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Roman Safiullin: Russia's NEW Secret Weapon

  • Posted: Jan 03, 2022

It turns out Russia has more than one secret weapon, which is a scary thought for the rest of the ATP Cup field.

One year ago, the championship-winning Russian team famously declared that Aslan Karatsev was the group’s secret weapon. Just weeks later, Karatsev made the semi-finals of the Australian Open and by season’s end was named Most Improved Player of the Year in the 2021 ATP Awards.

On Sunday it was Roman Safiullin — not World No. 2 Daniil Medvedev — who led Russia to victory against France in singles and doubles. Safiullin is another “secret” out of the bag.

“One hundred per cent,” Medvedev said, cracking a laugh, when asked if his teammate was Russia’s new secret weapon. “I definitely had some emotional moments in my career, but this one would be in the top three, top five, because, just look at Roman’s match already, the way he fought back after tough first set where we can say he lost it quite easy, and then the way he fought back, the way he played was unreal.”

Medvedev and Safiullin have known each other since they were juniors, in which Safiullin triumphed several times. In fact, the Podolsk-native earned multiple victories against Medvedev.

“I first thought he was super tough to beat in juniors. I don’t think we ever played in professionals. But when I knew that Roman was in my draw in [the] juniors, I was shaking,” Medvedev said. “We actually played a lot of finals, semi-finals, a lot of matches, some were like three-hour, three-set matches. [It was] a lot of fun.”

Photo Credit: Peter Staples/ATP Tour
Not only did Safiullin defeat Medvedev, Andrey Rublev and Karen Khachanov before turning professional, but he won the 2015 Australian Open boys’ singles title and climbed to a career-high World No. 2 in the juniors.

“It’s a great feeling of course to be at the top,” Safiullin said. “It was always [about] improving something to stay at the top. But junior tennis and men’s tennis are a bit different.”

While Medvedev, Rublev and Khachanov have all broken into the world’s Top 10, Safiullin’s career-high ATP Ranking is No. 151. The 24-year-old believes the mental side has been one of his biggest obstacles.

“Working with the head is the toughest part for me. I don’t know for the other guys, maybe for someone it is easy. The physical tennis part we work [on] a lot and the mental part we also started working [on] and at the moment that is the toughest part,” Safiullin said. “I’m working on it and trying to improve some things. When I lose focus, you can see it in the match.”

The Russian said that instead of letting three or four games slip away, it is pivotal to limit those lapses to a couple of points. The World No. 167 showed in Sunday’s tie against France that he has plenty of game to compete against some of the world’s best.

That is something Safiullin has been working towards his whole life. He first played tennis at four under the tutelage of his father, Rishat, who works at an academy. “I always have loved it,” he said.

Safiullin enjoyed the way Marat Safin played. Later on, Novak Djokovic became the player he looked up to the most, as well as Roger Federer, whom he called “incredible”.

Off the court, the Russian has a wide variety of interests. He enjoys playing tourist in the cities he visits, especially when his wife is with him.

“I [also] like cars and motorcycles. In Russia it’s tough to have it because we have the winter and only three or four months to drive it,” said Safiullin, who does not own a motorcycle. “When you’re a professional tennis player it’s quite dangerous, one mistake or someone doesn’t see you and it’s done. Either your life is done or your tennis career is done. That’s dangerous.”

Safiullin also fancies movies, with a fondness for actors Johnny Depp and Leonardo DiCaprio. Catch Me If You Can is one of his favourite films. Another might surprise you.

“When I have time, I rewatch Harry Potter. I’ve watched it already three or four times, but I like to watch it again. I saw [there is a reunion], so when I go back to Russia I want to go watch it with my wife,” Safiullin said. “Also there is a new Matrix that came out. I didn’t watch it because my wife wants to watch it so when I get back home we’re going to watch it together.”

For now, Safiullin will focus on helping Russia as it continues its ATP Cup title defence. The team’s newest secret is out. Safiullin just hopes to continue being a weapon for his country, and earn enough momentum to chase down his countrymen in the ATP Rankings.

“Daniil, Andrey, Aslan and Karen are on a really high level in the Top 30,” Safiullin said. “Four guys from Russia is incredible. I want to be there as well, so I’m working hard for that. I’m trying my best and hopefully I can come as soon as I can to be with those guys.”

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Duckworth: Team Australia Will 'Fight Until The End'

  • Posted: Jan 03, 2022

James Duckworth enjoyed the best season of his career in 2021, advancing to his first ATP Tour final in Nur-Sultan and reaching a career-high of No. 47 in the ATP Rankings in November.

That effort helped Duckworth earn a spot on Australia’s ATP Cup team for the first time. The 29-year-old is scheduled to make his event debut for his country on Tuesday evening in the No. 2 singles match against Russian Roman Safiullin.

Ahead of that clash, Duckworth spoke to about how much he enjoys the ATP Cup’s team atmosphere, spending time as a junior in Sydney, looking up to Captain Lleyton Hewitt and Patrick Rafter, and more.

If you could take one shot from any member of your team and add it to your game what would it be?
I would love to have Demon’s speed. He’s one of the quickest guys on Tour. I’d love to have that speed. It just makes it so much harder for the opponent to hit a winner. It makes it feel like the court is smaller because he’s just able to cover so much distance. It builds pressure.

Alex de Minaur
Photo Credit: Mark Evans/Getty Images

Who on the team would most likely be late for practice or a team dinner?
I reckon they’re all pretty good! I can’t really see anybody being late. I couldn’t give an answer for that one.

How would you describe each team member’s personality briefly?
I feel like as a group we’re pretty laid back, chilled out, but once we get on the court, we compete pretty hard, and all fight until the end and play with our hearts on our sleeves. As a collective, that’s how the group sort of is.

Is it more special to do that at home?
Definitely. Demon and I have grown up here in Sydney, practised at Homebush for many years, so it will be cool to have friends and family out to support as well. Playing for the green and gold is always a special occasion.

What are some of your memories of Homebush as a kid?
I remember coming out here as a 12-year-old, I started off in what’s called the Milo Squad on a Friday afternoon. Once a week we’d come out and gradually it was extended to three or four times a week. We had a good bunch of guys growing up, all pushing each other in practice.

[I have] a lot of fond memories of having lots of good practices. I remember quite a few times having to run around the stadium as part of our fitness, so it was good growing up here and developing my tennis game.

And now how does it feel to play such a big event on that same court?
Looking forward to it! I’ve obviously played on Ken Rosewall Arena before, but not in the ATP Cup format, or Davis Cup, so I haven’t represented my country. I’m really excited and really looking forward to it.

Which Australian player did you look up to and why?
When I was younger, I watched a lot of Lleyton [Hewitt] and Pat [Rafter]. I was looking through some photos at Christmas… I went and watched when they played at Qudos Bank Arena in 2001 at the [Nitto ATP] Finals. Lleyton beat Pat to be World No. 1 that year, so that was a cool match that I was at with my brother. We’ve got some signs that we held up watching that match, so that was really cool.

Probably just those two, just following them through, watching them throughout their careers, watching them win Grand Slams. I was super pumped when Lleyton won his first one at the US Open and I was really shattered when Pat lost in the final to Goran at Wimbledon [in 2001]. And then the Davis Cup ties — I was shattered when they lost that final to France in 2001, but it was awesome when they then got the win a couple of years later against Spain.

Obviously you’ve spent a lot of time with Lleyton for years already, but does it ever get old being around him?
No, he’s obviously one of the best players we’ve ever had from Australia, and obviously one of the best tennis players that’s ever lived. There are not many guys that can say they’ve won Grand Slams and been World No. 1, so I’m always learning off him and he’s just got so much experience, knows the game so well, and it’s always great to bounce ideas and feed off him.

What are three things you love about Australia?

The beaches. Now I live in Queensland – I’ve been in Brisbane for the past six or seven years – I’m venturing up to Noosa quite a lot, so I really like it up there, up at the Sunshine Coast. But I’ve spent a lot of time at Avoca Beach on the central coast here, and my dad now has a place at Manly, so I’ve spent a little bit of time there.

You can find great beaches anywhere in Australia, but the one I’d go to now more often than not is Noosa. Also, [I love] the coffee and the weather [in Australia].

What is your favourite place to visit in Australia?
I just love chilling out at home. Obviously, we’re spending so much time on the road, especially with Covid with the two-week quarantine. I’ve got a nice house in Brisbane, so I’m always just pumped to be back there for a month.

What is your favourite part about being with the team?
Obviously it’s an individual sport, so as a tennis player you’re not in that team environment very often. To have the guys on the bench, to have the common goal between all of you and just have that camaraderie and banter amongst all the boys is really good fun, and we all sort of feed off each other. I think we push each other as well, to strive to get better and to get success.

Have you watched the ATP Cup previously?
Yeah, in particular in 2020, especially that quarter-final match when we beat Great Britain. It was an unbelievable singles match. I know Demon lost to Dan Evans, but that was such a great spectacle. And then for them to come out and win that epic doubles in the [Match] Tie-break, 18/16, was crazy. The atmosphere was a joke, so that was a really cool memory.

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Delbonis Gives Argentina Winning Start Against Greece

  • Posted: Jan 03, 2022

Federico Delbonis continued his perfect start to the season Monday at ATP Cup, overcoming Michail Pervolarakis 7-6(5), 6-1 to give Argentina a 1-0 lead against Greece in Group D in Sydney.

The World No. 44 earned victory on his ATP Cup debut against Georgia’s Aleksandre Metreveli on Saturday and backed this up against Pervolarkis, breaking three times to triumph after one hour and 33 minutes on Ken Rosewall Arena.

“Michail impressed me a lot,” Delbonis said in his on-court interview. “Especially in the first set when he tried to push his backhand to my forehand and on every forehand, he tried to go to the net and I was a bit uncomfortable with that. But I took that first set. I am very happy to take a bit of the pressure off Diego.”

See Group Standings

The 31-year-old, who reached tour-level semi-finals in Santiago, Belgrade and Hamburg last year, battled back from 2/4 down in the second-set tie-break against the World No. 399, before he raised his level in the second set, hitting with greater consistency to give Argentina a strong start.

Diego Schwartzman will aim to seal the tie in the second singles rubber, but faces a tricky task against World No. 4 Stefanos Tsitsipas, with the pair tied at 1-1 in their ATP Head2Head series.

ATP Cup format sees the No. 2 singles played first, followed by the No. 1 singles and the doubles. Doubles uses no-ad scoring and a match tie-break in place of a third set.

Each country plays three matches in group play from 1-6 January across Ken Rosewall Arena and Qudos Bank Arena at Sydney Olympic Park. One team emerges from each of the four groups to contest the two semi-finals, which will be split over two days (7-8 January), with the final played 9 January.

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Chile Earns First ATP Cup Tie Win After Doubles Decider

  • Posted: Jan 03, 2022

Chile earned its first ATP Cup tie victory on Monday when Tomas Barrios Vera and Alejandro Tabilo clinched the doubles decider, following on from Cristian Garin’s No. 1 singles match win against 2020 champion Serbia in Group A.

Barrios Vera and Tabilo defeated Nikola Cacic and Matej Sabanov of Serbia 6-4, 3-6, 10-7 in 86 minutes that ended at 12:30am local time in Sydney. Garin had dug deep to beat Dusan Lajovic, who retired at 0-3 down in the third set of their lengthy clash on Qudos Bank Arena, after Filip Krajinovic had beaten Tabilo 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(5) in the No. 2 singles match.

“It was a great match with Krajinovic and I just needed to find the motivation again, once Cristian won his match,” said Tabilo, after partnering Barrios Vera in the doubles match. 

Chile, with a 1-1 record after its loss to Spain on Sunday, now challenges Casper Ruud’s Norway on Wednesday. Serbia meets Spain in a repeat of the inaugural 2020 final.


Garin was leading 6-4, 4-6, 3-0 against Lajovic, when the Serbian retired after two hours and 14 minutes. There had been 23 break points and seven breaks of serve in the first set alone. “We played an amazing match and I feel sorry for Dusan,” said Garin, after his first ATP Cup singles win. “It was so tough. I was going point-by-point in the second set and I’m so grateful to the Chilean support in the crowd.”

Lajovic appeared to be building up a head of steam in the first set by winning three straight games for a 4-2 lead that, incredibly, was the start of five straight service breaks. Ultimately, Lajovic’s greater hard-court proficiency won through in a tough 60-minute set that ended with the 31-year-old hitting a forehand crosscourt approach winner.

The second set, in contrast, was settled and largely serve-dominated. Garin did save two break points in a lengthy hold in the second game, but that was the only drama through to 4-4 when Lajovic tightened up out of the blue and gifted Garin the break. With Lajovic starting to cramp, Garin calmly closed out for a decider.

Nine years ago in their only ATP Head2Head meeting, Garin had beaten Lajovic 6-3, 6-4 for the first ATP Tour match of his career at 2013 Vina del Mar.


Krajinovic drew on his experience to beat Tabilo, currently No. 139 in the ATP Rankings, over two hours and 26 minutes in the Qudos Bank Arena.

“I was controlling the match up a set and a break, then he began to play better and made some unbelievable passing shots,” said Krajinovic. “I got tight, which is normal when you play for your country. At the end, he came up with some big serves and I’m very proud to have won. It means a lot to start the year well.”

Krajinovic broke through at 3-3 in the first set, when good scrambling resulted in a low backhand winner. The World No. 42 won 14 of 17 points at the net and closed out the 40-minute opener with an ace down the T.

When his best shots came back, Tabilo went for more power and it cost him in the first game of the second set. But credit to the 24-year-old, he kept fighting and won five straight games – breaking serve courtesy of Krajinovic groundstroke errors at 1-2 and 2-3. Tabilo went onto convert his third set point with a forehand winner, his 22nd winner of the 41-minute set.

The decider was full of momentum swings, at first for Tabilo with an early service break and then Krajinovic, who opened up a 3-1 advantage. Tabilo recovered and forced Krajinovic to save a break point with a forehand winner at 5-5. When it came to the crunch though in the tie-break, Krajinovic did just enough to complete victory in two hours and 26 minutes.

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Unity, Comedy & Darts: Behind Team Great Britain's Curtain At The ATP Cup

  • Posted: Jan 03, 2022

If you want a sense of Team Great Britain’s ATP Cup atmosphere, look no further than the first changeover of Daniel Evans’ match against German Jan-Lennard Struff on Sunday. Evans got on captain Liam Broady’s case to say the least.

“You nervous?” Evans asked.

“About what?” Broady replied.

“You look it. Say something mate, you’re the captain!”

“What do you want me to say?”

“I don’t know like good play or…”

“Yeah, I’ve been saying that every point!”

The entire British Team Zone cracked up throughout the exchange. The clip spread rapidly on social media soon thereafter. In reality, it was normal banter for the group, all done in good fun.

“I spoke to a few of my friends afterwards and they said with Dan you’re never going to get away without being sledged a little bit for lack of a better word,” Broady told, cracking a laugh. “But he was right. I was nervous, I didn’t know how to behave! It’s tough with players sometimes because everyone is different. Different people want different input.

“But the guys were great out there today. Everyone was really relaxed, having a good time, so it makes it really easy to be on the bench with them and just enjoy the experience, even that bit.”

If you were a fly on the wall with the team, you would quickly see the togetherness of the group. That often means a lot of joking around — usually at the expense of one of the players — but they all enjoy, and it is done in good fun.

“That’s the British sense of humour. Sometimes it could be a bit close to the bone, but at the end of the day, I give it as much as I take it and it’s never meant in a bad way,” Broady said. “We always look out for each other and try to help each other out. When we’re comfortable with each other like that, some touchy things get said, but it’s all water off a duck’s back. I just really enjoy these environments.”

On the court, it was clear that the British team unity paid dividends. Facing a difficult foe in Germany on Sunday evening was a tall task — Alexander Zverev is the No. 3 player in the ATP Rankings and fresh off a victory at the Nitto ATP Finals, and he played both singles and doubles. But with the Team Zone fully engaged, Evans and Jamie Murray crafted a nearly flawless deciding doubles performance to defeat Zverev and two-time Roland Garros doubles champion Kevin Krawietz 6-3, 6-4.

Daniel Evans
Photo Credit: Andrew Eichenholz/ATP Tour
After match point, Evans and Murray pretended to throw darts at the Team Zone and Murray yelled “One hundred and eighty!”, which is the maximum score in a round. That stemmed from games of darts they had played earlier in the week when spending time together.

“I think everybody understands the main objective of the week is to win, obviously. But it’s just as important that we all have fun, eat together, be around each other and not go back to our rooms and hide away,” Evans said. “We can all spend more time and get ready for the event, because we’ve got to watch each other and hopefully get through the matches.”

Evans is the team’s No. 2 singles player and he is not the captain, but the 31-year-old is the group’s leader. The World No. 25 is the first to joke with his teammates, but also the first to be there for them in support on the court.

“It’s a team event. We’re all pretty good friends, so it’s good to enjoy the week,” Evans said. “The rest of the weeks on Tour could be pretty intense, so it’s nice that we’re all here together, preparing together. It’s important to have fun in weeks like this. You normally get better results as well.”

Team Great Britain
Photo Credit: Peter Staples/ATP Tour
That has carried over to their efforts outside of a team environment, too. Evans and British No. 1 Cameron Norrie have been playing the best tennis of their careers. Norrie in particular had a standout 2021, winning his first title in Los Cabos, capturing ATP Masters 1000 glory at Indian Wells and competing at the Nitto ATP Finals as an alternate.

Neither player has the shotmaking of Roger Federer, the physical presence of Rafael Nadal or one shot that blows opponents away. They are simply blue-collar competitors who grind their opponents down with guile and determination.

“I think both Evo and I are guys who are not going to come out and hit people off the court. We slowly chip away at our opponents and try to play to our strengths,” Norrie said. “I know we are both feeling good. We had a good break, a good preseason and like I’ve said several times already, there’s no better way to start the year than here as a team.

“Hopefully I can perform better than I did last time here and I know Evo loves this team format, team atmosphere. I know Joe [Salisbury] and Jamie absolutely [have] thrived in it as well.”

Broady added that many of the team members train together while home, and that also contributes to their unity. They might not have the starpower of some of the other countries this week, but they still have an x-factor.

“At the end of the day the ATP Cup is a team event. You need more than one player. Obviously Germany also has great players, but on a tennis court it’s just one [against] one or in doubles obviously two [against] two,” Broady said. “It’s a 50-50 shot of winning the match and we feel like our team bench is pretty strong as well and one of our strengths. Especially in the team events that can help alter the results.

“We’ll keep playing to our strengths, keep doing what we do and see how far it takes us.”

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Majchrzak Puts Team In Pole Position vs. Georgia

  • Posted: Jan 03, 2022

Kamil Majchrzak gave Poland a strong start on Day 3 of the ATP Cup Monday when he dropped just two games against Georgia’s Alexsandre Bakshi on Ken Rosewall Arena.

World No. 117 Majchrzak had too much game for World No. 974 Bakshi, winning 6-1, 6-1 in just 53 minutes. Hubert Hurkacz now has the opportunity to clinch Poland’s second win of the tournament when he meets Aleksandre Metreveli, who replaced Nikoloz Basilashvili.

“I was trying to move [Bakshi] around and I think that was the key to the match,” said Majchrzak, who is coached by former World No. 7 Swede Joakim Nystrom.

“He brings me a lot of confidence and a lot of calm in my tennis so I can feel that I am improving,” Majchrzak said. “We are working on [developing an all-court game] but in a way that doesn’t interrupt my baseline game. We will take it from the practice to the matches but it takes time.”

Should Poland, which defeated Greece on Day 1, win today and Argentina beats Greece tonight, then on Wednesday the Poland-Argentina tie will decide which team emerges from Group D to contest the semi-finals.

ATP Cup format sees the No. 2 singles played first, followed by the No. 1 singles and the doubles. Doubles uses no-ad scoring and a match tie-break in place of a third set.

Each country plays three matches in group play from 1-6 January across Ken Rosewall Arena and Qudos Bank Arena at Sydney Olympic Park. One team emerges from each of the four groups to contest the two semi-finals, which will be played over two days (7-8 January), with the final played 9 January.

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Bautista Agut's Big Win Against Ruud Keeps Spain Perfect In Group A

  • Posted: Jan 03, 2022

Defeating Roberto Bautista Agut at the ATP Cup is a difficult task, which Casper Ruud learned the hard way on Monday.

Bautista Agut improved to 9-2 in singles at the team event with a 6-4, 7-6(4) victory against Ruud, which clinched Spain’s triumph against Norway. The 33-year-old won 92 per cent of his first-serve points and did not face a break point.

“Casper is playing unbelievable tennis, [he did] an unbelievable performance last year, and today I played very good,” Bautista Agut said in his on-court interview. “I returned very well, I made very few unforced errors and I played aggressively. I try to play matches like this and that is why I am practising hard and I am trying to show this level.”

Last year, Ruud showed that he is more than just a clay-court stalwart. In fact, he excelled on hard courts, advancing to the semi-finals of the Nitto ATP Finals in Turin. But he struggled to crack Bautista Agut’s baseline armour. The Spaniard was more solid throughout the match and did not let slip his focus.

“I feel happy. I like playing in Australia. I think I play some of my best tennis here every year,” Bautista Agut said. “It was not easy to manage the finish of 2021. It’s a good start and I feel very good.”

Spain is now 2-0 at this year’s ATP Cup, having also defeated Chile in Group A action. They will try to remain perfect on Wednesday against Serbia.

Pablo Carreno Busta
Photo Credit: Peter Staples/ATP Tour
Pablo Carreno Busta made a quick start for his country when he dismissed Norway’s Viktor Durasovic 6-3, 6-3 in 69 minutes.

“It’s always important to win the first match. Today I felt more and more comfortable than the first day. It’s normal. We need to get the rhythm, we need to get the confidence,” Carreno Busta said in his on-court interview. “But today, I felt better and better. At the beginning maybe he missed too much, but after that he started to play really, really good and it was a close match.”

Carreno Busta is now 4-1 in singles in his ATP Cup career. He has not lost a set in this edition, having beaten Chile’s Alejandro Tabilo on Saturday.

World No. 345 Durasovic put forth a good effort and showed potential higher than his ATP Ranking, but former Top 10 star Carreno Busta was too solid. The Spaniard did not face a break point.

“All the people here play really good. It’s never easy to win these kind of matches,” Carreno Busta said. “Happy for the level, because it was better than the first day.”

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Tsitsipas' Greek Grounding Key To His Success

  • Posted: Jan 02, 2022

Stefanos Tsitsipas is representing Team Greece at ATP Cup for a third consecutive year this week in Sydney and will be hoping to guide his country out of the group stage for the first time. 

Ahead of competing in his opening singles match Monday, the World No. 4 spoke to about Greece’s team dynamics, his love of Greek food and more.

If you could take a shot from one of your teammates and add it to your game, what would it be?
Michail’s [Pervolarakis] return. Both backhand and forehand.

Which member of your team would most likely be late for dinner or practice?
Markos Kalovelonis. He is just really laid back. Very chilled and he takes life very easy and at a slow pace.

Can you describe the personality of your teammates in a few words?
I would describe all of us as pretty shy. We are pretty open with each other but I would define Michail’s personality as very low-key, not extremely social but he feels comfortable around people he knows for a long time. Markos, pretty much the same. We have a new member of the team, Aristotelis Thanos, who is probably the shyest of them all. He barely talks to us. He is a nice kid. My brother is the most outgoing of us all.

Talk about the first tennis club you played at in Greece?
Tennis club Glyfada, located about 15 minutes from where I lived. We only had clay courts and I grew up playing on the clay courts there. I picked up tennis pretty early at the age of six. I had two coaches that taught me the game I very much love up to this day and I am still in touch with them. All outdoor courts. The weather in Greece is very good and even in winter time we are still able to play outdoors.

What do you remember about those early days?
I remember finishing with practice and my parents would be very late to pick me up, like a couple of hours and I would stay and play on the wall for hours, recreating a Wimbledon or Roland Garros title playing against that wall. Thinking about it now, I have come a long way.

I remember next to the tennis club there were neighbours and it was a residential area and I was creating a lot of noise when playing against the wall and people didn’t like that. But I kept playing.

When I first started I was very shy and I am also very privileged. I got really lucky with my first coach as he really made me love the sport even more than I did back then and he was really good with kids and I only realise it now.

Where would you tell people to visit in Greece?
My top three destinations in Greece would be Paxi Islands in the Ionian sea. Crete Island, where culture was first discovered. There are plenty of things to do in Crete. I would recommend the place of my birth, which is very rich in tourism and one of the top destinations in the south-western part of Athens.

What about Greek food?

Any Greek food you try will not leave you disappointed. We have plenty of dishes, seafood, meat. We have many vegetarian options. We have one of the best cuisines in the world.

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Five Things That Matter On ATP Cup Day 3

  • Posted: Jan 02, 2022

The ATP Cup will heat up on Day 3 with Serbia, Spain, Argentina and Poland seeking their second group wins in Sydney. Stefanos Tsitsipas, Casper Ruud, Hubert Hurkacz, Diego Schwartzman and Roberto Bautista Agut are the leading singles players in action on Ken Rosewall Arena or Qudos Bank Arena.

Here are the five things that matter most ahead of Day 3 at the ATP Cup.

Tsitsipas vs. Schwartzman
Argentina will attempt to replicate the form that helped the team to a 3-0 win over Georgia on Sunday. While World No. 44 Federico Delbonis begins the night-session Group D tie against Michail Pervolarakis of Greece, all eyes will be on scheduled No. 1 match between Tsitsipas and Schwartzman in their first meeting for almost four years.

The questions is: Will Tsitsipas’ right elbow, which he has struggled with since November, hold up? The World No. 4 did not play Pole Hurkacz two days ago, but joined Pervolarakis to win the doubles match. Schwartzman got the better of Tsitsipas 6-3, 7-5 in the 2017 Antwerp semi-finals, but lost 6-2, 6-1 in Barcelona in April 2018.

Garin’s Flashback
Two years ago, Serbia ran out 2-1 victors over Chile. Four players — Dusan Lajovic and Nikola Cacic of Serbia and Chile’s Cristian Garin and Alejandro Tabilo — were part of that tie in Brisbane, and feature in their teams this year. Incredibly, eight years ago, Garin became the fifth player aged 16 or under since 2000, to win an ATP Tour match when he beat Lajovic in the Vina del Mar first round. A few months later, he went on to capture the Roland Garros junior title.

On Day 3 in Sydney, the players meet again. Filip Krajinovic, who won two matches for Serbia to ensure a 2-1 victory over Norway on Sunday, will begin the Group A tie against Tabilo on Qudos Bank Arena.

Metreveli’s Journey Back
Aleksandre Metreveli, the grandson of 1973 Wimbledon finalist Alex Metreveli, who represented Georgia at the 2020 ATP Cup in Brisbane, has much to be thankful for when he plays World No. 9 Hurkacz of Poland in Group D on Ken Rosewall Arena. Five years ago, Metreveli broke both of his legs in a car accident, and was told he wouldn’t be able to run – let alone play tennis.

Speaking to, Metreveli revealed, “I was laying in a bed, on my back, in my parents house in one position for four-and-a-half months. I then went to Turkey and had four more surgeries. I started to walk on crutches for four months and then rehabilitation, running, jogging and stretching. I played for 15 minutes around 14 months after the accident, not running, but standing and hitting, and I was super happy that day. I still remember that day, with my family. It was a big day for us, We hit for 20-25 minutes with my coach, then I wanted to play more.”

Will Norway Shock Spain?
Two years ago, on 3 January, Norway sent shockwaves through the ATP Cup in Brisbane with victory over the United States on Day 1. Ruud proved to be the inspiration, with a 6-7(3), 7-6(10), 7-5 win over John Isner before joining forces with Viktor Durasovic in the deciding doubles match. Ruud, of course, is No. 8 in the ATP Rankings after a career-best 2021 season of 57 match wins and five ATP Tour titles.

Can Ruud and Durasovic combine to beat Spain? Durasovic will open the Group A tie against Pablo Carreno Busta on Qudos Bank Arena, before World No. 19 Bautista Agut — with an 8-2 singles record at ATP Cup — comes up against Ruud, who he beat 6-4, 6-3 in the 2018 Munich second round. Bautista Agut, one of the ATP Tour’s most versatile performers, has won 15 matches against Top 10 opponents.

Players Make Most Of Team Zone
At each changeover, there’s already plenty of strategy, tactical discussions and banter in the ATP Cup Team Zone. Daniel Evans admitted, after his victory over Jan-Lennard Struff on Sunday, that Team Great Britain had been joking how captain Liam Broady had barely said a word. Greek captain Apostolos Tsitsipas checked the Team Zone tablet to highlight different plays with Pervolarakis and Aristotelis Thanos against Poland, while Taylor Fritz was in constant dialogue with United States captain Michael Russell in his hard-fought victory over Felix-Auger-Aliassime of Canada.

Russell told, “It’s a unique experience, but I’ve enjoyed it. I think it’s great. I’d love to see it in more events, where there is more on-court coaching or on-court involvement between the player and coach or team member.”


KEN ROSEWALL ARENA start 10:00 am
Group D – Poland v Georgia, Day Session
K. Majchrzak (POL) vs A. Bakshi (GEO)
H. Hurkacz (POL) vs A. Metreveli (GEO)
Subject to change – S. Walkow (POL) / J. Zielinski (POL) vs A. Bakshi (GEO) / A. Metreveli (GEO)

Start 5:30 pm
Group D – Greece v Argentina, Night Session
M. Pervolarakis (GRE) vs F. Delbonis (ARG)

Not Before 7:00 pm
S. Tsitsipas (GRE) vs D. Schwartzman (ARG)
Subject to change – M. Pervolarakis (GRE) / S. Tsitsipas (GRE) vs M. Gonzalez (ARG) / A. Molteni (ARG)

QUDOS BANK ARENA start 10:00 am
Group A – Norway v Spain, Day Session
V. Durasovic (NOR) vs P. Carreno Busta (ESP)
C. Ruud (NOR) vs R. Bautista Agut (ESP)
Subject to change – V. Durasovic (NOR) / C. Ruud (NOR) vs A. Davidovich Fokina (ESP) / P. Martinez (ESP)

Start 5:30 pm
Group A – Serbia v Chile, Night Session
F. Krajinovic (SRB) vs A. Tabilo (CHI)

Not Before 7:00 pm
D. Lajovic (SRB) vs C. Garin (CHI)
Subject to change – N. Cacic (SRB) / M. Sabanov (SRB) vs T. Barrios Vera (CHI) / A. Tabilo (CHI)

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Schwartzman Inspired By Argentina's Golden Generation

  • Posted: Jan 02, 2022

Diego Schwartzman is making his third ATP Cup appearance this week in Sydney, leading Team Argentina in Group D at the 16-team event.

The 29-year-old, who triumphed against Nikoloz Basilashvili in his first match at the tournament this week, spoke to about what places he loves in Argentina, who inspired him and much more.

If you could take one shot from any member of your team and add it to your game what would it be?
Good question, I think not a shot, but Delbonis’ size. Some extra centimetres for me should be okay.

Who on the team would most likely be late for practice or a team dinner?
Maybe me. I’m a relaxed guy, so, I mean, sometimes I go to the places five or 10 minutes late. You know, I’m doing something else or taking a coffee, or talking with someone and It’s difficult to arrive on time.

Can you describe the personality of the other players in the team?
Everyone is very similar, we know each other since we are young. [Andres] Molteni is the funniest guy in the team, he’s always joking, always smiling. Then Machi [Maximo Gonzalez], I think he has the experience, you know? He is the old guy in the team.

Federico Coria was the fifth player, but he’s not here, but he is obviously very funny, same age as me. I think he’s one of my best friends on tour, and then Delbonis, same thing, we know each other since we are 10 years old so we have a very good relationship.

We share a lot, and I think everyone is funny and everyone is always smiling and we have a very good relationship, so we have a very good team.

Which Argentine players inspired you to play tennis when you were young?
Well, everyone. When I was young we had Nalbandian, Coria, Gaudio, Chela, Zabaleta, Monaco; everyone was playing. We had five to 10 guys at the same time. Not many countries can say that, perhaps Spain or France.

Can you describe the first tennis club that you played tennis at?
I started playing as a child for 30 minutes or one hour at Club Nautico Hacoaj in Buenos Aires. It’s one of the biggest clubs in South America with 30 courts.

Now they put the name of the centre court as Diego Schwartzman, so it was a very nice moment a few weeks ago. And I started playing there. Then I moved to an academy in the capital and a few years after I started my professional career.

Tell me three things you love about your country?
Everything! The social… sharing, how we share everything. The asado…: the steak barbeque. And…mate, the drink.

Where would you recommend a tourist visit?
Well, I love my country. We are a very big country and you have different styles. If you like the south – the mountains, the lakes, the snow – you have to go to Patagonia. I mean, Patagonia it’s one of the famous places in the world. We are very far but, if you have time you have to come. I have never seen something like this in the world. And also one big part in Chile. We share the Patagonia because los Andes are there, and it’s unbelievable.

And then in the North you have the desert. Jujuy and Salta, are unbelievable places. And then in the middle is Buenos Aires, the capital, and I live there so I love it.

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