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Raonic: There Were Moments When I Said, ‘I’m Done’

  • Posted: Jun 12, 2023

Raonic: There Were Moments When I Said, ‘I’m Done’

Canadian unsure on future but targeting Wimbledon and Toronto

Back from the brink with a bang.

On Monday, Milos Raonic defeated Miomir Kecmanovic in his first competitive match for almost two years at the Libema Open in ‘s-Hertogenbosch. It was an emotional moment for the former World No. 3, who later admitted he had all but given up hope on competing again after a string of injuries that began with an achilles problem in July 2021.

“Many times I didn’t even want to bother trying, because I was so far away from it,” said Raonic in his post-match press conference. “There were moments when I said, ‘I’m done’. At the end of 2021, I had no intention to play again, [I thought] ‘I’m going to figure out my life’, shortly after I got married.

“One thing I did learn, which is a nice lesson, is life will be OK after tennis, which is kind of a fear because you put so much time into one thing and a singular skill. You don’t ever put the time into it thinking you want to dedicate your whole life to it… It just becomes your life. Then trying to figure out what you want to dedicate your life to after tennis, that’s kind of a hard thing… I got on OK with that.

“Once I started feeling a little bit better, I wanted to play tennis just to stay in shape. I started playing golf five hours a day. It really was not for me. I still enjoy it and I love it, but I’m not very good at not being good at something, and accepting that, so I’m happy to be on court again.”

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After ‘Heartbreaking’ Injury Battle, Raonic Returns In Style In ‘s-Hertogenbosch

That certainly seemed to be the case on Monday, when the 32-year-old Raonic dispatched fifth seed Kecmanovic to reach the second round on debut in ‘s-Hertogenbosch. Despite his apparently calm demeanour throughout the match, the Canadian admitted to being anything but on the inside.

“It was very stressful at times,” said Raonic of his win. “I’ve played after injuries many times, when I‘ve missed three or four months, even I think after six months when I had my hip surgery when I was much younger, but two years is a whole different thing.

“Two years is a lot more turmoil in that sense, and just really stepping away from tennis at the end of 2021, and not really picking up a racquet for pretty much a full year, without hitting a single ball. To want to come back took a lot, and to want to make the most of it.

“I didn’t just want to come back and to be a player that I wouldn’t be proud of, so it took a lot of energy for me to put in. I’m happy I got to here and am very grateful that I can play.”

Raonic’s triumph against Kecmanovic was his 50th tour-level win on grass, a surface the Canadian’s big-serving, aggressive game has always suited. Due to continued uncertainty surrounding his fitness, the 32-year-old is not sure how long his comeback will last but said his decision to return on grass was fuelled by a couple of short-term goals.

“It was very intentional [to come back on grass]. Wimbledon means the most to me, and I haven’t played it since 2019,” said Raonic, who reached the final at SW19 in 2016. “I’ll play it one more time. I don’t know what will happen after that, but I’ll play it one more time. It’s also Toronto this year. I grew up 10 minutes from the stadium, that’s another one that’s important to me. I like the idea that I’ll play those at least one more time.”

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The tale of eight-time ATP Tour titlist Raonic’s long-term absence from the Tour is one of continued misfortune. Even now he has returned to action, the Canadian faces a constant battle to manage his body and prepare it for the rigours of Tour.

“The thing that flares up is the achilles,” explained Raonic. “In July 2021 I learned I had swelling in my achilles, and when the swelling went away, I learnt I had tears in my achilles. I didn’t want to have surgery. It would have healed me quicker, but I didn’t know how I would turn out after that, so I wanted to go the longer way of dealing with through rest and rehab. It wasn’t a rupture, just four or five small tears.

“Once that started feeling better, I just had a stint of bad luck. I broke my toe two days after my wedding. I went to try and do some rehab exercises, a weight fell on my foot and all of a sudden I can’t wear shoes for two months… Then I tore a calf, then I got COVID for the first time. Each of these things, I could have dealt with if I was in the momentum of playing and something to rush back for… But with how everything went, I decided to be a little bit conservative with each step.”

His experiences make Raonic reluctant to commit to any long-term goals on his return to Tour, but he is willing to put in the hard yards if it allows him to express himself the way he wants to on court.

“I have to be quick, and I have to be able to be aggressive,” said Raonic. “If I can’t do those things, I can’t play tennis the way I think is best for me and can’t achieve the things I want to achieve. Those kinds of things require a certain level of physical preparedness. Now I can do it, but I don’t know how it will be in two days, I don’t know how it will be in two weeks.

“Everything is one by one, but I know that even if I have a bunch of pain come my next match, I will step on court one more time to play Wimbledon and I will step on court one more time to play Toronto… Somebody would have to tell me that I’m risking a lot more than just an athletic future for me not to play those two events one more time.”

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After ‘Heartbreaking’ Injury Battle, Raonic Returns In Style In ‘s-Hertogenbosch

  • Posted: Jun 12, 2023

After ‘Heartbreaking’ Injury Battle, Raonic Returns In Style In ‘s-Hertogenbosch

Canadian takes out fifth seed Kecmanovic in first match since July 2021

Milos Raonic wasted little time getting back to business on Monday at the Libema Open in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, where the former World No. 3 raced to victory against Miomir Kecmanovic in his first match for almost two years.

A series of injuries have kept the Canadian sidelined since July 2021 but his comeback in the Netherlands could hardly have gone more smoothly. Raonic notched a 6-3, 6-4 victory against the World No. 39 Kecmanovic during which he won 92 per cent (34/37) of points behind his first serve.

“It’s nice to be here after almost two years now and stepping away for a long time,” said Raonic after his emotional comeback triumph at the grass-court ATP 250. “It’s nice to be giving it one more try and hopefully going as far as I can. I’ve put in the best effort I could, and I want to see how far it takes me.

“It’s been a real pleasure to get to play in front of people. I didn’t get to hit a single tennis ball for a full year, now I get to play in front of a bunch of people. It was pretty nerve-wracking, I forgot that feeling. To be honest with you it might have been a little bit easier if I played in front of nobody today.”

The 85-minute victory was Raonic’s 50th tour-level win on grass. The eight-time ATP Tour champion, who reached the final at Wimbledon in 2016, acknowledged his strong start in ‘s-Hertogenbosch was another small step in a long journey back.

“[I’m taking it] day by day,” said Raonic. “It’s been a little heartbreaking a lot of the time when I couldn’t do anything and it’s nice for me to be here one more time. I get the chance to be on court, I get the chance to play, I get the chance to compete, to put in the work, and I get a chance to see how far it takes me, so I’m thankful.”

The 32-year-old will seek to extend his comeback when he takes on Jordan Thompson or qualifier Giovanni Mpetshi Perricard next in the Netherlands.

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Ugo Humbert and Marc-Andrea Huesler also enjoyed straight-sets opening wins on Monday. The seventh-seeded Humbert, who won the biggest title of his career on grass in 2021 at the ATP 500 event in Halle, downed Jason Kubler 6-4, 6-2. The resurgent Frenchman, who has risen to No. 36 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings after falling as low as No. 108 in January, will face Emil Ruusuvuori or Brandon Nakashima in the second round.

Huesler marked his ‘s-Hertogenbosch debut by upsetting eight seed Maxime Cressy 6-2, 7-6(2). It was a first tour-level win on grass at the third attempt for the 26-year-old Swiss, who will take on home wild card Gijs Brouwer or Rinky Hijikata next.

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Sonego Ends Berrettini’s Stuttgart Streak

  • Posted: Jun 12, 2023

Sonego Ends Berrettini’s Stuttgart Streak

Musetti, Lehecka each claim maiden tour-level win on grass

Lorenzo Sonego succeeded where nine of Matteo Berrettini’s previous BOSS OPEN opponents had failed on Monday in Stuttgart.

The World No. 41 Sonego ended Berrettini’s unbeaten record at the grass-court ATP 250 by racing to a 6-1, 6-2 victory against his fellow Italian. Sonego produced an authoritative performance to avenge his 2022 Stuttgart quarter-final defeat to Berrettini, who appeared to be struggling physically for much of the match.

“It’s tough,” said Sonego in his on-court interview when asked about Berrettini, who lifted the trophy on his previous Stuttgart appearances in 2019 and 2022. “I’m not happy because he’s my best friend on Tour and it’s tough to see him like that. I hope the best for him in the next tournament.

“Today I played my best tennis. This is my first tournament on grass, my first match, and I played really well. I’m really happy about that.”

Sonego saved all six points he faced in the 71-minute encounter to notch his first Top 30 win on grass. The Italian is now 16-14 for the 2023 season and arrived in Germany off the back of a run to the fourth round at Roland Garros. His second-round opponent will be home favourite Daniel Altmaier or Christopher O’Connell.

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Another Italian, Lorenzo Musetti, had no trouble booking his second-round spot in Stuttgart. The sixth seed downed qualifier Borna Gojo 7-6(4), 6-3 for his maiden tour-level victory on grass at the fifth attempt.

Musetti saved a set point in the 10th game en route to the first set against Gojo before claiming the only break of the match in the second to seal an 89-minute win. The Italian, who rose to a career-high No. 17 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings on Monday after his fourth-round run at Roland Garros, will play Oscar Otte or Gregoire Barrere in the second round.

Musetti’s fellow 21-year-old Jiri Lehecka also notched his first tour-level win on grass with a 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 win against Marcos Giron. The No. 37 ranked Czech now prepares for his maiden ATP Head2Head meeting against third seed Frances Tiafoe in the second round.

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Arnaldi Claims Fourth Challenger Title To Reach Career High

  • Posted: Jun 12, 2023

Arnaldi Claims Fourth Challenger Title To Reach Career High

#NextGenATP Svrcina wins on home soil

Italian Matteo Arnaldi continued his 2023 breakthrough Sunday when he captured the ATP Challenger Tour 125 title in Heilbronn, Germany. The fast-rising 22-year-old, who is one of four Challenger champions this week, is at a career-high No. 72 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings following his triumph at the NECKARCUP.

Fifth seed Arnaldi ousted Facundo Diaz Acosta 7-6(4), 6-1 in the final after winning 30 of 35 first-serve points to end the Argentine’s 14-match winning streak at the Challenger level. En route to the title, Arnaldi twice rallied from a set down, including against second seed Jaume Munar in the quarter-finals.

“Winning the tournament means a lot to me,” Arnaldi said. “I didn’t start the tournament very well, but I improved from match to match and was able to celebrate my third Challenger success of the year. Victory here should now bring me towards 70th in the rankings.”

A four-time Challenger Tour champion, Arnaldi has enjoyed a strong clay-court swing. The Sanremo native first cracked the Top 100 last month after his run to the third round at the Mutua Madrid Open, where he upset third seed Casper Ruud as a qualifier.

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In other Challenger Tour action, #NextGenATP star Dalibor Svrcina was crowned champion at the Unicredit Czech Open in Prostejov.

The 20-year-old Czech defeated countryman Tomas Machac 6-4, 6-2 in the Challenger 100 final to earn his second Challenger title. The Ostrava native Svrcina, who was a finalist last year in Prostejov, went one step further to win on home soil and rise to 10th in the Pepperstone ATP Live Next Gen Race.

Earlier this season, World No. 192 Svrcina qualified for his maiden Grand Slam at the Australian Open, where he made it to the second round.

At the Tyler Tennis Championships in Texas, American Nicolas Moreno De Alboran survived a three-hour, nine-minute marathon final, where he defeated Mikhail Kukushkin 6-7(8), 7-6(0), 6-4 to earn his second Challenger trophy.

Mikhail Kukushin (left) and <a href=''>Nicolas Moreno De Alboran</a> at the <a href=''>Tyler Tennis Championships</a> trophy ceremony.
Mikhail Kukushkin (left) and Nicolas Moreno De Alboran at the Tyler Challenger trophy ceremony. Credit: Tyler Tennis Championships

“It’s very special, that’s why I came here,” Moreno de Alboran told commentator Mike Cation. “I’ve been wanting to come to the United States and play more. After [Roland Garros], I was like, ‘I’m going to head over there and play more on hard court and play at home.’ It worked out pretty good.”

At a career-high No. 142 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, the 25-year-old Moreno de Alboran, who played college tennis at the University of California, Santa Barbara, earned his first Challenger title last year in Braga, Portugal.

Three-time major champion Andy Murray won on home soil at the Surbiton Challenger to open the grass-court swing. The 36-year-old defeated Jurij Rodionov 6-3, 6-2 in the final to become the oldest grass-court champion in Challenger history (since 1978).

Murray, who won the Aix-en-Provence Challenger 175 title last month, is the sixth player to win Challenger titles on both clay and grass in the same season.

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‘Pressure Is A Privilege’: Break Point Season 1, Part 2 Trailer Released

  • Posted: Jun 12, 2023

‘Pressure Is A Privilege’: Break Point Season 1, Part 2 Trailer Released

New batch of episodes launches 21 June on Netflix

Are you ready for part two?

After successfully launching in January, Netflix’s new tennis series, Break Point, is back for five more dramatic episodes, premiering on Wednesday 21st June.

The series documents a game-changing year in the sport with unprecedented behind-the-scenes access to a select group of the world’s best players, with part one a favourite among fans.

Netflix on Monday released a trailer of part two, featuring several ATP Tour stars, including Stefanos Tsitsipas, Nick Kyrgios and Frances Tiafoe.

The trailer takes viewers through the pressure facing the world’s brightest young talents and the indescribable intensity of competing at the highest levels in tennis.

Break Point, produced by the team behind F1: Drive to Survive, gets up close and personal with the featured players throughout the 2022 season on the ATP Tour and Hologic WTA Tour. The show has already been commissioned for a second season, which will air next year.

Which players are featured in Netflix’s Break Point?

Felix Auger-Aliassime, Paula Badosa, Matteo Berrettini, Taylor Fritz, Ons Jabeur, Thanasi Kokkinakis, Nick Kyrgios, Casper Ruud, Aryna Sabalenka, Maria Sakkari, Sloane Stephens, Iga Swiatek, Frances Tiafoe, Ajla Tomljanovic and Stefanos Tsitsipas.

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ATP Announces Return Of ATP 250 Event In Hong Kong

  • Posted: Jun 12, 2023

ATP Announces Return Of ATP 250 Event In Hong Kong

Hard-court event to be held 1-7 January 2024

The ATP has announced the relocation of the ATP Tour 250 tournament in Pune, India to Hong Kong SAR in 2024 following ATP Board approval of the relocation by tournament owner IMG.

The tournament returns to its previous home at Victoria Park Tennis Centre after a 21-year absence. The former ATP Tour tournament was played in Hong Kong from 1990 to 2002 with Michael Chang winning the title three times alongside other star players including Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, Boris Becker, Marat Safin and Carlos Moya.

The tournament will take place from 1-7 January on outdoor hard courts with a total prize money of more than $650,000.

Gavin Forbes, Executive Vice President & Managing Director, Tennis Events, IMG, said: “Following a successful five years in Pune, we are excited to bring an ATP Tour event back to Hong Kong after a more than 20-year hiatus. We would like to thank the tennis fans in Pune for their support these past years. Hong Kong is an established tennis market with a passionate fanbase, and it is a convenient, competitive stop for players on their way to the Australian Open. We look forward to working with HKCTA and using IMG’s unparalleled expertise in tennis to kick off the 2024 season with an exceptional experience in Hong Kong.”

Philip Mok, President, Hong Kong, China Tennis Association, added: “Our goal has been to bring an ATP Tour level event back to Hong Kong for several years, and we are thrilled to make it a reality.”

Further details of the new Hong Kong tournament will be announced at a later date.

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Djokovic Returns To No. 1, Mover Of Week

  • Posted: Jun 12, 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, 12 June 2023

Novak Djokovic has returned to No. 1 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings after triumphing at Roland Garros. Several other ATP Tour stars have also climbed following the second major of the season. looks at the movers of the week as of Monday, 12 June 2023.

Follow The Cast Of ATP Tour | Break Point

No. 1 Novak Djokovic, +2 (Joint Career High)
The 36-year-old has begun a record-extending 388th week at No. 1 after he clinched a record 23rd major at Roland Garros. The Serbian, who defeated Carlos Alcaraz in the semi-finals and Casper Ruud in the final, is the first man to win all four major events at least three times. Djokovic is also the oldest Roland Garros champion at the age of 36 years and 20 days.

No. 10 Karen Khachanov, +1
Khachanov has returned to the Top 10 for the first time since 2019 after he reached the quarter-finals in Paris. The 27-year-old has enjoyed an impressive season, also advancing to semi-finals at the Australian Open and the Miami Open presented by Itau.

No. 23 Alexander Zverev, +4
Last year, Zverev tore three ligaments in his right ankle during his Roland Garros semi-final against Rafael Nadal. Twelve months on and the German was back at the semi-final stage in Paris, defeating seeds Frances Tiafoe and Grigor Dimitrov to reach the last four. The 26-year-old’s run in the French capital was his best result of the season.

No. 32 Tomas Martin Etcheverry, +17 (Career High)
The Argentine arrived at Roland Garros having previously earned only one main draw win at a major (Australian Open 2023). Ten days later he left as a major quarter-finalist after defeating Jack Draper, Alex de Minaur, Borna Coric and Yoshihito Nishioka. The 23-year-old has performed strongly on clay this year, also reaching finals in Santiago and Houston.

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Other Notable Top 100 Movers
No. 15 Borna Coric, +1
No. 16 Tommy Paul, +1 (Career High)
No. 17 Lorenzo Musetti, +1 (Career High)
No. 18 Alex de Minaur, +1
No. 19 Pablo Carreno Busta, +2
No. 20 Francisco Cerundolo, +3 (Career High)
No. 24 Jan-Lennard Struff, +4 (Career High)
No. 26 Grigor Dimitrov, +3
No. 27 Yoshihito Nishioka, +6 (Career High)
No. 30 Nicolas Jarry, +5 (Career High)
No. 41 Lorenzo Sonego, +7
No. 45 Dusan Lajovic, +8
No. 48 Aslan Karatsev, +14
No. 53 Yannick Hanfmann, +12 (Career High)
No. 56 Zhang Zhizhen, +15 (Career High)
No. 57 Marcos Giron, +18
No. 59 Daniel Altmaier, +20
No. 61 Juan Pablo Varillas, +33 (Career High)
No. 69 Luca Van Assche, +13 (Career High)
No. 72 Matteo Arnaldi, +34 (Career High)
No. 78 Stan Wawrinka, +11
No. 81 Sebastian Ofner, +37 (Career High)
No. 88 Thanasi Kokkinakis, +20

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