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When Djokovic Surprised ATP And NHL Stars In Ball Hockey Game

  • Posted: Aug 15, 2020

When Djokovic Surprised ATP And NHL Stars In Ball Hockey Game

Serbian tries his hand at Canada’s national game

Editor’s Note: is resurfacing features to bring fans closer to their favourite players and tournaments during the current suspension in tournament play. This story was originally published on 4 July 2016.

Novak Djokovic knows the Roger Cup Centre Court inside and out. The Serbian returned to those familiar confines in 2016, but in a different context.

“It was a unique opportunity to share an experience with [NHL players] in their environment,” said Djokovic, who traded his tennis racquet for a hockey stick in joining the annual exhibition ball hockey game alongside professional hockey players Connor McDavid, Tyler Seguin, Jason Spezza and other NHL stars. ATP Tour players competing at the event were Denis Kudla, John Millman, Andrey Kuznetsov and the young Canadian trio of Denis Shapovalov, Felix Auger Aliassime and Benjamin Sigouin. “At the same time, it was not an ice rink, so it allowed me and the other tennis players to move around freely. It was the first time that I played hockey, ice rink or not.” 

The organisers did not take it easy on the World No. 1, putting him on the spot by making him immediately take a penalty shot, which the goaltender saved. A second attempt beat the netminder, but hit the crossbar and narrowly stayed outside of the goal.

“I enjoyed it, you don’t get these opportunities too often, so I tried to make the best out of it,” said Djokovic, who just missed converting on two other scoring chances during the game, which finished in a tie.

Djokovic went on to lift his fourth ATP Masters 1000 Canada trophy, winning all 10 sets he played.

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Peak Sampras, Agassi: Remembering 1995 Montreal

  • Posted: Aug 15, 2020

Peak Sampras, Agassi: Remembering 1995 Montreal looks back on the final match at the old Montreal stadium

At the peak of their rivalry, Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras shut down four blocks of downtown San Francisco for a day in 1995, for the Guerrilla Tennis television commercial — conceived by their mutual clothing sponsor and directed by Spike Jonze — that featured eight cameras and 400 extras.

The 30-second advert that saw Sampras direct traffic and Agassi hastily string up a net across a busy intersection, was perfectly timed and became not just synonymous with their dynamic, high-energy, must-see matches, but also their battle for No. 1 in the FedEx ATP Rankings. That year, the Americans met in five finals — at the Australian Open, the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, the Miami Open presented by Itau, the Coupe Rogers in Montreal and at the US Open.

Agassi, who’d usurped Sampras to claim the top spot for the first time on 10 April 1995, bounced back from a disappointing European summer to set a sizzling pace on his favourite surface: hard courts. Arriving at Jarry Stadium in Montreal, on the back of capturing the Citi Open crown in Washington, D.C., Agassi extended his run of form with straight-sets victories over Jeff Tarango, Daniel Vacek, MaliVai Washington and Mats Wilander to reach his eighth final of the year.

Sampras, who came into Montreal on the back of his third Wimbledon trophy, had beaten Jonathan Stark, Mauricio Hadad and Michael Stich in Montreal, prior to a deciding set tie-break victory over Thomas Enqvist in the semi-finals. He was 16 matches unbeaten.

ATP Heritage: Milestones. Records. Legends.

In testing, windy conditions and searing heat, Sampras started brightly, breaking Agassi in the sixth game of the first set. But as the match wore on, Agassi retaliated, playing with greater aggression and hitting inside-out forehands to Sampras’ backhand, which inevitably cracked. Agassi targeted 70 per cent of his serves to Sampras’ weaker wing.

While Sampras saved two break point in the opening game of the decider, he double faulted twice in the third game and ended the match with an uncharacteristic 43 per cent first-serve percentage. He only serve-volleyed three times on his second serve, largely playing from the baseline. With that tactic, there was only going to be one winner.

Agassi reaffirmed his status as the world’s premier player in front of 10,000 fans with a 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 victory — the 400th match win of his career — to successfully retain the Canadian crown. It was Agassi’s third title on Canadian soil in four years and levelled his ATP Head2Head series against Sampras at 8-8.

It was a fitting finale to the old stadium, which was torn down and rebuilt in 1996. At the trophy presentation ceremony, Tournament Director John Beddington said, “Seventeen years ago, we had a dream. Today, we had a dream final. Next year, you will have a dream stadium.” Agassi knelt down and signed “Bye, bye” onto the court.

Agassi went on to compile a 26-match winning streak during the North American hard-court swing, adding the Western & Southern Open and New Haven titles. The streak ended in the US Open final to Sampras, who eventually returned to No. 1 on 5 November 1995, breaking Agassi’s 30-week stint at the summit. It was the year that their rivalry was at the forefront of superstar tennis.

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Free Live Streams & Full Match Replays: The New 'Challenger TV'

  • Posted: Aug 15, 2020

Free Live Streams & Full Match Replays: The New ‘Challenger TV’

Introducing the new ATP Challenger Tour live streaming platform

Fans of the ATP Challenger Tour have never had it so good. Free live streams of every match from every tournament have brought you closer to the action from around the world.

Now, it gets even better.

Fire up a stream whenever you want with the new ‘Challenger TV’. Want to follow the path of one of the ATP’s future stars, but unable to watch the action live? Not to worry. Catch up on every encounter with thousands of matches available for free and on demand.

From first ball to last, re-live all the thrilling moments with full match replays and open the vault from the past three years. Our new sortable filters allow you to explore the archives and toggle through matches from every event since 2018. Search for your favourite player or filter by tournament and year. It’s that simple.

Match stats are also available with one click. Check out the head-to-head history of two competitors as they renew their budding rivalry, while tracking the numbers behind the matches. It’s all available with the new ‘Challenger TV’.

ATP Challenger Tour 

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