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Tsitsipas' Greek Grounding Key To His Success

  • Posted: Jan 02, 2022

Stefanos Tsitsipas is representing Team Greece at ATP Cup for a third consecutive year this week in Sydney and will be hoping to guide his country out of the group stage for the first time. 

Ahead of competing in his opening singles match Monday, the World No. 4 spoke to about Greece’s team dynamics, his love of Greek food and more.

If you could take a shot from one of your teammates and add it to your game, what would it be?
Michail’s [Pervolarakis] return. Both backhand and forehand.

Which member of your team would most likely be late for dinner or practice?
Markos Kalovelonis. He is just really laid back. Very chilled and he takes life very easy and at a slow pace.

Can you describe the personality of your teammates in a few words?
I would describe all of us as pretty shy. We are pretty open with each other but I would define Michail’s personality as very low-key, not extremely social but he feels comfortable around people he knows for a long time. Markos, pretty much the same. We have a new member of the team, Aristotelis Thanos, who is probably the shyest of them all. He barely talks to us. He is a nice kid. My brother is the most outgoing of us all.

Talk about the first tennis club you played at in Greece?
Tennis club Glyfada, located about 15 minutes from where I lived. We only had clay courts and I grew up playing on the clay courts there. I picked up tennis pretty early at the age of six. I had two coaches that taught me the game I very much love up to this day and I am still in touch with them. All outdoor courts. The weather in Greece is very good and even in winter time we are still able to play outdoors.

What do you remember about those early days?
I remember finishing with practice and my parents would be very late to pick me up, like a couple of hours and I would stay and play on the wall for hours, recreating a Wimbledon or Roland Garros title playing against that wall. Thinking about it now, I have come a long way.

I remember next to the tennis club there were neighbours and it was a residential area and I was creating a lot of noise when playing against the wall and people didn’t like that. But I kept playing.

When I first started I was very shy and I am also very privileged. I got really lucky with my first coach as he really made me love the sport even more than I did back then and he was really good with kids and I only realise it now.

Where would you tell people to visit in Greece?
My top three destinations in Greece would be Paxi Islands in the Ionian sea. Crete Island, where culture was first discovered. There are plenty of things to do in Crete. I would recommend the place of my birth, which is very rich in tourism and one of the top destinations in the south-western part of Athens.

What about Greek food?

Any Greek food you try will not leave you disappointed. We have plenty of dishes, seafood, meat. We have many vegetarian options. We have one of the best cuisines in the world.

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Five Things That Matter On ATP Cup Day 3

  • Posted: Jan 02, 2022

The ATP Cup will heat up on Day 3 with Serbia, Spain, Argentina and Poland seeking their second group wins in Sydney. Stefanos Tsitsipas, Casper Ruud, Hubert Hurkacz, Diego Schwartzman and Roberto Bautista Agut are the leading singles players in action on Ken Rosewall Arena or Qudos Bank Arena.

Here are the five things that matter most ahead of Day 3 at the ATP Cup.

Tsitsipas vs. Schwartzman
Argentina will attempt to replicate the form that helped the team to a 3-0 win over Georgia on Sunday. While World No. 44 Federico Delbonis begins the night-session Group D tie against Michail Pervolarakis of Greece, all eyes will be on scheduled No. 1 match between Tsitsipas and Schwartzman in their first meeting for almost four years.

The questions is: Will Tsitsipas’ right elbow, which he has struggled with since November, hold up? The World No. 4 did not play Pole Hurkacz two days ago, but joined Pervolarakis to win the doubles match. Schwartzman got the better of Tsitsipas 6-3, 7-5 in the 2017 Antwerp semi-finals, but lost 6-2, 6-1 in Barcelona in April 2018.

Garin’s Flashback
Two years ago, Serbia ran out 2-1 victors over Chile. Four players — Dusan Lajovic and Nikola Cacic of Serbia and Chile’s Cristian Garin and Alejandro Tabilo — were part of that tie in Brisbane, and feature in their teams this year. Incredibly, eight years ago, Garin became the fifth player aged 16 or under since 2000, to win an ATP Tour match when he beat Lajovic in the Vina del Mar first round. A few months later, he went on to capture the Roland Garros junior title.

On Day 3 in Sydney, the players meet again. Filip Krajinovic, who won two matches for Serbia to ensure a 2-1 victory over Norway on Sunday, will begin the Group A tie against Tabilo on Qudos Bank Arena.

Metreveli’s Journey Back
Aleksandre Metreveli, the grandson of 1973 Wimbledon finalist Alex Metreveli, who represented Georgia at the 2020 ATP Cup in Brisbane, has much to be thankful for when he plays World No. 9 Hurkacz of Poland in Group D on Ken Rosewall Arena. Five years ago, Metreveli broke both of his legs in a car accident, and was told he wouldn’t be able to run – let alone play tennis.

Speaking to, Metreveli revealed, “I was laying in a bed, on my back, in my parents house in one position for four-and-a-half months. I then went to Turkey and had four more surgeries. I started to walk on crutches for four months and then rehabilitation, running, jogging and stretching. I played for 15 minutes around 14 months after the accident, not running, but standing and hitting, and I was super happy that day. I still remember that day, with my family. It was a big day for us, We hit for 20-25 minutes with my coach, then I wanted to play more.”

Will Norway Shock Spain?
Two years ago, on 3 January, Norway sent shockwaves through the ATP Cup in Brisbane with victory over the United States on Day 1. Ruud proved to be the inspiration, with a 6-7(3), 7-6(10), 7-5 win over John Isner before joining forces with Viktor Durasovic in the deciding doubles match. Ruud, of course, is No. 8 in the ATP Rankings after a career-best 2021 season of 57 match wins and five ATP Tour titles.

Can Ruud and Durasovic combine to beat Spain? Durasovic will open the Group A tie against Pablo Carreno Busta on Qudos Bank Arena, before World No. 19 Bautista Agut — with an 8-2 singles record at ATP Cup — comes up against Ruud, who he beat 6-4, 6-3 in the 2018 Munich second round. Bautista Agut, one of the ATP Tour’s most versatile performers, has won 15 matches against Top 10 opponents.

Players Make Most Of Team Zone
At each changeover, there’s already plenty of strategy, tactical discussions and banter in the ATP Cup Team Zone. Daniel Evans admitted, after his victory over Jan-Lennard Struff on Sunday, that Team Great Britain had been joking how captain Liam Broady had barely said a word. Greek captain Apostolos Tsitsipas checked the Team Zone tablet to highlight different plays with Pervolarakis and Aristotelis Thanos against Poland, while Taylor Fritz was in constant dialogue with United States captain Michael Russell in his hard-fought victory over Felix-Auger-Aliassime of Canada.

Russell told, “It’s a unique experience, but I’ve enjoyed it. I think it’s great. I’d love to see it in more events, where there is more on-court coaching or on-court involvement between the player and coach or team member.”


KEN ROSEWALL ARENA start 10:00 am
Group D – Poland v Georgia, Day Session
K. Majchrzak (POL) vs A. Bakshi (GEO)
H. Hurkacz (POL) vs A. Metreveli (GEO)
Subject to change – S. Walkow (POL) / J. Zielinski (POL) vs A. Bakshi (GEO) / A. Metreveli (GEO)

Start 5:30 pm
Group D – Greece v Argentina, Night Session
M. Pervolarakis (GRE) vs F. Delbonis (ARG)

Not Before 7:00 pm
S. Tsitsipas (GRE) vs D. Schwartzman (ARG)
Subject to change – M. Pervolarakis (GRE) / S. Tsitsipas (GRE) vs M. Gonzalez (ARG) / A. Molteni (ARG)

QUDOS BANK ARENA start 10:00 am
Group A – Norway v Spain, Day Session
V. Durasovic (NOR) vs P. Carreno Busta (ESP)
C. Ruud (NOR) vs R. Bautista Agut (ESP)
Subject to change – V. Durasovic (NOR) / C. Ruud (NOR) vs A. Davidovich Fokina (ESP) / P. Martinez (ESP)

Start 5:30 pm
Group A – Serbia v Chile, Night Session
F. Krajinovic (SRB) vs A. Tabilo (CHI)

Not Before 7:00 pm
D. Lajovic (SRB) vs C. Garin (CHI)
Subject to change – N. Cacic (SRB) / M. Sabanov (SRB) vs T. Barrios Vera (CHI) / A. Tabilo (CHI)

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Schwartzman Inspired By Argentina's Golden Generation

  • Posted: Jan 02, 2022

Diego Schwartzman is making his third ATP Cup appearance this week in Sydney, leading Team Argentina in Group D at the 16-team event.

The 29-year-old, who triumphed against Nikoloz Basilashvili in his first match at the tournament this week, spoke to about what places he loves in Argentina, who inspired him and much more.

If you could take one shot from any member of your team and add it to your game what would it be?
Good question, I think not a shot, but Delbonis’ size. Some extra centimetres for me should be okay.

Who on the team would most likely be late for practice or a team dinner?
Maybe me. I’m a relaxed guy, so, I mean, sometimes I go to the places five or 10 minutes late. You know, I’m doing something else or taking a coffee, or talking with someone and It’s difficult to arrive on time.

Can you describe the personality of the other players in the team?
Everyone is very similar, we know each other since we are young. [Andres] Molteni is the funniest guy in the team, he’s always joking, always smiling. Then Machi [Maximo Gonzalez], I think he has the experience, you know? He is the old guy in the team.

Federico Coria was the fifth player, but he’s not here, but he is obviously very funny, same age as me. I think he’s one of my best friends on tour, and then Delbonis, same thing, we know each other since we are 10 years old so we have a very good relationship.

We share a lot, and I think everyone is funny and everyone is always smiling and we have a very good relationship, so we have a very good team.

Which Argentine players inspired you to play tennis when you were young?
Well, everyone. When I was young we had Nalbandian, Coria, Gaudio, Chela, Zabaleta, Monaco; everyone was playing. We had five to 10 guys at the same time. Not many countries can say that, perhaps Spain or France.

Can you describe the first tennis club that you played tennis at?
I started playing as a child for 30 minutes or one hour at Club Nautico Hacoaj in Buenos Aires. It’s one of the biggest clubs in South America with 30 courts.

Now they put the name of the centre court as Diego Schwartzman, so it was a very nice moment a few weeks ago. And I started playing there. Then I moved to an academy in the capital and a few years after I started my professional career.

Tell me three things you love about your country?
Everything! The social… sharing, how we share everything. The asado…: the steak barbeque. And…mate, the drink.

Where would you recommend a tourist visit?
Well, I love my country. We are a very big country and you have different styles. If you like the south – the mountains, the lakes, the snow – you have to go to Patagonia. I mean, Patagonia it’s one of the famous places in the world. We are very far but, if you have time you have to come. I have never seen something like this in the world. And also one big part in Chile. We share the Patagonia because los Andes are there, and it’s unbelievable.

And then in the North you have the desert. Jujuy and Salta, are unbelievable places. And then in the middle is Buenos Aires, the capital, and I live there so I love it.

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The Power Of The ATP Cup Team Zone: Fritz Fires Away

  • Posted: Jan 02, 2022

Taylor Fritz earned a big season-opening win on Sunday against Felix Auger-Aliassime at the ATP Cup. One of the perks of being at this event is he had his coach — and Team United States captain — Michael Russell by his side through the roller-coaster of his comeback against the Canadian.

Throughout the match, the broadcast feed showed Fritz and Russell chatting during changeovers about match strategy, tactics and more in their country’s Team Zone. Not a changeover went by that Fritz was not throwing an idea or question at the former World No. 60.

“It was great. It was a lot of fun. It’s great having the whole team there in the zone so we could all talk to each other and being able to communicate with the player and then having stats available if you need it,” Russell said. “It’s a unique experience, but I’ve enjoyed it. I think it’s great. I’d love to see it in more events, where there is more on-court coaching or on-court involvement between the player and coach or team member.”

This wasn’t the first time Fritz has shown his analytical side. At the 2018 Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals, he often queried his coach via headset.

“Taylor is very communicative, very analytical, which is a good thing and then sometimes it could be a little different, because he is so communicative,” Russell said. “He says whatever is on his mind, whatever he’s thinking and he always questions everything that I suggest, which can be good because if he doesn’t agree with it, or if it’s something that he wants to detail further, then we have an open discussion about it.

“But I appreciate that. I’d rather have more communication than less communication.”

According to Fritz, these things happen whether he has access to his coach or not.

“When I can’t talk to my coach, literally the same things are just kind of going on in my own head,” Fritz said. “But it’s nice to have someone there, because then I’ll tell them what I’m thinking and then kind of get that confirmation.”

Outside of a team event like the ATP Cup, Fritz is against on-court coaching because he feels his mind could be a weapon, just like his forehand and other parts of his game.

“I think a big part of tennis is being able to strategise and understand what’s going on in the match,” Fritz said. “I think tennis is an individual sport and I think a huge part of it is kind of doing these things and figuring it out by yourself.”

Taylor Fritz
Photo Credit: Dan Peled/Tennis Australia
The Team Zone was valuable for Fritz after he let slip four consecutive set points at 6/2 in the first-set tie-break. Russell was there to help him remain positive despite the disappointment of losing the opener.

“Obviously he was frustrated and disappointed that he didn’t win the first set. He had multiple chances being up pretty big in that tie-break,” Russell said. “But I said, ‘Look, it’s one set down and a little bit more of a challenge, but you’ve done the fitness and you’re ready. Just have a good start here and keep the energy up with positivity and have a good second set.’”

There is also a tablet in the Team Zone that allows captains and players to examine match statistics in real time. Russell said that they did not use the tablet as much during Isner’s win against Brayden Schnur, but Fritz was particularly curious about serving numbers.

“Usually during a match you don’t want to get so involved in the stats,” Russell said. “Because then you start second-guessing yourself and it’s more of the psychological factor that plays a part.”

Fritz’s victory clinched the United States’ first-ever ATP Cup win. The Americans will next play Germany on Tuesday at Ken Rosewall Arena.

“When we played in 2020, we didn’t win a match, so first win for Team USA at the ATP Cup,” Fritz said. “It feels good.”

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Medvedev Says ATP Cup Victory Among Most Emotional Of Career

  • Posted: Jan 02, 2022

Daniil Medvedev described Russia’s 2-1 victory against France on Sunday at ATP Cup as one of the most emotional days of his career as he partnered Roman Safiullin to ensure the reigning champion made a winning start in Sydney.

The World No. 2 watched Safiullin battle back to defeat Arthur Rinderknech, before the 25-year-old teamed with the World No. 167 to win the decisive doubles match, after Medvedev had lost to Ugo Humbert in a third-set tie-break in his singles rubber.

“I definitely had some emotional moments in my career, but this one would be in the top three, top five, because just look at Roman’s match,” Medvedev said in Russia’s post-match press conference. “The way he fought back after [a] tough first set where we can say he lost it quite easily, and then the way he fought back, the way he played was unreal.

“Today was really emotional. In the doubles match I had a partner close to me and [it] is different when you have somebody by your side. The emotions I felt during the match already in the doubles when we broke in the second set was unbelievable, and I think I could hold them, but I didn’t want to.”

Following the withdrawals of Andrey Rublev and Aslan Karatsev, Safiullin gained his opportunity for Team Russia and he capitalised on it, earning Russia two points in their opening Group B tie on his debut at the 16-team event.

“It was [a] great day for me,” Safiullin said. “I just won one point. The second point I share with Daniil because we both won, of course. It’s not like I brought two points and Daniil was sitting, like, ‘Come on, Roman’.”

Russia next plays Australia on Qudos Bank Arena on Tuesday.

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Melbourne Draw: Nadal, Kyrgios In Same Half; Murray In Action

  • Posted: Jan 02, 2022

Rafael Nadal makes a welcome return to the ATP Tour this week at the Melbourne Summer Set, where he has been drawn in the same half of the draw as Nick Kyrgios. Another former World No. 1, Andy Murray, also begins his 2022 campaign at the ATP 250 event that begins on Tuesday.

Spanish superstar Nadal, who has not played competitively since 5 August 2021 at the Citi Open due to a left foot injury, will challenge Marcos Giron or a qualifier in the second round. The 88-time tour-level titlist could face fourth seed David Goffin or Kyrgios in the semi-finals.

Nadal leads Goffin 4-2 in their ATP Head2Head series and the 35-year-old has a 5-3 advantage over Kyrgios, having won their past two meetings (2019 Wimbledon, 2020 Australia Open). Six of the 11 sets they have played in their past three matches, including Kyrgios victory at 2019 Acapulco, have been tie-breaks.

Kyrgios will first attempt to break a five-match losing streak in his first match since September against Alex Molcan, who lost to Novak Djokovic in last year’s Belgrade Open final.

Second seed Reilly Opelka and third seed Grigor Dimitrov feature in the bottom half of the draw, which includes fifth seed Benoit Paire, eighth seed Mackenzie McDonald, former World No. 3 Kevin Anderson and Murray.

Opelka, who reached his first ATP Masters 1000 final in Toronto last year, could face Paire, Anderson or Jaume Munar in the quarter-finals. Should Murray overcome Facundo Bagnis in the first round, he’d then challenge Dimitrov for the 12th time (Murray leads 8-3).

In a bid to get matches under his belt, Nadal is also participating in the Melbourne doubles draw with Munar. They face Australians Marc Polmans and Alexei Popyrin in the first round. Dimitrov and Goffin are also teaming up in a field led by Wesley Koolhof and Neal Skupski. Raven Klaasen and Ben McLachlan are the second seeds.

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De Minaur + Doubles = Aussie Upset Of Italy

  • Posted: Jan 02, 2022

John Peers and Luke Saville completed the Australian turnaround Sunday at ATP Cup to give the home nation lift-off in Group B in Sydney.

The pair downed Matteo Berrettini and Simone Bolelli 6-3, 7-5 to secure a 2-1 victory for Australia against Italy in front of a lively crowd that was fully engaged following Alex de Minaur’s win over Berrettini in the second singles rubber.

Peers and Saville rose to the task throughout against the Italian duo, saving a set point on serve at 4-5 in the second set as they won the last nine points of the match to triumph after 84 minutes.

Australia will next face reigning champion Russia on Tuesday, while Italy plays France, with both ties on Qudos Bank Arena.

John Peers/Luke Saville
Photo Credit: Peter Staples/ATP Tour

Earlier, home favourite De Minaur lifted the roof off Ken Rosewall Arena Sunday when he kept alive Australia’s opening tie hopes against Italy at ATP Cup.

The 22-year-old earned his fifth Top 10 win of his career as he upset World No. 7 Berrettini 6-3, 7-6(4) in Group B.

“This court brings out the best in me,” an emotional De Minaur said. Reflecting on a tough 2021, he added, “It’s not about how many times you get knocked down. It’s about how many times you get knocked down and get back up.”

The 22-year-old demonstrated great agility and grit in his first match of the season and recovered from squandering a 5-3 lead in the second set to triumph after 86 minutes, levelling their ATP Head2Head series at 1-1.

“My whole career I have had a couple of setbacks but look, I am back,” De Minaur said. “I worked really hard to be here, I am in the best shape of my life and I am ready to have a big year.”

De Minaur was impressive on return throughout, stepping inside the baseline to make good contact from Berrettini’s delivery as he dictated points with his powerful forehand.

The World No. 34, who won two tour-level titles in 2021, is making his third ATP Cup appearance, earning victories against Alexander Zverev and Denis Shapovalov in 2020.

Earlier, Jannik Sinner had produced a comprehensive performance on his ATP Cup debut to give Italy a 1-0 lead against home nation Australia.

The 20-year-old struck his groundstrokes powerfully and dominated the longer rallies to defeat Max Purcell 6-1, 6-3 in 64 minutes on Ken Rosewall Arena to earn his first victory of the year.

“It was a great match from my side,” Sinner said in his on-court interview. “I am very happy to have the first point for Team Italy and hopefully Matteo can finish it today. I felt very, very solid. I knew I had to play solid from the baseline because when he comes to the net it is very, very tough to pass him, so I tried to play deep. For the first match of the year, it could not have gone any better.”

Sinner enjoyed an impressive 2021 season, earning four tour-level titles and cracking the Top 10 in the ATP Rankings. The 2019 Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals champion, who struck 13 winners and committed just three unforced errors against Purcell, is Italy’s No. 2 singles player at the 16-team event and will next play Frenchman Arthur Rinderknech on Tuesday.

ATP Cup format sees the No. 2 singles played first, with the No. 1 singles following. Doubles, with no-ad scoring and a match tie-break in place of a third set, is the final rubber of the tie.

Semi-final Qualifying Scenarios

Group B
If Australia defeats Russia and Italy defeats France, Australia wins the group and advances to the SF
If Russia defeats Australia and France defeats Italy, Russia wins the group and advances to the SF

Group C
No team can clinch the group by winning their next tie. USA and Great Britain winning their next tie would set up a winner takes all on day 6.

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Evans/Murray Give Great Britain Win Over Germany

  • Posted: Jan 02, 2022

Daniel Evans proved the inspiration for Great Britain on Sunday when he won two matches, including a deciding doubles with Jamie Murray, for a 2-1 victory over Germany in the Group C tie at the ATP Cup.

Evans, who first beat Jan-Lennard Struff 6-1, 6-2 in the No. 2 singles match, returned to the court at Qudos Bank Arena following Alexander Zverev’s 7-6(2), 6-1 win over Britain’s Cameron Norrie, to partner Murray to a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Kevin Krawietz and Zverev in 78 minutes.

Great Britain will next challenge Canada on Tuesday, while Germany meets the United States. Both ties will be contested on Ken Rosewall Arena.

Evans ensured Great Britain got off to a perfect start, with the World No. 25 mixing up his tactics to keep Struff on the back foot. “It’s a good way to start 2022,” said Evans. “I’ve been practising well, but I didn’t expect to play the match this well.”

Evans completely dominated to extend his perfect record to 3-0 against Struff. The first set lasted 32 minutes, as Evans hit 12 winners and committed just four unforced errors. From 1-1 in the first set, the 31-year-old secured nine straight games to lead 4-0 in the second set. Evans played with high energy, nullified Struff’s powerful serve and got returns low over the net when the German serve-volleyed.


Zverev levelled the tie to ensure a doubles decider. The World No. 3 saved one set point in the first set to beat No. 12-ranked Briton Norrie in 87 minutes.

Having been in control on serve, Zverev dropped his first-serve percentage at 4-5 in the first set to gift Norrie a set point at 30/40. Zverev saved it with a solid first delivery and approach winner, then applied pressure to force Norrie to save a break point in the next game. The German, who beat World No. 1 Novak Djokovic and No. 2-ranked Daniil Medvedev in his final two matches of the 2021 season for the Nitto ATP Finals crown, raised his game in the tie-break that ended with a Norrie backhand into the net.

After 54 minutes of high-quality tennis, Norrie came close to breaking Zverev in the first game of the second set. But, unable to convert, Zverev responded to secure service breaks in the fourth and sixth games. He has now won 13 of his past 15 matches. “The first match of the year is never going to be the best match of you’re life,” said Zverev. “But I’m pretty happy as I did my job. We’re here to try and win.”

The ATP Cup format sees the No. 2 singles played first, followed by the No. 1 singles and doubles.

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