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Five Things We Learned From The Australian Open

  • Posted: Jan 31, 2023

Five Things We Learned From The Australian Open looks back at what stood out from the season’s first major

As we turn the page from the first month of the 2023 ATP Tour season, we look back at some of the key takeaways from the Australian Open. From the dominant performances of champion Novak Djokovic and finalist Stefanos Tsitsipas to the first-week odyssey of Andy Murray, there was no shortage of storylines at the year’s first Grand Slam.

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1. Djokovic Sets The Standard
The Serbian left Melbourne as World No. 1, reclaiming the top spot in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings for the first time since last June. The honour is reward for a scintillating stretch of results dating back to Wimbledon: Djokovic is 38-2 since the start of the grass-court Slam, winning six of his seven tour-level events in that span.

The 35-year-old carried his red-hot 2022 form into the new year, peaking in the later rounds of the Australian Open. Despite a hamstring injury he suffered in Adelaide limiting his movement in the opening rounds, Djokovic dropped just one set in Melbourne — to Enzo Couacaud in the second round — before hitting top form in devastatingly one-sided wins against Alex de Minaur and Andrey Rublev.

Tested by Tsitsipas in the final, the Serbian took a page from a familiar playbook by being the more solid player in the clutch moments, winning two tie-breaks to secure a record-extending 10th Australian Open title and a record-tying 22nd Grand Slam men’s singles crown.

2. Tsitsipas Hits Top Form
The Greek had been to three Australian Open semi-finals, including each of the past two, before this season. But he broke new ground at what he affectionately calls his “home Slam”, advancing to the title match with the loss of just three sets.

While he missed out on the chance to debut atop the Pepperstone ATP Rankings with defeat to Djokovic on Sunday, Tsitsipas is back up to his career high of World No. 3 after reaching his second major final. It’s a fitting milestone for the 24-year-old, who showcased some of the best tennis of his career in Melbourne, particularly off his powerful forehand wing.

Following a strong close to the 2022 season that included runs to two finals (Astana, Stockholm) and a semi-final (Paris), the Greek built on that success in Australia, where he won his first 10 singles matches dating back to the United Cup. His most impressive performance at the Australian Open came in the fourth round, when he held off a furious comeback from Jannik Sinner to advance in five sets.

3. American & Chinese Men On The Rise
With Tommy Paul, Sebastian Korda and Ben Shelton all reaching the AO quarter-finals, it marked the first time since 2000 that three American men featured in the last eight Down Under — and the first time the United States had three quarter-finalists at any Slam since the 2005 US Open. Paul, who broke into the Top 20 of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings for the first time on Monday, went on to reach the semis in his best major showing.

Eight Americans were among the last 32 in Melbourne, including J.J. Wolf, who reached the fourth round. He is one of 10 U.S. players in the Top 50 of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings.

The 2023 Australian Open also marked a milestone for Chinese men’s tennis. Shang Juncheng, Wu Yibing and Zhang Zhizhen became the first male trio from the nation to compete in a Grand Slam singles draw in the Open Era, and the first in Australian Open history. The 17-year-old Shang, a qualifier, advanced to the second round as the youngest player in the field.

4. Upsets Showcase ATP Tour’s Depth 
In addition to the three unseeded AO quarter-finalists (Paul, Shelton, Jiri Lehecka), a slew of early upsets was the latest example of the unrelenting depth of talent on the ATP Tour. In reaching the quarters, the Czech Lehecka knocked off 11th seed Cameron Norrie and sixth seed Felix Auger-Aliassime in consecutive matches. The 2022 Next Gen ATP Finals runner-up did not have any Grand Slam wins across his debuts at all four majors last season.

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The Melbourne second round saw three Top 10 men exit: Mackenzie McDonald took out top seed and defending champion Rafael Nadal in straight sets, Jenson Brooksby eliminated second seed Casper Ruud in four, and home favourite Alexei Popyrin edged Taylor Fritz in five. One round later, Korda dismissed returning finalist Daniil Medvedev in three sublime sets.

5. Murray Fights On, Finds New Gear
At the tournament where he announced his potential retirement in 2019, Murray delivered three vintage performances to flash his credentials as a Grand Slam contender. He saved a match point in a thrilling five-set win against 13th seed and returning semi-finalist Matteo Berrettini in the opening round, then followed it up with a comeback from two-sets-to-love down against Aussie Thanasi Kokkinakis in the second round. 

While he bowed out with a loss to 24th seed Roberto Bautista Agut, the 35-year-old Briton again demonstrated his battling qualities by winning a set and pushing the Spaniard to the last ball despite his previous exertions. Across his three matches, Murray spent more than 14 hours on court, including 10 hours and 34 minutes in his two victories.

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Zverev Investigation Completed

  • Posted: Jan 31, 2023

Zverev Investigation Completed

A major independent investigation into Zverev has been completed

A major independent investigation into Alexander Zverev has found insufficient evidence to substantiate published allegations of abuse. As a result, no disciplinary action will be taken by ATP.

Commissioned by ATP in October 2021, the investigation looked into allegations of domestic abuse made by Zverev’s former girlfriend, Olya Sharypova. While the primary focus of the investigation related to alleged abuses taking place at the ATP Masters 1000 event in Shanghai in 2019, its scope also included purported misconduct in other locations, including Monaco, New York and Geneva, as referenced in public reporting.

The investigation was carried out by The Lake Forest Group (LFG), a third-party investigator, led by founder and chief executive G. Michael Verden and Jennifer Mackovjak. Both Verden and Mackovjak are licensed private investigators with more than 60 years of combined experience in the field, including in professional sports. LFG was directed to conduct the investigation in a fully independent manner, with ATP’s outside legal counsel, Smith Hulsey & Busey, serving as an intermediary. ATP assisted with access to information and witnesses as requested.

LFG conducted extensive interviews with both Sharypova and Zverev, and 24 other individuals including family and friends, tennis players, and other parties involved with the ATP Tour. The investigation reviewed submissions by both Sharypova and Zverev, including text messages, audio files, and photos. This included materials voluntarily extracted from Zverev’s electronic devices via a third-party forensic expert. LFG also reviewed operational records related to the Shanghai tournament, documents submitted by third-party witnesses, and public records including social media posts and press reports.

Following an exhaustive 15-month process, LFG submitted its full report to ATP. Based on a lack of reliable evidence and eyewitness reports, in addition to conflicting statements by Sharypova, Zverev and other interviewees, the investigation was unable to substantiate the allegations of abuse, or determine that violations of ATP’s On-Site Offenses or Player Major Offenses rules took place.

As a result, no disciplinary action against Zverev will be taken by ATP. This determination may however be reevaluated should new evidence come to light, or should any legal proceedings reveal violations of ATP rules. Zverev has consistently denied all allegations and supported ATP’s investigation.

Massimo Calvelli, ATP CEO: “The seriousness and complexity of these allegations required an extremely thorough investigative process and considerable resources. It also required us to turn to specialist investigators, which was new ground for ATP. We ultimately believe the exhaustive process was necessary to reach an informed judgement. It has also shown the need for us to be more responsive on safeguarding matters. It is the reason we’ve taken steps in that direction, with a lot of important work still ahead.”

In October 2021, ATP commissioned an Independent Safeguarding Report, to ensure all adults and minors involved in men’s professional tennis are safe and protected from abuse. A hiring process has recently been completed to appoint a dedicated head of Safeguarding, who will oversee implementation of the report’s recommendations.

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Federer & Nadal Congratulate Djokovic On Australian Open Title

  • Posted: Jan 31, 2023

Federer & Nadal Congratulate Djokovic On Australian Open Title

Legends share message praising Serbian on social media

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal took to social media to congratulate Novak Djokovic on winning his record-extending 10th Australian Open title.

Djokovic now owns 22 Grand Slam trophies, tied for most men’s singles majors in history alongside Nadal. Federer, who retired at last year’s Laver Cup, completed his career with 20 Slams.

“Congrats Nole, to you and your team for this great achievement,” Nadal wrote on Instagram. “Enjoy the moment ! 👏🏻”


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Federer wrote in an Instagram story: “Incredible effort, again! Many congratulations.”

Other stars who commented on the Serbian’s achievement include Carlos Alcaraz, Nick Kyrgios, Andy Roddick, Billie Jean King, Victoria Azarenka, Ons Jabeur and Rod Laver.

Djokovic on Monday returned to No. 1 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings to begin his 374th week in top spot.

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RF In Your Area? Federer Meets K-Pop Stars Blackpink At Paris Fashion Week

  • Posted: Jan 30, 2023

RF In Your Area? Federer Meets K-Pop Stars Blackpink At Paris Fashion Week

Recently retired Swiss also took to the ski slopes for first time in 15 years

He may have stepped on court as an ATP Tour competitor for the final time, but Roger Federer is finding plenty to keep himself busy in retirement.

Last week, the Swiss great attended Paris Fashion Week, where he rubbed shoulders with some fellow global icons, K-Pop stars Blackpink.

Blackpink, a four-piece musical group from South Korea, has rocketed to international fame since releasing their debut album in 2016. It is unclear how familiar Federer is with their work, however, as the Swiss great admitted it was his children who had prompted him to post about the encounter on Instagram. “My kids said this was a definite IG post,” he wrote.

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Some of his younger colleagues from the tennis world were quick to respond. “Hahaha yessss” commented World No. 27 Denis Shapovalov on Federer’s post, while WTA star Coco Gauff enquired whether the 103 tour-level titlist now considered himself a ‘Blink’, the nickname commonly used for fans of the K-Pop giants.

Another post from Federer last week demonstrated a further benefit of his more relaxed schedule away from the ATP Tour. The 41-year-old shared a video of himself skiing with the comment: “It’s been 15 years, it feels so good to be back on the slopes.”

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The former World No. 1 subsequently received praise from an illustrious source for his technique, despite all the years away. “YES Rog!!!! Like riding a bike,” wrote former Olympic Downhill gold medallist Lindsey Vonn.

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‘Grateful’ Djokovic Poses With Trophy For Australian Open Champion Photoshoot

  • Posted: Jan 30, 2023

‘Grateful’ Djokovic Poses With Trophy For Australian Open Champion Photoshoot

Serbian returned to World No. 1 with record-equalling 22nd major title

After the ecstasy and emotion of Novak Djokovic’s record-extending 10th Australian Open triumph on Sunday, celebrations of the Serbian’s historic achievements rolled over to Monday morning in Melbourne.

Djokovic lifted his 22nd Grand Slam crown to tie Rafael Nadal’s record of major titles with a straight-sets victory against Stefanos Tsitsipas on Rod Laver Arena. Just hours after fulfilling his media duties deep into the night, Djokovic headed to the gardens of Government House, the official residence of the Governor of Victoria, for the 2023 champion’s photoshoot with the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup.

“The morning after always feels great,” Djokovic said on Instagram. “Holding this wonderful trophy once again, for the 10th time, I’m very grateful for all the support that I’ve been getting over the past few weeks, here in Melbourne but also around the world.”


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Although Djokovic is now a 10-time champion at the Australian Open, he said it was just the second occasion that some members of his family had been with him for a Melbourne triumph.

“I’m really glad to be able to share some nice moments, the morning-after victory, with my parents, with my brother, [who] were here the first time I won a Grand Slam at the Australian Open in 2008,” he said. “So it’s been a wonderful journey, 15 years, and just to have them there makes this win even more special.

“I hope to be performing at my best again in Australia, as I have fortunately over the course of my career, next year as well, and let’s celebrate tennis even more.”

Djokovic on Monday began a record-extending 374th week as No. 1 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings. The 35-year-old returned to top spot for the first time since last June as a result of his Melbourne run, ending Carlos Alcaraz’s 20-week reign.

Novak Djokovic

Photo Credit: Saeed Khan/AFP via Getty Images

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Books, Psychologist, & Challenger Tour Play Role In Mmoh’s Top 100 Return

  • Posted: Jan 30, 2023

Books, Psychologist, & Challenger Tour Play Role In Mmoh’s Top 100 Return

The American is at a career-high 83

Michael Mmoh was one game away from qualifying for the 2022 US Open. Although he’d already played at Flushing Meadows three times, this was still another opportunity to compete in the main draw at his home Slam. But things suddenly went south after Mmoh was up 6-2, 5-2 on Gilles Simon. The American won just one more game and suffered a heartbreaking 6-2, 5-7, 1-6 loss.

Despite the defeat, Mmoh turned it into a lesson learned. After his loss to the Frenchman, Mmoh won 13 of his next 14 ATP Challenger Tour-level matches and was crowned champion at the Cary and Fairfield Challengers. The 25-year-old claims he sought after books and a psychologist to help him gain a new perspective.

“I think I put pressure on myself to do well during that US Open hard-court swing,” Mmoh told “I thought I was playing well at certain moments but I just wasn’t winning matches. Against Simon, I was up 6-2, 5-2, probably played the best two sets of the whole year to that point. Then things went completely sideways. That was probably one of the toughest losses of my career.

ATP Challenger Tour 

“It forced me to explore everything and anything that could make me better. I started to look at myself in the mirror and find out ways I can improve. I was reading books, talking to psychologists, just trying to learn more about myself. I started switching that perspective to be more positive and optimistic, even when things weren’t going well. I tried to re-channel my energy in the right way.

“There’s a psychologist that used to be the head of mental conditioning at IMG Academy, he recently got hired by the Tampa Bay Rays. I just reached out to him. Whenever you want to have a conversation or text him about something, you just drop in and it’s much more organic than just meeting with him weekly. A lot of it comes down to how you respond in the moment, but you want to bounce ideas, bounce different perspectives. You learn more about the situation, what went wrong, what could’ve been better.”

Mmoh’s new mindset proved to be effective. The American reached another Challenger Tour final, in Drummondville, Canada, to close out the 2022 season. But things didn’t stop there.

After earning a Lucky Loser spot at the Australian Open, Mmoh defeated 12th seed Alexander Zverev en route to a third-round appearance. In the opening round, Mmoh had to dig out of a huge hole to stay alive.

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“I was down two-sets-to-love, [Laurent Lokoli] was serving for the match at 5-4 in the third set. Maybe before I started exploring some of these other things, maybe I would’ve lost that match. But I tried to focus my energy on things that would actually help me win the match, like some of the books I read, and some of the people I talked to really helped me with that.

“The more time you dwell on why you’re in a certain situation or what went wrong for you to be down a set and a break, the match is over. If you shift your focus to ‘Ok, I’m down a set and a break, what am I going to do?’ You have a much higher chance of getting yourself out of that hole.”

On Monday, Mmoh entered the Top 100 of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings for the first time since October 2018. After dealing with a shoulder injury that forced his career to be ‘stop-start’, reaching a career-high 83 was a welcomed sight.

American Michael Mmoh claims the Cary Challenger.
Michael Mmoh in action at the 2022 Cary Challenger. Credit: Sameer Cheema

“A year ago, I dropped to like 270 and things weren’t looking good,” Mmoh said. “I was questioning a lot of things. To be at a career-high now, a lot has changed. I’m happy that I’m finally healthy for a continued period of time.”

Paying attention to the minute details has paid off the American, who was born in Saudi Arabia. While many fans only see the on-court presentation that players provide, their work behind-the-scenes is unmatched. Mmoh, who is a seven-time Challenger champion, turned a crushing US Open defeat into motivation to find solutions.

“All of [the off-court training] has a great impact on how you perform on match day,” Mmoh said. “All the exercises you do, all the conditioning you do makes a difference. Nothing guarantees success but you have to put yourself in the best position and do everything possible that will help you.”

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Djokovic Returns To No. 1, Mover Of Week

  • Posted: Jan 30, 2023

Djokovic Returns To No. 1, Mover Of Week looks at the top Movers of the Week in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, as of Monday, 30 January 2023

The 2023 Australian Open saw a host of thrilling storylines play out, from Novak Djokovic capturing a record-equalling 22nd Grand Slam title to #NextGenATP American Ben Shelton reaching the quarter-finals on tournament debut in Melbourne.

Now the dust has settled, looks at the movers of the week in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings following the first Grand Slam of the season.

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No. 1 Novak Djokovic, +4 (Joint Career High)

The Serbian has returned to No. 1 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings for the first time since last June after he defeated Stefanos Tsitsipas to win a record-extending 10th Australian Open crown. The 35-year-old’s rise from World No. 5 to World No. 1 is the biggest jump to the top of the men’s tennis mountain in the history of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings (since 1973).

If Djokovic remains World No. 1 through the week of 20 February, he will tie Stefanie Graf’s record for most weeks as World No. 1 in history (men and women) at 377. If the Serbian maintains top spot through the week of 27 February, he will break Graf’s mark. Read Australian Open Final Report & Watch Highlights.

No. 3 Stefanos Tsitsipas, +1 (Joint Career High)
The 24-year-old has risen one spot to No. 3 after advancing to his second Grand Slam final at the Australian Open. The Greek overcame seeds Jannik Sinner and Karen Khachanov en route to the championship match. However, he was unable to move past Djokovic, with the Serbian improving to 11-2 in their ATP Head2Head series.

No. 13 Karen Khachanov, +7
The 26-year-old produced some of his best tennis in Melbourne to reach his second major semi-final, having advanced to that stage at the US Open in September. Khachanov dispatched seeds Frances Tiafoe, Yoshihito Nishioka and Sebastian Korda before being stopped by Tsitsipas. The four-time tour-level titlist reached a career-high No. 8 in 2019.

No. 19 Tommy Paul, +16 (Career High)
The Americans delivered at the Australian Open, with Tommy Paul, Korda and Shelton all reaching the quarter-finals. It marked the first time since 2000 that three American men had advanced to the last eight in Melbourne — and the first time at any Slam since the 2005 US Open.

Tommy Paul went the furthest, reaching his first major semi-final. The 25-year-old defeated countrymen Jenson Brooksby and Shelton along with seeds Roberto Bautista Agut and Alejandro Davidovich Fokina en route to the last four.

No. 39 Jiri Lehecka, +32 (Career High)
The 21-year-old Czech has leaped 32 spots after soaring to the quarter-finals. The 2022 Next Gen ATP Finals runner-up, who arrived in Melbourne holding a 0-4 record at majors, upset seeds Borna Coric, Cameron Norrie and Felix Auger-Aliassime.

No. 44 Ben Shelton, +45 (Career High)
One year ago, the 20-year-old was outside the Top 500 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings and had never been outside of the United States. Now the American is up to a career-high No. 44 after reaching the quarter-finals in Melbourne. With his lefty serve and fierce forehand, Shelton earned two five-set wins, marking his first trip abroad in style.

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Other Notable Top 100 Movers
No. 5 Andrey Rublev, +1 (Joint Career High)
No. 8 Taylor Fritz, +1 (Joint Career High)
No. 9 Holger Rune, +1 (Career High)
No. 10 Hubert Hurkacz, +1
No. 15 Frances Tiafoe, +2 (Career High)
No. 26 Sebastian Korda, +5 (Career High)
No. 41 David Goffin, + 9
No. 48 J.J. Wolf, + 19 (Career High)
No. 83 Michael Mmoh, +24 (Career High)
No. 86 Ugo Humbert, +20
No. 90 Alexei Popyrin, +23
No. 93 Denis Kudla, +15

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