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Kuerten, Djokovic, Medvedev & more rally to benefit Brazil flood victims

  • Posted: Jun 20, 2024

Doubles player Marcelo Demoliner is organising a live auction that will benefit three charities and assist those affected by unprecedented flooding in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, his home region. The highlight of the auction, which takes place Tuesday, 25 June at 6:30 p.m. EDT, is an exclusive experience with Gustavo Kuerten. Equipment from Novak Djokovic, Juan Martin Del Potro, Daniil Medvedev, Andrey Rublev and Casper Ruud will also be up for auction.

In the past month-and-a-half, Brazil has received torrential rain, displacing hundreds of thousands and tragically killing nearly 200 people. The 35-year-old Demoliner is lending a hand in a time of desperate need for his home country. A native of Caxias do Sul, who has been as high as No. 34 in the PIF ATP Doubles Rankings, Demoliner is teaming with his hometown club Recreio da Juventude and auctioneer Cristiano Escola Leilões to organise the event.

Three-time Roland Garros champion Kuerten, one of 29 men to reach World No. 1 in the PIF ATP Rankings, is offering a private tour of his Florianopolis museum and personal collection, which is filled with trophies. The highest bidder will meet Kuerten to hear stories and receive behind-the-scenes details of his successful career.

“Guga, our biggest idol, gave us an experience to have an afternoon with him and he will show his museum, his trophies to the person who will buy this experience,” Demoliner told in excitement. “For me, it’s one of the greatest items we have. Imagine having an afternoon with your idol. For me, this is insane.”

Fans can log on to the Cristiano Escola Leilões website to view the catalog of items and begin bidding. The auction broadcast will be livestreamed on the Recreio da Juventude YouTube channel, Tuesday 25 June at 6:30 p.m. EDT. 

Click Here to Watch Charity Auction, Live on 25 June

Select items from Top 10 stars Djokovic, Medvedev, Rublev and Ruud will be auctioned, with racquets, shoes and used kits scheduled to hit the bidding table. WTA star Aryna Sabalenka will have equipment from the 2023 US Open final auctioned. Other items will be from Brazilians including Demoliner, Thomaz Bellucci, Joao Fonseca, Beatriz Haddad Maia, Rafael Matos, Fernando Meligeni, Marcelo Melo and Thiago Monteiro.

“I was competing and following all the news with a heavy heart,” said Demoliner, a five-time ATP Tour doubles champion. “I really wanted to help my state and use my platform as a professional athlete to make a difference. We started mobilising a network within the tennis and sports world, and many athletes embraced the cause. We are very committed to making this charity auction a success to help rebuild the lives of families affected by the floods.”

Athletes and teams from other sports will also contribute items. World surfing champion Felipe Toledo donated an autographed uniform. Football teams Corinthians, Flamengo, Atlético Mineiro, and São Paulo sent jerseys signed by their players for the auction.

The three institutions that will benefit from the auction are Operação de Volta Para Casa (Operation Back to My Home), Rotary Brazil and WimBelenDon. All proceeds will be directed towards the reconstruction of Rio Grande do Sul.


About the Charities:
Operação de Volta Para Casa registers families directly affected by the floods and verifies the accuracy of the provided information. The organisation then supplies essential items to ensure safety and functionality in the reconstruction of homes.

Rotary Brazil has provided humanitarian aid for over 110 years. Rotary’s activities include combatting diseases, providing clean water and sanitation and protecting the environment. A group of volunteers combine to take action and create lasting change in themselves, their communities and the world.

WimBelenDon is a social project aimed at promoting the inclusion of children and adolescents in situations of risk or social vulnerability, fostering their holistic development, and stimulating their agency. Tennis serves as the main attraction to engage and retain the students, but it is interconnected with a much richer and more comprehensive work, consisting of socio-emotional, pedagogical and cultural workshops, which promote individual and social transformations.


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Doumbia/Reboul down Sinner/Hurkacz in Halle; Ram/Salisbury oust De Minaur/Korda

  • Posted: Jun 20, 2024

Sadio Doumbia and Fabien Reboul spoiled the Halle partnership between Jannik Sinner and Hubert Hurkacz on Thursday with a 7-6(3), 4-6, 10-8 victory at the Terra Wortmann Open.

The Frenchmen continued the trend of doubles players beating singles stars at this week’s ATP 500s.

From 5/5 in the Match Tie-break, Doumbia and Reboul won five of the next eight points to reach their eighth tour-level semi-final of the season. Champions in Montpellier and Bucharest, they will meet second seeds Kevin Krawietz and Tim Puetz in the last four after the Germans downed countrymen Constantin Frantzen and Hendrik Jebens 7-6(3), 6-4.

Sinner and Hurkacz were teaming for the first time since last year in Halle.

Simone Bolelli and Andrea Vavassori also reached the semi-finals, defeating Alexander Bublik and Arthur Fils 6-4, 6-3. The Italians, 2023 finalists in Halle, next face wild cards Yannick Hanfmann and Dominik Koepfer.


Ram/Salisbury, Arevalo/Pavic Advance In London
Second seeds Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury ousted Top 25 singles players Alex de Minaur and Sebastian Korda 7-6(6), 7-5 in the cinch Championships first round.

The ATP Doubles trial featured at The Queen’s Club this week puts singles teams against doubles teams in the first round whenever possible and on Thursday, Ram and Salisbury stepped up in key moments to advance. The American-British duo saved a set point in the first-set tie-break and earned a decisive break at 6-5 in the second.

<img src=”/-/media/images/news/2024/06/20/19/48/ram-salisbury-queens-2024-thursday.jpg” style=”width:100%” alt=”Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury at the cinch Championships.” />
Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury at the cinch Championships. Credit: Luke Walker/Getty Images for LTA

Roland Garros champions Marcelo Arevalo and Mate Pavic, competing for the first time since the clay-court major, overcame Julian Cash and Robert Galloway 6-4, 6-4.

Ivan Dodig and Austin Krajicek, defending titlists in London, were 6-3, 7-6(2) winners against Australians John Peers and Jordan Thompson. Taylor Fritz and Karen Khachanov won 6-4, 6-4 against Francisco Cerundolo and Tomas Martin Etcheverry. Fritz last year partnered Jiri Lehecka to make the ATP 500 final.


Wednesday, 19 June
Neal Skupski and Michael Venus got their cinch Championships campaign underway on Wednesday in London when they defeated singles stars Ugo Humbert and Ben Shelton 6-4, 6-3.

The seventh seeds were aggressive throughout the 69-minute clash on the lawns in west London, striking deep returns and closing the net sharply to reach the second round. Skupski and Venus are teaming for the second time this season and next play Alex de Minaur and Sebastian Korda or second seeds Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury. 

Other singles teams to fall in London included Jack Draper and Cameron Norrie and Sebastian Baez and Adrian Mannarino. Sixth seeds Santiago Gonzalez and Edouard Roger-Vasselin beat Draper and Norrie 6-4, 6-4, while fifth seeds Wesley Koolhof and Nikola Mektic downed Baez and Mannarino 4-6, 6-3, 10-3.

Mektic and Koolhof arrive in London in good form, having advanced to the final on grass in ‘s-Hertogenbosch.

Top seeds Rohan Bopanna and Matthew Ebden also advanced to the second round, defeating Alexander Erler and Lucas Miedler 6-4, 6-4. Ebden and Bopanna have won tour-level titles together at the Australian Open and in Miami this season.


The ATP Doubles trial, which was first held at the Mutua Madrid Open, is taking place at the Queen’s Club. Some of the changes include less time between points, adjustments to time allowances during changeovers and the use of “time extensions”.

Hurkacz/Sinner advance in Halle
Singles stars Hubert Hurkacz and Jannik Sinner earned victory in their first match of the season together at the Terra Wortmann Open, where they beat third seeds Nathaniel Lammons and Jackson Withrow 6-4, 5-7, 11-9.

The Pole-Italian team saved two match points in the Match Tie-break to seal victory after 82 minutes. Sinner is the top seed in the singles draw and is competing as No. 1 in the PIF ATP Rankings for the first time.

Top seeds Simone Bolelli and Andrea Vavassori beat Pedro Martinez and Aleksandr Nedovyesov 6-3, 6-3. Bolelli and Vavassori reached the final at the ATP 500 grass-court event last season.

Sadio Doumbia and Fabien Reboul defeated Belgians Sander Gille and Joran Vliegen 7-6(4), 6-4 to reach the quarter-finals, while Constantin Frantzen and Hendrik Jebens eliminated Yuki Bhambri and Albano Olivetti 5-7, 7-6(12), 10-7. The Germans saved two match points in the second set.


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Struff upsets Tsitsipas in Halle, sets Sinner clash

  • Posted: Jun 20, 2024

Jan-Lennard Struff is playing some of his best tennis on home soil this week at the Terra Wortmann Open.

The German downed sixth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4, 6-4 on Thursday, setting a quarter-final clash against Jannik Sinner, World No. 1 in the PIF ATP Rankings. The 34-year-old dropped just five points behind his first serve, according to Infosys ATP Stats, and drew errors from Tsitsipas’ backhand to advance after 67 minutes.

“It’s very special. The crowd was supporting me like hell and it was just an amazing feeling, amazing atmosphere,” said Struff, who did not face a break point. “It means really a lot to finally take this step.”


One day after saving a match point to defeat Luciano Darderi, Struff struck 22 winners to just five unforced errors to overhaul the Greek and avenge last month’s Rome loss to Tsitsipas. Their Lexus ATP Head2Head series is now tied at 4-4. Struff is 0-2 against Sinner with both meetings coming this season (Indian Wells, Monte-Carlo).

“I was very happy. Yesterday was a tough match. I was sick before and today in the morning, I felt good,” Struff said. “I had good connection with the ball straight away and came in very well. I was serving pretty good, playing aggressive style. Very, very pleased with the way I played.”

In 11 appearances at the grass ATP 500, Struff is into the last eight for the first time. The World No. 34 won his maiden tour-level crown this year in Munich, becoming the third-oldest (33) first-time ATP Tour titlist since the inception of the Tour in 1990.

Tsitsipas holds a 29-11 season record, with his best result being a title run in Monte-Carlo. The 25-year-old was aiming for his first grass quarter-final since winning the ATP 250 in Mallorca two years ago.

Earlier in Halle, Marcos Giron overcame Matteo Berrettini 3-6, 6-4, 6-3, becoming the first player ranked outside the Top 50 to defeat the Italian on grass since No. 53 Gilles Simon at 2018 Wimbledon.

“He is unbelievable on grass, with every tournament he plays on grass he practically makes the final or wins it,” Giron said of Berrettini, who is now 41-10 on grass. “I knew it was going to be a challenge and I knew I had to take care of my serve and hopefully I get an opportunity. I stayed with extreme urgency and full focus.”

The American is into the Halle quarter-finals for the second time (2021). Giron ousted last year’s finalist Andrey Rublev in the opening round before improving to 2-0 against Berrettini.

Up to No. 46 in the PIF ATP Live Rankings, two spots shy of his career-high, the 30-year-old next faces fifth seed Hubert Hurkacz, who ousted Australian James Duckworth 7-6(3), 6-4. The Pole, who won the ATP 500 in 2022, fired 17 aces and dropped just three points behind his first delivery Thursday.


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Van Man: Five things to know about Billy Harris

  • Posted: Jun 20, 2024

In a big day for British tennis at the Cinch Championships, 29-year-old Billy Harris followed Jack Draper’s upset of Carlos Alcaraz with a milestone result of his own at The Queen’s Club. Behind a 6-4, 7-5 win against Giovanni Mpetshi Perricard, the English journeyman advanced to his first tour-level quarter-final in London.

Before he bids for his third win of the week on Friday, brings you five things to know about the No. 162 in the PIF ATP Rankings.


Harris spent three and a half years travelling between tournaments in a van
Earlier in his career, Harris often travelled around Europe in a converted transit van to save money while competing primarily on the ITF World Tennis Tour — one step below the ATP Challenger Tour. In addition to driving from city to city in the van, Harris also used it for lodging.

“I was travelling around in my transit van for three and a half years, with a bed in the back, cooking on the roadside and parking up in McDonald’s car parks,” he said, as quoted in a 2023 BBC story. Harris owns five ITF singles titles, winning four in 2021 and one in 2022.

He picked up his first tour-level win last November in Sofia
Harris beat Switzerland’s Marc-Andrea Huesler 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(5) two months before his 29th birthday to record his first tour-level singles win. The ATP 250 was his only previous tour-level event before his appearance this week in London. He has tripled his career win total by reaching the Queen’s quarters, improving to 3-1.


He has been a hitting partner for the British Davis Cup team
Harris was on hand for Great Britain’s journey to the Davis Cup Finals in 2023, practising with the likes of Andy Murray, Cameron Norrie, Dan Evans and Draper. After his victory against Mpetshi Perricard on Thursday, he praised Draper for his rapid rise and his upset of Alcaraz.

“Amazing from Jack,” Harris said. “He’s the future of British tennis and he’s leading the way. It’s great to look at him and see what he’s doing. I definitely take inspiration from that.”

His father, Geoff, is his coach… though he does not have a big tennis background
Geoff Harris is his son’s lead coach, alongside support from British Davis Cup captain Leon Smith.

“He got me into tennis. He was always feeding me lots of balls when I first started, but he hasn’t really got a tennis background,” Harris said in his post-match presser Thursday. “He can knock a few balls over the net, but that’s about it really.

“He’s obviously watched almost every match I have played, so he knows my game very well. He just gives me little reminders of what I’m working on and supports me every week, just the support and the team around me that just give me an extra little bit in the matches.

Harris is set for the Top 150 in the PIF ATP Rankings
Having entered Queen’s at a career-high PIF ATP Ranking of No. 162 behind consecutive semi-final runs on the ATP Challenger Tour (Nottingham, Surbiton), Harris has soared 24 places this week to No. 138 in the PIF ATP Live Rankings, a mark that would surpass his junior career high of No. 139. On Tuesday, Harris secured the best win of his career by PIF ATP Ranking by beating World No. 32 Tomas Martin Etcheverry in three sets.

Harris’ recent success has also helped him earn a wild card for Wimbledon, where he will make his Grand Slam debut in July.


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Alcaraz on Queen's defeat: 'It's part of our lives'

  • Posted: Jun 20, 2024

Carlos Alcaraz’s title defence at the Cinch Championships came to an early end on Thursday courtesy of a 7-6(3), 6-3 defeat to home favourite Jack Draper. While the Spaniard was not happy with his performance, he is taking his first grass-court defeat since 2022 in stride.

“Of course it’s tough to deal with the losses, but I think it’s part of our lives,” he said, crediting Draper for his play. “We have to [deal with it] as good as you can. After the losses, you have to take the positive things and of course the negative things just to improve to the next tournament.”


For Alcaraz, that next tournament is Wimbledon, where — like at The Queen’s Club — he will enter as defending champion. Prior to this week in London, Alcaraz had not competed on grass since his comeback victory against Novak Djokovic in last year’s final at the grass-court major. While he was perfect on the lawns last season, Alcaraz remains a relative novice on the unique surface with a 17-3 record.

“I think the best way to be better on grass is to stay here, practise with players, physically doing good stuff on grass and the movement, really specific things,” Alcaraz said when asked if he would return to Spain before Wimbledon, which begins 1 July. “In Spain or at my home, we don’t have grass courts or really grass places just to practise.

“My focus is… I don’t know, I have to talk with my team. But yeah, I’m close to Wimbledon, so as soon as I can, I’m going focus on the practising with players, practising and everything, and I hope to be better.”


The No. 2 in the PIF ATP Rankings was competing at Queen’s without coach Juan Carlos Ferrero, who will arrive in London on Sunday or Monday. Alcaraz said his coach is “hungry”, and the Spaniard feels the same.

“Right now I’m hungry just to be better, to practise, and that’s all I have to do,” he said. “I’m really excited to start Wimbledon. Of course I really want to win every title that I [play for], and I think Wimbledon is even more special. So, as I said, I have time, and excited to start the first match on Centre Court.”


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Brian Vahaly: In Conversation

  • Posted: Jun 20, 2024

In 2022, ATP partnered with You Can Play, a nonprofit organisation committed to furthering LGBTQ+ inclusion in sport. This followed an ATP player survey that highlighted the need for more comprehensive education around topics such as inclusive language and social media use.

This month, we are excited to share an exclusive conversation between Brian Vahaly, the former World No. 64 in the PIF ATP Rankings, and You Can Play, ATP’s LGBTQ+ inclusion partner.

In 2017, Vahaly became the first ATP player to come out as gay. This followed a successful career on the ATP Tour in which he navigated an environment that both overtly and subtly challenged his mental strength and sense of belonging. Today, his fearless work to spearhead LGBTQ+ inclusion in the sport continues in his role as First Vice President of the USTA.

In this open conversation, Vahaly reflects on his unique journey. He advocates for authenticity, emphasises the importance of locker room language and encourages players to use their global platform to promote acceptance.

Looking back, how do you reflect on your journey and relationship with tennis?
I started playing tennis when I was two years old. I love this sport. I love the relationships I have built because of this sport. I love it because tennis challenges you mentally, spiritually, and physically. Tennis altered the course of my life, not just from playing great matches at Masters events and Grand Slams, but my experience with tennis is what ultimately shaped me into the man I’ve become today.

<img src=”/-/media/images/news/2024/06/13/15/21/bv-june-2024.jpg?w=100%25&hash=D4571DBADF658E0B74D36C0CCC170B17″ alt=”Brian Vahaly” style=”width: 100%;” />
Brian Vahaly in action on the ATP Tour in 2004. Photo Credit: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

How does tennis compare today from an inclusivity standpoint to your time in the game?
I think the world and society has changed a lot in terms of how people approach inclusivity and topics like same sex marriage. I am encouraged to see more young players feeling confident and comfortable speaking out about issues of inclusivity.

Talk to us about your experience with homophobic language in tennis. Where does that start?
It always starts at the junior level. When I was coming up, you’d hear homophobic language from 12-year-olds. You would hear it from 18-year-olds. It was consistent. It was just the language you used to make fun of people. I don’t think it was ever intended to be something that was anti-gay or homophobic. You get used to hearing it as a kid, not always knowing necessarily what it meant. But you knew that it was the way to tease people.

Transitioning to adulthood, how did the Tour shape you as a professional?
You learn some incredible things being on the ATP Tour. You essentially get to manage your career as a small business. You’ve got coaches, you’ve got trainers, you’ve got a therapist. You’ve got to figure out a way, day in and day out, to show up and perform under intense pressure, where your results are posted for the world to see.

I had no idea that it was teaching me about dealing with pressure, dealing with winning, losing, strategy, preparation, how to pull a team together, how to motivate yourself, how to run a business effectively and efficiently. These skills have proven to be invaluable in the business world.


What was your experience being in the locker rooms? Was there direct homophobia?
I never found the Tour to be overtly homophobic. What I found was that it was very common to use homophobic language. That was just the culture. That was the way that you built camaraderie. If you really wanted to make fun of people, you often used homophobic language to do that. Consciously and subconsciously, that leaves you with a feeling. If you are a gay person, you pretty much know that this is a place that’s probably going to be a little uncomfortable for you.

Do you feel like you were held back within tennis because you weren’t out?
I think the biggest question I ask myself is: could I have been more successful had I been able to be my authentic self? It’s a question I try not to consider, as I’m incredibly proud of what I was able to accomplish during my career. I have great memories from my time playing the sport’s biggest events. However, I did find it difficult to relax. I was always anxious, wondering what people might know or perceive. I had a deep fear of being exposed, and I tried my best to use that energy to play with somewhat of a chip on my shoulder. I often found it difficult to feel free on the court. Instead, I became what I thought other people expected of me. My discomfort would then look for ways to avoid the spotlight.

What would your advice be to your ATP self?

The advice I would give myself as a former ATP player is: there’s going to be a great unique future ahead. I know at times you feel so isolated. Tennis is such a tough individual sport. You’re left to yourself in a hotel room in many cases, and it can feel more isolating when you feel like you are being deceptive about your identity. I would tell myself that easier, less anxious days are coming. There is a place to be a successful gay tennis player, despite the fact you have no one to point to today.

The hard part for me in answering the question is the culture has changed so much. I actually think life would have been a lot harder had I come out in the early 2000s. It was a really tough time for the gay community and I’m not sure I would have been strong enough to manage the impact. I had worked 20+ years to finally win matches on the ATP Tour and compete at Grand Slams. I was living my childhood dream. I was unwilling to let anything distract me.

If I were providing advice to a current ATP player, there’s a level of comfort and safety you can provide today that was not available for previous generations. Thinking back when I was playing, certainly there was a concern around whether your sexual orientation could have an impact on sponsorships, or maybe your experience on court. I think we’re fortunate now to have some great LGBTQ+ role models in sport broadly. There’s a lot of great examples that we now have for athletes to see that being their authentic self can help them to perform better, both on the court, and off the court financially.

What is your advice to tennis on inclusion as a concept?
I care deeply about growing this sport because I know what this sport can do for you as a person. We have data now that shows the sport’s impact on longevity and how tennis players live over nine years longer. At the USTA, we are committed to growing this sport which we know improves communities. But if we are going to grow tennis, it’s critical the culture of our sport is inclusive. The world is a dynamic and diverse place. There is no reason to ever exclude people from a sport we all love so much.

As it relates to the Tour and how we make that more inclusive: I think a great place to start is focusing on our language going forward. Our language and our actions have an impact on eight-year-old kids, on 12-year-old kids. It has an impact on our fans, our family, and our friends. Millions of fan look up to these players. If we as leaders, as the best players in the world, can set an example, that really excites me for kids that are growing up in the sport. I’m hopeful we can do that. We have a responsibility in the tennis and sporting community to allow people to feel safe and comfortable being themselves, both on and off the tennis court.

What opportunity does sport have in this space? Can it lead change?
Sport and athletes always have an opportunity to lead. People look up to athletes, regardless of the sport. Athletes are leaders, both inside the locker room and out speaking in communities. Sport has a way of transcending people and cultures, inspiring fans and followers. Small changes can and will make massive impact for generations to come.

This month, the ATP is launching an LGBTQ+ inclusion education series for players, created in collaboration with Brian Vahaly and You Can Play. The series covers a range of topics, from inclusive language, to social media, and advocacy. ATP has also made a donation to support You Can Play in its ongoing efforts across sport.


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