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De Minaur Takes Australia To Second Straight Davis Cup Final

  • Posted: Nov 24, 2023

De Minaur Takes Australia To Second Straight Davis Cup Final

Aussies await the winner of Serbia and Italy, who play Saturday

Alex de Minaur has led Australia into its second consecutive Davis Cup final after dominating the serve of Finland’s Emil Ruusuvuori in Malaga Friday.

De Minaur earned 18 break point opportunities during his 6-4, 6-3 win, converting five times and winning 48 per cent of his first-serve return points. He has now won four consecutive singles matches in the Davis Cup Finals.

The World No. 12’s victory followed teammate Alexei Popyrin’s 7-6(5), 6-2 win over Otto Virtanen. “Probably the biggest win of my career,” Popyrin told “To win a match that means so much for us is an honour and something that I will never forget.”

In Sunday’s final Australia will play the winner of Serbia and Italy, a tie that will feature a rematch of the Nitto ATP Finals title match between Novak Djokovic and Jannik Sinner.

Earlier this week Australia was in a big hole against the Czech Republic after Tomas Machac beat Jordan Thompson 6-4, 7-5 and Jiri Lehecka built a 6-4, 5-3 lead against de Minaur. But from deuce in his 3-5 service game, the 24-year-old won 10 straight points to turn the match on its head. After de Minaur claimed the comeback win, Matthew Ebden and Max Purcell clinched the deciding doubles rubber.

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Australia will now look to atone for its defeat to Canada in last year’s final. Australia has a 28-20 record in Davis Cup finals, second only to the United States (32-29).

But it has been 20 years since the traditional powerhouse has won the Cup. In 2003 it defeated Spain at Melbourne Park, where current captain Lleyton Hewitt teamed with Mark Philippoussis and doubles pair Wayne Arthurs and Todd Woodbridge to carry the host nation to victory.

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‘The Most Fun’: Former Finalist Lehecka On His Next Gen ATP Finals Experience

  • Posted: Nov 24, 2023

‘The Most Fun’: Former Finalist Lehecka On His Next Gen ATP Finals Experience

Czech star reached the championship match at 2022 edition in Milan

Could next week’s Next Gen ATP Finals presented by NEOM prove a stepping stone to greatness for the eight-strong field in Jeddah?

Jiri Lehecka is in no doubt as to the impact of the 21-and-under event on his professional tennis journey so far. The Czech star, who is currently No. 31 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, reached the final at the 2022 edition in Milan. His experience there is one that still shapes him, even one year on.

“I always think about it, because that has still been one of the nicest experiences for me as a player,” the 22-year-old Lehecka told “It was just something amazing and I was very happy that it was that kind of tournament where they showed us what it really means to be a top, top tennis player.

“They literally threw us into all the media attention, into the big arena, playing with a new format, trying new rules. It was a great week, I played very good there and I enjoyed it. Of course, it had been a great motivation for me to be in the final eight.”

This year, a new group of young ATP Tour stars will vie for glory at a tournament that counts current Top 10 players Carlos Alcaraz, Jannik Sinner and Stefanos Tsitsipas among its former champions. Arthur Fils, Luca Van Assche, Dominic Stricker, Alex Michelsen, Flavio Cobolli, Hamad Medjedovic, Luca Nardi and Abdullah Shelbayh will each hope that a strong run at the event’s new home in Saudi Arabia can help propel them to even bigger and better things.

<a href=Jiri Lehecka” />

Jiri Lehecka in action at the 2022 Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan. Photo Credit: Peter Staples/ATP Tour.

That was certainly the case this season for Lehecka, who followed his championship-match run in Milan in November 2022 by reaching his maiden Grand Slam quarter-final at the 2023 Australian Open. In August, he reached his career-high of No. 28 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings after reaching his first ATP Tour final in Winston-Salem.

“[The Next Gen ATP Finals] helped me a lot, because [in 2022] when I was finishing the season, I didn’t really have good results,” said Lehecka. “I didn’t play well, I didn’t feel good on court, and then Milan came. My attention went a little bit away from the fact that we were just coming and playing [each week]. It helped me to get my mind free and helped me to focus more on enjoying the fact that I was playing.

“I played well there, and I prepared well. It gave me a feeling of what I’m capable of and how well I really can play. That was a feeling and a confidence that I took with myself into the Australian summer, and it worked well.”

Since its inception in 2017, the Next Gen ATP Finals has been renowned for its pioneering scoring format, rule changes, and technological innovations. This year at the King Abdullah Sports City will be no different — no on-court warm-ups, shot-clock reductions and greater in-match analytics available to coaches via the new Tennis IQ platform are among the additions for the 2023.

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2023 Next Gen ATP Finals Presented By NEOM: Innovation Takes Centre Stage In Jeddah

It is another aspect of the event that Lehecka particularly enjoyed in Milan, and something he believes suits younger players who have only relatively recently made the step-up to competing week-in, week-out as a pro. The Czech feels that the event’s bold approach could also be instrumental in the future of the sport.

“We are young and still like to explore new things and try something new,” said Lehecka. “For us, it was the most fun. It wasn’t something that would get us down or bore us. It felt fun to do that. I think that it is an event that showed us how things could be in the coming years.

“I think it’s good to have this kind of event every year, and I’m looking forward to this year. I will watch for sure and we will see who comes out on top.”

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Alcaraz Has All The Right Moves… On The Court & On The Chess Board

  • Posted: Nov 24, 2023

Alcaraz Has All The Right Moves… On The Court & On The Chess Board

World No. 2, a keen chess player, recently played against locals in his hometown

Carlos Alcaraz is used to carving up opponents, week-in, week-out, on the tennis courts of the ATP Tour. One of the keys to the Spaniard’s success is his reading of the game, his tactical nous, and his ability to strategically outthink his opponents during rallies.

So how do those skills help the 20-year-old when it comes to chasing victories on a chess board? Alcaraz is a keen chess player, whose grandfather introduced him to the game when he was a young boy. His passion for it has endured until today.

“It helps me be mentally quicker, to observe moves, see the move you want to make, strategy… concentrating all the time,” said Alcaraz in an interview with Marca. “In chess, like in tennis, if you take your eye off the ball for a minute you can lose the match. In that regard, they are pretty similar disciplines. It helps me because you are focused, your mind is working.”

Fans of tennis and chess alike now have the chance to test Alcaraz’s skills with bishop and pawn in hand. The No. 2 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings and winner of 12 ATP Tour titles, including two Grand Slams, has been introduced as a bot that any user can challenge virtually on the platform.

It will be no easy game, though. The bot has all the weapons in Alcaraz’s repertoire, reflecting his real-life movements on a chess board. He will likely be hard to shake off.

Alcaraz has been practising recently, too. A few weeks ago, he sat on a public terrace at Plaza de las Flores in his hometown of Murcia to play members of the city’s Thader Chess Club. Passers-by were surprised to see the tennis player competing, this time without a racquet.

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Physicality Index Explained: Next Gen ATP Finals Presented By NEOM

  • Posted: Nov 24, 2023

Physicality Index Explained: Next Gen ATP Finals Presented By NEOM

ATP and Tennis Data Innovations (TDI) will deliver unprecedented insights at the Next Gen ATP Finals

The ATP and Tennis Data Innovations (TDI) will deliver unprecedented insights at the 2023 Next Gen ATP Finals presented by NEOM. Using state-of-the-art tracking metrics, the insights will assess the physical capacity required to compete at the highest professional level of our sport. The Physicality Index (PI) will allow fans and media to objectively evaluate and quantify the physical outputs of two players competing against each other at the 21-and-under event.

It is important to understand that the Physicality Index (PI) is NOT a direct measurement of the athletes overall tactical performance. It is only reflective of the physical work being produced by each athlete during the match.

At the 2021 Next Gen ATP Finals, Carlos Alcaraz won all five of his matches, spending less than 6.5 hours on court, and only dropping one set in the entire event. From a PI perspective, he worked harder than his opponents in four of the five matches, and his highest match physicality never reached above a 3.4 in the tournament. This did not mean he was not performing at a very high level, but rather indicated that he was able to execute tactically while being very efficient with how much energy he was spending on court.

A similar pattern is visible in the NBA. All-Stars tend to have a lower physicality index ranking because of how efficient they are within different parts of the game. They know when to push and how to save energy while still being on the court, contributing to the overall success of the team.

Tennis champions are some of the most physically fit athletes in the world and are asked to move around the court, executing shots from compromising positions, while staying balanced over multiple hours. The highest levels of tennis set themselves apart from other sports due to the combination of skill and athleticism rarely seen in other sports.

So what are the actual physical demands required to win the Next Gen ATP Finals? With the emergence of this performance tracking data, the answer is clear. We must first crack the code of the Physicality Index, breaking it down into four key metrics, to better understand how each metric affects the overall physicality of each match.

The first two metrics, distance and workload, help establish an overall volume of work. The volume metrics define how much overall work the athlete has to do in the time frame being evaluated. By using two different volume metrics—total distance and workload—we’ll ensure that different biological systems affected by overall workload are accounted for. High Speed Distance and Explosive Movements make up our Intensity metric, which measure how much of the work being done is performed at high levels of exertion, that place the body under extreme stress levels.

Distance: Overall volume of work [total ground covered] an athlete must undertake in order to excel at the highest levels of the sport.
Work Load: Total amount of weighted accelerations and decelerations the athlete has performed at different intensities.
High Speed Distance: Total distance covered at the Top 3 per cent of speeds observed in professional tennis.
Explosive Movements: High intensity changes of direction (highly-demanding acceleration or deceleration).
Intensity: High Speed Movements and Explosive Movements are used to calculate: Intensity.

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Next Gen ATP Finals presented by NEOM: Tournament-Record $2 Million Prize Money For 2023 Event

  • Posted: Nov 24, 2023

Next Gen ATP Finals presented by NEOM: Tournament-Record $2 Million Prize Money For 2023 Event

Undefeated champion would earn $514,000

The 2023 Next Gen ATP Finals presented by NEOM will award a tournament-record $2 million in prize money at the 21-and-under event, which will be played in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia from 28 November-2 December.

If the champion at this year’s tournament lifts the trophy with a perfect record, he will earn $514,000, an increase over the previous record.

Three matches at this year’s Next Gen ATP Finals will be worth more than $100,000. Each semi-final victory will be worth $113,500 and the championship match will yield the winner $153,000. The participation fee for each player at the event is $150,000.

Prize Money 2023

Alternate $15,000
Participation Fee $150,000
Round-robin match win $32,500
Semi-final match win $113,500
Final win $153,000
Undefeated champion $514,000

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Fils, Michelsen Share Historic Practice In Jeddah

  • Posted: Nov 24, 2023

Fils, Michelsen Share Historic Practice In Jeddah

Next Gen ATP Finals presented by NEOM to kick off 28 November

Frenchman Arthur Fils and American Alex Michelsen had the honour Friday of opening practice on stadium court at the Next Gen ATP Finals presented by NEOM, the first ATP-sanctioned event ever held in Saudi Arabia.

Fils and Michelsen are the first two players to arrive for the season-ending 21-and-under event, which will be played at the King Abdullah Sports City from 28 November to 2 December.

“It’s the first time we have practicsed together, so it was very nice and the court is very nice,” said World No. 36 Fils. “The atmosphere during matches is going to be very good and we’re all looking forward to playing the event.

“It’s going to be interesting playing with some new rules, like playing to four games.”

<a href=Alex Michelsen with Arthur Fils.” /> 

As he prepares for the tournament, Michelsen has spent a very different Thanksgiving holiday than he did 12 months ago.

“Last year I was at my grandparents’ house in Orange Country, California and I was around 600 in the world, so this was not on the radar,” said the 19-year-old, who is now at a career-high No. 94 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings. “A lot has changed in a year.

“It was fun having the first hit with Arthur, who is a really good guy. The court plays nicely, the sound and lights are good and the stadium is sick. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”

<a href=Arthur Fils practising Friday in Jeddah.” />

Fils, 19, who was the first player to arrive in Jeddah, says that he and his team have enjoyed the early days of their visit.

“The hotel and food is very nice and everybody has been very kind to me and the team. We’re going to visit the city tomorrow.”

Michelsen added: “We’ve been treated well; it’s been nothing but a good experience so far.”

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