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Alcaraz: 'To Be Part Of Tennis History Is An Amazing Feeling'

  • Posted: Nov 16, 2022

Alcaraz: ‘To Be Part Of Tennis History Is An Amazing Feeling’

Spaniard celebrates year-end ATP No. 1 presented by Pepperstone at a ceremony at the Pala Alpitour in Turin

Carlos Alcaraz received a raucous reception Wednesday evening at the Pala Alpitour in Turin, where he received the ATP No. 1 Trophy presented by Pepperstone. The 19-year-old is the youngest player in history to earn the award.

“It means a lot to me,” Alcaraz said. “To get this trophy, the World No. 1, to be part of tennis history along with a lot of legends, for me [it] is an amazing feeling.”

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Alcaraz Youngest Year-End ATP No. 1 Presented By Pepperstone In History

The Spaniard was set to make his Nitto ATP Finals debut this week, but was forced to withdraw due to an internal oblique muscle tear in his left abdominal wall. He was still happy to take in the atmosphere of the season finale in Turin.

“I’m a little bit disappointed to not be able to play here in the Nitto [ATP] Finals. I really wanted to play here,” Alcaraz said. “These kind of things can happen in tennis life. But… at the same time I’m really grateful to lift this amazing trophy. It’s an amazing achievement. All the hard work pays off. For me it’s incredible to lift this trophy today.”

Alcaraz is fully focussed on rehabbing to be in top form for the start of the 2023 season. The year-end World No. 1 gave a positive update on his status Wednesday.

“[My recovery is] going really well. It’s going really fast, as well. I’m really focused on recovering as soon as possible,” Alcaraz said. “But I could say in a week we improved a lot in the injury. I’m going to say at the beginning of the season, I’m going to be ready, I’m going to be 100 per cent.”

<a href=''>Carlos Alcaraz</a>
Photo Credit: Corinne Dubreuil/ATP Tour
Alcaraz added: “The first weeks after the injury, [it] is really important to [not] stop. That’s what I did the week and a half that I spent, it was with a lot of exercise.”

The winner of this year’s US Open as well as ATP Masters 1000 titles in Miami and Madrid is enjoying a holiday “to disconnect a little bit, to take a rest”. But soon he will turn his attention to the preseason.

Until then, Alcaraz has his eyes on the Nitto ATP Finals, where the prestigious Brad Drewett Trophy is up for grabs.

“Of course I was watching the matches, not all of them, but a lot of them. I watch it from home. I mean, I always want to watch great matches, great level.
So with these players here, it’s 100 per cent,” Alcaraz said. “Here in the match, great shots, great rallies. I love to watch these kind of matches. Of course, having Rafa here, I root for him. I root for Spanish players. But I root for great tennis.”

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Tsitsipas Wins Turin Thriller, Sets Rublev Blockbuster

  • Posted: Nov 16, 2022

Tsitsipas Wins Turin Thriller, Sets Rublev Blockbuster

Second seed improves to 1-1 in Red Group

In one of the matches of the season, Stefanos Tsitsipas stepped up and delivered Wednesday when he clawed past Daniil Medvedev 6-3, 6-7(11), 7-6(1) to boost his semi-final hopes in Turin.

In the 11th chapter of their longstanding ATP Head2Head rivalry, it was Tsitsipas who prevailed in a thrilling topsy-turvy clash that swayed one way and then the other at the Pala Alpitour.

The Greek squandered three match points in the second set, before he regained his focus, rallying from 3-5 in the third set to eventually triumph after two hours and 21 minutes, improving to 4-7 in his ATP Head2Head series against Medvedev.

“It was very tiring out there,” said Tsitsipas. “I’m so glad I overcame this and I was able to enjoy it with the crowd. It’s a great win and I’m extremely proud of the way I thought. It never seemed to kind of be ending for me. Even on the last game when he was serving, I still felt if I was able to put a few balls in, some opportunity might present [itself], and it did.

“It was great to get back into the match, I felt reborn, and what a great way to end it.”

The Greek stepped inside the baseline at every opportunity, moving forward effectively as he took advantage of Medvedev’s deep court position to finish points at the net. He won 80 per cent (36/45) of points at the net, while he forced the fourth seed into errors with his heavy hitting in the fast conditions to triumph.

Tsitsipas kept alive his semi-final hopes following his Tour-leading 61st victory of the season. The 24-year-old will face Andrey Rublev in a winner-takes-all clash on Friday, with both holding 1-1 records in Turin. Novak Djokovic has already qualified for the semi-finals.

Tsitsipas is aiming to become the 11th player to win multiple Nitto ATP Finals titles this week in Turin. The Greek triumphed on debut at the prestigious year-end event in 2019, defeating Dominic Thiem in the final.

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In front of a packed crowd at the Pala Alpitour, Tsitsipas and Medvedev put on a late-night show with their fierce ballstriking and all-court play. In an impressive first-set performance, the Greek won 93 per cent (14/15) of points at the net and struck 12 winners to move ahead.

After both were strong on serve in the second set, Tsitsipas rallied from 1/4 in the tie-break to move to match point. Medvedev refused to go away, however, winning a series of long exchanges as he saved three match points to stay alive. He then dispatched a smash on his fourth set point to force a decider.

The fourth seed looked on course to complete a dramatic comeback when he led 5-3 in the third set, but Tsitsipas showed his big-match mentality, breaking back for 5-5. He then held his nerve in the tie-break to triumph, raising his arms in delight.

“[It was] terrible to not serve it out, especially on such [a] fast court,” Medvedev said in his post-match press conference. “I lost my [serve] in the first game of the match, which is never good, but can happen. You need some time to get into the match.

“Then I didn’t face a break point until I got a break in the third [set]. I didn’t really feel much nerves. I just had to play better and serve better.”

Tsitsipas is now 3-0 in third-set tie-breaks at the Nitto ATP Finals, having clawed past Thiem in 2019 and Rublev in 2020.

Medvedev lifted the trophy at the Nitto ATP Finals in 2020, before he reached the final last season. The 26-year-old is out of this year’s edition, though, after also losing to Andrey Rublev this week.

Did You Know?
There have been three third-set tie-breaks at the Nitto ATP Finals this season.

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Kokkinakis/Kyrgios Flick The Switch! Aussies Seal Comeback Win In Turin

  • Posted: Nov 16, 2022

Kokkinakis/Kyrgios Flick The Switch! Aussies Seal Comeback Win In Turin

Pair downs fifth seeds Dodig/Krajicek for first victory at season finale

Thanasi Kokkinakis and Nick Kyrgios pulled off a stunning Match Tie-break comeback against Ivan Dodig and Austin Krajicek on Wednesday to keep their Nitto ATP Finals semi-final hopes alive.

After a slow start in the Green Group clash, the eighth seeds fed off the energy of an increasingly raucous Pala Alpitour crowd as they rallied from 1/5 in the Match Tie-break to clinch a 3-6, 6-3, 10-6 win at the prestigious season finale.

“I was thinking to myself, ‘If we lose today, we [would be] out of the whole event, so I am going to go out and there and do what I can do’,” Kyrgios said. “We are the pair that is able to do that pretty much every time we play, so why don’t we use that to our advantage. The crowd was amazing and they got us over the line.”

As they built momentum towards the end of the 81-minute encounter, Kokkinakis and Kyrgios revelled in the noise provided by the fans inside the Pala Alpitour. The pair won nine of the final 10 points to cap a stunning win in which they saved four of five break points.

After Dodig and Krajicek broke Kyrgios’ serve in the second game of the match, the Croatian-American pair were clinical in sealing the first set. It was a double fault from Krajicek at 4-5, 40/30 that proved pivotal in the second, as Kyrgios fired a classy forehand pass on the subsequent deuce deciding point to force what proved to be a thrilling Match Tie-break.

The win was crucial for Kokkinakis and Kyrgios’ chances of reaching the semi-finals on tournament debut in Turin. The pair now holds a 1-1 record in Green Group and will meet Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic on Friday in their final round-robin match.

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Family Fun Motivating Djokovic In Turin

  • Posted: Nov 16, 2022

Family Fun Motivating Djokovic In Turin

Serbian’s family are supporting him in Turin

It has been a family affair for Novak Djokovic this week at the Nitto ATP Finals, where his wife Jelena and children Stefan and Tara are supporting the Serbian in Turin.

With a semi-final spot on the line at the prestigious year-end event on Wednesday, the Serbian put on a show for his son and daughter, who cheered their father to victory against Andrey Rublev.

“I think it is probably the first match that both my daughter and son, and of course my wife, have watched the entire match from the first to the last minute,” Djokovic said. “We played for just over an hour. It is so great to have them. For me, that is one of the biggest motivational factors that I have right now competing at the highest level. Having them courtside, watching and celebrating, hopefully with me.”

Djokovic’s son Stefan grabbed the spotlight earlier this year at Wimbledon when he showed off his skills on the practice court alongside his dad and coach Goran Ivanisevic. The former World No. 1 revealed that Stefan has loved the opportunity to spend time on Tour again this week in Turin.

“My son is playing tennis, he’s eight years old now and he’s aware of what is happening, who is who,” Djokovic said. “He just loves going around, getting signatures, playing some tennis, assisting Goran with the ball picking, then coaching on the warmup sessions and training sessions when I’m on the court.

“He loves to be around and for him this is a unique experience and for my daughter, of course, and for me. I am really grateful to have them around.”

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Back in 2008, a then-21-year-old Djokovic captured his first title at the Nitto ATP Finals when he triumphed in Shanghai. Fourteen years on and the Serbian is aiming to tie Roger Federer’s record six Nitto ATP Finals titles at year-end event.

“Making history in this sport is always a big motivational factor for me,” Djokovic said earlier this week. “It doesn’t maybe necessarily affect the whole approach to the specific match because I’m experienced enough and I know myself well and what I need to do in order to prepare for my next challenge and next opponent.

“But of course I’m aware of the possibility to make history again. It is a great pleasure and honour to be in that position. So it does motivate me and inspire me to play even better tennis.”

If Djokovic needed any extra motivation to move level with Federer, his children look to set to provide that in Turin.

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Djokovic Seals SF Spot In Turin

  • Posted: Nov 16, 2022

Djokovic Seals SF Spot In Turin

Serbian seeking record-equalling sixth title

Novak Djokovic stepped up his quest for a record-equalling sixth Nitto ATP Finals crown Wednesday when he defeated Andrey Rublev 6-4, 6-1 to reach the semi-finals in Turin.

The Serbian, who overcame Stefanos Tsitsipas in his opening Red Group match, soaked up Rublev’s powerful forehand during the first set, demonstrating great agility to hang in points in the quick indoor conditions to frustrate the sixth seed.

The former World No. 1 also fired his watertight backhand with great depth to dictate baseline exchanges, committing just six unforced errors to seal his 43rd victory of the season in 68 minutes.

“I played very, very well. One of the best matches of the year without a doubt,” Djokovic said. “He is a tough opponent. A great competitor. He possesses a lot of strengths in his game. I managed to find the right attitude and the right game.

“In the 10th game of the first set, I think he was 40/30 and we played a long rally and I just stayed in there and told myself chances will come. He went down in his energy a little in the second [set] and I wanted to use the momentum and energy from my side in the first few games and it was a flawless second set.”

The 35-year-old now holds a 2-1 ATP Head2Head series lead against Rublev, having also moved past the 25-year-old at the prestigious year-end event last season. Djokovic will face Daniil Medvedev in his final round-robin match Friday.

Djokovic is aiming to tie Roger Federer’s record six titles at the event. He has not lifted the Brad Drewett Trophy since 2015, though, with his best results since then final runs in 2016 and 2018. Djokovic, who triumphed in Tel Aviv and Astana last month, lost to eventual champion Alexander Zverev at the semi-final stage last year.

The Serbian was impressive on return against Rublev, striking with great depth and precision to quickly neutralise points.

<a href=''>Novak Djokovic</a>

Sixth seed Rublev is 1-1 in Red Group action, having earned a comeback win against Medvedev earlier this week. Making his third appearance, Rublev will try to reach the semi-finals for the first time when he plays 2019 champion Tsitsipas on Friday.

Did You Know?
Djokovic is the second singles player to qualify for the semi-finals after Casper Ruud advanced from Green Group on Tuesday night.

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Mektic/Pavic Down Koolhof/Skupski To Secure Turin SF Berth

  • Posted: Nov 16, 2022

Mektic/Pavic Down Koolhof/Skupski To Secure Turin SF Berth

Croatian duo also reached final four on tournament debut in 2021

Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic earned a statement win Wednesday at the Nitto ATP Finals in Turin, where the Croatian duo defeated top seeds Wesley Koolhof and Neal Skupski 6-4, 7-6(3) to reach the semi-finals at the prestigious season finale for the second consecutive year.

There was a former Nitto ATP Finals champion on both sides of the net in Wednesday’s clash. Koolhof and Mektic lifted the trophy together in London in 2020, but it was Mektic and Pavic, the 14-time tour-level title-winning team, who marginally retained the upper hand throughout a high-quality 93-minute encounter.

“It is great to know that we have qualified after two matches,” Pavic said. “It was a great match. Not easy to play them. They had a great season, full of confidence. We have played them once before and we won and now again, so we have a great match up against them. We are happy to be through.”

Mektic and Pavic made a fast start at the Pala Alpitour, where they clinched the sole break of the first set in the opening game. The fourth seeds were both strong behind serve, with Pavic’s swinging lefty delivery proving particularly effective as the pair fired 10 aces and saved three of three break points. They clinched a crucial mini-break on the opening point of the second-set tie-break that proved enough to secure the win and move to 2-0 in Green Group.

“The match could not have started better for us,” Mektic said. “That was the crucial point in the match. We started with the lead and that is a big advantage on these courts. In the second set we were very confident on our serve, having good looks and making good chances on return.”

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Mektic and Pavic arrived in Turin seeking to become ATP Tour champions for the sixth time this year. The duo won at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in May, when it also defeated Koolhof and Skupski in the quarter-finals on the Rome clay. The pair then lifted trophies in Geneva, at The Queen’s Club in London, in Eastbourne and in Astana.

Dutchman Koolhof and Briton Skupski, who defeated Thanasi Kokkinakis and Nick Kyrgios in a Match Tie-break in their opening match, are now 1-1 this week in Turin. They will next take on Ivan Dodig and Austin Krajicek in their final Green Group match on Friday as they seek to join Mektic and Pavic in the semi-finals.

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Who's Your Favourite Player & Team? Vote Now In 2022 ATP Awards

  • Posted: Nov 16, 2022

Who’s Your Favourite Player & Team? Vote Now In 2022 ATP Awards

Support your favourite singles player and doubles team

Which tennis players entertained you or caught your eye during the 2022 ATP Tour season? Show your support by casting your vote in the Fans’ Favourite Awards!

Select your favourite singles player and doubles team from the dropdowns below, submit your vote and stay tuned over the coming weeks as we celebrate players and tournaments in the 2022 ATP Awards.

Voting for the 2022 Fans’ Favourite Awards closes at 11:59pm GMT on Friday, 2 December.

If you have already cast your vote, you have the option to change your selection through the dropdown menu during the voting period, but your last submission will be the only one recorded. 

Note: Fans’ Favourite candidates are active players in the Top 100 of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings and Top 25 teams in the Pepperstone ATP Doubles Team Rankings as of 7 November 2022. The Top 100 includes players with protected ATP Rankings who have played at least one tour-level match in 2022. Candidates with protected rankings are noted in the list with (PR). 

As Awards season gets underway, we pay tribute to 19-time Fans’ Favourite winner Roger Federer, who stepped into retirement earlier this year. The Swiss won a record 40 ATP Awards during his prolific career, including Fans’ Favourite from 2003-21. Thanks for the memories, Roger!

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