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From around the world

Captain Felix Leads From The Front

  • Posted: Dec 31, 2021

Felix Auger-Aliassime says Team Canada is “pumped to start the year well” as they prepare for their opening ATP Cup tie with the United States on Sunday.

The 21-year-old is stepping up as captain for this ATP Cup campaign, but the World No. 11 says he doesn’t expect anything too different from this additional responsibility. “Not much is going to change,” said Auger-Aliassime. “I think it’s similar to team events we have had before.”

“I will be watching Denis’ [Shapovalov] matches, but when the time comes to prepare for mine, I will. That’s the best we can do, just focus on what individually we have to do and try to win every match we play. I love this event…I think it’s good for the sport and it’s good for us players to start the year this way.”

Auger-Aliassime will certainly have his hands full on the singles court in Sydney, where he is due to face World No. 23 Taylor Fritz, followed by No. 12-ranked Cameron Norrie of Great Britain and World No. 3 Alexander Zverev, who ended 2021 with the Nitto ATP Finals crown.

World No. 14 Denis Shapovalov made waves at the inaugural ATP Cup in 2020, beating Stefanos Tsitsipas and Zverev to ensure Canada made it through the group stage. He then pushed Novak Djokovic to a final-set tie-break in a thrilling quarter-final rubber.

Alongside his well-known singles prowess, Shapovalov plays doubles frequently on the ATP tour, something he believes can make a difference in close ties this year. “Doubles is pretty important in these events,” said Shapovalov. “Obviously, it’s the decider. So, it’s great to have three, four guys that can play doubles and play really well.

“Playing throughout the year helps a lot, but we’ve got great players, and everyone can play doubles. I think we’ve got a lot of variety on the team.”

Brayden Schnur and Steven Diez will also be looking to make an impact at the opening event of the year. World No. 238 Schnur is hoping to use his time in Sydney as a launchpad for his 2022 season.

“I just feel it could be great preparation for me heading into the year, and any opportunity I get to spend time with these guys and be around them,” said Schnur. “I mean, this is the next generation of top players, so I’m so grateful for the opportunity and just eager to just keep improving myself.”

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Hewitt On Australia: 'The Boys Will Be Ready To Go'

  • Posted: Dec 31, 2021

Former World No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt says that Team Australia are ready to embrace strong home support at the ATP Cup in its quest to beat Russia, Italy and France in Group B.

“To get out there, especially on Ken Rosewall Arena now with the roof, it’s going to be a great atmosphere for these boys”, said Hewitt, who is Australia’s captain for the third straight year. “I think it’s a great opportunity for these guys to represent and wear the green and gold proudly in their background.”

Australia face a tough task, with an opening tie on Sunday against Italy spearheaded by World No. 7 Matteo Berrettini and No. 10-ranked Jannik Sinner. The hosts bring no little firepower of their own, however, with Alex de Minaur as the No. 1 singles player, who has a high-level trio of opponents lined up in the shape of Berrettini, World No. 2 Daniil Medvedev and the No. 35-ranked Frenchman Ugo Humbert. The World No. 34 sees it as an opportunity to start his season with a bang.

“I think this is the beauty of the ATP Cup at the start of the year,” said De Minaur. “I’ve experienced it before, and it’s a great way to kind of see where I’m at. These are the kind of matches I want to be playing. It’s a great challenge for me, which I’m looking forward to.”

Also hailing from Sydney, James Duckworth admitted he couldn’t have envisaged making the Australian roster a year ago. “I didn’t think I’d be here, but I had a pretty good year and I’ve been really happy with how I played,” said Duckworth, who broke into the Top 50 of the ATP Rankings in 2021. “I’m really looking forward to getting out and playing.”

John Peers, Max Purcell and Luke Saville are also vying for a doubles spot. World No. 13 Peers believes the ATP Cup format emphasised the importance of doubles, saying, “It’s always great. Any time you get to play a live match where it counts for the team is huge. We’re not just playing for ourselves now. We’re playing for the country.”

Regardless of what happens, Hewitt expects an entertaining spectacle for fans. “I was so impressed the first year with the crowds here in Australia, and it wasn’t just the Australian matches,” said Hewitt. “Every single country has one standout elite player, no matter the depth of their team. I think the Australian crowds really enjoy coming out and seeing that calibre of players on our shores.”

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Garin On ATP Cup: ‘Tennis Needs More Tournaments Like This’

  • Posted: Dec 31, 2021

Having competed in the first two editions of ATP Cup, Team Chile is raring to go in the ATP Tour’s tournament of nations. As well as having the responsibility of playing the event’s opening tie, the South American team’s No. 1 player Cristian Garin is in the Top 20 of the ATP Rankings and riding a wave of confidence. “I’m more motivated than before. I hope this will be a different year for me,” Garin tells

The 25-year-old certainly has reason to be confident. Apart from currently being ranked at a career-high No. 17, Garin is feeling rejuvenated after a one-month preseason that helped him recover from injuries to his right arm [shoulder and biceps], and to reinvent himself with a new team behind him led by his compatriot and former World No. 167 Jorge Aguilar and the Argentinian Mariano Puerta.

“I finished last year with an injury [Garin has not competed since playing in Antwerp in October], and it was difficult, but luckily I made a good recovery,” Garin said. “We made changes to the staff and I’m very happy with the month we had together. It helped me, above all, to find motivation. And now I feel like I’m playing very well, which is the thing I care most about along with looking after myself physically in order to avoid injuries.”

In his first tournament on the ATP Tour in 2022, the five-time tour-level titlist will be representing his country Chile, who play its opener on 1 January against Team Spain in Sydney.

“Having the opportunity to compete at the top for your country is really amazing,” Garin said. “I really like playing in tournaments like this, with the best in the world and so many innovations. I love being able to compete at such an important event. Tennis needs more tournaments like this.”

The first battle of the tie against Spain will see Alejandro Tabilo take on Pablo Carreno Busta. Then comes Garin’s turn, in the same Ken Rosewall Arena, where he will face Roberto Bautista Agut, against whom he trails 0-1 in their ATP Head2Head series. However, it will be their first clash on hard court.

“Spain is a very tough opponent. But there are no easy opponents at this ATP Cup,” warns Garin, fully aware that Chile also plays Serbia and Norway in Group A. Even so, there is hope in the South American team of reaching the semi-finals.

“Even though it will be difficult, we have a chance of getting through,” Garin added. “We have a great team, and I’ve been training really well for a month. Maybe the first matches will be hard, but I’m feeling good, and it’s a question of adapting on the fly.”

The ATP Cup will be Garin’s first tournament since the middle of October. A reborn Garin feels ready for responsibility on his shoulders, saying: “I really can’t wait to start feeling the atmosphere of a tournament and competition again.”

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Medvedev Thriving Under Pressure As Russia Aims To Defend ATP Cup Title

  • Posted: Dec 31, 2021

Daniil Medvedev says he is enjoying the good feeling that currently surrounds Russian tennis, as he leads his nation into the 2022 ATP Cup.

“Last year was amazing for Russian tennis in general…and I think that’s what can, again, help us a lot this week because everybody is expecting us to do well,” Medvedev said. “I mean, usually, you know, I like this kind of pressure. It makes you play better.”

The World No. 2, who holds an impressive 8-1 record in ATP Cup singles, spoke positively at Russia’s pre-tournament press conference, while acknowledging the challenge that lies ahead in Sydney.

“It’s never easy to start the season,” Medvedev added. “Out of three matches only one team comes out of the group, so you need to win as many matches as possible. Ask yourself as few questions as possible, just try to win matches.”

Team Russia received a late boost with the appointment of Gilles Cervara as team captain, who described it as “a great honour and experience for me to be the captain of the team.” They start its Group B campaign against Cervara’s native France on Sunday, before ties against home favourites Australia and Matteo Berrettini-led Italy.

On the playing roster, the late withdrawals of Andrey Rublev, Aslan Karatsev and Evgeny Donskoy have dealt a blow to Russia’s title defence, but this has been countered with the call up of Roman Safiullin (World No. 167) and Evgeny Karlovskiy (World No. 269).

Safiullin in particular has fond memories of playing Down Under, winning the Australian Open Junior Crown in 2015: “For myself I’m not expecting anything. I just will do the best I can do here and at Australian Open quallies.”

Safiullin is no stranger to Medvedev either, who spoke of his past meetings with his new teammate: “He was super tough to beat in juniors. I don’t think we’ve ever played as professionals, but when I knew that Roman was in my draw in juniors, I was shaking. We played a lot of finals, semi-finals, a lot of matches, some were like three-hour, three-set matches. A lot of fun.”

The team will be hoping this familiarity pays off on the doubles court, with lead player Medvedev ready to step into a deciding rubber, should he be called upon. “I practiced two times with Roman these last few days,” Medvedev said. “We actually played quite well, trying to talk our way through. Of course, it’s never easy. I think what is good that we are going to have three opportunities.

“I feel a lot of confidence coming into this year, and I am going to play really strong guys already in the group stage. I just want to try to win my match and get the point for the team.”

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Casper Ruud: Mr. 'Fjordhand' Loves The Midnight Sun

  • Posted: Dec 31, 2021

Casper Ruud will make his second ATP Cup appearance this week as he leads Norway at the 16-team event in Sydney.

The 23-year-old, who earned wins against John Isner and Fabio Fognini on his tournament debut in 2020, arrives in Australia following a standout 2021 season, in which he won five tour-level titles.

Ahead of his opening Group A match against Serbia’s Dusan Lajovic, Ruud spoke to about team dynamics, his earliest tennis memories and more.

If you could take one shot from any member of your team and add it to your game what would it be?
I think our number two player Viktor [Durasovic] has a very good return of serve, so when we practise, it always amazes me how well he can return the ball. I feel I can serve well but he just slaps them back, so that is one shot I envy him for.

Who on the team would most likely be late for practice or a team dinner?
It is a very easy answer, it is Lukas [Hellum-Lilleengen]. He is always late; we tell him but he never learns.

What countryman inspired you when you were younger to get into tennis?
I think my father is an obvious choice. But I never got to watch him on Tour because I was too young and he retired too early for me to have any memories of him on Tour.

When I grew up it was mostly winter sports athletes that were dominating a little bit in the sports world in Norway. We have an alpine skier, who I didn’t look up to with my tennis, but as a good athlete and nice person. His name is Aksel Lund Svindal. He just retired a couple of years ago and I have met him and played tennis with him and he is a really nice guy. He shows a little bit of what Norway is about with his attitude and aura is very nice.

Tell me about your first tennis club in Norway?
My first tennis club was a nice one. Quite a small one a little bit outside Oslo where I grew up. It is close to the sea, so it can get windy at times and I think that experience helps me to this day dealing with the wind. We had five outdoor clay courts and five indoor hard courts.

I played inside the bubble, which was quite cold in the winter because sometimes the heating pump didn’t work, so it was quite cold some days. I don’t miss those practices.

It was easier in the summer because we had more courts. But indoors it was three courts inside this bubble and it was freezing. You had this big echo, which was a good thing because you feel like you hit the ball so hard. Even when I was young I got that echo going.

Three things you love about Norway?
It is my home; it is where I grew up. The people are nice and the food is great. We are a small country of only five million people, so it is nice where I grew up that everyone knows each other. It is calm. I enjoy living in a country that has four seasons: winter, spring, summer and fall.

I always recommend people to come in the summer because it is beautiful when you can go to the coast and you go to the fjords and also up north you have the midnight sun when the sun never goes down. It is about to go down and then changes and comes up again, so you never have complete dark in the north, so that is quite fun to experience.

On the fjords and west coast of Norway, I have never been able to go myself. But I need to do it at some time, it is just tennis has been everything since I was young and I never had the time. After my career, I will probably go on more trips in my country.

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Five Things That Matter On ATP Cup Day 1

  • Posted: Dec 31, 2021

The 2022 ATP Tour season is about to begin. Across nine days and 27 ties, 16 countries will battle to become ATP Cup champion. Will Italy go one step further than last year and lift the trophy? Or will one of the remaining 15 nations take the title?

Here are the five things that matter most ahead of Day 1 at the 2022 ATP Cup.

Top 10 Stars Meet
Greece and Poland will clash during the night session on Qudos Bank Arena and the captains – Apostolos Tsitsipas and Marcin Matkowski – realise the importance of the Group D tie. Tsitsipas admitted, “I think Poland has a good team, and we have also a good team and we are ready for that.” Matkowski said, “It’s a tough task to play against Greece, but I think our team is much better than we were two years ago. We are more experienced, and all the guys are looking forward to the match. It won’t be easy, but we are confident if we are playing our best we can win this one.”

The standout clash on Saturday will see World No. 4 Stefanos Tsitsipas take on No. 9-ranked Hubert Hurkacz in the No, 1 singles match. While Tsitsipas leads 6-2 in their ATP Head2Head, Hurkacz snapped a three-match losing streak against the Greek with a 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 quarter-final victory en route to the Miami Open presented by Itau crown in April 2021.

Ruud’s Rapid Rise
At the inaugural ATP Cup in January 2020, Casper Ruud showcased his growing potential with singles wins over Fabio Fognini and John Isner, prior to a hard-fought loss to Daniil Medvedev. “We were underdogs in every match we played,” said Ruud on Thursday. “I was able to get two good wins in Perth, which was kind of the beginning of a good year for me. [It was] definitely a lot of fun.”

It was the beginning of his rise from No. 54 in the ATP Rankings to his current high of No. 8, achieved in October last year, when Ruud recorded a career-best 57 match wins and won five ATP Tour titles. In Sydney on Saturday, Norway opens its Group A campaign against defending champion Serbia with 23-year-old Ruud looking to extend his perfect 2-0 record against Dusan Lajovic.

Spain Looks For Early Momentum
Roberto Bautista Agut and Pablo Carreno Busta are both competing at the ATP Cup for the third straight year and are keen to go one step better than in 2020, when both players helped Spain reach the ATP Cup final. Last year, the team reached the semi-finals and Bautista Agut, who has a 7-2 record in singles matches in the tournament, realises the importance of getting off to a good start on Saturday against Chile in Group A. “I think we have to be very focused in our three points,” Bautista Agut said. “I feel I [am] practising well [and] I did a great job at home. I think I can play a good ATP Cup. I think we have a very complete team. We are all good players.”

Carreno Busta, who made his ATP Cup singles debut last year, opens singles play against Alejandro Tabilo of Chile. World No. 19 Bautista Agut will then face No. 17-ranked Cristian Garin, hoping to replicate his 7-5(5), 6-3 victory in May 2021 at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome.

Schwartzman Motivation
Diego Schwartzman leads Argentina for the third straight year and will be hoping to improve upon his 2-3 record at the ATP Cup when he meets Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia in the No. 1singles in the Group D clash. Federico Delbonis will make his tournament debut against Aleksandre Metreveli in the first match.

With two singles and a doubles making up each tie, it may go down to the wire. At the inaugural ATP Cup, 14 ties were decided by doubles matches and last year seven of the 15 ties resulted in nail-biting victories. While team captains are able to change their doubles line ups, Argentina could field 38-year-old Maximo Gonzalez – a winner of 11 ATP Tour doubles titles – and eight-time team titlist Andres Molteni for a potential deciding match.

Two Sydney Venues
This year, ATP Cup matches will be played out across two venues in Sydney. The Ken Rosewall Arena, named after the great Australian player, is the main 10,500-seater stadium at the Sydney Olympic Tennis Park Centre. While the Qudos Bank Arena, with a capacity for more than 21,000 spectators, is a 15-minute walk away at Sydney Olympic Park, developed for the 2000 Olympic Games. Both arenas will play host to 12 group ties across the first six days, before the semi-finals and final on Ken Rosewall Arena over the final three days.


KEN ROSEWALL ARENA start 10:00 am
Group A – Chile v Spain, Day Session
A. Tabilo (CHI) vs P. Carreno Busta (ESP)
C. Garin (CHI) vs R. Bautista Agut (ESP)
Subject to change – T. Barrios Vera (CHI) / A. Tabilo (CHI) vs A. Davidovich Fokina (ESP) / P. Martinez (ESP)


Start 5:30 pm
Group A – Serbia v Norway, Night Session
F. Krajinovic (SRB) vs V. Durasovic (NOR)
Not Before 7:00 pm
D. Lajovic (SRB) vs C. Ruud (NOR)
Subject to change – N. Cacic (SRB) / M. Sabanov (SRB) vs V. Durasovic (NOR) / C. Ruud (NOR)

QUDOS BANK ARENA start 10:00 am
Group D – Argentina v Georgia, Day Session
F. Delbonis (ARG) vs A. Metreveli (GEO)
D. Schwartzman (ARG) vs N. Basilashvili (GEO)
Subject to change – M. Gonzalez (ARG) / A. Molteni (ARG) vs A. Bakshi (GEO) / A. Metreveli (GEO)

Start 5:30 pm
Group D – Greece v Poland, Night Session
M. Pervolarakis (GRE) vs K. Majchrzak (POL)
Not Before 7:00 pm
S. Tsitsipas (GRE) vs H. Hurkacz (POL)
Subject to change – M. Pervolarakis (GRE) / S. Tsitsipas (GRE) vs S. Walkow (POL) / J. Zielinski (POL)

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Scouting Report: Medvedev Leads Russia At ATP Cup, Nadal Back In Action

  • Posted: Dec 31, 2021

The ATP Tour begins the season with a packed schedule in Australia to kick off 2022. The top stars will compete across three events, with the ATP Cup and two ATP 250 events in Week One.

At the ATP Cup, 16 countries will face off for the title, with the four group winners advancing to the semi-finals. Top 10 stars Daniil Medvedev, Alexander Zverev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Matteo Berrettini, Casper Ruud and Hubert Hurkacz lead their countries in Sydney.

Rafael Nadal headlines the field at the Melbourne Summer Set, and Gael Monfils and Sebastian Korda feature at the Adelaide International 1.

1) Defending Champion: Russia will aim to retain its trophy this year at the third edition of the ATP Cup. The 2021 champion went 4-0 last year and will once again be led by World No. 2 Daniil Medvedev.

The 25-year-old, who is joined by Roman Safiullin and Evgeny Karlovskiy, holds an 8-1 singles record at the tournament, with his only defeat coming against Novak Djokovic in 2020. Russia will have to overcome tough competition in Sydney against home country Australia, France and Italy in Group B.

2) Italian Power: Italy reached the final at the ATP Cup in 2021 and the European country is in a strong position to enjoy another deep run this year. Ttwo Top 10 stars — World No. 7 Matteo Berrettini and 20-year-old Jannik Sinner, who cracked the Top 10 in the FedEx ATP Rankings for the first time in November — will provide tough opposition in the singles.

Berrettini won three of his four matches at the event last season, earning victories against Dominic Thiem, Gael Monfils and Roberto Bautista Agut. Sinner and Lorenzo Sonego will make their ATP Cup debuts, while veterans Simone Bolelli and Fabio Fognini return.

3) Tsitsipas, Zverev & Ruud Lead Their Nations: Stefanos Tsitsipas, Alexander Zverev and Casper Ruud enjoyed strong 2021 seasons, winning 13 tour-level titles between them. Zverev captured the Nitto ATP Finals crown in November and will aim to carry his momentum into the ATP Cup. The 24-year-old leads Germany in Group C and will face Cameron Norrie (Great Britain), Felix Auger-Aliassime (Canada) and Taylor Fritz (United States) in singles action.

Tsitsipas is making his third appearance for Greece at the ATP Cup and will play World No. 9 Hubert Hurkacz (Poland), Diego Schwartzman (Argentina) and Nikoloz Basilashvili (Georgia) in Group D. Ruud won five tour-level titles last year and reached the semi-finals at the Nitto ATP Finals. The 23-year-old went 2-1 at the ATP Cup in 2021 and will lead Norway against Chile, Serbia and Spain in Group A.

4) Decisive Doubles: At the ATP Cup, an experienced doubles team is vital if you want to have a title run in Sydney. Last year, seven of the 15 ties were won in the deciding doubles match.

This year’s tournament will feature some of the leading doubles stars on the ATP Tour. Great Britain will call on Toronto and US Open champion Joe Salisbury and former World No. 1 Jamie Murray, while Germany will look to Kevin Krawietz and Tim Puetz. The United States will utilise the experience of Rajeev Ram, who has won 22 tour-level titles.  

1) Nadal Is Back: Spaniard Rafael Nadal will return to action for the first time since playing at the Citi Open in August when he competes at the Melbourne Summer Set. The 35-year-old is the top seed at the ATP 250 event and will be aiming to add to his 88 tour-level titles when he takes to court.

Photo Credit: Mitchell Layton/Getty Images
2) Headline Acts: In a stacked field, two-time tour-level titlist Reilly Opelka, World No. 28 Grigor Dimitrov and South Africa’s Lloyd Harris will all battle for the trophy. Opelka reached his first ATP Masters 1000 final in Toronto last year, while Dimitrov enjoyed a run to the last four in Indian Wells.

After a standout season, Harris arrives in Melbourne at a career-high No. 31 in the ATP Rankings. The 24-year-old reached the championship match in Dubai last year and advanced to the semi-finals in Antwerp.

3) Goffin & Anderson Bring Experience: David Goffin and Kevin Anderson have both enjoyed long stints inside the Top 10, with Goffin climbing to No. 7, while Anderson cracked the top five. Current World No. 39 Goffin earned his fifth tour-level title in Montpellier last season, but has not competed since the US Open.

Former Wimbledon finalist Anderson returned to the winners’ circle for the first time since 2019 when he triumphed in Newport in July.

1) Monfils Leads The Way: Gael Monfils will make his debut at the ATP 250 in Adelaide and will look to clinch his first tour-level title since 2020 when he triumphed in Rotterdam. The 35-year-old, who reached the final in Sofia last year, will return to action for the first time since competing on home soil at the Rolex Paris Masters in November.

2) American Charge: Sebastian Korda rose from outside the Top 100 in the ATP Rankings to a career-high No. 38 in October in 2021. The 21-year-old won his first tour-level title in Parma last season and finished the year strongly by enjoying a run to the championship match at the Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals. He will be aiming to continue his momentum in Adelaide.

Countryman Frances Tiafoe also made waves on the ATP Tour last year, with Tiafoe reaching the final in Vienna. The 23-year-old will compete at the ATP 250 event in Adelaide for the first time.

3) Tournament Standouts Return: Russia’s Karen Khachanov reached the semi-finals of the event last year when it was temporarily moved to Melbourne due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 29-year-old will be targeting a deeper run in 2022. Tommy Paul, who was a semi-finalist at the inaugural edition of the event in 2020, earned his maiden tour-level title in Stockholm in November in his final tournament of the season.

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