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Norrie's Analysis: The Djokovic Nightmare, Medvedev's 45-Second Flashes & More

  • Posted: Nov 15, 2021

Cameron Norrie has enjoyed a breakthrough year in 2021, winning his first ATP Tour title in Los Cabos and capturing his maiden ATP Masters 1000 crown at Indian Wells.

The Briton fell just short of qualifying for the Nitto ATP Finals, but he is in Italy as the second alternate. On Monday, the lefty analysed the Turin field and the first alternate, Jannik Sinner.

Novak Djokovic
I think there’s no real game plan with Novak. He has such a complete game, moves so well, you can’t get the ball past him. I also think his first serve is very underrated. He’s a nightmare to play. I’ve never played him, but if I were to play him, it would be a nightmare.

I haven’t thought about [a game plan] too much, but he’s pretty good [with his] first serve [and first] ball, he’s pretty good in long rallies and he moves exceptionally well. He’s probably the best mover on Tour and his backhand is insane as well, so it’s tough. He’s a very good player.

Daniil Medvedev
Medvedev is tricky because he serves from a tree and his service games usually last 45 seconds. Then you still have to serve and you’re playing 10-minute games, Deuce, Ad-in, Deuce, Ad-in.

You finally hold and you’re back serving again within 45 seconds because he’s got a great serve. But he’s very consistent from the baseline and he plays very deep.

Alexander Zverev
I think he’s a little bit more aggressive than Medvedev, but also has a big first serve and he can do everything with his backhand side. He can go backhand [down the] line, backhand crosscourt. He has a decent slice and more recently he’s been coming forward a bit more and is also a very complete player. When he’s looking for the forehand and has a bit of time on that side, he’s dangerous.

Stefanos Tsitsipas
Especially in slow conditions, he’s very tricky. He can look for his forehand. He’s got one of the best forehands in the world and can hit all parts of the court. I also think his first serve is very underrated. His backhand is tricky because he can get quite a lot of height and depth on it. That’s tough, and I think he really defends the forehand well.

He’s also a very complete player, and I would say he’s maybe got the best volleys in the world right now, if not [he is in the] top three. He knows when to come forward and he sneaks forward very well. He has pretty good hands.

Andrey Rublev
I would say he has the best forehand in the world and his serve has improved a lot. When he’s returning your second serve, he’s extremely dangerous. It’s tough when you play him, because he never gives up any room on the baseline and he’s tough to push back.

It’s really tough to get him moving and be the one being aggressive and dictating play, because he’s so high up on the baseline, which makes him very tricky. His serve has improved a lot and his backhand [has as well], so he’s very solid. Also, when he has a bit of time on his forehand, he’s tough and very accurate.

Matteo Berrettini
Matteo has a huge serve, he can hit all the spots. He maybe has the best second serve in the world and he’s tricky as well. When he’s got time on the forehand [he can hit huge] and he can mix in the drop shot off the backhand as well to throw you off on both sides, the backhand as well. I think he covers his backhand quite well and mixes in his slice quite a lot to neutralise the point and then use his forehand to dictate play from there.

He’s a great athlete and he competes very well. I spent a bit of time with him at Laver Cup and watching his matches, he was always playing the biggest points of the match on his terms and coming up with some very good stuff. He is also a pretty complete player.

Hubert Hurkacz
I actually haven’t seen Hubi too much, so I can’t comment that much. But he’s got an exceptional serve and he plays a little bit like Medvedev in my opinion. He uses the slice quite well and comes forward a little bit more than Medvedev.

His backhand is tricky because it’s tough to read. He can switch [down the] line and hit the inside-out backhand at times. I haven’t played him before, I haven’t practised too much with him, but he’s had an incredible year and definitely deserves to be in this event.

Casper Ruud
Casper has proven he can play on all surfaces. His ball speed is very heavy and his forehand is great. He can get away from rallying too much with his backhand by using his movement. He can get around his backhand with his forehand side and he can hit all parts of the court with the forehand.

He has a pretty good slice as well and finds the court quite deep with the slice and is a great competitor all around. He’s had a very consistently good year, going deep on all surfaces, in all events. He also deserves to be here. He’s had a great year.

Jannik Sinner
I always try to practise with him as much as I can. He hits the ball bigger than anyone off both sides. I think he moves very well and he is always planting off the outside leg, so he can recover from his strokes very efficiently. It’s tough because he hits the ball so big that you can’t get much rhythm.

Getting him moving is tricky. He takes the cover off the ball on both sides. I think he hits the ball probably one of the biggest in the world off both sides. His ball speed is probably the fastest in the world.

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Nitto's Mask Donation Strengthens Safety In Turin

  • Posted: Nov 15, 2021

Title sponsor Nitto is once again playing its part to safeguard the health and wellbeing of everyone on site at the Pala Alpitour for this year’s Nitto ATP Finals.

Japanese-based manufacturer Nitto has donated 12,000 masks to protect fans, players and staff during the tournament, which is being staged during the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are thankful that Nitto is providing masks for the Nitto ATP Finals for the second consecutive year, contributing to the safe operation of the event,” said Nitto ATP Finals Event Director Adam Hogg. “The masks and our other safety protocols help protect fans, players, staff and everyone involved in the tournament in its first edition at the Pala Alpitour.”

Everybody who received accreditation in Turin was given a mask on arrival. Nitto, which is the Official Tape manufacture of the ATP Tour, is also providing tape and other products for physios to use on players at the season finale, which is taking place in Italy for the first time.

Nitto is the tournament’s title sponsor until 2025. They provided 8,000 masks at last year’s event at The O2 in London.

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Rublev Scores Statement Tsitsipas Win In Turin

  • Posted: Nov 15, 2021

Andrey Rublev stormed back to his winning ways on Monday against Stefanos Tsitsipas, after serving up a 6-4, 6-4 victory to start his Nitto ATP Finals campaign. 

It’s a statement win for Rublev, who arrived in Turin struggling to regain his world-beating form in recent weeks. The Russian, who had lost five of his past seven matches, was at his heavy-hitting best and he didn’t face a break point as he defeated Tsitsipas in an hour and 30 minutes.

“I think these are the moments that we are practising for, that we are living for: to be here and to enjoy this atmosphere, to play great tennis and for the spectators to enjoy,” Rublev said in an on-court interview. “[All] I could do my best today, I did and I’m really happy.”

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Rublev dominated the contest with strong serving. He rained down big first serves all evening long, winning 90 per cent (36/40) of points behind his first delivery – the Russian usually averages around 56 per cent. As a result, he rarely allowed Tsitsipas a look at his vulnerable second serve, and didn’t face a break point across either sets.

“When you serve good, it’s always the key,” Rublev said. “But it was not even just the serve. I was returning really aggressive, from the baseline I was also really aggressive. Today I played a great match and I’m really happy.”  


In a pre-tournament interview, Rublev admitted that nerves played a factor in last year’s lacklustre Nitto ATP Finals debut, when he dropped his first two group stages matches – including a defeat to Tsitsipas – before claiming his lone win in London. One year later, Rublev drew from that experience and settled into the match from the first point. The fifth seed broke serve once in each set to claim his revenge against Tsitsipas. 

Rublev looked to be enjoying the quicker conditions in Turin – four of his eight career ATP titles have come at similar indoor hard-courts events, including his lone trophy of the season at Rotterdam in March. 

The victory for Rublev ties Djokovic at the top of the Green Group, with each player level at a win apiece.

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Felix Cracks The Top 10: ’Hard Work Can Pay Off’

  • Posted: Nov 15, 2021

Felix Auger-Aliassime has been under the spotlight since breaking onto the ATP Challenger Tour aged 14. On Monday, the Canadian reached the next milestone on his journey when he cracked the Top 10 of the FedEx ATP Rankings for the first time.

World No. 10 Auger-Aliassime made clear early in the year that breaking into the Top 10 was one of his goals for 2021. And after reaching the Stockholm semi-finals last week, he achieved the feat.

“It is very big. It was one of my goals at the start of this year. I had to go from far as I was No. 21 in the world, so it wasn’t a given that I would finish inside the Top 10,” Auger-Aliassime told “It was also down to circumstances… But it’s tennis, it is what it is. For my part, I’m happy with the progress that I have made this year and where my level is at. I’m happy with this milestone is now behind me and I am a part of the Top 10.”

Felix first reached the Top 20 in August 2019, just after his 19th birthday. Some of his big accomplishments since include reaching this year’s US Open semi-finals and Wimbledon quarter-finals. He has advanced to eight ATP Tour championship matches.

“It’s always good to check off goals on my bucket list as a young player. Of course, the Top 100 for the first time, then I got rapidly into the Top 20. For me, it was kind of like, ‘When will the Top 10 come?’” Auger-Aliassime said. “Sometimes it goes fast, other times it takes longer than you think.

“But I’m happy this year I was able to make it, especially after the US Open I had, and also Wimbledon. I felt like maybe, ‘I’ve got a shot at this before the finishing the year’.”

There has been plenty of pressure on the Canadian since March 2015, when at the age of 14 he became the youngest player to qualify for a main draw in ATP Challenger Tour history. The determined Auger-Aliassime has successfully navigated challenges in his path and emerged with big wins against the likes of Roger Federer, Andy Murray and Stefanos Tsitsipas. In Stockholm, he claimed his 100th tour-level victory.

“It was not always easy at different stages of my young career. I’ve had to talk to my team and to myself and see how I [would] deal with this,” Auger-Aliassime said. “But at the end of the day, it has always come back to what is important in the day-to-day, focussing on the present and I think I’ve been able to follow my path. I have kept it in my own rhythm.

“Sometimes it went faster than I thought, sometimes things took a little bit longer, but in the end good things happen I guess when you follow your plan and do good work. It’s good proof that hard work can pay off.”

Did You Know?
Auger-Aliassime, 21, is the youngest player in the Top 10 by more than 20 months. Casper Ruud, who turns 23 in December, is second-youngest.

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ATP Statement Regarding Peng Shuai

  • Posted: Nov 15, 2021

Andrea Gaudenzi, ATP Chairman: “There is nothing more important to us than the safety of our tennis community. We have been deeply concerned by the uncertainty surrounding the immediate safety and whereabouts of WTA player Peng Shuai. We are encouraged by the recent assurances received by WTA that she is safe and accounted for and will continue to monitor the situation closely. Separately, we stand in full support of WTA’s call for a full, fair and transparent investigation into allegations of sexual assault against Peng Shuai.”

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Djokovic Begins Historic Nitto ATP Finals Quest Monday

  • Posted: Nov 15, 2021

Can it really be six years since Novak Djokovic won the Nitto ATP Finals?

When the Serb last held aloft the Brad Drewett trophy in 2015, after winning the season finale for the fourth consecutive year, it appeared inevitable that he would soon tie Roger Federer’s record six triumphs at the tournament.

It almost happened the very next year, but in a winner-takes-all championship match, Andy Murray claimed his 24th consecutive match win to pry the title – and the year-end World No. 1 FedEx ATP Ranking – from the grasp of his lifelong rival.

Today Djokovic begins his quest for a sixth title against Casper Ruud, who at the other end of the spectrum, will play his first match at the tournament and will seek his first hard-court win over a Top 10 opponent.

After finishing runner-up to Alexander Zverev in 2018, Djokovic has not been back to the final despite stamping himself as the dominant player of the past decade, during which he joined Federer and Rafael Nadal on 20 Grand Slam titles, passed Federer for most weeks at No. 1 and established a new record for 37 ATP Masters 1000 crowns.

After recently clinching year-end No. 1 for a record seventh time, the main order of business now for Djokovic is returning to the winner’s circle in Turin, where he hopes to lay claim to winning the finale in a third city following his first victory in Shanghai in 2008 and his four straight in London.

As a proponent of seeing the event rotate among the world’s great cities, winning in Turin would be extra special. “London was very successful for the Nitto ATP Finals,” said Djokovic. “It is one of the most spectacular arenas in the world [and] it couldn’t be a better setting really in front of a packed house each afternoon or evening. It was fitting for the most important event that the ATP owns. But I have always been a proponent of moving this tournament regularly, maybe every three or four years.”

Djokovic has compiled a 48-6 match record this season, including five tour-level titles. He went 27-1 in major championships, with titles at the Australian Open (d. Medvedev), Roland Garros (d. Tsitsipas) and Wimbledon (d. Berrettini). Daniil Medvedev stopped the 34-year-old in the US Open final from becoming the first player to complete the Grand Slam since Rod Laver in 1969.

The 34-year-old Djokovic attempts to become the oldest Nitto ATP Finals champion and the second player to capture the title after turning 30. Federer won his sixth title in 2011 in London as a 30-year-old. With a victory on Monday, Djokovic will tie Ivan Lendl for the second-most wins (39) in Nitto ATP Finals history (Federer has 59).

One of Ruud’s biggest improvements this season is in his hard-court results. The 22-year-old came into the year with a 16-27 career record on hard courts and he enters Turin with a 23-8 record on hard this season, highlighted by his first title on the surface in San Diego (d. Norrie). He also reached five other quarter-finals, including at ATP Masters 1000 events in Toronto, Cincinnati and Paris. Overall the Norwegian has won an equal-tour-best five titles on the season.

Djokovic defeated Ruud 7-5, 6-3 in their lone meeting in Rome last year.

Tsitsipas Rublev

In the evening session, World No. 4 Stefanos Tsitsipas brings a 4-3 head-to-head advantage against No. 5 Andrey Rublev. They met in round-robin play last year in London with Tsitsipas winning in a third set tie-break. The Greek native won their last meeting in the final at ATP Masters 1000 Monte-Carlo in April.

Tsitsipas, who won the 2019 Nitto ATP Finals and 2018 Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals titles, is making his third straight appearance in the year-end championships. Rublev, who was runner-up in the 2017 Next Gen ATP Finals, made his Nitto ATP Finals debut last year, going 1-2 in round-robin play.

The red-headed Russian is one of the most dangerous players off both wings who could weave a path of destruction this week, but he’s doing all he can to play down his chances. “I am not even thinking I have a chance or be a dark horse,” said Rublev. “I just want to focus on the process. What happened to Daniil, Stefanos and Sascha, winning the [Nitto] ATP Finals title, was because they proved they are top players, and they had the level to be here.

“In my case, I am thinking about the process and I’m happier about how I am doing things on and off the court. It may not happen immediately, but if I keep doing what I am doing, good things will happen and I’ll go deep in a tournament.”


The Red Group in doubles features four teams that have each won multiple Grand Slam titles. In the opening match, No. 2 seeds Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury take on No. 7 Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares in a rematch of the US Open final won by the American/British duo.

In the second match, 2019 Nitto ATP Finals champions and 2018 finalists Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut, the No. 3 seeds, bring a 6-2 head-to-head advantage against Colombians No. 5 seeds Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah. The Frenchmen won both Nitto ATP Finals meetings in 2018 (SF) and 2019 (RR).

CENTRE COURT start 11:30 am

[2] R. Ram (USA) / J. Salisbury (GBR) vs [7] J. Murray (GBR) / B. Soares (BRA) 

Not Before 2:00 pm
[1] N. Djokovic (SRB) vs [8] C. Ruud (NOR) 

Not Before 6:30 pm
[3] P. Herbert (FRA) / N. Mahut (FRA) vs [5] J. Cabal (COL) / R. Farah (COL) 

Not Before 9:00 pm
[4] S. Tsitsipas (GRE) vs [5] A. Rublev (RUS) 

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