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Felix Upsets World No. 1 Alcaraz In Davis Cup Action

  • Posted: Sep 16, 2022

Felix Upsets World No. 1 Alcaraz In Davis Cup Action

Berrettini and Sinner lead Italy past Argentina

Felix Auger-Aliassime earned one of the biggest wins of his career on Friday when he defeated new World No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz 6-7(3), 6-4, 6-2 in Davis Cup action.

The World No. 13 saved all seven break points he faced to level Canada’s tie against Spain at 1-1 after two hours and 50 minutes. Auger-Aliassime took the initiative in the match to put the recent US Open champion on the back foot, especially in the critical moments.

This was Alcaraz’s first match as the No. 1 player in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings. The 19-year-old fought valiantly, but was unable to close out the tie.

Roberto Bautista Agut had made a good start for Spain when he rallied past Vasek Pospisil 3-6, 6-3, 6-3. There will be a deciding doubles match in Valencia.

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Berrettini & Sinner Power Italy Past Argentina
Matteo Berrettini and Jannik Sinner, both of whom competed in the 2021 Nitto ATP Finals, showed their strength on Friday to help Italy defeat Argentina.

Berrettini powered past Sebastian Baez 6-2, 6-3 to give Italy the advantage before Sinner took the court in Bologna, where he delivered a 7-5, 1-6, 6-3 victory against Miami semi-finalist Francisco Cerundolo.

Germany Squeaks By Belgium
The Belgians put forth a commendable effort, but Germany moved to 2-0 in Group C action with a 2-1 win in their tie. Kevin Krawietz and Tim Puetz sealed their country’s triumph with a 4-6, 6-2, 7-6(5) victory against Sander Gille and Joran Vliegen.

German Jan-Lennard Struff claimed the opening rubber against Zizou Bergs 6-4, 7-6(9) to put his country in a winning position before 2017 Nitto ATP Finals runner-up David Goffin clawed past Oscar Otte 3-6, 7-6(7), 6-3 to set the deciding doubles.

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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Gates, Messi, Tendulkar Headline Celebrity Federer Tributes

  • Posted: Sep 16, 2022

Gates, Messi, Tendulkar Headline Celebrity Federer Tributes

Pau Gasol, Conan O’Brien among other celebrities to take to social media

Following Roger Federer’s retirement announcement on Thursday, many tennis stars of the past and present took to social media to pay tribute to the Swiss.

But Federer’s announcement reverberated far beyond the tennis world. Celebrities including Bill Gates, football player Lionel Messi, cricketer Sachin Tendulkar and Formula 1 legend Fernando Alonso also shared their well-wishes for the former World No. 1.


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Federer, Serena Share Parallel Paths To Greatness

  • Posted: Sep 16, 2022

Federer, Serena Share Parallel Paths To Greatness

Tennis legends began careers from different backgrounds, but leave behind similar, monumental legacies

They were born only 49 days apart, though in vastly different corners of the world.

Consider the catalogues of Serena Williams and Roger Federer as a portrait of contrasting forces. Stylistically different, but in terms of sheer substance, they are two of the most decorated players of the Open Era, almost without rivals.

It feels appropriate they chose to depart from professional tennis within a span of five weeks. Williams’ retirement news arrived in a Vogue magazine essay on 9 August, the day after Federer turned 41. His announcement came Thursday, 11 days before her 41st birthday.

“This is a bittersweet decision, because I will miss everything the tour has given me,” Federer wrote in his retirement letter. “But at the same time, there is so much to celebrate. I consider myself one of the most fortunate people on earth. I was given a special talent to play tennis, and I did it at a level that I never imagined, for much longer than I ever thought possible.”

Williams earlier had expressed similar sentiments when saying goodbye to fans.

“I’m terrible at goodbyes, the world’s worst,” she wrote. “But please know that I am more grateful for you than I can ever express in words. You have carried me to so many wins and so many trophies. I’m going to miss that version of me, that girl who played tennis. And I’m going to miss you.”

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While parting is bittersweet – at best – it might be wise to adopt Williams’ mindset and see this as an inevitable evolution. Certainly, these two will always be in and around tennis. Going forward, their love of the game will keep them engaged.

But what of the sport itself? At times like these, there are always questions about how the void will be filled. When Stefanie Graf retired in 1999, winning at Roland Garros and reaching the final at Wimbledon, coincidentally or not, that was the year Williams won her first major. When Pete Sampras walked away after the 2002 US Open, he had already lost to Federer at Wimbledon the year before – one year before the Swiss champion would produce his first major win in the same venue.

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As it turns out, just as those void questions are resurfacing, your freshly minted US Open champions might be a good place to start.

Iga Swiatek, 20, is the youngest Hologic WTA Tour player to collect three major titles since Maria Sharapova in 2008. Players such as Ons Jabeur and 18-year-old Coco Gauff have elevated themselves into mainstream sports spotlight. Currently four of the Top 10 players in the world are under 25 years old.

Carlos Alcaraz, at 19, is the youngest No.1 player in Pepperstone ATP Rankings history (since 1973). And in case you forgot, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, the two most successful players of all time on the Grand Slam stage, walked away with three of the four majors this year.

It wasn’t long ago, Williams and Federer were the faces of the game’s future.

Williams grew up on the public courts of Compton, California; Federer was a ball boy at the tournament in his hometown of Basel, Switzerland. Their disparate environments would shape the way they played the game. Williams was in-your-face raw power and speed and blatant desire. Federer was more fluid, a sleight–of–hand artist who beat you with finesse – and an astonishing hand–eye coordination.

She got on the Grand Slam board first, winning the US Open at the age of 17. Federer broke through at Wimbledon in 2003 and would win three of the four majors three times in four years, from 2004-07. Williams’ career was more dispersed, marked by injuries and lengthy sabbaticals. The two times she won three majors in a single season, remarkably, came in 2002 – and 13 years later in 2015.

Federer won 16 of his 20 major titles before the age of 30; Williams managed 10 of her 23 after turning 30. Both of them were masterful on grass: Federer won eight titles at Wimbledon, while Williams had seven. In Melbourne and New York, it was Williams with a 7-6 and 6-5 edge, respectively. On clay, which was less conducive to their skill sets, Williams won three and Federer one.

Serena Williams and <a href=''>Roger Federer</a> at a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the 2019 Miami Open.

On six occasions – the number somehow seems low – they won the same Grand Slam event. The first was in 2003, and the photo from Wimbledon’s Winners’ Ball mirrors their on–court emotions.

Williams, wearing a strappy black dress, hair pulled back, is grinning broadly. Federer, long brown hair scooped behind and well below his ears, is wearing a black tuxedo and a red bow tie.

More than 14 years later, it happened for the last time, in Australia. Williams, already pregnant with daughter Olympia, defeated sister Venus for her final major triumph, at the age of 35. Federer, hair considerably shorter, was a five-set winner in 2017 against rival Rafael Nadal. One year later, he would capture his final major in Melbourne, at the age of 36.

Even considering Federer played nearly 500 more matches, their career achievements are cut from the same cloth. Federer won 103 titles, 30 more than Serena. But Williams won more Slams and held the four major titles simultaneously twice, in 2002-03 and 2014-15. She won four Olympic gold medals, three in doubles, versus Federer’s silver and bronze in singles and a gold in doubles.

Williams’ winning percentage (858-156, .846) is slightly better than Federer’s (1,251-275, .820). Perhaps the statistic that best captures their consistent, unrelenting brilliance is the relationship with the No.1 ranking. Williams was on top for 319 weeks, nine more than Federer. Her first ascension to the throne came in 2002, the last some 15 years later. Federer’s first (2004) and last (2018) were no less impressive.
It might be some time before tennis aficionados wonder how Williams and Federer will be replaced. They came into the tennis world at the same time, dominated for close to two decades and now leave together.
It’s only fitting.

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ATP Announces Record-Breaking Challenger Tour Enhancements

  • Posted: Sep 16, 2022

ATP Announces Record-Breaking Challenger Tour Enhancements

Learn about category simplification, record prize money and an enhanced calendar

ATP has announced significant upgrades to the ATP Challenger Tour, set to deliver a record number of events, multi-million dollar prize money increases and an optimised tournament calendar from January 2023. The reforms follow an in-depth review and strategy development, conducted by ATP’s new senior Challenger Tour team over the past eight months.

Key changes include:

1) Category Simplification:

The ATP will phase out the Challenger 90 and 110 categories, reducing the number of categories from six to four. Starting in 2023, the core categories will be:

  • Challenger 50
  • Challenger 75
  • Challenger 100
  • Challenger 125

In addition, ATP will introduce three new premium Challenger 175 events, during the second week of ATP Masters 1000 tournaments in Indian Wells, Rome and Madrid, with prize money of $220,000.

2) Record Prize Money:

Total prize money on the Challenger Tour will rise from $13.2 million in 2022 to a record $21.1 million in 2023, an increase of 60 per cent. This includes notable increases at Challenger 100 tournaments ($106,240 to $130,000) and Challenger 75 tournaments ($53,120 to $80,000). In addition, round-by-round prize money distributions will improve earnings in the earlier rounds of events. Together, these enhancements will help create a more sustainable player pathway for more players competing on the Challenger Tour.

3) Enhanced Calendar:

The 2023 Challenger Tour is set to deliver an all-time record of 195 events, up from 183 in 2022, creating more opportunities for players. Improvements to the calendar will also see it more closely align with the ATP Tour and deliver a better balance of tournaments in terms of both surface types and regions. In addition, a projected 170 per cent increase in the number of Challenger 100 and 125 events will enhance player flow and mobility, giving players more opportunities to ascend the Pepperstone ATP Rankings.

Commenting on the changes, ATP Chairman Andrea Gaudenzi said: “The Challenger Tour is the launchpad of men’s professional tennis. Today’s announcement is a critical step forward for the entire ecosystem. The new plan increases earnings potential for players and improves the balance of tournament categories, surfaces and regions. It also puts a renewed focus on raising tournament standards. This is also just the beginning. Our team is committed to delivering further enhancements in the coming months and years.”

Richard Glover, Vice President, ATP Challenger Tour, said: “The health of the ATP Challenger Tour is critical for the future of our sport, and our in-depth review revealed significant opportunities to strengthen this pathway. Whilst we are taking a long-term approach to growing the Challenger Tour, these changes will provide an immediate boost from 2023 onwards. We look forward to executing these reforms next season and building on this progress in the near future. There is more to come, so watch this space.”

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Nadal, Serena Pay Tribute To Federer

  • Posted: Sep 16, 2022

Nadal, Serena Pay Tribute To Federer

Superstars share their thoughts on Federer’s retirement announcement

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal created one of the most iconic rivalries in all of sports. Following Federer’s retirement announcement on Thursday, Nadal wrote a letter to his “friend and rival” on Twitter.

“I wish this day would have never come. It’s a sad day for me personally and for sports around the world. It’s been a pleasure but also an honour and privilege to share all these years with you, living so many amazing moments on and off the court,” Nadal wrote. “We will have many more moments to share together in the future, there are still lots of things to do together, we know that.

“For now, I truly wish you all the happiness with your wife, Mirka, your kids, your family and enjoy what’s ahead of you. I’ll see you in London at Laver Cup.”

Federer and Nadal played each other 40 times in their ATP Head2Head series, with 24 of those matches coming in finals. All but four of their clashes came in the semi-finals or final of a tournament, or at the Nitto ATP Finals.

Read More: Federer & Nadal, The Rivalry

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The pair first met on court in 2004 in the third round in Miami. Their most recent battle came in the 2019 Wimbledon semi-finals. Both men will compete for Team Europe at next week’s Laver Cup, Federer’s final ATP event.

WTA legend Serena Williams, who in August announced she was “evolving away from tennis” in an article for Vogue, also shared a message for Federer on Thursday.

“I wanted to find the perfect way to say this, as you so eloquently put this game to rest – perfectly done, just like your career. I have always looked up to you and admired you. Our paths were always so similar, so much the same. You inspired countless millions and millions of people – including me – and we will never forget,” Williams wrote on Instagram. “I applaud you and look forward to all that you do in the future. Welcome to the retirement club. And thank you for being you @rogerfederer.”


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