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Berrettini Makes Fast Start In Toronto, Faces Sinner Next

  • Posted: Aug 07, 2023

Berrettini Makes Fast Start In Toronto, Faces Sinner Next

Musetti, Cerundolo & Davidovich Fokina advance

Matteo Berrettini earned another confidence-boosting win on Monday at the National Bank Open Presented by Rogers, where he defeated Gregoire Barrere 6-4, 6-3.

The Italian entered Wimbledon having earned just seven tour-level victories all year, but looked close to his best to reach the fourth round in London. Three weeks on and Berrettini quickly looked in control on the Canadian hard courts, striking the ball with explosive power to fire past the Frenchman Barrere in 76 minutes.

Berrettini has won seven tour-level titles in his career but has yet to triumph on hard courts. The 27-year-old, who is making his debut in Toronto, will next play countryman Jannik Sinner in the second round as he aims to change that record.

Another Italian, Lorenzo Musetti, also advanced on Day 1 at the ATP Masters 1000. The 21-year-old produced a clean-hitting display against Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka, sealing a 6-4, 6-1 victory after 75 minutes.

Despite rain disrupting the first set, Musetti maintained his concentration, committing just three unforced errors to reach the second round. The 16th seed will next meet Zhang Zhizhen or Thanasi Kokkinakis.

In other action, Jiri Lehecka defeated Brandon Nakashima in a repeat of the 2022 Next Gen ATP Finals championship match. The Czech, who fell against American Nakashima in Milan last year, has performed strongly on hard courts this season, reaching the quarter-finals at the Australian Open and semi-finals in Doha. Lehecka will next play third seed Casper Ruud.

Spaniard Alejandro Davidovich Fokina moved past American J.J. Wolf 6-0, 6-2, while Francisco Cerundolo beat Canadian wild card Alexis Galarneau 6-2, 4-6, 6-4.

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Nardi Wins 4th Challenger Title On 20th Birthday

  • Posted: Aug 07, 2023

Nardi Wins 4th Challenger Title On 20th Birthday

American Johnson claims second Challenger title in past month

Luca Nardi’s first ATP Challenger Tour title of the season could not have come at a better time.

The Italian #NextGenATP star triumphed at the Porto Open in Portugal on Sunday, when he was celebrating his 20th birthday. The fourth seed Nardi rallied past home favourite Joao Sousa 5-7, 6-4, 6-1 in the final to earn his fourth Challenger trophy.

“I will remember this day, my 20th birthday, my most important title,” Nardi told Sport TV. “For sure it will be special for a long time. It wasn’t easy because I knew it would be a very tough crowd today, all for him. I knew that, I respect that. He played good, he had a very solid week and today I think I was very focussed, didn’t want to give up.

“The first two matches I didn’t play good, but then I played better match by match and I hope I can keep this confidence for the rest of the season.”

Nardi, who is 12th in the Pepperstone ATP Live Next Gen Race, is aiming to make his debut at the Next Gen ATP Finals, which showcases the season’s best 21-and-under players.

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In other Challenger Tour action, Jaume Munar dropped just one set all week to be crowned champion at the San Marino Tennis Open, where he defeated Andrea Pellegrino 6-4, 6-1 in the final.

World No. 80 Munar overcame a slow start in the semi-finals, where he trailed countryman Daniel Rincon 0-6 before mounting a comeback and lifting his ninth Challenger title the next day.

Earlier this season, the Spaniard Munar reached the last four of the ATP 250 event in Santiago and the fourth round of the Mutua Madrid Open. His triumph in San Marino marks his first Challenger title of 2023. The 26-year-old arrived at the Challenger 125 event following back-to-back tour-level quarter-finals in Gstaad and Umag.

<a href=Jaume Munar wins the ATP Challenger Tour 125 event in San Marino.” />
Jaume Munar in action Sunday in San Marino. Credit: San Marino Tennis Open

It was a dream week for Croatian Duje Ajdukovic, who advanced through qualifying en route to his maiden Challenger title at the Platzmann Open in Luedenscheid, Germany. The 22-year-old won seven matches in as many days and downed eighth seed Hugo Dellien 7-5, 6-4 in the final.

Rain forced Ajdukovic and Dellien to play their semi-final matches and final on Saturday. Despite playing in his first Challenger final, Ajdukovic held his nerve to triumph, sealing his rise to a career-high World No. 216 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings.

At the Lexington Challenger in Kentucky, former World No. 21 Steve Johnson did not drop a set all week to lift the trophy. The American moved past #NextGenATP Frenchman Arthur Cazaux 7-6(5), 6-4 in the championship match after winning 88 per cent of his first-serve points.

The 33-year-old Johnson has won two Challenger crowns this past month following a three-year title drought at all levels.

<a href=Steve Johnson wins the ATP Challenger 75 event in Lexington, Kentucky.” />
Steve Johnson during Sunday’s final at the Challenger 75 event in Kentucky. Credit: Lexington Challenger

Argentine Francisco Comesana collected his second Challenger title of the year by winning the Svijany Open by Moneta Money Bank in Liberec, Czech Republic. The 22-year-old cruised past American qualifier Toby Kodat 6-2, 6-4 in the final, where Comesana won 90 per cent of his first-serve points and did not face a break point all match.

A four-time Challenger champion, Comesana is at a career-high No. 170. The Argentine has reached at least the quarter-finals in his past six Challenger events, including a title run in Vicenza.

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Rain Delayed Monday Action In Toronto

  • Posted: Aug 07, 2023

Rain Delayed Monday Action In Toronto

Monday is the first day of main draw action

Fans needed to wait a little bit longer for the start of main draw action at the National Bank Open Presented by Rogers. Monday play was delayed by rain in Toronto. Just after noon, the day’s first matches were sent out to court.

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There are 13 singles matches and four doubles matches on the order of play. Three Canadians headline the day’s slate on centre court. Alexis Galarneau, who last month won an ATP Challenger Tour event in Granby, opens the tournament against Francisco Cerundolo. In the evening session former World No. 3 Milos Raonic faces ninth seed Frances Tiafoe and Vasek Pospisil takes on qualifier Matteo Arnaldi.

Among the other stars in action will be 15th seed Hubert Hurkacz and 16th seed Lorenzo Musetti. In a battle of fans’ favourites, Gael Monfils will play Christopher Eubanks. Twelfth seed Tommy Paul will try to oust qualifier and former Top 10 star Diego Schwartzman. 


CENTRE COURT start not before 11:30 am
[WC] A. Galarneau (CAN) vs F. Cerundolo (ARG)

Not Before 12:30 pm
G. Barrere (FRA) vs M. Berrettini (ITA)

6:30 pm
Davis Cup Trophy Ceremony

Not Before 7:00 pm
[WC] M. Raonic (CAN) vs [9] F. Tiafoe (USA)
[WC] V. Pospisil (CAN) vs [Q] M. Arnaldi (ITA)

GRANDSTAND start 11:30 am
[16] L. Musetti (ITA) vs Y. Nishioka (JPN)
A. Davidovich Fokina (ESP) vs J. Wolf (USA)

Not Before 2:30 pm
A. Bublik (KAZ) vs [15] H. Hurkacz (POL)

Not Before 4:00 pm
[PR] G. Monfils (FRA) vs C. Eubanks (USA)
[12] T. Paul (USA) vs [Q] D. Schwartzman (ARG)

COURT 1 start 11:30 am
B. Nakashima (USA) vs J. Lehecka (CZE)
Z. Zhang (CHN) vs [Q] T. Kokkinakis (AUS)
A. Mannarino (FRA) vs [Q] T. Daniel (JPN)
[Q] C. Garin (CHI) vs M. Kecmanovic (SRB)

COURT 4 start 11:30 am
N. Lammons (USA) / J. Withrow (USA) vs R. Haase (NED) / N. Mektic (CRO)
M. Purcell (AUS) / A. Rublev vs [5] H. Nys (MON) / J. Zielinski (POL)

Not Before 3:00 pm
A. de Minaur (AUS) / J. Sinner (ITA) vs M. Arevalo (ESA) / J. Rojer (NED)
After suitable rest – [7] M. Granollers (ESP) / H. Zeballos (ARG) vs [WC] G. Diallo (CAN) / A. Galarneau (CAN)

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Raonic: 'I Don't Feel Like I'm That Far Off'

  • Posted: Aug 07, 2023

Raonic: ‘I Don’t Feel Like I’m That Far Off’

Canadian reflects on his return to Toronto

One of the biggest storylines of the National Bank Open Presented by Rogers is the return to Toronto of home favourite Milos Raonic. Fans idolise the former World No. 3, who has inspired the current generation of Canadians — including Felix Auger-Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov — and stars of the future.

So it was fitting that the 32-year-old began his Media Day on Sunday by sitting on the podium in front of a group of kids participating in the Rogers First Set programme, which is designed to introduce Canadian youth to the sport. Who better to put questions to than the player who raised the profile of men’s tennis in Canada more than anyone else of his generation?

After missing nearly two years due to injury, Raonic sat with a big smile on his face. He first returned in June in ’s-Hertogenbosch and also competed in Wimbledon. But now the eight-time ATP Tour titlist is back in action on home soil, where he has made his biggest impact. As journalists filed into the room for the press conference, one reporter asked Raonic if during his absence he feared what his identity might be beyond tennis.

“I think the biggest thing was will I end up finding something I enjoy as much and have the same kind of passion and obsession with as I do with tennis,” Raonic said. “Having a good year plus of no tennis whatsoever, because I didn’t pick up a racquet for about 14, 15 months, I was able to calm those fears.

“And then I was able to kind of look at it and try to point out by when I could get ready to try to give it a bit more time and get ready to play at a higher level. And that’s kind of a process and then came back about a month and a half ago, two months ago and been enjoying it.”

A leading star of the tournament, Raonic fulfilled several media requests, from his press conferences — one with the kids and the other with the journalists — to several television interviews and a chat with the tournament’s digital content team. But from following the Canadian throughout his media circuit, what became clear is that Raonic is most looking forward to actually competing, which he will do Monday evening against Frances Tiafoe.

“The competing is the most enjoyable part,” he said in one interview.

<a href=Milos Raonic” />
Photo: ATP Tour
Raonic has been working hard to position himself to make the most of his opportunity. The three-time Toronto quarter-finalist has been training since his arrival with some of the best players in the world. One of them, Daniil Medvedev, reflected on what he has seen from the Canadian.

“For sure when we know what he’s capable of, let’s say it was not yet his best level,” Medvedev said in his pre-tournament press conference. “But in terms of shots, he has it. It’s just [his] rhythm, to get it back.”

Raonic admitted that he has struggled a bit with his serve, the weapon that helped him challenge some of the best players in history throughout his prime. But he feels he will be able to find his form with his trademark stroke moreso than other parts of his game, which is why he has challenged himself with the toughest practice partners.

“I think that was the thing that for two years that’s kind of missing the most is getting used to that kind of speed, that kind of intensity and that kind of consistency throughout many hours on court,” Raonic explained of training with top players. “I think that was a focus for my coach, to organise those things, knowing that that’s probably where I could make the most progress. I felt really good, I felt I was able to do my things well. I don’t feel like I’m that far off from playing tennis that was reminiscent of two, three years ago, however long it may be now.

“But it doesn’t mean those things just click and transfer to matches. I still have to continue working hard at those moments and hopefully those things do come together.”

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Currently No. 545 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, Raonic is not stressing over reaching a certain round or getting caught up in the hoopla of his return to Toronto. He is happiest to have his family and close friends to watch him play at the ATP Masters 1000 event.

But on the other hand, he is enjoying space to himself, too. Raonic was not flanked by an army-sized team during his media day, just a member of Tennis Canada’s communications staff. A player who grew up locally, he is staying at a hotel instead of at home with his family and dogs because of the number of people in town to watch him play.

Only time will tell if Raonic can create magic on home soil over the course of the next week. If he does, the Canadian does not believe he will spend much time enjoying it, instead focussing on whomever his next opponent will be. No matter what happens at the National Bank Open Presented by Rogers, fans and Raonic’s peers will be watching.

“It’s great to see him back. He’s a very strong player,” Medvedev said. “I remember when I was maybe 16, 17, 18, just coming up, I loved to watch him play because he was the big guy who could trouble the big four. And that was always interesting when someone could do it.”

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Biggest Rises & Revivals In Pepperstone ATP Rankings History

  • Posted: Aug 07, 2023

Biggest Rises & Revivals In Pepperstone ATP Rankings History

Dramatic journeys to No. 1 across 50 years of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings

The road to World No. 1 is rarely straight forward. But some journeys have more twists and turns than others, especially those involving a slide from the mountain top before a character-building return to the summit.

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings this month, leading tennis writer and historian Joel Drucker reflects on five remarkable runs to the top.

<a href=Andre Agassi” />

Andre Agassi at the 1999 US Open. Photo Credit: Jamie Squire/Allsport

Agassi Goes From Agony To Ecstasy

Andre Agassi had long been tennis’ biggest box office attraction. Yet in November 1997, he was competing at an ATP Challenger Tour event in his hometown of Las Vegas. World No. 1 just over two years prior, Agassi at this point was No. 141.

Agassi’s morale had been sapped by his loss to Pete Sampras in the 1995 US Open. Over the next two years, Agassi scarcely devoted himself to tennis. In 1997, he skipped the Australian Open, Roland Garros, and Wimbledon.

Matters bottomed out that autumn with a first-round loss in Stuttgart. Immediately came a long conversation with his coach, Brad Gilbert. As Agassi wrote in his autobiography, Open, “I say, OK, Brad, I’m not ready for it to be over. I’m all in. Tell me what to do, and I’ll do it.” Cue his return to the Challenger Tour.

“My fall from the top was in comparison to Bruce Springsteen playing at the local bar down the street,” Agassi later said of his run to the final in Las Vegas. “People talk about me being humbled out there. Well for sure. I was fighting out there and I was very far from where I had been. But what more beautiful place to start the climb back than in your own backyard.”

By early 1998, Agassi’s newfound dedication was clear, proven vividly by a February win over Sampras in the final of an ATP Tour event in San Jose, California. At year’s end, Agassi had soared back up to World No. 6. That, though, was mere prologue for what was to come.

In the spring of 1999, Agassi nursed a shoulder injury, but was convinced by Gilbert to play Roland Garros. Following several early-round struggles, he reached the final for the third time. Twice Agassi had been the favourite but was upset. This time was different. Agassi rallied from two sets to love down to beat Andrei Medvedev and complete the career Grand Slam of winning all four majors.

From there, it only got better: a final run at Wimbledon, winner at the US Open, the latter an impressive rally from two sets to one down versus Todd Martin. With that victory, Agassi returned to No. 1. He later wrote about that moment, “It’s the first time I’ve felt, or dared to say aloud, that I’m a grown-up.”

<a href=Novak Djokovic” />

Novak Djokovic at the 2018 Nitto ATP Finals. Photo Credit: Peter Staples/ATP Tour

Djokovic Falls Out The Top 20, Finishes No. 1 The Same Year

The date was 5 June, 2018. Novak Djokovic entered the interview room at Roland Garros. He had just lost in the quarter-finals to the No. 72-ranked Marco Cecchinato. This marked the fifth straight major where Djokovic had failed to reach the semis.

So demoralised was Djokovic that, when asked his plans for Wimbledon, he said: “I don’t know if I’m going to play on grass.” Given that these comments were made immediately after a painful loss, only a fool dared believe Djokovic would skip one of the world’s most prestigious tournaments.

Still, by the end of Roland Garros, Djokovic was World No. 22. It had been more than 11 years since he’d been outside the Top 20 (October 2006).

Seeded 12th at Wimbledon, Djokovic made his way to the semi-finals. Then, a masterpiece: victory over Rafael Nadal, a two-day classic that Djokovic won, 10-8 in the fifth. There followed a win versus Kevin Anderson in the championship match.

Djokovic’s renaissance continued at the US Open, capped off in the final when he defeated 2009 champion Juan Martin del Potro. On 5 November, after reaching the final at the Rolex Paris Masters, Djokovic returned to World No. 1.

Speaking the next week in London at the start of the Nitto ATP Finals, Djokovic said: “Five months ago, if you told me that… I always believe in myself, but it was highly improbable at that time considering my ranking and the way I played and felt on the court… I’ll probably be able to speak more profoundly about it when the season is done and hopefully if I get to finish as No. 1.”

Despite a final loss to Alexander Zverev in London, Djokovic won his first four matches at the season finale in straight sets to ensure it was mission accomplished.

<a href=Carlos Alcaraz” />

Carlos Alcaraz with the year-end ATP No. 1 Trophy presented by Pepperstone. Photo Credit: Corinne Dubreuil/ATP Tour

‘Comet Carlos’: Alcaraz Surges To No. 1 History

Once upon a time in the very recent past there was an ambitious young tennis player named Carlos Alcaraz. This charismatic Spaniard has emerged not merely as a star. He is a supernova, lighting up every court he plays on.

In 2021, Alcaraz turned 18 and generated several significant results. Most notably, a quarter-final run at the US Open, highlighted by a third-round, fifth-set tie-break victory over World No. 3 Stefanos Tsitsipas. That effort made Alcaraz the youngest man to reach a Grand Slam singles quarter-final in more than 30 years. World No. 141 at the start of 2021, Alcaraz finished the year at No. 32.

Call the first half of 2022 “Comet Carlos.” Alcaraz rapidly racked up one title after another – February on the clay of Rio de Janeiro, April on hard courts in Miami and the clay of Barcelona, May on clay in Madrid. The Madrid run was particularly impressive, as Alcaraz beat Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic en route to the title. Even more, Alcaraz won with everything fans crave – the widest possible range of shots, a passion for competition, and first-rate sportsmanship.

Then, in the city that never sleeps, Alcaraz lit up New York. Seeded fourth at the US Open, the 19-year-old took the title. It wasn’t easy. Three of his victories went five sets. Against Jannik Sinner in the quarter-finals, Alcaraz fought off a match point in a five-hour, 15-minute classic that ended at 2:50 a.m.

The final was more straightforward, Alcaraz beating Casper Ruud in four sets. With that victory, Alcaraz rose to World No. 1 – making him the youngest man in the history of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings to attain that spot. “Well, it’s crazy for me,” he said. “I never thought that I was going to achieve something like that at 19 years old. Everything came so fast.”

<a href=Roger Federer” />

Roger Federer in full flow at Wimbledon in 2017. Photo Credit: Peter Staples/ATP Tour

After Five Years Away, Federer Climbs Back On Top of the World

In February 2018, Roger Federer was 36 years old. The way the Swiss maestro had turned back the clock over the preceding 13 months might well comprise the most amazing period of his incredible career.

In January 2017, Federer arrived in Melbourne for the Australian Open. He’d been away from competition for six months, the result of a knee injury suffered at Wimbledon.

Federer was seeded 17th. It had been more than four years since he’d won a major. And how would the knee respond?

But Down Under, Federer found the old magic. Six victories brought him to the final. To raise the trophy once again, he would have to get past his most formidable opponent, Rafael Nadal, who at that point led their rivalry 23-11.

Already as complete a player as there had ever been, Federer had been driving his backhand throughout the tournament with more conviction than ever – both earlier and harder. The primary objective: defuse Nadal’s high-bouncing topspin cross-court lefty forehand. Down 1-3 in the fifth set of the final, Federer played brilliantly, winning five straight games to earn what was arguably the most satisfying of his 20 majors.

More great tennis followed. At Wimbledon, Federer won the championship without the loss of a set – the first man to do that in 41 years. In January 2018, a successful title defence in Melbourne.

So it was that on 19 February, 2018, Federer returned to the top spot he had last held more than five years earlier. “I think reaching No. 1 is the ultimate achievement in our sport,” he said. “This one maybe means the most to me [of any achievement] throughout my career, getting to No. 1 and enjoying it right here at 36, almost 37 years old. [It] is an absolute dream come true, I can’t believe it.”

<a href=Thomas Muster” />

Muster trains despite injury in 1989. Photo Credit: Exler/ullstein bild via Getty Images

The Talented Mr. Muster

Talent is a word often associated with the allegedly natural – elegant, effortless. Tennis’ avatar is Roger Federer. But as another legend, 39-time Grand Slam champion Billie Jean King, once said, “Persistence is a talent.”

And in tennis, no one more viscerally brought that concept to life than Thomas Muster.

Muster’s assets were punishing groundstrokes, unsurpassed fitness, and a competitive intensity worthy of his fellow left-handers, Jimmy Connors and Rafael Nadal.

As 1989 began, Muster had cracked the Top 20 and earned five tour-level singles titles – all on clay.

Eager to prove himself on all surfaces, Muster in January reached the semi-finals on the hard courts of the Australian Open. He followed that up in March with magnificent tennis in Miami. In the last four, Muster rallied from two sets to love down to beat Yannick Noah and earn the chance to play Ivan Lendl in the final of a tournament that was then informally known as tennis’ fifth Grand Slam.

The victory over Noah meant that Muster would crack the Top 10 for the first time. And with the clay-court season just around the corner, even greater possibilities were on the horizon.

Then, tragedy. Hours after the win over Noah, as Muster searched inside his car, he was hit by a drunken driver, in the process severing tendons in his left knee. There followed five months of rigorous rehab. An iconic video shows Muster in a wheelchair, leg raised, repeatedly hitting forehands.

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Once recovered, Muster willed his way back up the ranks. His 1995 campaign was exceptionally productive. That year, he won 12 tournaments – including the one major of his career at Roland Garros.

Further payoff for persistence came on 12 February, 1996, when Muster rose to World No. 1 for the first time – nearly seven years after that night in Miami. “I don’t know how many people can say that, measurably, they have been No. 1 at something, the best in the world,” he said. “I loved that moment.”

Through tragedy and triumph, Muster had proven himself as one of tennis’ most brilliantly persistent competitors.

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Evans Climbs Following Washington Title, Mover Of Week

  • Posted: Aug 07, 2023

Evans Climbs Following Washington Title, Mover Of Week looks at the top Movers of the Week in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, as of Monday, 7 August 2023

Daniel Evans, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Sebastian Baez captured trophies in Washington, Los Cabos and Kitzbühel respectively, in a three-tournament week on the ATP Tour. looks at the movers of the week as of Monday, 7th August 2023.

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No. 21 Daniel Evans, +9 (Career High)
The Briton has risen to a career-high No. 21 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings after he won the biggest title of his career at the Mubadala Citi DC Open, an ATP 500 event in Washington, D.C. The 33-year-old arrived at the tournament having not earned a tour-level win since April, but produced flawless tennis, dropping just one set across five matches as he defeated seeds Frances Tiafoe, Grigor Dimitrov and Tallon Griekspoor, who upset Taylor Fritz in the semi-finals.

No. 4 Stefanos Tsitsipas, +1
The 24-year-old captured his first title of the season at the Mifel Tennis Open By Telcel Oppo, where he defeated Australian Alex de Minaur in the final. The Greek, who is up one spot to No. 4, has now earned 10 tour-level crowns.

No. 42 Sebastian Baez, +30
The Argentine has jumped 30 places following his victory at the Generali Open in Kitzbühel. All three of Baez’s ATP Tour titles have come at clay-court ATP 250s, after he previously triumphed in Estoril in 2022 and at home in Cordoba in February this year. He had won one match in his previous five tournaments before arriving in Kitzbühel, but he dropped just one set — against top seed Tomas Martin Etcheverry in the semi-finals — en route to the trophy.

No. 84 Dominic Thiem, +32
The Austrian has climbed back inside the Top 100 after he reached his first tour-level final since the 2020 Nitto ATP Finals. Competing on home soil in Kitzbühel, the 29-year-old saved five match points in his semi-final victory against Laslo Djere.

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Other Notable Top 100 Movers
No. 26 Tallon Griekspoor, +11 (Career High)
No. 31 Tomas Martin Etcheverry, +3
No. 40 Andy Murray, +4
No. 48 Pedro Cachin, +6 (Career High)
No. 55 Jordan Thompson, +16
No. 61 Arthur Rinderknech, +6
No. 68 Daniel Elahi Galan, +8
No. 80 Jaume Munar, +11
No. 100 Ilya Ivashka, +13

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Did ATP Stars Stun NHL Players In Toronto Ball Hockey?

  • Posted: Aug 07, 2023

Did ATP Stars Stun NHL Players In Toronto Ball Hockey?

Ruud, Korda, Ruusuvuori among ATP players to compete

Fans who visited the National Bank Open Presented by Rogers Sunday received a special treat when they were able to watch not just tennis, but stars from the ATP and NHL on the same court together.

The athletes gathered on Court 1 for the tournament’s annual ball hockey game, pitting ATP players against ice hockey stars. Casper Ruud, Hubert Hurkacz Sebastian Korda, Emil Ruusuvuori, Alexis Galarneau, Harri Heliovaara and Jan Zielinski lost 4-1 to the professional hockey players.

“It was fun again. I had to do it. I was in Montreal [last year and played in the game]. I think next year we need to mix the teams. It’s too unfair!” Ruusuvuori said. “It was great. It feels like the people also enjoyed it and us, too. They were great guys. We just had fun, it was good. “

<a href=Casper Ruud” />
Photo Credit: Peter Powers/National Bank Open
The NHL players who participated were Nazem Kadri, Ryan McLeod, Anthony Cirelli, Quinton Byfield and Hockey Hall of Fame Doug Gilmour.

Byfield, a centre for the Los Angeles Kings who was the second overall pick in the 2020 NHL Draft, enjoyed spending time with tennis players.

“I respect how long some of those matches go. They don’t get too much rest, stops,” Byfield said. “Their cardio is crazy, so I really respect all of them. Respect them coming out here and playing a different sport, trying it out.”

From spending time in Florida training, Ruud has become a Tampa Bay Lightning fan. It was a cool experience for the Norwegian to compete against two-time Stanley Cup champion and Lightning standout Cirelli.

“Anthony Cirelli, he’s a player that I’ve watched for many years. Him, [Steven] Stamkos, [Nikita] Kucherov, they all seem like great guys,” Ruud said. “I’ve been to a couple of games and I would love to go again in the future, it’s just difficult with all the travel, but I’ll catch a Bolts game again in the future.”

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Why Medvedev Feels A 'Small Pressure' Returning To Hard Courts

  • Posted: Aug 07, 2023

Why Medvedev Feels A ‘Small Pressure’ Returning To Hard Courts

Second seed will begin his Toronto run against Arnaldi or Pospisil

Daniil Medvedev has won 18 of his 20 tour-level titles on hard courts, so it is safe to say the World No. 3 is happy to be starting his hard-court swing this week at the National Bank Open Presented by Rogers in Toronto.

“I love to play all these tournaments, I played them very well many times. But it’s a small pressure because I know that I want to do well here,” Medvedev said in his pre-tournament press conference. “So it’s a little bit of pressure where I’ll have to cope with it and to try to go through it. I feel like I have done it many times in my career, but it’s going to be here again and again. So I have to deal with it.”

Medvedev has enjoyed plenty of success in Canada. The last time the men’s event was held in Toronto, Medvedev won, and in 2019 he reached his first ATP Masters 1000 final in Montreal. On his Toronto debut in 2018, he made the third round as a qualifier.

“It feels amazing. I love this tournament. I remember actually playing well, even [five] years ago, I lost to Zverev, but I passed qualies, beat Felix. It was a crazy match, so very good memories so far from Toronto,” Medvedev said. “It’s actually the first time I’m staying in the city. The two times I’ve been here I was staying uptown. And actually I played in Toronto, I won in Toronto, but I didn’t know how Toronto is as a city.

“So now I get to know it. I like it. [I am] enjoying my time here and of course getting ready for for the first match.”

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Scouting Report: Alcaraz, Medvedev Headline Toronto, Felix Tops Home Hopes

Seeded second this week, Medvedev will open his tournament against home favourite Vasek Pospisil or Italian qualifier Matteo Arnaldi. Medvedev will take the court with plenty of confidence knowing he has already won hard-court titles this year in Rotterdam, Doha, Dubai and Miami.

“I’m really happy because that’s just my favorite surface, so I feel great on it. I feel like my game suits it very well, I feel it even [in] practice,” Medvedev said. “And this doesn’t mean everything, you can still lose. In a way it’s easy to lose. There are so many players that want to win.

“But I love to play on hard courts. My body feels the best on it. So this is very important. I feel like on clay and grass, I have more things concerning my body like I would have pain here, there, probably because I would do some shots not in a good way or something like this. On hard courts I feel very fluid. So really happy. And let’s see how it goes.”

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Medvedev on Saturday practised with top seed Carlos Alcaraz in a well-attended session inside Sobeys Stadium. It is not often fans get to see the top two players on the same court at a tournament until the final.

“For sure, we’re not going to practise too often because hopefully we can play finals, semi-finals and more to come like two times this year already,” Medvedev said. “So usually you don’t try this every day with your rivals, but it can happen once, twice, three times per year. And it was again [a] great practice. I think we both enjoyed it. “

For now Medvedev will focus on the first match in front of him. That is the attitude that has helped him earn six Masters 1000 titles in the past.

“I’m sure I can do well here,” Medvedev said. “But for this I will need to play good tennis.”

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Michelsen Turns Pro, Forgoing College Eligibility

  • Posted: Aug 07, 2023

Michelsen Turns Pro, Forgoing College Eligibility

#NextGenATP American debuted inside Top 150 last month

Two weeks after he played in his first ATP Tour final in Newport, 18-year-old Alex Michelsen has announced that he will turn pro and forgo his college eligibility. The #NextGenATP American, who currently stands at a career-high No. 134 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, was committed to play college tennis at the University of Georgia.

“This was not an easy decision to make, especially because of the incredible opportunity that awaited me at the University of Georgia,” Michelsen wrote Sunday in an Instagram post. He went on to thank the UGA coaches as well as his many personal coaches over the years, adding that he is looking forward to his new journey on the ATP Tour.

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Long-time Georgia head coach Manuel Diaz also released a statement in support of Michelsen’s decision: “He has put himself in a phenomenal position, especially over the last few months,” Diaz said. “This is simply too great of an opportunity for Alex to pass up, and we will continue to cheer him on as he takes these next steps in his career.”

After beginning the 2023 season outside the Top 500, Michelsen’s success this season on the ATP Challenger Tour culminated in a title last month in Chicago. He backed that up the following week by reaching his first tour-level final in Newport, where he beat former Georgia star John Isner in the semis.

Michelsen is in seventh place in the Pepperstone ATP Live Next Gen Race, putting him in a strong position to make his Milan debut this November at the Next Gen ATP Finals. The California native is two places behind countryman Ben Shelton, who turned pro last summer after winning the 2022 NCAA singles title as a Florida Gator.

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