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Kyrgios: 'This Is Our Best Shot'

  • Posted: Sep 23, 2021

Nick Kyrgios has made it no secret how important the Laver Cup is to him. The Australian loves the team atmosphere and playing for more than himself.

The 26-year-old has competed in the first three editions of the event, playing Roger Federer on each occasion. But will Kyrgios be able to lead Team World to its first win against Team Europe?

“I think this is our time. I think with the Big Three from Europe obviously sitting with injury, all that, I think this is our best shot,” Kyrgios said. “I think we’re the more well-known team. I think the crowd will be right behind us, and I think from the get-go the energy will be right there.”

Kyrgios always brings the energy whether he is on court or cheering from the bench. The six-time ATP Tour titlist wears his heart on his sleeve, especially at this event.

“I don’t usually cry much when I lose matches, and I went through a couple tough, tough losses here against Roger in Prague, and Jack [Sock] had to kind of come up to me and comfort me in that moment,” Kyrgios said. “It definitely brings out an array of emotions that you don’t feel, I don’t feel when I’m playing any other event.”

Team World
Photo Credit: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images for Laver Cup
Team World Captain John McEnroe is excited for his team to have another shot at Team Europe. Does the former World No. 1 think it will be fourth time lucky for his group?

“I sure hope so. It’s been so close every year. We could taste it. I know that all of us are hungry and eager,” McEnroe said. “We’ve got a good mix. We’ve got people that can take the racquet out of their hands, and that’s the plan. Also, we’ve got some people that haven’t been here before, and I think that combination gives us good energy.”

McEnroe was referencing the power and shotmaking abilities of his players. Two examples of that come in the form of big-serving Americans John Isner and Reilly Opelka, who identify themselves as “servebots”.

“There [are] not many secrets to our games. It definitely starts with our serve, trying to create scoreboard pressure, which is a very real thing, especially against players of Europe’s calibre,” Isner said. “I think our plan is to try to keep these matches close, make them about a few points here and there, and hopefully we can try to win those points.

“We’re servebots, that’s what we do. As I said, try to hold serve as much as possible. We probably don’t want to be rallying with these guys too much. They are all Top 10 in the world for a reason. But as Captain McEnroe said, we have a lot of power and weapons on our side, and we just have to utilise those and hope that it’s good enough.”

Kyrgios is a big fan of the Boston Celtics, the legendary NBA team that plays at TD Garden, the venue for this year’s Laver Cup. Although the Australian greatly enjoys competing in such an environment, he is focussed on the job at hand.

“I’m confident in everyone on this table. I’m sitting with some of the best players in the world, and they know what to do. They have won many, many matches,” Kyrgios said. “Just go out there and enjoy it. You don’t know how long you’re going to be at this level and how many times you’re going to play Laver Cup. I’m just going to embrace it again and these guys will enjoy it.”

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Borg On Team Europe: 'This Is The Future Of Tennis'

  • Posted: Sep 23, 2021

Team Europe Captain Bjorn Borg is excited for the fourth edition of the Laver Cup. It doesn’t hurt that his team consists of six of the Top 10 players in the FedEx ATP Rankings.

“I’m very happy to have my team here. This is the future of tennis,” Borg said. “For us to be together, and with the team spirit, we are ready to play this weekend. The first day, we have six good players here. Doesn’t really matter which one is playing. It’s going to be a tough competition.”

The Swedish legend, who is joined by Vice Captain Thomas Enqvist, knows that despite his loaded roster, defeating Team World will not be easy. In 2019, the Laver Cup came down to the final match, in which Alexander Zverev beat Milos Raonic.

“Every win is very important. That’s why we are here. We are going to try to defend our title,” Borg said. “Every match has been very close since Prague. I think we have not been lucky, but we have been handling the situation very well, and that’s what we’re going to do this time too. But for sure, it’s going to be very, very difficult.”

Zverev has competed in the past three editions of the Laver Cup, tallying a 5-1 singles record. The German, who won the Tokyo Olympics gold medal and the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati, is ready for a good atmosphere at TD Garden.

“The crowd is going to be against us maybe a little bit. But we are who we are. We are six Top 10 players sitting here. A lot of us are in incredible form right now. We do know that we are the favourites,” Zverev said. “I think everybody is looking forward to it. Everybody is looking forward to the challenge, and we’ll see how it goes.”

Stefanos Tsitsipas acknowledged that the American crowd will likely be behind Team World. But the Greek said his team’s only focus will be on producing the best possible tennis.

“That’s our ultimate goal and plan,” Tsitsipas said. “Of course, the crowd is not in our favour. This is something that we are expecting. We’re going to fight against it and try and prove ourselves with our game. At the end of the day, our tennis is what counts the most.”

Team Europe veterans are making their new teammates feel at home at the Laver Cup, as the players got excited when Andrey Rublev, who is at a career-high World No. 5, was asked a question during Thursday’s press conference.

In past editions of this event, fans have enjoyed seeing the likes of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal coaching their teammates on the bench during matches. Who does Rublev expect help from?

“All of them know how to play tennis, what is inside, how we feel, how each player is going to feel,” Rublev said. “All of us can give advice if someone sees something from outside the court. Plus we have Bjorn and Thomas, such legends, and they know everything better than us, and so I think in this case everyone is amazing.”

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Arneodo/Bonzi Move Through in Nur-Sultan

  • Posted: Sep 23, 2021

Romain Arneodo and Benjamin Bonzi upset second seeds Andrey Golubev and Aleksandr Nedovyesov 6-4, 4-6, 10-7 on Thursday in Nur-Sultan to reach the semi-finals at the Astana Open.

The unseeded pair broke twice and rallied from 1/5 down in the Match Tie-Break to advance after one hour and 31 minutes. Arneodo and Bonzi are teaming for the first time at tour-level this week.

Ricardas Berankis of Lithuania and Artem Sitak of New Zeland also reached the last four with a 7-5, 3-6, 10-7 victory over Andre Goransson and Andrea Vavassori.

Jonathan Erlich and Andrei Vasilevski downed Marcelo Demoliner and Rafael Matos 6-1, 1-6, 10-7 to advance into the quarter-finals, while Lloyd Glasspool and Harri Heliovaara defeated David Pel and Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi 7-6(4), 6-3 to reach the same stage.


In Metz, second seeds Tomislav Brkic and Nikola Cacic moved past Hunter Reese and Sem Verbeek 6-3, 6-3 at the Moselle Open to reach the semi-finals.

The Bosnian-Serbian pair won 76 per cent (25/33) of their first-serve points and saved both break points they faced to advance after 66 minutes. Brkic and Cacic are aiming to win their second tour-level title as a team this year after lifting the trophy in Buenos Aires.

They will next play Hugo Nys and Arthur Rinderknech after the unseeded tandem defeated Croatians Ivan Sabanov and Matej Sabanov 6-3, 6-4.

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Monfils Moves Past Kohlschreiber In Metz

  • Posted: Sep 23, 2021

Third seed Gael Monfils continued his dominant record over Philipp Kohlschreiber on Thursday, defeating the lucky loser 7-6(2), 6-4 at the Moselle Open to reach his second tour-level quarter-final of the season.

The Frenchman, who defeated Kohlschreiber in the 2009 final in Metz, was strong behind his first serve, winning 83 per cent (39/47) of points on his first delivery to advance after one hour and 33 minutes.

“It felt great,” Monfils said. “It is always good to come back at home in France. I felt like I had a good performance and Philipp played quite well. It took a bit of time to adapt and then at the end it was a little bit cat and mouse with the serve. I am glad I won it in straight sets.”

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Monfils now leads Kohlschreiber 15-2 in their ATPHead2Head Series, winning the past seven meetings between the pair, a run that stretches back to 2013. The World No. 20 will next face Nikoloz Basilashvili after the eighth seed overcame Spaniard Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 0-6, 6-4, 7-6(4).

On his record against Kohlschreiber, Monfils said: “I feel lucky. I get through with a bit more luck than Philipp. It is not easy matches, maybe a couple, but most of those [matches] are pretty tight like tonight.”

The 35-year-old overcame Australian Alex de Minaur in Cincinnati to earn his 500th tour-level victory. One week earlier, he reached the quarter-finals in Toronto. The 10-time tour-level titlist is aiming to win his first ATP Tour trophy since he triumphed in Rotterdam in 2020.

Kohlschreiber, who moved past Marco Cecchinato in the first round, was aiming to reach his second tour-level quarter-final of the season, having enjoyed a run to the last eight on home soil in Halle.

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Berrettini-Felix Showdown To Headline Day 1 At Laver Cup

  • Posted: Sep 23, 2021

A showdown between close friends Matteo Berrettini of Team Europe and Felix Auger-Aliassime of Team World highlights the first day of Laver Cup action on Friday in Boston.

With Team Europe winning the event’s first three editions, Team World will be keen to get off to a strong start at TD Garden. Berrettini leads the pair’s ATP Head2Head series 2-1, but Auger-Aliassime won most recently in Cincinnati.

The friends have played high-pressure matches before, with Berrettini defeating Auger-Aliassime in the Stuttgart final in 2019 and the Wimbledon quarter-finals earlier this year.

Leading off the event will be Team World’s Reilly Opelka and Team Europe’s Casper Ruud. Both men, like Auger-Aliassime and Berrettini, are making their Laver Cup debuts.

Ruud has won both of their previous clashes, including a victory in a final-set tie-break last month in Cincinnati, which marked his 100th tour-level victory. Both of their matches have gone three sets.

“It was a fun way to get your 100th win. A 7-6 in the third win is always probably one of the greatest feelings in the game, especially against a player like Opelka, where every point matters,” Ruud told during Cincinnati. “The match could be turned around in one or two points and decided in one or two points.”

Diego Schwartzman of Team World played the Laver Cup in 2018, and he will try to rely on his experience against first-time competitor Andrey Rublev of Team Europe.

Schwartzman won their only previous clash 9-7 in a fifth set in the first round at Roland Garros in 2017. At the time, neither player was inside the Top 40 of the FedEx ATP Rankings. They both have since cracked the Top 10, with Rublev currently at a career-high World No. 5 and Schwartzman is World No. 15.

The first doubles match of the event will pit Team Europe’s Alexander Zverev and Berrettini against Team World’s John Isner and Denis Shapovalov.

Friday Order Of Play – starts 12:45 pm
Casper Ruud (Team Europe) vs Reilly Opelka (Team World)
Matteo Berrettini (Team Europe) vs Felix Auger-Aliassime (Team World)

Not Before 7:00 pm
Andrey Rublev (Team Europe) vs Diego Schwartzman (Team World)
Matteo Berrettini/Alexander Zverev (Team Europe) vs John Isner/Denis Shapovalov (Team World)

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How Rafter Helped Duckworth

  • Posted: Sep 23, 2021

The masterful serving performance that carried Australian James Duckworth into the Astana Open quarter-finals on Thursday may not have occurred without help from legend Pat Rafter.

Duckworth continued his fine run of form since the US Open by defeating fourth seed Filip Krajinovic 7-6 (2) 6-3 in one hour and 30 minutes in Nur-Sultan. It was the Australian’s seventh win in succession at all levels, with Duckworth bringing the form that saw him claim his 12th ATP Challenger Tour title last week in Istanbul to Kazakhstan.

World No. 65 Duckworth is demonstrating what he is capable of when free of injury.

“I went to Istanbul to get some matches, to try to get a few wins, and progressively got a bit better there,” Duckworth said. “I had a tough travel day and got through yesterday and felt like I played a lot better today. I am really happy with how the past couple of weeks have gone.”

There are those in Australian tennis who wondered whether Duckworth, who is popular among his peers, was cursed given his injury misfortune. The 29-year-old has undergone three different surgeries on his right elbow, another three operations on his right foot and also a couple on his right shoulder during an interrupted career.

The arrival of Covid-19 last year, which suspended professional tennis for more than five months, allowed Duckworth time to consider how best to treat the shoulder problem that had caused him pain for the previous year.

It is here that former World No. 1 Rafter, a two-time US Open champion, provided reassurance to Duckworth that has enabled him to flourish in 2021.

Duckworth approached Rafter, who lives about three hours south of Brisbane in the surfing hamlet of Byron Bay, for advice on what to do given he also battled serious shoulder injuries during his career.

Rafter recommended Greg Hoy, a surgeon in Melbourne who has worked with other Australian players, and the resulting operation proved a great success.

“I was really battling,” Duckworth said. “I had the option to try a debridement (removal of dead tissue) on my shoulder, but we weren’t quite sure if it was going to work.

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“Pat Rafter had the same surgery. He had some great success from it. I spoke to him about it and he advised me to do it and I thought that as I had been playing in pain for a while, and I had that time, it was not going to get any worse, so we would try it.

“It was not quite right when I came back, but from about November last year, it improved massively. I am pain-free. I am not taking anti-inflammatories. I am not having cortisone injections every couple of months, so that has been nice.”

Duckworth had a difficult end to a recent stint in the United States when he lost tight matches in Winston-Salem to Thiago Monteiro and then at the US Open to Pedro Martinez.

“I was none from nine in match points in two weeks, which was pretty brutal,” Duckworth said.

But the resilience he showed to overcome serious injuries has also proven beneficial to overcoming setbacks on the court. Coached by former Australian Davis Cup player Wayne Arthurs, he is working on being more aggressive against players the calibre of Krajinovic, and the signs are good.

The supreme serving performance by Duckworth, who dropped just five points on serve in the opening set Thursday in Nur-Sultan, placed the Serbian under immense pressure. Next up for the Australian is countryman John Millman, the defending Astana Open champion. Duckworth views the Queenslander as a role model given he too has overcome career-threatening injuries to carve out an accomplished career.

“He is playing well and he is obviously very comfortable on this court, in these conditions, being the defending champ. He is a really tenacious competitor,” Duckworth said. “He has been through his share of injuries also, so we have sort of helped each other along at different times through different rehab phases.

“It has been great to see him get to around 30 or so in the world over the past couple of years, since he has been 30, and hopefully I can build my way up the rankings like he has done.”

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Hurkacz Races Into Metz QF

  • Posted: Sep 23, 2021

Top seed Hubert Hurkacz cruised past Lucas Pouille 6-2, 6-3 on Thursday to reach the Moselle Open quarter-finals and continue his push to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals.

The 24-year-old, currently ninth in the FedEx ATP Race To Turin, produced a dominant performance against 2016 champion Pouille, breaking three times as he dictated with his powerful groundstrokes to advance after 68 minutes.

“It was a good match from my side,” Hurkacz said in his on-court interview. “Lucas is a great player, he is playing very aggressively. He is coming back and I have high hopes I will see him closer to the Top 10, he has the game. It was really great to play here in front of you guys, it was a lot of fun.”


Hurkacz, who was competing for the first time since his second-round exit to Andreas Seppi at the US Open, now leads Pouille 3-1 in their ATPHead2Head Series and will next face former World No. 1 Andy Murray.

“I was able to practise here a couple of times on this court, so that helped for sure. I played two doubles matches with my friend [Jan Zielinski],” Hurkacz added. “I really enjoy playing here and it is nice to see the crowd. It is always a great atmosphere.”

The Pole is aiming to win his third tour-level title of the season on hard courts this week, after capturing titles in Delray Beach and Miami.

In other action, German qualifier Peter Gojowczyk’s strong form continued as he overcame seventh seed Karen Khachanov 6-3, 7-6(2) to reach his third tour-level quarter-final of the season.

The 32-year-old, who lifted the trophy in Metz in 2017, enjoyed a run to the fourth round at a major for the first time at the US Open. The World No. 101 will next face Marcos Giron after the American upset fourth-seeded Australian Alex de Minaur 7-5, 7-6(5) to improve to 2-1 in their ATPHead2Head Series.

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Ruusuvuori Upsets Karatsev In Nur-Sultan

  • Posted: Sep 23, 2021

Finland’s Emil Ruusuvuori sprung a surprise Thursday at the Astana Open as he downed top seed Aslan Karatsev 7-6(6), 6-4 to reach the quarter-finals and continue his strong record at the ATP 250 event.

The 22-year-old, who enjoyed a run to the semi-finals in Nur-Sultan last year, won 74 per cent (14/19) of his first-serve points and saved one set point at 5/6 in the first-set tie-break, before advancing after two hours and one minute.

“He is a great player,” Ruusuvuori said. “He has shown the whole world this year how he can play. He didn’t start the best today and I was able to get a little bit better start, but maybe I didn’t use my chances as well as I could. But to close it in two sets is the main thing.”


The World No. 84 has advanced to semi-finals in Atlanta and Winston-Salem this season and also defeated then World No. 7 Alexander Zverev en route to the fourth round at the Miami Open presented by Itau.

Ruusuvori will next face eighth seed Ilya Ivashka in the quarter-finals and will try to gain revenge against the Belarusian, after falling to the World No. 52 in Winston-Salem last month.

“I like the conditions. It is a little bit slower and heavier than last year, so it changes it a little bit, but I still like it,” Ruusuvuori said. “Everything is familiar and the people are so nice. It is nice to come back.”

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Second-seeded Kazakhstani Alexander Bublik survived a scare as he rallied from a set down to defeat Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic 2-6, 6-3, 7-5.

The home favourite fired 18 aces to record victory after two hours and two minutes. Bublik will play Carlos Taberner in the last eight after the World No. 117 moved past Egor Gerasimov 5-7, 7-6(5), 7-5.

Soonwoo Kwon also advanced, upsetting third seed Dusan Lajovic 7-5, 6-4 after one hour and 38 minutes to improve to 2-0 in their ATPHead2Head Series. The World No. 82 will face seventh seed Laslo Djere in the last eight.

Australian James Duckworth overcame fourth seed Filip Krajinovic 7-6(2), 6-3 to reach his first tour-level quarter-final of the season. The 29-year-old will next play reigning champion John Millman.

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Team Europe & Team World Ready For Laver Cup In Boston

  • Posted: Sep 23, 2021

Will 2021 be the year that Team World takes down Team Europe in the Laver Cup?

Both teams got a close look at one another on Wednesday when they gathered for group portraits in front of the Boston skyline at LoPresti Park. 

Team Europe brings six of the Top 10 players in the FedEx ATP Rankings to Boston, led by three former Nitto ATP Finals champions: recent US Open winner Daniil Medvedev, World No. 3 Stefanos Tsitsipas and Tokyo Olympics gold medallist Alexander Zverev. Russian Andrey Rublev, Italian Matteo Berrettini and Norwegian Casper Ruud join Medvedev in making their Laver Cup debuts.

“It feels great. I’ve never been to the city, so really looking forward to seeing a little bit. Obviously focussing more [on] playing,” Berrettini said upon his arrival in Boston. “Excited for the event, excited for the city.”

Team World
Photo Credit: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images for Laver Cup
Team World is hungry to earn its first overall win in the event’s fourth edition. Laver Cup veterans John Isner of the United States, Australian Nick Kyrgios, Argentine Diego Schwartzman and Canadian Denis Shapovalov will try to lead the charge alongside World No. 11 Felix Auger-Aliassime and American Reilly Opelka.

“First time in Boston, also first time playing the Laver Cup,” Auger-Aliassime said. “Super-excited to be with all the team. Hopefully we put on a good show and we get Team World’s first win.”

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