Tennis News

From around the world

Wawrinka Headlines Loaded Prague Challenger Draw

  • Posted: Aug 14, 2020

Wawrinka Headlines Loaded Prague Challenger Draw

ATP Challenger Tour resumes in the Czech capital

We’re back! After a five-month hiatus, the long-awaited return of men’s professional tennis has arrived. It all kicks off on Saturday, with the ATP Challenger Tour taking centre stage in Prague. World No. 17 Stan Wawrinka leads a loaded draw at the I.CLTK Prague Open By Moneta.

Players will hit the courts for the first time since mid-March, amid to the COVID-19 pandemic, arriving for the 23rd edition of the historic Czech tournament. Wawrinka is joined by fellow Top 100 players Jiri Vesely, Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Philipp Kohlschreiber, as well as #NextGenATP stars Rudolf Molleker and Nicola Kuhn.

Competing in his first Challenger tournament since 2010, when he lifted the trophy on home soil in Lugano, Wawrinka will open against either Roman Safiullin or Lukas Rosol on Monday. Safiullin, age 23, won his first Challenger title in Cherbourg in February. Rosol lifted the Prague trophy in 2018, but is 0-6 against Wawrinka in their ATP Head2Head series.

View Prague Draw

The Swiss could face 13th seed Arthur Rinderknech in the Round of 16. The Frenchman owns a Challenger-leading 16 match wins this year, lifting a pair of trophies in Rennes and Calgary. Fourth seed Kohlschreiber also features in the top half of the draw. The German veteran will hope to replicate his recent success on the Challenger circuit after taking the title at the season-opening stop in Canberra, Australia.

Surging 22-year-olds Sumit Nagal, of India, and Jay Clarke, of Great Britain, are looking to continue their push towards the Top 100 of the FedEx ATP Rankings. Meanwhile, in the bottom half of the draw, Czech No. 1 Vesely leads the charge along with former World No. 10 Ernests Gulbis and fellow seeds Herbert, Jozef Kovalik and Yannick Maden.

One of the oldest venues on the ATP Challenger Tour (founded in 1893), the 127-year-old Cesky Lawn Tennis Klub is located on Stvanice Island in Prague’s city centre. The Challenger 125 event is joined by another clay-court stop – in Todi, Italy – on Week One of the restart schedule. The tournament in Todi starts on Monday.

Photo: Czech Tennis Federation / Pavel Lebeda (

Wawrinka Launches Prague Open With City Visit
The former World No. 3 took in the sights of the Czech capital on Friday, participating in the tournament’s media day at the Four Seasons Hotel before taking photos along the iconic Vltava River.
Eager to return to the match court for the first time since late February in Acapulco, Wawrinka talked about his expectations for the next two weeks in Prague.

“These were many difficult months for everybody,” Wawrinka told Czech media. “I’m looking forward to be back playing some matches here. It’s important to restart the season again with these two tournaments in Prague.

“I went to the park the see some of the city today. It was really nice and I love it here. It’s going to be a great time. For me, it was nice to spend time at home with my daughter when we were in quarantine. That was the positive for me. But I’m happy to be playing again now.”

ATP Challenger Tour 

Source link

Anderson Embraces Latest Comeback: 'I'm Feeling Inspired'

  • Posted: Aug 14, 2020

Anderson Embraces Latest Comeback: ‘I’m Feeling Inspired’

South African will compete in New York as action on Tour resumes

After 13 years on Tour, Kevin Anderson still has plenty of first-time moments that he wants to accomplish.

The former No. 5 player in the FedEx ATP Rankings is back to full strength after a challenging 20-month stretch in which injuries and the suspension of play due to the COVID-19 pandemic have limited him to eight tournaments. He’ll resume competing this month in New York at the Western & Southern Open and US Open, where he hopes to build on the unforgettable memories of his run to the 2017 US Open final.

Anderson spoke with ahead of the return to tennis about maximising his time at home and how life on Tour will be different.

You May Also Like:

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

How are you feeling heading into your first tournament back?
I’m just excited to have an opportunity to get back on the court and compete. It’s going to be a much different experience than normal, but I’m feeling inspired after having this time off and not playing much in the past 18 months.

I’ve really enjoyed the time at home with my wife and my daughter, which has been great for both of us. I’ve been training hard and keeping healthy. It’s felt like a long period of time in some ways, and in other ways, I can’t believe we’re in mid-August. Time often flies when you have that routine in place.

You’re known as one of the hardest workers on Tour. You obviously didn’t want to be dealing with injuries before the shutdown, but was it perhaps a blessing in disguise so that you weren’t working incredibly hard for the entirety of these five months?
Yes and no. I try to look at it that way. We tried to manage my schedule as well as possible, but you also have to prepare for the rest of the calendar. There are a couple of Grand Slams very close together and our first two tournaments back are two of the biggest tournaments in our calendar.

There’s been a period of pretty intense preparations. I’ve hit with a few guys who are in the Delray Beach area like Cristian Garin, Reilly Opelka and Tommy Paul. You have to make the most of my situation and I’ve tried to do that to the best of my ability. My body is feeling good. Some of the issues that held me back last year and the beginning of this year have resolved themselves, so that’s a positive for me.

At age 34, is it even more important to make sure your body is at the same level of readiness as your tennis?
Absolutely. All of the decisions and scheduling that we make are based around what’s best for my body. As you get older, you have to be a bit more disciplined and aware in some of the choices you make. It’s been a high priority for us and will continue to be for the rest of my career.

Are there guys on Tour that you’re looking forward to reuniting with in New York?
With all of the safety protocols in New York, I think you can expect to spend a lot of time by yourself and with your team. I’m almost looking at this as a solo campaign with very little social interaction. It’ll be great just to be back on Tour, but at least starting out in New York, there won’t be that opportunity to socialise with people that I’d like to hang out with.

How will you be spending that down time?
I’d usually have my wife and family with me, but they won’t be making the trip. My wife has been at every tournament for the past five or six years, so that will be the biggest change.

I see myself spending a lot of time playing guitar, reading books, Netflix. A lot of the day is taken up with training, treatment, getting to and from the courts. There will be some down time, but I’m expecting to be pretty busy. My coach and physio will be with me, so things will remain the same from that standpoint.

What do you think it will be like competing without fans in New York?
It’s going to be a completely different experience, especially on a court that’s so big like Arthur Ashe Stadium. It might be a bit strange competing on the bigger courts or during a night session, but it’s going to be the same adjustment for everybody. It’ll be interesting to see how the players react.

Source link

Think You Can Beat Djokovic? Here's What It Will Take

  • Posted: Aug 14, 2020

Think You Can Beat Djokovic? Here’s What It Will Take

Infosys ATP Beyond The Numbers looks at the challenges of defeating a World No. 1

You look to the other side of the net and the No. 1 player in the FedEx ATP Rankings is standing there. It’s Novak. It’s Rafa. It’s Roger. It’s Andy, and it’s specifically when they are sitting at the pinnacle of our sport.

It’s equal parts trepidation and opportunity. How much better is this quartet in full flight
compared to other ATP Tour opponents? How much do you need to raise your level to defeat the No. 1 player in the world?

You better bring your A+ game.

An Infosys ATP Beyond The Numbers analysis of matches including the top-ranked player from the beginning of the 2015 season, compared to the rest of the Tour, identifies the elevated level of excellence required to capture victory against a reigning No. 1.

The “rest of the Tour” grouping is comprised of players who have played a minimum of 50 tour-level matches from the beginning of 2015 until the week of 16 March 2020, when the rankings were frozen due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The analysis is specifically focused on matches against Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Andy Murray only while they were ranked No. 1. Below is how many weeks each player has been ranked No. 1 since the beginning of January 2015.

Weeks At No. 1 Since January 2015 (272 weeks)
Novak Djokovic = 155 weeks
Rafael Nadal = 68 weeks
Andy Murray = 41 weeks
Roger Federer = 8 weeks

Against the rest of the Tour, you’re still the favourite if you find yourself serving at 15/30, holding serve on average 58 per cent of the time. But against the World No. 1, you’re now the underdog and likely to hold just 45 per cent of the time. Falling just a little behind in your service game against a reigning No. 1 has dire consequences. Nadal was the toughest competitor of the Big Four to hold against at 15/30, at just 43 per cent.

The following table includes five serve and five return metrics, as well as the specific situation of breaking immediately after being broken.

2015-2020 Comparison: Metrics vs. No. 1 Compared To “Rest Of The Tour”

Point Score

vs. Rest Of The Tour

vs. ATP No. 1

Holding from 15/30



Holding from 0/15



Holding from 30/30



Holding from 40/30



Holding from 0/30



Breaking from 0/15



Breaking from 15/30



Breaking from 30/30



Breaking from 40/30



Breaking from 0/30



Breaking after being broken



You would think that losing the initial point when serving and moving to 0/15 is not such a big deal, but the percentages of holding significantly drop from around two out of three times (65%) to slightly more than half (52%). And if you were playing against Murray in one of the 41 weeks that the Brit was No. 1, it dropped even lower to 45.1 per cent (65/144).

What will stop you in your tracks is the confluence of the following three factors coming together when facing Murray:

1. Playing Murray while he was ranked No. 1
2. Falling behind 0/15 when serving
3. Playing the match on a hard court

The hold percentage for the server from 0/15 was only 41.5 per cent (22/53) with all three of these metrics in play.

Winning the first point when returning and moving the scoreboard to 0/15 is an ideal initial step to breaking serve against any opponent. Against the rest of the Tour, you break 38 per cent of the time. But against a current No. 1 player, that plummets down to just 25 per cent. Against Djokovic, it dropped even further down to 23 per cent (155/673).

Federer fought back most often when serving at 15/30 compared to the other No. 1 players. The rest of the Tour posted an average of 45 per cent, but breaking against a No. 1 dropped to 34 per cent. Against Federer, it moved all the way down to 27.8 per cent (5/18).

Breaking back immediately after being broken happened one out of every five times (20%) against the rest of the Tour. That only happened 14 per cent of the time against a top-ranked player and only occurred 10.3 per cent (27/261) of the time against Nadal.

Defeating any player on Tour is an outstanding accomplishment. Being victorious over a World No. 1 requires tapping into a level you may not know that you had.

Source link

Nitto ATP Finals Highlights Late-Season ATP Tour Calendar

  • Posted: Aug 14, 2020

Nitto ATP Finals Highlights Late-Season ATP Tour Calendar

Djokovic, Nadal and Thiem are the first players to qualify

The Nitto ATP Finals will anchor the final six-week stretch of the 2020 ATP Tour season following the release of a revised provisional calendar today. The 50th anniversary edition of the ATP’s season-ending finale, featuring the best eight singles players and doubles teams will take place from the 15-22 November.

In line with existing UK Government guidance, the ATP currently plans to hold the 2020 Nitto ATP Finals behind closed doors due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Fans who have already purchased tickets or hospitality to the event through the tournament’s official partners will receive full refunds. AXS, the Official Ticketing Partner of the Nitto ATP Finals, and MATCH Hospitality, the Official Corporate Hospitality Partner, will be in touch with all customers directly.

However, ATP remains hopeful that later this year fans will be allowed to return into stadia in a socially distanced manner, following a series of pilot events being undertaken in the UK. If this is confirmed ahead of the Nitto ATP Finals, the intention is to reopen ticket sales for the tournament, in which case more details will be announced in due course.

“The fans have played such an incredible part in the success of the Nitto ATP Finals over the years and there’s no question the capacity crowds will be deeply missed this year,” said Andrea Gaudenzi, ATP Chairman. “Working within the guidelines issued by the UK Government is paramount as we look to prioritise the health and safety of the fans and everybody involved in the tournament in our efforts to deliver the event in the safest way possible.”

While the finale will take on a new look this year, three familiar faces are already assured of their places at the season finale, with Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem today announced as the first players to qualify. The players are guaranteed to be in the Top 8 of the FedEx ATP Rankings which, due to the impact of COVID-19, incorporate results since March 2019.

World No. 1 Djokovic built an unbeaten 18-0 start before the 2020 ATP Tour season was suspended due to the pandemic, winning his eighth Australian Open and leading Serbia to victory at the inaugural ATP Cup. The Serb has qualified for the season finale on 13 occasions, winning the trophy five times (2008, ’12, ’13, ’14, ’15). Djokovic will be bidding to match Roger Federer’s record haul of six season-ending titles.

Nadal, a finalist in London in 2010 and 2013, has qualified for the 16th consecutive year. The Spaniard owns a 13-3 record in 2020, highlighted by his title run at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel presentado por HSBC in Acapulco. He also led Team Spain to the ATP Cup final in Sydney.

Thiem will make his fifth straight appearance at the season finale. The Austrian achieved his best result at the event last year, when he reached the final, losing in a third-set tie-break to Stefanos Tsitsipas. Thiem has won nine of the 13 matches he has contested in 2020, highlighted by his run to the Australian Open final in January (l. to Djokovic).

Australian Open doubles champions Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury are the first doubles team to qualify. The US-British duo made its debut in London last year.

The Nitto ATP Finals has been held in London since 2009 and has successfully established itself as one of the major annual sporting events worldwide. The tournament is broadcast in more than 180 territories with global viewership reaching an average of 95 million each year. The event will be held in Turin, Italy, from 2021-2025.

Source link

ATP Issues Updated 2020 Provisional Calendar

  • Posted: Aug 14, 2020

ATP Issues Updated 2020 Provisional Calendar

Provisional schedule is for the remainder of the regular season through to the Nitto ATP Finals

The ATP has issued further updates to the 2020 Tour calendar, setting a provisional schedule for the remainder of the regular season. The revised calendar marks a continuation of the plan to resume the ATP Tour season, following suspension in March due to COVID-19.

Under the updated schedule the ATP Masters 1000 tournament in Rome, the Internazionali BNL d’Italia, will now be scheduled one week earlier, in the week previously assigned to the recently cancelled Mutua Madrid Open, and will have a Monday final. The Rome event will be followed by the ATP 500 Hamburg European Open in the week prior to Roland Garros.

The updated schedule includes the final section of the calendar comprising the European indoor swing, including events in St. Petersburg (St. Petersburg Open), Antwerp (European Open), Moscow (VTB Kremlin Cup), Vienna (Erste Bank Open), Paris (Rolex Paris Masters), Sofia (Sofia Open) ahead of the season-ending Nitto ATP Finals in London. Among the changes, the St. Petersburg Open will be elevated to ATP 500 status for its 2020 edition.

Return Calendar

Andrea Gaudenzi, ATP Chairman, said: “Tennis is starting to find its way back and, while we must first and foremost look after the health and safety of everyone involved, we are hopeful we will be able to retain these playing opportunities and produce a strong finish to the season. I would like to commend the tournaments for their continued commitment, flexibility and resourcefulness in finding solutions to operate under these challenging circumstances.”

The ATP continues to explore options for additional events to be added to the schedule, including opportunities to issue a limited number of single-year licenses for the remainder of the 2020 season.

The provisional calendar remains subject to change and continued assessments will be made relating to health & safety, international travel policies, and governmental approval of sporting events. All events will be held under strict guidelines related to health & safety, social distancing, reduced or no fans on-site.

The revised calendar also provides confirmation that the Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan will not take place in 2020 due to the impact of COVID-19.

The 2020 ATP Tour provisional calendar can be found here.

Source link