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Felix Relishing ATP Cup Experience With 'Energetic' Teammates

  • Posted: Jan 03, 2022

Felix Auger-Aliassime enjoyed a strong season, reaching his first major semi-final at the US Open and cracking the Top 10 in the ATP Rankings. 

Now, the 21-year-old is returning to action at ATP Cup in Sydney, aiming to carry his momentum into the 2022 season. The World No. 11 caught up with to discuss his admiration for Milos Raonic, his love for Canadian nature and more. 

If you could take one shot from any member of your team and add it to your game what would it be?
Shapo’s jumping backhand. I mean, it’s good-looking and effective!

Who on the team would most likely be late for practice or a team dinner?
Nobody’s late, so I can’t pick anybody. I’ve never seen somebody late on Team Canada!

Can you describe the personality of the other players in the team?
Denis [Shapovalov] is a jokester, you can see it, he’s funny, he brings a lot of emotion and he’s also very energetic and explosive when he’s on the court. Brayden [Schnur] is a calm guy, he’s very poised and mature. Steven Diez is very energetic and a funny guy, he’s very generous too, always ready to help and give a lot of himself. And we have our veteran Peter Polansky, who’s not with us unfortunately, but he’s the veteran of Canada, he’s played in Davis Cup, and again he’s very poised and calm, I’ve never really seen him get angry or aggressive, so I think that’s the best way to describe him.

Can you describe the first tennis club that you played tennis at in Canada?
It was a park in Montreal, Canada. That’s where I hit my first tennis balls, before we got the chance to play in a real tennis club. I just learned in public parks, like we see everywhere in the world.

From what I remember the quality of the courts wasn’t great but it was okay to play on. I was three or four years old, so that’s enough to play on. I still live not far from those courts, when I’m in Montreal, so it’s good memories to see those courts again.

Which Canadian players did you look up to when you were young?
Mostly Milos Raonic. I remember when he was coming up on the Tour and he talked to us, when we were 12 years old, with Denis and the guys when we were training at the National Centre. He came to talk to us one day in the gym, and he told us to keep working and keep our focus on the big goal. But now he’s 30 or 31, and he’s been around for a long time, and that’s a guy that, as a Canadian, I looked up to in tennis for sure.

Three things you love about Canada?
The open-mindedness, kindness, and generosity of the people.

If you were recommending the top tourist places to go in Canada, where would you recommend?
The nature is beautiful, I would definitely tell them to go to the West Coast, the Rockies, the lakes and the forests are absolutely stunning. Closer to Montreal we’ve got Niagara Falls which is beautiful, and then closer to my home, Montreal is just a great city that you can enjoy, that kind of has a mix between Europe and America. The old town of Quebec City also receives a lot of tourists every year…it was built in 1608 so a very old city that has a lot of history. So yeah, these 3 or 4 places are very nice.

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Tsitsipas: ‘I Hit Balls I Was Scared To Hit 2 Weeks Ago’

  • Posted: Jan 03, 2022

Stefanos Tsitsipas put his right elbow through its toughest test since surgery in November, emerging from a taxing three-set loss to Diego Schwartzman at ATP Cup in Sydney pleased with his progress but apprehensive about the immediate toll he may pay in coming days.

The World No. 4 toiled for two hours and 43 minutes and fired around 120 serves, double the number he has typically been hitting in practice. During an emotional press conference the Greek said that he endured pain throughout the match and that he held concerns about how his arm may feel in the morning.

“It was good to see myself perform at such a level. I didn’t expect it,” said Tsitsipas, who withdrew from last year’s Nitto ATP Finals after playing just one match. “It worked out better than I thought. I was able to hit balls that I was scared to hit two weeks ago, so I’m heading towards the right direction.

“It was a very close match, and I enjoyed it. I enjoyed it despite losing again. I enjoyed fighting. I enjoyed the thrill of it. I enjoyed the atmosphere that the people created.”

Tsitsipas withdrew from his opening ATP Cup singles Saturday due to concerns about his arm, but fronted up later in the day to play doubles. That outing left him sore and he said that he is eager to learn how his arm will feel Tuesday after his 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-3 loss to Schwartzman.

Greece still has one match to play Wednesday at ATP Cup despite being eliminated from semi-final contention following Monday night’s defeat to Argentina.

“I’m in a little bit of pain. That’s normal. I served more serves than I have ever served in the last month,” Tsitsipas said. “I have been practising, trying to get 50, 60 serves in, and today I really went far. I was fatiguing in the end. I tried to avoid the pain but I got to finish the match somehow.

“I’d love to play [my next ATP Cup match], but I really don’t know how I’m going to feel tomorrow. That was one of the biggest concerns if I’m going to play this match today, how is the recovery going to be tomorrow, which was the issue with the doubles. I finished the doubles but the next day I couldn’t serve. I was unable. I was in a lot of pain.

“So I’m really hoping to be able to walk on court tomorrow and practise some serves without pain. That’s my biggest goal right now, to have 100 per cent recovery on my elbow.”

Looking ahead to the Australian Open, where he reached the semi-finals in 2019 and 2021, the winner of seven ATP Tour titles said that he expected to be fully fit.

“It gets better and better every single day almost… we have plenty of time before the Australian Open begins, and I think if I take the right precautions and follow what my doctor says, then I can see myself performing at 100 per cent at the Australian Open.

“Going into that surgery, even the doctor was unsure if it’s a good idea to perform and play the Australian Open. My recovery was much better than he would have expected in comparison with some other players that he has treated in the past, so he was surprised. He came to Dubai and he was surprised to see me hitting almost close to 100 per cent.”

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Five Things That Matter On ATP Cup Day 4

  • Posted: Jan 03, 2022

Daniil Medvedev, Alexander Zverev, Matteo Berrettini and Jannik Sinner all feature on Day 4 at the ATP Cup in Group B and C action on Ken Rosewall Arena and Qudos Bank Arena.

Here are the five things that matter most ahead of Day 4 at the ATP Cup.

Semi-final Spots Up For Grabs
Australia and Russia are the only teams with a chance of winning Group B on Tuesday. If Australia defeats Russia on Qudos Bank Arena during the night session and Italy overcomes France during the day session then Australia advances to the semi-finals in Sydney. However, if Russia beats Australia and France defeats Italy, then Russia wins the group. In Group C, no team can clinch a semi-final spot by winning their second tie. Although, should United States defeat Germany and Great Britain beat Canada then Thursday’s United States versus Great Britain becomes the deciding tie.

Humbert’s Strong Start
Ugo Humbert recorded the biggest win of his career on Day 2 with a third-set tie-break win over World No. 2 Medvedev. On his ATP Cup debut for France, it was his sixth Top 10 win in 10 matches. Today, the World No. 35 challenges No. 7-ranked Berrettini, who is seeking to bounce back from a 6-3, 7-6(4) loss to Australia’s Alex de Minaur on Sunday. At the 2020 US Open, Berrettini beat Humbert 6-4, 6-4, 7-6(6), so expect a battle on Ken Rosewall Arena during the night session. World No. 10 Sinner looks for his second singles win for Italy against Arthur Rinderknech to begin the Group B tie.

Russia’s New ‘Secret Weapon’?
Last year, Medvedev said that World No. 112 Aslan Karatsev was Russia’s “secret weapon” en route to the ATP Cup crown. It proved correct as a few weeks later, Karatsev made his major breakthrough by reaching the Australian Open semi-finals. This time around Team Russia may have unearthed another diamond, Roman Safiullin, in its quest to retain the trophy. The World No. 167 wore one of Medvedev’s shirts in his 2-6, 7-5, 6-3 win over France’s Rinderknech on Sunday, and also in the doubles victory with Medvedev. Safiullin begins Group B play against Australia’s James Duckworth on Qudos Bank Arena, before Medvedev looks to extend his 3-0 ATP Head2Head record against De Minaur.

Zverev Looks To Inspire Germany
Zverev has been in sparking form since the start of the Tokyo Olympics in late July 2021, compiling a 37-4 match record that includes victory over Great Britain’s Norrie at the ATP Cup on Sunday. Not only has the German won the Olympics gold medal (d. Khachanov), but also titles at the Western & Southern Open (d. Rublev), the Erste Bank Open in Vienna (d. Tiafoe) and the Nitto ATP Finals in Turin (d. Medvedev). Today, the World No. 3 faces the United States’ Taylor Fritz, who comes into their sixth meeting straight of his victory over Felix Auger-Aliassime. Fritz raises his game against the very best and beat Zverev 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(3) at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells in October. But first, Jan-Lennard Struff must break a four-match losing streak against American John Isner in the No. 2 singles match of the Group C tie.

Great Britain’s Broady Factor
Can Liam Broady work his magic again? In Great Britain’s win over Germany on Day 2, there was plenty of banter and Daniel Evans ribbed the captain for his lack of encouragement at a changeover. Today, it’s Canada’s Auger-Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov in Group C on Ken Rosewall Arena. Norrie came up short against Zverev in his first No. 1 singles match, but he can make amends against Canada’s captain Auger-Aliassime, who sits one spot higher than him at No. 12 in the ATP Rankings. Auger-Aliassime has won their two previous encounters at the 2019 BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells and last year, saving three match points in a 2-6, 7-6(6), 6-4 win at the Erste Bank Open in Vienna. Shapovalov begins proceedings during the night session tie against Evans. They are tied 1-1 in their ATP Head2Head series.

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Roman Safiullin: Russia's NEW Secret Weapon

  • Posted: Jan 03, 2022

It turns out Russia has more than one secret weapon, which is a scary thought for the rest of the ATP Cup field.

One year ago, the championship-winning Russian team famously declared that Aslan Karatsev was the group’s secret weapon. Just weeks later, Karatsev made the semi-finals of the Australian Open and by season’s end was named Most Improved Player of the Year in the 2021 ATP Awards.

On Sunday it was Roman Safiullin — not World No. 2 Daniil Medvedev — who led Russia to victory against France in singles and doubles. Safiullin is another “secret” out of the bag.

“One hundred per cent,” Medvedev said, cracking a laugh, when asked if his teammate was Russia’s new secret weapon. “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 already, the way he fought back after tough first set where we can say he lost it quite easy, and then the way he fought back, the way he played was unreal.”

Medvedev and Safiullin have known each other since they were juniors, in which Safiullin triumphed several times. In fact, the Podolsk-native earned multiple victories against Medvedev.

“I first thought he was super tough to beat in juniors. I don’t think we ever played in professionals. But when I knew that Roman was in my draw in [the] juniors, I was shaking,” Medvedev said. “We actually played a lot of finals, semi-finals, a lot of matches, some were like three-hour, three-set matches. [It was] a lot of fun.”

Photo Credit: Peter Staples/ATP Tour
Not only did Safiullin defeat Medvedev, Andrey Rublev and Karen Khachanov before turning professional, but he won the 2015 Australian Open boys’ singles title and climbed to a career-high World No. 2 in the juniors.

“It’s a great feeling of course to be at the top,” Safiullin said. “It was always [about] improving something to stay at the top. But junior tennis and men’s tennis are a bit different.”

While Medvedev, Rublev and Khachanov have all broken into the world’s Top 10, Safiullin’s career-high ATP Ranking is No. 151. The 24-year-old believes the mental side has been one of his biggest obstacles.

“Working with the head is the toughest part for me. I don’t know for the other guys, maybe for someone it is easy. The physical tennis part we work [on] a lot and the mental part we also started working [on] and at the moment that is the toughest part,” Safiullin said. “I’m working on it and trying to improve some things. When I lose focus, you can see it in the match.”

The Russian said that instead of letting three or four games slip away, it is pivotal to limit those lapses to a couple of points. The World No. 167 showed in Sunday’s tie against France that he has plenty of game to compete against some of the world’s best.

That is something Safiullin has been working towards his whole life. He first played tennis at four under the tutelage of his father, Rishat, who works at an academy. “I always have loved it,” he said.

Safiullin enjoyed the way Marat Safin played. Later on, Novak Djokovic became the player he looked up to the most, as well as Roger Federer, whom he called “incredible”.

Off the court, the Russian has a wide variety of interests. He enjoys playing tourist in the cities he visits, especially when his wife is with him.

“I [also] like cars and motorcycles. In Russia it’s tough to have it because we have the winter and only three or four months to drive it,” said Safiullin, who does not own a motorcycle. “When you’re a professional tennis player it’s quite dangerous, one mistake or someone doesn’t see you and it’s done. Either your life is done or your tennis career is done. That’s dangerous.”

Safiullin also fancies movies, with a fondness for actors Johnny Depp and Leonardo DiCaprio. Catch Me If You Can is one of his favourite films. Another might surprise you.

“When I have time, I rewatch Harry Potter. I’ve watched it already three or four times, but I like to watch it again. I saw [there is a reunion], so when I go back to Russia I want to go watch it with my wife,” Safiullin said. “Also there is a new Matrix that came out. I didn’t watch it because my wife wants to watch it so when I get back home we’re going to watch it together.”

For now, Safiullin will focus on helping Russia as it continues its ATP Cup title defence. The team’s newest secret is out. Safiullin just hopes to continue being a weapon for his country, and earn enough momentum to chase down his countrymen in the ATP Rankings.

“Daniil, Andrey, Aslan and Karen are on a really high level in the Top 30,” Safiullin said. “Four guys from Russia is incredible. I want to be there as well, so I’m working hard for that. I’m trying my best and hopefully I can come as soon as I can to be with those guys.”

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Duckworth: Team Australia Will 'Fight Until The End'

  • Posted: Jan 03, 2022

James Duckworth enjoyed the best season of his career in 2021, advancing to his first ATP Tour final in Nur-Sultan and reaching a career-high of No. 47 in the ATP Rankings in November.

That effort helped Duckworth earn a spot on Australia’s ATP Cup team for the first time. The 29-year-old is scheduled to make his event debut for his country on Tuesday evening in the No. 2 singles match against Russian Roman Safiullin.

Ahead of that clash, Duckworth spoke to about how much he enjoys the ATP Cup’s team atmosphere, spending time as a junior in Sydney, looking up to Captain Lleyton Hewitt and Patrick Rafter, 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 would love to have Demon’s speed. He’s one of the quickest guys on Tour. I’d love to have that speed. It just makes it so much harder for the opponent to hit a winner. It makes it feel like the court is smaller because he’s just able to cover so much distance. It builds pressure.

Alex de Minaur
Photo Credit: Mark Evans/Getty Images

Who on the team would most likely be late for practice or a team dinner?
I reckon they’re all pretty good! I can’t really see anybody being late. I couldn’t give an answer for that one.

How would you describe each team member’s personality briefly?
I feel like as a group we’re pretty laid back, chilled out, but once we get on the court, we compete pretty hard, and all fight until the end and play with our hearts on our sleeves. As a collective, that’s how the group sort of is.

Is it more special to do that at home?
Definitely. Demon and I have grown up here in Sydney, practised at Homebush for many years, so it will be cool to have friends and family out to support as well. Playing for the green and gold is always a special occasion.

What are some of your memories of Homebush as a kid?
I remember coming out here as a 12-year-old, I started off in what’s called the Milo Squad on a Friday afternoon. Once a week we’d come out and gradually it was extended to three or four times a week. We had a good bunch of guys growing up, all pushing each other in practice.

[I have] a lot of fond memories of having lots of good practices. I remember quite a few times having to run around the stadium as part of our fitness, so it was good growing up here and developing my tennis game.

And now how does it feel to play such a big event on that same court?
Looking forward to it! I’ve obviously played on Ken Rosewall Arena before, but not in the ATP Cup format, or Davis Cup, so I haven’t represented my country. I’m really excited and really looking forward to it.

Which Australian player did you look up to and why?
When I was younger, I watched a lot of Lleyton [Hewitt] and Pat [Rafter]. I was looking through some photos at Christmas… I went and watched when they played at Qudos Bank Arena in 2001 at the [Nitto ATP] Finals. Lleyton beat Pat to be World No. 1 that year, so that was a cool match that I was at with my brother. We’ve got some signs that we held up watching that match, so that was really cool.

Probably just those two, just following them through, watching them throughout their careers, watching them win Grand Slams. I was super pumped when Lleyton won his first one at the US Open and I was really shattered when Pat lost in the final to Goran at Wimbledon [in 2001]. And then the Davis Cup ties — I was shattered when they lost that final to France in 2001, but it was awesome when they then got the win a couple of years later against Spain.

Obviously you’ve spent a lot of time with Lleyton for years already, but does it ever get old being around him?
No, he’s obviously one of the best players we’ve ever had from Australia, and obviously one of the best tennis players that’s ever lived. There are not many guys that can say they’ve won Grand Slams and been World No. 1, so I’m always learning off him and he’s just got so much experience, knows the game so well, and it’s always great to bounce ideas and feed off him.

What are three things you love about Australia?

The beaches. Now I live in Queensland – I’ve been in Brisbane for the past six or seven years – I’m venturing up to Noosa quite a lot, so I really like it up there, up at the Sunshine Coast. But I’ve spent a lot of time at Avoca Beach on the central coast here, and my dad now has a place at Manly, so I’ve spent a little bit of time there.

You can find great beaches anywhere in Australia, but the one I’d go to now more often than not is Noosa. Also, [I love] the coffee and the weather [in Australia].

What is your favourite place to visit in Australia?
I just love chilling out at home. Obviously, we’re spending so much time on the road, especially with Covid with the two-week quarantine. I’ve got a nice house in Brisbane, so I’m always just pumped to be back there for a month.

What is your favourite part about being with the team?
Obviously it’s an individual sport, so as a tennis player you’re not in that team environment very often. To have the guys on the bench, to have the common goal between all of you and just have that camaraderie and banter amongst all the boys is really good fun, and we all sort of feed off each other. I think we push each other as well, to strive to get better and to get success.

Have you watched the ATP Cup previously?
Yeah, in particular in 2020, especially that quarter-final match when we beat Great Britain. It was an unbelievable singles match. I know Demon lost to Dan Evans, but that was such a great spectacle. And then for them to come out and win that epic doubles in the [Match] Tie-break, 18/16, was crazy. The atmosphere was a joke, so that was a really cool memory.

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Delbonis Gives Argentina Winning Start Against Greece

  • Posted: Jan 03, 2022

Federico Delbonis continued his perfect start to the season Monday at ATP Cup, overcoming Michail Pervolarakis 7-6(5), 6-1 to give Argentina a 1-0 lead against Greece in Group D in Sydney.

The World No. 44 earned victory on his ATP Cup debut against Georgia’s Aleksandre Metreveli on Saturday and backed this up against Pervolarkis, breaking three times to triumph after one hour and 33 minutes on Ken Rosewall Arena.

“Michail impressed me a lot,” Delbonis said in his on-court interview. “Especially in the first set when he tried to push his backhand to my forehand and on every forehand, he tried to go to the net and I was a bit uncomfortable with that. But I took that first set. I am very happy to take a bit of the pressure off Diego.”

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The 31-year-old, who reached tour-level semi-finals in Santiago, Belgrade and Hamburg last year, battled back from 2/4 down in the second-set tie-break against the World No. 399, before he raised his level in the second set, hitting with greater consistency to give Argentina a strong start.

Diego Schwartzman will aim to seal the tie in the second singles rubber, but faces a tricky task against World No. 4 Stefanos Tsitsipas, with the pair tied at 1-1 in their ATP Head2Head series.

ATP Cup format sees the No. 2 singles played first, followed by the No. 1 singles and the doubles. Doubles uses no-ad scoring and a match tie-break in place of a third set.

Each country plays three matches in group play from 1-6 January across Ken Rosewall Arena and Qudos Bank Arena at Sydney Olympic Park. One team emerges from each of the four groups to contest the two semi-finals, which will be split over two days (7-8 January), with the final played 9 January.

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Chile Earns First ATP Cup Tie Win After Doubles Decider

  • Posted: Jan 03, 2022

Chile earned its first ATP Cup tie victory on Monday when Tomas Barrios Vera and Alejandro Tabilo clinched the doubles decider, following on from Cristian Garin’s No. 1 singles match win against 2020 champion Serbia in Group A.

Barrios Vera and Tabilo defeated Nikola Cacic and Matej Sabanov of Serbia 6-4, 3-6, 10-7 in 86 minutes that ended at 12:30am local time in Sydney. Garin had dug deep to beat Dusan Lajovic, who retired at 0-3 down in the third set of their lengthy clash on Qudos Bank Arena, after Filip Krajinovic had beaten Tabilo 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(5) in the No. 2 singles match.

“It was a great match with Krajinovic and I just needed to find the motivation again, once Cristian won his match,” said Tabilo, after partnering Barrios Vera in the doubles match. 

Chile, with a 1-1 record after its loss to Spain on Sunday, now challenges Casper Ruud’s Norway on Wednesday. Serbia meets Spain in a repeat of the inaugural 2020 final.


Garin was leading 6-4, 4-6, 3-0 against Lajovic, when the Serbian retired after two hours and 14 minutes. There had been 23 break points and seven breaks of serve in the first set alone. “We played an amazing match and I feel sorry for Dusan,” said Garin, after his first ATP Cup singles win. “It was so tough. I was going point-by-point in the second set and I’m so grateful to the Chilean support in the crowd.”

Lajovic appeared to be building up a head of steam in the first set by winning three straight games for a 4-2 lead that, incredibly, was the start of five straight service breaks. Ultimately, Lajovic’s greater hard-court proficiency won through in a tough 60-minute set that ended with the 31-year-old hitting a forehand crosscourt approach winner.

The second set, in contrast, was settled and largely serve-dominated. Garin did save two break points in a lengthy hold in the second game, but that was the only drama through to 4-4 when Lajovic tightened up out of the blue and gifted Garin the break. With Lajovic starting to cramp, Garin calmly closed out for a decider.

Nine years ago in their only ATP Head2Head meeting, Garin had beaten Lajovic 6-3, 6-4 for the first ATP Tour match of his career at 2013 Vina del Mar.


Krajinovic drew on his experience to beat Tabilo, currently No. 139 in the ATP Rankings, over two hours and 26 minutes in the Qudos Bank Arena.

“I was controlling the match up a set and a break, then he began to play better and made some unbelievable passing shots,” said Krajinovic. “I got tight, which is normal when you play for your country. At the end, he came up with some big serves and I’m very proud to have won. It means a lot to start the year well.”

Krajinovic broke through at 3-3 in the first set, when good scrambling resulted in a low backhand winner. The World No. 42 won 14 of 17 points at the net and closed out the 40-minute opener with an ace down the T.

When his best shots came back, Tabilo went for more power and it cost him in the first game of the second set. But credit to the 24-year-old, he kept fighting and won five straight games – breaking serve courtesy of Krajinovic groundstroke errors at 1-2 and 2-3. Tabilo went onto convert his third set point with a forehand winner, his 22nd winner of the 41-minute set.

The decider was full of momentum swings, at first for Tabilo with an early service break and then Krajinovic, who opened up a 3-1 advantage. Tabilo recovered and forced Krajinovic to save a break point with a forehand winner at 5-5. When it came to the crunch though in the tie-break, Krajinovic did just enough to complete victory in two hours and 26 minutes.

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Unity, Comedy & Darts: Behind Team Great Britain's Curtain At The ATP Cup

  • Posted: Jan 03, 2022

If you want a sense of Team Great Britain’s ATP Cup atmosphere, look no further than the first changeover of Daniel Evans’ match against German Jan-Lennard Struff on Sunday. Evans got on captain Liam Broady’s case to say the least.

“You nervous?” Evans asked.

“About what?” Broady replied.

“You look it. Say something mate, you’re the captain!”

“What do you want me to say?”

“I don’t know like good play or…”

“Yeah, I’ve been saying that every point!”

The entire British Team Zone cracked up throughout the exchange. The clip spread rapidly on social media soon thereafter. In reality, it was normal banter for the group, all done in good fun.

“I spoke to a few of my friends afterwards and they said with Dan you’re never going to get away without being sledged a little bit for lack of a better word,” Broady told, cracking a laugh. “But he was right. I was nervous, I didn’t know how to behave! It’s tough with players sometimes because everyone is different. Different people want different input.

“But the guys were great out there today. Everyone was really relaxed, having a good time, so it makes it really easy to be on the bench with them and just enjoy the experience, even that bit.”

If you were a fly on the wall with the team, you would quickly see the togetherness of the group. That often means a lot of joking around — usually at the expense of one of the players — but they all enjoy, and it is done in good fun.

“That’s the British sense of humour. Sometimes it could be a bit close to the bone, but at the end of the day, I give it as much as I take it and it’s never meant in a bad way,” Broady said. “We always look out for each other and try to help each other out. When we’re comfortable with each other like that, some touchy things get said, but it’s all water off a duck’s back. I just really enjoy these environments.”

On the court, it was clear that the British team unity paid dividends. Facing a difficult foe in Germany on Sunday evening was a tall task — Alexander Zverev is the No. 3 player in the ATP Rankings and fresh off a victory at the Nitto ATP Finals, and he played both singles and doubles. But with the Team Zone fully engaged, Evans and Jamie Murray crafted a nearly flawless deciding doubles performance to defeat Zverev and two-time Roland Garros doubles champion Kevin Krawietz 6-3, 6-4.

Daniel Evans
Photo Credit: Andrew Eichenholz/ATP Tour
After match point, Evans and Murray pretended to throw darts at the Team Zone and Murray yelled “One hundred and eighty!”, which is the maximum score in a round. That stemmed from games of darts they had played earlier in the week when spending time together.

“I think everybody understands the main objective of the week is to win, obviously. But it’s just as important that we all have fun, eat together, be around each other and not go back to our rooms and hide away,” Evans said. “We can all spend more time and get ready for the event, because we’ve got to watch each other and hopefully get through the matches.”

Evans is the team’s No. 2 singles player and he is not the captain, but the 31-year-old is the group’s leader. The World No. 25 is the first to joke with his teammates, but also the first to be there for them in support on the court.

“It’s a team event. We’re all pretty good friends, so it’s good to enjoy the week,” Evans said. “The rest of the weeks on Tour could be pretty intense, so it’s nice that we’re all here together, preparing together. It’s important to have fun in weeks like this. You normally get better results as well.”

Team Great Britain
Photo Credit: Peter Staples/ATP Tour
That has carried over to their efforts outside of a team environment, too. Evans and British No. 1 Cameron Norrie have been playing the best tennis of their careers. Norrie in particular had a standout 2021, winning his first title in Los Cabos, capturing ATP Masters 1000 glory at Indian Wells and competing at the Nitto ATP Finals as an alternate.

Neither player has the shotmaking of Roger Federer, the physical presence of Rafael Nadal or one shot that blows opponents away. They are simply blue-collar competitors who grind their opponents down with guile and determination.

“I think both Evo and I are guys who are not going to come out and hit people off the court. We slowly chip away at our opponents and try to play to our strengths,” Norrie said. “I know we are both feeling good. We had a good break, a good preseason and like I’ve said several times already, there’s no better way to start the year than here as a team.

“Hopefully I can perform better than I did last time here and I know Evo loves this team format, team atmosphere. I know Joe [Salisbury] and Jamie absolutely [have] thrived in it as well.”

Broady added that many of the team members train together while home, and that also contributes to their unity. They might not have the starpower of some of the other countries this week, but they still have an x-factor.

“At the end of the day the ATP Cup is a team event. You need more than one player. Obviously Germany also has great players, but on a tennis court it’s just one [against] one or in doubles obviously two [against] two,” Broady said. “It’s a 50-50 shot of winning the match and we feel like our team bench is pretty strong as well and one of our strengths. Especially in the team events that can help alter the results.

“We’ll keep playing to our strengths, keep doing what we do and see how far it takes us.”

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Majchrzak Puts Team In Pole Position vs. Georgia

  • Posted: Jan 03, 2022

Kamil Majchrzak gave Poland a strong start on Day 3 of the ATP Cup Monday when he dropped just two games against Georgia’s Alexsandre Bakshi on Ken Rosewall Arena.

World No. 117 Majchrzak had too much game for World No. 974 Bakshi, winning 6-1, 6-1 in just 53 minutes. Hubert Hurkacz now has the opportunity to clinch Poland’s second win of the tournament when he meets Aleksandre Metreveli, who replaced Nikoloz Basilashvili.

“I was trying to move [Bakshi] around and I think that was the key to the match,” said Majchrzak, who is coached by former World No. 7 Swede Joakim Nystrom.

“He brings me a lot of confidence and a lot of calm in my tennis so I can feel that I am improving,” Majchrzak said. “We are working on [developing an all-court game] but in a way that doesn’t interrupt my baseline game. We will take it from the practice to the matches but it takes time.”

Should Poland, which defeated Greece on Day 1, win today and Argentina beats Greece tonight, then on Wednesday the Poland-Argentina tie will decide which team emerges from Group D to contest the semi-finals.

ATP Cup format sees the No. 2 singles played first, followed by the No. 1 singles and the doubles. Doubles uses no-ad scoring and a match tie-break in place of a third set.

Each country plays three matches in group play from 1-6 January across Ken Rosewall Arena and Qudos Bank Arena at Sydney Olympic Park. One team emerges from each of the four groups to contest the two semi-finals, which will be played over two days (7-8 January), with the final played 9 January.

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