Tennis News

From around the world

From Court To Course: Nadal Shines In Balearic Golf Championship

  • Posted: Oct 26, 2020

For years, Rafael Nadal has taken on the challenge of carrying his Roland Garros success to grass events on the ATP Tour. After his 13th title run at Roland Garros earlier this month, the Spaniard kept the tradition alive with an interesting twist in 2020.

Competing alongside a mix of professionals and fellow amateurs, the 20-time Grand Slam champion stepped onto the turf and switched his tennis racquets for golf clubs at the Balaeric Golf Championship. Nadal, who owns a 0.3 handicap, finished the 60-player event in joint sixth position on Monday, 10 shots behind tournament winner Sebastian Garcia Grout in the final standings.

Across three rounds, Nadal carded scores of 74, 74 and 77 to end the event nine over par. The results of the tournament will count towards the World Amateur Golf Rankings.

After showcasing impressive form on the golf course, Nadal will now turn his attention back to tennis for his ATP Tour return at next week’s Rolex Paris Masters. The 34-year-old will aim to capture his first title at the ATP Masters 1000 tournament and equal Novak Djokovic’s record haul of 36 titles at the level.

The Spaniard will be joined in the draw by US Open champion Dominic Thiem, reigning Nitto ATP Finals champion Stefanos Tsitsipas and World No. 6 Daniil Medvedev.

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Tiafoe Gains Moutet Revenge In Nur-Sultan

  • Posted: Oct 26, 2020

Frances Tiafoe made a strong start to his Astana Open campaign on Monday with a 6-3, 6-2 victory against Corentin Moutet in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan.

Just two weeks after his loss to Moutet at the Forte Village Sardegna Open, Tiafoe struck 24 winners to advance in 82 minutes. The 22-year-old dominated rallies of under five shots (44-25) and attacked Moutet’s forehand in key moments to earn his place in the second round.

“I played really well tonight,” said Tiafoe in an on-court interview. “I was really intense from the beginning… I am just happy I came and took care of business.”

Tiafoe will meet second seed Miomir Kecmanovic for a place in the quarter-finals. The American defeated Kecmanovic in his only previous tour-level ATP Head2Head clash against the Serbian at last year’s Miami Open presented by Itau.

“[Miomir] is one of my better friends on Tour,” said Tiafoe. “He is a year younger than me and we have had a couple of good matches before. He has been playing really good. He is around his career high right now and I am climbing back. Obviously, we wouldn’t usually play in the second round of an ATP 250, but it is the way it is right now. It is going to be a really good match.”


Tiafoe’s countryman Tommy Paul also advanced with a 7-6(2), 6-3 victory against Stefano Travaglia of Italy. The seventh seed saved six of eight break points to improve to 13-11 this year after one hour and 35 minutes. Paul will meet Radu Albot of Moldova for a spot in the quarter-finals. Albot rallied from a set down to defeat Dmitry Popko of Kazakhstan 4-6, 6-4, 6-4.

Fernando Verdasco extended his unbeaten ATP Head2Head record against James Duckworth to 3-0 with a 6-4, 7-6(5) win in Nur-Sultan. The Spaniard will face fourth seed John Millman in the second round.

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Basel: Where Former Ball Kid Federer Has Won 10 Titles

  • Posted: Oct 26, 2020

Established in 1970, the Swiss Indoors Basel is one of three Swiss ATP Tour events alongside the Gonet Geneva Open and the Swiss Open Gstaad.

The ATP 500 would have been played this week if not for the COVID-19 pandemic. looks at five things to know about the tournament.

Honour Roll
Half of the 26 players to occupy the World No. 1 position in the FedEx ATP Rankings have competed in a Swiss Indoors Basel championship match. Hometown favourite Roger Federer leads the way with a tournament record 10 titles, while former top-ranked stars Ivan Lendl (1980-’81), Stefan Edberg (1985-’86, ’88) and Jim Courier (1989, ’95) won the event on multiple occasions.

Bjorn Borg (1977), John McEnroe (1990), Boris Becker (1992), Pete Sampras (1996) and Novak Djokovic (2009) also claimed single victories at the ATP 500. Another four former World No. 1 players — Ilie Nastase (1975), Mats Wilander (1982), Andre Agassi (1998) and Rafael Nadal (2015) — have finished as runner-up in Basel.

In doubles, five players share the titles record with four tournament victories. Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan own the team record with four team trophies (2002, ’04, ’07, ’10), while Tomas Smid (1983-’84, ’87-’88), Daniel Nestor (2003, ’06, ’09, ’12) and Nenad Zimonjic (2009, ’11-’12, ’14) have also won the trophy on four occasions with multiple partners.

From Ball Kid To 10-Time Champion
For two years, Federer was a ball kid at his home event. The Swiss rode his bike to the tournament site and got the chance to share the court with the biggest stars in the game. Following the 1993 championship match, champion Michael Stich awarded Federer with a medal for his service to the event, a ball kid tradition that runs to this day.

“I loved being a ball boy here,” Federer told Tennis TV. “I was able to see the best players in the world firsthand and see how they would prepare, how they would sweat, how they dealt with the pressure. They’re good moments for me.”

Five years after meeting Stich as a ball kid, Federer made his main draw debut against Andre Agassi in the 1998 first round. It took the Swiss eight years before he claimed his first Basel trophy. The 2000 and 2001 runner-up captured the Basel crown for the first time in 2006 with a straight-sets triumph against Fernando Gonzalez.

That tournament appearance marked the beginning of a dominant era for Federer at St. Jakobshalle Basel. Federer has reached the Basel final in every appearance he has made at the tournament since his first title run. Between 2006 and 2019, the 20-time Grand Slam champion made 13 tournament appearances, winning 10 titles from 13 finals with a 61-3 record.

Federer’s Pizza Parties
Alongside the annual practice of presenting ball kids with medals to honour their work in Basel, Federer began his own tradition at the ATP 500 in 2006: post-final pizza parties. Since his first title run, the Basel native has hosted a pizza party with ball kids in every year he has reached the championship match. Fortunately for ball kids, Federer has made the final in every year he has competed at the event since he began the tradition.

Roger Federer

Novak Ends Roger’s Run
Federer entered the 2009 championship match chasing his fourth title and 20th consecutive win at his home event. But he was stopped by one of the brightest emerging talents on the ATP Tour: 22-year-old tournament debutant Novak Djokovic.

The pair was meeting for the fifth time in 2009 (tied at 2-2) and it was Djokovic who found a way to earn his third ATP Head2Head victory of the year against his rival in a three-set battle.

“It is an even bigger achievement than just a win, winning against him in his own city and his own country,” said Djokovic. “I understand that there was a huge amount of pressure on him to win today… I think we played a great match and I am really satisfied with this week.”

Djokovic returned the following year and booked another final meeting with Federer. On that occasion, the Swiss emerged victorious in three sets to move clear of Edberg and become the first player to win four Basel trophies.

Novak Djokovic defeated three-time defending champion Roger Federer in three sets in the 2009 Swiss Indoors Basel final.

Del Potro Goes Back-To-Back In Basel
Since 2006, Federer has lost just three of his 64 matches in Basel. Juan Martin del Potro inflicted two of those defeats in back-to-back championship matches. The Argentine contested consecutive three-set finals against Federer in 2012 and 2013 and held his nerve late in deciding sets to claim multiple trophies.

“The fans were cheering for him a lot, but they also respected me. They made a fantastic atmosphere,” said Del Potro after the 2013 final. “I think we played the best match of the tournament today.”

Federer gained his revenge four years later in the 2017 final, rallying from a set down to deny the former World No. 3 a third title. The pair has met on four occasions at the tournament, with both players earning two victories.

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Alcaraz Back In Action: 17-Year-Old Targets Spanish Trifecta In Marbella

  • Posted: Oct 26, 2020

If Carlos Alcaraz is to win a third straight ATP Challenger Tour title and further etch his name in the record books, the 17-year-old will certainly have earned it.

The Spaniard faces a gauntlet of clay-court stars at this week’s tournament in Marbella, including top seed Federico Coria and countryman Pedro Martinez. Coria and Martinez are two of four Top 100 players competing at the AnyTech365 Marbella Tennis Open, along with Gianluca Mager and Roberto Carballes Baena. Coria, Martinez and Carballes Baena all reached the third round at Roland Garros earlier this month.

Alcaraz has taken the Challenger circuit by storm in recent weeks, adding two more titles to his growing haul. At the age of 17 years and five months, he became the youngest player in history to lift trophies in back-to-back weeks, dominating in Barcelona and Alicante. Sitting at a career-high No. 136 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, the Murcia native is not only targeting a sweep of his home Challengers, but is hoping to move even closer to that coveted Top 100 breakthrough.

His first task is an encounter with Italy’s Lorenzo Giustino on Tuesday. Last month, Giustino qualified at Roland Garros, where he overcame Corentin Moutet 18-16 in the fifth set for his first Grand Slam victory. Also in the top half of the draw is former World No. 5 Tommy Robredo and sixth seed Jaume Munar, who lifted the trophy in Lisbon a week ago. Alcaraz could potentially face Munar in the second round, with Carballes Baena looming in the quarter-finals and Coria in the semis.

The Club de Tenis Puente Romano hosts the third edition of the AnyTech365 Marbella Tennis Open

Alcaraz, who leads the ATP Challenger Tour with 20 match wins since the COVID-19 restart on 17 August, carries a 10-match win streak into Marbella. Another title would see him join Richard Gasquet as the only players to lift four or more trophies before their 18th birthday.

Meanwhile, Martinez and Mager lead the charge in the bottom half of the draw. Despite falling to Alcaraz in the Alicante final a week ago, Martinez is one of the hottest players in this week’s field. The Spaniard cracked the Top 100 of the FedEx ATP Rankings after qualifying for his first ATP Masters 1000 event in Rome and surging to the third round in Paris.

Also residing in the bottom half is the other 17-year-old in the field: Holger Rune. The Danish teen is a former junior No. 1 and 2019 Roland Garros boys’ champion.

ATP Challenger Tour 

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From Clay To Carpet: Huesler Captures Second Straight Title

  • Posted: Oct 26, 2020

It’s one of the unique aspects of life on the ATP Challenger Tour. Twice a year, a once-extinct surface comes to life. In 2008, carpet courts made their last appearance on the ATP Tour, but the indoor synthetic material is still alive on the Challenger circuit. Every October, Germany hosts a pair of tournaments on the surface in the cities of Ismaning and Eckental.

Carpet is typically one of the fastest types of courts, featuring a low bounce. That makes what Marc-Andrea Huesler achieved even more special, as the Swiss claimed back-to-back titles on the slow outdoor clay of Sibiu, Romania and slick indoor carpet courts of Ismaning. He lifted the trophy at the Wolffkran Open in Ismaning on Sunday, rallying from a set and a break down to defeat Botic Van de Zandschulp 6-7(3), 7-6(2), 7-5.

“I grew up in Switzerland and we’re used to playing on carpet in the winter,” said Huesler. “It’s actually something that suits me, at least with some aspects of my game like my serve. With my backhand I wish I had a little more time, but overall I like the surface.”

Moving from one surface to another is never easy, but lifting trophies on clay and carpet in consecutive tournaments is quite impressive. Since returning from the tour’s COVID-19 hiatus, Huesler has been a Swiss sensation, securing a combined 17 wins from 20 matches on the Challenger circuit and ATP Tour. After streaking to his first tour-level semi-final at the Generali Open in Kitzbühel a month ago, the 24-year-old carried the momentum to Sibiu, where he lifted his second ATP Challenger Tour trophy. And then, competing in his first non-clay event in exactly one year, he would proceed to capture his third Challenger crown in Ismaning.

After earning three-set wins over Dustin Brown and Brayden Schnur, he defeated #NextGenATP star Sebastian Korda and fourth seed Antoine Hoang to reach the championship. There, Huesler fired 19 aces to edge Van de Zandschulp after two hours and 18 minutes.

“I was struggling early, but I tried to stay in the match with my serve,” Huesler added. “In the end, it could have gone either way and it was just a few points either way that decided it. That’s tennis. Sometimes there’s nothing you can do and you just have to stay focused. I was a break down in the second and then a break up in the third before he came back. It was up and down like this for the whole match. I’m happy I could get it done and hope this will continue.”

Huesler is the first player to win on multiple surfaces in 2020. In addition, his victory marks the second straight year in which a player has won titles on different surfaces in consecutive tournaments. In June 2019, Norbert Gombos achieved the feat on the clay of Bratislava and hard courts of Winnipeg.

Considering that Huesler had sat out the start of the 2020 season with a foot injury, missing action for a total of nine months, his dominant run of form is even more impressive. In August, the Zurich native was sitting outside the Top 300 of the FedEx ATP Rankings. After winning in Ismaning, he is up to a career-high No. 154.

“Coming back from injury, it wasn’t easy at all. I started playing tennis again in March and since there were no tournaments, I had some time to recuperate. It just shows me that when you practise a lot and work hard, it pays off in the end.

“I won two Challengers and made the semis of an ATP event, so I’m definitely playing the best tennis of my career so far. That surely helped me with my mindset, knowing that you can do it, rather than thinking you can do it. Winning twice in a row, once on clay and once on carpet, gives me lots and lots of confidence. Still, there are lots of things to improve on.”

ATP Challenger Tour 

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Humbert On Brink Of Top 30, Mover Of The Week

  • Posted: Oct 26, 2020

No. 32 Ugo Humbert, +6 (Career High)
The Frenchman has risen six places to a career-high of No. 32 in the FedEx ATP Rankings after capturing his second title of 2020 with a 6-1, 7-6(4) victory over Alex de Minaur at the European Open in Antwerp. Read Final Report & Watch Highlights

The 22-year-old Humbert started the season at No. 57 and lifted his first ATP Tour title at the ASB Classic in Auckland (d. Paire) on 18 January. Since the resumption of the ATP Tour in August, Humbert has posted an 11-6 record, including wins over Kevin Anderson and Fabio Fognini at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome, and Daniil Medvedev at the Hamburg European Open.

View Latest FedEx ATP Rankings

No. 43 Jannik Sinner, +3 (Career High)
The Italian has moved up three places to a career-high No. 43 after contesting the second ATP Tour semi-final of his career at the bett1HULKS Championship in Cologne (l. to Zverev). The 19-year-old Sinner was at No. 81 on 14 September, prior to reaching his first Grand Slam championship quarter-final at Roland Garros (l. to Nadal). 

Other Notable Top 100 Movers
No. 25 Alex de Minaur, +4
No. 51 Yoshihito Nishioka, +5
No. 61 Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, +3 (Career High)
No. 78 Lloyd Harris, +12
No. 86 Marcos Giron, +8

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Nur-Sultan Ready For Debut: How Do You Say 'Deuce' In Kazakh?

  • Posted: Oct 26, 2020

Tennis history will be made this week in Kazakhstan, as the Central Asian nation situated on the historic Silk Road hosts its first tour level event, the ATP 250 Astana Open in the country’s national tennis center in the capital, Nur-Sultan. Before we delve into what’s special about this new tournament, let’s start with a primer on the country and its sporting landscape.

Kazakhstan is a resource-rich nation of 18 million people that was part of the Soviet Union. It was the last Soviet republic to declare independence in December 1991. In fact, for a period of four strange days, Kazakhstan was the Soviet Union, as Russia declared independence on December 8, leaving just Kazakhstan as the lone republic of the once impossibly vast nation until they formally left on December 12.

Kazakhstan is the world’s largest landlocked country and the ninth largest by area in the world. It has some 131 ethnic groups—with Kazakhs and Russians being by far the most numerous— and shares borders with Russia, China, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Turkmenistan.

If you’ve never heard of Nur-Sultan that may be because the capital city was renamed last year. Located roughly 1,200 km north of Almaty, a large city of wide, leafy boulevards that was the country’s first capital, Nur-Sultan was originally called Akmola, then Akmolinsk, then Tselinograd during Soviet times, and then Astana, which means capital in Kazakh shortly after the city became the nation’s capital in 1997.

In 2019, the city was renamed to honour Nursultan Nazarbayev, who retired after serving as the country’s president for nearly 30 years. The Ishim River runs through the city; on one side, there are neighborhoods replete with Soviet-era architecture, but on the other lies a gleaming new city with striking, futuristic buildings, fountains, statues and monuments.

We spoke to Yuriy Polskiy, Vice President of the Kazakh Tennis Federation to learn more about this fascinating Central Asian nation and to get a sense of what this exciting new tournament will be like. Polskiy told us that the tournament won’t have fans, and players will be confined to their hotel and the tennis center due to ATP protocols. But don’t feel sorry for them, they’ll be holed up at the opulent Ritz Carlton, an award-winning resort hotel opened in 2017 that’s owned by Bulat Utemuratov, the tennis federation’s president.


For those who come to the country as tourists, Polskiy highly recommends summer as the best season and he says that Burabay, a spa town with numerous lakes and imposing mountain scenery, is a must visit destination located about 200 kilometers outside Nur-Sultan.

Although they won’t be able to roam the streets of the Kazakh capital, Polskiy says the players will get to see artworks from the country’s top artists at the venue, and they plan to introduce the players to some of Kazakhstan’s culinary delicacies.

One of Kazakhstan’s claims to fame is that it’s recognised as the birthplace of the apple. Polskiy says that local apples used to be “as big as a baby’s head.” They aren’t anymore but they’re still particularly delicious and there’s a government agricultural initiative underway to try to bring back the gigantic apples of the old days. As a nation that was once inhabited by various nomadic peoples, the horse is an important symbol of the country, and as such, the players will have an opportunity to drink kumis, which is fermented horse milk, though only in the players’ lounge, not on-court during changeovers, along with cold horsemeat sausages, a local delicacy that’s also popular in Italy, France and other countries.

“The horse is considered the best meat here,” Polskiy said. “From a nutrition standpoint, it’s the healthiest also, because there’s not much fat.”

Other local treats include boiled sheep’s head, baursak, a sinful fried dough treat, pilau, a rice dish with lamb bits, and for the truly adventurous, qarta, a boiled and pan-fried horse rectum, made from the last section of the digestive tract, not including the sphincter.

Kazakhs love sports and they have some fascinating traditional ones that are an integral part of the culture. Kokpar is like a kind of no-holds-barred polo, played since Genghis Khan’s times, where teams try to score using a decapitated goat as the ball. There’s also kazaksha kures, a kind of wrestling-judo hybrid, and baiga, where boys race horses they’ve raised, among more familiar sports that are popular, like ice hockey, football, weightlifting, and boxing.

Polskiy says that tennis is increasingly popular, thanks in part to the federation’s efforts to make the sport affordable for the masses. “Just to rent a court for an hour used to be around $50,” he said. “Only Almaty had good facilities, but now we have courts, indoor and outdoor, in all the of our 17 main cities.” He added, “Now it’s $3-5 per hour for a court, and for the talented kids, we let them play for free.”

Kazakh and Russian are the country’s official languages. Chair umpires will use Kazakh and English at the tournament. For tennis playing linguists who want to add some Kazakh tennis lingo to their vocabulary, the Kazakh word for deuce is teń. Rahmet is thank you in Kazakh.

The country currently has two male players ranked inside the Top 100, the rock-solid veteran Mikhail Kukushkin, 32, who has been as high as No. No. 39 and is currently at No. 89, and Alexander Bublik, a promising 23-year-old currently ranked No. 49 who became a sensation at Roland Garros for his sensationally tricky underarm serve. They’ve made it to the Davis Cup (World Group) quarter-finals five times—2011, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2018—and have taken 12 of their past 13 ties played in the Nur-Sultan venue where the Astana Open will be played. Kazakhstan is No. 12 in the Davis Cup standings and will compete in group B of the 18-team 2021 Davis Cup, alongside Canada and Sweden.


On the ladies’ side, Kazakhstan also boasts a number of excellent players, including Yulia Putinseva, Zarina Diyas, and Elena Rybakina among others. The women’s team is currently No. 18 in the world in the Billie Jean King Cup (formerly called Federation Cup) standings.

The tournament isn’t open to the public, but one celebrity, the country’s President, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, may attend some matches. He’s a keen tennis fan who greeted Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic in the Ak Orda Presidential Palace after they played a charity match in the country last year. Polskiy says that the President is also a very good tennis player in his own right, and an even better table tennis player. In fact, he moonlights as the President of the country’s table tennis association.

The tournament will feature an excellent collection of established and emerging talents including Benoit Paire, Tennys Sandgren, Frances Tiafoe, Bublik, Adrian Mannarino, Fernando Verdasco, Tommy Paul and many others in the 28-player singles draw. (There will also be a 16-team doubles draw.) The players will follow strict safety protocols that include being tested for Covid-19 prior to arrival in the country and again once they reach their hotel.

Polskiy says he and his team had just six weeks to organise the tournament, which was granted a one-year 250 license because of the cancellation of tournaments in China due to the pandemic. But he hopes the tournament will become a fixture on the ATP calendar, perhaps in late September. “We would love to be on the calendar at this time because that’s when the players move from Europe to Asia,” he explained.

Although fans won’t be able to watch the tournament in person, Polskiy says that Kazakhstan, unlike Canada and most European countries, is currently open to travelers from the United States and many other countries that have limited travel opportunities due to the pandemic.

“Guests are prized and honored in Kazakhstan; it’s our duty to make guests feel at home,” he said. “Here if you disappoint or harm your guests, it’s a big shame on you.”

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Scouting Report: 10 Things To Watch In Vienna & Nur-Sultan

  • Posted: Oct 26, 2020

Six of the Top 10 players in the FedEx ATP Rankings will be in action this week. The Erste Bank Open is an ATP 500 taking place in Vienna and the Astana Open is an ATP 250 in Nur-Sultan.

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic leads the way at the in Vienna, where he tops a loaded field. There are plenty of jaw-dropping first-round matches to watch, with Daniil Medvedev opening against Aussie star Alex de Minaur, Karen Khachanov playing Grigor Dimitrov in a battle of former Top 10 stars, Casper Ruud facing reigning Next Gen ATP Finals champion Jannik Sinner, seventh seed Gael Monfils challenging US Open semi-finalist Pablo Carreno Busta and more.

Benoit Paire is the top seed in Nur-Sultan, the last of four new ATP 250 events that were added to the 2020 schedule as tennis continued its return following suspension of the season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. There is a good mix of home talent — including Alexander Bublik and Mikhail Kukushkin — and other stars pursuing a tour-level crown in Kazakhstan.

Listen To The Latest ATP Podcast:

Draws: Vienna | Nur-Sultan

Five Things To Watch In Vienna
1) Djokovic Returns: Djokovic will play the Erste Bank Open for the first time since 2007. That year, the Serbian lifted the trophy in his second appearance at the event. Djokovic, who is 37-2 on the season, will begin his run for a fifth title in 2020 when he faces good friend and countryman Filip Krajinovic.

2) Thiem’s Home Event: Dominic Thiem admitted before the tournament that his 2019 Vienna triumph remains the second-biggest victory of his career behind only his US Open title. The Austrian began going to this tournament as a fan when he was a young kid and he first competed in qualifying 10 years ago, aged 17. This year’s second seed will begin his title defence against former World No. 4 Kei Nishikori. 

3) Red-Hot Rublev: Andrey Rublev cracked the Top 10 of the FedEx ATP Rankings for the first time after Roland Garros and he maintained his momentum by winning the St. Petersburg Open. Rublev, who is chasing his first Nitto ATP Finals qualification, made the Vienna quarter-finals last year. The fifth seed will try to improve on that result this week, starting with a match against qualifier Norbert Gombos.

4) #NextGenATP Stars & FedEx ATP Battle For London: The Vienna draw is full of #NextGenATP stars, with Denis Shapovalov and Felix Auger-Aliassime leading the way. Two of the wild cards went to #NextGenATP players: Sinner and home favourite Jurij Rodionov.

The FedEx ATP Battle For London is heating up, with two spots remaining in the singles field at the Nitto ATP Finals. Diego Schwartzman, who is fresh off the Cologne final, currently occupies the final spot. The Argentine, who is having the best season of his career, will play 2019 Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters finalist Dusan Lajovic in the first round.

5) Loaded Doubles: The Vienna doubles draw is so deep that two-time Roland Garros champions Kevin Krawietz/Andreas Mies and the sixth-placed team in the FedEx ATP Battle For London, John Peers and Michael Venus, are playing each other in the first round and neither pair is seeded. The top seeds are reigning US Open champions Mate Pavic and Bruno Soares.

Five Things To Watch In Nur-Sultan
1) Paire Top Seed: Frenchman Paire is the top seed in Nur-Sultan, where he will pursue his first trophy of the season. Last year, Paire claimed two ATP Tour crowns (Marrakech, Lyon). The 31-year-old will play home favourite Kukushkin or Argentine Federico Delbonis in the second round.


2) Kecmanovic Climbing: Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic won his first tour-level title in Kitzbühel following the ATP Tour’s resumption. Will he double his trophy count in Kazakhstan? The second seed will face a tough opening test against Frenchman Corentin Moutet or American Frances Tiafoe.

3) Bublik Leads Home Favourites: Kazakhstan’s Bublik is the sixth seed. He is a two-time tour-level finalist and he will try to go one step further on home soil. Bublik opens his tournament against American Mackenzie McDonald.

4) Aussie & American Flair: Four of the eight seeds in Kazakhstan are from Australia or the United States. Aussies John Millman and Jordan Thompson are the fourth and eighth seeds, respectively, while Americans Tennys Sandgren and Tommy Paul are seeded fifth and seventh.

5) Purcell & Saville’s London Pursuit: Max Purcell and Luke Saville made a dream run to the Australian Open final. Will they be able to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals? The Aussies can make progress towards that achievement with a big run in Nur-Sultan, where they are the second seeds.

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Medvedev: ‘I Am Really Motivated’

  • Posted: Oct 26, 2020

With just three tournaments left on his 2020 schedule, Daniil Medvedev arrives at the Erste Bank Open in Vienna highly motivated to finish the season on a successful note.

The World No. 6 is aiming to put a disappointing run of results behind him, having won just one match in his past three events. Medvedev knows that big opportunities are ahead, with a maximum 3,000 FedEx ATP Rankings points available across his remaining events this year.

“I am really motivated. There are only big points left [for me], an ATP 500, a Masters 1000 and [the Nitto ATP Finals in] London,” said Medvedev. “[There are] only good things ahead, so I am really motivated to just be good, practise good and play good.”

Competing in Vienna for the first time, Medvedev is well aware that he will need to start strong if he is to enjoy a successful debut in the Austrian capital. The ATP 500 will host six Top 10 players in the FedEx ATP Rankings. World No. 15 and US Open semi-finalist Pablo Carreno Busta occupies one of the unseeded positions in Medvedev’s section of the draw.

Medvedev will open his Vienna title bid against European Open runner-up Alex de Minaur. If the Moscow native wins his opening match, he could face Felix Auger-Aliassime — the 2020 indoor wins leader (14-5) — in the second round. He also finds himself in the same half as defending champion and home favourite Dominic Thiem.

“The tournament here in Vienna is actually really strong, if you look at the seeded players and the rankings of all of the players,” said Medvedev. “The first rounds, some of them are just really, really strong, so it is always challenging to go really, really deep in this tournament. Even being in the semi-final will be a success already and if I manage to meet Dominic there, it will hopefully be a great match to watch.”

There is less pressure on Medvedev than some of his rivals in the Vienna draw. The Russian has already qualified for the Nitto ATP Finals at The O2 in London for the second straight year. Having the opportunity to play in the most exclusive event on the ATP Tour is not only a dream come true for Medvedev, it also presents a chance to achieve new goals.

In his maiden appearance at the elite eight-man event last season, Medvedev was unable to claim a victory in the round robin stage. The 24-year-old is excited to have a second chance to show his best level at the tournament next month.

“When you qualify there it means that you made an outstanding season, especially when you do it for the first time. When you are young you dream of it, when you start to play Futures or Challengers, you think it is impossible to be one of the Top 8 players of the season because you know you have to make a few semi-finals at a Grand Slam, maybe a final and be good in the Masters 1000s, which is not easy,” said Medvedev.

“When you get there, it is one of the dreams and goals in your life come true. The next goal is to win a match there, the next goal is to win a tournament there or [qualify] out of the group. I take it step-by-step but, of course, being there two years in a row is still a big achievement.”


There are two qualification spots remaining at the The O2 in 2020. Medvedev is hoping that his countryman Andrey Rublev, who has claimed four ATP Tour trophies in 2020, will earn one of those places so that they can fly the Russian flag together during the event’s 50th anniversary edition.

“It is amazing. [Andrey] actually reminds me of myself last year a little bit, talking about the results, of course, and the form he has shown and the way he is playing,” said Medvedev. “When you get this sort of confidence, every close match seems to go your way. It is really great.

“One of the amazing things is the last four ATP tournaments we had in Russia were won by Russians… It is really cool, really great and hopefully we can continue this way. Of course, him being super close to being in London is a good thing. I will [hopefully] have a good friend there to spend my time with.”

Russia is currently the only nation to have multiple representatives in the Top 10 of the FedEx ATP Rankings. The success of Medvedev, Rublev and 2018 Rolex Paris Masters champion Karen Khachanov has led to increased attention from the media.

“We made [it onto] the same TV show in Russia, which is quite famous on the main channel. Karen did it after he won Paris-Bercy, I did it after my run, actually after I won St. Petersburg and Andrey did it after he won St. Petersburg. Three years in a row, three different people, so it is inspiring. Hopefully one day there is going to be three Russians in the Top 10 [at the same time].”

Medvedev might not be able to influence the results of his Russian counterparts this week, but he can turn a corner this week in Vienna as the 2020 ATP Tour season nears its climax.

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