Tennis

  • Dusan Lajovic is set to kick off his season at the ATP Cup, joining World No. 1 Novak Djokovic, Filip Krajinovic and Nikola Cacic when Team Serbia takes the court as the defending champion. But even though he’s far from Serbia, Lajovic is feeling right at home. In fact, he has brought the whole neighbourhood with him: All four players reside in the same condominium complex in Belgrade. “Only one is ‘the impostor,'’' Lajovic joked. “[Our captain] Viktor [Troicki] lives in the centre of the city. We’ll try to welcome him and do our best to make him feel like he’s a part of the neighborhood.” Lajovic, who is currently No. 26 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, won four of his six singles matches to help Serbia clinch the title last year, including standout victories over Top 20 Russian Karen Khachanov and #NextGenATP Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime. ATPTour.com caught up with Lajovic before this year’s event. Why are you excited about representing Serbia again in the ATP Cup? Personally, I think it was one of the greatest events that I participated in, and especially winning a title was an incredible experience with so many emotions. So many people from Serbia were there supporting us from the first day in Brisbane until the last day in Sydney at the final. And honestly, it felt like we were playing at home in the middle of our country. The people supporting us were really nice, and they kept on supporting us at events after the ATP Cup. I think the new energy that it brought and the new format was also one of the things that was so interesting. On the other hand, being part… ▶️ Read more ◀️

    Jannik Sinner and Nick Kyrgios will make their first indoor appearances of the 2021 ATP Tour season at the Open Sud de France in Montpellier. Sinner will attempt to capture his second ATP Tour crown in his second appearance at the ATP 250. In his most recent indoor hard-court event, the #NextGenATP Italian defeated Alex de Minaur, Adrian Mannarino and Vasek Pospisil in consecutive matches to capture his maiden ATP Tour crown at the Sofia Open. Kyrgios has already experienced success at a French indoor event. The 25-year-old, who claimed his maiden tour-level trophy in Marseille in 2016, will attempt to capture his seventh ATP Tour title on his tournament debut in Montpellier. The ATP 250, which will be held from 22-28 February, will also feature three Top 20 players. Roberto Bautista Agut, two-time semi-finalist David Goffin and Pablo Carreno Busta will all return to the French south coast. Three-time champion Richard Gasquet and 2019 titlist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga will look to add to their Montpellier trophy collections. Ugo Humbert, who won two ATP Tour crowns in 2020, will also bid to extend the tradition of French champions at the event. Since the tournament made its ATP Tour debut in 2010, the event has crowned eight French champions from 10 editions. ▶️ Read more ◀️

    Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan, the most accomplished doubles team in history, retired last August. Five months later, the legendary twins are at ease with their decision. “Now we’re enjoying the afterlife. We’ve both got families. A lot of time with our kids. We understand how important it is to put that energy into raising good human beings,” Mike said. “Maybe they can carry on the legacy, the Bryan Brothers. You [Bob] have the Bryan Brothers, I have one. We’ll see, we’ll have fun doing something else. We’ll figure it out.” Bob has three children — two sons and a daughter — and Mike has one son. Even before their retirement, family was important to the Americans. When the Bryan Brothers lifted some of their biggest trophies in recent years, Bob’s kids tended to be nearby (Mike’s son was born last April). In what ended up being the team’s final tournament, the 2020 Delray Beach Open by VITACOST.com, Bob’s children were their to celebrate another trophy. “We had a great 23 years, it’s almost too much time to do one thing,” Bob said. “I don’t miss it too much right now, but I do miss waking up having something to shoot for. The goals, the tournaments, just improving the game, having something to shoot for and doing it with you [Mike].” Bob and Mike enjoyed unparalleled success, lifting 119 tour-level doubles trophies together. Some fans will remember them for their trademark chest bumps and all the time they spent signing autographs and taking pictures with fans. But the Bryan Brothers were also ferocious competitors, and that’s not something that will go away. “The competition is fun,” Bob said. “I’m getting… ▶️ Read more ◀️

    World's Top 4 Players In Action On Day 1 Of ATP Cup

    The match schedule for the 2021 ATP Cup, the 12-country event being played at Melbourne Park from 2-6 February, was released Monday. The tournament dates have been pushed back 24 hours to allow quarantined players the best possible preparation and training opportunities. See Tournament Daily Schedule Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Dominic Thiem and Daniil Medvedev will all begin their 2021 campaigns on Day 1 of the event. In the day session, defending champion Serbia will open its bid for a second straight title against Canada on Rod Laver Arena and Austria will face Italy on John Cain Arena. At last year’s event, Serbia overcame Canada 3-0 in the knockout stages. The tie produced one of the most memorable matches of the event, when Djokovic outlasted Denis Shapovalov in a final-set tie-break. They are set for a rematch as their country’s No. 1 singles players. In the evening session, 2020 finalist Spain will face hosts Australia on Rod Laver Arena. Rafael Nadal and Alex de Minaur will meet again in singles after last year’s semi-finals, when Spain prevailed 3-0. Russia, which reached the semi-finals at the inaugural ATP Cup, will begin its title bid against Argentina. The two countries met in the knockout stages last year, with Russia earning a 3-0 victory. An individual match to watch includes World No. 2 Nadal against 2019 Nitto ATP Finals champion Stefanos Tsitsipas, which will take place when Spain faces Greece in the evening session on Thursday 4 February. Germany, Greece, France and Japan will play their first ties of the tournament on Day 2. Each tie will consist of three matches with No. 2 singles players competing before the No. 1 singles, followed… ▶️ Read more ◀️

    Korda, Pouille Lead Quimper Challenger Draw; Munar Headlines In Antalya

    This week, the ATP Challenger Tour rolls into France and Turkey for a pair of star-studded tournaments. All eyes will be on the indoor hard courts of Quimper, France and the outdoor clay of Antalya, Turkey, with former Top 10 stalwarts and #NextGenATP stars in action. In Quimper, the 11th edition of the Open Quimper Bretagne Occidentale features former World No. 10 Lucas Pouille as its top seed and 20-year-old Sebastian Korda seeded second. Fellow #NextGenATP stars Brandon Nakashima and Hugo Gaston are also in the loaded field, along with Sunday's Istanbul champion Arthur Rinderknech. It will be a long-awaited return to the tour for Pouille, as the five-time ATP Tour champion and 2019 Australian Open semi-finalist competes in his first tournament since undergoing right elbow surgery last year. To add another layer of emotions to his comeback, the Frenchman is also playing in his first tournament since becoming a father. Last week, his wife Clemence gave birth to their first child, Rose. View Quimper Draw Having played just one match in the last 15 months, Pouille returns to the ATP Challenger Tour in search of matches and much-needed rhythm between the lines. He opens against Slovakia's Filip Horansky, with Rinderknech a potential quarter-final opponent. Fellow former Top 10 star Ernests Gulbis and in-form Americans Nakashima and Denis Kudla are also in his half of the draw. Meanwhile, the bottom half of the Quimper draw is headlined by World No. 103 Korda, as the Florida native continues his quest for a Top 100 breakthrough. The runner-up at the ATP 250 event in Delray Beach earlier this month, he has won 17 of his last 20 matches, also including a maiden… ▶️ Read more ◀️

    Dennis Novak broke into the Top 100 of the FedEx ATP Rankings for the first time last season, and his surge started at the ATP Cup. Novak played three tough three-setters for Austria as the country’s No. 2 singles player, and he earned a win against World No. 25 Guido Pella. The 6’ righty climbed as high as World No. 85 in March. Now, he is ready to begin another season by representing Austria in the ATP Cup. Before the start of the 12-country event, Novak sat down with ATPTour.com to reveal how he has been passing the time during quarantine. What is a day in the life of quarantine like for you? We wake up, we get tested, we have breakfast. We get ready for practice... We have time to be outside. We come back, do some stretching, eat, shower and then watch some movies and try to kill the time. Who is your most frequently contacted person during this quarantine period? Dominic [Thiem]. [We keep in touch by] texting, playing games online against each other. What games do you play against each other online? We play a lot of Mario Kart on Nintendo Switch. That’s at the moment the only thing we play [on Nintendo Switch]. I play with Baby Bowser and he takes Toad. I also have a PlayStation with me. I play with his brother [Moritz Thiem]. We play Formula 1 and we have a few more games. Have you been watching any shows in quarantine? I just started a new show on Netflix, Shooter. I’m just really into it. I cannot stop. Also a French one, Lupin. But there is only one season out, so… ▶️ Read more ◀️

    Arthur's Ascent: Rinderknech Kicks Off 2021 With Istanbul Title

    New season, same story for Arthur Rinderknech. One year ago, the Frenchman opened his 2020 campaign with a piece of silverware wrapped in his arms. This week, Rinderknech kicked off his 2021 ATP Challenger Tour season in similar fashion. The 25-year-old wasted no time in finding the winning formula in Istanbul, reeling off seven wins in eight days as a qualifier to lift the trophy. With the Turkish metropolis blanketed in snow, Rinderknech turned up the heat on the indoor hard courts of the TED Sports Club. He rallied past countryman Benjamin Bonzi in Sunday's championship, taking the title 4-6, 7-6(1), 7-6(3) in two hours and 17 minutes. "It feels great to win the first Challenger of the year and even more when it's a 125-level tournament," said Rinderknech. "I'm happy about the way I handled things this week and went through seven matches in eight days." Rinderknech's triumph moves him 43 spots to a career-high No. 135 in the FedEx ATP Rankings. A former college standout at Texas A&M University, he outlasted #NextGenATP star Brandon Nakashima, before overcoming an in-form Marc-Andrea Huesler in the quarter-finals and defeating seventh seed Jozef Kovalik for a spot in the title match. "I think the key was to go day-by-day and take it match-by-match, as it was a long week," Rinderknech added. "Taking care of my body and making sure I was staying fresh, mentally too. I wanted to play doubles with my partner Manuel Guinard, but we didn't get in and that would have been too much. We will play together in Quimper." The Parisian is carrying some serious momentum from a breakout 2020 campaign. One of the revelations on the Challenger… ▶️ Read more ◀️

    New Australian Schedule To Help Players In Lockdown

    The Australian Open lead-in week has been revamped to help give the 72 players in the 14-day quarantine lockdown the best possible preparation and training opportunities. Following extensive consultation between the players and the Tours, Tennis Australia has designed a new schedule, taking into account the limited time many players have had to prepare. The Murray River Open, the Great Ocean Road Open and the ATP Cup will be pushed back by 24 hours. The two ATP 250 events will commence on Monday 1 February, each featuring an increased singles main draw size of 56, while the ATP Cup will start on Tuesday 2 February. “This has been a particularly challenging time for the athletes in hard lockdown and we, along with the WTA and ATP, aim to do everything we can to help,” Australian Open Tournament Director Craig Tiley said. “These changes to the lead-in events have been made to give the 72 players a little bit of extra time to help them prepare. We also will prioritise them for things like practice sessions, gym and ice baths.” ATP Chairman Andrea Gaudenzi also added, “Our number one goal with Tennis Australia and the WTA was to be as fair as possible to the players coming out of a hard quarantine. “The extra 24 hours before the first ATP Tour events together with priority over practice and preparation will help. We are eager to start what I am sure will be a fantastic summer of tennis in Melbourne in front of our great Australian fans.” There will now be three WTA 500 events - the two originally planned from Sunday 31 January to Saturday 6 February, with slightly reduced draw… ▶️ Read more ◀️

    Three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray has confirmed that he won’t be competing in the 2021 Australian Open. Murray, now ranked No. 123 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, had been granted a wildcard to play in the tournament’s main draw but he tested positive for Covid-19 last week shortly before he was due to fly to Melbourne. The 33-year-old Scot was asymptomatic and still hoped to compete in the event, but was unable to agree upon a “workable quarantine” after extensive talks with Tennis Australia. Murray had already been quarantining in the U.K. but would have faced an additional 14-day quarantine upon arrival in Melbourne. “Gutted to share that I won’t be flying out to Australia to compete at the Australian Open,” Murray said in a statement. “We’ve been in constant dialogue with Tennis Australia to try and find a solution which would allow some form of workable quarantine, but we couldn’t make it work. I want to thank everyone there for their efforts, I’m devastated not to be playing out in Australia. It’s a country and tournament that I love.” So sorry we won’t see you this year @andy_murray. We look forward to welcoming you back in 2022. pic.twitter.com/NstmHFnCGm — #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2021 It would have been Murray’s first appearance at the Australian Open since 2019, when he lost in the first round to Roberto Bautista Agut and was given an emotional farewell tribute that proved to be premature. After returning from hip surgery in 2019, Murray won the European Open in Antwerp in October 2019 but has struggled to remain fit in recent months. He ended the 2020 season in October to address a pelvic injury… ▶️ Read more ◀️

    Ten To Watch In 2021: ATP Challenger Tour

    As crazy, unpredictable and unprecedented as the 2020 season was, one thing left us captivated on the ATP Challenger Tour. A bevy of fresh faces entered the fray, challenging the established stars and introducing themselves with aplomb. The #NextGenATP contingent was bolstered by the arrival of Carlos Alcaraz, Lorenzo Musetti and Sebastian Korda, with each lifting their maiden Challenger trophies while gaining global attention on the Grand Slam stage and the ATP Tour. And with the likes of Aslan Karatsev and Jurij Rodionov also soaring up the FedEx ATP Rankings, the season provided many unexpected and intriguing breakthroughs on the Challenger circuit. So, which budding stars should you keep an eye on in 2021? We look ahead to the players that are eager to follow in their footsteps on the ATP Challenger Tour in the coming year. Francisco Cerundolo [No. 139] The man they call Fran was one of the breakout performers of the 2020 season and there is little to suggest that he won't carry the momentum into the new year. If you blinked, you may have missed the 22-year-old's rapid rise in October and November. But be assured, he's just getting started. Inconspicuous yet ruthless, Cerundolo is poised to become a household name across the tennis world. He put the rest of the tour on notice in the final months of 2020, reeling off 20 of 23 matches and lifting three trophies - tied for the most on the ATP Challenger Tour. His dominant run saw him soar more than 100 spots to a career-high No. 139 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, becoming the youngest Argentine in the Top 200. And if that wasn't an impressive feat in… ▶️ Read more ◀️

    Andrey Rublev soared from No. 23 to No. 8 in the FedEx ATP Rankings on the back of five ATP Tour titles in 2020, when he was named by his peers as the ATP Most Improved Player of the Year. His breakthrough was centred on his hard-court performances last year, with an ATP Tour-leading 31 match wins on the surface — better than World No. 1 Novak Djokovic (30), Nitto ATP Finals champion Daniil Medvedev (28) and US Open finalist Alexander Zverev (25). According to the Infosys ATP Performance Zone, Rublev had the third-best winning percentage on hard-courts (79.5%) over the past 52 weeks, behind only Djokovic (88.2%) and Gael Monfils (80%). Best Winning % On Hard Courts In 2020  Player  Win-Loss Record  Winning %  1) Novak Djokovic  30-4  88.2%  2) Gael Monfils  16-4  80%  3) Andrey Rublev  31-8  79.5%  4) Daniil Medvedev  28-8  77.8% 5) Rafael Nadal  18-6  75% Rublev opened the 2020 season with an 11-match winning streak on hard courts, including back-to-back ATP Tour titles in Doha (d. Moutet) and in Adelaide (d. Harris), making him the first player to win consecutive titles in the first two weeks of the season since Dominik Hrbaty in 2004. He compiled another 11-match winning streak on the surface in October with titles in St. Petersburg (d. Coric) and Vienna (d. Sonego). It was quite the turnaround for Rublev, who saw his career winning percentage on hard courts skyrocket from the start of 2020 thanks to his 31-8 record (79.5%). Remarkably, the Russian compiled a 72-60 career record (54.5%) on the surface between 2014 and 2019. Visit Infosys ATP Performance Zone With growing confidence, Rublev has captured five of his seven… ▶️ Read more ◀️

    “The Last Time” that Roberto Bautista Agut lost an ATP Cup match? Never happened. The World No. 13 earned a reputation for being Spain’s reliable closer at last year’s inaugural event, winning all six of his singles matches without dropping a set to put his country into the final. Bautista Agut will hope to reprise that role as he teams up with Rafael Nadal, Pablo Carreno Busta and Marcel Granollers to try to bring home Spain’s first ATP Cup crown. Speaking to ATPTour.com from quarantine, Bautista Agut revealed "The Last Time"... I forgot an important birthday or anniversary? Actually last year. It was my anniversary with my wife! Somehow I managed to survive... Being famous helped me? It was one time I was going out to dinner. There was a restaurant in America during the summer that always seems to be overbooked. And so I called… and I let them know it was me. And they were able to get me a table and I got to have dinner there. I went to a music concert? It must have been over a year ago by now, more or less. I went to see a concert at the Plaza de Toros in Valencia. [Spanish pop singer] Manuel Carrasco was performing. I watched a new TV series? I’m actually watching a new one now, it’s a Spanish series called La Valla (“The Barrier”). I recommend it. I missed a flight? Actually I’ve never missed a flight. The only time I missed one was when the flight was cancelled, but never because I was running late.  I paid money to rent a tennis court? I don’t remember at all… I have no idea,… ▶️ Read more ◀️

    Milos Raonic has been doing anything but sleeping in during his 14-day quarantine period ahead of the Australian swing. The World No. 15 in the FedEx ATP Rankings is gearing up to represent Canada in the ATP Cup alongside Denis Shapovalov, Peter Polansky and Steven Diez, and he’s determined to maximise precious time on the tennis court. But what is Raonic up to when he’s not on court? And what is his go-to delivery dish? The Canadian sat down for a chat with ATPTour.com to reveal seven things he’s been up to during quarantine… 1. Getting creative with his in-room workouts. "I hope the hotel doesn’t see that’s the use of the minibar fridge... But you can get creative in a hotel room. Our creativity has been using a fridge as a step-up, but there’s other ways. Towels can be used for different workouts. There’s many ways you can get creative, but for us our big thing was coming prepared and trying to have as much with us as possible… I was aware of how the conditions would be, so we came here and we brought a lot of things that we could use." 2. Organising his day to make the most of practice court time. "So you hear the night before what time your slot is [to go outside for five hours] and what time you’ll get picked up. And then you adjust your day to that. You get ready and wait by your door for them to come around again once they’ve also corralled your team and the player you’re practising with. And then you’ll all come out to the elevator, go down in the same elevator. By… ▶️ Read more ◀️

    Groups Announced For 2021 ATP Cup

    The 12 countries set to compete in the second edition of the ATP Cup, taking place in Melbourne the week prior to the Australian Open, were assigned to four groups at the official tournament draw on Friday. Top seed Serbia, headlined by World No. 1 Novak Djokovic, will lead Group A, which will also consist of Germany and Canada. One year ago, Serbia battled through the field to lift the inaugural ATP Cup trophy in Sydney. Second seed Spain, which finished runner-up in 2020, will aim to move through Group B, which includes Greece and Australia. World No. 2 Rafael Nadal leads the way for his country for the second consecutive year. Austria, headed by World No. 3 Dominic Thiem, will look to advance through Group C against Italy and France. Fourth seed Russia, headlined by reigning Nitto ATP Finals champion Daniil Medvedev, will try to do the same in Group D, which includes Argentina and Japan. Watch The ATP Cup Draw The draw was hosted by Todd Woodbridge, with participation from Mark Philippoussis, John Fitzgerald, Jim Courier and Mark Petchey.  This year’s five-day event will be played at Melbourne Park alongside two ATP 250 events, the Great Ocean Road Open and the Murray River Open. Following the group stage, the four group winners will advance to the knock-out semi-finals to continue battling for the prestigious title. The 2021 ATP Cup will feature 12 of the Top 13 players in the FedEx ATP Rankings. Each country will consist of four players, with each tie comprising two singles matches and one doubles match. Tickets will go on sale next week. More information will be released in due course. Follow the latest… ▶️ Read more ◀️

    The draw for the 2021 edition of the ATP Cup will be held on Friday, 22 January at 12:00pm AEDT (1am GMT). This year 12 countries will battle it out for the newest team trophy in men’s tennis. Streaming Times For Draw Melbourne: Fri. 22 Jan, 12 noon London: Fri. 22 Jan, 1 a.m. New York: Thu. 21 Jan, 8 p.m. Watch The Draw Here World No. 1 Novak Djokovic and No. 2-ranked Rafael Nadal headline the event as the top-ranked singles players for Team Serbia and Team Spain, respectively. Reigning Nitto ATP Finals champion Daniil Medvedev leads Team Russia alongside fellow Top 10 star Andrey Rublev, and World No. 3 Dominic Thiem will lead Team Austria. The 2021 ATP Cup will feature 12 of the Top 13 in the FedEx ATP Rankings. Each team will consist of four players per country. Qualification for the 2021 ATP Cup is based on the FedEx ATP Rankings of each country’s top-ranked singles player, while Australia qualifies by virtue of a host wildcard. The 12 teams will be divided into four groups of three for group stage, round-robin play. The four group winners will qualify for the knock-out stages, starting with the semi-finals. 2021 CAPTAINS  Team  No. 1 Player  Captain  Serbia  Novak Djokovic  Viktor Troicki  Spain  Rafael Nadal  Pepe Vendrell  Austria  Dominic Thiem  Wolfgang Thiem  Russia  Daniil Medvedev  Evgeny Donskoy  Greece  Stefanos Tsitsipas  Apostolos Tsitsipas  Germany  Alexander Zverev  Mischa Zverev  Argentina  Diego Schwartzman  Jose Acasuso  Italy  Matteo Berrettini  Vincenzo Santopadre  Japan  Kei Nishikori  Max Mirnyi  France  Gael Monfils  Richard Ruckelshausen  Canada  Denis Shapovalov  Peter Polansky  Australia  Alex de Minaur  Lleyton Hewitt HOW TO WATCH THE DRAW Todd Woodbridge, a winner of 22 Grand Slam doubles titles, will be joined by former Wimbledon and US… ▶️ Read more ◀️

    The ATP has issued updates to the 2021 ATP Tour calendar alongside measures to create increased playing opportunities, in the face of scheduling challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. The updates are headlined by the addition of two new ATP 250 events, granted as single-year licences for the 2021 season, in Singapore, following the conclusion of the Australian Open, and Marbella, following the Miami Open presented by Itau, from 5 April. View 2021 Calendar Other measures to create additional playing opportunities include the expansion of the Singles Main Draw/Qualifying Draw size at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships from 32/16 to 48/24, while the Qualifying Draw size at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel will increase from 16 to 32. In addition, qualifying draw sizes at ATP 250 Cordoba Open, Argentina Open (Buenos Aires) and Chile Dove Men+Care Open (Santiago) are also to be expanded from 16 to 32. Elsewhere, the Hungarian Open, the ATP 250 clay-court tournament typically held in April in Budapest, has been approved for relocation to Belgrade, Serbia, from 2021. The Fayez Sarofim & Co. U.S. Men's Clay Court Championship, the ATP 250 event in Houston, typically scheduled in April, has announced it will not take place in 2021. The ATP continues to assess opportunities for additional single-year licenses to fill any gaps in the calendar and will communicate any additions in due course. All other tournaments on the original 2021 calendar remain unchanged at this time and are planned to take place as scheduled. ▶️ Read more ◀️

    Tiafoe: ‘I Was In A Dark Place, Now I’m Ready For Great Things’

    Frances Tiafoe has used the COVID-19 pandemic as an opportunity to reflect, step away from the sport and assess his game and his career. Having dropped more than 30 places in the FedEx ATP Rankings in the early months of 2020, he struggled for form and confidence. But while the five-month suspension of the ATP Tour stopped many in-form stars from carrying their momentum into further events, it helped Tiafoe to break a cycle of disappointing results and find his way out of a difficult position. "The pandemic was probably the best thing that happened to me in my career, if we are going to be frank. I was in a dark place pre-pandemic,” Tiafoe told ATPTour.com. “My ranking took a serious hit, obviously losing the quarter-finals [points] in Melbourne. It kind of saved me, because I had Miami coming up where I was defending quarter-finals [points]. “I looked at the guy in the mirror [and asked], ‘Why are you here? What are the things you need to change and what are the things you need to keep building on?’ It helped me a lot. There were a lot of deep conversations with my guys and I wouldn’t have made it to the second week of the US Open without that.” There were many difficult questions that Tiafoe had to answer during the ATP Tour suspension. The 6’2” right-hander decided that to move forward in his career, he needed to embrace change. “It was like, ‘Frances Tiafoe. What does that look like post-pandemic? What do you want to change? Are you going to be the same guy or are you going to add some things and change some things?’ I… ▶️ Read more ◀️

    Diego Schwartzman has just enjoyed his best season on the ATP Tour. During his 2020 campaign, he recorded a win over Rafael Nadal, reached the Internazionali BNL d’Italia final and the Roland Garros semi-finals, broke into the Top 10 of the FedEx ATP Rankings and qualified for the Nitto ATP Finals… all of which he achieved for the first time in his career. But the Argentine is not one to rest on his laurels and so he now has some new goals. “I broke through a barrier [beating Nadal]. Now I can retire saying that I beat him,” said Schwartzman, current World No. 9, in an extensive interview with Argentina’s La Nacion Magazine. “Now my outstanding goals are to beat Roger [Federer] once, ‘Nole’ once and then to win more titles.” While coveting victory over the members of the Big 3, he does not hide his admiration for them. “I would take all of their shots. They make up the ideal player. I have had some very good years, 2020 was the best and you ask yourself, ‘How is it possible that these guys have been having seasons thousands of times better than mine since they were 18 and they repeat it every year?’” Inspired by the consistency of the Big 3, ‘El Peque’ will be bidding in 2021 to maintain the standard of his last season. But just as important to him as fighting to improve is keeping his feet on the ground. “[In tennis], more than selfishness, there’s solitude,” Schwartzman explained. “I have changed my personality a little through being alone. But I think basically I’m still the same. If I ever change, I hope the people around… ▶️ Read more ◀️

    Reigning Nitto ATP Finals champion Daniil Medvedev finished 2020 as the hottest player on the ATP Tour, but that doesn’t mean the World No. 4 didn’t go through adversity last season. “I for sure have some problems sometimes, especially when I’m not playing good,” Medvedev said. “I can lose my temper sometimes. I didn’t have one final… and it gets into your mind.” The Russian won his first four matches at the inaugural ATP Cup and reached the US Open semi-finals, but he entered his final two tournaments of the year with an 18-10 record and no championship match appearances. The 24-year-old’s signature is frustrating his opponents. But as 2020 wore on, it seemed the Russian was mostly frustrating himself with his play. Medvedev’s impenetrable wall of defence was showing holes, and the effects his unorthodox game had on opponents were not as noticeable as usual. Players slowly began to find their rhythm against the Russian as he lost his. “Tennis is not an easy sport. It’s tough to explain some things that are happening... When you are down, you need to find the best way to get up fast,” Medvedev said. “I just wanted to show that I’m capable of playing good tennis and beating good guys.” Medvedev arrived at the Rolex Paris Masters with a 1-3 record at the tournament and departed with his third ATP Masters 1000 title. That gave the Moscow native momentum heading into the Nitto ATP Finals, where he went 0-3 in 2019. Medvedev played some of the smartest and most resilient tennis of his career to become the first player to defeat the top three players in the FedEx ATP Rankings in a… ▶️ Read more ◀️

    Two years ago, Matteo Berrettini started the 2019 ATP Tour season at No. 54 in the FedEx ATP Rankings. The Italian, who had yet to crack the Top 50, was aiming to add to his title collection after picking up his maiden ATP Tour trophies in singles and doubles at the Swiss Open Gstaad in 2018. Not only did the Italian manage to add to his trophy cabinet, he also produced one of the most unlikely runs to Nitto ATP Finals qualification in tournament history. Berrettini collected two ATP Tour titles and reached the semi-finals or better at eight tour-level events, including the US Open, to qualify for the elite eight-man event for the first time. Understandably, the 6’5” right-hander’s rapid 2019 ascent took some time to process. To put it simply, Berrettini had gone from being a hunter to the hunted. “[In 2018, I started the season at] No. 135 so it is definitely different. You feel that when you are in the draw, they are looking at you like, ‘Okay, this guy is a seed so I want to beat him even more’. It definitely changed, but it is what you have to take,” said Berrettini. “There are pros and cons and I think you have to get used to it. Once you play tournaments and matches, you are going to be able to get used to it and to get better at it.” Due to a hernia/groin injury and the suspension of the ATP Tour due to COVID-19 last year, Berrettini was limited to just six tournament appearances in 2020. But while he was unable to carry his momentum into 2020, the extra time on the sidelines… ▶️ Read more ◀️