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Kyrgios Will Not Compete In Australian Open

  • Posted: Dec 09, 2023

Kyrgios Will Not Compete In Australian Open

Aussie played one tournament in 2023

Nick Kyrgios will not compete in the 2024 Australian Open.

The 28-year-old was not on the entry list for the season’s first major. He confirmed on Friday that he will not play his home Slam for the second consecutive year.

The only match Kyrgios played in 2023 came in Stuttgart, where he lost in straight sets to Wu Yibing.

“This is a very disappointing time for me, but I won’t be able to compete at the 2024 Australian Open,” Kyrgios said on a social media platform.

“Obviously, heartbreaking. I’ve had so many amazing memories there, and I just want to really get back to playing at the top of my game and doing it right, and I need a little more time.”

In 2022, the Australian enjoyed one of the best seasons of his career. Kyrgios reached the Wimbledon final and won the Australian Open doubles title with close friend Thanasi Kokkinakis. His journey through the year was documented on Netflix’s Break Point.

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Best Of: From Challengers To Grand Slam Breakthroughs In 2023

  • Posted: Dec 08, 2023

Best Of: From Challengers To Grand Slam Breakthroughs In 2023

Arnaldi won three Challenger titles and reached US Open fourth round highlights five players who tasted success on the ATP Challenger Tour this season before shining at one of the four majors.

Christopher Eubanks
Coming into the season, the American was ranked outside the Top 100 of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings with just one major main-draw win. Closing 2022 by winning 11 of his final 14 Challenger-level matches was a sign of things to come for Eubanks. A quarter-final appearance at the ATP Masters 1000 event in Miami led Eubanks to his Top 100 debut.

During a South Korean Challenger swing across April and May, Eubanks reached two quarter-finals and a semi-final. The former Georgia Tech University standout started his grass season at the Surbiton Challenger, suffering a second-round exit. Then his life changed.

The 27-year-old collected his maiden ATP Tour level title in Mallorca and completed a dream run to the Wimbledon quarter-finals. En route to the last eight at the All England Club, Eubanks ousted 15th seed Cameron Norrie and fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas.

“My grass-court season got off to a bit of a rough start at the Surbiton Challenger. I began to question whether or not I could be good on the surface. I didn’t think that I could,” Eubanks said in July. “But my coach, Ruan Roelofse, and I, we put in a lot of work on the grass to try and understand the footing and the shots and everything that I would need to have in order to be successful.”

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Dominic Stricker
Making Swiss tennis history isn’t easy. After all, 20-time major champion Roger Federer and former World No. 3 Stan Wawrinka have etched their names into almost every record book for their home country. But the lefty Stricker managed to carve out a niche place in the record books by winning the Prague Challenger in May and become the only Swiss player to win five Challenger titles before his 21st birthday.

Stricker, who also won the Rovereto Challenger in February, enjoyed a breakthrough at the US Open, where he advanced through qualifying en route to a fourth-round appearance. In the second round, Stricker stunned Tsitsipas after firing 78 winners in a five-set thriller that lasted four hours, 10 minutes.

“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,” Stricker said at the time.

His deep run at Flushing Meadows propelled him into the Top 100 for the first time on 11 September. The 21-year-old became the youngest Swiss to reach the milestone since 20-year-old Wawrinka did so in 2005.

<a href=Dominic Stricker triumphs at the Challenger 75 event in Rovereto, Italy.” />
Dominic Stricker celebrates winning the Rovereto Challenger. Credit: Felice Calabro
Rinky Hijikata
The 22-year-old Australian partnered countryman Jason Kubler for the first time at their home Slam. The result? A fairytale run to their first Grand Slam title.

“I could never have imagined this, it is just unreal,” Hijikata said.

The dream start to the year continued for Hijikata, who did not drop a set en route to winning the Burnie Challenger, just eight days after winning the Australian Open doubles crown.

A wild card into the US Open, Hijikata reached the fourth round (l. Tiafoe), to earn his Top 100 debut. After the season’s final major, the former University of North Carolina star reached the Cary Challenger final and advanced to the last four at the Playford and Sydney Challengers.

“The Challenger Tour has been great for me. There’s so many quality players on the Challenger Tour and I honestly feel like the level isn’t too different between Challengers and ATP Tour events,” Hijikata said. “To make that transition is very important, to play Challengers and put yourself week in and week out against some quality players, just being able to back up good weeks week after week is hard to do and important.”

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Sebastian Ofner
Not many players were more successful on the ATP Challenger Tour in the first half of the year than Ofner. The 27-year-old Austrian reached four Challenger finals before his career-best moment at Roland Garros.

Ofner qualified for the clay-court major and showed no signs of slowing down. After racing past Maxime Cressy and Sebastian Korda, Ofner survived his second career five-setter, against Fabio Fognini, before falling to fifth seed Tsitsipas in the fourth round.

Following his deep run in Paris, Ofner jumped 37 spots in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings to mark his Top 100 debut. He then reached the Ilkley Challenger final in June and won his fourth Challenger title in July in Salzburg. Ofner finished the season at a career-high No. 43.

Matteo Arnaldi
The 22-year-old was the only Italian to win a trio of ATP Challenger Tour titles in 2023, with triumphs in Tenerife, Murcia and Heilbronn. Arnaldi earned his first Top 10 victory by defeating World No. 4 Casper Ruud in Madrid, where he also secured his Top 100 breakthrough.

In New York, Arnaldi’s career hit new heights. The Sanremo native advanced to the fourth round, having defeated 16th seed Norrie along the way to an Arthur Ashe Stadium match against top seed Carlos Alcaraz, who defeated Arnaldi in straight sets.

After starting the season at No. 134, Arnaldi boasted a 16-5 Challenger-match record and hit a career-high No. 41 in October.

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2023 Comeback Player Of The Year Nominees: Koepfer, Monfils, Struff, Zverev

  • Posted: Dec 08, 2023

2023 Comeback Player Of The Year Nominees: Koepfer, Monfils, Struff, Zverev

Our Comeback nominees each found a way to persevere in 2023

There’s nothing quite like a good rebound, a good revival. Our Comeback Player of the Year nominees in the 2023 ATP Awards — Dominik Koepfer, Gael Monfils, Jan-Lennard Struff and Alexander Zverev — will attest to that. All four players found a way to overcome injury and battle back toward the top of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings in 2023.

Player Age 2023 Low Ranking  Current Ranking 
Dominik Koepfer  29  262  77 
Gael Monfils  37  394  74 
Jan-Lennard Struff  33  167  25 
Alexander Zverev  26  27 

Nominees for Comeback Player of the Year are determined by an International Tennis Writers’ Association (ITWA) vote. The winner is selected by players from the shortlist.

Stay tuned: ATP Awards winners will be announced during Awards Week, starting Monday, 11 December.

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Dominik Koepfer

Injuries are never easy — especially when the issue at hand is never fully diagnosed.

That’s been the case for Dominik Koepfer the last few years. After reaching a career-high No. 50 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings in 2021, the German began to experience a nagging discomfort in his left arm, especially when serving. Despite closing out that year with an impressive Round of 16 showing at the Rolex Paris Masters, where he defeated Andy Murray and Felix Auger-Aliassime in succession, the pain lingered and he was forced to take time off.

An MRI, repeated doctor visits, and painkillers did nothing for the former Tulane All-American, and his ranking plummeted as low as No. 262 earlier this year.

“No doctor really knows what it is,” said Koepfer. “It’s probably instability in my shoulder and just maybe some nerve stuff, too, that’s a little stuck. Nothing really helped. I’ve literally tried everything I could. There was no surgery you could do because if there’s no diagnosis, really, you can’t really do anything to fix it.”

Credit the dogged Koepfer, 29, with finding a way to play through the pain. Beginning with the Challenger title at the Mexico City Open in March, he steadily climbed his way back up the rankings. He would reach five ATP Challenger Tour finals altogether in 2023, earn an opening-round shot against defending champ Carlos Alcaraz at the US Open, and finish the year at No. 77.

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Dominik Koepfer in Winston-Salem. Photo: Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Gael Monfils

There was ample reason for the emotion in Stockholm, where tour vet Gael Monfils became the oldest BNP Paribas Nordic Open champion in tournament history, a 4-6, 7-6(6), 6-3 winner over surprise finalist Pavel Kotov.

The ever-athletic Frenchman has experienced more than his fair share of physical setbacks since turning pro nearly two decades ago. The 2023 campaign was no exception. Monfils struggled with injuries in the first half of the season, and arrived in Sweden at No. 140 Pepperstone ATP Rankings. His trophy run was a testament to his longevity, his career-long dedication to the sport. After all, it was La Monf’s second Stockholm title, having won the ATP 250 event back in 2011. That 12-year gap between titles is the biggest in history. He became just the fourth player age 37 or above to win an ATP Tour title since 1990, joining Roger Federer, Ivo Karlovic and Feliciano Lopez.

Monfils dedicated the win to his mother, Sylvette; wife, WTA star Elina Svitolina; and baby daughter, Skaï.

“It’s the first time I’ve won a title as a father. She is very special,” said Monfils, who also notched Top 25 wins over Stefanos Tsitsipas, Alex de Minaur, Cameron Norrie, Alexander Bublik and Adrian Mannarino in 2023.

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Gael Monfils in Stockholm. Photo: Alexander Scheuber/BNP Paribas Nordic Open

Jan-Lennard Struff

Jan-Lennard Struff, 33, was in the midst of a career year, buoyed by runner-up finishes at the Mutua Madrid Open (where as a lucky loser he upended Stefanos Tsitsipas and pushed Carlos Alcaraz in a three-set final) and in Stuttgart. But after a No. 167-to-No. 21 catapult, the German was forced to shut it down due to a hip injury.

“It was a great year so far. 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. It was an amazing year, so it was very hard to accept.”

The right-hander did not pick up a racquet for seven weeks while rehabbing, missing three months in all beginning in late June.

All this made his September return that much more meaningful, a 6-3, 1-6, 6-4 win over Chile’s Cristian Garin in Zhuhai in his first match back. Last month, Struff powered through to his third semi-final of 2023 in Sofia, very much back on track.

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Jan-Lennard Struff in Madrid. Photo: Getty Images

Alexander Zverev

The images from Paris are still fresh, Alexander Zverev crumpled on the terre battue, screaming in pain after rolling his ankle in the second set of his semi-final match against Rafael Nadal. His 2022 Roland Garros — his entire year, for that matter — was over.

Fast forward a year-and-a-half and the German is very much back in business, comfortably inside the Top 10 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings. Success was not immediate. In fact, Zverev would win just three of his first nine matches in 2023. But not only would he return to the Roland Garros semi-finals (l. to Casper Ruud), he would capture the 20th and 21st titles of his career in Hamburg and Chengdu, and qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals.

“After the injury last year, my first season back, to be back with the top eight players, to be back in Turin, is an achievement for me,” said Zverev at the year-end showdown, where he registered two of his four Top 10 wins on the year over Carlos Alcaraz and Andrey Rublev.

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Alexander Zverev at the Nitto ATP Finals. Photo: Corinne Dubreuil/ATP Tour

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Zhukayev's Journey: 'I Never Thought I'd Be A Professional Player'

  • Posted: Dec 08, 2023

Zhukayev’s Journey: ‘I Never Thought I’d Be A Professional Player’

The 23-year-old earned his maiden ATP Challenger Tour title this year

Kazakhstan’s Beibit Zhukayev first picked up a tennis racquet on a family vacation at age eight. A native of Aktau, population roughly 180,000, Zhukayev has defied odds to become a rising star on the ATP Challenger Tour.

“I never thought I’d become a professional player while practising in Aktau. It was for fun, we never had tennis coaches there or players,” Zhukayev told “I’m kind of like a superstar in that city. A lot of people tell me, ‘We never thought that someone would be that high in the rankings!’”

Zhukayev, who moved to Almaty in 2013, takes pride in being born and raised in Kazakhstan. “I’m real Kazakh,” he said. At No. 189 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, the 23-year-old hopes to see more tennis players emerge from his home country.

“Our tennis society and level is going up. I see a lot more children that are starting to play tennis and are more interested in the sport,” said Zhukayev, who is the second-highest ranked Kazakh, behind World No. 32 Alexander Bublik. “I believe in five, 10 years we will have more players competing.”

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If it were not for a family vacation to Türkiye, who knows if Zhukayev would be where he is today. Alongside his uncle at a resort in 2008, Zhukayev tried tennis and instantly fell in love. He also quickly caught on to a strategy.

“I made him run a lot. I loved playing corner to corner and made people run for the ball,” Zhukayev said. “My uncle fell down and he had a small injury on his knee. I still remember that he had a lot of blood on his knee and I was so sorry to him.”

A breakthrough moment for Zhukayev came in May at the Little Rock Challenger, where he advanced through qualifying en route to his first final at that level. Zhukayev went one step further in November, triumphing at the Jonathan Fried Pro Challenger in Charlottesville, Virginia. But all did not look so well at the start of the week, when Zhukayev fended off five match points to escape Thai-Son Kwiatkowski in the first round.

“I thought I was going to lose. I thought I would have another week of practice,” Zhukayev said. “I was kind of thinking, ‘What am I going to do?’ I just said, ‘Let’s just try to win the next point.’ I won it and I’d say, ‘Try to win another one.’ Then when he had three more match points in a game, I just said, ‘Try and win this point and see what happens.’

“The next day I was so sore and my legs were so tired. But I figured it out and started playing better and better every day. It was an incredible week for me.”

<a href=Beibit Zhukayev wins his maiden ATP Challenger Tour title in Charlottesville, Virginia.” />
Beibit Zhukayev wins the Jonathan Fried Pro Challenger. Credit: Al Hoover
Zhukayev earned his maiden ATP Tour main-draw victory this year in Shanghai, where he downed Italian Stefano Napolitano. Despite the 6’5” Zhukayev hammering 20 aces in the second round against Karen Khachanov, he suffered a three-set defeat in what was his first tournament at the ATP Masters 1000 level.

With his career-best season now in the rear-view mirror, the offseason will perhaps provide some downtime for Zhukayev to enjoy his hobbies: reading, driving and spending time with his family. Zhukayev has two brothers and a twin sister, Nazik, who was born 15 minutes after Beibit.

“I don’t watch any other sports. Sometimes I read political stuff to know what’s happening in the world,” Zhukayev said. “I’m a big fan of cars as well. I enjoy food, I think our Kazakh food is the best in the world.”

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Rivalries Of 2023: Djokovic vs. Rune

  • Posted: Dec 08, 2023

Rivalries Of 2023: Djokovic vs. Rune

Generational battle yielded three dramatic three-setters

After Holger Rune closed his 2022 ATP Tour season by beating Novak Djokovic in the Rolex Paris Masters final, the pair squared off again three times this year. Each match went the distance, all three-setters on some of the game’s biggest stages — in Rome, Paris (again) and at the Nitto ATP Finals looks back at their memorable matchups for 2023.

Rome QFs, Rune d. Djokovic 6-2, 4-6, 6-2
Rune earned his second straight win against the Serbian and, for the moment, moved ahead 2-1 in their Lexus ATP Head2Head rivalry with a focussed effort in rainy Rome. Djokovic clinched the second set after the players returned from a rain delay, but Rune composed himself to wrestle away the match at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia.

Rune made Djokovic work to close out the middle set from 5-2, but Rune had little trouble in closing out the victory after building a 4-0 lead in the decider — his third-set surge aided by a vexing combination of power and touch, including several well-timed drop shots.

“It’s really a big win for me,” said Rune, who converted on five of 10 break chances and hit 26 winners to Djokovic’s 22. “Obviously I did it last year in Paris as well, but every match is a huge challenge for me when I play against Novak. He’s one of the greatest that’s ever played the game… I’m super proud of myself and I enjoyed every moment out there.”

Paris QFs, Djokovic d. Rune 7-5, 6-7(3), 6-4
In a hotly anticipated rematch of their 2022 Rolex Paris Masters final, Djokovic earned double revenge by reversing both that result and the outcome in Rome.

While the outcome in their previous Paris-Bercy meeting was in doubt until the very last ball, Djokovic was determined to secure a more straightforward result this time around. He nearly finished the job in straight sets, but Rune saved a match point at 4-5 in the second and found a dangerous rhythm from the ground to power through the end of the set.

But Djokovic quickly regrouped to notch an early break in set three, and he offered Rune little hope of a comeback by making just one unforced error in the decider.

“It was quite a similar match to last year’s final, it was anybody’s game in every set,” said Djokovic, who would go on to win his record-extending seventh Paris-Bercy crown and 40th ATP Masters 1000 title. “Credit to him for staying mentally tough and playing solid. We have similar games: move well, defend well and we’re all-round players.”

Nitto ATP Finals RR, Djokovic d. Rune 7-6(4), 6-7(1), 6-3
Playing for the second time in 10 days, Djokovic and Rune again battled for three sets to open their campaigns in Turin. In his Nitto ATP Finals debut, Rune again gave Djokovic all he could handle.

Extended all-court exchanges were the norm despite fast conditions at the Pala Alpitour, such were the defensive skills on display from both competitors. After two heart-pounding sets, both in terms of physical exertion and drama, Djokovic pulled away in the decider — but not before Rune recovered an early break to stress the Serbian once more.

“It took everything,” said Djokovic, who clinched ATP Year-End No. 1 presented by Pepperstone honours for a record-extending eighth time with the win. “I saw in the first game, when he fired shots from the baseline in the first three or four points, I knew that it was going to be a tough life for me. If I wanted to win this match, I was going to have to work really hard… He was feeling the ball well, he was sharp. Very aggressive, every short ball he was coming in and he served terrific.”

In the final match of round-robin play, Rune nearly advanced to the semi-finals at the expense of Djokovic, but the Dane was turned back in three sets by home favourite Jannik Sinner. Djokovic would go on to defeat Sinner in the final to win his seventh Nitto ATP Finals crown, breaking a tie with Roger Federer.

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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

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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.”

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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.”

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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?”

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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.

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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.

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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

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