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Italian Girls' Rooftop Moment Nominated for Laureus Award

  • Posted: Apr 16, 2021

The two young Italian girls who went viral for hitting across rooftops have been nominated for the Laureus Sporting Moment of the Year. The tennis moment is one of six contenders for the most inspiring in sport.

Last April, 13-year-old Vittoria and 11-year-old Carola rallied on roofs in Finale Ligura, Italy during the peak of the COVID-19 lockdown. The clip enraptured audiences around the globe. 

“During quarantine we decided to try to have a [rally] between a rooftop and another,” Vittoria said. 

“But we didn’t think this video would go viral,” added Carola. 

In July, Roger Federer surprised the two friends by crashing one of their interviews. The trio played roof tennis, snapped a lot of selfies and enjoyed pasta for lunch.

The Laureus Sporting Moment Award started in 2016 to honor the most inspirational and unique moment of the year. Past winners include the FC Barcelona Under 12 team (2017) for consoling their opponents after winning the World Challenge Cup, the Brazilian Chapecoense (2018) for returning to football after a plane crash, and Chinese double amputee Xia Boyu (2019) for reaching the summit of Mount Everest.

Voting is open until May 6 when the winner will be revealed at the Laureus Awards Show (virtually) in Seville, Spain. 

Four tennis players are up for Laureus awards this year, including Rafael Nadal, Dominic Thiem, Naomi Osaka and Iga Swiatek. 

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Another Day, Another Comeback For Evans/Skupski

  • Posted: Apr 16, 2021

Daniel Evans and Neal Skupski stayed on track to reach their second straight ATP Masters 1000 final on Friday at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters.

The Brits, who reached the Miami Open presented by Itau final earlier this month, were two points from defeat at 5/5 in the second-set tie-break, but they kept their composure to complete a 1-6, 7-6(5), 10-4 victory against Raven Klaasen and Ben McLachlan.

It is not the first time this week that Evans and Skupski have escaped danger. The pair has come through Match Tie-breaks in all three of their matches this week, saved three match points in their second-round win against Ivan Dodig and Filip Polasek on Thursday.

Evans and Skupski will meet top seeds Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah for a spot in the final. The Colombians closed Friday play with a 7-6(5), 7-5 win against Fabio Fognini and Diego Schwartzman on Court des Princes.

Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic advanced to their seventh semi-final of the year with a 6-3, 6-1 win against Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut. Mektic and Pavic saved all four break points they faced against the 2016 champions to move two wins away from their fifth title of the season.

The Croatian pair owns a 27-3 record in 2021, highlighted by its run to the Miami crown earlier this month. Mektic and Pavic will attempt to reach their sixth final of the year (4-1) when they face Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos in the semi-finals.


Granollers and Zeballos charged past Cristian Garin and Guido Pella 6-3, 6-1 to reach the final four in the Principality. The fourth seeds did not face break point en route to their 54-minute win, which has kept alive their bid for a third ATP Masters 1000 team title. Granollers and Zeballos won the 2019 National Bank Open Presented by Rogers and last year’s Internazionali BNL d’Italia.

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Saturday Preview: Tsitsipas To Play Evans for Spot in Final

  • Posted: Apr 16, 2021

A first-time Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters champion is guaranteed this weekend. After ousting Rafael Nadal, Andrey Rublev will take on unseeded Casper Ruud in the semi-finals on Saturday, following Daniel Evans versus Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Rublev beat Nadal, an 11-time Monte-Carlo champion, 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 for his first win over the Spaniard.

He’ll have to recalibrate for his match with Ruud. The World No. 8 leads their ATP Head2Head Series 3-0, with their most recent meeting coming at the Australian Open this year when Ruud retired while down two sets to none.

The 22-year-old Norwegian has enjoyed a stellar week with back-to-back three-set wins over Pablo Carreno Busta and Fabio Fognini. He has stayed level-headed through all of the ups and downs, and has capitalised on his chances by going for his shots on big points, particularly off his forehand side when he can step in and take charge. 

Clay suits Ruud very well: All 10 of his Masters 1000 wins have come on clay as have 51 of his 72 tour-level wins (71 per cent).

“It’s a tough match for both of them,” said Nadal. “Casper is a great player. Especially on this surface, he’s one of the best players in the world. [It] will be a tough battle tomorrow.”

Both Rublev and Ruud are seeking their first Masters 1000 final appearance, with Rublev just reaching the semi-finals at the Miami Open presented by Itau and Ruud making a run to the Rome semi-finals last year.

“I just have to prepare like it’s the toughest challenge of my career so far,” Ruud said. “I’m sure it will be. But I’ve gained good confidence from this week. I’ve beaten good players the last matches. I have to try to find a way to believe that I can win.”

Fourth seed Tsitsipas will face surprise semi-finalist Evans in the first singles clash on Court Rainier III. Tsitsipas has been in fine form all week long, and is the only semi-finalist who has yet to drop a set as he seeks his first Masters 1000 trophy. The Greek will take a 2-0 ATP Head2Head lead into his match against Evans, but his opponent will be far from the player Tsitsipas cruised past at Dubai and Hamburg last year. 

The 30-year-old Brit has been the breakthrough story of the tournament in Monte-Carlo, where he began his campaign with a win over 2019 finalist Dusan Lajovic and scored his first Top 20 win of the year over newly minted Masters 1000 champion Hubert Hurkacz. It was already Evans’ best result of the season – but he wasn’t done yet. 

The World No. 33 stunned the tennis world with an emphatic straight-sets win over World No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the third round. He continued to confound his opponents with his variety and movement, qualities that 11th seed David Goffin highlighted after his own quarter-final defeat. Tsitsipas will be Evans’ fifth former Masters 1000 finalist opponent in a row. 

“He has a lot of talent. He’s able to change tactics when he needs to. He’s very smart, very precise,” Goffin said. “When he feels down, he moves forward, makes shorter rallies. He can feel when you need to make the opponent play or when you need to make the points shorter.”

What makes the results even more outstanding is the fact that coming into the tournament, Evans owned only four main draw clay-court singles wins in his career. Clay is not the Brit’s favourite surface, but he’s been able to find his footing in Monte-Carlo.

“It was only him who didn’t believe he was able to play well on clay,” Goffin said. “Now he’s more mature, has a more stable game, and he’s able to fight and believe he can win. He was the only one not believing it.”

Also in action, the Monte-Carlo doubles semi-finals will take centre stage as the opening and closing matches on Court Rainier III. Fourth seeds Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos will take on second seeds Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic, who lifted the trophy a few weeks ago in Miami. Last on court, top seeds Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah will face Evans and Neal Skupski.

Watch Live | View TV Schedule 


COURT RAINIER III start 11:30 am
[4] M. Granollers (ESP) / H. Zeballos (ARG) vs [2] N. Mektic (CRO) / M. Pavic (CRO)

Not Before 1:30 pm
D. Evans (GBR) vs [4] S. Tsitsipas (GRE)
[6] A. Rublev (RUS) or [3] R. Nadal (ESP) vs C. Ruud (NOR) 
[1] J. Cabal (COL) / R. Farah (COL) vs D. Evans (GBR) / N. Skupski (GBR)


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Nadal: 'My Serve Was A Disaster'

  • Posted: Apr 16, 2021

Rafael Nadal was at a loss to explain his service woes on Friday at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters, but the 11-time former champion says that he’ll quickly return to the practice court.

The Spanish superstar struck an uncharacteristic seven double faults – and was broken seven times – in his 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 loss to sixth-seeded Russian Andrey Rublev.

“For some reason I had problems with my serve,” said Nadal, who won just 42 per cent of his second service points. “I don’t understand why, because I was not having problems in the practices at all. But today, was one of those days that my serve was a disaster.

“Serving like this, the serve creates an impact on the rest of the game. When you serve with no confidence, you are just focusing on trying to serve, not thinking about how you want to [hit] the ball. You just think about what you have to do with the serve to put the ball in.

“When you face great player like him and you don’t play well, you should lose. That’s easy to analyse.”


Nadal, who recovered from 2-4 down in the second set, praised Rublev, who is now an ATP Tour-best 23-4 on the 2021 season.

“He played well and he deserved [it] more than me,” said Nadal, who is now 73-6 at the Monte-Carlo Country Club. “I fought. That’s the positive thing, I was there. But you can’t expect [to] win against a player like him losing my serve… too many [times]… He played great. He played aggressive, as I knew [he would]. Well done to him. He’s a great guy. [I] wish him all the best.”

The 34-year-old will now travel back to Spain to compete at the upcoming Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell, where he is also an 11-time titlist.

“The only thing that I can do is go to Barcelona and keep practising, keep practising, try to fix the things that didn’t work well. I think my backhand today was not [good] enough. Lots of mistakes. I was not able to open the court with my backhand then.”

When asked about how Casper Ruud will fare on Saturday against Rublev, Nadal admitted the Norwegian, who trains at the Rafa Nadal Academy by Movistar, has a good chance.

“It’s a tough match for both of them,” said Nadal. “Casper is a great player. Especially on this surface, he’s one of the best players in the world. [It] will be a tough battle tomorrow.

“I don’t see a clear favourite. I think both of them can win. Casper is playing great… [It] will be nice that somebody from the academy [gets to] the final of Monte-Carlo and wins it.”

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Ruud: 'It's The Toughest Challenge Of My Career'

  • Posted: Apr 16, 2021

Casper Ruud says that he will prepare for Saturday’s semi-final at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters as if “it’s the toughest challenge of my career”.

Ruud, who has beaten three seeded players en route to his second ATP Masters 1000 semi-final, will face sixth-seeded Russian Andrey Rublev, who defeated 11-time former champion Rafael Nadal 6-2, 4-6, 6-2.

The Norwegian admitted, “I just have to prepare well, like it’s the toughest challenge of my career so far. I’m sure it will be. But I’ve gained good confidence from this week. I’ve beaten good players. I have to try to find a way to believe that I can win.”


The 22-year-old overcame defending champion Fabio Fognini 6-4, 6-3 on Friday, adding to wins over Dane Holger Vitus Nodskov Rune, seventh seed Diego Schwartzman and No. 12 seed Pablo Carreno Busta at the Monte-Carlo Country Club.

“Tomorrow there has to be one winner of the match, and hopefully it can be me,” said Ruud. “I will try to relax and get a lot of energy for tomorrow and think that it’s a little bit now or never.”

Ruud hopes to draw upon his experience of competing in the Internazionali BNL d’Italia semi-finals in October last year, when he fell to World No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals.

“In Rome, I faced the World No. 1 Djokovic. He is one of the toughest opponents you can have on the Tour. Tomorrow will be no different. [It’ll be] Rublev, who has won the most ATP Tour matches this year.”

Rublev, who leads Ruud 3-0 in their ATP Head2Head series, has an ATP Tour-best 23-4 match record on the 2021 season, which includes capturing the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament title (d. Fucsovics) in March.

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Rublev Stuns Nadal In Monte-Carlo QFs

  • Posted: Apr 16, 2021

Andrey Rublev held his nerve to complete a stunning 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 upset over 11-time champion Rafael Nadal on Friday to reach the semi-finals at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters for the first time.

The sixth-seeded Russian entered the clash trailing Nadal 0-2 in their ATP Head2Head and facing down the Spaniard’s daunting 73-5 record at this event. But he came out swinging fearlessly against Nadal on Court Rainier III, the same court where the Spaniard has lifted a record 11 trophies in the Principality.

“[On one side], if we look [at] a player like Rafa, who is the best clay-court player in history, then of course it’s one of my best victories for sure,” Rublev said in his post-match press conference. “But if you look at [it] from [the] other side, how he feels, for sure he didn’t play his even ‘good’ level today. In his position it’s so tough when people expect [that] you’re the best player on clay and you have to win yes or yes every time. You cannot lose on clay because you’re the best. It’s so tough to play with this feeling.

“He’s doing this year by year. He’s winning all the tournaments or going deep every time on clay tournaments. This is amazing how he handles this. That’s why he’s one of the legends.”

Rublev pressed Nadal from the back of the court as he dictated the rallies with his forehand and was rewarded with seven breaks of serve across three sets. Nadal has never hit more than eight double faults in a single tour-level match in his career (2014 Indian Wells), but he struck five in the first set alone and seven in total against Rublev. The Spaniard looked out of sorts during the early exchanges and was uncharacteristically misfiring on the backhand wing – a side that Rublev honed in on to great success.

“All the situation was strange,” Rublev said of his dominant start. “I mean, [it] was not real that I was winning 6-2, 3-1, having breakpoints for [a] second break. It was not real. Probably inside I understood that something is going to change. It cannot be like this all the match. If it’s like this all the match, then I don’t know, probably Rafa had his worst day of his life.”

– Graphic courtesy Hawk-Eye Innovations/ATP Media
– Take a deep dive into this match with Match Insights powered by Infosys NIA

Once the third seed got going, it seemed like a classic Nadal comeback on clay was inevitable as he took the second set after a grueling 74-minute battle. With Nadal’s booming forehand finally connecting, the games became longer as the Spaniard tried to find inroads for a comeback. He finally broke through to level the score at 4-4, and reeled off the last four games of the set.

But Rublev responded emphatically in the decider, reestablishing his lead with an early break. He met Nadal blow for blow from the baseline, overpowering the Spaniard to open up a 5-1 lead. Rublev needed two hours and 32 minutes to close out the victory and seal a spot in his first Monte-Carlo semi-final. 


“I would say this week I am controlling my emotions [really well]. At the end that’s the key,” Rublev said. “If after the second set I would say something or if I would show emotions, for sure the third set will be over, [it] will be 6-2 for him. So I’m happy that I could handle it.”

The victory equals the biggest result of Rublev’s career. He now owns four wins against the World No. 3-ranked player, including a 6-3 6-4 rout of Roger Federer at 2019 ATP Masters 1000 Cincinnati. Like Nadal at Monte-Carlo, Federer owns the tournament record for most titles at Cincinnati with seven wins.

Into his second consecutive ATP Masters 1000 semi-final, sixth seed Rublev will face Casper Ruud for a shot at his maiden championship match at this level. His opponent also completed an upset of his own on Friday, toppling defending champion Fabio Fognini in straight sets, 6-4, 6-3, to advance. Rublev owns a 3-0 ATP Head2Head record against Ruud, including two victories on clay.

“[Casper] is playing really well. I have known him [for a] long time. He is an amazing player and every match against him was a dramatic match,” Rublev said. “We had really great rallies and a really great level of tennis. It is going to be super tough.

“He is in great shape now. He finished today much earlier [than me]. We will see what is going to happen tomorrow. I will try to recover as best as I can and to do my best tomorrow.”

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ATP Issues Updated Calendar Following Roland-Garros Rescheduling

  • Posted: Apr 16, 2021

The ATP has issued an update to the ATP Tour calendar with the addition of ATP 250 clay-court tournaments in Belgrade, Serbia and Parma, Italy, in the week prior to Roland-Garros.

The additions to the calendar follow the one-week postponement of the second Grand Slam of the season, with a number of tournament applications received in order to fill week 21 (24 May) of the schedule.

The additional Belgrade event will be held at the same location as next week’s Serbia Open, the Novak Tennis Centre, while the Emilia-Romagna Open will be held at the President Tennis Club of Montechiarugolo.

The MercedesCup, the ATP 250 in Stuttgart, plans to remain in its original week, commencing 7 June.

Meanwhile, the Libema Open, the ATP 250 grass-court tournament in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands, will not take place in 2021.

All other events remain as originally scheduled on the 2021 ATP Tour calendar.

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