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Cahill & Vagnozzi Win 2023 ATP Coach Of The Year Award

  • Posted: Dec 13, 2023

Cahill & Vagnozzi Win 2023 ATP Coach Of The Year Award

Pair has helped Sinner enjoy career-best season

Darren Cahill and Simone Vagnozzi have been voted Coach of the Year in the 2023 ATP Awards for their work with Italian Jannik Sinner.

In 2023, the 22-year-old Sinner captured his maiden ATP Masters 1000 title in Toronto, reached the championship match at the Nitto ATP Finals and became the first Italian man to end a season in the Top 5 of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings.

The World No. 4, who finished the year holding a 64-15 record, also reached his maiden major semi-final at Wimbledon under the guidance of Cahill and Vagnozzi. Sinner won four tour-level trophies in 2023 and received the Fans’ Favourite Award earlier this week.

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Sinner Voted Fans’ Favourite In 2023 ATP Awards

Vagnozzi has worked with Sinner since February 2022 but has been aware of Sinner’s potential for considerably longer.

“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 earlier this year. “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.”

Cahill, who has coached former World No. 1s Andre Agassi and Lleyton Hewitt, joined Team Sinner in June 2022. The Australian has focused on developing the Italian’s mental side.

“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,” Cahill said earlier this season.

Cahill and Vagnozzi were nominated for Coach of the Year honours along with Craig Boynton (Hubert Hurkacz), 2022 winner Juan Carlos Ferrero (Carlos Alcaraz), Goran Ivanisevic (Novak Djokovic) and Bryan Shelton (Ben Shelton). Fellow coaches vote on the nominees and winner in this category. 

Sinner has also been nominated two player-voted awards: Most Improved Player of the Year and the Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award, The winners for those categories will be announced later this week.

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Bouncing Back, Struff Wins Comeback Player Of The Year In 2023 ATP Awards

  • Posted: Dec 13, 2023

Bouncing Back, Struff Wins Comeback Player Of The Year In 2023 ATP Awards

German rose from No. 167 to No. 21

Jan-Lennard Struff has been named Comeback Player of the Year in the 2023 ATP Awards after overcoming injury to catapult from No. 167 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings to a career-high No. 21.

Struff was nominated in the Comeback category alongside three other players who have overcome injury to re-establish themselves as a major force on Tour — Dominik Koepfer, Gael Monfils and Alexander Zverev. 

“I’m very, very happy and excited to win the Comeback Player of the Year award for 2023. I was nominated with Sascha, Domi and Gael, which for me deserve the award so much as well for their seasons, so congrats for this,” said Struff. The German also thanked his team and family in his video message, “Without you guys it wouldn’t be possible.”
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Struff started the season outside the Top 150 but soared after standout ATP Masters 1000 results. He reached the quarter-finals in Monte-Carlo before he became the first lucky loser in history to reach a Masters 1000 final at the Mutua Madrid Open. 

A run to the title match in Stuttgart followed in June, before a hip injury forced the 33-year-old to miss three months of the season, with Struff not holding a racquet for seven weeks.

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He made a winning return in Zhuhai in September, though, edging Cristian Garin in three sets in his first match back before he advanced to his third tour-level semi-final of the season in Sofia in November. He ended the year at No. 25.

I couldn’t have expected this, going this fast up to the Top 30 from outside the Top 150,” he said. “It was crazy how fast it went.

Nominees are determined by an International Tennis Writers’ Association (ITWA) vote, and the winner is selected by players from the shortlist.

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Dodig/Krajicek Top Standout Doubles Teams In 2023

  • Posted: Dec 13, 2023

Dodig/Krajicek Top Standout Doubles Teams In 2023

Koolhof/Skupski, Ram/Salisbury also feature highlights five doubles teams whose chemistry also produced consistency to enjoy standout seasons in 2023.

Dodig/Krajicek Finish Year-End No. 1
The surface or conditions did not matter, Ivan Dodig and Austin Krajicek were a winning machine in 2023. Tied for a season-leading five tour-level titles, the Croatian-American team finished as Year-End ATP Doubles No. 1 presented by Pepperstone for the first time.

The right-handed Dodig and lefty Krajicek won their first major title together at Roland Garros one year after reaching the championship match in Paris. The duo claimed all five of its titles at or above the ATP 500 level and won on all three surfaces, triumphing in Rotterdam, Monte-Carlo, London/Queen’s Club and Beijing.

Finishing 2023 with a 39-15 record, 38-year-old Dodig and 33-year-old Krajicek also made finals at ATP Masters 1000 Miami, Adelaide-2 and Eastbourne, and advanced to the semi-finals of the US Open.

“We had a great year, played very consistent,” Dodig said. “All the hard work we put in this year, it’s just amazing to finish the year as the number one team and really proud and happy about that.”

<a href=Ivan Dodig/Austin Krajicek” />
Ivan Dodig and Austin Krajicek celebrate after clinching the Roland Garros title. Credit: Emannuel Dunand/AFP via Getty Images
Ram/Salisbury Earn US Open Hat-trick, Defend Turin Title
If the stakes are high, you better watch out for Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury, who find their best level when it matters most. Prior to the US Open, the American-British duo had endured a modest season by their standards. They held a 20-16 record on the year heading into the season’s final major and were 16th in the Pepperstone ATP Live Doubles Teams Rankings.

Ram and Salisbury then made history at the US Open when they became the first team in the Open Era (since 1968) to win at Flushing Meadows three consecutive years.

The four-time major champions extended their New York winning streak to 18 matches and maintained their form for a late-season surge. Ram and Salisbury collected the Vienna crown and successfully defended their title at the prestigious Nitto ATP Finals, where they survived three Match Tie-breaks.

“This partnership is really special. It has been five years and we have gotten pretty close,” Salisbury said. “Especially on the court and we know we are going to give it our all. Fight hard and give it our best until the very end.”

Bopanna/Ebden Prove Age Is Just A Number
Quick success and history made.

Teaming for the first time this year, Rohan Bopanna and Matthew Ebden wasted no time entering the winners’ circle. The Indian-Australian pair triumphed in Doha and at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, where the 43-year-old Bopanna became the oldest ATP Masters 1000 champion.

“Even at our ages we’re still improving, still gelling as a pair, our execution, our chemistry,” the 36-year-old Ebden said in March.

In the second half of the season, Bopanna and Ebden made deep runs at almost every tournament they competed in, making the final at the US Open, in Shanghai and Paris. At the season’s final major, Bopanna became the oldest Grand Slam doubles finalist in the Open Era. Not bad for someone with no cartilage in his knees.

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The duo also reached the last four at Wimbledon, where Ebden won in 2022 alongside Max Purcell, and at the Nitto ATP Finals.

Koolhof/Skupski Win Maiden Slam
In just two seasons as partners, Wesley Koolhof and Neal Skupski enjoyed great success. Last season, the Dutch-British duo captured seven-tour titles and finished as the year-end No. 1 doubles team. Yet one thing was missing from their trophy cabinet: a major title. Until this year’s Wimbledon, where they dropped just one set en route to winning the grass-court major.

“I don’t know what to say,” Skupski said in disbelief. “Growing up watching this amazing championships, starting off a young boy at Palmerston Tennis Club in Liverpool. Going out there with my dad, and then obviously growing up with my brother [Ken Skupski] who has been very influential in my career.

“This feeling at the moment doesn’t get better. Me and Wesley came together 18 months ago, and this year this was one of our goals, to win a Grand Slam. Now we’ve done it, it feels very special.”

Skupski became the first Briton to triumph in the Wimbledon men’s doubles since Jonathan Marray in 2012, while Koolhof was the first Dutchman since Jean-Julien Rojer in 2015.

Hijikata/Kubler Treat Home Crowd To Title
For the second consecutive season, a wild card Aussie duo embarked on a fairytale run to triumph at their home Slam. After Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis’ secured the Australian Open title in 2022, Rinky Hijikata and Jason Kubler followed in January.

Despite teaming for the first time, Hijikata and Kubler dropped just two sets across six matches to be crowned champions. With vocal home support feeding off Hijikata and Kubler’s energy, the duo became just the fifth unseeded team to win the Australian Open trophy.

“[Rinky] was the reason we teamed for this tournament,” Kubler said. “I wasn’t sure and then Rinky asked me and I said yeah and decided to play. Two weeks later and we have the trophy, so a big thank you to Rinky.”

Read all stories in our Best Of 2023 review.

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Paes To Be Inducted Into International Tennis Hall Of Fame In 2024

  • Posted: Dec 13, 2023

Paes To Be Inducted Into International Tennis Hall Of Fame In 2024

Vijay Amritraj, Richard Evans will be inductees in the Contributor Category

Former doubles World No. 1 Leander Paes is set to become the first Indian player to be inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame. 

The eight-time men’s doubles Grand Slam champion, who first reached the summit of the Pepperstone ATP Doubles Rankings in 1999, will receive tennis’ ultimate honour at a ceremony in Newport on 20 July 2024. He will be joined by broadcaster and promoter Vijay Amritraj and renowned journalist Richard Evans, who are both set to be inducted in the Contributor Category.

Paes and Amritraj will become the first two Indians to be induced into the Hall of Fame, and the first Asian men to be elected in their respective categories.

“It has been my life’s honour to play for my country for over three decades in a sport that has given and taught me everything,” said Paes, who won a Davis Cup record 45 doubles rubbers in addition to an Olympic bronze medal in men’s singles in 1996. “This acknowledgment is indeed the ultimate accolade for every tennis player. Induction into the International Tennis Hall of Fame belongs not just to me, but to our billion-plus Indians. Receiving this honour culminates a professional journey of a lifetime, standing on the shoulders of greats and sets the tone for other youngsters in Asia and around the world.”

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Paes spent a total of 462 weeks inside the Top 10 of the Pepperstone ATP Doubles Rankings, including 37 weeks as No. 1. With 10 mixed doubles Grand Slam titles in addition to his eight in men’s doubles, he is one of only three men in tennis history to capture a career Grand Slam in both disciplines. His 10 mixed crowns are tied with his former partner, Hall of Famer Martina Navratilova, for the most in history.

Amritraj, a former Top 20 player, has become the face of tennis broadcasting in Asia and the Middle East. He has also helped expand professional tennis in India as an administrator, following a playing career that helped popularise the sport and inspire a new generation of players in his nation.

Evans has been a preeminient voice on tennis for more than six decades. A historian of the sport, he has reported on over 200 Grand Slams and wrote 23 books in his career. Evans was also a key player in the ATP Tour’s growth in the early stages of the Open Era; he became Wimbledon’s first press officer in 1973, served as ATP European Director from 1974-77 and was voted onto the ATP Board of Directors for two years in 1977.

“I am thrilled to congratulate Leander Paes, Vijay Amritraj, and Richard Evans on their election to the International Tennis Hall of Fame,” said Hall of Fame president and Class of 2017 inductee Kim Clijsters. “These three legends have served as trailblazers in their impact on tennis, and in spreading the sport worldwide. We are excited to celebrate the Class of 2024 in the coming year.”

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Longtime Referee Recalls Hong Kong Event's History Ahead Of ATP Tour Return

  • Posted: Dec 13, 2023

The ATP Tour will return to Hong Kong in the first week of the 2024 season with the Bank of China Hong Kong Tennis Open, which will be held from 31 December 2023-7 January 2024 at Victoria Park Tennis Stadium. The tournament, which will be played for the first time since 2002, has a rich history. Dr. Edward Hardisty, who will serve as referee for the 2024 edition, looks back on his memories from an event that helped shape his career.

When Dr. Edward Hardisty was lured to Hong Kong half a century ago, he was excited by the prospect of expanding the minds and expertise of locals working in a flourishing industry. But a chance encounter soon after his arrival sparked the opportunity of a lifetime, with Dr. Hardisty instead shifting his focus to a sport requiring him to impose rules and restrictions. 

An Englishman by birth, Dr. Hardisty moved to Hong Kong with his wife Janet in 1973 to work with a polytechnic organisation seeking experts to upgrade the skills of local workers. Possessing a keen interest in tennis, he was thrilled to learn Hong Kong was running a tournament in November that year featuring one of his all-time favourite players.

“A certain gentleman by the name of Rod Laver was playing and he was one player that I’d always idolised, not only because he’s another left-hander like myself, but because he was so good,” Dr. Hardisty said.


Fate intervened at this point and set Dr. Hardisty on a starkly different path — one that allowed him one of the best seats at Victoria Park to watch Laver compete and also changed his life.

“I wanted to go and buy a ticket to watch the match and this friend of mine said, ‘You know there is no need to buy a ticket? Why not work as a linesman instead?’ ” Dr Hardisty said. “That was it. I attended a course on line-calling and I thought, ‘Well, as long as you know the rules of tennis, this is easy.’ 

“So I became a linesman and I called serve for Rod Laver that week and worked the final and it was a brilliant experience.”

Fifty years on from that chance encounter, Dr. Hardisty recently joined the Hong Kong, China Tennis Association Board and will serve as referee in the 2024 Bank of China Hong Kong Tennis Open.

Between 1991 and 1999, Dr. Hardisty — who recently refereed the Huafa Properties Zhuhai Championships, which stands as the second leg of the Greater Bay Double — worked as executive director of the organisation.

When the Hardistys departed Hong Kong at the end of 1999, the South China Morning Post described them as the “first couple of tennis” given their love of and devotion to the sport. Dr. Hardisty has since served in senior officiating positions at the four Grand Slams, in Davis Cups and Asian Games, and also enjoyed an extended run as the referee of the Rolex Shanghai Masters.

“I was so lucky to have the opportunity of being in the right place at the right time,” he said. “It is obviously an adage that is very appropriate concerning my career, because if I’d stayed in the U.K. or in Canada, I would never have had the opportunity to do it.”


His intrinsic knowledge of the tennis landscape in China, extensive Hong Kong links and vast global experience sparked the approach to join the HKCTA board. With Hong Kong becoming one of only three cities in the Asian region to host ATP and WTA Tour events alongside Beijing and Tokyo, Dr. Hardisty’s expertise is considered invaluable.

“My wife and I have kept in touch with various tennis people over the years in the city and up until 2020 we made annual visits back to Hong Kong,” he said. “I have attended tournaments all over the world, so I have a lot of experience with running events and officiating. I also have many contacts across the tennis spectrum which may be useful to Hong Kong.”

Dr. Hardisty retains a particular fondness for the Bank of China Hong Kong Tennis Open, which returns to the ATP Tour calendar after a hiatus of 21 years to start the 2024 season. This fondness is scarcely surprising given the greats who have excelled in Hong Kong. Grand Slam champions Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi and Michael Chang featured among the former winners when the event was played under the ATP Tour banner.

“Hong Kong has been blessed. If only that tennis court could talk, it would have a lot to say,” Dr. Hardisty said.

As impressive as the Victoria Park site is, thankfully Dr. Hardisty is on hand to relay some of his memories of officiating at the tournament through to the last championship in 2002, which was won by former world No.1 Juan Carlos Ferrero over his Spanish countryman Carlos Moya.


Laver plays a starring role in another favourite memory, with the anecdote serving as a reminder of how significantly professional sport has changed in terms of access to the stars. Dr. Hardisty recalls that when he first became involved with the tournament, a public washroom with showers and changing rooms also doubled as the players’ locker room.

“Laver was competing in the singles and the doubles final and in between matches, he was sitting in that room, in a segregated area, having a cup of tea,” Dr. Hardisty said. “And people were walking straight by him to go to the toilet, and he’s just there having a cup of tea. I mean, it was remarkable. I loved that.

“I don’t think any of the top players would put up with that sort of behaviour now, but you know, it was water off a duck’s back to Laver. He didn’t have a care in the world.” 

Given Dr. Hardisty’s service to tennis in Hong Kong, and the excellence of a career spent officiating the world’s best players, he was elevated to the HKCTA’s Hall Of Fame in 2016. He is delighted to be back working for an organisation that has given him so much joy on what is another historic moment given the return of elite men’s tennis to Hong Kong.

“I don’t see it as work. It is a pleasure and I feel very lucky to be doing it,” Dr. Hardisty said.

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Best Grand Slam Upsets Of 2023: Stricker's Strike, Stunner of Sinner Headline

  • Posted: Dec 13, 2023

Best Grand Slam Upsets Of 2023: Stricker’s Strike, Stunner of Sinner Headline

Zhang, Popyrin, Seyboth Wild also feature

Many of the year’s most memorable upsets came on the Grand Slam stages, including big wins from a home favourite at the Australian Open and a pair of rising stars at the US Open.

As we continue to look back at the 2023 season, counts down the five biggest shocks at the majors this year — all of which came in five sets.

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5) Roland Garros R1, Seyboth Wild d. Medvedev 7-6(5), 6-7(6), 2-6, 6-3, 6-4
Brazilian qualifier and Roland Garros debutant Thiago Seyboth Wild scored his first Grand Slam main-draw win in style with a upset of second seed Daniil Medvedev — who entered on a six-match clay-court winning streak after claiming his first tour-level title on the surface in Rome.

Coming into the match at No. 172 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, an aggressive Seyboth Wild made a dream start and held two set points for a two-set lead. But after cramping earlier in the second set, the 23-year-old could not prevent Medvedev from levelling the match and storming through set three soon after.

Undeterred, Seyboth Wild rediscovered his attacking game to surge through the final two sets. After four hours, 15 minutes, he closed out the upset with a big forehand winner, finishing with a 69 per cent win rate (38/55) on net points.

“I have watched Daniil play for my entire junior career, up until today. Playing on this court against this kind of player and beating him is a dream come true,” said the Brazilian. “Walking on court I just wanted to get to the net as much as possible and use my forehand against his and it worked pretty well.”

Seyboth Wild won four ATP Challenger Tour titles in 2023 — two either side of Roland Garros — and reached a career-high Pepperstone ATP Ranking of No. 74 in September.

4) US Open R2, Zhang d. Ruud 6-4, 5-7, 6-2, 0-6, 6-2
Zhang Zhizhen continued his rapid rise on the ATP Tour with a helping of Grand Slam revenge against returning US Open finalist Casper Ruud.

Earlier in the season, the Chinese star was beaten by Ruud at Roland Garros, where the Norwegian reached the final for the second straight year. But Zhang ensured there would be no repeat final run for Ruud in New York by notching the biggest win of his career against the fifth seed.

With the help of 59 winners, including 18 aces, Zhang became the first Chinese man to earn a Top 5 win since the start of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings in 1973. By riding his powerful forehand and serve, Zhang made up for his US Open heartbreak in 2022, when he missed out on seven match points in a first-round defeat to Tim van Rijthoven.

“Last year at the US Open, I can say it was a bad memory. But this year is a little bit different,” said the 27-year-old, who went on to finish the season inside the Top 60.

Zhang Zhizhen in action Wednesday at the <a href=US Open.” />
Photo: Sarah Stier/Getty Images

3) Roland Garros R1, Altmaier d. Sinner 6-7(0), 7-6(7), 1-6, 7-6(4), 7-5
In a five-hour, 26-minute marathon, Daniel Altmaier saved two match points in the fourth set before Jannik Sinner erased four in the match’s final game. The German claimed the first five-set win of his career by serving out the victory at the second time of asking, ending the Roland Garros run of the in-form eighth seed, who reached the semi-finals in Monte-Carlo and the quarters in Barcelona.

Altmaier showed nerves of steel to save 15 of 21 break points and supreme endurance to recover after Sinner appeared to take command of the match in a one-sided third set. The victory also avenged a five-set defeat to the Italian in the pair’s only previous Lexus ATP Head2Head meeting at the 2022 US Open.

“The competition says it all,” Altmaier said after moving on to the third round in Paris for the second time. “We’ve had historic matches with so many match points… I don’t know if you can call this an ‘historical’ match, but I think it was one to remember.”

<a href=Daniel Altmaier” />
Photo: Julian Finney/Getty Images

2) Australian Open R2, Popyrin d Fritz 6-7(4), 7-6(2), 6-4, 6-7(6), 6-2
There was a wave of American success this year in Melbourne, but on his home turf, Alexei Popyrin made sure Taylor Fritz did not join the party. The fiery Aussie scored the standout shock of an upset-filled Australian Open with a big-serving display in Melbourne — a result made all the more surprising by the opponents’ contrasting fortunes in the previous season.

Popyrin earned just five tour-level wins in 2022 but kickstarted the new campaign with his fourth Top 10 win and his second at the Australian Open (d. Dominic Thiem in 2019). Behind 19 aces, Popyrin reached the third round for the third time at his home major. He faced just two break points in a match of razor-thin margins — one in the fourth and fifth sets — and recovered after missing out on a match point in the fourth-set tie-break.

“This is the dream for me, and I don’t want to wake up at all,” he said in an emotional on-court interview. Just before that, he addressed the crowd as they chanted his name: “You guys were just incredible. Oh my god, this is crazy. I really couldn’t have done it without you guys. This win means so much to me.”

1) US Open R2, Stricker d. Tsitsipas 7-5, 6-7(2), 6-7(5), 7-6(6), 6-3
On the same day as Zhang’s Ruud upset, Dominic Stricker scored his maiden Top 10 win to add to Stefanos Tsitsipas’ US Open woes. The 21-year-old qualifier, who capped his breakthrough season at the Next Gen ATP Finals presented by NEOM, advanced to the third round at a major for the first time with a gutsy performance in his New York main-draw debut.

In a four-hour, 10-minute epic, the lefty battled back from 3-5 in the fourth set and played his best tennis down the stretch to keep the seventh-seeded Tsitsipas in search of his first US Open fourth-round appearance. Stricker lost just four points on his first serve (19/23) in the final set and struck 78 winners in the marathon match.

“I came out today pretty well. I felt good from the first set on. It was a tough battle but I am just super happy right now,” said Stricker, who rose from World No. 128 in New York to a year-end finish inside the Top 100 of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings. “I was down 3-5 and then I came back in the fourth set. I don’t know how, but I did it somehow and then I kept playing very high level tennis. I am a bit speechless but it is a great day.”

<a href=Dominic Stricker” />
Photo: Sarah Stier/Getty Images

Read all stories in our Best Of 2023 review.

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