Tennis News

From around the world

Why Nadal Is The Game's Best Pressure Player

  • Posted: Jun 23, 2020

Why Nadal Is The Game’s Best Pressure Player

Spaniard finished top of 2019 Under Pressure LEADERBOARD

It’s quite difficult for coaches to simulate pressure on the practice court for their players.

The following drill goes a long way to achieving just that, zeroing in on the “crunch time” moments that matter most to the end result.

  • Start your service game down break point at 30/40
  • Similarly, begin your return game at 30/40 where you have the opportunity to break on the very first point
  • Play a tie-break at six games all if you get there
  • Make the match a one-set shootout, mirroring the pressure of a third set

What should you call this drill? How about “Rafa’s Under Pressure Drill”, as Rafael Nadal was the leading player in 2019 on the Infosys Under Pressure LEADERBOARD with a 253.1 rating. The index features the following four metrics, which are all included in the drill above:

  1. Break Points Converted
  2. Break Points Saved
  3. Tie-Breaks Won
  4. Deciding Sets Won

What’s interesting is that Nadal didn’t finish first in any of the four categories in 2019. However, once accumulated into one index, his overall performance in pressure situations rose to the top.

2019 Under Pressure LEADERBOARD

Rank Player Rating
1 Rafael Nadal 253.1
2 Roger Federer 244.8
3 Dominic Thiem 242.8
4 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 238.7
5 Guido Pella 236.3
6 Novak Djokovic 234.5
7 Nick Kyrgios 233.9
8 Cristian Garin 233.6
9 Felix Auger-Aliassime 232.1
10 Fabio Fognini 226.8

Nadal finished second in the index in 2018 to Kei Nishikori and was 10th best in 2017 when Federer finished first. The only other year he led the Under Pressure list was in 2010 with a 252.0 rating.

Break Points Converted
Nadal went 53-7 at ATP Tour and Grand Slam events in 2019 and won 45.0 per cent (250/556) of break point opportunities. The three tournaments where he impressively converted more break points than he lost were:

Event Win %
Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters 57.6% (19/33)
BNP Paribas Open 56.0% (14/25)
Roland Garros 53.0% (44/83)

Break Points Saved
Nadal impressively saved 68.4 per cent (158/231) of break points last season at ATP Tour and Grand Slam events, with the following three events being the most impressive.

Event Win %
Laver Cup 89% (8/9)
Internazionali BNL d’Italia 87% (13/15)
Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell 77% (17/22)

Tie-Breaks Won
Nadal is placed 12th best overall in his career with tie-breaks won at 60.8 per cent (243/400). He was at an almost identical mark in 2019, winning 60.9 per cent of tie-breaks, which placed him in 15th position on the ATP Tour last season.

Deciding Sets Won
Nadal has won 68.9 per cent of deciding sets in his career, which is the third-best success rate on the ATP Tour. That elevated to 75.0 per cent in 2019, which was also third-best last season.

As coaches worldwide know all too well, any chance to simulate the pressure of a match in practice is welcome. These four specific areas all coming together into one pressure-packed practice drill provide a unique insight into how Nadal thrives in the crucible moments of matches that have defined his career.

Source link

Djokovic, 3 Other Players Test Positive For COVID-19

  • Posted: Jun 23, 2020

Djokovic, 3 Other Players Test Positive For COVID-19

Coric, Dimitrov and Troicki also test positive

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic is among four players who have tested positive for COVID-19 following their participation in the Adria Tour, an exhibition series.

Djokovic confirmed today that he and his wife Jelena had tested positive for the virus. Grigor Dimitrov, Borna Coric and Viktor Troicki, who also played in the series, which has made stops in Belgrade, Serbia, and Zadar, Croatia, have also tested positive.  

Djokovic said in a statement: “We organised the tournament at the moment when the virus has weakened, believing that the conditions for hosting the tour had been met… I am extremely sorry for each individual case of infection. I hope that it will not complicate anyone’s health situation and that everyone will be fine.”

Djokovic said that he would self-isolate for the next 14 days and that he would have another test in five days.

ATP STATEMENT ON POSITIVE COVID-19 TESTS
The ATP wishes a complete and quick recovery for the ATP players and members of their staff who tested positive for COVID-19 following involvement in the Adria Tour exhibition tournament. The ATP continues to urge strict adherence to responsible social distancing and health and safety guidelines to contain the spread of the virus.

In planning for the resumption of the ATP Tour season from 14 August, ATP and other stakeholders have made exhaustive plans to mitigate risks through a variety of precautions and protocols to be implemented at ATP events. We continue to plan and adjust these precautions and protocols according to latest medical information and prioritise safety in assessing every decision.

Source link

Andy Roddick's 180-Degree Turnaround In Eastbourne

  • Posted: Jun 23, 2020

Andy Roddick’s 180-Degree Turnaround In Eastbourne

The former World No. 1 earned a title for the 12th consecutive season when he triumphed at 2012 Eastbourne

Andy Roddick arrived at the 2012 Nature Valley International on a career-high six-match losing streak, with four of those defeats coming in straight sets. Trying to regain his match rhythm, the 29-year-old decided to play the ATP 250 event in Eastbourne.

That proved wise, as the American won his first ATP Tour title in 16 months.

“It’s great. I went from a six‑match losing streak to all of a sudden winning a tournament,” Roddick said. “It’s a 180‑degree turnaround.”

Roddick snapped his losing streak against countryman Sam Querrey, who retired during the first set of their match. The former World No. 1 then defeated Jeremy Chardy, Fabio Fognini and Steve Darcis to reach the final, where he played defending champion Andreas Seppi.

“I broke him in the first game and I said, ‘Wow, incredible, I broke Roddick straight away on grass,’” Seppi told ATPTour.com. “I was like, ‘It’s going to be a huge final [for me]’… After that break in the first game I got broken immediately and after that it was just difficult.”

Watch Live

Roddick defeated Seppi 6-3, 6-2 to lift his 31st tour-level trophy. That marked the 12th consecutive season in which the American won a title. Roddick is one of only nine players to capture at least one crown in 12 straight years. The only other American to accomplish the feat was Jimmy Connors, who captured at least one trophy in 13 consecutive seasons from 1972-1984.

Most Consecutive Seasons With At Least One Title

 Player  # Of Consecutive Seasons
 Rafael Nadal (2004-20)  17
 Novak Djokovic (2006-20)  15
 Roger Federer (2001-15)  15
 Ivan Lendl (1980-93)  14
 Jimmy Connors (1972-84)  13
 Andy Murray (2006-17)  12
 Andy Roddick (2001-12)  12
 Boris Becker (1985-96)  12
 Stefan Edberg (1984-95)  12

The championship also marked Roddick’s 600th tour-level match win.

“When you do something [only so many] people have done in the history of the game, it’s two things: It makes you call into the fact that you are probably older than you want to be at this point, and secondly, it’s a lot of wins,” Roddick said. “It’s a lot of matches. It’s a humbling thing.”

Despite arriving on a losing skid, Roddick found some vintage form, earning 16 service breaks in less than 10 sets.

“I felt like I returned really well this week. It turns quickly,” Roddick said. “I always say that to people ‑ I’m not sure how much they believe me ‑ but you’re never playing as badly as you think, and you’re probably never playing as good as you think, too.”

Roddick won his final ATP Tour title one month later in Atlanta. At the 2012 US Open, he announced his retirement. Roddick finished his career with a 612-213 record and 32 tour-level trophies.

Source link

Why Schwartzman Wants To Make A Difference In His Community

  • Posted: Jun 22, 2020

Why Schwartzman Wants To Make A Difference In His Community

Argentine also looks forward to the ATP Tour’s return

Diego Schwartzman has missed competing during the COVID-19 pandemic, but he has made the most of his free time by supporting his community.

Former NBA star and fellow Argentine Manu Ginobli reached out to him about helping with Seamos Uno, a charity initiative aiming to raise funds to assemble food and hygiene boxes for families in need in the Buenos Aires suburbs, and Schwartzman was happy to do his part.

“When Manu told me about the project… I did not hesitate to help,” Schwartzman said. “It is minimal next to what the 450 volunteers [are doing].”

Watch Live

Anyone who donates at least US $15 — enough to supply a box of supplies for those in need — will be entered for a chance to win a ‘Unique Encounter’, giving chosen donors an opportunity to participate in a virtual chat with one of many Argentine celebrities participating, including Schwartzman. From 26 June, 20 winners will be drawn weekly to participate in one of the Zoom calls.

“The goal is to have more than one million boxes for the people who don’t have money to take care of eating, food, their healthcare conditions… It’s very important,” Schwartzman said. “Everyone in every single place is trying to help all these people here in Argentina.”

Schwartzman has supported several charitable initiatives during the ATP Tour’s suspension. The Argentine helped organise #LaChamplay, a celebrity FIFA 20 competition to raise money for Red Cross Argentina. He also participated in the Mutua Madrid Open Virtual Pro, a tennis video game tournament that also raised money for charity.

“All these charity events on TV, on eSports, every place, it’s very helpful. Too many people in South America, in Argentina, have many problems. [It’s] not just health problems, but many have food problems as well, economic problems, so we are trying to help,” Schwartzman said. “It’s very, very important to help all these people who are not in the best situation in these moments.”

Watch Live

Schwartzman injured his groin at the Argentina Open in Buenos Aires. He was looking forward to a return at the BNP Paribas Open, which was suspended do to coronavirus concerns.

“I was out many weeks. When I was going back to [California] to play Indian Wells, the ATP suspended the tournament, so I came back to Argentina and since then I haven’t moved,” Schwartzman said. “I really, really miss the Tour, many of the guys, many friends. I hope to play in August again and be ready for that moment.”

The ATP Tour is set to resume on 14 August with the Citi Open in Washington, D.C. Schwartzman knows whom he doesn’t want to see across the net when back on court.

“I don’t want to face Djokovic, Nadal or Federer. Federer is not going to play but for sure [I don’t want to face] Nadal on clay in Paris,” Schwartzman said. “We are not going to play many tournaments, but [they will be] big tournaments, so playing against the big [players] I think is not going to be the best.

“I’m looking forward to play every single tournament. Missing the Tour since March, it’s too many months outside the courts. I want to play… It’s very, very important to have good practice, good training these months and be ready for that moment. I just want to be there, be healthy, and be ready for the matches.”

Source link

Mallorca: ‘A Tennis Destination’ Ready For Its 2021 Debut

  • Posted: Jun 22, 2020

Mallorca: ‘A Tennis Destination’ Ready For Its 2021 Debut

Mallorca last hosted an ATP Tour event in 2002

As a result of COVID-19, many long-standing ATP Tour events have had to cancel the 2020 editions of their tournament to protect public health. For the Mallorca Championships, the global pandemic has delayed the tournament from making its highly anticipated ATP Tour debut.

The ATP 250, one of three tour-level events in Spain, would have made its debut this week if not for the current suspension of the ATP Tour. 

Mallorca, the largest of the four main Balearic Islands off the Spanish east coast, has a rich tennis history. Despite a population of less than one million people, the island has produced two of Spain’s three players to have risen to World No. 1 in the FedEx ATP Rankings: Carlos Moya and Rafael Nadal.

Watch Live

ATPTour.com spoke to former chair umpire and Managing Director of e|motion Group Felix Torralba about the event’s preparations for its ATP Tour debut. Alongside the MercedesCup in Stuttgart and the Erste Bank Open in Vienna, e|motion Group manages the Mallorca Championships, controlling the year-round business operations of the ATP 250. For the first time since 2002, Mallorca was set to welcome the stars of the ATP Tour this week.

“Mallorca breathes a lot of tennis and it is a tennis destination,” said Torralba. “I think the island, by having an ATP Tour tournament, was extremely excited. There was an ATP tournament 18 years ago, when Rafa won his very first ATP match, so there is a story to Mallorca and tennis.

“You can feel that on the island, the excitement to bring back world class tennis to the island… The event is an extremely strong and valuable asset for the island and for the institutions. They have the possibility to shine and showcase that [the island] is a sports destination.”

After hosting a WTA event between 2016 and 2019, the tournament made a considerable investment in its infrastructure ahead of its ATP Tour debut. The tournament built a new centre court, allowing a greater number of fans to access the facility and take advantage of new tournament features.

“There are lots of changes from the WTA event we had in the past,” said Torralba. “That was a big workload in the past year, with the focus on the ATP event… We are now moving into a new facility with a new centre court that can go above 3,500 [in capacity]. It has a total capacity of 4,000 by adapting new areas.

“We also have a completely new layout with the VIP area, a new VIP building… The former centre court is now Court 1 and that allowed us to create new access, with new fan experience zones and a sponsor area. There were a lot of changes, especially for people who have come to the event in the past.”

Watch Live

Scheduled the week before Wimbledon, the ATP 250 tournament was ready to provide players with the perfect final preparation for SW19. The event has been in regular contact with experts at Wimbledon in an attempt to match the conditions of courts at the All England Club.

“Wimbledon is heavily involved in Mallorca. There is consistent communication throughout all the year and also with the development of the grass courts,” said Torralba. “We have regular visits and regular communication with their court keepers, with our team and with their team. We try to match 100 per cent the surface.

“They have been testing and they have been checking, so there is definitely a strong communication there. That allows us to deliver the same or similar grass-court conditions to the players, in order to have a perfect preparation.”

One player who has already taken advantage of those facilities in preparation for previous Wimbledon campaigns is Nadal. The Manacor native visited the site during the WTA event last year, ahead of his run to the semi-finals at SW19. Nadal’s uncle and former coach, Toni Nadal, is also the event’s Tournament Director.

“We have a very strong relationship [with Rafa], through Toni being our Tournament Director… We have the only grass courts in Spain, so obviously for Wimbledon preparation during the grass-court swing — if he is not playing somewhere else in tournaments — that is obviously an important and great possibility for him to practise on great grass courts where he can get ready for Wimbledon. That is always there for him and we have a fantastic relationship,” said Torralba.

Watch Live

Aside from the tournament’s new centre court and top-level grass-court facilities, players visiting the Mallorca Championships in 2021 will also be able to enjoy their time away from the court with a range of activities available. The island, which welcomed more than 13 million tourists in 2019, is known for its impressive beaches and natural beauty. Just behind the club site, visitors will be able to view part of the Serra de Tramuntana, a mountain range listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2011.

“Mallorca is probably one of the top destinations in Europe,” said Torralba. “The tournament takes place in Calvia, a city in the Santa Ponsa area. Calvia is a hotspot of tourism in Mallorca. It is under 15 minutes by car from Palma, which is the main city on the island.

“It is very easily accessible from the highway and you have beautiful beaches, beautiful cliffs and small bays. All that area from Palma to Andratx, with Calvia in the middle, is a very high-end residential and touristic area. You can really expect impressive nature, great restaurants and services for players.”

Despite the disappointment of the 2020 tournament cancellation, Torralba is convinced that the entire team behind the event will be even more determined to provide players and fans with a memorable Mallorcan debut in 2021.

“The motivation to deliver an even better event in 2021 is definitely there, in the whole team,” said Torralba.

Source link

Why Players Love The Lawn At Eastbourne

  • Posted: Jun 22, 2020

Why Players Love The Lawn At Eastbourne

Learn more about the Nature Valley International, an ATP 250 event

The Nature Valley International in Eastbourne is one of three tour-level grass-court events held in Great Britain.

The tournament would have been held this week if not for the Tour suspension due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

ATPTour.com looks at five things to know about the ATP 250-level tournament.

1) A Shared History
Since the tournament made its ATP Tour debut in 1995, Eastbourne has hosted the event on nine occasions. The first 14 editions of the ATP 250 were held in Nottingham, before the event moved to Eastbourne in 2009.

Since then, Eastbourne has welcomed the stars of the ATP Tour each year, aside from 2015 and 2016, when the event made a short return to the East Midlands. Situated on the English south coast, the tournament’s current site — Devonshire Park — was described by head groundsman Danny Negus as the ‘perfect venue’ in 2018.

2) Djokovic’s Dream Debut
Novak Djokovic headlined the 2017 edition, when the tournament was hosted in Eastbourne for the first time since 2014. The Serbian accepted a late wild card into the tournament and did not drop a set en route to the trophy. Djokovic recorded wins against Vasek Pospisil, Donald Young, Daniil Medvedev and Gael Monfils to take the title on his tournament debut.

“I felt very welcomed here by the people. On and off the court I was greeted, I was respected,” said Djokovic. “For me, it was just a phenomenal experience that I will definitely take with me to Wimbledon.”

<a href=Novak Djokovic beats Gael Monfils to win his second title of 2017 in Eastbourne.” />

3) Gasquet’s Breakthrough
From 2005 to 2006, Richard Gasquet dropped just two sets across 10 matches in Nottingham to win the first two ATP Tour titles. In 2005, the 19-year-old beat Taylor Dent and Max Mirnyi to lift his first tour-level trophy and become the youngest champion in tournament history.

A year later, the Frenchman successfully defended his crown with back-to-back wins against Swedes Robin Soderling and Jonas Bjorkman. Gasquet also reached the championship match in Eastbourne in 2014, losing in three sets to Feliciano Lopez.

Watch Live

4) Joint Record Holders
Five players currently share the record for most titles at the ATP 250. Bjorkman, Greg Rusedski, Gasquet, Ivo Karlovic and Lopez have each won the event twice.

In doubles, three men have captured the trophy on three occasions. Jonathan Erlich and Andy Ram claimed the title in 2005, 2006 and 2011, while Mike Bryan achieved the feat with title runs in 2002, 2003 and 2017. Bryan won his maiden Eastbourne crown with Mark Knowles and combined with his brother, Bob Bryan, for his two most recent triumphs at the event.

<a href=Feliciano Lopez beats Richard Gasquet to win his second straight title in Eastbourne.” />

5) The Final Preparation For Wimbledon
Held the week before The Championships at Wimbledon, alongside the Mallorca Championships, the Nature Valley International provides ATP Tour stars with a final opportunity to prepare for the grass courts of SW19.

In the past three years, two finalists have translated their Eastbourne success into quarter-final appearances at Wimbledon. Djokovic, the 2017 winner, did not drop a set en route to the last eight, while 2019 runner-up Sam Querrey beat Dominic Thiem in the first round at Wimbledon and reached his third quarter-final in four years at the All England Club.

Source link