Tennis News

From around the world

Isner On Inaugural ATP Cup: 'It'll Be A Blast'

  • Posted: Nov 29, 2019

Isner On Inaugural ATP Cup: ‘It’ll Be A Blast’

Top-ranked American reflects on new event and competing for his country

John Isner will lead Team United States at the inaugural ATP Cup, to be held in Australia from 3-12 January 2020. The United States will be competing in Group D in Perth, facing Russia, Italy and Norway. Isner will be joined by Taylor Fritz, Reilly Opelka, Rajeev Ram and Austin Krajicek.

The World No. 19, who finished inside the year-end Top 20 for the 10th consecutive season, speaks to ATPTour.com about his excitement for the new team event, his longtime relationship with one of his teammates and more before the competition gets underway.

Next year will start a bit differently for you with a new team event in the ATP Cup. How excited are you for that?
It’s very interesting. This is of course a brand new event and one that I think a lot of players are excited about and myself in particular. I think I’m going to have a nice little off-season, spending a lot of my time in Dallas, being able to focus on my family, but also focus on myself and keeping myself in good shape and trying to stay sharp on the tennis side of things as well.

I’m looking forward to that event and I think it’s a very good thing. It’s guaranteed matches. The past three, four years I’ve sort of stumbled in Australia. It sort of takes me a long time to get going and feel good about my game, so I’m very much looking forward to the ATP Cup.

I think we also have a good team on top of that, so it’ll be exciting. It’s been a while since I’ve been to Perth, Australia. Looking forward to getting over there, it’s a lot of fun and it’ll be a blast.

You went to college before turning professional, so you’ve long enjoyed a team environment. Do you think that playing the ATP Cup will help you considering what you said about slow starts the past few years?
I think so for sure. I’ve always enjoyed playing for a team. I’ve really done it my whole life. Playing in the team events, playing in the Laver Cup has been a joy for me and you definitely can get your competitive juices flowing after a pretty long lay-off.

It’ll be pressure-packed on top of that, being out there playing for your country right out of the gate. So I do think that will be a very good thing for me and hopefully it will bode well for the Australian Open next year.

One of your teammates is Rajeev Ram, who is just a year older than you. Is it exciting to compete with someone you’ve known for so long?
We’ve known each other forever now, since 14 and under juniors. I remember seeing his name in the draw. He was always better than me in the juniors and he was a pretty big name when it came to junior tennis. He’s obviously done incredible things on the pro tour and he’s been incredibly consistent as well.

He had a very good singles career and now he’s having an excellent doubles career, so for him to be on the team I think is a huge boon for our team considering how good he is in doubles and he’s very excited about it as well. We’ve texted back and forth and I know he’s fired up about playing the ATP Cup. Austin Krajicek is on our team as well so our team is set and we’re looking forward to getting over to Australia. 

How exciting is it to get to play with someone like Rajeev given those memories you have from when you were kids?
It’s very cool. We’ve actually never had this opportunity before to play a team event together. We played at different colleges so to be able to team up with Rajeev I think will be very cool. Outside of the Bryan brothers, we’re the elder statesmen of American tennis, so it’ll be cool to team up with him.

How special is it for your to represent the United States?
It’s a great honour. Getting to represent the U.S. in the ATP Cup is a huge honour, and it’s more important than playing for yourself out there. It’s a big honour and I personally think this event is going to be very successful as well. It’s going to be a lot of fun, the competition is going to be amazing. All in all, I couldn’t think of a better way to start the year.

What’s most special about the United States as a country?
It’s the greatest country in the world. You have the most opportunity to do amazing things in this country and I’ve been afforded that opportunity through tennis. Everything you really want to do is at your disposal if you work hard, focus and just make right decisions and respect the people that you need to respect and I think that’s what I’ve done my whole life.

It’s afforded me to do some pretty cool things on the court and off the court. I enjoy my time in the States more than anything. I think there’s a reason why I always play well in America and it’s because I’m very comfortable here.

Source link

Rivalries Of 2019: Djokovic vs. Federer

  • Posted: Nov 29, 2019

Rivalries Of 2019: Djokovic vs. Federer

ATP Tour Season In Review: Best Rivalries

Continuing our Season In Review series, ATPTour.com revisits the fiercest rivalries of 2019. Today we feature Novak Djokovic vs. Roger Federer.

Once a rivalry moves past 20 or 30 matches, surely not even all-time greats Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer can recall each match in detail, such as who did what on match point and how exactly momentum shifted in each FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting.

In 2019, Djokovic and Federer added only two matches to their FedEx ATP Head2Head series (Djokovic leads 26-23). But, no doubt, those two battles will remain long in the memory of both players, such was the quality of each meeting.

Wimbledon, F, Djokovic d. Federer 7-6(5), 1-6, 7-6(4), 4-6, 13-12(3)
Djokovic had beaten Federer in their past two Wimbledon finals (2014, 2015), and it had been four years since Federer had beaten Djokovic anywhere. But there was still plenty of reason to believe the Swiss, an eight-time Wimbledon champion, would pull off the upset.

Federer beat Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals, their first matchup at SW19 since that 2008 final, widely considered the greatest match in history, and Federer had pushed Djokovic to three sets in the 2018 Rolex Paris Masters final, which was named “Best ATP Match Of 2018” by ATPTour.com.

But Djokovic harboured loads of confidence as well, having won his fourth Wimbledon title (d. Anderson) in 2018 and his past three matches against his Swiss rival.

Federer, playing in his 12thWimbledon final, forced the decider by serving the fourth set out during his second attempt. But Djokovic ripped back momentum in the fifth game of the deciding set, breaking for a 4-2 lead. The Serbian had been up and down during the final up to that point.

You May Also Like:

Djokovic Saves Two MP To Beat Federer In Historic Wimbledon Final

Djokovic battled to take the first set tie-break and the lead, then all but disappeared during the second set as Federer evened the match. In the third, the Djokovic of old entered lockdown mode to again take the tie-break.

But Federer, who was steady all match, answered in the fourth, giving a capacity Centre Court crowd and the millions of fans watching on TV exactly what they wanted: a fifth set.

Djokovic served for a 5-2 lead in the fifth when the best drama of the season began. Federer broke back as a pro-Swiss crowd roared, and the two stayed on serve until 7-7, when Federer broke for a chance to serve out the match.

At 37 years and 340 days, Federer was trying to become the oldest man in the Open Era to win a Slam. He also was seeking his ninth Wimbledon title and his first major championship crown since January 2018 at the Australian Open.

Serving at 8-7, 40/15, pro-Federer fans held up their index fingers. Just one more point, and Federer would be able to celebrate more Wimbledon glory. But the Swiss couldn’t handle a deep Djokovic return that made it 40/30, and Djokovic crushed a forehand pass to make it deuce before breaking and putting the final back on serve.

It had been 71 years since a Wimbledon men’s singles champion had saved match points in the final, and no singles match at SW19 had ever been decided by a fifth-set tie-break. For the first time, organisers decided that a tie-break would be implemented at 12-all in the fifth set instead of making someone win by two games, like Kevin Anderson did against John Isner in the 2018 semi-finals, when he won the fifth set 26-24.

But Djokovic saved two match points, and he won the fifth-set tie-break for his fifth Wimbledon title.

By some measures, Federer outplayed the Serbian, winning 14 more points and hitting 40 more winners (94 to 54). But by the most important measure – the score – Djokovic owned their 48th FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting and had now beaten Federer in three consecutive Wimbledon finals.

Nitto ATP Finals, Group Bjorn Borg, Federer d. Djokovic 6-4, 6-3
Win and advance: Djokovic and Federer’s second match of 2019 would send one of them home and propel the other one to the semi-finals of the season finale at The O2 in London. Both players had lost to Dominic Thiem earlier in the week and were 1-1 heading into the Thursday night showdown.

Djokovic was hoping to reach the semi-finals and make a push for his sixth year-end No. 1 finish in the ATP Rankings. Federer, meanwhile, was going for his second “Big Title” of the season after winning his 28th ATP Masters 1000 title in Miami (d. Isner).

The Swiss also was looking to recalibrate his rivalry with Djokovic. The Serbian had won nine of their past 11 matchups, including the Wimbledon final in July. But, before their 49th FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting, Federer batted off any suggestions that the tough loss at SW19 would affect him at The O2.

I didn’t hope I was never going to play him again,” Federer said. “Actually, it’s good for me to play him again, and maybe that all helps to get a chance to get him back.

I’m personally excited to play against Novak.”

<a href='https://www.atptour.com/en/players/roger-federer/f324/overview'>Roger Federer</a> beats <a href='https://www.atptour.com/en/players/novak-djokovic/d643/overview'>Novak Djokovic</a> for the first time since the 2015 Nitto ATP FInals on Thursday night.

The excitement showed. Federer played one of his best matches of the season, executing his aggressive game plan close to perfection and overwhelming Djokovic, who never had the upper hand.

At 1-1, the Serbian donated two double faults to start, and on break point, 0/40, Federer walloped a sitting backhand. On serve, Federer won 87 per cent (20/23) of his service points and made only one unforced error in the first set.

Djokovic saw a break point in the fourth game of the second set, but Federer saved it and broke the next game as the crowd chanted, “Let’s go, Ro-ger, let’s go!”

Federer broke once more to close it out. He finished with 23 winners to only five unforced errors.

Watch Federer-Djokovic Nitto ATP Finals Highlights

“There was a lot riding on the match. I think I served great, had great anticipation, a clear game plan and it worked to perfection tonight, and hopefully not the last time against Novak,” Federer said. “But even if it [is], it was all worth it. It was a great performance tonight from me.”

Federer would fall short of winning the season’s final title, losing to Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas in the semi-finals. But the Swiss had reset his rivalry with Djokovic, a promising sign for Federer and his fans heading into 2020.

Djokovic vs. Federer In 2019

Event

Surface

Round

Winner

Score

Wimbledon

Grass

F

Djokovic

7-6(5), 1-6, 7-6(4), 4-6, 13-12(3)

Nitto ATP Finals

Hard

Group Bjorn Borg

Federer

6-4, 6-3

Source link

Albot Explains Why The ATP Cup Is Important For All Of Moldova

  • Posted: Nov 28, 2019

Albot Explains Why The ATP Cup Is Important For All Of Moldova

Albot has achieved more than anyone else in Moldovan tennis history

One of the final six countries to qualify for the inaugural ATP Cup was Moldova, led by World No. 46 Radu Albot. The 30-year-old, who claimed his first ATP Tour title this year in Delray Beach, is the highest-ranked player in his country’s history as well as its only titlist.

Albot speaks to ATPTour.com about how important Moldova’s participation in the ATP Cup is for tennis in his country, what the opportunity means for his teammates and what he loves most about Moldova.

What would it mean to you to lead your country into the ATP Cup?
I think it’s pretty big for Moldova because bigger countries like Ukraine and Romania, which border Moldova, did not get in. It is cool for our country and for me also of course, being No. 1 in Moldova and playing matches against top players. It will be very interesting, so it will be good for the country, good for me. Only positive things to get from that.

Speaking of how important it is for you to start the year against top competition, so how much of an opportunity is it for you to face those tough matches right away?
I don’t mind. It’s good to play against the top guys. It’s good that you have a chance to get matches against them… I don’t mind to play with the top guys, for sure.

I guess I’ll be playing both matches – singles and doubles. You have to play and if I’m No. 1, I need to go on the court to compete.

You’re not on a team too often, so what will that experience be like for you?
I think I just need to focus on my matches, because my matches will be much stronger playing against the top guys in the world. From there, we’ll see who we’re going to play, how we’re going to play and so on.

What do you love most about your country?
I like that in Moldova, people are very simple. They are very hospitable. They will invite you in your house, invite you for dinner, for a glass wine, something like that. These two characteristics are for most of the Moldovan people. That’s what I like the most from my country and my people.

At a lot of your biggest tournaments you’ve said family and friends stay up through the night to watch you. Do you think the whole country will be keeping its eye on your team?
I don’t know how many people will be awake to watch. Maybe a lot, maybe not so many. But I think the people close to me like my family and close friends will stay up and watch, especially if I have a match against a big guy.

You’ve always said that you want to inspire people from your country, kids to become better than you one day. So how important is this to show your country competing against the best in the world?
I think it’s very important to be among the top countries in the world because of me, because of my [ATP] Ranking. That’s pretty good. I know for sure now that the kids are watching me, they are trying to play as me. I am a role model for them and I would say it’s pretty important that they are focussed, they practise and become better than me one day.

How well do you know some of your teammates?
I know all of them. I’ve even spoken with them about if they’re happy to participate in the ATP Cup, if they want to come.

How important is it for them to have this opportunity?
One guy was very excited. He was like, ‘Yeah, for sure I’m coming, no question.’ Straight away he gave a positive answer. For sure it’s something cool for them to be in such a big event because they play only Futures events.

To be right away with the top guys at a top tournament with top prize money, this will be a good experience for them and hopefully give them a a boost so they can improve, get better and compete at a higher level, not only Futures.

Growing up, when you would go to the tennis courts, what was the experience like since tennis isn’t huge in Moldova?
The first memory is you get a ball and you go to hit against the wall. And then there are 30 kids on one court and one guy hits the ball, one guy hits the other way and you run and you hustle and nothing happens. It’s like chaos everywhere.

Another thing I remember is you hit over the wall and you need to go around the fence to grab your ball because you get just one. So you practise hitting the wall for a few minutes, you hit it over and then you look for the ball for 30 minutes.

Source link

Former Wimbledon champion Mirza to compete after maternity break

  • Posted: Nov 28, 2019

Former Wimbledon doubles champion Sania Mirza will return to competitive tennis in January, two years after taking a break to have a baby.

The Indian will play at the Hobart International in Australia alongside Nadiia Kichenok of Ukraine.

Mirza, 33, gave birth to her first child with former Pakistan cricket captain Shoaib Malik in October 2018.

In 2015 she won Wimbledon with Swiss player Martina Hingis, then went on to win the US and Australian Opens.

Mirza became the first Indian to win a WTA singles title in in 2005, before injury forced her to concentrate on doubles.

A former world number one in doubles, Mirza also won three Grand Slams in mixed. She plans to partner American Rajeev Ram at the Australian Open in Melbourne.

Source link

Struff On ATP Cup: 'I Think It’s Going To Be Really Great'

  • Posted: Nov 28, 2019

Struff On ATP Cup: ‘I Think It’s Going To Be Really Great’

World No. 35 hopes to help Germany through Group F in Brisbane

Jan-Lennard Struff enjoyed the best season of his career in 2019, climbing to a career-high No. 33 in the ATP Rankings, reaching two ATP Tour semi-finals and earning five wins against Top 10 opponents.

The 29-year-old will hope to carry that momentum into 2020, beginning the new season at the inaugural ATP Cup. Struff is Germany’s No. 2 singles player, and he will hope to help his country advance out of Group F, which also consists of Greece, Canada and Australia. Struff speaks to ATPTour.com about his German idols growing up, what makes competing on a team special, and more.

Which countrymen did you watch growing up and what did you admire about them?
A lot of players: Tommy Haas, Nicolas Kiefer, really a lot of them. Those are the two biggest names, I would say. I liked the way they played, I liked the style they played.

Tommy was an inspiration for me. When I played him in Munich and in Kitzbuhel it was unreal to play him. It was just crazy because he played his last match against me in Kitzbuhel. Obviously I liked his intensity on court and the way he hit the ball. It was just unreal, I really loved that.

What are your early memories of playing tennis in your home country?
I started playing with my parents, who were both tennis coaches. I really enjoyed playing. When I was a small kid, I always loved to go out and I played soccer, as well.

I just loved to do something with my friends, playing the sport and travelling with some guys from my practice group. We just had a fun time, playing club matches in the youth area, under 12, under 14, like four guys. We are very good friends and we were just enjoying the matches and practice sessions together.

Of course I watched so many Grand Slams on TV, it was unreal. When I was in school, the Australian Open was on TV. They started at 1 in the morning. I was waking up at 5 or 6 with my mom, watching interesting matches.

What do you think will be the most fun part of playing on a team?
I love to be part of a team. It’s an honour to play for my country. I’ve always dreamed about that. When I first listened to the national anthem when I was playing [for Germany] I had goosebumps. I was just tight. Everyone is tight playing for their country for the first time. I had an amazing match. It’s unreal.

We [spend] most of our time on Tour playing for ourselves. We have a team with our coaches and a physio and a fitness coach, and we kind of play for them as well, for our team. But to play with other players is just a great feeling…. The ATP Cup, the new event, I think will be really good.

What makes you excited about it?
It’s something new. It’s a new event and it’s in Australia. Australia is good for tennis. [It is] such a nice time always in December going to Australia and playing the Australian Open.

I think that this event at the beginning of the year will be a great kick-off, start of the year. Playing a team event is just exciting because you don’t know what it’s going to be like, but I think it’s going to be really great.

If you could take one stroke from any one of your countrymen, what would it be?
I would take the backhand of Zverev. It’s so consistent. He plays so well from the baseline and his backhand is outrageous.

What is the best practical joke a compatriot has played on you?
We do some fun things when we’re on a team. In Australia… we went to an escape room together and did some great stuff to make good team-building. We don’t take it too seriously on the team. I think everyone is just sometimes [making] a joke for themselves.

What are three things you love most about your country?
It’s very tough to pick three, not the weather, though. I really like the stability of the rules system in Germany. I enjoy the people a lot. I like to see my family and I like driving fast cars. That’s one of the big things on the Autobahn! That’s one of the good things we have in Germany. I’m very proud of our country and I think we have good rules.

Source link

Rivalries Of 2019: Thiem vs. Federer

  • Posted: Nov 27, 2019

Rivalries Of 2019: Thiem vs. Federer

ATP Tour Season In Review: Best Rivalries

Continuing our Season In Review series, ATPTour.com revisits the fiercest rivalries of 2019. Today we feature Roger Federer vs. Dominic Thiem.

Years from now, Dominic Thiem will look back on the 2019 season as the year he became an all-court player, and for proof, he will need to look no further than his FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry with Roger Federer.

Thiem and Federer were even (2-2) coming into 2019. The Austrian went 2-1 against the Swiss in 2016, including a straight-sets win on clay in Rome and a grass-court victory in Stuttgart, before Federer shut down his 2016 campaign after Wimbledon to rest his left knee (3 February surgery).

But the Swiss tied their series with a straight-sets win in quick conditions at the 2018 Nitto ATP Finals at The O2 in London. In 2019, however, Thiem would leave no doubt about who was in charge of their FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry.

Thiem

BNP Paribas Open, F, Thiem d. Federer 3-6, 6-3, 7-5
Federer has dominated few ATP Masters 1000s as he has the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells. The Swiss is tied with Novak Djokovic for the all-time titles lead (five) and before 2019, he had reached the final in his past four appearances (1-3).

In March, the Swiss, fresh off his 100th title in Dubai, cruised into the Indian Wells final without dropping a set and was rested after Rafael Nadal withdrew (knee) from their semi-final.

You May Also Like:

Thiem Topples Federer For Maiden Masters Title

Thiem, meanwhile, had only three wins on the 2019 season heading into the year’s first Masters 1000. But on the slow hard courts in Indian Wells, he blasted backhand after backhand against Federer, opening up the court and winning his first Masters 1000 title. Thiem fell behind a set but erased break points early in the second set to grab back momentum.

“I was in the zone the whole match,” Thiem said. “It’s a pleasure to compete against Roger in this great final. I lost my last two Masters 1000 finals, but I won this one and it feels as nice as a Grand Slam.”

Thiem

Mutua Madrid Open, QF, Thiem d. Federer 3-6, 7-6(11), 6-4
In May, at the Mutua Madrid Open, Federer was playing in his first clay-court tournament in three years, and he hadn’t beaten a Top 10 player on the red dirt since the 2015 Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome (Stan Wawrinka in the semi-finals).

Luck was on Federer’s side in his second match, though. The Swiss saved two match points against France’s Gael Monfils to set up the Masters 1000 quarter-final with Thiem, a two-time finalist in Madrid.

But against the Austrian, Federer was the player who saw match points come and go. Just like in Indian Wells, Thiem came from a set down to beat the Swiss. Thiem, riding a seven-match win streak, saved match points at 7/8 and 9/10 in the second-set tie-break and, with all the momentum on his side, broke in the third and ninth games of the deciding set.

I can hurt him with my strokes, especially on his backhand,” Thiem said. “Facing him, it always requires my absolute best game and also a little bit luck, which I both had in Indian Wells and also here, and that’s why I won these two matches.”

The loss marked the 21st time Federer had held match points and lost, and the first time since the 2018 Wimbledon quarter-finals (Kevin Anderson).

Watch Highlights: Thiem Stuns Federer In Madrid

Nitto ATP Finals, Group Bjorn Borg, Thiem d. Federer 7-5, 7-5
But at the season-ending Nitto ATP Finals, where Federer has collected a record six titles, surely the Swiss would turn around their 2019 rivalry. Federer had won his 10th Basel title in October and was eyeing another “Big Title” to go with his Miami crown (d. Isner) after near misses at Indian Wells and Wimbledon (l. to Djokovic).

Thiem, though, was finding his game on fast hard courts just in time. Before 2019, he had won 11 ATP Tour titles, but only two on hard court. He matched that total in October alone, winning the China Open in Beijing (d. Tsitsipas) and his home Erste Bank Open in Vienna (d. Schwartzman).

Beating a rested Federer in London presents another set of challenges, but Thiem met them all again. The Austrian, up a set, broke in the 11th game of the second set and fought off two break points while serving it out.

Thiem

To beat him, everything has to fit together,” said Thiem. “In general, it’s a very nice victory for me. Every time I play against him is a big honour. Beating him is even better, and especially on this surface indoors, where he’s feeling well usually.”

Two days later, Thiem became only the second player in tournament history (Alexander Zverev, 2018) to beat both Federer and Djokovic. He’d go onto reach the Nitto ATP Finals title match (l. to Tsitsipas).

Thiem is one of 74 players who have faced Federer at least six times, but only five of them, including the Austrian, have a winning record.

Winning Against Federer

Player

Record

Novak Djokovic

26-23

Rafael Nadal

24-16

Dominic Thiem

5-2

Alexander Zverev

4-3

Yevgeny Kafelnikov

4-2

Federer vs. Thiem In 2019

Event

Surface

Round

Winner

Score

BNP Paribas Open

Hard

F

Thiem

3-6, 6-3, 7-5

Mutua Madrid Open

Clay

QF

Thiem

3-6, 7-6(11), 6-4

Nitto ATP Finals

Hard

Group Bjorn Borg

Thiem

7-5, 7-5

Source link

Rivalries Of 2019: Tsitsipas vs. Nadal

  • Posted: Nov 26, 2019

Rivalries Of 2019: Tsitsipas vs. Nadal

ATP Tour Season In Review: Best Rivalries

Continuing our Season In Review series, ATPTour.com revisits the fiercest rivalries of 2019. Today we feature Rafael Nadal vs. Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Stefanos Tsitsipas, following his second consecutive loss to Rafael Nadal last year, had a plan, or at least the makings of a plan, on how to beat the Spaniard.

At the Rogers Cup in Toronto, the 19-year-old Greek had become the youngest player to beat four Top 10 players at an event since the ATP Tour began in 1990. But his streak stopped against Nadal, who spoiled Tsitsipas’ 20th birthday by winning his 33rd ATP Masters 1000 title.

“Bust my ass more on the court. Work more hours and become stronger and a more solid baseliner. And withstand pressures, physical pressures on the court that, to him, just seem like nothing special. That’s the big difference between my game and his game,” Tsitsipas said.

In 2019, he wouldn’t have to wait long to see if the plan had worked.

Australian Open, SF, Nadal d. Tsitsipas 6-2, 6-4, 6-0
The two renewed their FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry in the semi-finals of the Australian Open in Melbourne. Tsitsipas had beaten Roger Federer in the fourth round and persevered in five sets against Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut in the quarter-finals to make his first Grand Slam semi-final.

Nadal, meanwhile, had revamped his serve in the off-season and had yet to drop a set en route to the last four at the season’s first Slam. The offensive onslaught continued against Tsitsipas as Nadal rolled into his 25th major championship final by winning 80 per cent (49/61) of his service points and hitting 28 winners. Nadal also won the final nine games.

“I have been playing well during the whole event. Every match, more or less, I think I did a lot of things well. Tonight was another one. I played solid – with my serve, playing aggressive. Probably the backhand was better today than the rest of the days,” Nadal said.

A devastated Tsitsipas struggled to find reasons for optimism in their rivalry. “Honestly, I have no idea what I can take from that match,” he said. “It’s not that I was even close to [getting] something. I only got six games from that match.”

Nadal

Mutua Madrid Open, SF, Tsitsipas d. Nadal 6-4, 2-6, 6-3
But the Greek would have his moment to cherish against Nadal on the most unlikeliest of surfaces: clay, where Nadal has won more titles than anyone in history. In Madrid, the Spaniard was still working his way into top form on the red dirt. Nadal had fallen in the semi-finals in Monte-Carlo and Barcelona, both tournaments he has won 11 times.

Tsitsipas, however, was bloated with confidence, having won his third ATP Tour title – and first on clay – at the Millennium Estoril Open (d. Cuevas) the week earlier.

Nadal had held in 26 of his 27 service games to reach the Masters 1000 semi-final, but Tsitsipas broke three times in the opening set alone to grab the lead. Nadal increasingly ran around his backhand to see more forehands in the second set and rallied to force a decider.

You May Also Like:

Tsitsipas Stuns Nadal To Reach Madrid Final

But in the third set, Tsitsipas continued to attack and step into the court, and he broke for the third time in the set to beat Nadal for the first time. Overall, Tsitsipas broke the Spaniard six times and saved 11 of 16 break points faced.

“You cannot imagine the relief. It’s unbelievable. I don’t want to say this, but it almost felt like I lost hope at some point. [I lost] three in a row [against him],” Tsitsipas said. “I felt in Toronto when I played him I was very close, and this match gave me a bit of confidence [that] I can do it in the future, but then it was too much. [I’m] really happy that I overcame this and dealt with it mentally. Beating him on clay makes it even more special.”

Watch Highlights: Tsitsipas Stuns Nadal In Madrid SF

Internazionali BNL d’Italia, SF, Nadal d. Tsitsipas 6-3, 6-4
In Rome, the surface was the same, but Tsitsipas stared down a much different Nadal. The Spaniard, after much speculation from fans and pundits, had found his top level on the clay. Before meeting Tsitsipas in another Masters 1000 semi-final, Nadal had won his past six sets 6-0, 6-1, 6-1, 6-0, 6-4, 6-0.

The Greek would do better than Nadal’s prior opponents in the Italian capital, but he couldn’t replicate his Madrid magic. In slower conditions, Nadal broke twice and saved both break points to make the Rome final, where he beat Djokovic for his 34th Masters 1000 title.

Nitto ATP Finals, Group Andre Agassi, Nadal d. Tsitsipas 6-7(4), 6-4, 7-5
The two had one final meeting in store for fans, and it might have been their best of the year. At the 2019 Nitto ATP Finals, Nadal was fighting to have a chance at the semi-finals, and Tsitsipas was trying to end Group Andre Agassi play unbeaten.

Tsitsipas eked out a tight opening set by snagging a mini-break at 4/4 and closing out the set with an ace. But Nadal grew more comfortable in the second set and broke in the ninth game before serving it out. The Spaniard hit 11 winners to only six unforced errors and won 80 per cent of his service points (20/25) in the second set.

<a href='https://www.atptour.com/en/players/rafael-nadal/n409/overview'>Rafael Nadal</a> celebrates his comeback win over <a href='https://www.atptour.com/en/players/stefanos-tsitsipas/te51/overview'>Stefanos Tsitsipas</a>.

Tsitsipas ripped back momentum early in the third and would save four break points as The O2 crowd clamoured for more drama. But, serving at 6-5, he nudged a backhand volley wide, and Nadal broke for only the second time in the match.

The Spaniard didn’t face a single break point. Tsitsipas, however, would win Group Andre Agassi and go onto win the Nitto ATP Finals title, his biggest crown to date.

Nadal vs. Tsitsipas In 2019

Event

Surface

Round

Winner

Score

Australian Open

Hard

SF

Nadal

6-2, 6-4, 6-0

Mutua Madrid Open

Clay

SF

Tsitsipas

6-4, 2-6, 6-3

Internazionali BNL d’Italia

Clay

SF

Nadal

6-3, 6-4

Nitto ATP Finals

Hard

Group Play

Nadal

6-7(4), 6-4, 7-5

Source link

Nominees Revealed For 2019 ATP Awards

  • Posted: Nov 26, 2019

Nominees Revealed For 2019 ATP Awards

Nadal, Federer, Auger-Aliassime, Tsitsipas among nominees

Welcome to the 2019 ATP Awards, where we recognise outstanding players and tournaments. View the nominees for the player-voted categories: Comeback Player of the Year, Most Improved Player of the Year, Newcomer of the Year and Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award.

ATP Awards winners, including ATPTour.com Fans’ Favourite, will be revealed in December.

Voted By Players

Comeback Player of the Year: The player who has overcome serious injury in re-establishing himself as one of the top players on the ATP Tour.

Andy Murray
Andrey Rublev
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
Stan Wawrinka

Most Improved Player of the Year: The player who reached a significantly higher ATP Ranking by year’s end and who demonstrated an increasingly improved level of performance through the year.

Felix Auger-Aliassime
Matteo Berrettini
Daniil Medvedev
Stefanos Tsitsipas

Newcomer of the Year: The #NextGenATP player who entered the Top 100 for the first time in 2019 and made the biggest impact on the ATP Tour this season.

Felix Auger-Aliassime
Alejandro Davidovich Fokina
Miomir Kecmanovic
Corentin Moutet
Alexei Popyrin
Casper Ruud
Jannik Sinner
Mikael Ymer

Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award: The player who, throughout the year, conducted himself at the highest level of professionalism and integrity, who competed with his fellow players with the utmost spirit of fairness and who promoted the game through his off-court activities.

Roger Federer
Rafael Nadal
Diego Schwartzman
Dominic Thiem

Tournaments of the Year: The tournament in its category that operated at the highest level of professionalism and integrity and which provided the best conditions and atmosphere for participating players.

Categories:
ATP Masters 1000
ATP 500
ATP 250

Voted By Coaches

ATP Coach of the Year: Nominated and voted on by fellow ATP coach members, this award goes to the ATP coach who helped guide his players to a higher level of performance during the year.

Voted By Fans

ATPTour.com Fans’ Favourite (Singles, Doubles): The singles player and doubles team receiving the highest number of votes from ATPTour.com fans (voting closed 18 November). 

Determined By ATP Rankings

ATP Tour No. 1: The player who ends the year as World No. 1 in the ATP Rankings.

ATP Tour No. 1 Doubles Team: The team that ends the year as World No. 1 in the ATP Doubles Team Rankings. 

Chosen By ATP

Arthur Ashe Humanitarian Award: The person who has made outstanding humanitarian contributions. Previous winners include former South African President Nelson Mandela, Arthur Ashe, Federer, Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and 2018 recipient Tommy Robredo.

Ron Bookman Media Excellence Award: The journalist who has made significant contributions to the game of tennis.

Source link