Coronavirus: ATP Suspends Men’s Tennis Tour For Six Weeks

David Goffin of Belgium hits a forehand return during his men’s singles match against Radu Albot of Moldova at the ATP Cup tennis tournament in Sydney on January 3, 2020. William WEST / AFP

 

The ATP announced Thursday it was suspending the men’s tennis tour for six weeks “due to escalating health and safety issues” arising from the coronavirus pandemic.

“This is not a decision that was taken lightly,” said ATP chairman Andrea Gaudenzi. “However we believe this is the responsible action needed at this time in order to protect the health and safety of our players, staff, the wider tennis community and general public health in the face of this global pandemic.”

AFP

Eager Nadal Leads ATP Montreal Field

'I Still Have Tennis Ahead Of Me', Says Nadal After Madrid Exit
Spain’s Rafael Nadal (file photo)                                                                           OSCAR DEL POZO / AFP

 

Defending champion Rafael Nadal heads the field for the ATP Montreal Masters that starts on Monday with Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer opting out of the key US Open tuneup.

With Djokovic and Federer putting a return to action on hold after their dramatic Wimbledon final, 33-year-old Nadal will be seeking to retain the title he earned last year in Toronto, when he beat rising star Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final.

The Greek is back, taking the fourth seeding behind a pair of fellow young guns in number two Dominic Thiem of Austria and Germany’s Alexander Zverev, seeded third.

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Federer and Djokovic aren’t scheduled to resurface until the Cincinnati Masters starts on August 12, giving them one tournament prior to the August 26 start of the US Open at Flushing Meadows, the final Grand slam of the year.

Federer has been training on hardcourt at home in Switzerland after falling to Djokovic in a dramatic five-set final at the All England Club three weeks ago, in which the Swiss great held two match points.

Djokovic has been pictured relaxing at various European beach resorts with his family prior to picking up the racquet once again.

Nadal, meanwhile, is pacing himself after another season marred by injury, insisting despite the pleas and inducements of Cincinnati officials that he won’t decide whether to play there until he sees how he feels after Montreal.

“Depending on what happens in Montreal, I’ll take a decision on Cincinnati,” he said. “Cincinnati is still an option. But I  want to arrive well prepared and ready for the US Open, the last major of the season.”

Nadal could face a challenge in the second round after a bye, with a possible match against Australian Alex de Minaur — winner of the Atlanta title last weekend.

Second seed Thiem has purposefully left it late for the hardcourts, preferring to stay as long as possible on European clay by entering both Hamburg and Kitzbuehel.

Thiem, beaten by Nadal in the last two Roland Garros finals, has a special goal driving him when he lands in francophile Canada.

“I’ve never won a match in Canada, I’d like to change that.” he said. “I’m just hoping to play well.

“Canada is a big goal – I’m really hoping to get a win there.”

Thiem will open his campaign against either Canadian Denis Shapovalov or Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert.

Third seed Zverev, who won the title here two years ago with a win over Federer in the final, will open against either Briton Cameron Norrie or Hungarian Martin Fucsovic.

Tsitsipas will bid to better his 2018 finals showing but must first get past either home-grown Milos Raonic, the 2013 finalist, or American Taylor Fritz, runner-up to de Minaur in Atlanta.

AFP

My Season Is Over, Says Nadal

The spirit was as strong as ever but Rafael Nadal’s troublesome knee failed him in the end as the Spaniard quit the ATP Finals after a painful defeat by Belgium’s David Goffin on Monday.

Nadal, at 31 the oldest player to finish a year ranked number one, fought until the last point, saving four match points in a compelling clash, before losing 7-6(5) 6-7(4) 6-4 in two hours and 37 minutes.

“I am off, my season is finished. I had the commitment with the event, with the city, with myself, I tried hard, I did the things that I had to do to be ready to play but I am really not ready to play,” Nadal said.

Nadal could be seen grimacing as the match wore on, especially when he was forced wide or low, but he still managed to scrap his way back from 4-1 down in the decider, despite apparently playing on one leg.

Minutes after defeat, the 16-times grand slam champion told reporters that he was pulling out of the tournament. Nadal’s right knee flared up at the recent Paris Masters.

The Mallorcan, whose career has been plagued by tendonitis, made a stunning comeback from a wrist injury this year when he reached the Australian Open final, then claimed a 10th French Open title after a three-year grand slam drought.

He then went on to win the U.S. Open and reclaim the world’s top ranking for the first time since 2014.

Reuters

Rafael Nadal Refuses To Guarantee ATP Finals Participation

World number one Rafael Nadal admitted on Friday that a knee injury means he cannot guarantee he will play in the ATP World Tour Finals in London.

Nadal is due to play Belgium’s David Goffin in his first match at the tournament on Monday but told reporters during a pre-tournament news conference that his knee might not hold up, although he did stress that he is doing everything he can to play and that if everything goes to plan he will face Goffin.

The Spaniard was forced to pull out of the Paris Masters last month with the injury but tournament organizers, as well as fans with tickets for Monday’s sessions, will be praying the world’s top tennis player will be healthy enough to feature.

Also speaking at the press conference was his great rival Roger Federer, who spoke about his resurgence this year, in which he won two Grand Slam titles and his happiness at playing again at the ATP Finals after missing most of 2016 through injury.

Federer also said that a proposal to trim the number of seeds at a Grand Slam from 32 to 16 was a positive move, but the Swiss were less impressed with the new format tried out at the NextGen ATP Finals, which featured amongst other changes shorter sets and a shot clock, saying that he felt the game did not need changing.

Several big names are missing at this year’s finals through injury including 2016 winner Andy Murray, four-times London winner Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka.

 

Reuters 

Murray Beat Djokovic To Win First ATP World Tour Trophy

andy-murrayBritain’s Andy Murray on Sunday lifted the ATP trophy after beating five-time champion Novak Djokovi 6-3, 6-4 in the final game.

It was his first Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) World Tour final title and with the victory, Murray finishes the year as the best player in the world.

“I’m very happy to win and to be world number one is very special, the Scot said. “It’s very special playing against Novak in a match like this.”

Murray, 29, extended his career-best winning run to 24 matches.

The victory at London’s O2 Arena also ends Djokovic’s four-year run of success at the tournament and the Serb’s bid to equal Roger Federer’s record of six titles.

Murray, who had won 10 of the pair’s previous 34 encounters, added: “We’ve played Grand Slam finals and Olympic finals before, but I am very happy to win”.

In the semi-final game, Murray had battled back from a set and a break down to beat Milos Raonic and book his place in the final.

Murray looked out of sorts in the opening set and first three games of the second, but he then rallied and eventually prevailed 5-7 7-6 7-6 in a tournament-record three hours and 38 minutes.

Davis Cup: Czech Republic, Great Britain Advance

Davis CupThe Czech Republic has beaten Germany to qualify for the Davis Cup quarter-finals despite a retirement in the fourth round by Tomas Berdych.

Lukas Rosol sealed the match-up with a straight sets victory against Alexander Zverev.

Berdych was trailing by two sets against Philipp Kohlschreiber before he retired.

The retirement levelled the match-up at 2-2 and left a final decisive round between Rosol and Zverev.

Rosol, beat 58th ranked Zverev 6-2 6-3 6-1.

Great Britain also advanced to the quarter-finals of the competition after Andy Murray overcame Japan’s Kei Nishikori in a five-set marathon in Birmingham.

The hosts and reigning champions led 2-1 heading into the fourth rubber but the British no 1 got the job done with a match to spare.

Murray wrapped up a 7-5 7-6 3-6 4-6 6-3 result against Japan’s top representative, Nishikori.

Argentina also clinched a quarter-final spot in the Davis Cup after Leonardo Mayer beat Poland’s Michal Przysiezny to give them an unassailable 3-1 lead.

Mayer lost the first set in a tie-breaker before winning the second, which also went to a tie-break.

The world number 41 then took the next two sets more comfortably winning 6-7 7-6 6-2 6-3.

The South Americans will now face Italy in the next round.

Serbia beat Kazakhstan 3-2 in their Davis Cup first-round tie in Belgrade to set up a mouth-watering quarter-final clash with holders Britain in July.

World number one Novak Djokovic overcame fatigue to beat Mikhail Kukushkin 6-7 7-6 4-6 6-3 6-2 in an absorbing five-hour contest before Viktor Troicki completed Serbia’s comeback with a 6-2 6-3 6-4 win over Aleksandr Nedovyesov.

Troicki, who was beaten by Kukushin, made light work of Nedovyesov in a straight-sets win.

The world number 23 was mobbed by the Serbian team after Nedovyesov sent a long forehand behind the baseline.

Serena Fit To Defend Australian Open Title

Serena World number 1, Serena Williams says she is fit for the Australian Open despite recent injury worries.

Serena failed to complete any matches at the recent Hopman Cup due to left knee inflammation, leading to reports that she is not in good physical condition for the first grand slam of the year, but the 34-year-old insists she is ready to defend her title.

“No, I’m at 120, 130 per cent right now,” Williams said.

“This week and the weeks leading up have been a lot of work. I actually wanted to have an easy day today but in my mind ’easy’ is just two hours of really intense working out.”

She added: “It’s actually really fine. I don’t have any inflammation anymore. It’s just that I needed some time to get over that little hump.”

Serena, who is gunning for her 7th title at Melbourne Park, could face Maria Sharapova in the quarter-finals in an earlier-than-scheduled sequel to the pair’s title clash last year

“I always seem to have a tough draw, so it’s fine. Doesn’t matter who I play. At some point you have to play everyone,” Williams said. “That’s how it always works out. So that’s what it is.”

Serena Williams Wins French Open

Serena WilliamsSerena Williams has beaten Czech 13th seed, Lucie Safarova, to win the 2015 French Open, claiming her 20th Grand Slam title.

The American, ranked number one, wrapped up her victory in two hours and one minute with a 6-3 6-7 (2-7) 6-2 win at Roland Garros.

The 33-year-old becomes the third player – male or female – to win 20 major singles titles.

Only Germany’s Steffi Graf on 22 has won more since the open era began in 1968, with Australia’s Margaret Court collecting 24 between 1960 and 1973.

It was Safarova’s first Grand Slam final.

Novak Djokovic Defeats Roger Federer To Win Wimbledon Final

novak-djokovicNovak Djokovic has beaten Roger Federer 6-7, 6-4, 7-6, 5-7, 6-4, to win his second Wimbledon title.

The game stated with both players being at each other’s’ throats and they managed to tie the first set 6-6, after Djokovic nets a forehand. Down to a tie-breaker and Federer, targeting his 8th Wimbledon won the tie-breaker 9-7 to take the first set.

Djokovic drew level after some blistering shots, although Federer did threaten to break in the last game but the Serb was assured of his range of strokes and took the game away from his senior rival, taking the second set 6-4.

Djokovic relied heavily on his forehand against Federer and after some relentless rallying, sealed the third set tie-breaker after a poor backhand from Federer to lead two sets to one.

After Djokovic took a mammoth 5-2 lead in the fourth set, Federer recorded a remarkable comeback, playing some sensational tennis as the Swiss steamed away to win the fourth set 7-5.

The World Number 2 went on to seal the victory with a 6-4 win in the final set, after some nervy display that saw him race away to a 15-30 lead, only to concede the game 4-4 to Federer after a tricky series of deuces.

Roger Federer was aiming to become the oldest Wimbledon champion in the Open era on Sunday as he targeted a record eighth All England Club title in his 35th career meeting with Novak Djokovic.

Federer, 32, won the first of his 17 majors at Wimbledon in 2003 and the most recent in 2012 but his failure to return to a Grand Slam final since has had his critics penning his career obituary.

The only time Federer and Djokovic met at a slam final was in the 2007 US Open, which Federer won.

Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic have now faced each other 35 times, with Federer still leading 18-17 against the Serb.

Wimbledon Open: Nadal Knocked Out by Australian Teeneger, Kyrgios

tennis-wimbledon-nick-kyrgios-wimbledon-r4_3166372Australian teenager, Nick Kyrgios, created a big upset as he defeated Rafael Nadal 7-6 (7-5) 5-7 7-6 (7-5) 6-3  to reach the quarter-finals at Wimbledon.

Nadal had no answer for Kyrgios’ booming serve and thunderous ground strokes, the 19-year-old sending down 37 aces and hitting 70 winners during the course of the fourth round contest.

The world number one had lost the first set in each of his first three matches before recovering to win in four, but could not repeat the same feat against a rampant Kyrgios.

Kyrgios, who had being tipped for greatness by the likes of Andy Murray and Pat Cash in recent weeks, only claimed his first top-50 win a week before the victory over Nadal when he saved nine match points to beat Richard Gasquet in the second round.

The Australian teenager, who is world number 144, is the first man outside the top 100 to beat a world number one since 1992.

World Tennis Championship: Djokovic Beats Tsonga

Serbia’s Novak Djokovic will face David Ferrer of Spain in Saturday’s (December 28) final of the World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi.

The Serbian defeated Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France 7-6, 6-3 in the second semi-final on Friday.

Third-ranked Ferrer had earlier beaten world number one and Spanish compatriot, Rafael Nadal.

Tsonga used his power to good effect throughout Friday’s match, but world number two, Djokovic varied his shots and pace and never seemed to be working flat out.

The Serbian was watched by new head coach, Boris Becker, who seemed unsurprised by the result.

Tennis: Tsonga Appoints New Coaches

French tennis star Jo-Wilfried Tsonga has appointed the duo of Thierry Ascione and Nicolas Escude as his new coaches.

Tsonga has appointed former world number 17 Escude and former top 100 player Ascione, in an attempt to emulate the recent success of compatriot, Richard Gasquet who has risen to French number 1 after including 2 men in his coaching set-up.

“We have begun this project at my suggestion and I am really pleased to begin a new phase of my career with them both,” Tsonga said in Bercy, where he is taking part in the Paris Masters.

“I’ve been looking for the ideal situation for some time, and I feel best with them.”

Ascione has developed a strong coaching reputation due to his work with Kristina Mladenovic and Nicholas Mahut, while Escude has a long-standing rapport with the 28-year-old former world number 5 being his former Davis Cup team-mate.

Ascione will not be able to accompany Tsonga to all his events because of other commitments, which is where Escude steps in.

Having reached but lost the 2008 Australian Open final, Escude is targeting a maiden Grand Slam title for Tsonga, but says success will be measured by Tsonga’s world ranking.

“Of course we will go for all 4 (Slams), but the important thing for us is to see a rapid movement up the rankings,” Escude said.

“If, after 1 year, he is still at the same place, we will not have succeeded in our mission.”

World number 10, Tsonga parted ways with former coach, Roger Rasheed at the end of August and has since then been without a coach.