s Fab Five

Spanish star remains confident in Canada 15 years after his first title

The abiding memory is of a charismatic pair, at opposite ends of their career spectrum, coming together for an instant classic. Rafael Nadal, already a winner of eight trophies in 2005, full of power and creativity, and Andre Agassi, the three-time former champion, who stood firm on the baseline to strike half volleys and execute his own offensive assault. Nadal first hard-court triumph, 6-3, 4-6, 6-2, in the Montreal final, reaffirmed a changing of the guard and set the tone for future success on Canadian soil.

In slower conditions in Toronto, three years on, Nadal extended his winning streak to 29 matches, by overwhelming Nicolas Kiefer 6-3, 6-2 in the 2008 final to become the third youngest player — behind Bjorn Borg and Jimmy Connors — to accumulate 30 tour-level titles. A second trophy in Montreal came in 2013, when he beat Milos Raonic, the first Canadian finalist since 1959, following on from a pulsating 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(2) semi-final victory over Novak Djokovic — Nadal’s first hard-court triumph over the Serbian in three years.

And over the past couple of years, Nadal has further extended his dominance with consecutive crowns to move to within one Canadian trophy of Ivan Lendl, a winner of six titles (1980-81, 1983, 1987-89) from nine finals.

The Spanish superstar wrestled his way past Stan Wawrinka and Marin Cilic in 2018, before straight sets wins over Karen Khachanov and Stefanos Tsitsipas. Twelve months later, and now aged 33, Nadal was forced to recover from a set down against Fabio Fognini in the quarter-finals, before producing a dominant final performance to defeat Daniil Medvedev 6-3, 6-0, helping him to a record 35th ATP Masters 1000 trophy. It was also the first time that Nadal had retained a non clay-court title.

“With the knowledge of tennis I have today and the chance to have the legs I had in 2005, I’d probably be a very, very good player,” said Nadal, in Montreal, last year. “I lost things along the road, so I just tried to add other things to keep being competitive during all these years. One of the most important things for me personally and one of the things that I’m most satisfied with is that I have always been able to find a solution to stay competitive at the highest level after a lot of problems, a lot of issues. My personality hasn’t changed that much. But, of course, I’m almost 15 years older.”

With a 38-8 record, including a perfect 5-0 mark in finals, across 13 appearances — eight visits to Montreal and five visits in Toronto — Nadal is clearly at home on Canadian soil.

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Djokovic Doing Double Duty At The Western & Southern Open

  • Posted: Aug 12, 2020

Djokovic Doing Double Duty At The Western & Southern Open

No. 1 player in the FedEx ATP Rankings to play doubles with Krajinovic

Novak Djokovic will be doing double duty at the Western & Southern Open. Djokovic and partner Filip Krajinovic are among the initial entries into the ATP Masters 1000 event’s doubles draw, as announced by the tournament Tuesday.  

The Serbians have competed together four times, tallying a 3-4 record. At last year’s Rolex Shanghai Masters, they upset 2019 Roland Garros champions Kevin Krawietz and Andreas Mies.

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Countdown To Tour Resumption With Release Of Cincy Entry List

Defending champions Ivan Dodig/Filip Polasek will try to retain their title, with 2019 year-end No. 1 team Juan Sebastian Cabal/Robert Farah and Lukasz Kubot/Marcelo Melo, who have competed in the Nitto ATP Finals together three times, also chasing the trophy.

Other notable teams set to play at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, where the tournament is being held due to COVID-19, are reigning Australian Open champions Rajeev Ram/Joe Salisbury, Karen Khachanov/Andrey Rublev and Rohan Bopanna/Denis Shapovalov. Nicolas Mahut and Jan-Lennard Struff, who have been across the net from each other in two ATP Tour doubles finals, will team up for the first time.

Six teams will join the field through on-site entries, while the tournament will award three wild cards to complete the 32-team draw. 

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