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Hewitt To Be Inducted Into International Tennis Hall Of Fame

  • Posted: Feb 24, 2021

Former World No. 1 and two-time major champion Lleyton Hewitt will be inducted to the International Tennis Hall of Fame this year.

Hewitt, who amassed 30 tour-level singles titles during his 18-year career on the ATP Tour, will be inducted in the Player Category. In addition to being elected by the Hall of Fame’s Official Voting Group of media, historians, and Hall of Famers, Hewitt also came in first place in the Hall of Fame’s Fan Voting, a global vote among a ballot of five candidates which took place late in 2020.

“I am hugely honoured to be inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame,” said Hewitt. “When you are competing, you’re so focused on training and your results that week or that year, you don’t really look ahead to something like this. But when that is all compiled up and deemed deserving of becoming a Hall of Famer, well, it’s just the ultimate recognition for a player, and I’m so honoured.”

Hewitt wowed in his first year on the ATP Tour, when, in 1998, as a wild card entry into his hometown tournament in Adelaide, he swept through the draw, defeating Andre Agassi in the semi-finals and ultimately winning the title. Hewitt entered the tournament ranked No. 550 in the FedEx ATP Rankings and never looked back.

Hewitt became the youngest player to claim the No. 1 spot at just 20 years of age in 2001, fueled by his final victory against Pete Sampras at the US Open. Hewitt won his second major title in 2002, when he was victorious at Wimbledon, and closed out the year in the top spot for the second time in a row. He was also a finalist at the Australian Open in 2005.

“The Hall of Famers are people who I admired so much throughout my career – especially people like [Tony] Roche and [John] Newcombe and Rod [Laver] and so many others,” said Hewitt. “They were all motivating factors in my career and to be recognised alongside them in tennis history is an incredible honour.”

The trailblazing Original 9 of women’s professional tennis, and innovative coach and tennis teacher Dennis Van der Meer will also be inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

“It’s a pleasure to welcome these tennis greats into the International Tennis Hall of Fame,” said International Tennis Hall of Fame President Stan Smith. “Lleyton Hewitt always competed hard until the last ball was hit, and this is very apparent in the Hall of Fame resume he built, which includes a Wimbledon trophy, a US Open trophy, two Davis Cups, and being World No. 1.

“The Original 9 were true trailblazers in tennis history. It took a lot of courage to do what they did, and we have today’s incredible WTA Tour to thank for it, as well as opportunities for women in so many other sports. It’s also a pleasure to celebrate Dennis Van der Meer, who was a tremendous coach, teacher, and real visionary for the future of the sport.”

On September 23, 1970, the Original 9 took a bold action that would forever change the course of tennis history. In a stand against the growing disparity in prize money and playing opportunities for women in professional tennis, they signed $1 contracts with World Tennis Magazine publisher Gladys Heldman to compete in a new tournament for women. Eight of the women entered the draw, Rosie Casals claimed that first title, and the resounding success of the event led to the creation of the Virginia Slims circuit and paved the way for today’s WTA Tour, where women’s tennis flourishes today as the world’s leading global sport for women.

The Original 9 are the first ever group to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, as the honour has previously only been presented to individuals. The nine women who comprise the Original 9 are Americans Peaches Bartkowicz, Rosie Casals, Julie Heldman, Billie Jean King, Kristy Pigeon, Nancy Richey, Valerie Ziegenfuss, and Australians Judy Tegart Dalton and Kerry Melville Reid.

“This is one of the biggest honours we’ve ever had,” said Billie Jean King. “We’re all so excited because of what we went through together. The nine of us were willing to give up our careers for the rest of our lives and never play again for this opportunity to start something. Now, to be honored together for having an impact on tennis history and being part of the International Tennis Hall of Fame together is just terrific.

“I’d also like to add my congratulations to rest of the Class of 2021. My friend and coach Dennis Van der Meer was a brilliant tennis mind and instrumental in our sport’s growth. Lleyton Hewitt always gave 100 per cent on the court and he is a true Hall of Famer.

Van der Meer, a Namibian native who later became a U.S. citizen, was a legendary coach of top players and a teaching professional who recognised the need for, and subsequently developed, a standardised manner of teaching tennis in order to effectively grow the sport. Known as a “teacher of teachers”, Van der Meer founded both the Van Der Meer Tennis University and the Professional Tennis Registry (PTR), a leading tennis industry organisation that works to educate, certify, and serve tennis teachers and coaches. Van der Meer will be inducted posthumously, as he passed away in 2019.

“To know that Dennis will go into the International Hall of Fame this July gives me great joy,” said Pat Van der Meer, wife of the late Dennis Van der Meer. “Dennis would be so honored and happy to be inducted with his great friends in the Original Nine. I know he cherished that time in his life and was so proud of what they accomplished.”

Click here for more information on in-person and virtual ticket packages

The Induction Ceremony for the Class of 2021 is scheduled to be held at the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, R.I. on Saturday, 17 July, 2021. The 2020 ceremony was cancelled due to Covid-19, and therefore the induction ceremony will also honor Class of 2020 inductees Goran Ivanisevic and Conchita Martinez.

The International Tennis Hall of Fame will offer a variety of in-person and virtual events and experiences throughout the induction weekend, 16-18 July, 2021, to ensure that fans across the globe can safely participate in paying tribute to these legendary players and leaders in the sport.

“As we look ahead to the summer months, we are moving forward with plans for a terrific celebration in Newport to honour not just one, but two inspiring induction classes of Hall of Fame greats. We are planning these events with the health and safety of all guests as the top priority. In addition to the traditional in-person ceremony and celebration, we are developing a variety of virtual programs so fans around the world can easily and safely participate,” said Todd Martin, CEO of the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

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Nadal, Thiem Nominated For Laureus Awards

  • Posted: Feb 24, 2021

Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem are nominees in the 2021 Laureus World Sports Awards, the organisation announced Wednesday.

Nadal is one of six nominees for the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year Award, joining Joshua Cheptegei, Armand Duplantis, Lewis Hamilton, LeBron James and Roberto Lewandowski. The Spanish superstar won the prestigious award in 2011. He has been nominated on four other occasions (2009, 2014, 2018, 2020).

“Thank you to everyone in the media for giving me this nomination. It was great to win my 13th @rolandgarros and my 20th Grand Slam in 2020,” Nadal tweeted. “May the best one win, but thanks anyhow for this nomination. Always an honour.”

In 2020, Nadal claimed a record-extending 13th Roland Garros title. The victory put him in a tie with Roger Federer for the most Grand Slam singles championships in history with 20.

Thiem, who reached a career-high No. 3 in the FedEx ATP Rankings in 2020, was nominated for the Laureus World Breakthrough of the Year Award alongside Ansu Fati, Patrick Mahomes, Joan Mir, Tadej Pogacar and Iga Swiatek. The Austrian won his first Grand Slam title at last year’s US Open.

“Thank you @Laureussport for the nomination!” Thiem tweeted. “It was a dream come true to win my first Grand Slam title last year! Now seeing my name on the nominee’s list together with so many great athletes is a true honour!”

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Rafa, Serena Send Well Wishes To Tiger Woods

  • Posted: Feb 24, 2021

Two of the biggest names in tennis, Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams, have wished golf legend Tiger Woods a speedy recovery following a car accident Tuesday morning.

According to Woods’ official Twitter account, the 45-year-old was in a single-car accident in California, after which he was taken to the hospital. Woods underwent “a long surgical procedure on his lower right leg and ankle”.

“When I heard the news I was really concerned,” Nadal tweeted. “Good to know you are doing OK. Get well soon my friend!!!!!”

“Love you big brother,” Williams tweeted. “We will get through this

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Bedene Bounces Back, Gains Sinner Revenge In Montpellier

  • Posted: Feb 24, 2021

Aljaz Bedene rallied from a set down to upset fifth seed Jannik Sinner 3-6, 6-2, 7-6(3) on Wednesday at the Open Sud de France.

The 31-year-old was overpowered in the early stages of the match, but he moved up the court and took the initiative in baseline rallies to turn the match in his favour. Bedene landed 14 aces throughout the match and closed the net well in the final-set tie-break to advance in two hours and 39 minutes.

“In the first set, [Sinner] was the better player… Afterwards, I became more aggressive and was making less mistakes. I think that decided it,” said Bedene, in an on-court interview. “On the important points, I was there. I didn’t lose my focus.”

Bedene is the first player outside the Top 10 to defeat Sinner indoors in a year. Sinner entered the encounter on a 10-match indoor winning streak against players outside the Top 10, which dated back to his quarter-final loss to Pablo Carreno Busta at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in February 2020.


Bedene gains revenge for his third-round loss to Sinner at the Great Ocean Road Open earlier this month. The World No. 60, who owns a 2-1 ATP Head2Head record against Sinner, will face Egor Gerasimov in the second round. Gerasimov booked his spot in the second round with a 7-6(8), 6-1 victory against Andy Murray on Tuesday.

Lorenzo Sonego reached his first quarter-final of the year with a 6-3, 6-2 win against #NextGenATP American Sebastian Korda. The seventh seed converted three of his five break points to move past the Delray Beach runner-up in 74 minutes. Sonego will face second seed David Goffin or French wild card Benjamin Bonzi for a place in the semi-finals.

Alejandro Davidovich Fokina outlasted fellow Spaniard Bernabe Zapata Miralles 7-6(3), 5-7, 6-2 to set up a second-round clash with fourth seed Hubert Hurkacz. The 21-year-old created 15 break points and took six of his opportunities to claim victory in two hours and 31 minutes.

French qualifier Gregoire Barrere won 65 per cent of his second-serve return points (20/31) to defeat Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-4, 6-4. Last year’s quarter-finalist will face top seed Roberto Bautista Agut in the second round.

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Bambridge/Inglot Advance To Singapore Quarter-finals

  • Posted: Feb 24, 2021

Luke Bambridge and Dominic Inglot started their Singapore Tennis Open campaign on Wednesday with a 6-3, 6-3 victory against Yannick Hanfmann and John Millman.

The third seeds saved all five break points they faced to overcome Hanfmann and Millman in 65 minutes. Bambridge and Inglot are chasing their first team title this week in their fourth event as a pair.


The British duo made its team debut at last month’s Delray Beach Open by Bambridge and Inglot will face wild cards Jamie Cerretani and Adil Shamasdin for a spot in the semi-finals.

Fourth seeds Matthew Ebden and John-Patrick Smith broke serve on three occasions to defeat Christopher Eubanks and Thai-Son Kwiatkowski 6-2, 6-2. Ebden and Smith will face another all-American team in the quarter-finals: Robert Galloway and Alex Lawson.

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Cilic Makes Successful Start To Singapore Title Bid

  • Posted: Feb 24, 2021

Marin Cilic began his quest for a ninth indoor ATP Tour title on Wednesday with a 7-5, 6-4 victory against Taro Daniel at the Singapore Tennis Open.

The former World No. 3 claimed 82 per cent of his first-serve points (27/33) and saved three of the four break points he faced to overcome the Japanese in one hour and 40 minutes. Cilic is aiming to capture his 19th tour-level crown this week and move one title away from the exclusive ’20 Club’. Roger Federer (103), Rafael Nadal (86), Novak Djokovic (82), Andy Murray (46) and Juan Martin del Potro (22) are the only active players to win 20 or more tour-level events.

“It is the beginning of the season and my third match of the year, so I am still feeling a little bit rusty… Overall, it was a solid match,” said Cilic. “[It is] something I definitely needed for the start of the tournament.”

Cilic will face eighth seed Soonwoo Kwon of South Korea in the quarter-finals. The 23-year-old improved to 2-0 in his ATP Head2Head series against Thai-Son Kwiatkowski with a 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 comeback win.


Fourth seed Alexander Bublik needed just 53 minutes to book his place in the quarter-finals. The Kazakhstani landed 10 aces en route to a 6-2, 6-2 victory against Turkish qualifier Altug Celikbilek.

Bublik will meet fifth seed Yoshihito Nishioka for a spot in the semi-finals. Nishioka won 62 per cent of second-serve return points (18/29) to move past Maxime Cressy 6-4, 6-2.

Roberto Marcora and Matthew Ebden sealed their places in the second round on Wednesday. Marcora defeated Ernests Gulbis 7-5, 6-4 to book a clash with top seed Adrian Mannarino, while Ebden beat Yuki Bhambri 6-3, 7-6(3) to confirm a meeting with second seed John Millman.

In the final match of the day, Alexei Popyrin overcame #NextGenATP Bulgarian Adrian Andreev 6-1, 5-7, 6-3 to reach his second ATP Tour quarter-final. The Aussie will meet the winner of Millman and Ebden’s second-round encounter in the quarter-finals.

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Brothers Lead Banner Day For Argentines In Cordoba

  • Posted: Feb 24, 2021

It was a banner day for Argentines at the Cordoba Open, with six of eight home players moving into the second round on Tuesday.

For wild card Francisco Cerundolo and qualifier Juan Manuel Cerundolo, the joy was doubled after they became the first Argentine brothers to feature in the same ATP Tour main draw since Alejandro and Carlos Gattiker at 1981 Quito. They took it one step further on Tuesday, sealing both of their first tour-level victories to move into the second round.

19-year-old Juan Manuel was in action after qualifying for his first career ATP Tour tournament. He played far above his No. 335 ranking to take down #NextGenATP Brazilian Thiago Seyboth Wild in a tight 7-5, 7-6(3) battle.

“It’s amazing to play in the same tournament, because he can tell me many things about [playing at] this level which is a bit higher than my ranking,” Juan Manuel told afterward. “It’s exciting to have your brother to train with and advise me and look forward to. I’m so happy for that.”


Later in the day, older brother Francisco recovered strongly after dropping a tight first set to Italy’s Gianluca Mager, who sits just inside the Top 100 in the FedEx ATP Rankings. Francisco, No. 135 in the world, roared back to claim the victory 6-7(3), 6-1, 6-4 after two hours and three minutes.

“It’s absolutely amazing, me and my brother both winning on the ATP [Tour] is really amazing, to be honest,” said the 22-year-old after joining his brother in the second round. “It’s a dream for our family. Winning our first match, on the same day, at the same tournament – it’s unbelievable.”

Francisco and Juan Manuel Cerundolo

Eighth-seed Federico Delbonis was the top Argentine in action, and he edged past Pedro Sousa 6-4, 6-4 on Cancha Central. Delbonis fired 22 winners past Sousa as he claimed victory in an hour and 26 minutes. He will face countryman Facundo Bagnis next after Bagnis defeated wild card Nicolas Kicker 6-1, 6-4. Tomas Martin Etcheverry defeated Andrej Martin 6-3, 7-6(4), while Federico Coria toppled sixth seed Dominik Koepfer 6-1, 6-4 to join them in the next round.

Meanwhile, fifth seed Albert Ramos-Vinolas put an early end to 2019 winner Juan Ignacio Londero’s Cordoba campaign with a 4-6, 6-2, 6-2 victory. Seventh seed Thiago Monteiro of Brazil defeated countryman Joao Menezes 6-3, 6-3.

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