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Dimitrov Debates Perfect Player & The Shot That 'Never Missed'

  • Posted: Sep 27, 2023

Dimitrov Debates Perfect Player & The Shot That ‘Never Missed’

The 2017 Nitto ATP Finals champion reveals his picks

Grigor Dimitrov is known as one of the most versatile players in tennis, with impressive shots and intangibles throughout his game. So who would the 2017 Nitto ATP Finals champion pick to make his perfect player?

“Why are you making me think of players now?” Dimitrov joked. “I see them every day!”

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The Bulgarian star selected an assortment of current and former players, some of whom have reached No. 1 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings. But who are the players and for which shot did he pick them?

There was one shot in particular that proved menacing for the former World No. 3.

“He never missed it when he had to miss it against me,” Dimitrov said. “I feel like a lot of guys have missed a lot of shots, but not him against me.”

Dimitrov reveals his picks and explanations in the full video below.

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Zverev Improves Turin Qualification Chances, Mover Of Week

  • Posted: Sep 27, 2023

Zverev Improves Turin Qualification Chances, Mover Of Week looks at the top Movers of the Week in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin, as of Tuesday, 26 September 2023

Three players have qualified for the Nitto ATP Finals: Novak Djokovic, Carlos Alcaraz and Daniil Medvedev. Who will move closer to earning a spot in Turin this week, with events taking place in Beijing and Astana?

Only 630 points separate fifth-placed Andrey Rublev and ninth-placed Taylor Fritz. With 12 of the Top 15 players in the Live Race competing this week at the China Open, an ATP 500 event, there will be plenty of opportunities for moves to be made. looks at players in contention for the season finale.

View Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin Standings

No. 7 Alexander Zverev
The German moved from eighth place to seventh place in the Live Race with his run in Chengdu, where he claimed his second title of the season (also Hamburg). The 26-year-old is now 215 points clear of Holger Rune for the eighth and final qualifying position.

Zverev did not qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals last year after suffering an ankle injury at Roland Garros. The two-time season finale champion is trying to earn his place at the year-end championships for the sixth time.

No. 14 Karen Khachanov
The 27-year-old did not climb a spot in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin by triumphing in Zhuhai, but he did move closer to those ahead of him as he tries to qualify for the season finale for the first time.

Khachanov trails eighth-placed Rune by 895 points in the Live Race after missing three months because of multiple injuries. But back in form, Khachanov will take confidence knowing three of his five ATP Tour titles have come on indoor hard courts (including the 2018 Rolex Paris Masters), and the other two have come in China, where he will compete in Beijing and Shanghai over the next few weeks.

No. 8 Holger Rune
One year ago, Rune was in Turin as an alternate. The Danish star is trying to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals for the first time and is currently in the final qualifying position with a 45-point advantage over ninth-placed Taylor Fritz, who is not competing this week. Rune, who has not won a match since reaching the Wimbledon quarter-finals as he has struggled with a back injury, will try to build his buffer this week at the ATP 500 in Beijing.

No. 10 Casper Ruud
The Norwegian has earned his place in Turin in the past two editions, reaching the semi-finals in 2021 and the final in 2022. Will Ruud qualify for the third consecutive year? The 24-year-old is in 10th place in the Live Race, 430 points behind eighth-placed Rune. With 500 points up for grabs this week in Beijing, he has an opportunity to begin chipping away at the deficit.

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Wild Card Shevchenko Advances In Astana

  • Posted: Sep 27, 2023

Wild Card Shevchenko Advances In Astana

#NextGenATP Medjedovic advances

Wild card Alexander Shevchenko snapped a four-match losing streak on Wednesday at the Astana Open, where he overcame Dutchman Botic van de Zandschulp 6-4, 6-3 at the ATP 250 event.

Shevchenko earned his first tour-level hard-court wins in Washington in August, when he defeated Maxime Cressy and Sebastian Korda. The 22-year-old looked sharp against van de Zandschulp, breaking the World No. 68’s serve four times to advance in the pair’s first Lexus ATP Head2Head meeting.

Shevchenko, currently No. 84 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings, will next play Hamad Medjedovic after the #NextGenATP Serbian advanced against Laslo Djere.

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Medjedovic was leading 6-3, 2-1 on tournament debut when countryman Djere was forced to retire. The 20-year-old Medjedovic, who is the youngest player in the draw, is aiming for a deep run in Astana to boost his Next Gen ATP Finals chances.

The Serbian is currently ninth in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Jeddah, having won three ATP Challenger Tour titles this year.

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Motivated Medvedev Ready To March Through Stacked Beijing Field

  • Posted: Sep 27, 2023

Motivated Medvedev Ready To March Through Stacked Beijing Field

Second seed faces Paul in first round

Daniil Medvedev holds a Tour-leading 33 wins on hard courts this year and has lifted four trophies on the surface, equal with Novak Djokovic. Arriving at the China Open this week, the World No. 3 is determined to add to his title collection.

“It’s my first time in Beijing. The tournament is super strong. So if you win it, it’s great. It’s a great memory. It’s great for the confidence. There are still some important tournaments to come, so the better you play the end of the season, the better you play the beginning of the next one,” Medvedev said during his pre-tournament press conference. “The motivation is to try to do all this, to continue proving to yourself that you can win these big tournaments, big titles, against big opponents.”

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Alcaraz: ‘No. 1 Is One Of The Main Goals’

Medvedev is making his debut in Beijing and arrives at the ATP 500 event off the back of a run to the title match at the US Open, where he defeated Carlos Alcaraz in the semi-finals.

The 27-year-old is excited by the possibility of facing top seed Alcaraz again this week, but is wary of the other threats in a stacked ATP 500 field. Eight of the Top 10 players in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings are competing in Beijing.

“I think if we face each other, we are both happy, we are both in the final,” Medvedev said when asked about potentially playing Alcaraz. “That’s a good goal, to try to make this happen.

“At the same time, as I said, so many good players. It’s tough. It’s like an ATP Masters 1000 here or a Grand Slam. In a way it’s even stronger than a Grand Slam, where you don’t have first rounds, where you maybe can get into the tournament, which sometimes can be the case in a Grand Slam… I think we’re going to see a lot of different results where the seeded players can lose and stuff like this because first rounds are never easy.”

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Medvedev faces World No. 13 Tommy Paul in the first round and could play World No. 12 Alex de Minaur in the second round if the Australian can defeat 2016 champion Andy Murray in his opening match.

Medvedev feels his game is in good shape ahead of the event and is excited to play in China.

“The arena looks really nice,” Medvedev said. “I practiced both yesterday and today. It looks very, very nice. I’m sure there is going to be a lot of people during the matches. Let’s see. I only heard good things. First time I’m going to experience it. On ATP level, I think I only played in Shanghai and I really like it. I think it’s going to be the same here.”

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Alcaraz: 'No. 1 Is One Of The Main Goals'

  • Posted: Sep 27, 2023

Alcaraz: ‘No. 1 Is One Of The Main Goals’

Spaniard making debut at China Open

Carlos Alcaraz arrives at the China Open with double motivation. If the Spaniard can capture his seventh tour-level title of the season at the ATP 500, he would close the gap to 315 points on Novak Djokovic in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin.

The Spaniard is chasing a second consecutive ATP Year-End No. 1 presented by Pepperstone finish.

“As I said a few times, we have a really beautiful battle for the No. 1 spot after the great performance Djokovic had in the American season,” Alcaraz said. “He’s the No. 1 right now. I’m coming here with extra motivation to try to recover it in the Race, of course, in the ranking. As I said, it’s something that I have in my mind every time that I practice, in every tournament.

“Is not obligatory for me to recover that, but of course you have to put the goals in the year. So for me No. 1 spot is one of the main goals for me. In these great tournaments, I’m looking to do great to be able to be close or recover that number.”

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Rune vs. Felix, Murray vs. De Minaur; Beijing Draw Throws Up R1 Thrillers

Alcaraz, who opens against qualifier Yannick Hanfmann in Beijing, is competing for the first time since he reached the semi-finals at the US Open earlier in September (l. to Medvedev). The 20-year-old is pleased with how his preparations have gone ahead of the Asian Swing.

“We have [had] quality practice at home before coming here, played some sets with players from the academy that are playing great,” said Alcaraz, who is 58-7 on the season. “I’m feeling great coming here. I had my first practice yesterday at the centre court. It was amazing to get in and step on the court see how it is to be playing in that court.”

Alcaraz is making his debut in Beijing as the ATP Tour returns to the Chinese capital for the first time since 2019. While Alcaraz may lack experience at the hard-court event, his coach Juan Carlos Ferrero does not. Ferrero has competed five times in Beijing, reaching the semi-finals in 2005. Alcaraz is hoping to lean on Ferrero’s experience this week.

“He told me a little bit about this tournament. Of course, since 2004 until now the tournament has improved a lot. It is almost a different tournament. But he told me great things about this tournament,” Alcaraz said. “He played great the years that he has played here. Yeah, he told me that he enjoyed a lot playing here. Hopefully I feel the same way that he felt when he was playing.”

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Flying With The Fox: Sinner, My Entourage

  • Posted: Sep 27, 2023

Flying With The Fox: Sinner, My Entourage

Find out more about the team behind the Italian star

From teen prodigy to established Top 10 star, Jannik Sinner has become one of the most exciting young players on the ATP Tour.

Yet the story of the 22-year-old’s success is far from a one-man show, and for the 2023 season he has been accompanied at tournaments by any of four regular team members – coaches Simone Vagnozzi and Darren Cahill, physio Giacomo Naldi and fitness coach Umberto Ferrara.

The ATP Tour caught up with Team Sinner to find out more about the inner workings of the eight-time tour-level champion’s quest to reach the very top of the game.

<a href=Jannik Sinner & His Team” />

Jannik Sinner

“I would describe my team as nice people, happy people,” Sinner told the ATP Tour earlier this year. “Everyone knows very well what he has to do. I feel good with them and lucky to have them, so I think it is a very good team.”

Different coaches bring different ideas to the table. Sinner believes his open-mindedness to learn from the combined experience of Vagnozzi and Cahill, as well as physical specialists Naldi and Ferrara, is key to his continued development.

“Everyone is very important for me because for me it’s sometimes also good to mix it up a little bit,” said Sinner. “You don’t go to every tournament with the same people, but to have different voices sometimes, it’s very good. I think everyone is very important for me, because also with two different tennis coaches sometimes to have new things coming, you learn new things.”

<a href=Jannik Sinner” />

It isn’t just on the court where Sinner feels the benefit of his entourage, which also helps him stay relaxed amid the hectic ATP Tour schedule. He enjoys playing cards, watching football and basketball or going go-karting with his team, and also cites his entourage as key pillars of mental and emotional support.

“When I ask someone to join my team it’s not only if they are the best in their work but also how I feel with them,” said Sinner. “For me that is very important because we spend not only the time when we work together, but also at dinner and in the morning.

“I see more of them than my family, so you have to feel very comfortable. They also have to understand my problems, as I sometimes have to understand their problems even if they are a little bit older than I am. It is just important to talk about everything very openly.”

Simone Vagnozzi: Coach

Described by his fellow coach Cahill as “the one that’s really steering the ship”, Vagnozzi has worked with Sinner since February 2022. The Italian has been aware of his countryman Sinner’s potential for considerably longer, however, and believes the 22-year-old has the work ethic to match his prodigious talent.

“I’ve known Jannik from when he was 14. He played against one of my junior players, so I saw him for the first time there,” Vagnozzi told the ATP Tour. “We met a lot of times at tournaments when I coached [Marco] Cecchinato and [Stefano] Travaglia.

“It’s really nice to coach him because he’s a really funny guy. He has a really good character. It’s easy to coach Jannik also because he wants to improve a lot and go on the court always with a smile and everything, so for a coach it’s really good.”

<a href=Simone Vagnozzi” />

Vagnozzi takes the lead on the day-to-day coaching of Sinner after the Italian has been physically prepared and warmed up by Naldi and Ferrara. Vagnozzi works in tandem with Cahill, who possesses vast experience coaching top players (including former ATP World No. 1s Andre Agassi and Lleyton Hewitt) and particularly focusses on helping their charge with the mental side of the game.

“Normally we are two coaches on the team, me and Darren Cahill,” explained Vagnozzi. “Sometimes we are together, sometimes we are alone with Jannik. Normally I do the technical stuff on the court. [Giacomo and Umberto] do the physical stuff before, then we go to the court and play for one hour and a half, normally with another player. We play some points, do some drills, and in the afternoon, we do one hour of technique. Serve, volley, slice. Normally this is the routine.”

Vagnozzi relishes working with a coach as highly regarded as Cahill and believes that the wider team assembled by Sinner is a good foundation to help him push on to greater things.

“The relationship is really good. Darren is a really nice person and also has an unbelievable [work record],” said Vagnozzi. “Umberto the fitness coach I’ve known for many years because we worked together with Cecchinato and Travaglia. The physio Giacomo is new, but he is a really nice guy, young. Right now, everything is working well.”

Vagnozzi is certainly in no doubt of Sinner’s desire to rise to the top of the game. He named Sinner as the most competitive member of the team, even when it comes to card games or fun challenges that he and Cahill set on the practice court.

“Jannik wants to win everything,” said Vagnozzi. “Just yesterday we lost 20 bucks each, Darren and I, because he hit the ball can with his serve on the first try. If we say to him, ‘You get 20 Euros if you do it the first time and 15 Euros if you do it on the second’, [he always] does it on the first!”

Darren Cahill: Coach

One of the most respected coaches in the game, Cahill is clear as to why he decided to join Team Sinner.

“I think that there are a lot of young players at the moment on the men’s Tour that are exciting to watch and certainly exciting to work with,” said Cahill. “Jannik is one of those players… He works incredibly hard, he has great discipline. He’s a good kid off the court, his family’s awesome and he’s been well brought up, he’s got his feet firmly planted on the ground, he’s respectful, and he believes.

“He believes that one day the ultimate success will come to him and he knows that you don’t get there without a lot of hard work. He’s prepared to do the hard work.”

<a href=Darren Cahill” />

With Vagnozzi already in place as a full-time coach, Sinner brought Cahill on board in June 2022 with the belief that the Australian could add to his development.

“My role is more about the experience and how to help him mentally in these big moments, and to make sure that we’re working on the right stuff that eventually is going to get him to the place we want to be,” explained Cahill. “To help Umberto and Giacomo [as well] and work out when we need to practise for an extra 45 minutes, or when it’s good to send him back to the hotel to rest.

“It’s just the little things that make a big difference in a player’s career, and that’s kind of my role, more of an overseer of the team. So far, it’s been really enjoyable, and I love it.”

Like Vagnozzi, Sinner’s desire to win is something that impresses Cahill, even if the Italian occasionally leaves him with lighter pockets when things get competitive off the court.

“We have lots of laughs,” said Cahill. “We play lots of games against each other. Jannik is incredibly competitive, whether we’re playing cards or on the go-karts, or doing anything outside of tennis, he wants to win, and win badly. I think at times he’s more concerned with taking five Euros off me than he is about winning a $20,000 paycheque. He cares more about five Euros, winning it off me, and takes great satisfaction when he sees me taking it out of the wallet to give it to him as well.

“He’s a funny guy, a very funny kid. He makes it relaxing to be around. So far it’s been a pleasure to work with him. Hopefully he says the same about me, but it’s been great fun.”

Giacomo Naldi: Physio

Sinner is known for his electric movement along the baseline, something that he has previously attributed in part to the fact he was one of Italy’s top young skiers before he prioritised tennis. The man responsible for keeping Sinner’s body ready to race around the court is his physiotherapist, Naldi, the newest addition to the team.

“I’ve been working with Jannik since February,” said Naldi. “I’m from Bologna. I met Jannik in October of last year. They came to my clinic because he injured his ankle. We worked together for one week and then at the end of the year, they asked me if I wanted to join the team because their physio changed jobs. I decided to join them and I’m very happy to be with them.”

Giacomo Naldi

Naldi works closely with fitness coach Ferrara to ensure Sinner is ready to produce his best on court. His job is particularly important for the Italian star’s recovery, a crucial aspect to professional tennis given the tournaments and matches often come thick and fast.

“Our daily routine is composed of a pre-training section, which means some mobility, some preventive exercises,” said Naldi. “Me and [Umberto] in particular. My job is to work on his feet doing taping and his knee, some nice mobility and something for his body before he trains with the trainer and before the practice.

“The main part of my job is after a match or practice because I work with his muscles. So I do a massage, mobility [exercises] again, and also some osteopathic techniques, because I am also an osteopath and I try to do whatever he needs to recover his body.”

It was also Naldi who introduced the group to one its favourite off-court activities — the card game Buraco — a development that roused Sinner’s superstitious side.

“Since February when they learned to play, Jannik wants to play every day,” said Naldi. “The first time we played he won the tournament [in Montpellier], so now he wants to play every day.”

Umberto Ferrara: Fitness Coach

Since June 2022 it has been Ferrara, the fitness coach, who is responsible for helping Sinner reach his peak physical state for competition. Despite being a player who is known for his speed around court, Ferrara believes there is more to come from the Italian as he looks to make his mark at the top of the game.

“He is a very good athlete,” said Ferrara. “He has improved in the last year, and I think he must improve a lot in the two or three next years. But actually, he is a good athlete.”

Umberto Ferrara

Like Naldi, Ferrara has a standard routine to his day working with Sinner, but has to remain flexible depending on how the Italian’s body handles his on-court exertions.

“We start in the morning with the exercise for mobility,” explains Ferrara. “Then we have a lot of exercises to ‘prehab’ for the injury that Jannik has had in the past on the ankles. Then we follow the routine about strength and speed, to move better. That’s it, but every day we change a little bit because it’s dependent on the state or shape of Jannik.”

Ferrara’s hard work played a role in enabling Sinner to become an ATP Masters 1000 champion for the first time in August in Toronto. That moment stands out for the fitness coach as a highlight of his time on Team Sinner. Ferrara also cherishes the importance of the team’s efforts in helping the Italian overcome tougher moments in his career.

“The best memory is the win in Toronto for sure, but I also like the times when we finish the rehab after an injury and we restart playing playing and practising,” said Ferrara. “For me these are very good moments.”

<a href=Jannik Sinner & His Team” />

Photo Credits: ATP Tour

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The Statistics That Prove Alcaraz's Improvement In 2023

  • Posted: Sep 27, 2023

The Statistics That Prove Alcaraz’s Improvement In 2023

Spaniard is 770 points behind Djokovic in Live Race

As he began his title defence at the 2023 US Open, Carlos Alcaraz said he felt like a better player than when he won his first major title in New York. While the Spaniard could not repeat his trophy feat at the hard-court Slam, his statistics this season trump his 2022 campaign almost across the board.

There is one key measure by which Alcaraz is off his previous pace: the Pepperstone ATP Rankings. Alcaraz debuted at World No. 1 following his US Open triumph last year and held onto that position to finish the year as the ATP Year-End No. 1 presented by Pepperstone. This September, he sits at No. 2.

But a closer look reveals that the 20-year-old has improved even by the measure of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings.

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After finishing the 2022 season with 6,820 points, Alcaraz already has 8,175 points in this year’s Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin. He’s just 770 points behind Novak Djokovic in the Live Race, with two ATP Masters 1000s (Shanghai, Paris) and the Nitto ATP Finals still to come, among other events.

Following his US Open semi-final defeat to Daniil Medvedev, Alcaraz revisited his claim that he is a better player this season.

“These kind of matches can happen even if I feel myself [a] different player, more mature,” he said, before going on to provide a harsh self-assessment.

“I thought that right now I am better player, to find solutions when the match is not going in the right direction for you. But after this match, I’m going to change my mind. I’m not mature enough to handle these kind of matches. So I have to learn about it.”

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Alcaraz Warns The Field: ‘I’m A Better Player Than A Year Ago’

Alcaraz was understandably disappointed after bowing out in New York, but a broader perspective shows his strides in the past 12 months.

In 2022, Alcaraz finished the season with a 57-13 record, an 81 per cent win rate. This year, he stands at 58-7, good for an 89 per cent winning rate. Despite not making his season debut until mid-February after missing the start to the season with an injury, Alcaraz has already surpassed his win total from a year ago. His 58 victories lead the ATP Tour according to Infosys ATP Stats, with Medvedev (55) the only other player above the 50-wins mark.

Of his seven defeats this season, only one has come in straight sets — a stunner against Fabian Marozsan in Rome. Outside of that second-round defeat and a quarter-final exit in Toronto, Alcaraz has reached at least the semis at each of his 11 other tour-level events in 2023.

Alcaraz will hope to continue his consistent season in Beijing, where he is set to make his debut at the ATP 500. All of the remaining ATP Tour events in 2023 will be played on hard courts, and the Spaniard’s statistics on that surface are also among the best.

With a 21-4 record, his 84 per cent hard-court win rate this season is third best on the Tour, behind only Djokovic (97%) and Medvedev (86%). His 21 wins are among the Top 10, a tally limited by his absence during the Australian Swing to begin the year.

With Djokovic not competing in Beijing or the ATP Masters 1000 in Shanghai, Alcaraz has a golden opportunity to close the 770-point gap between the pair in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin. By the end of the Asian Swing, Alcaraz could have his fate in his hands in his bid to repeat as ATP Year-End No. 1 presented by Pepperstone.

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