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Breakthrough Frenchman Bonzi: ''It Is All Unexpected & New For Me'

  • Posted: Dec 10, 2021

Benjamin Bonzi enjoyed a standout 2021 season, capturing six ATP Challenger Tour titles, which saw him rise from No. 165 in the FedEx ATP Rankings to a career-high No. 60 at the start of November.

The Frenchman, who had never earned a Challenger trophy before this year, went 57-27 at all levels in 2021, winning tour-level matches in Montpellier and at Wimbledon.

The 25-year-old caught up with to discuss his impressive season, his route into the sport, his interests away from the court and more.

You won six ATP Challenger Tour titles this year, what was the key behind your success?
I think it was to do with my confidence. I am more consistent now and playing the big points better, which I think was the big difference for my year. My coach and I talk every day on the courts and discuss technique, tactics and how to play points day after day. There is no specific thing, just working hard.

You started playing tennis when you were six years old. How quickly did you start to fall in love with the game and what role did your cousin play as you two hit together?
I grew up near the tennis club, it was about 500 metres from my home. I was walking there and going two or three times a week when I was very young and not playing. I was used to being there and then one day because my parents were already playing, I wanted to as well and that is how everything began for me.

My cousin stopped very quickly when I started getting better! It was a new thing for me and I enjoyed it, so I started matches and then I won a few and then you are in the game after that. I then started to play tournaments and travelled with my parents by car and now I am here today. It was only ever tennis.

Photo Credit: Corinne Dubreuil/ATP Tour

How do you like to spend your time off the court? What are your interests?
I love video games. I play a lot when I am home. I don’t take the PS4 with me on Tour, but when I am home I play a lot. I also spend time with my girlfriend because when you are at tournaments, she is not always there, so I try to spend time with my close friends and family.

I like to chill with my girlfriend because she is working a lot in France and I am travelling a lot, so when we are both at home, that is our relaxation time. We live in Marseille, so there is the sea and a beautiful landscape. We spend time out walking and enjoy it.

I also listen to music. I like to go to football and rugby in France as well. The football team I support is Marseille. I went to a match just after the US Open. I came home on Saturday morning and there was a match in the evening, so I went. It was my first time in the stadium and it was crazy there and they won!

Do you enjoy the travelling aspect of being a professional tennis player and is there a particular destination you like the most on Tour?
I like travelling. The United States is great. It is very nice to fly to the United States. My favourite places are probably Canada and the United States, so I will try and go there more in the future. Toronto was very nice this year, it was my first time there.

What are you aims over the next year now you are on the verge of the Top 50?
I need to stay focussed and try to stay the same. I need to get some experience on the ATP Tour and at [ATP] 250 events. I need to play matches at this level. I need to gain experience and try to win some matches if I can.

I started the year at No. 165 and wanted to try and win one Challenger title during the season and get closer to the Top 100, but now I am No. 64 and have won six Challengers, so it is all unexpected and all new for me.

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Meet The 2021 Coach Nominees: Boynton, Cervara, Ferrero, Lugones & Ruud

  • Posted: Dec 10, 2021

Coach of the Year in the ATP Awards goes to the ATP coach who helped guide their player to a higher level of performance during the year. The honour is nominated and voted on by fellow ATP coach members.

This year’s nominees are:

Craig Boynton (Hubert Hurkacz)
Craig Boynton began working with Hubert Hurkacz at the BNP Paribas Open in 2019, and the Polish star has steadily climbed since. But this year, Hurkacz reached new heights.

In 2021, Boynton helped his charge win his first ATP Masters 1000 title at the Miami Open presented by Itau, reach his maiden major semi-final at Wimbledon, crack the Top 10 in the FedEx ATP Rankings and earn a spot at the Nitto ATP Finals for the first time.

Boynton On Hurkacz’s Under-The-Radar Miami Run

Craig Boynton, Hubert Hurkacz
Photo Credit: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images
Gilles Cervara (Daniil Medvedev)
Gilles Cervara is the only 2021 nominee who was also nominated for Coach of the Year in 2020, when Fernando Vicente was bestowed with the honour. Cervara, who won this award in 2019, has continued helping Daniil Medvedev surge to the top of the tennis world.

The pair continued to break new ground this year. Medvedev led the ATP Tour with 63 tour-level wins, claimed his fourth ATP Masters 1000 title in Toronto and notably earned his maiden major crown at the US Open, where he ended Novak Djokovic’s Grand Slam dreams in the final.

Cervara On Medvedev: ‘Winning Doesn’t Change Anything For Us’

Daniil Medvedev and Gilles Cervara
Photo Credit: Corinne Dubreuil/ATP Tour
Juan Carlos Ferrero (Carlos Alcaraz)
Juan Carlos Ferrero is the most distinguished player on this list, having reached No. 1 in the FedEx ATP Rankings. But he has also shown his coaching prowess in aiding the rapid rise of Carlos Alcaraz, whom he began working with at the age of 15.

Alcaraz ascended from World No. 141 at the start of the season to year-end No. 32. The youngest player in the Top 100 at 18, the Spaniard lifted his first ATP Tour trophy in Umag and completed his best season yet with a dominant run to the title in Milan at the Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals title, where he lost just one set.

Ferrero: The Art Of Building Alcaraz

Juan Carlos Ferrero
Photo Credit: Peter Staples/ATP Tour
Facundo Lugones (Cameron Norrie)
Facundo Lugones has known Cameron Norrie since their days together at Texas Christian University when Lugones was a senior and Norrie was a freshman. Upon his graduation, Lugones had planned to work in finance. But after serving as a volunteer coach at TCU and teaching at a local tennis club, Norrie asked his former teammate to start traveling with him.

Norrie did not take long to establish himself as a professional after early success on the ATP Challenger Tour. But 2021 was his breakthrough season. The lefty claimed his first tour-level title in Los Cabos before battling to his maiden Masters 1000 trophy in Indian Wells. Norrie was an alternate at the Nitto ATP Finals, where he played two round-robin matches following the withdrawal of Stefanos Tsitsipas. He is at a career-high World No. 12.

Lugones On Norrie: ‘He’s A Completely Different Animal’

Facundo Lugones
Photo Credit: Julian Finney/Getty Images
Christian Ruud (Casper Ruud)
Christian Ruud enjoyed a successful career, during which he ascended to No. 39 in the FedEx ATP Rankings. In 2020, he guided his son, Casper Ruud, past that mark. And this year, Casper soared to even greater heights.

The most accomplished player in Norwegian tennis history, Casper captured five ATP Tour titles in 2021. Ruud became the first player from his country to crack the Top 10 in September and he reached a career-high No. 8 in October. Casper completed his big campaign by competing at the Nitto ATP Finals, where he showed substantial improvement on hard courts by advancing to the semi-finals behind wins against Norrie and Rublev.

Christian: ‘I’m Very Happy [Casper] Has Beaten All My Records’

Christian Ruud, Casper Ruud
Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images

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Zverev's Fundamental Baseline Tips

  • Posted: Dec 10, 2021

Alexander Zverev enjoyed a standout 2021 season, winning a tour-leading six titles, including the Nitto ATP Finals crown. Having joined TopCourt, the German is on hand to share his tips, focusing on his powerful groundstrokes.

Zverev shows fans the techniques and drills that have seen him rise to No. 3 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, stressing the importance of following through on shots. The 24-year-old also discusses the role his family had in shaping his development.

Technique: Zverev explains to viewers the importance of having technically strong shots if you want to have a solid and reliable baseline game. In detail, the 19-time tour-level titlist walks fans through the fundamental approach of the forehand, backhand and return of serve and explains how you can dominate with these three shots.

Drills: The 24-year-old focuses on five insightful drills and demonstrates on-court examples for TopCourt. Three drills focus on strategic skills, which are focused on neutralising points, transitioning in the court and using your weaker shot to set up your weapon. In the other two drills, Zverev looks at the backhand slice and how to volley effectively.


Follow Zverev’s Tutorials at

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Rivalries Of 2021: Tsitsipas vs. Zverev

  • Posted: Dec 10, 2021

Continuing our Best of 2021 Season In Review series, revisits the biggest rivalries of 2021. Today we feature Stefanos Tsitsipas vs. Alexander Zverev.

Stefanos Tsitsipas entered 2021 with a commanding 5-1 lead in his ATP Head2Head series with Alexander Zverev. But in 2021, the German made inroads against the Greek and narrowed the Greek’s advantage to 6-3.

Zverev won two of their three clashes this year, but Tsitsipas claimed a memorable victory in the third. looks back at all three matches the rivals played in 2021.

Abierto Mexicano Telcel presentado por HSBC, F, Zverev d. Tsitsipas 6-4, 7-6(3)
Zverev walked on court for the Abierto Mexicano Telcel presentado por HSBC final facing a tough foe in Tsitsipas. Not only was the Greek the top seed, but he had won five consecutive matches against the German, including 10 of their previous 11 sets.

Zverev knew it would be imperative to get off to a quick start. But Tsitsipas came out firing, playing aggressive tennis and painting the lines to surge to a quick lead and earn three chances to go up a double-break in the first set. He appeared well on his way to a sixth straight victory against his rival.

But Zverev, who did not lose a set in the tournament, remained calm and worked his ways into rallies to turn around the match and triumph 6-4, 7-6(3). It marked his first outdoor hard-court title since the 2018 Citi Open and his first trophy of the season.

“I had to fight my way into the match, and I did well to win the first set. In the second set, when I have a chance I need to close it out against these top players because normally they won’t give you a second chance,” Zverev said. “I thought I played extremely well in the tie-break. I’m happy with how it went.”

Roland Garros, SF, Tsitsipas d. Zverev 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 4-6, 6-3
Not every match in a rivalry is a classic, but this year’s Roland Garros semi-final between Tsitsipas and Zverev was a meeting neither man will soon forget.

Tsitsipas, who had just beaten another of his rivals, Daniil Medvedev, was pushing for a place in his first major final. Zverev had recently claimed his second Mutua Madrid Open title and was keen to advance to his second championship match at a Slam. The stakes had never been higher in their rivalry.

Despite his slip in Acapulco, Tsitsipas eased to a two-set lead. But Zverev took advantage of a small lapse at the start of the third set and in a flash he had a 0/40 advantage on Tsitsipas’ serve in the first game of the fifth set. A break in that moment could have been a backbreaker — especially mentally — for the 2019 Nitto ATP Finals champion. But Tsitsipas still believed, clawed back to hold his serve and wrestled back the momentum to emerge victorious 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 4-6, 6-3. After the match, he was clearly emotional.

“I felt the crowd with me, they were cheering me and giving me their energy. I still felt that there was hope and a chance to fight back,” Tsitsipas said. “The only thing I could do is fight. It was very emotional and this wins means a lot. It’s the most important one of my career so far.”

In his first major final, Tsitsipas took a two-set lead against Novak Djokovic before succumbing in five sets.

Photo Credit: Julian Finney/Getty Images
Western & Southern Open, SF, Zverev d. Tsitsipas 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(4)
Zverev was as confident as ever ahead of the Cincinnati semi-finals following his gold medal win at the Tokyo Olympics. Carrying a nine-match winning streak, the German was feeling good at the ATP Masters 1000 event.

But in a match that featured its share of interesting moments, he had to dig deep to earn another win against Tsitsipas. Zverev was at his aggressive best to take the first set, and the German immediately broke to start the second set.

The Greek turned the match around with his powerful game and won the second set before sprinting to a 4-1 lead in the decider. When Zverev briefly walked into the tunnel after appearing ill, Tsitsipas looked in control. But Sascha recovered physically to triumph 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(4) and he would defeat Andrey Rublev for his fifth Masters 1000 crown.

“I didn’t feel well,” Zverev said. “In the middle of the second set I felt low energy and my stomach wasn’t great. I broke him at 4-2 in the third and went outside the court and did my thing. I started to feel better, the doctor came out and gave me a little medicine and my stomach started to calm down a little. The energy came back but I think that was also adrenaline.”

Tsitsipas vs. Zverev In 2021

 Event  Surface  Round  Winner  Score
 Abierto Mexicano Telcel presentado por HSBC  Hard  F  Zverev  6-4, 7-6(3)
 Roland Garros  Clay  SF  Tsitsipas  6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 4-6, 6-3
 Western & Southern Open  Hard  SF  Zverev  6-4, 3-6, 7-6(4)

Best of 2021 Rivalries
Novak Djokovic vs. Daniil Medvedev
Daniil Medvedev vs. Alexander Zverev
Novak Djokovic vs. Alexander Zverev

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Nadal To Return At Melbourne ATP 250

  • Posted: Dec 10, 2021

Rafael Nadal is poised to make his return from a foot injury at an ATP 250 in Melbourne that will begin on 4 January.

The Spaniard leads a strong field that also includes former World No. 4 Kei Nishikori, former World No. 5 Kevin Anderson and 2017 Nitto ATP Finals champion Grigor Dimitrov.

Nadal has not competed since this year’s Citi Open, where he lost against Lloyd Harris in the Round of 16. The Spanish superstar is No. 6 in the FedEx ATP Rankings.

Other players entered in the event include big-serving American Reilly Opelka, Kazakhstani standout Alexander Bublik and US Open quarter-finalist Botic van de Zandschulp.

During the same week, French star Gael Monfils will lead the way at an ATP 250 in Adelaide, which will also feature former World No. 3 Marin Cilic.

There will be plenty of young stars in action at the Adelaide tournament, including #NextGenATP Italian Lorenzo Musetti and Americans Sebastian Korda, Tommy Paul and Frances Tiafoe.

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Western & Southern Financial Group Extends Title Sponsorship In Cincinnati

  • Posted: Dec 10, 2021

Cincinnati’s Western & Southern Financial Group has extended its title sponsorship of the Western & Southern Open for an additional three years.

The partnership is the longest active naming rights agreement for a professional tennis tournament in North America. This past August was the 20th edition of the tournament, with Western & Southern as the title sponsor.

“We are honoured to continue our support for world-class tennis in Cincinnati,” said John F. Barrett, Chairman, President and CEO of the Western & Southern Financial Group. “This wonderful tournament is both a living tribute to Cincinnati’s rich history and an important part of its bright future.”

As part of this renewal, the Western & Southern Open will feature digital back walls in 2022, which have not previously been used at a combined ATP and WTA event in North America. The LED back walls will create a wraparound effect in conjunction with the digital side walls that have been used since 2017. In addition, LED digital signage has been used at the tournament for the net judge box since 2018 and on the umpire’s chair since 2019.

The Western & Southern Open features an ATP Masters 1000 as well as a WTA 1000 tournament in the same week at the same venue, making it one of five events to host concurrent top tier tour tournaments along with Indian Wells, Calif., Madrid, Miami and Rome.

“The decades-long support from Western & Southern Financial Group has afforded us the opportunity to grow the Western & Southern Open into one of the premier events on the tennis calendar,” said Katie Haas, COO of the Western & Southern Open. “Our partnership with Western & Southern has been critical in allowing us to showcase Cincinnati to a global audience and we look forward to continuing this relationship for years to come.”

Since becoming a single-week tournament featuring both tours in 2011, the Western & Southern Open has attracted more than 1.8 million spectators, including ticket buyers who have traveled to Cincinnati from all 50 states and more than 35 countries. International broadcast agreements deliver coverage to more than 50 million viewers in over 160 countries.

Locally, through its partnership with Tennis for Charity, the tournament has contributed more than $11 million to community initiatives, including Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, the UC Health Barrett Cancer Center and Tennis for City Youth.

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