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Stebe: 'I Don’t Want To Regret Not Trying Everything'

  • Posted: Feb 09, 2022

The tennis world shared its love for Juan Martin del Potro Tuesday evening after the Argentine made an emotional return in Buenos Aires. Few can empathise as much with what Del Potro has gone through like Cedrik-Marcel Stebe, who is competing this week at the Dallas Open.

The German reached a career-high No. 71 in the ATP Rankings in 2012 and made his maiden ATP Tour final in 2019 as the World No. 455. But the lefty has spent large chunks of his career dealing with injuries.

“I’ve been maybe in the same position as he was. Mentally it’s just really challenging if you’re injured for a very long time. You try to come back and you work your a** off and every time, you have to accept the fact that you can’t really play or compete at your best level anymore,” Stebe said. “It’s really frustrating at some point. But for him, he has achieved some incredible things. He made the best of his career. I always had the feeling I haven’t reached my full potential.”

Three years ago, the German told ATP it was as if someone had a voodoo doll of him and had been sticking needles into various body parts randomly. Before the pandemic, Stebe had already dealt with injuries to his hip, lower back, pubic bone, pelvic area and right wrist. Since then, it has not been much better.

“It just felt like something was completely out of balance with my body. [Since the pandemic started] I had several abdominal tears or strains. I had a couple quad muscle fibre tears and calf muscle fibre tears. It was basically everywhere,” Stebe said. “I dislocated my right shoulder. It was literally everywhere and that kept me thinking there must be something wrong.”


Stebe admitted that at times he has struggled finding motivation. But the World No. 231 qualified this week in Dallas and won his opening match in the main draw to earn a second-round clash against second seed Reilly Opelka. Despite all the struggles, he is still pushing forward.

“I don’t want to stop until I feel I’ve given 110 or 115 per cent. There is such a short period of time you have your career and I don’t want to stop and regret not trying everything,” Stebe said. “I want to still do my best. I know some guys are playing their best in their mid-30s, so it’s nice to see that people can do it still. It gives me belief I can do it, too.”

For now, Stebe’s biggest goal is to stay healthy and charge back into the Top 100. For the first time, he did offseason training outside of Germany (in Florida at the IMG Academy). The 31-year-old plans to craft a “smart” schedule and still has belief his best is still to come.

“I know I can play some good tennis. That’s always kept me motivated somehow. I was always trying to figure out how not to be injured,” Stebe said. “I’m just trying to do the best I can. Hopefully it works out in the end and I can play a couple more years and still enjoy playing tennis and enjoy life on Tour.”

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Murray Eases Past Bublik, Sets Felix Clash

  • Posted: Feb 09, 2022

Back in the ATP Top 100 for the first time since 2018, Andy Murray reminded fans of his world-class abilities on Wednesday evening.

The former World No. 1 showed plenty of his trademark grit and staggering court-coverage to defeat World No. 31 Alexander Bublik 7-6(6), 6-4 and reach the second round of the ABN Amro World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam.

“There were some tough moments in the first set for both of us,” said wild card Murray after the match. “I just managed to come through at the end of it. Some great returns off some big second serves from him at the end and I did a good job. It’s not easy playing against someone like that, huge serves, a lot of drop shots and you’ve got to keep your focus and I did that well tonight.”


The only previous meeting between the pair had taken place in markedly different circumstances back in 2017. Murray beat Bublik in straight sets in the first round at that year’s Wimbledon, a tournament at which the Brit was the top seed and Bublik a 135th-ranked lucky loser.

The Kazakh has come a long way since then and picked up both his first ATP Tour title and the biggest win of his career by defeating World No. 3 Alexander Zverev in the final of the Open Sud de France in Montpellier last week.

A gripping first set saw both players miss early break point opportunities, before Montpellier champion Bublik finally broke through on the Murray serve for a 6-5 lead. He was unable to serve out the set, however, as a poor service game allowed Murray to force a tie-break.

Some trademark scarpering from Murray edged him ahead in the tie-break but he still needed three set points to win it 8/6, the Kazakh refusing to be overrun.

Murray stayed aggressive throughout, hitting 27 winners as there were signs that Bublik’s exploits in France last week were starting to catch up with him physically. The energetic Brit effectively read a series of Bublik drop shots as he broke for 4-3 in the second set before closing out victory.

Murray’s next opponent will be third seed Felix Auger-Aliassime after the Canadian overcame a slow start to beat qualifier Egor Gerasimov in three sets earlier on Wednesday. Auger-Aliassime won his only meeting with three-time Grand Slam champion Murray in straight-sets at the 2020 US Open.

“[I’m] looking forward to that one,” said Murray on the second-round clash. “He [Auger-Aliassime] started the year pretty well and is one of the best young players just now. I’ll need to be on my game if I want to beat him, but it’s a great test for me and we’ll see what happens out there.”

Cameron Norrie reached his first quarter-final of the year with a 6-4, 7-6(5) win over Olympic silver medallist Karen Khachanov. The Brit dominated on second-serve return, limiting the Russian to just 31 per cent of second-serve points won.

The sixth seed, who began the year with four straight losses at ATP Cup and the Australian Open, awaits the winner of Murray and Auger-Aliassime.

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Musetti Rocks Hurkacz In Rotterdam

  • Posted: Feb 09, 2022

When the going gets tough, the tough get going.

It was a difficult start to 2022 for Lorenzo Musetti but the young Italian is showing no signs of backing down from the challenges of the ATP Tour.

The #NextGenATP star claimed the second biggest win of his career on Wednesday as he took out World No. 11 Hubert Hurkacz with a 6-3, 5-7, 6-3 second-round win at the ABN Amro World Tennis Tournament.

Choosing to play in Rotterdam could be seen as a brave move for natural clay-courter Musetti as he seeks confidence-building wins after two disappointing first-round exits in Australia to start his year. Yet he believes the challenge of adjusting to new environments is key to his development.

“I played in Australia with a little bit of stress, and I had two tough matches with two great opponents,” said the World No. 63 after the Hurkacz win. “From losses you take a lot of experience, especially as younger players, so for me it’s really helpful and I decided to play indoors on a hard court because it is maybe my worst surface. I didn’t think about being here [in the quarter-finals] but I’m really enjoying it.”

Musetti’s return game was particularly impressive against Hurkacz as he achieved the impressive feat of breaking the Pole’s booming serve three times.

The 2021 Miami Open presented by Itau winner Hurkacz hit 37 winners to Musetti’s 22, but the Italian chose his moments to step up his game and dropped just one point on his first serve in the deciding set to book a quarter-final meeting with either home favourite Botic van de Zandschulp or Czech Jiri Lehecka.

The victory gives Musetti a 2-1 lead in the pair’s ATP Head2Head series, and the Italian was pleased with how he kept focus to upset the fourth seed.


“You can see what he can do with the serve, especially in the second and third sets,” said Musetti. “It’s so tough to break him but we know each other a little bit because it was the third time that we’ve played. I started well, really aggressive and I think the key was to keep my serve and try to break him in the games when he was not serving so good. A little bit of up and down in the second but I think I managed well in the third set so I’m really happy.”

With several big seeds falling early in Rotterdam, Musetti sees an open opportunity to extend his run. “I think everyone has the potential to win every tournament,” said the Italian. “I’m really enjoying it here. I hope to play another good match and fingers crossed I hope to get to the semi-final.”

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Next Stop – Nomadic Life With… Taylor Fritz

  • Posted: Feb 09, 2022

Taylor Fritz is the top seed at this week’s Dallas Open, an ATP 250 in Texas. Before his second-round match against Jack Sock on Thursday, the 24-year-old, who is at a career-high No. 19 in the ATP Rankings, spoke to about his life on the ATP Tour.

This is the newest edition of’s Next Stop – Nomadic Life series.

What are two essential non-tennis items you always pack for trips?
I always bring my computer to just keep me entertained. Outside of tennis stuff, I don’t know if there are any other essentials. Obviously toiletries and stuff.

What item did you forget to bring one time that caused you distress?
I’m a pretty last-second packer, so occasionally I’ll leave out some little things. But never anything too serious. I pack within the hour before I leave. I just like to do that.

Are you someone who gets to the airport with lots of time to spare or do you cut it fine?
I usually set a time to leave that’s pretty safe because usually I’m 15 minutes late. Usually I’m cutting it close, but never too worried about it.

Watch Next Stop Rotterdam: Matwe Middelkoop’s Backstage Tour

As a tennis player, maintaining your body is of the utmost importance, so how do you take care of it during long trips?
I have my physio, so we’ll do work to try and loosen up the body, especially the day after I land. But the most important thing on a long travel day is probably just making sure that I get myself set on the right timezone as soon as possible. So if I land in the morning, I make sure I stay up and go to sleep at a regular time. Definitely no naps the first day.

You beat the jetlag on the first day. I don’t know what people believe, but you’re going to either have it bad or beat it based on the first day you get there.

How long did it take you to realise that?
I think I’ve alway known that, at least for the past couple years. But sometimes it’s just tough. You’re really, really tired when you get in sometimes. I feel like I’ve just done a better job recently of fighting it out and staying up until a good time.

How do you pass the time on airplanes?
Sleep. I spend more than half of my time on an airplane sleeping. Purposely a lot of times I’ll stay up a little later the night before so it’s easier for me to go to sleep when I get on the plane. I’m really great at sleeping wherever. I love sleeping.

Is that for sleeping or in general?
I’d say for tennis. I do it a lot on the road. I feel like I play better when I’m extremely well-rested.

Watch Fritz’s Los Cabos Tour:

When you land, especially after a long flight, do you have to go straight with your physio to take care of stuff?
I will. If he’s already there I will and we’ll get on the table and loosen up the body and stuff. But if we land at different times, sometimes I’ll land after a long flight at night and I’ll just go to sleep, and sometimes I’ll land in the morning and I’ll try to get through a training day.

Have you ever decided to play a specific tournament in part because you wanted to travel to that city?
Not really. I think there have been tournaments I’ve gone to where it also worked out because I wanted to go there too. I wanted to go to Doha and Dubai last year, but it also made sense with my schedule. During the Asian Swing, when I had to choose between Beijing and Tokyo I would choose Tokyo because I always wanted to go to Japan.

When you’re picking your schedule, how do you select your tournaments? Is it just based on what fits best with your tennis?
Maybe tournaments that I’ve played well at in the past or I feel good at. I’ll even sometimes look at the specific type of balls they’re using at a tournament. I think that plays a big part in it… I’m just always thinking about feeling good physically, where I’m going to play good tennis and peaking at the biggest, most important events.

Where is your favourite vacation destination?
Probably Hawaii. I like Hawaii quite a bit. I went when I was pretty young [for the first time].

You’re here at the inaugural Dallas Open this week. What do you think about the tournament moving here this year?
It’s awesome. I think it’s a really good move. It’s in between Florida and Los Angeles… I like the fact that there’s a tournament here now. I think it’s going to do really well. I think the people the fans are going to be really good and I hope it does well.

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Sock Strong In Dallas Opener

  • Posted: Feb 09, 2022

Jack Sock earned his first tour-level win of the season on Tuesday at the Dallas Open, where he defeated German Oscar Otte 6-4, 6-4.

The 29-year-old American, who is currently No. 147 in the ATP Rankings, won 87 per cent of his first-serve points and saved the only break point he faced to advance after one hour and 22 minutes.

Sock has won two of his four ATP Tour singles titles in the United States and is trying to add another this week. He has won on some of the sport’s biggest stages in the past, including his run to the 2017 Rolex Paris Masters trophy.


Next up for the wild card will be top seed Taylor Fritz. They have met four times on the ATP Tour, splitting those clashes.

In other action, seventh seed Marcos Giron moved past fellow American Tennys Sandgren 6-4, 6-4 in one hour and 31 minutes behind eight aces.

“I knew going into the match it was going to be tough. Sandgren of course has been Top 50 in the world. He’s made big runs in Australia and he’s got a very high level,” Giron said. “Going into the match I was looking for my first win of the year in singles and so I’m happy to get that. Going into the match I knew it was going to be hard. I knew I would have to play well and I did a good job of playing well on the important points.”

The former UCLA Bruin will next face British qualifier Liam Broady, who advanced past German Peter Gojowczyk 6-1, 6-4. Broady was Team Great Britain’s captain at last month’s ATP Cup.

The upset of the day came when Austrian qualifier Jurij Rodionov battled past in-form American Maxime Cressy 7-6(3), 4-6, 6-1. Cressy, known for his serve-and-volley style, hit 20 aces, but Rodionov saved two of the three break points he faced to reach the second round, in which he will play Vasek Pospisil.

The Canadian qualifier eliminated wild card Caleb Chakravarthi 6-1, 6-0. The American competes for Southern Methodist University, the host of the ATP 250 event.

Australian Jordan Thompson and German qualifier Cedrik-Marcel Stebe also advanced on Day Two.

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Del Potro Falls To Delbonis On Emotional BA Night

  • Posted: Feb 09, 2022

In a party atmosphere in Buenos Aires, Juan Martin del Potro made his ATP Tour return on Tuesday night. Playing for the first time since March 2019, the Argentine delighted his home fans with a homecoming many feared might never happen.

Competing against his good friend and countryman Federico Delbonis, del Potro broke serve in the opening game of the match but ultimately dropped a 6-1, 6-3 contest in one hour, 23 minutes.

Del Potro was overcome with emotion prior to stepping to the line to serve at 3-5 in the second. As his eyes flooded with tears, the crowd filled in the pause by serenading their hero. After match point, the competitors shared a long embrace and del Potro laid his bandana on the middle of the net.

The result did little to dampen the lively scene on Court Guillermo Vilas, with del Potro having requested 80 tickets for family and friends from Tandil. For the first time in his professional career, his mother, Patricia, was in the stands to watch him play. Also filling out the packed crowd were del Potro’s sister, Julieta, Argentine Davis Cup captain Guillermo Coria and many of the players competing in the ATP 250 event, including France’s Benoit Paire.

Del Potro walked onto the court to the Argentine rock song “Que Placer Verte Otra Vez,” a song by his musician friend known as Ciro, which translates to “What a pleasure to see you again.”

The tune changed to the familiar “Ole Delpo” chant during the match, among a variety of others, with del Potro galvanising his supporters throughout.

After the sixth seed Delbonis commanded the opening set, del Potro began to find his footing on the red clay in the second. Three holds earned him a 3-2 lead, but the set was defined by a five-deuce seventh game. After escaping 0/40, del Potro created two game points but was ultimately broken on the game’s sixth break point.

Full stands to watch Delpo.
Photo courtesy Sergio Llamera/Argentina Open

After defeating the former World No. 3, the current World No. 42 Delbonis advances to face Pablo Andujar in the second round.

Earlier in Buenos Aires, seventh seed Albert Ramos-Vinolas was upset by Brazil’s Thiago Monteiro, 6-3,6-3. The only other seed in action on Tuesday, Ramos-Vinolas could not back up his Cordoba title with another deep run in Argentina. Monteiro advances to face Fernando Verdasco on Wednesday.

Alejandro Tabilo, a finalist in Cordoba, was also turned back on Tuesday. He dropped a 6-2, 6-4 decision to Spain’s Pedro Martinez, who will face fourth seed Fabio Fognini in the Round of 16 on Thursday.

In a meeting of promising youngsters, Sebastian Baez was victorious in his hometown, 7-6(4), 6-3, over 18-year-old Holger Rune of Denmark.

Juan Martin del Potro embraces his mother, Patricia, after his likely final match in Buenos Aires.

Juan Martin del Potro embraces his mother, Patricia, after his likely final match in Buenos Aires. Credit: Getty Images

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Why 'Everybody Is Pumped Up' About The Inaugural Dallas Open

  • Posted: Feb 09, 2022

Last Thursday, there was an ice storm in Dallas, Texas. This week, the only things falling from the sky have been booming aces.

The first edition of the Dallas Open is being played at the Styslinger/Altec Tennis Complex on the campus of Southern Methodist University. Excited fans have been out in bountiful numbers to support the ATP 250 event.

“Everybody has been pumped up about it. I go to restaurants and they see me with the Dallas Open hat on and go ‘Hey, we are looking forward to it!’ We are excited about what it represents bringing a professional ATP 250 level event to a city like Dallas,” Tournament Director Peter Lebedevs told “We [at GF Sports & Entertainment] are committed to developing, promoting and helping American tennis. That is why we own two of the American events.”


The tournament was previously held on Long Island, where it was called the New York Open. Previous locations include Memphis and San Jose. Tournament officials have tried to create a distinct identity for the event by making the court red inside the lines and blue outside them. This is the only tournament in the United States that has used such a design.

“It is a combination of paying a little bit of respect to where we are, both state and school,” Lebedevs said of SMU and the state of Texas. “We thought it would be a great opportunity for us to do that with the court. And make it something that hasn’t happened very often and be unique in the United States.”

Lebdedevs explained how important it was to him that the Dallas Open created something new for fans and players alike.

“[It is] so people remember when you do something a little differently. We were successful with our black court in New York and this will be one of the first things people will remember,” Lebedevs said. “We think the ball shows up well on the red and blue as well, so it will be better for the players and TV. It is a good first impression to provide for the players and fans something a little bit different and unique.

“When they walk in they will know it is the Dallas Open with the red court. Everybody we have spoken to so far is very excited. The local community loves the idea of us showing that respect towards Texas and SMU.”

Dallas Open
Photo Credit: Dallas Open/Alex Smith
Dallas resident John Isner said of the court, “It looks cool. It fits the scene here at SMU, so it’s a very good look.”

Reilly Opelka has competed in Dallas before, having played an ATP Challenger Tour event in the city twice before. The American, who won the New York Open in 2019, is looking forward to the week ahead.

“I’m excited. A new venue is always exciting. I think people forget how important geography and real estate are when it comes to tennis,” Opelka said. “Dallas is a great community for tennis… I think they deserve it based on the attendance they showed at the Challenger level… they’ve always proven themselves.”

Brandon Nakashima, another American, played his first-round match on Monday evening in front of a raucous crowd. The atmosphere has already proven electric early in the week, and Nakashima is happy to be part of it.

“It’s super nice here. Dallas is such a nice city and all these fans coming out to support the tournament is super cool to see, especially for a tournament that’s new this year,” Nakashima said. “I think they’ve done a really good job organising it and bringing the community together to make a great event.”

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