Tennis News

From around the world

Paul Set For Top 20 Breakthrough Behind Australian Open Run

  • Posted: Jan 26, 2023

Paul Set For Top 20 Breakthrough Behind Australian Open Run

Top 50 to feature 10 Americans

American men’s tennis is on the rise, and few are climbing higher than Australian Open semi-finalist Tommy Paul.

During his run to his first Grand Slam semi-final, the 25-year-old has soared 16 places up the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings to No. 19, setting himself up to crack the Top 20 for the first time in Monday’s edition of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings.

The Official App Of Tennis | Download ATP WTA Live App

Paul just missed out on a seed at the Australian Open as the World No. 35, but has dropped only four sets in his five Melbourne matches thus far. He knocked off 24th seed Roberto Bautista Agut and 30th seed Alejandro Davidovich Fokina on his path to the last four, where he will meet nine-time champion Novak Djokovic.

If Paul can pull off the upset, he will further rise to No. 15 by reaching the final and into the Top 10 at No. 9 with a title. Taylor Fritz, at No. 8 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings, will remain the American No. 1 into February, while Frances Tiafoe makes it three men from the United States in the Top 20 at No. 15.

Paul is doubly proud of his success as it comes during such a purple patch for American tennis.

“It’s important to me,” he said in press following his quarter-final victory. “American tennis, since I was young, that’s all we’ve been hearing, since like 14 years old. The coaches have been telling us, ‘We need new Americans, we need new Americans.’ It’s kind of engraved in my head.

“We all want to perform. Obviously Frances was pretty damn close at the US Open to getting past the semis. Who knows what would have happened in the final. I think we all want it pretty bad for ourselves, but we want it for U.S. tennis, too.”

Ten Americans now feature the Top 50 of the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings, including former college stars Ben Shelton and J.J. Wolf. Shelton, in his first trip outside of his home nation, is the biggest mover of the fortnight; he rocketed up 46 places to No. 43 behind his Australian Open quarter-final run. One round prior to his four-set loss to Paul, the 20-year-old Shelton defeated Wolf in five sets. Wolf, with his best major showing, moved up 20 spots to No. 47.

Sebastian Korda is also set for a new career high of World No. 26 after he upset Daniil Medvedev and Hubert Hurkacz to reach the quarter-finals. With Korda, Shelton and Paul all reaching the last eight, it marked the first time since 2000 that three American men have reached that stage in Melbourne — and the first time at any Slam since the 2005 US Open.

You May Also Like:

Ben Shelton’s Journey Of Discovery Is Just Beginning

The American presence in the Top 50 of the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings also includes No. 38 Jenson Brooksby, No. 41 John Isner, No. 48 Reilly Opelka and No. 49 Brandon Nakashima. After his first-round upset of Rafael Nadal, Mackenzie McDonald is up to No. 62, while Michael Mmoh is set for a new career high inside the Top 85 after his run to the third round.

Elsewhere, Jiri Lehecka’s rise of 32 places is second only to Shelton’s improvement, with the 21-year-old Czech up to No. 39 following his run to the Australian Open quarters.

Even with all those milestones, the drama is far from complete in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings this fortnight. While Karen Khachanov would rise as high as No. 7 with the Melbourne title, Novak Djokovic and Stefanos Tsitsipas are both two wins away from World No. 1. Should the pair meet in a rematch of the 2021 Roland Garros final, the winner-takes-all contest would determine who leaves the Australian Open as the ATP Tour’s leading man.

Source link

New Player Advisory Council Meets In Melbourne

  • Posted: Jan 26, 2023

New Player Advisory Council Meets In Melbourne

Council holds first of several planned meetings for 2023

Andrey Rublev and Grigor Dimitrov were among eight new player members who convened on the eve of the Australian Open for the first meeting of the new ATP Player Advisory Council.

The ATP Player Advisory Council is a group of ATP members elected by their peers to serve and act as the voice of the player body in tour-wide decisions.

The newly elected members are:

  • 1-50 Singles: Andrey Rublev & Grigor Dimitrov
  • 51-100 Singles: Pedro Martinez & Bernabe Zapata Miralles
  • 1-25 Doubles: Wesley Koolhof
  • 1-75 Doubles: Harri Heliovaara
  • At-Large: Pedro Cachin & Matt Ebden
  • Coach Representative: Daniel Vallverdu
  • Alumni Representative: Nicolas Pereira

The first ATP Player Advisory Council meeting of the year took place in Melbourne on 12 January.

Bulgaria’s former World No. 3 and 2017 Nitto ATP Finals champion Dimitrov said: “I’ve been asked so many times in the past but I just never felt it was the right time and the right fit for me at the time. I think now I’m in a position where I’ve got a few years behind me, I have the experience on the court, I have experience with the players and I’m looking forward to it.”

Dutchman Wesley Koolhof, who last year finished year-end No. 1 with Neal Skupski in the Pepperstone ATP Doubles Team Rankings, said: “I think it’s important for the players to have a voice and someone to listen and try to make changes where we need to make changes. I personally felt like it would be a good thing to do, to listen to the players and to fight for our position, especially for doubles obviously and to make the sport a better place in general.”

The ATP Player Advisory Council meets several times a year and makes recommendations to ATP Management and the ATP Board of Directors through the Player Board representatives, whom the Council elects.

Council members appointed to a specific rankings category (e.g. 1-50 singles) are elected by player members within the same category. At-large council members are elected by a vote of all Division 1 and 2 ATP player members (up to 500 singles and 250 doubles players). The Council’s coach representative is elected by ATP coach members and the Alumni representative is elected by ATP alumni members.

Learn more about the ATP structure

Meet the ATP Board Of Directors

Source link

Nys/Zielinski Channel Bryan Brothers For Australian Open SF Win

  • Posted: Jan 26, 2023

Nys/Zielinski Channel Bryan Brothers For Australian Open SF Win

Aussie wild cards Hijikata/Kubler also advance to final

After losing the second set in Thursday’s Australian Open doubles semi-finals, Hugo Nys and Jan Zielinski drew inspiration from six-time Melbourne champions Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan. The Monegasque/Polish pairing then powered through the deciding set in a 6-3, 5-7, 6-2 win against Frenchmen Jeremy Chardy and Fabrice Martin, advancing to what will be a maiden major final for both men.

“Our energy came a little bit down [in the second set] and I told Jan, the beginning of the third set we have to come back like Bryan/Bryan energy, from the first point,” Nys said in an on-court interview.

“I’m really happy we did it because it actually made the difference. Even though it’s the first semi-final for us, we managed to bring that big energy in the third set. I’m really proud of the team.”

The unseeded duo lost serve for the only time in the final game of the second set, but quickly made amends by building a 4-0 lead in the deciding set. They finished the match with 14 aces and an 89 per cent win rate on first serve in Rod Laver Arena.

“It’s really incredible,” Zielinski said of the pair’s run to the title match. “We basically started playing last year in March, just wanted to try it out. The first tournament we played was a Challenger 80, so we came a long way from there. I’m super happy to make it to the final of our first Australian Open together.”

The pair will seek its second tour-level title after winning the Metz trophy last season and reaching the US Open quarter-finals. Their opponents in the final will be Australian wild cards Rinky Hijikata and Jason Kubler, whose chest-bump celebration after match point was also an apparent nod to the Bryan brothers.

With the backing of the Laver crowd, Hijikata/Kubler upset eighth seeds Horacio Zeballos and Marcel Granollers 6-4, 6-2 as they continued their dream run. It was the second straight match in which they did not drop serve.

The Aussies have knocked off three Top 10 seeds in the tournament, including top seeds Wesley Koolhof and Neal Skupski in the quarter-finals, as they bid to keep the AO doubles trophy in Australian hands following the 2022 triumph of another pair of wild cards: Thanasi Kokkinakis and Nick Kyrgios.

Source link

SF Preview: 'Dominant' Djokovic Meets Surprise Package Paul

  • Posted: Jan 26, 2023

SF Preview: ‘Dominant’ Djokovic Meets Surprise Package Paul

Serbian seeks 10th Melbourne crown; Paul contests first Slam semi-final

There are few things new to Novak Djokovic at the Australian Open, where he is now two wins away from a record-extending 10th singles title. But he will experience a first in Friday’s semi-finals when he takes on American Tommy Paul.

The opponents will open their ATP Head2Head series in the Rod Laver Arena evening session, with Djokovic playing his sixth straight match under the lights on Melbourne’s main stage. Paul, who was on the field courts for his first three contests, made his Laver debut on Wednesday in the quarter-finals.

The Official App Of Tennis | Download ATP WTA Live App

While Paul is unseeded, he was the first man to miss the cutoff as the World No. 35. He is now up to No. 19 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings, and Djokovic is expecting an elite-level test.

“I watched him play quite a bit, especially during this tournament. He’s been playing probably the tennis of his life,” said the Serbian. “Very explosive, very dynamic player. Quick, very solid backhand. Likes to step in, dictate the point with the forehand. Great, great service motion. I think he can hit all the spots with the serve. Very complete player.”

While Djokovic feels Paul has nothing to lose as a first-time Grand Slam semi-finalist, the Serbian is playing for history. A title triumph would draw him level with 2022 Melbourne champ Rafael Nadal on a record 22 men’s major singles titles; it would also lift Djokovic back to the top of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings for the first time since last June.


After some uncertainty surrounding his hamstring issue in the early rounds of the tournament, Djokovic has been ruthless in his past two outings, dropping just five games against home favourite Alex de Minaur in the fourth round and seven to fifth seed Andrey Rublev in the quarters.

“The past two matches, playing against two guys that are really good players, in-form players, to beat them dominantly in three sets is definitely something that I want in this moment, something that sends a message to all my opponents remaining in the draw,” Djokovic said.

“With this kind of game, of course the confidence level rises, considering the circumstances. I feel good on the court, better and better as the tournament progresses. I’ve been in this situation so many times in my life, in my career, never lost a semi-final in the Australian Open. Hopefully that will stay the same.”

Indeed, Djokovic has gone on to win the tournament each of the past nine times he has reached the semis. But despite the Serbian’s sterling record Down Under, Paul was hoping for an opportunity to face the undisputed master of Melbourne.

“I’m really excited. It’s really cool,” Paul said of making his first Grand Slam semi-final, before Djokovic defeated Rublev. “I think it’s even cooler if I do play Novak. That’s probably who I want to play. I mean, I probably have a better chance of winning if it’s Rublev, but to play Novak here in Australia would be awesome.”

After a four-set win in an all-American quarter-final against 20-year-old Ben Shelton, Paul continues to fly the flag for U.S. men’s tennis at the tail end of a historic tournament for the nation. With Paul, Shelton and Sebastian Korda all reaching the last eight, it marked the first time since 2000 that three American men have reached that stage in Melbourne — and the first time at any Slam since the 2005 US Open.

Paul is proud to represent the United States, nearly 20 years after Andy Roddick became the last American man to win a major title at the 2003 US Open: “I think we all want it pretty bad for ourselves,” he said, referencing Frances Tiafoe’s semi-final run at the 2022 US Open. “But we want it for U.S. tennis, too.”

The American knocked off two seeded opponents in reaching the semi-finals, both hailing from Spain: 30th seed Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in five sets (second round) and 24th seed Roberto Bautista Agut in four (fourth round).

Paul holds a 6-12 tour-level record against Top 10 opposition, including a win against Nadal last November at the Rolex Paris Masters. He also earned victories against Carlos Alcaraz (Montreal) and Alexander Zverev (Indian Wells) last season — but facing Djokovic at the Australian Open is a different proposition.

Source link

SF Preview: Can Tsitsipas Break New Ground At 'Home Slam'?

  • Posted: Jan 26, 2023

SF Preview: Can Tsitsipas Break New Ground At ‘Home Slam’?

Greek takes on Khachanov, who is in his second straight major semi-final

Stefanos Tsitsipas finds himself in the Australian Open semi-finals for the fourth time, with a golden opportunity against Olympic silver medalist Karen Khachanov on Friday. While the Greek has thrived in Melbourne throughout his career, Khachanov had not been beyond the third round Down Under until this year.

With the large Greek population in Melbourne and its similar climate to his native Athens, Tsitsipas has called the Australian Open his “home Slam”. He has been a second-week regular at the event since his breakout run in 2019, but has never been able to reach the title round, falling one match short against Rafael Nadal in ’19 and Daniil Medvedev each of the past two years.

The Official App Of Tennis | Download ATP WTA Live App

But the 24-year-old’s play this fortnight, during which he has won four of his five matches in straight sets, makes him a hot favourite to rectify that against Khachanov. He’ll be further fuelled by his 5-0 ATP Head2Head record against the 18th seed, their most recent meeting last season in Rome.

Asked if this could be the year for his Grand Slam trophy breakthrough, Tsitsipas’ reply was brimming with confidence — much like his game.

“I’m feeling great with my tennis,” said the World No. 4, who would claim the top spot in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings with the AO title. “I don’t think I felt so good in a long time. I will definitely say yes to it.

“I’m a different player, playing different. My mentality is different. When I’m out on the court, I don’t really think of negatives, to be honest. I just go out there and play the game.”


Khachanov has also spoken of a recent transformation in his game. After reaching the US Open semis last season, the 18th seed has matched his best Grand Slam result in Melbourne.

“I think I kind of reinvented myself,” he said, three-and-a-half years after reaching a career-high Pepperstone ATP Ranking of No. 8 in 2019. “I always believe in myself but there are always ups and downs, and sometimes when you have a great result it just shows you what you are capable of and then you start to believe more and more.

“This belief and self-confidence I think appeared much stronger after the US Open. I made a few semi-finals already so I hope to continue that way and to grow as a person and as a sportsman.”

By reaching the quarter-finals this week, Khachanov became the 10th active male player and the 50th in the Open Era to reach that stage at all four Grand Slams. But the 26-year-old was far from satisfied, taking the initiative against Sebastian Korda on Tuesday before the American retired with Khachanov leading 7-6(5), 6-3, 3-0. Korda was the third seeded player dismissed by Khachanov this week, after his earlier wins against 16th seed Frances Tiafoe and 31st seed Yoshihito Nishioka. 

Tsitsipas faced only one seed on his way to the semis, when he survived a furious comeback from 15th seed Jannik Sinner in a 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 4-6, 6-3 fourth-round win. He backed that up with a 6-3, 7-6(2), 6-4 triumph against 2022 Next Gen ATP Finals runner-up Jiri Lehecka in a match Tsitsipas said felt much tighter than the scoreline indicated. The Greek saved all eight break points against him, with those chances coming in two games, including a 0/40 escape late in set three to deny Lehecka the opportunity to serve for the set.

After the tension dissipated, Tsitsipas was all smiles in his on-court interview as he continued his new tradition of dropping some Aussie slang into his replies: “I can say it was a fair dinkum type of performance,” he told the Rod Laver Arena crowd, before inviting Australian actress Margot Robbie to his player box for the final rounds.

He’ll be hoping to play another “ripper” in the semis.

“It’s a match that I’m looking forward to,” he later added in press. “It’s great to be back in the semi-finals. Of course, I’m definitely happy with the way I’ve been playing so far. I’m looking ahead for more, for better. Looking to create some magical experiences here in Australia.”

Source link