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ATP 50: Sampras' Six-Year Reign

  • Posted: Sep 15, 2022

ATP 50: Sampras’ Six-Year Reign

17 players have ended the season as the year-end No. 1

In 1973, Ilie Nastase became the first player to finish the season as the year-end No. 1 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings. Since then, a further 16 players have ended the year at the top of tennis’ mountain.

Novak Djokovic holds the ATP record of seven year-end No. 1 finishes, while 19-year-old Carlos Alcaraz will be aiming to become the youngest player in history to finish the season in top spot after soaring to No. 1 following his recent US Open title run. However, one record looks set to remain for years to come…

As part of ATP’s anniversary celebrations, has identified 50 game-changing moments of the past 50 years and collated them in an immersive feature. Here we look at how Pete Sampras stayed at the top of the sport throughout the 1990s.

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As Sampras secured his place among the sport’s kings in the 1990s, one record kept the American hungry: Jimmy Connors’ five straight year-end No. 1 finishes between 1974 and 1978.

Sampras, who was seriously challenged for the top spot in 1998, added six tournaments — Basel, Vienna, Lyon, Stuttgart, Paris and Stockholm — to his schedule between the US Open and ATP Tour World Championships [now named Nitto ATP Finals] in a bid to finish year-end No. 1 for the sixth straight season. Marcelo Rios, his nearest challenger, who’d spent six weeks at the summit earlier in the year, did likewise, travelling from Munich, Singapore and Santiago, before flying back to Europe in search of rankings points.

Come the season finale in Hanover, Rios’ chances were scuppered by a back injury and on 26 November 1998, Sampras found out that he’d secured year-end No. 1 for the sixth straight year while eating pasta back at the hotel. Mark Miles, ATP Executive Chairman and President, and Larry Scott, Chief Operating Officer of the ATP Tour, were on hand to tell Sampras the news. When asked about the pressure, Sampras explained, “I don’t look at it as a burden. I look at it as an ultimate achievement. This is a record that I feel will probably never be broken ever, and I knew that.”

Over the past 24 years, Sampras has seen his record of 14 major singles crowns surpassed by Rafael Nadal (22), Novak Djokovic (21) and Roger Federer (20). Come November 2021, Djokovic clinched his seventh finish as year-end No. 1 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings. But one achievement remains unmatched: For six consecutive years, from 1993-98, Sampras finished the year No. 1. “I think,” Sampras said, starting to laugh, “that’s the only record I’m going to have left.”

From classic matches to legendary players, relive all 50 game-changing moments.

Read more special features in our ATP50 series.

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Fritz Guides United States To Victory In Davis Cup Finals

  • Posted: Sep 15, 2022

Fritz Guides United States To Victory In Davis Cup Finals

Australia defeats France

Taylor Fritz fired the United States closer to the Davis Cup Finals knock-out stage on Thursday, defeating Alexander Bublik 7-6(6), 1-6, 6-3 to give the Americans an unassailable 2-0 lead against Kazakhstan.

The United States won its opening Group D tie in Glasgow against Great Britain in the early hours of Wednesday morning and backed that up with a comfortable victory against Kazakhstan. In the first match of the tie, Tommy Paul proved too strong for Mikhail Kukushkin. The World No. 29 cruised past the 34-year-old 6-1, 6-4 in 87 minutes, before Fritz finished the job.

View Davis Cup Scores

Kecmanovic Seals Serbia’s Win Against South Korea
Miomir Kecmanovic overcame Soonwoo Kwon 6-3, 6-3 in Valencia to keep Serbia’s Davis Cup qualification chances alive in Group B.

The World No. 33 saved all four break points he faced to triumph after 81 minutes, moving Serbia into a 2-0 lead against South Korea. Kecmanovic has improved his ATP Head2Head series record against the 24-year-old to 2-0.

In the first match of the tie, Dusan Lajovic dispatched Seong-chan Hong 6-4, 6-0. The former champion lost its opening Group B tie against Spain, but could qualify for November’s knock-out stages with victory against Canada.

ATP WTA LIVE | Follow the Pepperstone ATP Race To Turin In Real Time

Australia Edges France
Matthew Ebden and Max Purcell defeated Nicolas Mahut and Arthur Rinderknech 6-4, 6-4 in the deciding doubles rubber to earn Australia a 2-1 win against France in Hamburg.

Richard Gasquet downed Jason Kubler 6-2, 6-4 to give France a 1-0 lead before Alex de Minaur clawed past Benjamin Bonzi 6-3, 1-6, 6-4 in two hours and 10 minutes to level the tie. Australia has now won its opening two round-robin matches.

What is the format for the 2022 Davis Cup Finals?
The group stage of the 2022 Davis Cup by Rakuten Finals will take place across four cities – Bologna, Glasgow, Hamburg and Valencia – from 13-18 September. The 16 nations will compete in four round-robin groups of four teams. The top two teams in each group will advance to the knock-out stage. The knock-out stage will take place in Malaga from 22-27 November.

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Borges Cooks Up Success On ATP Challenger Tour

  • Posted: Sep 15, 2022

Borges Cooks Up Success On ATP Challenger Tour

The 25-year-old is a former college standout at Mississippi State 

Portugal’s Nuno Borges might just celebrate making his Top 100 debut by putting to use one of his biggest passions outside of tennis.

“I like to bake cakes,” Borges told “I think I got that from my mom, I used to help her when I was young and I guess I still have that in me, it’s a side of me that not many people know about.”

After a second consecutive standout year on the ATP Challenger Tour, Borges found himself knocking on the door of the Top 100 on the eve of the US Open. Then at Flushing Meadows, the 25-year-old advanced through qualifying before reaching the second round, a run that lifted him to World No. 93 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings.

The Maia native is just the sixth Portuguese player to win a Grand Slam main-draw match in men’s singles and the fourth Portuguese player to crack the Top 100 in the past decade, joining Joao Sousa, Pedro Sousa, and Gastao Elias (in 2016, Joao Sousa reached the highest ranking in Portuguese tennis history when he climbed to a career-high No. 28).

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Borges ousted fellow college standout Ben Shelton at the US Open in a five-set opening round thriller, 7-6(6), 3-6, 7-6(5), 6-7(8), 6-3. The Portuguese boasted a prominent career at Mississippi State University, including a 31-match winning streak before falling short in the 2019 NCAA Singles Championship (l. Jubb). Shelton, 19, claimed the 2022 NCAA singles title and announced his decision to turn professional this summer.

“I grew so much throughout those four years [in college],” Borges said. “I developed a lot physically and mentally, not having mom and dad to help you out all the time was good. It helped create a sense of responsibility and accountability towards myself and my teammates.

“Sometimes not just thinking about myself, but playing for something greater keeps you on your toes the whole time. Playing every match with everything I have, that’s the best thing college brought me.”

Borges, who turned professional in 2019, has qualified for three Grand Slam main draws this season: Roland Garros, Wimbledon, and the US Open. To his surprise, the professional success came rather quickly.

“[It’s came] so fast, a lot of first things happening really close to each other,” Borges said. “Like first qualies at a Slam, first main draw, first Davis Cup, even a couple years ago, my first Challenger main-draw and winning a couple Challenger matches. I never expected it. You set yourself a goal maybe medium-term but I’m going pretty fast on those goals and I’m really grateful. I’m very happy with where I’m at now and wouldn’t change it for anything.”

In 2021, Borges reached three ATP Challenger Tour finals, including in Antalya, Turkey, where he collected his first Challenger title (d. Peniston). This season, he was crowned champion at the Barletta Challenger (d. Zekic) in April. As he drew closer to cracking the Top 100 this summer, Borges admitted that he would sometimes check and see how close he was to his goal.

“I usually don’t check [the rankings] at all,” Borges said. “The past couple months, I would check more than usual, I’m not going to lie. But it wasn’t the most obsessive thing in my head, I was just trying to play my tennis.

“I wanted to be Top 100 and it’s the number that other people put in their head as a huge mark. Thankfully, when I was at the US Open, I didn’t even worry much about it, such a big tournament and event, I think that’s what helped. I got my head distracted with all that was going on throughout the Grand Slam, enjoying the moment, grinding like crazy and somehow made it. It’s like a dream come true.”

<a href=''>Nuno Borges</a> captured his second ATP Challenger Tour title in Barletta, Italy in April 2022.
Nuno Borges captured his second ATP Challenger Tour title in Barletta, Italy in April 2022. Credit: Open Citta Della Disfida

The two-time Challenger titlist, boasting a 26-14 match-record at the Challenger level this season, believes the ATP Challenger Tour has been a vital part of his pathway to the Top 100.

“I think the Challenger Tour is a little undervalued because a lot of the ATP players have to go through it and a lot of them spend years on the Challenger Tour, not getting through it. It’s a very tough circuit,” Borges said.

“A lot of players deserve more credit than what they get because they’re still incredible players. Someone around 300 is still just as good as the guy who is 130 or 120. Anything can happen there. I think it’s essential to have the Challenger Tour and these tournaments are what prepare us for what’s next.”

Borges is due to represent his home country in the Davis Cup World Group I clash against Brazil, which starts 16 September. He is scheduled to play the second singles match against Thiago Monteiro and will also pair up with Francisco Cabral in Saturday’s doubles match.

Earlier this season, Borges and Cabral went on a 17-match winning streak across all levels in which they collected three Challenger doubles titles and their maiden Tour-level crown at the ATP 250 event in Estoril. In 2021, the duo dominated the Challenger doubles circuit, securing a Challenger Tour season-leading six titles.

“Francisco and I have good chemistry. We’ve known each other for a long time, I think I have the first memory of us at like nine or 10,” Borges said. “We have a lot of experience together and we’ve just developed what we have throughout the years. We started at Futures, we were working pretty well, that’s when we were like, ‘Okay, we can keep going!’”

After Portugal hosts the Davis Cup tie, Borges will stay on home soil as he competes at the ATP Challenger 80 event in Braga.

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