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Evans/Murray Oust Krajicek/Pavic In Washington

  • Posted: Jul 31, 2023

Evans/Murray Oust Krajicek/Pavic In Washington

Hurkacz/Tiafoe oust Eubanks/Korda

Daniel Evans and Andy Murray thrilled a packed Grandstand Monday at the Mubadala Citi DC Open, where they ousted doubles stars Austin Krajicek and Mate Pavic 6-3, 6-4.

The wild cards were cool under the intense sun, saving three of the four break points they faced against the second seeds to advance after one hour and 17 minutes.

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Evans and Murray last competed together at the 2017 BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells. This is Murray’s first doubles appearance of the season.

In other action, Hubert Hurkacz and Frances Tiafoe eliminated Christopher Eubanks and Sebastian Korda 2-6, 7-6(9), 10-7. The Polish-American duo saved one match point, at 8/9 in the second-set tie-break, when Hurkacz put away a forehand volley.

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Carballes Baena Breezes Through Kitzbühel Opener

  • Posted: Jul 31, 2023

Carballes Baena Breezes Through Kitzbühel Opener

Sixth-seeded Spaniard to face Baez next at clay-court ATP 250

Roberto Carballes Baena made a confident start to his bid for a second clay-court crown of the season on Monday at the Generali Open, where the Spaniard downed Guido Pella 6-2, 6-4 to advance in Kitzbühel.

Carballes Baena assumed control early of the pair’s first Lexus ATP Head2Head meeting since 2019, reeling off five games in a row from 1-2 to claim the first set. A solitary break in the second set proved enough for the World No. 59 to complete a 71-minute victory and reach the second round for the third time in four appearances at the ATP 250 in the Austrian Alps.

“I think I played a really good match,” said the sixth-seeded Spaniard in his on-court interview. “It was not easy for me because I only practised yesterday, but I think I served very well and I played very aggressively.”

Carballes Baena rose to a career-high No. 49 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings in April after claiming his second tour-level title in Marrakech. The 30-year-old is now 18-18 for the year and feeling confident as he looks to forge a deep run on the clay of Kitzbühel.

“I think I played my best tennis this year,” said Carballes Baena. “I played more aggressive and with confidence. I like these conditions, I like the altitude, so I hope to have a good tournament.”

The Spaniard’s second-round opponent will be Sebastian Baez, after the Argentine enjoyed a 6-4, 6-2 victory against Hamad Medjedovic on his Kitzbühel debut. The 22-year-old Baez, who is chasing his third clay-court ATP 250 title this week, stayed rock-solid from the baseline for an 83-minute win against #NextGenATP Medjedovic in the pair’s maiden Lexus ATP Head2Head meeting.

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Alex Molcan and Guido Andreozzi were also first-round winners on Monday. Molcan downed the in-form #NextGenATP Frenchman Luca Van Assche 6-4, 6-3 to improve his career record on clay to 29-16. The Slovakian, who reached tour-level finals on the surface in Belgrade in 2021 and Marrakech and Lyon in 2022, converted three of 11 break points he earned against Van Assche to book a second-round meeting with fourth seed Sebastian Ofner.

The Argentine qualifier Andreozzi notched his first tour-level win since 2019 with a 5-7, 6-4, 6-2 triumph against 2022 finalist Filip Misolic. Andreozzi kept his cool in the decider to accelerate to victory against home favourite Misolic and set a second-round meeting with top seed Tomas Martin Etcheverry.

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Notable No. 1s In 50 Years Of Pepperstone ATP Rankings (Part 1)

  • Posted: Jul 31, 2023

Notable No. 1s In 50 Years Of Pepperstone ATP Rankings (Part 1)

Rankings debuted 23 August 1973

Since the creation of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings in August 1973, 28 men’s singles players have owned the No. 1 spot. From Ilie Nastase in the very first edition to Carlos Alcaraz today, these unique superstars from across the world are forever linked, part of the elite fraternity to reign over the men’s game. is celebrating the coming 50th anniversary of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings with a five-part series looking at the legendary players, their epic battles, the inspiring comebacks, the jaw-dropping milestones and statistics and other narratives that showcase one of the most talked-about elements of our sport.

Leading tennis author and historian Richard Evans, who knows better than most all of the players to reach World No. 1, kicks us off with his personal reflections on the most notable among this elite group to have reached the pinnacle of tennis.

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<a href=Novak Djokovic” />
Photo by Corinne Dubreuil/ATP Tour

Novak Djokovic

As the game gets more powerful, so the stress of playing pro tennis becomes more demanding. As a result, staying fit is now a major factor. With a body almost perfectly sculpted for tennis, Djokovic, despite an early health problem remedied by a strict diet, has managed to stay fitter than most. Along with his innate talent for striking a ball from any position on the court, this has enabled the 6-foot-2 Serb to start piling up statistics and pull away from his rivals. Well clear of Roger Federer now with 389 weeks at No. 1, the 94-time tour-level titlist seems set to become an undisputed GOAT.

Chance came his way at the age of five when Jelena Gencic, who had coached Monica Seles, spent a summer coaching at public courts right opposite the Djokovic family pizzeria. Gencic was inspired to work with him because he listened so intently to everything she said.

Born in Belgrade in 1987, Novak was ready, by the age of 20, to win two ATP Masters 1000 titles at Miami and in Canada and, in 2008, set off on the run that has so far brought him a record 23 Grand Slams by winning the first of 10 Australian Opens. He had to wait a bit before fulfilling the childhood dream of winning the first of what, so far, is seven Wimbledons in 2011.

With two children and a wife actively involved in his charities, family life absorbs much of Novak’s time away from tennis and, as he goes on winning, there is nothing to suggest he will not remain Serbia’s greatest global ambassador. 

Weeks at No. 1: 389 … Consecutive weeks at No. 1: 122 … Year-end No. 1: 7 times

<a href=Roger Federer” />
Photo by Peter Staples/ATP Tour

Roger Federer

It is not every sports star who ends their career sitting on a courtside bench, holding hands with Rafael Nadal, his greatest rival, both in tears, while 17,000 people at the Laver Cup in London cheered and cried. It was an emotional climax to an extraordinary career. Very few have accumulated as much love and admiration as this elegant Swiss, whom many fans will continue to view as ‘The Greatest’ no matter what the stats say.

It was the way he played the game, the smoothest mover and sweetest hitter of a ball you ever saw; the fiercest competitor, rarely showing the stress that broiled inside an almost disdainfully calm exterior; the sportsman always showing respect for his rivals.

Perfect is a silly word to use about any human being but Roger seems to have come closer than most. When his Slovak-born wife Mirka, a former player herself, produced two sets of twins — two girls and then two boys — someone in the locker room was heard to say, “Oh, Roger! You even do that perfectly!” It was near perfection on court that concerned his rivals most as he collected a total of 103 titles, 20 of them Slams and six at the Nitto ATP Finals.

After a stellar career of such free-flowing success, it’s sad that a back injury forced him into retirement before he was mentally prepared for it — even at the age of 41! Inspired by his South African mother, Federer will now spend even more time working on his pre-school education charities in countries like Malawi and Zimbabwe, recipients of a $1 million personal donation from Roger & Mirka when Covid struck. As he says: “It’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice.”

Weeks at No. 1: 310 … Consecutive weeks at No. 1: 237 … Year-end No. 1: 5 times

<a href=Pete Sampras” />
Photo by Al Bello/Allsport

Pete Sampras

Being born with long arms is an advantage, but you need to know how to use them if you want to achieve what this Californian of Greek heritage achieved on a tennis court. The serve is considered one of the best to ever grace the game and Pete could reach anything at the net. The result? Seven Wimbledons!

Add a few more Grand Slams in New York (five) and Melbourne (two) — but never Paris — for a total of 14 and you are looking at a record that enabled him to finish the year as World No. 1 six times, second only to Djokovic. Sampras’ six came in succession from 1993-98, a record for consecutive years ended atop the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, and he navigated a gruelling late-year schedule in ’98 to finish the run in style. The 64-time tour-level champion was also the one-time ATP Masters 1000 title leader with 11 crowns.

Not a flamboyant performer, Pete rarely uttered a word on court — but then he didn’t say much off it, either, despite a warm, welcoming smile whenever he said hello. Although a man who kept to himself, Sampras was ready to step up for his country’s cause in Davis Cup, beating Andrei Chesnokov in five hard-fought sets in Moscow in 1995 and promptly collapsing with cramp. He needed to be carried off court.

Deeply affected by the death of his coach Tim Gullikson at the age of 44, Pete won his last nine Slams with Paul Annacone as his trusted coach.

In retirement, Pete did what most of us expected — stayed home with his actress wife, Bridgette Wilson, and two kids and played golf. Bridgette’s openly expressed desire to be a housewife rather than a movie star fit perfectly with Pete’s personality. Night life was not for him. Crushed one night at a Piccadilly disco in London, he struggled past me saying, “Can’t stand this. Gotta get out of here.” An open air kind of guy.

Weeks at No. 1: 286 … Consecutive weeks at No. 1: 102 … Year-end No. 1: 6 times

<a href=Ivan Lendl” />
Photo by STF/AFP via Getty Images

Ivan Lendl

The piercing gaze is still on view courtside as this Czech-born American watches Andy Murray, wearing his coaching cap, but it was no less piercing when he used to look at himself in the bathroom mirror before training every morning and say, “Now body, how much punishment am I going to put you through today?” Was that a masochistic streak in Lendl’s nature? If so, it drove him to extraordinary heights: eight Grand Slam titles and a run of success at the US Open which may never be repeated — eight consecutive appearances in the final between 1982 and 1989.

Until John McEnroe lost his concentration and let a two-set lead slip at Roland Garros in 1984, enabling Ivan to secure a remarkable win, Ivan had found a Grand Slam title elusive as defeat followed defeat in finals. But once he broke the barrier, the 94-time tour-level titlist became one of the great winners of his era with a pounding backcourt game anchored to the athleticism he burnished with that daily training routine — hours on court, hours in the gym, eight miles on his bike and then a playful hour wrestling with the five German Shepherds, reared as killers by the Czech Border Guards — at his Connecticut home.

When Tony Roche, his Australian coach, came to visit, Ivan told him, “Just so you know, they understand the word for ‘kill’ in Czech!” In contrast, Ivan proved to be a doting father to his five daughters, three of whom he used to drive around golf tournaments in Florida, helping their progress in the professional game.

Beyond his eighth Grand Slam singles titles, Lendl also owned the year-end Masters Grand Prix — now the Nitto ATP Finals — during its time at New York City’s Madison Square Garden. From 1980-88, he reached nine straight finals at the prestigious event, winning five titles.

Weeks at No. 1: 270 … Consecutive weeks at No. 1: 157 … Year-end No. 1: 4 times

<a href=Jimmy Connors” />
Photo by Allsport/UK

Jimmy Connors

Tennis is an individual sport and Jimmy Connors was an individual. He played Davis Cup for the United States but infrequently and reluctantly. Apart from a rollicking friendship with another maverick, Romania’s Ilie Nastase, Connors was a loner on the ATP Tour, intense, focused and driven.

That was clear when he was still only 18 and had just lost to Stan Smith in a tight match at the Los Angeles Tennis Club. I happened to be walking through and laughing about something completely separate with a friend and came close to where Jimmy, head in his hands, was sitting. Mistaking my mirth, he looked up and yelled, “It’s not funny, you know! I LOST! It’s not funny!” It was clear, right then, that we had an emerging champion.

Using a round, metal-framed racquet that required precision hitting, Connors went on to win eight Grand Slam titles and finish with a Grand Slam match record of 233-49, bettered only by Roger Federer (369-60) among retired players today. He also embarked on a stretch of 160 consecutive weeks as World No. 1 from 1974-77, shortly after the Pepperstone ATP Rankings were created in 1973. His 109 tour-level titles singles remain a men’s Open era record.

Connors’ grandmother, known as Two Mom, and his mother, Gloria Connors, lit his early path — two women from working class St. Louis who taught their boy that winning was just about everything. Later, the tennis professor Pancho Segura was allowed to teach him how to feed off bigger players’ power.

Bursting onto the major stages in 1972, Connors won three Slams and was denied the chance to play Roland Garros because of politics. His best performance came in beating arch-rival John McEnroe in the 1982 Wimbledon final, and his worst when Arthur Ashe soft-balled him to a shock defeat at Wimbledon in 1975. Such was the turmoil of the day that Connors, and his belligerent manager Bill Riordan, were actually in litigation against Ashe and the ATP Tour when he played Ashe in that Wimbledon final.

But above all, American crowds loved his feisty, battling style — the little guy against the world. New York adopted him and the US Open, which he won five times, was his home.

Weeks at No. 1: 268 … Consecutive weeks at No. 1: 160 … Year-end No. 1: 5 times

<a href=Rafael Nadal” />
Photo by Corinne Dubreuil/ATP Tour

Rafael Nadal

‘King of Clay’ almost seems an inadequate title for a man who has dominated the clay-court game with such ruthless, relentless efficiency since he won Roland Garros for the first time in 2005 at the age of 19. Since then, winning in Paris has become routine, a total of 14 titles so far to go along with 12 crowns in Barcelona and 11 at Monte Carlo. Without foot and knee injuries, it could have been more.

How does he do it? The technical aspects of Nadal’s success are intriguing. Since his uncle Toni Nadal nurtured his hunger for the sport at the age of four, Rafa has combined a heavily muscled physique with a rare ability to impart heavy topspin on the ball. He can achieve an RPM of 3,200 rotations — far more than his rivals. The result is a ball that kicks and rises from a height and maintains its speed off the court when it lands. It was the shot that Roger Federer, who lost to Nadal 13 times, found most difficult to handle.

Triggered by injury, Rafa lost the ability to flick the wrist at the full extension of his arm in 2015, diminishing his effectiveness to such an extent that it became the only year between 2005 and 2019 that he did not win either a Grand Slam or ATP Masters 1000 title. Months of work back home at Manacor in Mallorca restored the weapon, and by 2017 he was able to win in Paris and New York while reaching the final in Melbourne. On of the all-time greats across all surfaces, Nadal has won a haul of 37 ATP Masters 1000 titles to go along with his 22 majors — all among 92 tour-level crowns.

It is an inbred willingness to work and improve that lies at the core of his success. After losing two finals to Federer, Nadal won Wimbledon in 2008 by upping the speed of his first serve. No Spaniard had managed to adapt to grass at that level since Manuel Santana in 1966.

The fierce on-court expressions melt into happy smiles when one meets Rafa in person. Charming and conscious of his powerful position as a hugely popular sporting icon, Rafa works generously for his foundation, which contributes to feeding the poor in Mallorca. During bad floods, Rafa opened the doors of his luxurious academy in Manacor to offer temporary shelter. In 2019, he married his childhood sweetheart, Maria, and they had a son last November.

Weeks at No. 1: 209 … Consecutive weeks at No. 1: 56 … Year-end No. 1: 5 times

Read Part 2 of the Notable No. 1s series.

View all 28 No. 1s in the 50-year history of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings.

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Notable No. 1s In 50 Years Of Pepperstone ATP Rankings (Part 2)

  • Posted: Jul 31, 2023

Notable No. 1s In 50 Years Of Pepperstone ATP Rankings (Part 2)

Part two of a two-part series

Since the creation of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings in August 1973, 28 men’s singles players have owned the No. 1 spot. From Ilie Nastase in the very first edition to Carlos Alcaraz today, these unique superstars from across the world are forever linked, part of the elite fraternity to reign over the men’s game. is celebrating the coming 50th anniversary of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings with a five-part series looking at the legendary players, their epic battles, the inspiring comebacks, the jaw-dropping milestones and statistics and other narratives that showcase one of the most talked-about elements of our sport.

Leading tennis author and historian Richard Evans, who knows better than most all of the players to reach World No. 1, kicks us off with his personal reflections on the most notable among this elite group to have reached the pinnacle of tennis.

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<a href=John McEnroe” />
Photo by Steve Powell/Getty Images

John McEnroe

Considering the level of natural skill with which he was blessed, it could be said that McEnroe’s total of seven Grand Slam singles titles and 77 overall makes him an underachiever. Lethal with feathery touch on the volley after swinging his left-handed serve way out wide to the ad court, McEnroe rose to World No. 1 at the age of 21 in 1981. In 1984, he put together the best season in ATP Tour history by winning percentage (96.5 per cent), soaring to an 82-3 record.

However, a combustible temperament bound up with an inability to accept umpiring decisions that he felt sure were incorrect (technology would have proved him right most of the time) benefited no one more than his opponents — Ivan Lendl, two sets and a break down in the 1984 Roland Garros final, being a prime example. McEnroe will admit to having nightmares about that loss today but there is one excuse few people know. Having flown to London that night, I met John at The Queen’s Club the next day and he invited me to touch his scarlet forehead. It was still hot. He had suffered sunstroke and took to wearing a headscarf afterwards.

For those trying analyse the McEnroe character, his headmaster at Trinity School in Manhattan told me something that will surprise many. I asked how “Johnny Mac” behaved in school matches. “Fine,” was the answer. “We didn’t have umpires. John gave any tight calls to his opponent. He never wanted something he had not earned.” The headmaster might have added that McEnroe could not tolerate being deprived of something he HAD earned.

Sensitive to the slightest sound and aware of every disruption, McEnroe’s nervous system was easily rattled. I was standing seven rows back on the packed Queen’s Club terrace one year and sneezed just as McEnroe was about to serve. I had been there one minute. He stopped, turned and said, “Oh thanks, Richard.” That, at least, was polite. Often he wasn’t and ran into endless trouble with officialdom. But, contrary to expectation, he was a loyal Davis Cup team man and never forgets his friends.

He still plays with a little band he helped create in Douglaston, New York, where he grew up with Irish-American parents and two brothers. Unable to fulfill his ambition of being a rock star, he married one: Patty Smythe.

Weeks at No. 1: 170 … Consecutive weeks at No. 1: 58 … Year-end No. 1: 4 times

<a href=Bjorn Borg” />
Photo by Allsport/UK

Bjorn Borg

There was no question that six triumphs at Roland Garros in eight politically interrupted years when the cool Swede opted to play for the banned World Team Tennis league in America established Borg as the pre-eminent clay court player of his era — probably of all time until the arrival of Rafa Nadal. But where does he stand when it comes to grass? Five straight Wimbledon titles from 1976-80 lift him high up that scale, and it was this extraordinary run of success on a surface not naturally suited to his game that turned him into world star.

Timing, however, is everything and, with John Newcombe fading, Borg simply made the most of the absence of a great serve-and-volleyer until the arrival of John McEnroe. Nevertheless, the quietly spoken and flawlessly behaved Swede showed what could be achieved by mixing backcourt tennis with judicious net play and some of his matches — notably the classic five-set Wimbledon semi-final against his great friend Vitas Gerulaitis in 1977 — remain indelibly in the memory.

In a different era, Borg took care of his lithe body but not to the extent of missing out on the nightlife European cities had to offer and it was in discotheques in Paris, London and Rome that one saw a different Borg. After a glass of wine or two, he was ready to admit that his image of the unblemished sportsman was enhanced by the fact that his halo shone brightest when compared to his three rabble-rousing rivals, Ilie Nastase, Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe. The latter, in particular, became a good friend.

Borg’s early retirement at the age of 26 — after 66 tour-level singles titles — came about when the ITF refused to grant him a reduction in the number of required tournaments he had to play. “I have been playing tennis non-stop for 10 years and if you don’t reduce my schedule, I shall quit,” he threatened. They didn’t and he did. Champions of Borg’s caliber can be very stubborn.

Weeks at No. 1: 109 … Consecutive weeks at No. 1: 46 … Year-end No. 1: 2 times

<a href=Andre Agassi” />
Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Andre Agassi

Soon after he surprised the tennis world by marrying Steffi Graf in 2001, I asked Agassi while he was playing the Paris Indoors at Bercy if he recognised the young rebel he used to be. He smiled. “No, who was he?” There had, indeed, been a transformation in how this son of an Iranian-born boxer, brought up in Las Vegas, conducted himself on the ATP Tour.

In his revealing autobiography, Agassi has admitted that he came to view a tennis court as a cage due to the strict training routine his father demanded of him and, in his view, it got little better at Nick Bollettieri’s Academy. But as he started winning big titles, most notably Wimbledon in 1992 after losing in consecutive Roland Garros finals, Andre matured and married the actress Brooke Shields — whose grandfather, Frank Shields, had been a Wimbledon finalist and sporting heartthrob of the early 1930s.

Although the marriage did not last, Brooke, a fluent French speaker, introduced him to more sophisticated European living and helped knock the rough edges off Andre’s personality. His exceptional ball striking smoothed out, too, and his punishing backcourt game soon made him one of the most effective champions on the Tour.

Following his Wimbledon win by beating Michael Stich to take the US Open title in 1994, Agassi went on to collect eight Grand Slam titles to go alongside seven losing finals and an impressive total of 870 career wins and 60 tour-level titles.

Throughout his career, Agassi found himself battling Pete Sampras as his main rival. Between 1989 and 2002 they met 34 times, with Sampras winning 20 to Agassi’s 14. In the 2001 US Open quarter-finals, Sampras won 6-7(7), 7-6(2), 7-6(2), 7-6(5), with neither man breaking the other’s serve — which was remarkable as Agassi possessed one of the game’s greatest returns.

After marrying Graf, Agassi turned his attention to the work he will be best remembered for in Nevada — the creation of Andre Agassi Prep, a school deliberately set in one of the poorest neighborhoods of Las Vegas. The six-foot photos of Churchill, Mohammed Ali, Mother Theresa and Mandela that adorn the walls are Agassi’s message to his students: Never doubt that you, too, can be one of these people.

Agassi’s mid-career climb from World No. 141 back to No. 1 provides plenty of inspiration of its own, with the American even playing ATP Challenger Tour events as he recovered from personal struggles to regain his status atop the Pepperstone ATP Rankings.

Weeks at No. 1: 101 … Consecutive weeks at No. 1: 52 … Year-end No. 1: 1 time

<a href=Stefan Edberg” />
Photo by Stan Honda/AFP via Getty Images

Stefan Edberg

The youngest of the three great Swedes who gave tennis such a Scandinavian flavor in the last three decades of the 20th century, Stefan’s serve-and-volley game was a stylist’s dream: His first serve unfolding like a thrown carpet as, all in one silk-like movement, he advanced to the net to put away one of the game’s great backhand volleys. The fact that he played with a one-handed backhand was wholly due to the technical expertise of an underrated coach, Percy Rosberg, who remained in the background while telling Bjorn Borg to keep his two-hander and telling Edberg to get rid of his. How right can you be?

There was another adjustment Stefan, ultimately a 41-time tour-level singles titlist, required before blossoming into the great champion he became. A chance meeting with the former British Davis Cup player Tony Pickard provided it. Bumptious and opinionated, Pickard offered a total contrast in personality to the shy Swede and promptly set about transforming Edberg’s body language. The slightly stooping, head-rolling gait was not tolerated. “Head up, chin up, get your shoulders back! If you want to be a champion, walk like one!” were Pickard’s instructions and Edberg listened.

A new confidence flooded into his already technically correct game and the breakthrough at the Grand Slam level came when he defeated compatriot Mats Wilander to win the 1985 Australian Open at a Melbourne Park bedecked with blue-and-yellow flags being waved by the thousands of Swedish college students studying in the city. With the next Australian Open being played in January 1987 to effect a date change, the Swedish fans were back to compete with the locals as Pat Cash tried, and failed, to prevent Edberg retaining his crown.

Soon it was clear that Boris Becker, who had won Wimbledon at 18, would become Edberg’s most consistent rival. The Swede won their first duel in a Wimbledon final in 1988, lost to the powerful German in 1989, but beat him when they met for the third straight year in the London title match. If asked today, Edberg will still not have coherent answers to how he lost to the 17-year-old Michael Chang in the Roland Garros final of 1989 — he broke early in the fifth set before losing it 6-2 — but soon it was time to turn his attention to the US Open and once again Pickard played a crucial role.

In eight attempts, Edberg had only managed two semi-finals in a raucous city that grated on his nerves. Pickard finally changed the way Stefan engaged with New York, keeping time spent at Flushing Meadows to a minimum and finding him a quiet hotel out on Long Island. The result was devastating for Jim Courier, who lost the 1991 US Open final to the rampant, well-rested Swede 6-2, 6-4, 6-0.

Finally at ease with his surroundings, Edberg was back the following year to disappoint New York fans once again by defeating Pete Sampras, who had already won the first of his five US Open titles, 6-3, 4-6, 7-6, 6-2. With Anders Jarryd as his partner, Edberg won the Australian Open and US Open doubles titles in 1987 and so achieved the rare feat of being World No. 1 in both singles and doubles.

Weeks at No. 1: 72 … Consecutive weeks at No. 1: 24 … Year-end No. 1: 2 times

<a href=Ilie Nastase” />
Photo by AFP via Getty Images

Ilie Nastase

When the first edition of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings were cranked out of a very basic computer at the ATP’s Texas headquarters in 1973, the man at the top of the list was Ilie Nastase. Being the first No. 1 is something that will be his forever. However, the mercurial Romanian — who possessed skills with ball, racquet and movement few others have matched — will be remembered for other things. Frequently letting himself down with furious outbursts that made his fans recoil, “Nasty”, as he was inevitably known, contradicted that side of his character with a funny, generous spirit of which many in need were grateful beneficiaries.

Losing to Jan Kodes in the 1971 Roland Garros final — and to Stan Smith in the Wimbledon final the following year — put him on the world stage and he confirmed his all-surface talent by beating Arthur Ashe to win the 1972 US Open on grass at Forest Hills. Outwitting Nikki Pilic at Roland Garros in 1973 added more stardust to an eye-catching career, but it was in the early years of the ATP Masters Finals that he was most consistently successful.

He won the second ATP Finals ever held, at Stade Coubertin in Paris, added Barcelona the following year despite being woken up at 2:00 a.m. by press and player pranksters to tell him who he would play in the final that day (it was Stan Smith), and then triumphed again at Boston. For reasons no one could work out, Ilie managed to lose on grass at Kooyong to the clay-court expert Guillermo Vilas in 1974 but had his hands on the trophy for the fourth time in Stockholm the next November at the season finale.

That last ATP Finals win was worthy of a movie script. He behaved so badly in the round robin against Arthur Ashe that the ATP president said, “That’s it. I won’t take this anymore,” and left the court, putting himself in the wrong. When referee Horst Klosterkemper tried to explain that to him, Ashe, for one of the very few times in his life, lost his temper. “Don’t tell me the rules,” Ashe yelled. “I wrote them!”

Contrite as ever, Nastase was hiding behind a curtain in the locker room and the next morning at the Grand Hotel, approaching Ashe timidly at breakfast, he went down on one knee and, offering a bunch of flowers, apologised. Both players were re-instated and Nastase beat Bjorn Borg in the final, ultimately closing his career with 64 tour-level singles titles.

Nasty or not, Ilie’s vineyard outside Bucharest now produces 15,000 bottles of a very good vintage every year. It is called… Nasty.

Weeks at No. 1: 40 … Consecutive weeks at No. 1: 40 … Year-end No. 1: 1 time

<a href=Bob Bryan & Mike Bryan” />
Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Bob Bryan & Mike Bryan

Mike is the eldest by a minute or two, but it never mattered. Mike and Bob were twinned at birth and marched in tandem through a doubles career that blew up the record books. They were joint World No. 1 for 438 weeks with Mike, by teaming occasionally with other partners, topping that at 506. They were No. 1 for 139 consecutive weeks and became the only team ever to win all four Grand Slam titles in a year twice — a  Grand Slam double for masters of the art.

In all they collected 119 titles on the ATP Tour, leaving Mark Woodforde and Todd Woodbridge in second place with 61. In addition, they appeared in 59 other finals. There was an Olympic gold medal in London in 2012 and a Davis Cup record of 25-5.

They looked and behaved like two all-American boys in an understated way, never as outgoing as their father Wayne, a lawyer who was a flamboyant master of ceremonies at various sporting events. But Wayne and their mother Kathy were both good players and, growing up near Oxnard, California, the boys learned well. They travelled well, too, staying in Europe for longer than most Americans on the Tour, flying the flag in a manner most Americans would want it flown, patriotic but polite. So it was not surprising that their first Grand Slam win came at Roland Garros in 2003, the year they won the ATP Finals in Houston.

But the consistency which lasted for so long seemed to arrive when the Australian doubles expert David Macpherson became their coach in 2005. They won the US Open that year and, in 2006, added the Australian Open and Wimbledon. In an unusually long coaching partnership, Macpherson stayed with the brothers for 11 years.

It was only when they picked up their racquets that you could really be sure who was who — Mike the right-hander, Bob the lefty. Both were married with children by the time they retired in 2022, depriving the Tour not just of their expertise but of the chest bump that followed each victory and became their trademark.

<a href=Carlos Alcaraz” />
Carlos Alcaraz poses with the ATP No. 1 presented by Pepperstone trophy last November in Turin. Photo by Corinne Dubreuil/ATP Tour

Carlos Alcaraz

With a smile almost as big as the huge trophy he was holding, standing on centre court at the venerable Queen’s Club London, it seemed preposterous that rising to World No. 1 at the age of 20 as a result of winning the Cinch Championships was not something new for Carlos Alcaraz. The Spaniard had done it before as the youngest —  at 19 years, four months — ever to reach the pinnacle of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings when he won the US Open the previous September, slipping behind Novak Djokovic when injury kept him out of the Australian Open and now re-claiming it.

What was new was the grass beneath his feet. Still a novice on the surface, Alcaraz had not been happy with his form in the early rounds at Queen’s but, like all champions, he got better as straight-sets wins over former Queen’s champion Grigor Dmitrov and Sebastian Korda proved. In the final, the only cloud on his horizon on a day of 30-degrees Celsius temperatures was a thigh muscle that required strapping after he had taken the first set 6-4 off Alex de Minaur.

Alarm bells? Not immediately, because the second set was won with equal ease, earning him his 11th tour-level crown. He followed it up by winning his first Wimbledon title three weeks later, dethroning Novak Djokovic in a five-set final.

But staying free of injury may, in fact, prove to be Alcaraz’s biggest concern in the months ahead. On Tennis Channel in May, Jim Courier was asked what struck him most about this dynamic newcomer. “Apart from being better than Rafa Nadal at the same age?” Courier replied. “What makes him special to me is the smile. It’s there win or lose. It is so obvious that he loves the game and being able to transmit that to his fans is priceless.”

The relaxed attitude to his tennis has been nurtured since the former World No. 1 Juan Carlos Ferrero took charge of his tennis at his academy in Valencia in 2013. Winning the Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan in 2021 set Alcaraz up for his breakthrough year when he became the youngest-ever winner of the ATP Masters 1000s in Miami and Madrid and then went on to become US Open champion by beating Norway’s Casper Ruud in a final that would make the winner World No 1.

It was Carlos, of course, and now one is just left to wonder for how many weeks this extraordinary talent will remain on top of the tennis world.

Weeks at No. 1: 29 (Current No. 1) … Consecutive weeks at No. 1: 20 … Year-end No. 1: 1 time

Read Part 1 of the Notable No. 1s series.

View all 28 No. 1s in the 50-year history of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings.

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#NextGenATP Spaniard Llamas Ruiz Wins First Challenger Title

  • Posted: Jul 31, 2023

#NextGenATP Spaniard Llamas Ruiz Wins First Challenger Title

Rinderknech wins Challenger 125 event in Zug

It was a weekend of comebacks on the ATP Challenger Tour.

Pablo Llamas Ruiz, who earned his maiden Challenger title Sunday at the Open Castilla y Leon in Segovia, saved three match points in the semi-finals before becoming the youngest Spanish winner at that level since Carlos Alcaraz in 2021. Vit Kopriva fought back from a set and a double break down in the Internazionali di Tennis Verona final to capture his second Challenger crown.

Llamas Ruiz, 20, defeated seventh seed Antoine Escoffier 7-6(9), 7-6(5) in the final to win on home soil and rise to a career-high No. 146 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings. In Saturday’s semi-final, the #NextGenATP star fended off three match points at 4-5, 0/40 in the deciding set against Nicolas Moreno De Alboran before tallying five consecutive points and later closing the match in a final-set tie-break.

Following his triumph in Segovia, Llamas Ruiz rose to 12th in the Pepperstone ATP Live Next Gen Race. The Spaniard is aiming to make a maiden appearance at the Next Gen ATP Finals.

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Kopriva rallied from a set down in his final three matches to win the Challenger 100 event in Verona, Italy. The Czech survived Ukrainian Vitaliy Sachko 1-6, 7-6(3), 6-2 in the championship match after dropping just one point behind his first serve in the final set.

The 26-year-old Kopriva, who won his maiden Challenger title last year at home in Prostejov and later reached a career-high No. 124, got into Verona as an alternate before embarking on a week to remember.

“Amazing week, I am speechless because I was 6-1, 5-2 down. I just fought and I won the title,” Kopriva said. “I didn’t even know if I was coming to Verona because I didn’t get in on the first [entry] list, so it was a very special moment to be here and hold the trophy.”

At the Finaport Zug Open, top seed Arthur Rinderknech also had to claw his way to the title. The 28-year-old moved past Belgian Joris De Loore 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 to win his fifth Challenger trophy.

“It was a very close match,” Rinderknech said. “I started well but then got broken in the first set and all of a sudden I was behind in the score. I just had to stay there, focussing on my serve. I continued to serve very well, which allowed me to win the third set and take the title.”

<a href=Arthur Rinderknech wins the ATP Challenger Tour 125 event in Zug, Switzerland.” />
Arthur Rinderknech wins the ATP Challenger Tour 125 event in Zug, Switzerland. Credit: Fabian Meierhans

Players from France have now combined for a season-leading 18 Challenger titles. They are aiming to pass Argentina’s record 23 Challenger titles in a single season (2022).

Illya Marchenko played inspired tennis at the Challenger de Salinas in Ecuador to win his ninth Challenger trophy and first since 2021. The 35-year-old defeated Croatian qualifier Matija Pecotic 6-3, 6-4 in the final and dedicated the victory to his fellow Ukrainians.

“It’s been a great week for me, I’m really happy and relieved that I could add another Challenger title to my career,” Marchenko said. “I used my experience today and it helped me a lot. Many matches here I was the underdog, but whatever happens I always fight.

“I would like to dedicate my trophy to all the people in Ukraine right now. It’s really difficult times for our country.”

<a href=Illya Marchenko wins the ATP Challenger Tour 75 event in Salinas, Ecuador.” />
Illya Marchenko wins the ATP Challenger Tour 75 event in Salinas, Ecuador. Credit: Armando Prado

Pecotic, 34, was competing in his first Challenger final since 2015. The lefty made a splash at this year’s Delray Beach Open, where he became one of the stories of the season. Pecotic is the Director of Capital Markets for Wexford Real Estate Investors and works remotely while travelling to tournaments.

At the President’s Cup in Astana, Kazakhstan, home hope and third seed Denis Yevseyev dropped just one set all week to earn his maiden Challenger title. The 30-year-old ousted Khumoyun Sultanov 7-5, 2-6, 6-4 to triumph.

Yevseyev is the first player to win his maiden Challenger title after turning 30 since 2015 and first home champion Astana since 2015, when Mikhail Kukushkin clinched the title.

“To win my first Challenger at home is incredible. It was nice to feel such support from native fans,” Yevseyev said. “It was a wonderful experience. Never stop dreaming, even at the age of 30 you can play at the highest level and win tournaments.”

<a href=Denis Yevseyev wins his maiden ATP Challenger Tour in Astana, Kazakhstan.” />
Denis Yevseyev wins his maiden ATP Challenger Tour trophy in Astana, Kazakhstan. Credit: President’s Cup

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Unleashing Freedom: Watanuki's Thrilling Ride To Top 100

  • Posted: Jul 31, 2023

Unleashing Freedom: Watanuki’s Thrilling Ride To Top 100

The 25-year-old is coached by his older brother Keisuke

Watch Yosuke Watanuki play and you will find a man who swings for the fences, crushing forehand winners at the first opportunity. He never holds back. The Japanese star competes with the same type of freedom that he feels when he enjoys a late-night drive back home.

Though he’s often travelling on the ATP Tour, when Watanuki is savouring a late-night ride, it’s as if tennis is a million miles away. Sometimes there’s music, other times there’s nothing but the still of the night.

“When I stay in Japan, I love to drive my car after midnight,” Watanuki told “Tennis can be so stressful, so much pressure. When I drive in that moment, it’s like I feel nothing. It’s relaxing… Just drive, nothing special. A day off or feeling bad, if I’m not feeling well, then I go and drive for like two hours.”

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The 25-year-old, who is a three-time ATP Challenger Tour champion, made those peaceful rides more thrilling by purchasing a sports car after his maiden Grand Slam main-draw victory at this year’s Australian Open. His love for cars does not stop there.

If Watanuki were not a tennis player, he stated that he would work for a car manufacturer. But he has been building something of his own with a racquet in hand, cracking the Top 100 of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings for the first time Monday.

“Top 100 is a dream for sure,” Watanuki said. “This time of year last season, I was 238 and then I was thinking, ‘Maybe I can’t crack the Top 100’. But now I’ve cracked the Top 100 and I’m so happy.”

Watanuki’s ferocious baseline play was on full display at this year’s Miami Open presented by Itau, where he crushed 55 winners as he pushed 12th seed Frances Tiafoe to a three-set battle. That same tournament, American Christopher Eubanks was taking similar free cuts at the ball to reach the quarter-finals and rise into the Top 100.

Eubanks, 27, is also a three-time ATP Challenger Tour titlist and is now a Top 30 player after winning the Mallorca Championships and reaching the last eight at Wimbledon. Though Eubanks and Watanuki have their differences, they both produce exciting, swashbuckling tennis. 

Watanuki is just the latest example of players finding success at the Challenger level before having more opportunities to showcase their talent on the ATP Tour. He finished last season with back-to-back Challenger titles on home soil and has since earned wins at the Australian Open, in Miami, on the Madrid clay and at Wimbledon. Watanuki is in action at this week’s Mubadala Citi DC Open, where he will face Chinese star Wu Yibing in the first round Monday.

<a href=Yosuke Watanuki claims his first Wimbledon main-draw victory.” />
Yosuke Watanuki claims his first Wimbledon main-draw victory. Credit: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Much like how Wu made his Top 100 debut this season, now it’s Watanuki’s turn. At No. 99 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, this milestone moment is the result of hard work and dedication for the former junior No. 2.

“I thought it could go a little faster. To be top two in the world in the juniors, I thought two or three years and I would be Top 100, but it took time,” Watanuki said.

One important figure who has helped Watanuki ascend is his brother, Keisuke, who is also his coach.

“I think it works for me and makes us stronger. He cares about me so much,” Yosuke told in February. “Sometimes people think it’s not good enough because he wasn’t a top player before, but he can hit and he’s good with the mental side of the game. I think that’s really good for me. Sometimes we fight, like brothers!”

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Yosuke’s oldest brother, Yusuke, has also travelled with him before but now coaches back home in Japan.

Watanuki is one of five Japanese players at this week’s ATP 500 event in Washington, alongside qualifier Shintaro Mochizuki, Taro Daniel, 10th seed Yoshihito Nishioka and former World No. 4 Kei Nishikori, who is playing his second ATP Tour tournament since coming back from injury.

Watanuki stated that he has enjoyed watching the 12-time tour-level titlist’s comeback that started last month at the ATP Challenger Tour event in Puerto Rico, where Nishikori was crowned champion. The two-time major finalist also reached the last eight of last week’s ATP 250 event in Atlanta.

“I’ve been waiting for him to come back, I think everyone was looking for him,” Watanuki said. “I grew up watching his matches. He played that first Challenger and won it, that was unbelievable. I’m so happy that he came back.”

The ATP Challenger Tour has been a key part of Watanuki’s rise. Though he’s played just five Challenger events in 2023, Watanuki developed his game at that level to make it where he is today. 

“The Challengers are so tough, there are so many good players there,” Watanuki said. “Even if they are ranked 300 or 400, they still have a chance to be Top 100.”

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Fils Cracks Top 50, Mover Of Week

  • Posted: Jul 31, 2023

Fils Cracks Top 50, Mover Of Week looks at the top Movers of the Week in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, as of Monday, 31 July 2023

#NextGenATP Frenchman Arthur Fils, 16-time tour-level titlist Stan Wawrinka and Umag winner Alexei Popyrin were among a number of players who made big jumps in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings on Monday after a three-tournament week on the ATP Tour. looks at the movers of the week in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings as of 31 July 2023.

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No. 47 Arthur Fils, +24 (Career High)
The 19-year-old Fils has made big strides already this season but his quarter-final win against Casper Ruud at the Hamburg European Open was a further statement that he is ready to compete against the ATP Tour’s elite. Fils dispatched the No. 4-ranked Norwegian 6-0, 6-4 for the biggest win of his career to reach his maiden ATP 500 semi-final. He has jumped 24 spots to No. 47 as a result of his run.

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No. 16 Alexander Zverev, +3
Fils’ semi-final opponent at the clay-court ATP 500 was Alexander Zverev. The German held off the Frenchman before defeating Laslo Djere in the championship match to win the title at his hometown event. After becoming the first German to win the men’s singles title in Hamburg since 1993, Zverev has risen three spots to No. 16.

No. 49 Stan Wawrinka, +23
The former World No. 3 Wawrinka returns to the Top 50 for the first time since October 2021 after reaching the final at the Plava Laguna Croatia Open Umag. The Swiss defeated fellow seeds Roberto Carballes Baena and Lorenzo Sonego en route to the final, where he was edged by Alexei Popyrin.

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No. 57 Alexei Popyrin, +33 (Career High)
Popyrin was hit by cramp in his right quad when trailing 1-2 in the third set of the final against Wawrinka but the Australian produced a stunning late burst of hitting to claim the Umag crown. Lifting his second ATP Tour title at the ATP 250 in Croatia has propelled the 23-year-old Popyrin 33 spots to a career-high No. 57.

No. 62 Aleksandar Vukic, +20 (Career High)
There was also an Australian finalist at the Atlanta Open, where Vukic charged past Yoshihito Nishioka, local favourite Christopher Eubanks and Ugo Humbert to reach his first tour-level championship match. The 27-year-old also pushed top seed Taylor Fritz to three sets in the final and has risen 20 spots to a career-high No. 62 as a result of his efforts at the hard-court ATP 250.

Other Notable Top 100 Movers
No. 29 Christopher Eubanks, +3 (Career High)
No. 36 Ugo Humbert, +2
No. 38 Laslo Djere, +19
No. 51 Daniel Altmaier, +10 (Career High)
No. 53 Zhang Zhizhen, +26
No. 65 Matteo Arnaldi, +11 (Career High)
No. 67 Arthur Rinderknech, +13
No. 68 Luca Van Assche, +9 (Career High)
No. 84 Dominik Koepfer, +4
No. 91 Jaume Munar, +13
No. 100 David Goffin, +11

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Why Murray Is Sometimes 'Surprised' He's Still Competing With World's Best

  • Posted: Jul 31, 2023

Why Murray Is Sometimes ‘Surprised’ He’s Still Competing With World’s Best

Former World No. 1 reflects on form and Washington memories

There is no disputing that Andy Murray has suffered his fair share of disappointing defeats since undergoing his most recent hip surgery in 2019. Coming close but ultimately falling short of big wins like the former World No. 1 did at Wimbledon against Stefanos Tsitsipas does not make it any easier.

But outside of the results, Murray is proving to himself and the world that win or lose, his level is still close to the very best players in the world. For someone competing at 36 with a metal hip, that is a victory in itself.

“I’m surprised by that sometimes, because I know how difficult it is for me physically now,” Murray, who is competing this week at the Mubadala Citi DC Open, exclusively told “That my game is still able to match up and compete with the best players, yeah, I’m surprised by it.”

Murray is No. 42 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings and notably won two five-setters at this year’s Australian Open against tough opponents in Matteo Berrettini and Thanasi Kokkinakis. But the Scot is still working hard to not just compete against the best, but beat them on the world’s biggest stages.

“It’s hard because ultimately, I would say in maybe certain events or certain periods of the year, it’s easier to not ignore the results, but not place too much emphasis on them,” Murray said. “But obviously when you play in the major competitions, they are the ones that ultimately you want to perform well in and that you will get judged on and at Wimbledon, it really wasn’t like I played a really bad match against Tsitsipas. So when I reflect on that tournament, I’m disappointed with the result.

“But there’s still signs for me there that from a tennis perspective I can still compete and win against the top players in the world, even though I lost that match. If I’d gone out and lost 6-1, 6-1, 6-1, I played terribly and lost comfortably, the stage of my career that I’m at, maybe I’d start to look at things a bit differently.”

<a href=Andy Murray” />
Photo: Peter Staples
Murray has reached World No. 1, won three major titles and accomplished plenty more in his history-making career. But despite the obstacles he has faced, the 46-time tour-level champion continues to search for ways to continue raising his level.

“Obviously, the game always keeps evolving, keeps improving, and you need to do that as well as a player. And I enjoy that. It’s one of the things that motivates me — trying to improve — whether that’s on the court or in the gym,” Murray said. “Like seeing my scores in the gym are improving or that my speed is getting a bit better, or [that] I’m serving at a slightly higher percentage or harder, I love that. It’s one of the great things about tennis in that that’s kind of down to me and my team. I can make that those changes if I want to, and if I’m willing to put the work in, and I still enjoy that.”

That has still been the case in recent weeks. During the grass season, Murray spoke about tweaks he was making to his serve.

Competing this week in Washington brings back memories of his debut at the event in 2006, when he also made distinct changes to his game.

“Brad Gilbert’s here this week and the first week that we spent together was here when he started coaching me. We were chatting about it the other day, I remember the first match that I played here, I played against Ramon Delgado. And they didn’t use to play before like four o’clock, because of the conditions,” Murray said. “We were the first match on at four and I remember it just being brutally hot. I also played a match against Feli Lopez that year, and we got rained off because of thunderstorms and between the thunderstorms and going back out, I changed [my approach].

“A lot of people talk about the way that I returned now, I have quite a distinctive jump. And that started in that match, because Brad was saying I was standing too close to the baseline to return serve. So I had to go further back, which I did when we went back out there. And I instinctively started sort of jumping forwards before the return.”

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Murray made the final that year in Washington and will hope for another deep run this week in the United States’ capital. The 15th seed, who will open against Brandon Nakashima or Aleksandar Vukic, is looking forward to making a good start to his hard-court season after working hard on his fitness to prepare for the hot and humid conditions this swing presents.

“I think a challenge for all of the players is the conditions. You’ve gone from playing across the grass season where physically it’s pretty straightforward in terms of you’re not getting any extreme weather, the points tend to be a little bit shorter, it’s a bit easier on the body,” Murray said. “Whereas, I really feel like here that the physical side, if you’ve taken care of that and you’re in good shape, physically, it can have big benefits going into this stretch of tournaments.

“So I kind of look forward to the preparation of it. I did a lot of heat training in heat chambers and bike sessions in pretty brutal conditions to try and prepare myself for it. It doesn’t make going on the court that much easier, but if you’ve done that work and your opponent hasn’t, it can give you that little physical, psychological edge and I like that.”

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'One Of The Best Events Out There': Citi Taste Of Tennis DC A Smash Hit

  • Posted: Jul 31, 2023

‘One Of The Best Events Out There’: Citi Taste Of Tennis DC A Smash Hit

Monfils, Svitolina, Auger-Aliassime and Pegula among attendees

The 2023 Mubadala Citi DC Open is off to a quick start before a ball has been struck in the main draw.

Players from the ATP and WTA were thrilled Sunday evening to attend the Citi Taste of Tennis DC, the tournament’s official player party. Among the stars in attendance were Gael Monfils, Elina Svitolina, Felix Auger-Aliassime and Jessica Pegula.

Monfils, the 2016 Washington champion, explained earlier in the day how much he enjoys competing in the United States’ capital.

“I love it all the time when I come here. The city is beautiful,” Monfils told ATP Media. “I really like being around in the city, the energy is great, and definitely the crowd support here is different. I have actually one of the biggest memories in my career, so it’s always nice and great to come back.”

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The headlining chef for the event was Kevin Tien, and players were able to sample food made by some of the best chefs in Washington. It was an opportunity for the players to mingle with each other while also getting to know the local stars and how they have found their own success, according to John-Patrick Smith.

“I think the Taste of Tennis has to be one of the best organised events not only for tennis players to get away from the sport, but also to enjoy the local cuisine,” Smith said. “And also to meet some of the great and talented chefs and people in the food industry who’ve put so much time and effort just like tennis players have into creating their own brand, their own food, their own kind of line of creativity.

“I think it’s got to be one of the best events out there that the players really enjoy.”

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Who Was With Lionel Messi? Diego Schwartzman, Of Course!

  • Posted: Jul 31, 2023

Who Was With Lionel Messi? Diego Schwartzman, Of Course!

Argentine enjoyed a celebrity-filled night ahead of Washington ATP 500

Fans across the globe tuned into Tuesday evening’s Inter Miami football match to watch superstar Lionel Messi play his second game in Major League Soccer. After the Argentine was substituted out of the game following a two-goal performance, a television close-up showed he was speaking with a familiar face to the tennis world: Diego Schwartzman.

It is no wonder the former No. 8 player in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings still had a smile on his face recalling the evening on Sunday at the Mubadala Citi DC Open, where he is competing this week.

The 30-year-old Argentine, a big football fan, attended the game with his brother, Matias Schwartzman. They were able to mingle with plenty of celebrities besides Messi. The Schwartzman Brothers also took photographs with singer Marc Anthony and football icon David Beckham. 

<a href=Diego Schwartzman, Marc Anthony and Matias Schwartzman” />
Diego Schwartzman and Matias Schwartzman take a photo with Marc Anthony.

David Beckham, <a href=Diego Schwartzman and Matias Schwartzman” />
David Beckham poses for a photo with the Schwartzman Brothers. Photos courtesy of Diego Schwartzman.
Schwartzman on Monday will face American Mackenzie McDonald at the Washington ATP 500. But on Sunday afternoon the Argentine was in a rush. Where? A football match, of course. He made a quick pre-tournament stop to watch Chelsea FC play Fulham FC.

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