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Nitto Supports COVID-19 Relief Efforts Across The Globe

  • Posted: Aug 19, 2020

Nitto Supports COVID-19 Relief Efforts Across The Globe

Title partner of Nitto ATP Finals provides funding, medical equipment to reduce spread of COVID-19

The title sponsor of the Nitto ATP Finals has stepped up to support coronavirus relief efforts, donating $100,000 to UNICEF’s COVID-19 response.

Nitto’s donation to UNICEF’s campaign will help developing and emerging nations, where the future spread of the virus may result in the deprivation of children’s health and safety. Since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, UNICEF has been working alongside the World Health Organisation to protect the world’s most vulnerable families by limiting the spread of the virus and protecting key workers.

Nitto has also donated vital medical equipment to various organisations. The Japanese group recently supplied medical institutions and associations with surgical masks and face shields. Nitto also delivered another supply of surgical masks to local governments.

“Amid an increase in COVID-19 cases, Nitto has thoroughly implemented prevention measures against infection to prioritise people’s health and safety before everything as well as to operate our business safely,” said Hideo Takasaki, President, CEO and COO of Nitto.

“As a global company, we decided to fundraise for UNICEF’s COVID-19 response to deliver worldwide support to children and their future. We believe that’s the time for us to take on challenges to accelerate our innovation in order to provide new values for our customers and the society and to contribute to realise a better life for all. We sincerely hope that the spread of COVID-19 infection will be settled as soon as possible.”

Nitto has also supported UNICEF at the Nitto ATP Finals. During the 2017 and 2018 editions of the elite eight-man event, Nitto donated mascot places to UNICEF, providing children with the opportunity to walk on court with the leading stars of the ATP Tour. Nitto also helped to raise funds for the charity, with UNICEF donation boxes located in Nitto booths around The O2, every year.

Learn more about Nitto’s support for the fight against COVID-19.

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'El Bufalo' Moroni Leads Italian Charge In Todi

  • Posted: Aug 19, 2020

‘El Bufalo’ Moroni Leads Italian Charge In Todi

Moroni, Stebe Set QF Clash

It was home cooking for Gian Marco Moroni on Wednesday, as the Italian battled into the quarter-finals at the ATP Challenger Tour event in Todi.

They don’t call him ‘El Bufalo’ (the buffalo) for nothing, as the Rome native dug in his heels and refused to back down to Daniel Altmaier on a sunny afternoon at the Internazionali di Tennis Citta di Todi. A dogged Moroni eventually prevailed 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 in two hours and 32 minutes.

The 22-year-old reached his second quarter-final of the season after advancing to the last four in Bangkok in January. He will face Cedrik-Marcel Stebe on Friday, following the German’s impressive 6-4, 6-0 win over Elliot Benchetrit.

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Stebe has dropped a combined eight games in reaching the quarters in Todi, as the World No. 133 continues to plot his ascent in his bid for a Top 100 return.

“I’m feeling good,” said Stebe. “I really like the weather here, it’s very warm and these are usually my conditions. I’m playing good and I tried to stay focused today. I was the better player. I’m hoping I can get really far in this tournament.”

The 29-year-old, who has battled through a litany of injuries during his career, understands the importance of maintaining a safe and healthy playing environment amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Stebe lauded the tournament’s efforts and commitment to these safety measures.

Photo: Florian Heer/Tennis TourTalk

“They are doing a really good job [with the safety measures]. Everyone is wearing a mask and it’s not just inside the club, which is good to see. I’m happy that we can play again and I hope that we can keep at it under these circumstances. I always like coming back to Italy and I feel very comfortable here.”

In other action, third seed Federico Gaio – the highest-ranked Italian in the draw – set a quarter-final clash against France’s Antoine Hoang. Gaio capped a busy Day 3 with a 6-4, 6-2 win over countryman Alessandro Giannessi, while Hoang overcame Mario Vilella Martinez 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.

ATP Challenger Tour 

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Wawrinka Digs Deep To Reach Prague Quarter-Finals

  • Posted: Aug 19, 2020

Wawrinka Digs Deep To Reach Prague Quarter-Finals

Pierre-Hugues Herbert, Sumit Nagal and Elias Ymer also advance on Wednesday

Returning to competitive tennis after a five-month break is never easy. With all players hungry to restart their 2020 campaigns, the competition is as fierce as ever at this week’s ATP Challenger Tour stop in Prague. Stan Wawrinka is discovering that rather quickly.

Wawrinka secured his place in the quarter-finals at the I.CLTK Prague Open by Moneta on Wednesday, overcoming a stern test from Oscar Otte 3-6, 7-5, 6-1. The Swiss was just three points from exiting the tournament as the match entered the business end of the second set. But Wawrinka found another gear to pull away from the 27-year-old German, reeling off eight of the last nine games.

Whether you’re the World No. 17 or a player battling to crack the Top 100 of the FedEx ATP Rankings, winning at the Challenger level is no simple feat. Otte was up to the task on Wednesday afternoon, claiming 70 per cent of his first serve points and firing nine aces in defeat. Wawrinka’s mettle was tested early and often, but he eventually found his way to the finish line after one hour and 54 minutes.

“It was a tough match from the beginning,” said Wawrinka. “I wasn’t feeling the ball well, but the most important thing was to try to stay calm and keep fighting. I’m happy to get the victory again. It’s good to have the chance to play again and I need these matches to find the rhythm that I want. I’m happy to finally get the break in the second and get through the match.

“This is what I’ve missed in tennis: the competition, the pressure and the atmosphere. I feel good so far. We’ve been out of competition for many months, so we’ll see how I feel tomorrow.”

It marked the second straight deciding-set victory for Wawrinka, who outlasted Roman Safiullin to open the week in Prague. He will next face India’s No. 1 Sumit Nagal on Thursday. Nagal survived a fight of his own to reach the quarter-finals, rallying from a set and a break down to defeat 18-year-old Czech Jiri Lehecka 5-7, 7-6(4), 6-3.

Photo: Martin Sidorjak/Prague Open 2020

While it will be the first encounter between Wawrinka and Nagal, the 23-year-old Indian is so stranger to big matches. Exactly one year ago, he faced Roger Federer on opening night at the US Open, eventually falling in four sets in front of thousands on Arthur Ashe Stadium.

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Former World No. 36 Pierre-Hugues Herbert is also finding success in Prague, in his return to the professional circuit following the COVID-19 hiatus. The third-seeded Frenchman was pushed to a deciding set for a second consecutive match, needing two hours and 20 minutes to edge Zdenek Kolar 7-6(3), 2-6, 6-3.

Herbert will be on upset alert in the quarter-finals as well, when he faces Tallon Griekspoor. The Dutchman is off to a flying start in his return to the tour, defeating fifth seed Jozef Kovalik 6-1, 1-6, 6-1 in a rollercoaster affair on Wednesday. Griekspoor, who made his first Grand Slam appearance at this year’s Australian Open, has won three matches in five days in Prague.

In other action, Aslan Karatsev has won a trio of matches without dropping a set, following his upset of second seed Jiri Vesely with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over former World No. 10 Ernests Gulbis. He will face Henri Laaksonen in the quarter-finals.

The youngest player remaining in the draw is 20-year-old Czech Michael Vrbensky. The unseeded wild card advanced to the quarter-finals when Philipp Kohlschreiber withdrew due to a stomach ailment. Vrbensky will seek a statement victory over an in-form Elias Ymer on Thursday. Ymer stormed back to defeat another Czech, Tomas Machac, 4-6, 6-3, 6-0 in two hours and 17 minutes.

ATP Challenger Tour 

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Take Our Quiz: How Well Do You Remember February 2020?

  • Posted: Aug 19, 2020

Take Our Quiz: How Well Do You Remember February 2020?

Test your knowledge as tennis gets set to resume in New York

It’s been more than five months since the ATP Tour was suspended due to COVID-19. With tennis set to resume this week at the Western & Southern Open, looks back to test your knowledge of the beginning of the season.

Frantic February featured 12 ATP Tour events across four continents, with four Top 10 stars collecting ATP Tour titles. How well do you remember the Golden Swing? Can you recall which players Gael Monfils beat to lift trophies in Montpellier and Rotterdam? Find out by taking our quiz below! 

Click here to stay informed all year with tennis news from the ATP Tour.

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Take Our Quiz: How Well Do You Remember January 2020?

Done with the quiz? Scroll back up to the top to see how you did!

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How Andre Agassi Would’ve Handled The COVID-19 Break

  • Posted: Aug 19, 2020

How Andre Agassi Would’ve Handled The COVID-19 Break

Gil Reyes reflects on Agassi’s attitude towards training

Gil Reyes is a strength and conditioning coach who is well-known for his work with former World No. 1 Andre Agassi. How does he believe the American legend would have handled the five-month suspension of play due to COVID-19?

“Unconditionally Andre would have handled this and solved this as well as anyone,” Reyes told “[He would have done it] just by thinking it out, talking it out and counting backwards. ‘Right now it looks like the next tournament is going to be this, that leaves us this amount of time, here’s what we’re going to do during that time.’

“It was a thing of beauty listening to him say, ‘When I play this guy I find myself needing more of this, I need to work on that for that guy. I need to prepare my craft and my game now that we have time off.’”

According to Reyes, Agassi mastered the ability to understand his body and his game. The 60-time tour-level titlist instinctively knew, through experience, when to dial back his practice, his conditioning, and in some cases, both.

“He was so amazing about his body, what he needed, what he didn’t need. We would have had a talk about it [in this situation], but Andre would have known to say, ‘You know what, I need some rest,’” Reyes said. “There would have been no questions, no debates, because he spoke with wisdom and clarity. Andre would have known when it was time to shut it down a little bit, or he would look at me sometimes and say, ‘I’m not feeling my legs the way I need to out there on the courts.’

“Andre would have made that call and I would have gone with it 100 per cent because you know what’s going on when you’re out there, what you feel and you don’t feel.”

Agassi leaned on Reyes and his tennis coaches, including the likes of Brad Gilbert and Darren Cahill, to structure his daily training on and off the court. But as far as what they generally focussed on, he always had a say.

“He’s a thinker and a really cerebral guy. He would have sorted this out. He would have said, ‘Okay, what am I going to do with this time and why?’” Reyes said. “He would have figured this out early… there was a lot of grey area [during the pandemic], but Andre would have been one of those to say, ‘Okay, I don’t need to hit right now, I need to get faster, I need to get stronger, I need to work on my cardio’, and that’s what he would do.”

For some players, working on the physical side is not just key to their overall fitness, but their game due to their style of play.

“The players were getting younger and as Andre would say to me, ‘I don’t need to get younger, I need to get stronger, because these guys are coming,’” Reyes recalled. “Of course Andre did. He maintained a certain level of physicality that served him well.”

ATP Heritage: Milestones. Records. Legends.

Agassi was never consistently out due to injury, but he missed the end of the 1993 season due to a wrist injury, which required surgery. The American fell outside the Top 30 of the FedEx ATP Rankings and did not return until the end of February the following year. When he returned, however, Agassi was refreshed, finishing that season as World No. 2.

“He came back really, really good because he was forced to shut down. It just came at a time when the body and mind could have used a little break,” Reyes said. “Most of these athletes, tennis players, they’ve been playing tennis since they were five or six, probably competitively since nine or 10. By now they’re 10, 15-year veterans, so this break was not such a bad thing. This break was not completely horrible physically.”

Now, the break is over. Players are ready to restart their ATP Tour seasons at the Western & Southern Open. There is a lot on the line, as they must find their form right out of the gate at an ATP Masters 1000 event. Reyes knows the athletes have been working hard ahead of the return to tennis, but competition itself is irreplaceable.

“There’s nothing like a real match. I learned that from Andre,” Reyes said. “He was always sharp and ready. He would always say, ‘I have to go into the first round knowing that there are going to be some twists and turns here that I’m going to have to navigate no matter who the person is because this is a whole different scenario.’”

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This Is What Tsitsipas Thinks About On Big Points…

  • Posted: Aug 19, 2020

This Is What Tsitsipas Thinks About On Big Points…

Tsitsipas enjoys an Instagram Q&A ahead of the Western & Southern Open

Does Stefanos Tsitsipas wear the same shirt for an entire tournament?

The Greek star revealed that and plenty more in an Instagram Q&A session before the Western & Southern Open begins at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York.

Will you ever go back to short hair?
I have been thinking about it for a long time now. I would love to have short hair, it’s not very easy to maintain that long hair. But at the same time it’s my style and it’s who I am.

For what in your life do you feel most grateful?
Some of the things that I am really grateful for are my family, my friends, being from Greece, from such a rich country, and being healthy of course and being able to travel at the same time and play tennis at such a high level.

Do you have any superstitions?
Wearing the same t-shirt throughout the whole tournament. I’m just kidding! That’s not a thing. 

What do you think about on big points?
Are my shoelaces broken?

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Is your life better than you imagined?
It honestly couldn’t be better. I have people who love me next to me supporting me throughout this journey, this very difficult journey. I’m living my life to the fullest and honestly couldn’t ask for anything more. 

Are you going to play doubles with me? (from Dominic Thiem)
Dominic don’t worry about it, we’re going to play doubles. But unfortunately the coronavirus struck just before Miami so it never happened. But I’m sure we can arrange something for the future.  

What will you miss not being able to explore NYC this year?
I guess hanging out with my friends and taking pictures like last year, going to the movies as well.

Skill you wish you’d acquire/perfect?
How to make my bed.

Who is the funniest player on Tour?
Andy Murray.

Have you ever tried martial arts?
Yes I have actually. I did kickboxing lessons when I was 12 for two years and I had a great time.

What language do you want to master in the future?
I always have a thing for Japanese, so I’ll go for Japanese. It’s just such a mysterious language.

Do you consider being in the film industry?
It’s one of my dreams too. I would love to be in that business.

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Defending Champions Cabal/Farah Lead US Open Doubles Field

  • Posted: Aug 19, 2020

Defending Champions Cabal/Farah Lead US Open Doubles Field

USTA announces four wild card teams to complete 32-team draw

Reigning champions Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah will defend their title at the US Open, leading the doubles field in New York.

Fifteen of the 16 doubles players who competed in the 2019 Nitto ATP Finals will be in action, led by 2018 US Open finalists Lukasz Kubot/Marcelo Melo, reigning Australian Open titlists Rajeev Ram/Joe Salisbury, 2019 Roland Garros winners Kevin Krawietz/Andreas Mies and 2017 US Open champions Jean-Julien Rojer/Horia Tecau.

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Other notable competitors include 2019 finalists Marcel Granollers/Horacio Zeballos and former US Open winners Nicolas Mahut, Jurgen Melzer, Jamie Murray, Bruno Soares and Jack Sock.

The USTA announced Wednesday that the following pairs will receive wild cards to round out the 32-team draw: Christopher Eubanks/Mackenzie McDonald, Ernesto Escobedo/Noah Rubin, Ryan Harrison/Christian Harrison and Nicholas Monroe/Nathaniel Lammons.

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Philippoussis: ‘This Is A Huge Opportunity’

  • Posted: Aug 19, 2020

Philippoussis: ‘This Is A Huge Opportunity’

Aussie star discusses the return to tennis

Mark Philippoussis was no stranger to time away from competition during his career. It was after multiple knee operations that the Aussie reached his first Wimbledon final in 2003.

But the ATP Tour’s stars are in an unprecedented situation, returning to action after more than five months at this week’s Western & Southern Open, which is being held at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. It’s been a long time away, but according to the former World No. 8, that means only one thing.

“Let’s face it, this is a huge opportunity for players, anyone playing. You’re talking about going straight into an ATP Masters 1000 event and the second tournament is going to be the US Open,” Philippoussis told “This is a huge opportunity for anyone. Who knows what will happen? We’ll know who’s been working hard in the off-season in the first few weeks and this is an opportunity to take a bite out of the top four players in the world.”

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The Aussie doesn’t necessarily expect everyone to be firing on all cylinders from the first ball, which makes the first matches even more important for those who may not have made a deep run at a Masters 1000 before.

“I guarantee you there have been players working incredibly hard off the court and we’re going to see that with the results, especially the first few weeks. Once these players find their feet, it’s a different story,” Philippoussis said. “There could be some huge surprises. Maybe [it won’t be so] surprising because they’re coming back into it, but there’s an opportunity especially for the guys who aren’t in the Top 10 to really step up and show who they are and move up on their [FedEx ATP] Ranking.”

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be no fans at the event, which will be a different experience for the players. Philippoussis loved playing in front of many fans, enjoying the bigger courts. But he believes that even if it seems strange, the athletes must simply focus on the task at hand: playing their best tennis.

“When the time comes, just like any other athlete, it’s time to play again,” Philippoussis said. “You’re on the court [and if] there won’t be spectators, it’s going to be weird. But everyone plays practice matches and at the end of the day you have to be ready to go.”

ATP Heritage: Milestones. Records. Legends.

Players will want to make a quick start and advance as far as possible in the Western & Southern Open to set the tone for their return to tennis. All around the world, fans will be keenly watching.

“People love to watch tennis on TV and there are so many millions of people who cannot wait to watch it on TV. They’ll miss not being there live, but at least they get to watch it on TV,” Philippoussis said. “Once these matches get started, people will quickly forget [there aren’t crowds]. Of course it’s going to be an adjustment with things. But I think we’ve all adjusted to life differently with what’s been going on.

“Our daily lives, going to the supermarket, washing hands, wearing gloves, wearing masks, being careful. We’re all up to that point anyway where we’re making adjustments and this is going to be another little adjustment that I believe once it happens that people will get comfortable with it and realise that it’s the norm right now.”

According to Philippoussis, this might be an escape of sorts for the players, too, saying, “I think as people start playing again they’re going to be in the match, play and forget about the rest.”

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Dimitrov's Milestone, Medvedev's Breakthrough: Surprise Cincinnati Runs

  • Posted: Aug 19, 2020

Dimitrov’s Milestone, Medvedev’s Breakthrough: Surprise Cincinnati Runs

Goffin & Kyrgios among other shocking names to feature on final Sunday

The Western & Southern Open is always good for big upsets and inspired runs through the draw each year. Three players claimed their maiden ATP Masters 1000 crown in the past four editions of this event, while others advanced to their first Masters 1000 final and unseeded players enjoyed a moment in the spotlight. looks at six surprise runs in the past decade that are among the highlights in Cincinnati. This year, the event will be held at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York, with qualifying beginning 20 August, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

2017: Grigor Dimitrov
In 2016, Dimitrov shook off an extended slump by reaching the semi-finals in Cincinnati. He returned to the scene of the climb 12 months later and raised the stakes by capturing his first Masters 1000 crown. The seventh seed powered through the draw without dropping a set, scoring a 6-3, 7-5 win in the final against Nick Kyrgios.

“I’m just happy. There’s nothing else I can say. I’m just happy and humbled to have that trophy in my hands and especially to win here, my first Masters 1000. It’s just amazing,” Dimitrov said. “I always like this tournament. I have played it quite a few times and always thought this could be one of the first [Masters 1000 titles], and it is the first one.”

The Bulgarian improved to 23-3 on hard courts that year with his triumph in Cincinnati and established himself as one of the best players on the surface. Buoyed by his milestone moment, Dimitrov finished off the year by prevailing at the Nitto ATP Finals (d. Goffin).

2019: Daniil Medvedev
After reaching back-to-back finals in Washington, D.C. and Montreal, Medvedev was among the top contenders to prevail in Cincinnati. Although he had the game to take the title, the Russian had never been part of that conversation before in a Masters 1000 event and it was unclear how he’d handle the extra pressure.

The 23-year-old Russian proved to be unbothered and marched into the semi-finals without dropping a set, then rallied for a 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 win against top seed and defending champion Novak Djokovic. Medvedev was the favourite in the final against No. 16 seed David Goffin and he held his nerve, grabbing his first Masters 1000 crown with a tight 7-6(3), 6-4 victory. The added confidence from his milestone moment helped propel Medvedev to his first Grand Slam final the following month at the US Open (l. to Nadal).

“It’s hard to find words,” Medvedev told ESPN’s Brad Gilbert after the match. “It’s the hard work I’ve been putting in. It would not be good to lose three finals in a row, so I’m really happy about this.”

2019: David Goffin
With a career-high FedEx ATP Ranking of No. 7 and four ATP Masters 1000 semi-finals to his name, Goffin showed that he has the game to excel at this level. But after a disappointing 2019 season on hard courts that saw him arrive with a a 6-9 record on the surface, few expected him to go far in Cincinnati.

The Belgian, seeded No. 16, quietly worked his way through the draw and continued to outduel his opponents from the baseline. He benefitted from a walkover quarter-final win against Yoshihito Nishioka before prevailing in a tight 6-3, 6-4 semi-final against Richard Gasquet to mark his first Masters 1000 final. Although he fell to Medvedev in the championship match, Goffin’s inspired run pushed him back inside the Top 15.

2017: Nick Kyrgios
Despite falling to Dimitrov in the championship, Kyrgios enjoyed his own breakthrough that year in Cincinnati. The Aussie reached his maiden Masters 1000 final by weathering a challenging draw and schedule. He pulled double duty on Friday by scoring victories over Ivo Karlovic and top seed Rafael Nadal, then returned 24 hours later to grind out a hard-fought 7-6(3), 7-6(4) semi-final win against David Ferrer.

Kyrgios’ tough road to the final also showcased his stamina and proved the injury woes that plagued him for two months were a thing of the past.

“Where I was three weeks ago, I wasn’t in a good place at all… And now I’m in the final of a Masters 1000. I think that’s a very Nick Kyrgios thing to do,” Kyrgios said.

2016: Marin Cilic
Cilic arrived at 2016 Cincinnati with 14 tour-level titles to his name, including the 2014 US Open, but he had yet to reach a Masters 1000 semi-final after 70 attempts. The No. 12 seed broke that streak with a quarter-final win via retirement after the first set against fellow Croatian Borna Coric, then took out Dimitrov in a semi-final that finished at 1:35 a.m.

Just 15 hours later, Cilic was back on court to face Andy Murray in the final. Shaking off his 2-11 record in their ATPHead2Head series, the Croatian fired winners from all parts of the court to defeat Murray 6-4, 7-5. He became only the fifth player outside the Big Four to lift a Masters 1000 title since 2010.

2010: Mardy Fish
Although Fish was on a confidence high after winning titles the previous month in Newport and Atlanta, he still needed a wild card for direct entry into the main draw. The American, then No. 36 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, made full use of his opportunity.

He scored a pair of Top 10 wins against Fernando Verdasco and Murray, then rallied from 2-5 down in the second set to defeat childhood friend and two-time Cincinnati champion Andy Roddick 4-6, 7-6(3), 6-1 for his third Masters 1000 final. Fish pushed Federer to the edge in the championship match, but the Swiss fought back to prevail 6-7(5), 7-6(1), 6-4.

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