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Bagnis Calls Alcaraz 'A Combination Between Nadal & Federer'

  • Posted: Mar 23, 2023

Bagnis Calls Alcaraz ‘A Combination Between Nadal & Federer’

Pair will clash in the Miami second round

When Carlos Alcaraz plays Facundo Bagnis in the second round of the Miami Open presented by Itau, it will be a clash of two players who have followed completely different career paths.

Last year, Alcaraz became the youngest World No. 1 in the history of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings. On the other hand, Bagnis reached his first ATP Tour final aged 31 two years ago in Santiago.

“Not all the players have the opportunity to be amazingly good like him in the beginning of our career. I don’t have his talent, I don’t have different things that he does. He is the first player of the world,” Bagnis told “I made my career with a lot of work, sacrifice. Every time I managed to give everything of myself for trying to get to a semi-final at 31 years old or any final or results maybe at any Grand Slams. For sure they are so different, our careers.”

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Few have seen the World No. 1’s improvement as closely as Bagnis. The Argentine first played Alcaraz at an ATP Challenger Tour event in Cordenons three years ago. The Spaniard was a 17-year-old not yet in the Top 200.

“I remember that I didn’t play so well… the match was tight, but in the moment that I finished I said I had the opportunity to beat him,” Bagnis said. “One year after, I said okay this time was a little bit farther, that level. In the moment that we arranged practice at different tournaments, every tournament you can feel how he improved step by step.

“I remember in Cordenons that I said his serve was not so good. Right now I cannot say the same thing. He has so much talent. His speed and he plays amazing shots in all the court. Maybe Daniil, when I played against him at Roland Garros, his game is maybe a little bit more defensive or even Andy [Murray is too]. I think Carlos is a combination between Nadal and Federer, maybe.”

<a href=''>Facundo Bagnis</a>
Photo Credit: Peter Staples/ATP Tour
The pair played in the final of an ATP Challenger Tour event in 2021 before competing in their first tour-level match against one another in Umag last year. Alcaraz has won on all three occasions. But according to Bagnis, the teen is not nearly the same player today.

“I remember that his body was totally different in that time. In Cordenons he was a little bit more skinny or maybe did not have so much power. The speed was a little bit different,” Bagnis said. “Now I see him so strong, so quick. His potential is so high. He surprised me the last time that I saw him, I think it was in the beginning of last year. One of the big changes was in his body.”

It has not all been about physical development, though.

“I think the key for him is the way that he competes on the court. His attitude, it’s amazing. Every time he’s celebrating with his bench. Every time he shows the best possible attitude. For me that is one of the best, toughest things in tennis,” Bagnis said. “That he can do it at only 19 years is amazing. Another part is his tennis is magic, it’s amazing. But his attitude and mentality is so strong, also.

“I think Carlos is most similar to a killer. You cannot breathe. He’s attacking you all the time. He has so many shots and tricks.”

Bagnis knows it will be difficult to secure his first Top 10 win against Alcaraz, who is the defending champion and fresh off a triumph at Indian Wells. But the lefty will give it his best shot.

“We will see the best of him because he’s the No. 1 and he won the last tournament. He came in with amazing confidence and also he won this tournament last year,” Bagnis said.

“I think the most important [thing] is to try to not be the sparring [partner] of the guy who is celebrated because you are playing against Alcaraz. I think I must focus and give my 100 per cent, try to put him in discomfort for sure and try to give the best of me, even playing with the best player in the world.”

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Alcaraz, Tiafoe Heat Up With NBA Crossover Before Miami Open

  • Posted: Mar 23, 2023

Alcaraz, Tiafoe Heat Up With NBA Crossover Before Miami Open

Kecmanovic, Musetti, Rune and Zverev also attend Heat game

The Miami Open presented by Itau and the stars of the ATP Tour are heating up in more ways than one.

The on-court action is firing, and some of the players have enjoyed interacting with the NBA world. Carlos Alcaraz, Alexander Zverev, Holger Rune, Lorenzo Musetti and Miomir Kecmanovic were among the players who attended Wednesday evening’s Miami Heat game against the New York Knicks.

“Great night last night watching @MiamiHEAT in Miami! 🏀🌴” Alcaraz tweeted. “It was a pleasure to meet @DwyaneWade, and great to see you again @JimmyButler!”

Kecmanovic, Musetti and Rune posed for a group photo on court during player warmups before beginning the season’s second ATP Masters 1000 event.

<a href=''>Miomir Kecmanovic</a>, <a href=''>Lorenzo Musetti</a> and <a href=''>Holger Rune</a> attend Wednesday's Miami Heat game against the New York Knicks.
Photo Credit: Isaac Baldezon – NBA Photos
Kecmanovic even met fellow Serbian Nikola Jovic, a player for the Miami Heat.

<a href=''>Miomir Kecmanovic</a> meets fellow Serbian Nikola Jovic of the Miami Heat.
Photo Credit: Isaac Baldezon – NBA Photos
Heat star Duncan Robinson brought the heat to the Miami Open presented by Itau, where he met avid basketball fan Frances Tiafoe, who played in this year’s NBA All-Star Celebrity Game.

“It’s a great experience. This is a really cool venue that they’ve put together here,” Robinson told “I definitely follow tennis, I play a little bit of tennis. I’m not very good at it. But really have become a fan over the past couple years.

“Really enjoyed watching Break Point, the Netflix documentary, and getting a little behind the scenes into what these guys are doing day to day. There’s a funny crossover between tennis and the NBA, there’s something there for sure.”

Miami Heat star Duncan Robinson enjoys a conversation with <a href=''>Frances Tiafoe</a> on Thursday inside Hard Rock Stadium.
Photo Credit: Andrew Eichenholz/ATP Tour

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Lehecka Races Through Miami Opener

  • Posted: Mar 23, 2023

Lehecka Races Through Miami Opener

Mannarino holds off #NextGenATP Shang, Garin downs Giron

Jiri Lehecka wasted little time settling in to his maiden Miami Open presented by Itau campaign on Thursday morning, when the big-hitting Czech eased to a 6-3, 6-4 first-round victory against Federico Coria.

The 21-year-old Lehecka surged to an early 3-0 lead against Coria on Court 1 at Hard Rock Stadium, where he is competing in an ATP Masters 1000 main draw for just the third time. That set the tone for the pair’s first ATP Head2Head encounter, as Lehecka’s powerful groundstrokes and confidence to move forward whenever possible helped him to a comfortable 63-minute victory.

“The conditions suit me much better than in Indian Wells,” Lehecka later told “The surface is a bit faster and the balls are flying more. Today’s match was tough because it was my first match in Miami. I managed it well.

“I was serving pretty good. I knew that Federico improved a lot on hard courts, which meant I tried to prepare a bit better for our match, and I’m super happy that I won.”

The World No. 44 Lehecka fired 23 winners and won 75 per cent (9/12) of points at the net en route to his win. Cordoba finalist Coria battled well to restrict his opponent to a single break of serve in each set, but the Argentine was unable to conjure any break points of his own as he fell short in his bid to reach the second round in Miami for the first time.

After he reached the Australian Open quarter-finals in January and then notched his first Masters 1000 main-draw win in Indian Wells two weeks ago, Lehecka’s strong Miami debut represents another step forward in a breakout season for the 2022 Next Gen ATP Finals runner-up. After downing Coria for his 13th tour-level win of the season, the Czech has now equalled his tally of victories for the entire 2022 season.

Lehecka will next try to replicate his triumphant opening display in a second-round clash against 18th seed Lorenzo Musetti. The pair has met once before on Tour, with Lehecka a three-set winner in the Rotterdam quarter-finals in February 2022.

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Unlike Lehecka, Shang Juncheng could not turn a fast start into victory on Court 1. Adrian Mannarino outlasted the 18-year-old Chinese wild card for a 1-6, 6-4, 6-2 win, but Shang will nonetheless have plenty of positives to take from his third Masters 1000 main-draw appearance.

The World No. 181 Shang raced to the first set, but the vastly more experienced Mannarino did not panic and went on to seal a hard-earned one-hour, 56-minute triumph in which he struck 28 winners to Shang’s 13. Mannarino takes on another rising star in the second round — 32nd seed and home favourite Ben Shelton.

In other early action on Thursday, Cristian Garin maintained his excellent Sunshine Double form to down home favourite Marcos Giron 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 on the Stadium court. The Chilean former World No. 17 Garin, who reached the fourth round as a qualifier in Indian Wells, is now into the second round as a qualifier in Miami after saving seven of nine break points he faced to beat the No. 71-ranked Giron.

Aleksandar Kovacevic ensured the home fans had a positive result to celebrate by defeating Jaume Munar 7-6(4), 2-6, 6-1. Victory on his main-draw debut in Miami earned the 24-year-old lucky loser a second-round meeting with 25th seed Francisco Cerundolo.

Quentin Halys beat Pedro Martinez 6-2, 7-6(4) to advance to face Alex de Minaur, while fourth seed Daniil Medvedev’s opening opponent in Florida will be Roberto Carballes Baena. The Spaniard led Bernabe Zapata Miralles 6-0, 3-0 when the latter was forced to retire.

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Bid Process Launches For Next Gen ATP Finals From 2023

  • Posted: Mar 23, 2023

Bid Process Launches For Next Gen ATP Finals From 2023

Since its inception in 2017, the Next Gen ATP Finals has been held in Milan

The ATP, governing body of of men’s professional tennis, has launched a global bid process to determine the future host of the Next Gen ATP Finals, from 2023-2027.

Since its inception in 2017, the Next Gen ATP Finals has been held in Milan, Italy, featuring the best eight ATP singles players aged 21-and-under each season. Eight of the current Top 10 players in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings have competed at the event, with the likes of Carlos Alcaraz, Stefanos Tsitsipas, and Jannik Sinner all lifting the trophy.

In addition to spotlighting the future stars of the game, the tournament has provided a platform to trial new innovations. Several of the rules and technologies first tested in Milan have since been incorporated onto the main ATP Tour, including shot clocks, Live Electronic Line Calling, Video Review and more.

With players competing all season long to qualify, the event delivers a consistent and compelling narrative for the Host City – building on its impressive global broadcast and digital reach.

Andrea Gaudenzi, ATP Chairman, said: “This season-ending tournament has created a pathway to stardom for young talent within our sport. It drives innovation and gives fans a unique opportunity to witness the stars of tomorrow going head-to-head.

“Milan and the Federazione Italiana Tennis & Padel (FITP) have been outstanding partners since 2017. The event has had an undeniable impact on the sport and attracted significant interest from potential future host cities. We are excited to undertake this international tender process as we look to build on that success from 2023.”

The ATP has chosen Deloitte’s Sport Business Group to manage the bid process, which begins today. This year’s tournament is expected to take place in December, with the exact dates to be determined with the successful bidder. Interested parties must complete an initial Expression of Interest form available here. The bid process will also provide an opportunity to express an interest for the tournament to become a combined men’s and women’s event over the course of the term, in partnership with WTA.

For more information about the Next Gen ATP Finals hosting opportunity, click here.

Any queries – and completed initial Express of Interest forms – should be directed to [email protected].

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Bjorklund & Shapovalov: One Couple Chasing The Dream Together

  • Posted: Mar 23, 2023

Bjorklund & Shapovalov: One Couple Chasing The Dream Together

Both are competing in Miami, where they are supporting one another

Mirjam Bjorklund was battling deep into the third set of her first-round match at the Miami Open presented by Itau on Tuesday against Jasmine Paolini. The Swede had never won a qualifying match at a WTA 1000 match before, but she qualified and put herself in a position to reach the second round of the main draw.

When Bjorklund walked to the side of the court to collect her towel, longtime boyfriend Denis Shapovalov was in the front row cheering her on.

“I wouldn’t call it coaching,” Shapovalov said. “As players we try to help each other out if we see something, but it’s more support than anything.”

Bjorklund clawed past Paolini 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 for one of the biggest wins of her career. Nobody was happier than Shapovalov.

“It’s always nice to get a first,” Shapovalov said. “She lost first-round qualifying the past two years in tough matches, so for her to win both qualifying matches and the first round is massive. We’ll see where she can take it from here.”

Bjorklund added: “It’s where I’m striving to get to. These matches help me develop a lot and I need these challenges to see what’s missing in my game and to know what I should work on so I can take the next step. I feel like I’ve developed over the last year a lot just by being around really good players and having the chance to play against them, so this is definitely something that I’m very excited about.”

The Canadian and Swede were born less than nine months apart. Bjorklund is 24 and Shapovalov turns 24 next month, but they did not know each other well in the juniors.

“We knew each other a little bit in juniors but not a lot. He was doing a lot better than I was, so I would just see his name in the finals and I would be on a flight back home, but I didn’t know him personally at that time,” Bjorklund said. “We got to know each other a couple years later.”


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The pair began dating in 2019 and they have been one another’s biggest supporter ever since. The ATP Tour and Hologic WTA Tour calendars take the world’s best players throughout the world, and it is not often they are able to be there for one another in person.

That made a moment like Bjorklund’s match Tuesday in Miami even more special.

“Denis can’t be around all the time when I’m playing events, so it’s super nice to have him support me in the box and I think he has a great eye for my game and for tennis in general, so I really trust him when he tells me things and when he coaches me, but he’s very keen on the fact that he’s not my coach,” said Bjorklund, who is coached by legendary Swede Jonas Bjorkman. “He’s just my boyfriend and supporting [me] in those moments, but I do really appreciate that and I know that I can trust what he’s saying, so it’s very reassuring when I have him there.”

The couple enjoys speaking about tennis away from the venue, too. “She’s extremely smart, you can see that on the court. I always try to ask her questions and vice versa. We both trust each other a lot,” Shapovalov said.


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According to Bjorklund, they both see the game similarly, with an aggressive mindset. Another perk of their relationship is understanding what one another is going through during the highs and the lows.

”We always find a way to support each other and have a good time and that can definitely help if things are not going the way you want on court.”

Shapovalov will play Guido Pella in the Miami second round and Bjorklund will continue her tournament against Ostapenko.

“It’s obviously what I’m here for. This is a great feeling. It was my first WTA 1000 win ever in the qualifying and to go on and actually win a round in the main draw and get myself a spot in the second round and having the chance to play against top players is really fun,” Bjorklund said. “I’m super happy and I’m very excited for the next round.”

No matter what happens, Shapovalov will be by her side and vice versa.

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Rublev, Medvedev Experience One Direction Mania

  • Posted: Mar 23, 2023

Rublev, Medvedev Experience One Direction Mania

Rublev reflects on memorable moment

One Direction and two ATP Tour stars combined for an unforgettable moment in Mexico.

Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev spent a day in Mexico before traveling to Florida for the Miami Open presented by Itau. They received a big surprise when they met One Direction’s Louis Tomlinson.

“That was funny because when we were arriving, we saw so many people in front of the hotel,” Rublev said. “Daniil was like, ‘Why [are there] so many people here?’

“Outside of the hotel were a thousand people, kids, girls. As soon as he came out you cannot imagine what was happening. I saw it only in YouTube videos. I’ve never seen something like this in my life.”


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Rublev took his phone out to record the scene as Tomlinson’s fans screamed. When the singer walked by, he stopped to take a photo with the tennis players.

“It was a bit embarrassing, but it was still okay. In Daniil’s situation it was embarassing-embarassing because first of all the guy had no idea who we are and Daniil had no idea who he is. Me at least, I knew who he is, but Daniil had no idea,” Rublev said. “He was with 10 security [guards] around, he was in the middle and they were like, ‘Okay, fast, or something’. Even if they told him that we are athletes, that we are not that bad, not just random people.

“It was just, ‘Hey hey’, fast photo. But at least I knew who he is. Daniil, he didn’t even know, so he didn’t even want to do the photo. But [he did] because they said, ‘Okay let’s do it, it’s going to be nice’. Daniil didn’t know him, the guy didn’t know him, but it looked like Daniil is a friend of his because he was the one who approached.”

Rublev was plenty familiar with Tomlinson. In 2015, he recorded a music video covering One Direction’s Steal My Girl.

“Actually, I had fun. I like music a lot and I never had at that moment [the] experience [of] how you do [a music video] from the beginning because all the instruments that were there, it’s not from the cover,” Rublev said. “The guys were playing with real instruments. Everything — piano, guitar, drums — were separated and then they put them all together. So for me it was a really nice experience to see how this process goes.”

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The biggest question is, who would Rublev have join him in a tennis-player version of One Direction.

“I would not pick myself,” Rublev quickly said.

He thought of players who look like an artist, producing names including Taylor Fritz, Tommy Paul and Casper Ruud, who reminds him of Niall Horan.

How about Medvedev?

“No chance,” Rublev said. “Daniil can be the agent. Daniil is the manager.”

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Murray Unhappy With Movement In Miami Defeat

  • Posted: Mar 23, 2023

Murray Unhappy With Movement In Miami Defeat

Former World No. 1 also said he struggled with bouncy conditions 

Andy Murray said that he was surprised with his flat performance Wednesday at the Miami Open presented by Itau after suffering a straights-sets loss to Serbian Dusan Lajovic.

Having won two matches at the BNP Paribas Open and coming into the tournament off the back of encouraging practice sessions at Hard Rock Stadium, the two-time Miami champion sad that he expected better.

“I served pretty well, but the rest of the game was a bit of a problem today. Didn’t really return that well, made a number of errors that obviously I wouldn’t expect to be making,” Murray said of the 6-4, 7-5 defeat.

“I didn’t really feel like I moved particularly well, which is really important for me, something I’ve been doing very well actually in most of the matches this year. So that was probably the thing.

“Some days you obviously don’t hit the ball your best, but my movement wasn’t great today.”

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In his first career meeting against World No. 76 Lajovic, Murray said that he also struggled with a change in conditions from Indian Wells.

“I’d been practising pretty well. It’s a very different court here, very bouncy, much faster than last week. Very different to the practice courts and everything.

“The ball was bouncing up a bit higher and I just miss-timed quite a few balls. Sometimes on the slice it was shooting through a little bit more, kind of shanked a couple shots off the slice, as well… I wasn’t expecting to play like that, even based on the last few days because I’ve been decent in practice.”

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Murray said that he was yet to decide if he would stay in Miami a little longer to begin preparation for the clay swing but added that he would return to Spain no later than the end of this month, when he will reunite with his family and begin a training block.

Murray has 14 ATP Masters 1000 titles among his 46 career triumphs. His most recent win at this level came in Paris/Bercy in 2016, when he first rose to No. 1 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings.

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Wu Flips His Miami Script For R1 Win

  • Posted: Mar 23, 2023

Wu Flips His Miami Script For R1 Win

Chinese star will next play 31st seed Schwartzman

Wu Yibing continued his ascent on Wednesday at the Miami Open presented by Itau.

The Chinese star defeated Briton Kyle Edmund 7-5, 7-5 to reach the second round at the ATP Masters 1000 event. This year’s Dallas Open champion will next face 31st seed Diego Schwartzman to reach the third round at this level for the first time.

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Six years ago, Wu made his Miami debut in qualifying as a 17-year-old, losing in straight sets to Jared Donaldson. In his first match at the event since, the 23-year-old broke his opponent’s serve four times to triumph after one hour and 35 minutes.

It was not an easy win, though. Wu let slip an opportunity to serve out the match at 5-3 in the second set against Edmund, who was playing his fourth match of the year. But the Chinese player did not allow the complication to fully shift the momentum to Edmund’s side. The former World No. 14, who is working back to form following injury, missed a backhand wide to fall in straight sets.

Did You Know?
This week last year, Wu was tied for No. 1,869 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings. With his win against Edmund, he climbed to No. 57 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings.

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Medvedev Not Ready To Toe The Line In Miami

  • Posted: Mar 23, 2023

Medvedev Not Ready To Toe The Line In Miami

Former World No. 1 vows to stick to his winning formula… for now

Daniil Medvedev isn’t ready to throw out the playbook just yet.

Despite scavenging just five games from Carlos Alcaraz in Sunday’s one-sided BNP Paribas Open final, ‘Deep-court Daniil’ says that he won’t be altering his court position should he face the World No. 1 again at the Miami Open presented by Itau this fortnight.

“It’s possible [that I may not play as deep] but I’m not sure if I would do it,” he said Wednesday of his next hard-court meeting with Alcaraz, whenever that might come. “For sure if I lose two matches in a row staying back and [I get beaten] just as easy I have to definitely change something. But one match is not enough.”

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Alcaraz exploited Medvedev’s positioning through a combination of well-timed serve/volley plays, his signature drop shots, and by taking advantage of the slower court conditions to take big cuts from the ground to clock a series of winners past the 2021 US Open champion.

But Medvedev believes that faster conditions at other hard-court events – including in Miami – will favour his preferred position deep behind the baseline.

“I’ll only have to wait for a match on faster hard courts to see if my court positioning will work when the ball is flying faster through the air and the opponent won’t have as much time to play serve and volley and play from the baseline,” he said. “During the match there was a small time when I tried to play a little more aggressive and closer to the baseline. But on those one or two games he was serving bombs so that didn’t help me. And it’s not that easy to change things up during a match.”

Despite his 6-3, 6-2 loss to Alcaraz in the Indian Wells title match, Medvedev arrives in Miami high on confidence, having won 19 of his past 20 matches, a run comprising titles in Rotterdam, Doha and Dubai and the BNP Paribas Open final. That already is an improvement on the two titles he won last year. Medvedev, who is 23-4 on the season, said that rediscovering his consistency has underpinned his recent surge back into the Top 5 of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings.

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“I managed to get back in the zone, which I didn’t really have for all of 2022, when I was less consistent,” he said. “I would have some good matches or tournaments but out of nowhere I would have one bad match. I’ve managed to avoid that the past four weeks. I have no idea how I have done it, but I am really happy and want to continue.”

Medvedev’s first-round opponent in Miami will be the winner of the all-Spanish clash between Roberto Carballes Baena and Bernabe Zapata Miralles. He is in the bottom half of the draw, so could only meet Alcaraz should both players reach the final.


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