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ATP Cup: Djokovic Ready To Rumble In Brisbane

  • Posted: Dec 30, 2019

ATP Cup: Djokovic Ready To Rumble In Brisbane

Team Serbia begins their campaign on Saturday

Novak Djokovic touched down on Monday in Brisbane as he looks to continue his pattern of success in Australia at the inaugural ATP Cup.

The No. 2 player in the ATP Rankings will kick off his 2020 campaign by leading Team Serbia. They’ll take on France (led by Gael Monfils), South Africa (led by Kevin Anderson) and Chile (led by Cristian Garin) in Group A.

“It’s great to be back. It’s been awhile since I was last here in Brisbane. I can’t wait for the inaugural ATP Cup event this year,” Djokovic said. “Australia always puts on a great show for tennis during January. Any tennis event is successful in Australia and I’m sure the ATP Cup will be a blast. I’m inviting all the nations to come out and support us, especially the Serbian community.”

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Djokovic opened 2019 by capturing a record-breaking seventh Australian Open crown (d. Nadal). The Serbian’s other season highlights include saving two championship points to prevail in a historic fifth-set tie-break at Wimbledon (d. Federer) and earning a pair of ATP Masters 1000 titles in Madrid (d. Tsitsipas) and Paris (d. Shapovalov).

Serbia begins their pursuit of the ATP Cup trophy on Saturday against South Africa.

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ATP Cup: Jarry Bids For More Family History

  • Posted: Dec 30, 2019

ATP Cup: Jarry Bids For More Family History

Chile joins Serbia, France and South Africa in Group A in Brisbane

Playing in the ATP Cup will offer Nicolas Jarry another means to continue the arduous task of following in the footsteps of his grandfather, Jaime Fillol Sr. Beginning 3 January in Brisbane, Jarry will represent his country in the inaugural event, 45 years after his relative and idol took part in the former World Team Cup.

“For us as a family, it’s really beautiful to have a member in the world of tennis”, said Fillol Sr., World No. 14 in 1974 and winner of six ATP Tour titles during his career, which ended in 1985. “Obviously, I hope that Nico beats me. But I’m already history. My only interest is his happiness and that he enjoys all the opportunities this sport offers.”

More than anyone, it was Fillol Sr., born in 1946, who encouraged Jarry to play tennis.

“When he was very small, I would give him a racquet or something made of wood and play in my house. We would go to the garden and I would explain that the courts at Wimbledon were like that. We played in the hallways and I told him it was an indoor court. I talked to him all the time about tennis,” said Fillol, whose brother, Alvaro Fillol and son, Jaime Fillol, also played on the ATP Tour.

It wasn’t easy to convince Jarry because many other sports caught his attention as a young boy in Santiago. He played football, rugby, winter sports, cycling, gymnastics and loved skating and riding scooters. He even played volleyball, an inheritance from his parents.

“On beach holidays, they would take suitcases filled with different balls that we could play with. We even liked surfing,” recalled Jarry, the eldest of five brothers.

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But Fillol Sr. was determined to immerse the first of his 17 grandchildren in the world of tennis. He took him to ATP Tour tournaments, helped him have his photo taken with legends of the game (including Rafael Nadal in 2005), and introduced him to the big names of Chilean tennis such as Fernando Gonzalez and Nicolas Massu.

“My granddad gradually convinced me to get into tennis,” said Jarry. “Little by little, he became my role model.”

Jarry grew up listening to the stories of his grandfather on the ATP Tour and his victories representing Chile in the World Team Cup. Fillol Sr. had a 2-3 record at the event, having participated in Kingston in 1975 and Dusseldorf in 1978. But there will be plenty of chances next month to add more triumphs to the Jarry-Fillol family history.

The 24-year-old Jarry, who won his maiden ATP Tour title this July in Bastad (d. Londero), is part of an impressive Chilean squad. Team Chile will be captained by Paul Capdeville and led by his peer Cristian Garin, No. 33 in the ATP Rankings, who is in a confident mood after playing some of his best tennis to win his first two ATP Tour titles this year in Houston (d. Ruud) and Munich (d. Berrettini). Alejandro Tabilo, Marcelo Tomas Barrios Vera and Hans Podlipnik-Castillo complete the lineup. 

“I’m maybe at the best point of my career,” said Jarry. “It’s good for me. Everything has been positive recently and I want to continue in the same vein.”

Another reason the Jarry-Fillol dynasty can be hopeful about making more history in team competitions is Jarry’s love of representing Chile. Playing for his country has always brought out the best in him

“To me, events where you play for your country have always been special,” said Jarry. “Playing tennis for Chile is a really beautiful thing for me.”

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Pablo & Martin Cuevas Ready To Lead Uruguay In ATP Cup

  • Posted: Dec 30, 2019

Pablo & Martin Cuevas Ready To Lead Uruguay In ATP Cup

Uruguay competes in Group B in Perth

The 2019 season of Pablo Cuevas, his 15th on the ATP Tour, was special for many reasons.

The 33-year-old Uruguayan found some of his best form again and jumped from No. 90 in the ATP Rankings, his lowest standing since 2014, to No. 45. He finished runner-up in Estoril (l. to Tsitsipas) and also reached the third round at Roland Garros, matching his best Grand Slam result since accomplishing the feat in Paris two years ago.

However, the ATP Cup has been a priority for Cuevas since the beginning of this year. He views the inaugural competition as a significant moment for his career and Uruguayan tennis.

“Since the beginning of the year, I had expectations that we would enter, although I knew there was a lot of time. I was following the [ATP Cup standings] since the middle of the year and was more interested each time,” Cuevas told during his preseason in Uruguay. “The first cut was with the first 18 teams [the week] after the US Open, but with 24 teams [qualifying], I had an opportunity.”

Uruguay faces off against Spain, Japan and Georgia as part of Group B in Perth. The Spanish team will arrive with World No. 1 Rafael Nadal and World No. 9 Roberto Bautista Agut, while Japan is led by Kei Nishikori and Georgia has a Top 30 player in Nikoloz Basilashvili. But the six-time ATP Tour singles champion has embraced the challenge and is confident his team will be in top form.

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“For Uruguay, it is something spectacular,” he said. “We don’t usually face countries with great tennis potential. All the groups are complex and we are getting ready.”

Team Uruguay will unite Pablo with his brother, Martin Cuevas, Franco Roncadelli, Ariel Behar and 17-year-old Juan Martín Fumeaux. Felipe Maccio, who coached Pablo from ages 10 to 17, will serve as team captain. Martin, affectionately known on Tour as “Bebu”, said that representing Uruguay with his brother will be a meaningful moment.

“Sharing a team with Pablo is the best, It’s beautiful to have a player like him on the team. He’s helped me a lot with advice and when we play doubles together,” Martin said. “Since I knew we had a possibility to qualify in June, we followed the standings and he fought to qualify. All of our rivals are tough. We are preparing to arrive in the best way and to win matches.”

Although Pablo is not often in Uruguay, he represents his country with pride each time he steps on the court. The veteran has loved traveling the world throughout his career, but the rare trips back home remain some of his most treasured moments.

“When I go, I enjoy the tranquility of the country and the rhythm of life that takes. I really like the beaches it has and escape there whenever I can go,” he said. “The best thing is family and friends because I don’t have many opportunities to see them, so we have some barbecues and mates when I go. Those things are not negotiable!”

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15 Things To Watch In 2020

  • Posted: Dec 30, 2019

15 Things To Watch In 2020 analyses the upcoming season

The 2020 season has yet to start, but there are already plenty of intriguing storylines in place to emphatically kick off the new decade.

The Big 3 have maintained their dominance at the top of the ATP Rankings, but a growing crop of talented young players look to end their reign. Elite players who struggled with injuries have declared themselves fully fit, while those in the current #NextGenATP class look to establish themselves as players to watch. The groundbreaking ATP Cup will provide an unforgettable beginning to the season and could provide a glimpse into who will qualify for the season-ending Nitto ATP Finals. breaks down 15 key players and storylines to watch in 2020.

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1. Can Rafa Be Stopped?
Rafael Nadal finished as year-end No. 1 for the fifth time after a memorable 2019 in which he won Roland Garros (d. Thiem) and the US Open (d. Medvedev), in addition to ATP Masters 1000 crowns in Rome (d. Djokovic) and Montreal (d. Medvedev).

Nadal will look to kick off the new year with his first Melbourne crown since 2009. He’s finished runner-up in four (2012, 2014, 2017, 2019) of his past seven appearances.

2. Djokovic’s Quest For No. 1
Novak Djokovic produced another outstanding year by picking up big titles on every surface. He captured a record-breaking seventh Australian Open crown (d. Nadal), saved two championship points to prevail in a historic fifth-set tie-break at Wimbledon (d. Federer) and earned a pair of Masters 1000 crowns in Madrid (d. Tsitsipas) and Paris (d. Shapovalov).

The 32-year-old seeks to take back the top spot from Nadal. Another title Down Under would send a sharp statement that Djokovic is eager to dominate in the new decade.

3. Roger That
Roger Federer continues to prove that age is just a number. He captured his 100th ATP Tour crown in Dubai (d. Tsitsipas) and followed up a month later with another Masters 1000 trophy in Miami (d. Isner). His tenth titles in Halle (d. Goffin) and Basel (d. De Minaur) soon followed, but his year will also be remembered for the championship points he let slip against Djokovic at The All England Club.

The 38-year-old Swiss is within striking distance of breaking the record for most singles match wins in the Open Era. Federer has 1,237 wins and only trails Jimmy Connors (1,274).

4. Thiem’s Top 3 Pursuit
Dominic Thiem enjoyed another big year on clay by prevailing in Barcelona (d. Medvedev) and Kitzbühel (d. Ramos-Vinolas), in addition to scoring his second runner-up finish at Roland Garros (l. to Nadal), but proved once again that he can excel on other surfaces. He won his first Masters 1000 crown in Indian Wells (d. Federer), took titles in Beijing (d. Tsitsipas) and Vienna (d. Schwartzman), and reached the championship match at the Nitto ATP Finals (l. to Tsitsipas).

Thiem will look for more consistency in Grand Slams as he aims to break into the Top 3. He was forced to retire from his second-round match in Melbourne due to injury and bowed out in the opening round at Wimbledon and the US Open.

5. Medvedev’s Momentum
Daniil Medvedev’s inspired form in the second half of this year firmly established him as one of the most dangerous players on Tour. Medvedev reached the title match in six consecutive tournaments appearances, clinching his first two Masters 1000 crowns in Cincinnati (d. Goffin) and Shanghai (d. Zverev), as well as winning his first title on home soil in St. Petersburg (d. Coric). He also advanced to his maiden Grand Slam final in New York (l. to Nadal).

With less than 900 ATP Rankings points to defend in the first three months of next year, another big run could push him inside the Top 3.

6. Superb Stefanos
One year after prevailing at the Next Gen ATP Finals, Stefanos Tsitsipas wrapped up this season by graduating to champion at the Nitto ATP Finals (d. Thiem). His outstanding year, which saw him win 54 tour-level matches and also take titles in Marseille (d. Kukushkin) and Estoril (d. Cuevas), saw him named as Greece’s Best Male Athlete of 2019.

After defeating Federer en route to his maiden Grand Slam semi-final this year in Melbourne, he’ll look to further raise the stakes with his first Grand Slam crown.

7. Zverev’s Momentum
Alexander Zverev readily admitted that his 2019 season was a mixed bag, but finished on a strong note with a Masters 1000 final in Shanghai (l. to Medvedev) and semi-final showing at the season-ending championships in London. Zverev also saved a championship point to prevail in Lyon (d. Jarry).

If he can carry his late season form into 2020, he’ll be a contender in any event he plays.

8. Grande Matteo
Matteo Berrettini cracked the Top 10 and earned his debut appearance at The O2 after a breakout year that included titles in Budapest (d. Krajinovic) and Stuttgart (d. Auger-Aliassime). The powerful Italian also scored his maiden Grand Slam semi-final at the US Open and first Masters 1000 semi-final in Shanghai. He was fittingly selected by his peers as Most Improved Player of the Year in the 2019 ATP Awards.

Berrettini’s all-surface success showed how dangerous he is, but a win against one of the Big 3 would further solidify that he’s someone to keep a close eye on.

9. Del Potro Returns
Persistent right knee issues limited Juan Martin Del Potro to five tournaments this year and shut down his season in June after he underwent surgery for a fractured right kneecap. However, the 31-year-old isn’t new to comebacks and typically doesn’t take long to find his form. His powerful baseline game is still potent and will make him an opponent that no one wants to see across the net.

10. The Veteran Brigade
Roberto Bautista Agut and Fabio Fognini were rewarded for years of persistence by cracking the Top 10 for the first time, while Gael Monfils returned to the Top 10 after a two-year absence. The trio hopes to back up their strong results with another outstanding season and their success on all surfaces will give them plenty of opportunities to shine. Three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka also can’t be counted out.

11. Healthy & Dangerous
Kei Nishikori and Milos Raonic can deliver great tennis when they’re fit, but both endured frustrating struggles with injuries this year. Nishikori ended his season after the US Open due to a right elbow injury that required surgery, while knee issues forced Raonic to miss the clay-court season and a back injury forced him out of the US Open.

Both men spent their off-season getting back to full strength and are still highly dangerous opponents. If they can stay healthy, expect their ATP Rankings to quickly rise.

12. ATP Cup Kicks Off The New Year
The 2020 season begins in grand fashion with the inaugural ATP Cup, held throughout Australia from 3-12 January. Twenty-four teams will compete in Brisbane, Sydney and Perth as they vie for the ATP Cup trophy. Singles players can earn a maximum of 750 ATP Rankings points, which could have a significant impact on who ends up qualifying for the Nitto ATP Finals.

13. #NextGenATP Stars Ready To Soar
Tsitsipas’ triumph at The O2 while still part of the #NextGenATP class showed that the future is now. Denis Shapovalov and Felix Auger-Aliassime are eager to follow in the Greek’s footsteps after producing career-best seasons, while two-time Milan finalist Alex de Minaur looks to build on winning his first three ATP Tour titles in 2019. Reigning Milan champion and 2019 Newcomer of the Year Jannik Sinner gained plenty of new fans with his rapid rise and looks to continue his upward momentum.

14. Double Your Pleasure
Another thrilling year of doubles has set the stage for an exciting 2020 season. Juan Sebastian Cabal/Robert Farah look to continue their Grand Slam dominance after prevailing at Wimbledon (d. Mahut/Roger-Vasselin) and the US Open (d. Granollers/Zeballos), while Pierre-Hugues Herbert/Nicolas Mahut added a bookend to their Australian Open title (d. Kontinen/Peers) with their first Nitto ATP Finals crown (d. Klaasen/Venus).

Roland Garros champions Kevin Krawietz/Andreas Mies (d. Chardy/Martin), Raven Klaasen/Michael Venus and Lukasz Kubot/Marcelo Melo are among the other top teams who hope to have a big impact in the new year.

15. Swan Songs
A trio of doubles legends have confirmed that 2020 will be their final season. Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan, who have won 16 Grand Slam doubles titles together, will conclude their epic partnership at the US Open. Eight-time Grand Slam doubles champion Leander Paes said that he will play select events throughout the year before retiring after 29 years on Tour.

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Nadal Lands In Perth For ATP Cup

  • Posted: Dec 29, 2019

Nadal Lands In Perth For ATP Cup

Team Spain starts their campaign on Saturday

Rafael Nadal is back in Australia and ready to kick off the new season at the inaugural ATP Cup.

The World No. 1 touched down in Perth on Sunday and made time for selfies and autographs with his fans. Nadal looks to guide Team Spain out of Group B, which also features Japan (led by Kei Nishikori), Georgia (led by Nikoloz Basilashvili) and Uruguay (led by Pablo Cuevas).

The Spaniard spent his pre-season training in Mallorca at the Rafa Nadal Academy by Movistar. Francisco Roig, Nadal’s coach since 2005, joined him for a few days and was impressed with what he saw.

“Rafa is spectacular,” Roig said. “He’s found some very good form. He’s feeling confident in the way he is playing and his serve is really helping him. I think Nadal looks great. Now it’s a question of maintaining his game.”

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Nadal is eager to maintain his momentum from finishing 2019 as year-end No. 1 for the fifth time. He prevailed at Roland Garros (d. Thiem) and the US Open (d. Medvedev), in addition to taking ATP Masters 1000 titles in Rome (d. Djokovic) and Montreal (d. Medvedev).

Spain begins their campaign on Saturday against Georgia.

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Murray Withdraws From Aussie Swing

  • Posted: Dec 29, 2019

Murray Withdraws From Aussie Swing

Brit hopeful for quick return to action

Andy Murray will have a late start to his 2020 campaign. The Brit announced his withdrawal from the ATP Cup and Australian Open due to a recent setback in the off-season.

“I’ve worked so hard to get myself into a situation where I can play at the top level and I’m gutted I’m not going to be able to play in Australia in January,” Murray said. “After the Australian Open this year, when I wasn’t sure whether I’d be able to play again, I was excited about coming back to Australia and giving my best. That makes this even more disappointing for me.

“Unfortunately, I’ve had a setback recently and, as a precaution, need to work through that before I get back on court competing.”

The Brit made headlines this year after an emotional pre-tournament press conference at the Australian Open, when he announced his intention to retire after Wimbledon due to ongoing pain in his left hip. Murray fell in his opening round in Melbourne to Roberto Bautista Agut, but instead opted for a second surgery just weeks later and had a metal plate inserted into his hip joint.

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He threw himself into recovery and tested the waters with a foray into doubles, winning his first event back in June with Feliciano Lopez at Queen’s Club (d. Ram/Salisbury). Murray returned to singles action in August and, just two months later, defeated Stan Wawrinka in the Antwerp final to clinch his first ATP Tour singles title since 2017 Dubai.

“I know how excited Andy was about coming back to compete in Australia in January, and how disappointed he is not to make it for 2020,” said Craig Tiley, Tennis Australia CEO. “Andy’s last match at the Australian Open was a five-set roller coaster that none of us who witnessed it will ever forget. His determination and iron will was on display for all to see. It’s that fighting spirit that has driven him to come back from a potentially career-ending injury to achieve the results he has this year.”

James Ward will replace Murray on Team Great Britain at the ATP Cup.

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Early Arrivals: Tsitsipas & Medvedev Touch Down For ATP Cup

  • Posted: Dec 29, 2019

Early Arrivals: Tsitsipas & Medvedev Touch Down For ATP Cup

Action kicks off on Friday

The biggest names in tennis are all making their way to Brisbane, Perth and Sydney for the ATP Cup.

With the inaugural event set to kick off on 3 January, many players arrived early to Australia and started preparing for their first event of the 2020 season. Greece (led by Stefanos Tsitsipas) and Russia (led by Daniil Medvedev) are among the teams scheduled for action on Day 1.

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Tsitsipas is in Brisbane and has begun training with his teammates. Greece joins Canada, Australia and Germany in Group F.

Medvedev and Karen Khachanov reunited for a flight to Perth. They look to guide Russia past Italy, United States and Norway in Group D.

Borna Coric showed his excitement to join Team Croatia in Sydney. They’ll take on Austria, Argentina and Poland in Group E.

Felix Auger-Aliassime wasted no time getting to work in Brisbane with a practice session on Pat Rafter Arena.

Casper Ruud and the rest of Team Norway received some extra motivation by holding the ATP Cup trophy in Perth.

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Decade In Review: Challenger By The Numbers

  • Posted: Dec 29, 2019

Decade In Review: Challenger By The Numbers

A deep dive into the facts and figures of the ATP Challenger Tour in the 2010s

Youngest Winners
Felix Auger-Aliassime led the youth movement in the 2010s. At the age of 16 years and 10 months, not only did the Canadian become the youngest winner of the decade – in Lyon in 2017 – but the eighth-youngest in Challenger history.

The Copa Sevilla was home to two of the seven youngest winners of the decade, with 17-year-olds Casper Ruud and Auger-Aliassime going back-to-back in 2016-17. Same with the Sparkassen Open in Braunschweig, as Alexander Zverev and Nicola Kuhn triumphed in 2014 and 2017 respectively.

Player Age Tournament Won
Felix Auger-Aliassime
16 yrs, 10 mos. 2017 Lyon
Felix Auger-Aliassime 17 yrs, 1 mos. 2017 Sevilla
Alexander Zverev 17 yrs, 2 mos. 2014 Braunschweig
Nicola Kuhn 17 yrs, 3 mos. 2017 Braunschweig
Jannik Sinner 17 yrs, 6 mos. 2019 Bergamo
Rudolf Molleker 17 yrs, 6 mos. 2018 Heilbronn
Casper Ruud 17 yrs, 8 mos. 2016 Sevilla

In Good Company
Just last month, Jannik Sinner became the second-youngest player to claim three titles in a single season, behind only Richard Gasquet. He prevailed in Bergamo, Lexington and Ortisei in 2019.

Auger-Aliassime, Sinner and Taylor Fritz put themselves on an exclusive list, joining just eight other players in winning multiple titles at age 17 & under. They include Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Juan Martin del Potro.

Auger-Aliassime and Hyeon Chung joined Gasquet, Tomas Berdych, Mario Ancic and Guillermo Coria as the only players to win at least four titles at the age of 18 & under.

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On The Map
The Americans dominated the decade, as the United States led all countries with 129 total titles. Argentina was a close second with 122 crowns. France (99), Spain (98), Germany (91), Italy (90) and Australia (76) rounded out the leading nations.

A country boasted 20 winners in a season for just the third time in Challenger history. In 2016, Argentina featured Facundo Bagnis (6), Guido Andreozzi (2), Renzo Olivo (2), Diego Schwartzman (2), Horacio Zeballos (2), Nicolas Kicker (2), Carlos Berlocq, Leonardo Mayer, Agustin Velotti and Maximo Gonzalez as champions.

In addition, 10 countries celebrated their first winners. They were Grigor Dimitrov (Bulgaria), Ricardas Berankis (Lithuania), Attila Balazs (Hungary), Malek Jaziri (Tunisia), Victor Estrella Burgos (Dominican Republic), Jurgen Zopp (Estonia), Radu Albot (Moldova), Darian King (Barbados), Wu Di (China) and Marcelo Arevalo (El Salvador). Also, Hugo Dellien became Bolivia’s first winner since 1983.

The Winners’ Circle
At the age of 39 years and seven months, Ivo Karlovic became the oldest champion ever with his title in Calgary in 2018. And just last month, he became the first 40-year-old finalist in Houston.

Max Purcell became the second-lowest ranked winner of all-time, lifting his maiden trophy in Gimcheon, Korea in 2016. The 18-year-old was sitting at No. 762 in the ATP Rankings at the time.  

Sergiy Stakhovsky saved the most match points in a Challenger final, denying a total of seven against Yen-Hsun Lu in Seoul in 2016.

Yuichi Sugita became the only player to win ATP Tour and ATP Challenger Tour titles on grass in a single season. He triumphed in Antalya and Surbiton in 2017.

Grega Zemlja became the only player to win Challenger titles on hard, clay and grass in a single season. In 2012, the Slovenian prevailed in Nottingham (grass), Anning (clay) and Beijing (hard) in less than two months.

Fast Facts
-Felix Auger-Aliassime became the youngest player to qualify for a Challenger main draw, at the age of 14 years and seven months (Drummondville 2015). And a few months later, he would become the youngest to win a match, reaching the quarter-finals in nearby Granby, Canada.

-Stefan Kozlov reached his first final at the ripe age of 16 years and eight months, in Sacramento in 2014. It made him the eighth-youngest finalist in Challenger history.

-David Goffin, Denis Istomin and Janko Tipsarevic registered the longest win streaks of the decade, with each player claiming 20 victories in a row. Goffin did so in 2014, scoring a record 36 consecutive sets won.

-Former Top 10 stars David Ferrer and Mikhail Youzhny claimed Challenger titles in the twilight of their careers. Ferrer’s victory in Monterrey 2018 came 16 years and one month after his most recent crown – the longest gap between titles in Challenger history (Manerbio 2002 to Monterrey 2018). Youzhny’s gap of 15 years and five months is the second-longest ever (Samarkand 2000 to Eckental 2015).

-It was an impressive decade for Argentina, as Carlos Berlocq set the record for most matches won in a single season (57 in 2010), while Facundo Bagnis secured the most titles in a single season (six in 2016).

-Both the longest final and the shortest final of all time were registered in the the past decade. After three hours and 31 minutes, Somdev Devvarman defeated Daniel Nguyen in Winnetka in 2015. And just a few months ago, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga routed Dudi Sela in Cassis after a mere 43 minutes.

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Andy Murray to miss 2020 Australian Open and ATP Cup because of pelvic injury

  • Posted: Dec 29, 2019

Britain’s Andy Murray has pulled out of next month’s Australian Open because of a pelvic injury.

The three-time Grand Slam champion, 32, was aiming to play in his first Grand Slam singles event since Melbourne 12 months ago, when he announced that his career might be over because of injury.

He will also not play for Great Britain in next month’s inaugural ATP Cup.

Murray has not played since Britain’s opening tie at the Davis Cup finals last month because of the pelvic issue.

The former world number one, who underwent hip surgery 11 months ago, did not travel to Miami for his scheduled December training block.

Scotland’s Murray has been on court over the past week, but the injury has not cleared up as quickly as the world number 125 had hoped.

Murray and his team – consisting of coach Jamie Delgado, fitness coach Matt Little and physio Shane Annun – decided he should not rush back for the start of the 2020 season next month.

That has ruled out a remarkable return to the Australian Open in Melbourne where, little under a year ago, Murray broke down in tears during an emotional pre-tournament news conference and admitted he thought an ongoing hip injury would force him to quit.

However, he had a “life-changing” operation to resurface his hip later that month – in which a metal cap is put over the femur head – allowing him to return to the doubles court last summer.

Murray made a competitive comeback in the singles in August, going on to win the Antwerp Open title two months later in just his seventh tournament back.

Since that victory over fellow three-time Grand Slam winner Stan Wawrinka, he has only played one more singles match – a laboured three-set victory over little-known Dutchman Tallon Griekspoor at the Davis Cup finals.

Murray will not play a match until February at the earliest, with his first tournament now scheduled to be the Open Sud de France in Montpellier.

Instead of going to Australia he will remain at home and continue hitting on court to build up his fitness.

The Australian Open runs from 20 January to 3 February in Melbourne, while the ATP Cup begins on 3 January and takes place in three cities across Australia.

Sydney, Brisbane and Perth will host matches, with teams from 24 countries competing.


Russell Fuller, BBC tennis correspondent

Murray played just one match at November’s Davis Cup finals because of the injury, and although he is now back on court, he has decided he is not in the right shape to travel to Australia.

As a result, he won’t be joining the rest of the British team in Sydney for the inaugural ATP Cup, which begins on Friday.

Frustrating it might be, given Murray won the European Open in Antwerp in October, but with his hip bearing up so well after surgery, pragmatism and patience are of the essence.

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14 #NextGenATP Players To Watch In 2020

  • Posted: Dec 28, 2019

14 #NextGenATP Players To Watch In 2020

Shapo, De Minaur, Felix lead 2020 Milan hopefuls

Every year #NextGenATP players deliver surprises, upsets and breakouts. Who will do the honours in 2020? Here are 14 #NextGenATP players to watch next season.

The following players were born in 1999 or later, making them eligible for the 21-and-under Next Gen ATP Finals in November 2020. Frances Tiafoe, Casper Ruud, Ugo Humbert and Mikael Ymer were born in 1998 or earlier, making them no longer #NextGenATP players.

1. Denis Shapovalov, No. 15 in the ATP Rankings
Shapovalov will bring loads of momentum into the 2020 season. The left-hander won his maiden ATP Tour title at the Intrum Stockholm Open (d. Krajinovic) in October and reached his first ATP Masters 1000 final at the Rolex Paris Masters (l. to Djokovic) in November.

The Canadian ended the year at a career-high ATP Ranking (No. 15) and will look to crack the Top 10 in 2020.

2. Alex de Minaur, No. 18
The 20-year-old Aussie fell short in his second Next Gen ATP Finals title match last month. But if De Minaur isn’t in London at the Nitto ATP Finals in November 2020, you can almost guarantee – barring injury – the Aussie will once again be back in Milan playing with the best 21-and-under players.

In 2019, De Minaur only built on his breakout 2018, winning three ATP Tour titles in Sydney, Atlanta and Zhuhai. He ended the season at a career-high ATP Ranking of No. 18.

3. Felix Auger-Aliassime, No. 21
The 19-year-old Canadian will look to pull a De Minaur and build on his breakout season. Auger-Aliassime became the youngest ATP 500 finalist in series history (since 2009) at the Rio Open presented by Claro (l. to Djere) and the youngest semi-finalist in the 35-year history of the Miami Open presented by Itau.

Auger-Aliassime, along with De Minaur and Shapovalov, will compete at the inaugural ATP Cup, to be held 3-12 January in Brisbane, Perth and Sydney.

4. Miomir Kecmanovic, No. 59
The 20-year-old Serbian made his debut last month at the Next Gen ATP Finals, going 2-1 in round-robin play and reaching the semi-finals. Expect Kecmanovic, who was nominated for the 2019 Newcomer Of The Year Award, to return to Milan and reach more ATP Tour finals (2019 Antalya) next year.

5. Jannik Sinner, No. 78
Sinner was No. 553 at the start of the 2019 season and needed a wild card to play at the 2019 Next Gen ATP Finals. But the 18-year-old was one of the stories of the final month of the season, going 4-1 in Milan and beating De Minaur in the title match to gain one of the biggest wins of his young career.

Sinner, who received the 2019 Newcomer Of The Year Award, ended the season at No. 78 and became the youngest player to finish in Top 80 since 17-year-old Rafael Nadal (No. 47) in 2003.

6. Corentin Moutet, No. 83
France’s Moutet, who made the third round at his home Grand Slam, Roland Garros, cracked the Top 100 in June with his fourth ATP Challenger Tour title and second of the season. Moutet will look to follow in countryman Humbert’s footsteps and make his debut in Milan in November 2020.

7. Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, No. 87
The Spaniard became the first player from his country to compete in Milan last month, and Davidovich Fokina endeared himself to thousands of fans with his fearless and aggressive style of play. The 20-year-old, like Shapovalov, ended the season with his best tennis yet, winning two ATP Challenger Tour titles and cracking the Top 100 of the ATP Rankings.

8. Alexei Popyrin, No. 97
The big-hitting Aussie will look for more consistency in 2020 after showing flashes of excellence in 2019. Popyrin, who was one spot away from competing at the 2019 Next Gen ATP Finals, also reached the third round at his home Grand Slam, the Australian Open, and made the quarter-finals in Atlanta. He’ll look for more deep runs in 2020.

9. Emil Ruusuvuori, No. 123
The rising Finn sits at a career-high No. 124 in the ATP Rankings after lighting up the ATP Challenger Tour in the second half of the season. Ruusuvuori won four titles and produced a 20-3 record in his past six events. With only 50 ATP Rankings points to defend until June, Ruusuvuori is poised to make a run for the Top 100 next season.

10. Rudolf Molleker, No. 164
Molleker continued his rise in 2019 by scoring tour-level wins on home soil in Munich and Hamburg, in addition to qualifying for the Australian Open and Roland Garros. The precocious 19-year-old picked up his first Top 50 win after upsetting Hubert Hurkacz en route to a runner-up showing in June at the ATP Challenger Tour event in Poznan.

11. Thiago Seyboth Wild, No. 211
The Brazilian turned his attention to the pros after clinching the 2018 US Open boys’ singles title. Seyboth Wild proved to be a quick learner by picking up his first tour-level win this February in at the Brasil Open. He finished the year on a high note with his first ATP Challenger Tour title in Guayquil.

12. Nicola Kuhn, No. 214
Two years after grabbing a pair of ATP Challenger Tour titles as a 17-year-old, Kuhn made it a hat trick this August by prevailing on home soil in Segovia. The Spaniard also scored a tour-level win this April in Barcelona.

13. Sebastian Korda, No. 249
Korda doesn’t need to look far for advice on pursuing his dream of reaching the top of the sport. His coach is his father, 1998 Australian Open champion Petr Korda.

The 19-year-old American reached his first two ATP Challenger Tour finals this year in Nur-Saltan and Champaign, cutting his ATP Ranking by more than half throughout the year to reach a current career-high of No. 249.

14. Hugo Gaston, No. 252
The French teenager competed primarily in ITF Futures events this year, winning four titles and finishing runner-up in four other tournaments. Gaston proved he’s ready to make the jump to bigger events next year after defeating World No. 51 Juan Ignacio Londero in the qualifying draw of the Rolex Paris Masters.

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