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Tsitsipas & Lopez Visit Harvard Ahead Of Laver Cup

  • Posted: Sep 22, 2021

Stefanos Tsitsipas will hope to lead Team Europe to victory in Boston at this weekend’s Laver Cup. But first, the Greek and team alternate Feliciano Lopez put their thinking caps on.

The stars on Tuesday visited Harvard Business School, where they spoke with Professor Anita Elberse, who is known for her Businesses of Entertainment, Media, and Sports course. Several high-profile celebrities and athletes have taken her courses, including Andy Roddick.

“We spoke about potentially enrolling for her programme and I’m genuinely very interested in studying here and doing one of her programmes,” Tsitsipas said. “It is a possibility. It also depends on my schedule, which is very intense at the moment. But I am pretty sure I’m going to have a little bit of time to spend here.”

Lopez, a longtime ATP Tour standout who is also the tournament director at the Mutua Madrid Open, enjoyed his visit to Harvard, where he also threw around an American football with Tsitsipas.

“I was waiting a long time for this opportunity to come here, to see the campus and to meet Anita in person. I was following her on Instagram because I was really interested in doing something here, coming and maybe trying to do one of the multiple courses that they have,” Lopez said. “It was a great chance, especially [doing it] together with Stef… we have really enjoyed our time here.”

John Isner
Photo Credit: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images for Laver Cup
Team World’s John Isner, who is playing the Laver Cup for the fourth time, also took in the sights of Boston before the competition begins. The American visited the ‘Make Way For Ducklings’ statues in Boston Common. The famous bronze ducks, which were inspired by Robert McCloskey’s children’s picture book, were installed in 1987.

Isner also posed for a photo at the famous Cheers restaurant on Beacon Street. He is pumped to try to help Team World to its first Laver Cup victory.

“[I am] very excited. Obviously all of us missed this event last year, the players and the fans. But to be able to get back here in 2021 is really cool. This city has such an amazing tradition,” Isner said. “To bring this unique tennis event to this town and to the TD Garden is very cool.”

John McEnroe
Photo Credit: Carmen Mandato/Getty Images for Laver Cup
Team World captain John McEnroe took the Laver Cup trophy to Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox, on Wednesday. The former World No. 1 hopes his team will deliver plenty of home runs on the tennis court in the coming days.

“It’s been an uphill battle,” McEnroe told the Laver Cup website. “We’ve been so close. We were in a position to win [in 2019]. That’s very exciting.”

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Murray Marches Past Pospisil In Metz

  • Posted: Sep 22, 2021

Andy Murray’s return to form is gaining steam at the Moselle Open.

The former World No. 1 put forth a solid performance Wednesday evening in Metz to defeat Canadian Vasek Pospisil 6-3, 6-3 for a spot in the quarter-finals.

This is the first time Murray has won consecutive matches since Wimbledon, where he reached the third round. The Scot will play top seed Hubert Hurkacz or home favourite Lucas Pouille in the last eight.

Pospisil’s only previous win against a current or former World No. 1 came against Murray at Indian Wells in 2017. But Murray would not allow a repeat in France, breaking serve four times in his one-hour, 24-minute triumph to take a 5-1 lead in the pair’s ATP Head2Head series.

Murray cruised through the first set as his depth on return proved troublesome for the World No. 66. He broke twice to take the opener.

But Pospisil, who played aggressively, made things interesting to break to start the second set. Murray at times showed frustration, but he did not panic. The former World No. 1 took advantage of a loose service game to get back on serve and then yelled “Let’s go!” as he broke again following an approach to the net. Murray finished his win by serving out the match in the next game.

Earlier in the day, former Top 10 star Pouille, rallied past Canadian qualifier Brayden Schnur 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 in one hour and 59 minutes.

German qualifier Peter Gojowczyk, who made the fourth round of the US Open as a qualifier, beat French lucky loser Antoine Hoang 6-2, 3-6, 6-4. Gojowczyk also beat Hoang in three sets in the final round of qualifying.

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Tennis United: Fognini & Vesnina On Juggling Parenthood With Playing

  • Posted: Sep 22, 2021

Being a professional tennis player and touring the world can be rewarding, but also strenuous and pressurised. Juggling competing with parenthood can increase that further.

Just ask Fabio Fognini and Elena Vesnina, as they sat down to discuss how they mix the joys of parenting with playing in episode four of Tennis United: Crosscourt.

“Your body is changing, [you deal with] hormones and sleepless nights,” Vesnina said about the aftermath of the birth of her daughter, Elizaveta. “She was not sleeping, she is a very active baby. I was enjoying it so much, even without sleeping. This is mum’s power. It is the toughest job in the world, but the best one. You see the smile of your baby and forget everything.”

Fognini said, “It is tough. When you are a player you have routines. It is always difficult and at the moment they [the children] stay home, so I [miss them]. When in Europe, every time I finish a tournament, I have the chance to go back.”

On how parenting has changed Fognini’s perspective on life and tennis, the Italian told Vesnina: “When you are on court, you try your best and try to reach your goal. But when you are home, it is done. In the past five years, I have changed in a really good way.”

The ATP and WTA are teaming again in 2021 for Tennis United: CrossCourt, a continuation of the award-winning digital content series originally released during the 2020 suspended season. The reimagined project marks the first major co-branded initiative to debut since the two Tours integrated marketing operations earlier this year.

Tennis United: CrossCourt goes behind the scenes of life on Tour through a series of intimate one-on-one conversations between ATP and WTA stars. Spanning eight short-format episodes, players explore a range of largely untouched subjects from within and beyond sport, offering fans a raw perspective on the experiences, pressures and privileges that make up life in professional tennis.

The complete episode list:
• Episode 1: Relationships (Gael Monfils & Elina Svitolina)
• Episode 2: Coaching (Felix Auger-Aliassime & Jennifer Brady)
• Episode 3: Doubles (Bethanie Mattek-Sands & Jamie Murray)

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Defending Champ Millman Survives Marathon In Nur-Sultan

  • Posted: Sep 22, 2021

John Millman has been made to work hard during his Astana Open title defence, but the Australian has battled into the quarter-finals.

The fifth seed clawed past Spaniard Jaume Munar 6-4, 6-7(5), 7-5 after three hours and nine minutes on Wednesday to reach the last eight in Nur-Sultan. Millman, who also needed three sets in his first-round match Tuesday, is now 6-0 at the ATP 250.

“These long matches aren’t good in my old age, I tell you!” Millman said in his post-match interview. “But look, it was such a physical battle out there. I thought the level was extremely good. I thought I improved from yesterday in terms of how I was playing. But Mr. Munar, he’s a tough competitor.

“His body probably let him down a little bit towards the end. I’ve got to tell you, my body wasn’t feeling all that great, either. It was such a physical match and just so happy to extend my stay here.”

Watch Highlights:

Top seed Aslan Karatsev learned his first opponent when Finland’s Emil Ruusuvuori advanced to the second round. The World No. 84 led Benjamin Bonzi 6-2 when the Frenchman retired. Bonzi has won six ATP Challenger Tour titles this year.

“I think it is going to be a fun match,” Ruusuvuori said of playing Karatsev. “We know he is playing at a high level, so it will be a nice test to see how high a level I can bring on the court tomorrow.”

Seventh seed Laslo Djere also moved on, beating #NextGenATP Italian Lorenzo Musetti 6-4, 6-7(3), 6-4 after two hours and 48 minutes. The Serbian will next play countryman Dusan Lajovic, the third seed, or South Korean Soonwoo Kwon.

In other action, eighth seed Ilya Ivashka ousted Kazakhstani wild card Timofey Skatov 6-2, 6-3 and Spaniard Carlos Taberner eliminated Lithuanian Ricardas Berankis 7-5, 6-4.

– Reporting contributed by Courtney Walsh

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Bublik: 'I'm Just Being Myself'

  • Posted: Sep 22, 2021

It’s rare for Alexander Bublik to be able to compete on home soil. 

Kazakhstan’s leading light hopes to put on a show at the Astana Open, where he is the second seed this week. 

Before beginning his run, the World No. 34 was able to mix up his pre-tournament routines, taking in a local Kontinental Hockey League match between Barys Nur-Sultan and CSKA Moscow on Tuesday night.  

“I’m bad, I can’t even stay on the ice,” Bublik said, joking about his hockey skills. “The experience was great. To be at home once in the year, to play a tournament here and to visit a local team. We almost won and I enjoyed every minute of it.”  

Rewind to November and Bublik exited the inaugural Astana Open in the first round. This time the 24-year-old arrives feeling fresh and forward thinking as he prepares to play Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic.

“For me this is the first time I’ve played here, as a complete, healthy player,” Bublik said. “It’s great when you arrive as one of the top seeds, it gives you a little confidence.  

“You did a good job if you’re the second seed near the end of the year. It means you’ve don’t a decent job throughout the year. But I have to treat it like another tournament, to stay calm and try to perform, not putting too much pressure on [myself].” 

Watch Tuesday Nur-Sultan Highlights

Belief has been building for Bublik, who has posted some impressive results in 2021, including trips to ATP Tour finals in Antalya and Singapore, ATP Masters 1000 quarter-finals in Miami and Madrid, and a third-round showing at Wimbledon. 

“I’ve had an okay year, played some great matches, won some great matches. I’ve done some things I’ve never done, like [reaching] the quarters of a Masters. To have that in the book is nice for my confidence,” Bublik said. “I have a couple weeks to go and I’ll try my best, especially because I’m at home.” 

Bublik knows Kecmanovic — who beat Fernando Verdasco in the first round — very well, despite this being their first ATP Head2Head clash. 

“We’re quite close. We grew up together, played Challengers together and we elevated through the game together. We’ve got to these [FedEx ATP] Rankings at the same time,” Bublik said. “First match at home, this isn’t a very easy opener. But that’s tennis, you have to work with what you’re given.” 

Kecmanovic praised his friend earlier this week at the Astana Open, indicating the 24-year-old’s shot-making, spontaneity and unpredictability as a positive for the sport. Bublik frequently has fans and, more crucially, his opponents guessing.   

“I’m just being myself. When you’re trying to prove to somebody, to be like ‘this’, I think that’s fake. I just do whatever I want to do,” Bublik said. “It’s simple, that’s the way I am. It’s just me.” 

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