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Cervara On Supporting Colleague Schneider: 'I Want To Continue To Help'

  • Posted: Sep 29, 2021

When Daniil Medvedev’s coach, Gilles Cervara, steps on court to work with his charge at the upcoming BNP Paribas Open, he will not be wearing his normal practice kit. Instead, the Frenchman will be wearing a special logo to raise awareness for one of his colleagues.

Cervara’s shirt will have a logo on his chest that reads “Kiki, coz I care”. It is a sign of support for Kristijan Schneider — also known as “Kiki” — the former coach of Borna Coric, who has been battling cancer.

“I started to think about relationships, because on Tour I can feel the good energy between coaches, especially on the men’s tour. We meet every day, every tournament and it’s very friendly,” Cervara told “I was thinking, if one of the coaches gets in trouble, are these friendly relations very deep or just fake or superficial? That’s why I started to try to fight for Kiki, to give him some help and to try to ask coaches if they want to help him.

“It was important for me to see if coaches are able to give this support to someone who is in trouble like Kristijan. It started like this.”

Support Fundraiser For Schneider

Schneider, who most recently recently worked with WTA player Olga Danilovic in Melbourne this year, was originally diagnosed with colon cancer two years ago when he was training Coric. On that occasion, he did not need chemotherapy, as the affected region was removed.

But after returning from Australia this year, he was diagnosed with abdominal cancer and learned he needed chemo, which is still ongoing. A fundraiser was launched to help cover the expenses of Schneider’s treatment.

People who have involved themselves include Italian Thomas Fabbiano, who at the Miami Open presented by Itau raised awareness by donating $1 for every minute he played during the tournament.

Cervara wants to make sure his colleague, whom he first met at the Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals in 2017, feels the support of the tennis world, and has been in touch with the Croatian.

“I want to continue to help him,” Cervara said. “[I want] to find solutions, to give him hope, to give him energy, to give him support, and also to give him money to find the amount for his treatment to save his life.”

In July another coach, former doubles World No. 102 Adam Peterson, was rushed to the hospital after experiencing complete liver and kidney failure.

After extensive testing, Peterson was diagnosed with Stage 4 Burkitt Lymphoma, a fast-growing cancer that requires aggressive treatment. Peterson needs a minimum of eight rounds of extensive chemotherapy and has recently completed the second stage. To learn how to support his battle, click here.

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Erlich/Inglot Defeat Top Seeds Kontinen/McLachlan in Sofia

  • Posted: Sep 29, 2021

Israel’s Jonathan Erlich and Great Britain’s Dominic Inglot upset top seeds Henri Kontinen and Ben McLachlan 4-6, 7-6(4), 10-6 on Wednesday to reach the second round of the Sofia Open.

Erlich and Inglot were effective on serve, winning 74 per cent of their first-serve points to advance after one hour and 41 minutes.

Second seeds Tomislav Brkic and Nikola Cacic, this year’s Buenos Aires champions, avoided another upset by reaching the quarter-finals with a 6-3, 6-7(2), 10-7 victory against Kazakhstan’s Andrey Golubev and Aleksandr Nedovyesov.

Brkic and Cacic saved eight of the nine break points they faced and broke twice to move on in Bulgaria. Australians Luke Saville and John-Patrick Smith, the fourth-seeds, also advanced following a 7-6(4), 7-6(2) win over Sweden’s Andre Goransson and Monaco’s Hugo Nys.

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Djokovic Withdraws From Indian Wells

  • Posted: Sep 29, 2021

Novak Djokovic has withdrawn from the BNP Paribas Open, the tournament announced Wednesday. 

“I am sorry I wont get to see my fans in Indian Wells and play in the desert, my favourite place to go,” Djokovic said in a statement. “I hope to see you next year!”

The Serbian is a five-time BNP Paribas Open champion. He last lifted the trophy at the ATP Masters 1000 event — where he has tallied a 50-9 record — in 2016.

“We are disappointed that Novak will not be able to join us at the BNP Paribas Open this fall,” Tournament Director Tommy Haas said. “We hope to see him back in Tennis Paradise next March to contend for a record-setting sixth title in the desert.”

The 34-year-old most recently competed at the US Open, where he fell short in the final against Daniil Medvedev. Djokovic, who won the Australian Open, Roland Garros and Wimbledon this year, was trying to become the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to complete the Grand Slam by winning all four majors in a season

The 85-time tour-level titlist has already earned his spot at this year’s Nitto ATP Finals, and he is trying to become the first player to finish year-end No. 1 in the FedEx ATP Rankings seven times.

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Tennis United: Dimitrov & Bencic Dish On Travel Routines & Favourite Destinations

  • Posted: Sep 29, 2021

If you walk into Grigor Dimitrov’s hotel room, you will find his tennis racquets, PlayStation, and plenty of the items you might expect.

But you will also likely spot roses.

“I love to have flowers in the [hotel] room a lot. For some reason I love flowers, I don’t know why. There’s a little secret: I love flowers,” Dimitrov said. “I just love red roses, for example. It brings some sort of a romance to the room. You know how much time we spend in the room… it’s nice to feel nice and cosy.”

Former World No. 3 Dimitrov and WTA star Belinda Bencic spoke about life on Tour and travel in episode five of Tennis United: Crosscourt. They discussed what goes on behind the scenes when players are not on the court.

“Traveling week-in and week-out is not always easy, Bencic added. “For me personally I have to say it’s the hardest part of everything. I love to be at the different places. But for me, the traveling, for me that’s the hardest part especially week to week,” she said. “It’s not even the long flights. It’s the packing, unpacking.”

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)
• Episode 4: Parenthood (Fabio Fognini & Elena Vesnina)

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Ivashka Downs Andujar in Sofia Opener

  • Posted: Sep 29, 2021

Ilya Ivashka continued his career-best season on the ATP Tour with a straight-sets victory over Pablo Andujar in the first round of the Sofia Open, winning 6-4, 6-3.

Ivashka, who levelled his ATP Head2Head against Andujar at 1-1, dictated proceedings. He broke the Spaniard’s serve four times and served eight aces to advance to the second round.

“I think it was a good match for me,” Ivashka said following the win. “I played very clean, I was serving really good.”

Watch Wednesday Sofia Highlights:

The Belarusian will take on second seed Gael Monfils in his next match. Ivashka has already defeated the entertaining Frenchman this year, winning in three sets at the Tokyo Olympics.

“He’s a great opponent, he has a lot of experience and I hope it’s going to be a great match,” Ivashka said. “He’s a great guy and it’s always nice to play against him.”

The 27-year-old now holds a 29-14 record in 2021, which includes 12 victories in his past 14 matches. Ivashka lifted his first ATP Tour title last month in Winston-Salem, and currently sits at a career-high No. 45 in the FedEx ATP Rankings.

In other action, James Duckworth defeated Emil Ruusuvuori in a three-set battle, winning 3-6, 6-4, 6-4. Duckworth broke the Ruusuvuori serve in the penultimate game of the match before holding serve to reach the second round, where he will meet Benoit Paire.

The Australian moved to a career-high World No. 56 following his run to his first ATP Tour final in Nur-Sultan last week. Duckworth did not drop a set in his opening four matches before losing to Soonwoo Kwon in the final.

In other action, Gianluca Mager became the first player to advance to the quarter-finals with a 7-6(3), 6-3 win against Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic. Another Serbian, fifth-seeded Filip Krajinovic eased past Belarusian wild card Alexander Lazorov 6-0, 6-3 in his first round match.

Illya Marchenko also moved on to the second round, defeating fellow qualifier Andreas Seppi 6-4, 6-2 and improving his ATP Head2Head against the Italian to 3-1.

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Krajicek/Mies Deny Evans/Fognini In San Diego

  • Posted: Sep 29, 2021

Austin Krajicek and Andreas Mies have advanced to the quarter-finals of the San Diego Open following their first-round doubles victory over Daniel Evans and Fabio Fognini on Tuesday.

In their first match together, the US-German pairing prevailed 6-1, 3-6, 10-7 to set a last-eight showdown with second seeds Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares or Marcelo Arevalo and Federico Delbonis. Mies – a two-time Roland Garros doubles champion alongside Kevin Krawietz – underwent knee surgery earlier this year and only returned to action in Toronto.

The duo won 68 per cent of first-serve points and 32 per cent on second serves. They broke the British-Italian tandem four times.

Brandon Nakashima and Sem Verbeek made good on their main draw doubles wild card, rebounding to defeat Grigor Dimitrov and Jean-Julien Rojer 4-6, 6-3, 10-7. The US-Dutch duo will meet top seed Joe Salisbury and Neal Skupski for a place in the semi-finals.

At the Sofia Open, third seeds Oliver Marach and Philipp Oswald reached the quarter-finals with a narrow victory over Rohan Bopanna and Aisam Ul-Haq Qureshi. The Austrians notched a 6-2, 6-7(1), 10-7 win to set a clash with Brazilians Marcelo Demoliner and Rafael Matos.

Roman Jebacy and Matwe Middelkoop booked their quarter-final berth at the expense of Bulgarian wild cards Adrian Andreev and Alexandar Lazarov. The Czech-Dutch pair advanced 6-2, 6-4 in just under an hour. They await top seeds Henri Kontinen and Ben McLachlan or Jonathan Erlich and Dominic Inglot.

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Murray Sends Off Kudla in San Diego Opener

  • Posted: Sep 29, 2021

Andy Murray has opened his bid for his first consecutive tour-level quarter-finals of 2021 with victory over American lucky loser Denis Kudla at the San Diego Open on Tuesday.

Murray’s 6-3, 6-2 win set up a clash with second seed Casper Ruud for a quarter-final berth. The former No. 1 in the FedEx ATP Rankings was due to face former World No. 4 Kei Nishikori for the 12th time before the Japanese player withdrew due to a lower back injury hours before the match.

“I’d practised with Denis a few times but I don’t think we’d ever played a match before so it’s not easy,” Murray said in his on-court interview. “[I tried] to ask around a few of the players to get a few tips on what his strengths are, his weaknesses, but it’s not easy for him.

“He was on his way to LA in the car when he found out. It’s not like he’s hanging around here so obviously, a great effort for him to come back and play.”

The 34-year-old continued to build on his recent run of form, having defeated Ugo Humbert and Vasek Pospisil to reach his first tour-level quarter-final in two years at the Moselle Open last week. He fell in Metz to eventual champion Hubert Hurkacz for the second time in six weeks.

Murray improved to 9-8 for the season with his win over Kudla, the No.94 in the FedEx ATP Rankings. He claimed 63 per cent of first-serve points and converted three of his four break points.

“I think first and foremost it’s great to be on the court healthy and competing week after week for the first time since 2017. It’s been a long time,” Murray said. “I’m starting to feel better with each match. The ranking is not the No. 1 priority, but I’ve had some tough draws in the last few months.

“Obviously if your ranking gets high enough you can start to get seeded in events and you avoid that. I want to try and win to push my ranking up to give myself a better chance of having a deep run in some of the major tournaments again.”

The British wild card – currently at World No. 109 – played a fine return game to land his first break for 5-3 and took the set at the 32-minute mark. It was vintage Murray when he rolled a backhand lob winner to bring up break point in the opening game of the second but Kudla saved it with an ace on his way to the hold.

Murray did not have to wait long to take control of the second set however, as he broke for 3-2 and put the foot down to secure a love break for a 5-2 lead. Victory came at the 70-minute mark on his ninth ace.

Sixth seed Diego Schwartzman followed Murray into the second round, following his 6-2, 6-3 victory over Italian qualifier Federico Gaio. The Argentine won 74 per cent of first-serve points and claimed 64 per cent of return points on Gaio’s second serve. Schwartzman will next meet Lloyd Harris for a place in the quarter-finals after the South African rebounded to beat American qualifier Christopher Eubanks 3-6, 6-1, 6-4.

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Dimitrov Sets Felix Clash In San Diego

  • Posted: Sep 29, 2021

Grigor Dimitrov has scraped into the second round of the San Diego Open after a confidence-boosting three-set victory over Hungarian Marton Fucsovics on Tuesday.

The former No. 3 in the FedEx ATP Rankings eked out a 6-3, 1-6, 7-5 win in two hours and nine minutes to set a showdown with third seed Felix Auger-Aliassime. He had lost both prior ATP Head2Head meetings against Fucsovics, including a five-set defeat in the second round of last year’s US Open, and had won just 15 of his 29 matches in an injury-marred season.

“I just stayed in the match. I had to change a few things. I had a good strategy but I was not executing it well enough,” Dimitrov said in his on-court interview.

“It was my first match in about three-and-a-half weeks so I’m a little bit rusty, but it feels good to win. It’s so good to have a lot of crowd and a lot of Bulgarian flags, just positive overall.”

Neither player faced a break point in the third set until the final game of the match when two double faults from Fucsovics proved untimely, the second of which handed Dimitrov a match point. The Bulgarian prevailed on his second opportunity to hand the World No. 41 his fourth straight defeat. Dimitrov won 77 per cent of first-serve points and 57 per cent on second serves.

“I’m feeling good back on court. The body holds up pretty well so this is the most important thing,” Dimitrov said. “Enjoy every moment you get out here. It’s been a year with lots of ups and downs but at the same time I’m hungry to play again and excited to be on the court. The results are coming with it I guess.”

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