Tennis News

From around the world

Murray, Humbert Highlight Challenger 175 Triumphs In 2023

  • Posted: Dec 07, 2023

Murray, Humbert Highlight Challenger 175 Triumphs In 2023

Borges won first Challenger 175 event

Andy Murray’s trio of titles on the ATP Challenger Tour stood out as a memorable moment in 2023.

The Scot was one of four players to win at the all-new Challenger 175 level this year with his triumph at the Open Aix Provence Credit Agricole, his first title of any kind since claiming the ATP 250 event in Antwerp in 2019.

“This last year, 18 months has been a bit of struggle with my game. But [my team] have been there supporting me and working with me to try and get better,” Murray said during the trophy presentation.

Murray’s road to the title was not easy. In the opening round, he defeated tour-veteran and former World No. 6 Gael Monfils. Murray maintained a high level all week, rallying past then World No. 17 Tommy Paul in the final.

The results kept coming for the 36-year-old, who won the Lexus Surbiton Trophy in June to become the oldest grass-court champion in Challenger history (since 1978) and extended his winning streak to 10 by claiming the Nottingham Challenger.

Frenchman Ugo Humbert also enjoyed a mid-season surge on the ATP Challenger Tour by claiming two consecutive 175 titles.

In Cagliari, Italy, the 25-year-old saved three match points against Taro Daniel in a four-hour, 13-minute quarter-final marathon before walking away with his first clay-court title. Humbert survived another lengthy battle – more than three hours – in the final against Laslo Djere.

“I will never forget this trophy because I hate clay normally, never won more than two matches in a row on clay,” Humbert said in his post-tournament press conference. “It feels unbelievable to have the trophy today… I don’t know what to think, I’m just super happy.”

<a href=Ugo Humbert is crowned champion at the Cagliari Challenger.” />
Ugo Humbert is crowned champion at the Cagliari Challenger. Credit: Mike Lawrence/ATP Tour
Humbert’s run did not stop there. The lefty captured the BNP Paribas Primrose in Bordeaux, where he downed Tomas Martin Etcheverry in the final. Humbert played with conviction behind his serve all week and returned to the Top 40 of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings for the first time since 31 January, 2022. Humbert finished the season at a career-high No. 20.

Portugal’s Nuno Borges was the first Challenger 175 champion when he lifted the Arizona Tennis Classic trophy in March.

After earning the highest-ranked win of his career in the opening round against World No. 38 Diego Schwartzman, Borges then defeated Roman Safiullin, Alexei Popyrin, Jan-Lennard Struff and Alexander Shevchenko to cap a 10-match winning streak at the Challenger level and claim his biggest career title.

“Somehow I found myself in the final and I finally did it,” Borges said at the time. “I feel like I’m still absorbing it but it’s unbelievable. First Challenger 175 event, it’s a very special place. It motivates me a lot for everything else.”

<a href=Nuno Borges celebrates his title at the Arizona Tennis Classic with a pool plunge.” />
Nuno Borges celebrates his title at the Arizona Tennis Classic with a pool plunge. Credit: Mary Grace Grabill
German Dominik Koepfer overcame several challenges faced to win the Piemonte Open Intesa Sanpaolo in Turin, where rain forced the tournament to be moved from clay to an indoor hard court for the semi-finals and final.

The 29-year-old played his first-round match in Turin approximately 48 hours after competing in the Prague Challenger final. With no signs of fatigue, Koepfer claimed his fourth Challenger crown.

“It wasn’t easy to go from outdoor clay to fast indoor courts in just a few hours, but I’m proud of how I was able to adapt,” Koepfer said. “It was an incredible week, which gave me the most important title of my career.”

<a href=Dominik Koepfer during Saturday’s Turin Challenger final.” />
Dominik Koepfer in action at the Turin Challenger. Credit: Francesco Panunzio

Source link

Nadal: 'You Always Have To Give Yourself A Chance'

  • Posted: Dec 07, 2023

Nadal: ‘You Always Have To Give Yourself A Chance’

Spaniard shares his thoughts on his comeback to the ATP Tour

Editor’s note: This story was translated from

Since he set the 2024 season as the possible stage for his comeback, Rafael Nadal has been erring on the side of caution. Facing one of the longest spells away from the game in his career, with a full year sidelined from competition due to an iliopsoas injury in his left leg, the Spaniard is now counting down the days until his return to professional tournament tennis at the ATP 250 in Brisbane, which starts on 29 December.

In the midst of a period of preparation that started in October, with work set to continue over the coming days in Kuwait alongside French #NextGenATP star Arthur Fils, the Spaniard was keen to share his thoughts before returning to the ATP Tour, with a sincere message for fans.

“I have thought many times that it did not make sense,” admitted the Spaniard, whose last match was in the second round of the Australian Open last January. “In the end, there have been many years, many hours of work in which I did not see the result. I still believe what I said in the last press conference, that I do not deserve to end my sports career in a press room. I would like to finish in a different way, and I have fought and kept the illusion for that to happen, with doubts, with bad moments, very bad or better moments.”

The Official App Of Tennis | Download ATP WTA Live App

The 22-time Grand Slam champion, who decided to end his 2023 season before Roland Garros, has had a completely different year to what he has been used to. Away from the big stages, away from the tension of competition, he surrounded himself with his own people in order to make the best decisions at all times.

“I think I have had the right people around me, as I have always had throughout my career,” he explained. “Family, team, friends, I think everyone has helped me decisively to be where I am today, which is with the option of returning to compete. The desire of people who want to watch me play again has also an important impact on my day to day.”

You May Also Like:

Nadal Announces He Will Return In Brisbane

The Mallorcan is being cautious about that return to competition, recognising that it is nothing more than a first step. The next step will be seeing if his body is up to the test.

“It is a reality, there are many chances that it will be my last year, without any doubt,” underlined Nadal. “There are chances that it may only be half a year. There are possibilities that it may be a full year. There are possibilities that we may not be able to reach all that. These are things that right now I do not have the capacity to be able to answer. I am only in conditions to say that I return to compete. There are many possibilities that it is my last year and I am going to enjoy the tournaments in that way.”

In a season with added incentives, such as the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, where the tennis will take place on the clay of Roland Garros, the Spaniard has simply sent a message of hope. Only time will dictate the limits of the decisions he has made, including the timing of the end of a career that has already gone down in the history of modern sport.

“I do not want to announce it because in the end I do not know what can happen and I have to give myself the opportunity not to say one thing and then I can be a slave of what I have said,” he explained. “I think it is going to be like that but I can’t be 100 per cent sure because in the end I have worked a lot to come back to compete and if suddenly things and my physique allows me to continue and I enjoy what I do… why am I going to set a deadline?”

Source link

Rivalries Of 2023: Alcaraz vs. Sinner

  • Posted: Dec 07, 2023

Rivalries Of 2023: Alcaraz vs. Sinner

Young stars met three times for second consecutive year

The growing rivalry between Carlos Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner added three installments in 2023, with all three Lexus ATP Head2Head matchups coming in semi-finals. After they split two meetings in quick succession at Indian Wells and Miami, Sinner gained a 2-1 edge on the year and a 4-3 advantage overall by beating the Spaniard en route to the Beijing title. looks back at their three monumental matchups this season.

Win a personalised video message from a United Cup tennis star | Enter Now

Indian Wells SFs, Alcaraz d. Sinner 7-6(4), 6-3
In their first meeting since their five-set epic at the 2023 US Open, Alcaraz won a back-and-forth opening set at the BNP Paribas Open before pulling away early in the second.

The Spaniard started fast but was pegged back by Sinner, who won 11 points in a row and later brought up set point at 6-5 in the opener. But Alcaraz erased the opportunity with the help of a drop shot and powered through the tie-break before building a 3-0 lead in set two. He would see home the victory with relative ease from there.

In a matchup known for highlight-reel points, Alcaraz won the most enthralling exchange of the evening by curling a topspin lob onto the baseline after Sinner forced him to retreat following two tough volleys at the net.

“I’m really happy to get through this great match. Jannik obviously is a really great player with great shots,” Alcaraz said after the victory. “I would say we’re going to have a great rivalry over the years. We are playing in the best tournaments in the world. It’s not over here. We are going to play a lot of great matches.”

The Spaniard would go on to defeat Daniil Medvedev in the title match to lift his first Indian Wells trophy without losing a set and reclaim the No. 1 Pepperstone ATP Ranking from Novak Djokovic.

Miami SFs, Sinner d. Alcaraz 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-2
Two weeks after their Indian Wells showdown, Sinner gained swift revenge with a comeback victory at the Miami Open presented by Itau. In a show-stopping semi-final, Sinner won one of the points of the year: an action-packed 25-ball rally that ended with a delicate, dipping passing shot to bring the crowd to its feet.

Despite that moment of magic — and early leads in all three sets — Sinner was on the ropes when he faced two break points at 3-4 in the second. But the Italian answered the bell with a match-changing surge, winning 19 of 21 points to take the set and build a 2-0 lead in the decider.

Alcaraz appeared to be struggling physically early in set three, but he willed his way to one final push. In the end, his 22 winners were not enough to overcome 28 off the racquet of his opponent.

You May Also Like:

ATP Legacy: Sinner Looks Back On Classic Alcaraz Matchup In Miami SFs

“It means a lot. We both played a very, very high level of tennis again. I just tried my best,” Sinner said after advancing to his second Miami final. “We both tried to play very aggressive tennis and today it went my way so I’m very happy.”

Sinner was beaten by Daniil Medvedev in the Miami final but went on to win his first ATP Masters 1000 title later in the season in Toronto.

Beijing SFs, Sinner d. Alcaraz 7-6(4), 6-1
After Alcaraz won 7-4 tie-breaks to open each of their previous two matches, Sinner claimed the opening-set tie-break by the same scoreline at the China Open.

In a marathon opening frame, Sinner twice came back from a break down. He began to take control by moving Alcaraz around the baseline and winning all 15 of his net points in the set.

After navigating a tense opening to the second set, fighting off five break points across his first two service games, Sinner sprinted through the finish line to move ahead 4-3 in his Lexus ATP Head2Head with Alcaraz.

“For sure in the very top [of the big matches I’ve played],” the Italian said of the win. “I would say every match against him is very tough. We always show great respect, we both play great. When we play against each other, we try to stay on our limits.”

Sinner followed up the victory by beating Medvedev in the Beijing final to claim his fourth tour-level title of the season, equalling his personal-best tally from 2021.

Read more from our Best Of 2023 Rivalries series:
Djokovic vs. Sinner | Medvedev vs. Zverev | Djokovic vs. Alcaraz

Source link

OneVision's Transformative Year On ATP Tour

  • Posted: Dec 07, 2023

OneVision’s Transformative Year On ATP Tour

Season saw big increases in player compensation and fan attendance

The 2023 season was a transformational year on the ATP Tour. Here’s a look back at the record growth and progress delivered by ATP’s OneVision plan this season.

More than $50m in new money flowed to players in 2023, the largest increase ever. That included $22m growth in performance bonuses, $18.9m in prize money increases and a $9m increase in prize money awarded at ATP Challenger Tour level.

The number of players eligible for Performance Bonus increased from 12 to 150 this year. This includes a $20m 1000 Bonus, a brand new $1.3m 500 Bonus, and a new 50-50 profit sharing distribution of $12.2m.

Attendance at ATP Tour events topped 5 million in 2023, with 22 tournaments reporting record numbers.

Next season will see the introduction of Baseline, a game-changing compensation model that provides financial assurances to players: Guaranteed Base Earnings will allow them to plan their seasons and invest in their teams. Income Protection will support injured players during their recovery. Newcomer Investment will provide an up-front $200,000 payment for players who break into the Top 125 for the first time.

The number of players benefitting from the Player Pension fund will expand from 165 in 2023 to 300 in 2024, with the forecast contribution jumping from $18m to $25m.

Learn more about OneVision

Source link