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Ajdukovic, Kypson Soar To Career-Highs After Challenger Triumphs

  • Posted: Nov 20, 2023

Ajdukovic, Kypson Soar To Career-Highs After Challenger Triumphs

Diaz Acosta claims fourth Challenger title of 2023

Duje Ajdukovic and American Patrick Kypson ascended to career-highs in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings Monday after they each claimed their second ATP Challenger Tour title of the season this weekend.

Ajdukovic returned to the winners’ circle in Kobe, Japan, where he cruised past home hope Sho Shimabukoro 6-4, 6-2 in the Hyogo Noah Challenger final. Ajdukovic, 22, won three deciding-set matches en route to the title.

The split native won his maiden Challenger title in August in Luedenscheid, Germany and following his title run in Japan, Ajdukovic is at a career-high No. 145 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings.

Kypson defeated second seed Alex Michelsen 6-4, 6-3 in the Paine Schwartz Partners Challenger final in Champaign, Illinois. The 24-year-old American started the year outside the Top 500 and has now risen to a career-high No. 192 following his first hard-court title.

“I’ve played a lot on clay, I maybe prefer clay a little bit but I think my game is suitable for faster surfaces as well,” Kypson told commentator Mike Cation. “I think I can play on everything, it’s just a matter of doing the things that are required for each surface. I think one of my skills is that I can adapt to the conditions pretty well. As long as I play the style that needs to, I think I can have success on any surface, so I’m happy to win on a hard court.”

Players from the United States have now tied Italians for third most ATP Challenger Tour titles in 2023 (16), trailing Argentina (21) and France (27). Kypson won the USTA’s Roland Garros wild card challenge earlier this season and is now in prime position to win the USTA’s wild card competition for the Australian Open, only trailing Michelsen, who could get into the season’s first major via direct entry.

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Michelsen, who cracked the Top 100 for the first time last Monday, will next travel to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia to compete at the Next Gen ATP Finals presented by NEOM.

In other ATP Challenger Tour action, Belgian Zizou Bergs dropped just one set all week at the Challenger Banque Nationale de Drummondville in Canada, where he defeated second seed James Duckworth 6-4, 7-5 in the final to lift his sixth Challenger trophy.

“It’s especially special because it comes after a period that was harder because of an injury I had,” Bergs said. “To have a good, convincing week means a lot to me. It gives me motivation and confidence for finishing this year strong.”

<a href=Zizou Bergs celebrates winning the Drummondville Challenger.” />
Zizou Bergs celebrates winning the Drummondville Challenger. Credit: Sarah-Jäde Champagne
Bergs, who is No. 152 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, suffered a left wrist injury in July which forced him to hit only slice backhands for three months. The Drummondville Challenger was Bergs’ second tournament since returning to full health.

German Maximilian Marterer rallied past last year’s Next Gen ATP Finals champion Brandon Nakashima 2-6, 6-4, 6-3 in the Good to Great Challenger final in Danderyd, Sweden. The 28-year-old lefty is a nine-time ATP Challenger Tour champion, including two triumphs this season.

“I came with a lot of confidence from the last weeks to this event,” said Marterer, who made the Ismaning Challenger final earlier this month. “I felt really good from the first practise I had here, so it was about keeping the head down and going round by round.

“It gives me a lot of good emotions and confidence for next year. During the year, it was not easy for me. I was ranked in a different region and had some issues with my body. Never expected to finish inside the Top 100 at the end of the year. It’s crazy how it turned into a positive way.”

<a href=Maximilian Marterer wins the Good to Great Challenger in Danderyd, Sweden.” />
Maximilian Marterer wins the Good to Great Challenger in Danderyd, Sweden. Credit: Good to Great Challenger
At the Uruguay Open in Montevideo, Facundo Diaz Acosta was crowned champion after Brazilian Thiago Monteiro was forced to retire due to a right hand injury with the Argentine leading 6-3, 4-3.

Diaz Acosta has enjoyed a career-best season. The 22-year-old made his Top 100 debut in July and has collected four ATP Challenger Tour trophies this year. A pivotal moment came for the Buenos Aires native in the semi-finals Saturday, when he saved three match points to survive Gustavo Heide.

<a href=Facundo Diaz Acosta wins the Challenger 100 event in Montevideo, Uruguay.” />
Facundo Diaz Acosta wins the Challenger 100 event in Montevideo, Uruguay. Credit: Uruguay Open

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Next Gen ATP Finals Presented By NEOM 2023: Draws, Dates, History & All You Need To Know

  • Posted: Nov 20, 2023

Next Gen ATP Finals Presented By NEOM 2023: Draws, Dates, History & All You Need To Know

All about the indoor hard-court 21-and-under event in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

The world’s best 21-and-under players will compete at the Next Gen ATP Finals presented by NEOM in Jeddah next week, with Arthur Fils and Dominic Stricker leading the eight-man playing field.

Here is what you need to know ahead of the event in Saudi Arabia.

When is the 2023 Next Gen ATP Finals?

The 2023 Next Gen ATP Finals will be held from 28 November-2 December. The indoor hard-court event, established in 2017, will take place at the King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah. The tournament director is Adam Hogg. 

What is the format & who is playing at the 2023 Next Gen ATP Finals?

The event in Jeddah will see eight 21-and-under players divided into two groups of four, with the top two from each group advancing to the semi-finals. Matches are played best of five sets and first-to-four games. Arthur Fils, Dominic Stricker, Luca Van Assche, Flavio Cobolli, Alex Michelsen, Hamad Medjedovic, Luca Nardi and Abdullah Shelbayh are competing.

When is the draw for the Next Gen ATP Finals?

The Jeddah draw will be made on Saturday 25 November, time TBC.

What is the schedule for the Next Gen ATP Finals?

* Main Draw Round-Robin Matches: Tuesday 28 November – Thursday 30 November at 3: 00 p.m., second match n/b 4:00 p.m.. Evening sessions at 8:00 p.m., followed by second match.
* Semi-final One: Friday 1 December at 7:00 p.m.
* Semi-final Two: Friday 1 December n/b 9:00 p.m.
* Final: Saturday 2 December at 8:00 p.m.

View On Official Website

What is the prize money for the Next Gen ATP Finals Presented by Neom?

The prize money for the Next Gen ATP Finals Presented by Neom is $2,000,000.

Undefeated Champion: $514,000
Final Win: $153,000
Semi-Final Win: $113,500
Each Round-Robin Match Win: $32,500
Participation Fee: $150,000
Alternate: $15,000

How can I watch the Next Gen ATP Finals?

View TV Schedule

How can I follow the Next Gen ATP Finals Presented by Neom?

Hashtag: #NextGenATP
Facebook: Next Gen ATP Finals
Twitter: @nextgenfinals
Instagram: @nextgenfinals

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Who won the last edition of the Next Gen ATP Finals Presented by Neom in 2022?

Brandon Nakashima won the 2022 singles title in Milan with a 4-3(5), 4-3(6), 4-2 victory against Jiri Lehecka in the championship match (Read & Watch).

Who holds the Next Gen ATP Finals record for most titles, oldest champion, youngest champion and more?

Most Titles, Singles: Hyeon Chung (1), Stefanos Tsitsipas (1), Jannik Sinner (1), Carlos Alcaraz (1), Brandon Nakashima (1)
Oldest Champion: Hyeon Chung, 21, in 2017, Brandon Nakashima, 21, in 2022
Youngest Champion: Jannik Sinner, 18, in 2019, Carlos Alcaraz, 18, in 2021
Highest-Ranked Champion: No. 15 Stefanos Tsitsipas in 2018
Lowest-Ranked Champion: No. 95 Jannik Sinner in 2019
Last Home Champion: Jannik Sinner in 2019
Most Match Wins: Alex de Minaur (8)

View Who Is Playing, Past Champions, Seeds, Points & Prize Money Breakdown

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Michelsen, Medjedovic & Nardi Qualify For Next Gen ATP Finals Presented By NEOM

  • Posted: Nov 20, 2023

Michelsen, Medjedovic & Nardi Qualify For Next Gen ATP Finals Presented By NEOM

Field set for 21-and-under Jeddah-based event

Alex Michelsen, Hamad Medjedovic and Luca Nardi have qualified for the Next Gen ATP Finals presented by NEOM, to be held in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia from 28 November-2 December.

The trio will join Arthur Fils, Dominic Stricker, Luca Van Assche, Flavio Cobolli and wild card Abdullah Shelbayh, who sealed their spots earlier this month. The eight-man field for the 21-and-under event is set.

American Michelsen has enjoyed a standout year, winning two ATP Challenger Tour titles and advancing to his first tour-level final in Newport. The 19-year-old, who broke into the Top 100 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings earlier in November, turned professional in July.

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Medjedovic has risen steadily in 2023 under the guidance of coach Viktor Troicki. The 20-year-old lifted three Challenger Tour trophies in 2023 and reached tour-level semi-finals in Gstaad and Astana. The Serbian will make his debut at the 21-and-under event in Jeddah.

Nardi has secured the final qualification spot. The Italian, who was an alternate at the event last year, finished the season strongly to seal his place, winning a Challenger Tour event in Matsuyama, Japan, before advancing to the semi-finals in Kobe.

The sixth edition of the Next Gen ATP Finals will be held at the King Abdullah Sports City from 28 November-2 December. Tickets are available to buy now.

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Novak Djokovic Celebrates 400 Weeks As World No. 1

  • Posted: Nov 20, 2023

Novak Djokovic Celebrates 400 Weeks As World No. 1

Serbian extends his all-time record atop Pepperstone ATP Rankings

Novak Djokovic today begins a record-extending 400th week as No. 1 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, more than 12 years after he first rose to the top.

Djokovic, who clinched ATP Year-End No. 1 presented by Pepperstone for a record eighth time during the Nitto ATP Finals, claimed a record-breaking seventh season finale title Sunday in Turin to welcome in his 400th week at the top in style.

“It’s a pretty good achievement, 400 weeks at No. 1. It’s never been done in history. Someone will eventually break it, but hopefully it stays there for a long time,” Djokovic said. 


 No. 1 Reign Weeks
 4 July 2011-8 July 2012  53
 5 Nov. 2012-6 Oct. 2013   48
 7 July 2014-6 Nov. 2016   122
 5 Nov. 2018-3 Nov. 2019  52
 3 Feb. 2020-27 Feb. 2022  86
 21 Mar. 2022-12 June 2022  12
 30 Jan. 2023-19 Mar. 2023  7
 3 Apr. 2023-21 May 2023   7
 12 June 2023-25 June 2023   2
 11 Sept. 2023-20 Nov. 2023-current   11
 TOTAL 400

In February, Djokovic broke Stefanie Graf’s record of 377 weeks to become the all-time men’s and women’s leader, having passed Roger Federer’s 310-week mark in 2021 for most weeks at No. 1 by a man.


No. 1 Player  Total Weeks 
1) Novak Djokovic 400
2) Stefanie Graf 377 
3) Martina Navratilova 332
4) Serena Williams 319 
5) Roger Federer 310

Djokovic will have many more milestones ahead of him in 2024. He is just two trophies away from 100 career titles. With 1,086 victories, he is likely to become just the third man in history to pass 1,100 match wins (Jimmy Connors, Roger Federer). And he will look to add to his record 24 Grand Slams (including 10 Australian Opens) and 40 ATP Masters 1000 titles.

Learn more about the 28 players who have risen to No. 1 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings.

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Djokovic's Aura: 'I Want Them To Feel That Pressure'

  • Posted: Nov 20, 2023

Djokovic’s Aura: ‘I Want Them To Feel That Pressure’

Serbian beats Sinner to win record-breaking seventh Nitto ATP Finals crown

 Novak Djokovic defeated three of the ATP Tour’s brightest young stars to win the Nitto ATP Finals title, downing Holger Rune in the group stage before dismissing Carlos Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner in the knockout rounds. Asked how the presence of such talented young challengers impacts his motivation, the Serbian’s answer was as ruthless as his performance on the court.

“When they play me, I want them to feel that it’s going to require the best tennis from them in order to win against me,” he said. “That’s what I want my opponents to feel, no doubt, because that helps mentally coming into the match.

“I think the more I win on the biggest stage, the more this kind of aura grows, and I’m glad for it, no doubt. Of course, that’s not going to win you the match, but it might give you the little percentage, the little edge.”

Djokovic was effusive in his praise for Sinner, Alcaraz and Rune, calling them “the next big three” who will “carry the sport” into the future. But for now, the Serbian is firmly established atop the Pepperstone ATP Rankings as the game’s leading man.

“I will hang on for as long as I feel like hanging on,” he said. “As long as I’m able to win against them on the big stage, I’ll still keep going — because why stop if you’re still winning the biggest titles? Once they start to kick my butt, then I will consider probably having a little break or maybe a permanent break from professional tennis.”

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But even after such a brilliant season — Djokovic has won seven titles this year, including three Grand Slams — the Serbian is hungry for more. On Monday, he will enjoy his 400th week as World No. 1, having secured ATP Year-End No. 1 presented by Pepperstone honours for a record-extending eighth time. Since Roland Garros, Djokovic is 35-2.

Asked how he could improve on such a strong campaign, the 36-year-old did not hesitate to raise the bar.

“Well, you can win four Slams and Olympic gold,” he said with a smile, alluding to the upcoming Paris Olympics. “Let’s see. I have always the highest ambitions and goals. That’s not going to be different for the next year, that’s for sure. The drive that I have is still there. My body has been serving me well, listening to me well. I have a great team of people around me.

“Motivation, especially for the biggest tournaments in sport, is still present. It still inspires me to keep going. In the end of the day, people see you performing in the big tournaments, but they don’t see all the weeks and months of dedicated day-to-day, week-to-week work, trying to build your form so that you can peak where you want to peak. For me, obviously those are Grand Slams and the [Nitto ATP] Finals, and next year hopefully also the Olympic Games.

“The mindset is the same. I’ll keep going. I don’t know whether I’m going to have as good of a year next year, but I’m going to keep this freshness of mind and in a way motivation to do that.”

Be Our Guest At United Cup In Sydney| Enter Now

Djokovic will next been in action for Serbia this coming week at the Davis Cup Finals. It will then be a short offseason before he opens his 2024 campaign at the United Cup and then returns to the Australian Open, where he will be favourite to win his 11th Melbourne title.

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Why Novak Threw Out His Old Playbook Against Sinner

  • Posted: Nov 20, 2023

Why Novak Threw Out His Old Playbook Against Sinner

World No. 1 brought a very different battle plan to Sunday’s Nitto ATP Finals title match

Play to win.

Novak Djokovic defeated Jannik Sinner 6-3, 6-3 in the Nitto ATP Finals title match on Sunday by updating his game plan and mentality.

“I had to step it up,” Djokovic said post-match when talking about his dominant victories in the semi-final against Carlos Alcaraz and final against Sinner. “I had to win the matches and not wait for them to hand me the victory. I think I have tactically played different today than I have in the group stage against Jannik,” Djokovic said.

So what did Djokovic do differently? He stopped grinding with his backhand and let his forehand be the star of the show from the back of the court. Djokovic hit more backhands than forehands against Sinner in the group stage, but that flipped in the final, where his forehand punched a hole right through Sinner’s potent baseline game.

Djokovic Groundstrokes (excluding returns, volleys & overheads)
• Forehands = 101 (3 winners/11 errors/extracted 22 errors from Sinner)
• Backhands = 76 (1 winner/8 errors/extracted 10 errors from Sinner)

The writing was on the wall early on. With Djokovic leading 3-1, 15-0 serving, he had hit 19 forehand groundstrokes and committed just one error. He had collected a winner, but most importantly, six of those forehands immediately extracted an error from Sinner. Djokovic’s average forehand groundstroke speed for the match to date was significantly higher than Sinner’s.

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Average Forehand Groundstroke Speed (First Four Games)
• Djokovic = 138 km/h (86 mph)
• Sinner = 119 km/h (74 mph)

Djokovic was uncorking forehand after forehand, while Sinner spent most of his time defending with his forehand on the run. Their baseline performance in the opening set could not have been more different.

Baseline Points Won Set 1
• Djokovic = Won 65% (15/23)
• Sinner = Won 33% (9/27)

Sinner enjoyed a lot of success in their round-robin match by locking Djokovic in the “backhand cage” and making him repeatedly hit backhands cross-court. Djokovic ensured this match would be different by hitting more run-around forehands in the Ad court and trading more shots through the Deuce court. Djokovic hit 17 run-around forehands for the match, not coughing up a single error. He hit one forehand winner and extracted five groundstroke errors (three forehand/two backhand) from Sinner.

Djokovic’s forehand got off to a flyer at the beginning of set two. He broke Sinner to love in the opening game, making 11 forehands in the game. Sinner committed three forehand errors and one backhand error in the game. Every one of those errors came from a Djokovic forehand.

Djokovic won 10 straight points to begin set two as his serve and forehand proved unstoppable. Djokovic’s “play to win” mentality also washed over to his serve. He only dropped three points for the match on his first serve (won 29/32) and only lost five on his second serve (won 9/14). The Serb crushed 13 aces and saved both break points he faced for the match. Sinner tried to venture forward to the net to win points but got shut down there as well, only winning three of eight.

This was a statement win for Djokovic after losing to Sinner in a third-set tie break in the round robin stage. It’s also an exclamation point on another stellar season that saw him go 55-6 and collect seven titles.

In the final, Djokovic nailed the game plan, the execution, and the attitude required to overcome Sinner on his home turf. Djokovic always impresses with his movement, technique, and warrior-like attitude. With this victory, his tactical adjustment and the ability to put the opponent first set him apart.

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