Nadal reigns supreme at the French Open with his 9th Title - UBITENNIS
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Nadal reigns supreme at the French Open with his 9th Title

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TENNIS FRENCH OPEN – In the final of the 2014 Roland Garros Rafael Nadal beat Novak Djokovic 3-6 7-5 6-2 6-4 to win his 9th title in Paris and his 14th career Major. Nadal proved once again, that he is the French Open. There is very little else one can say about him and this tournament. Cordell Hackshaw

 

Interviews, Results, OOP, Draws from the Roland Garros

At the start of the 2014 French Open, there was a question that was being asked which has rarely been asked for nearly a decade, “Would Rafael Nadal (1) defend his French Open title?” It might be more apropos to say defending his property as opposed to his title. True that in 2009 Nadal lost to Robin Soderling. Yet, statisticians will say that that was an anomaly; a “freak occurrence.” That loss does not change the undeniable truth of Nadal being the greatest of all players of all time on clay. He is simply supreme on the surface. One might even go as far as to say he is virtually unplayable on the Parisian courts. Back in 2011, that question floated about and it looked like Novak Djokovic (2) had solved the “clay conundrum” that is Nadal. However, Roger Federer stopped that meeting and Federer was the one who got to the final and lost yet again to Nadal. Since then, Nadal and Djokovic have met in the French Open and each time, Nadal has come out the victor. This year would be no different as for the three straight year, Nadal has beaten Djokovic on his way to the French title; his 5th time in a row and his 9th overall title; 3-6 7-5 6-2 6-4.

Overall, it would be hard to say whether Djokovic actually gave it everything in this match. However in the 1st set, it would difficult to say he did not. Djokovic served first in the match and fended off early break points during the 7th game to quickly give himself two break chances in the 8th game for the 5-3 lead. Nadal was able to save those two initial break points on his serve for deuce but his usually formidable forehand went errant on the 3rd one and Djokovic was serving for the set. Djokovic with the momentum squarely in his half of the court soon found himself down love-30 and then down two break points to get back on serve. However, the Nadal forehand proved to be unreliable in the early stages of the match and Djokovic won the set 6-3 when yet another forehand from Nadal went long.

Nadal was not about to let him reign here in Paris go unchallenged. He broke Djokovic in the 6th game to lead 4-2. Djokovic broke back immediately and remained on serve for 6-5 when he was serving to force the set to a tiebreaker. Nadal wanting to avoid the breaker and he put his foot down and demanded that this 12th game be his. He matched pace with Djokovic and showed him the true extent of his clay court prowess and soon he had double set points. Djokovic became erratic when he most needed to be perfect and so Nadal took the 2nd set 7-5. This equalizing set was all that the Spaniard needed to really turn up the intensity. His reaction to taking it almost matched that of winning the title. Nadal himself would later say, “We can talk about strategy, we can talk about tactics, and when you look at the score, the fact of winning the second set for me was something very important.”

Nadal then went into this “unplayable” mood where Djokovic simply did not have an answer. Nadal raced out to a 3-0 lead before Djokovic got on the scoreboard in the 3rd set. Djokovic looked poised to get things back on serve as he had a break point in the 5th game but again, he was unable to combat his opponent’s offensive and defensive skills. The style of play that saw Djokovic winning the rallies in the 1st set, was no longer working and Djokovic remained perplexed as to what to do. Nadal made the impossible shots possible and everything was working for him. Djokovic could only say later on, He was a better player in the crucial moments.” Nadal held serve and stretched his lead to 5-2. Djokovic served to stay in the set and again, he was broken. Nadal was now up two sets to one. Meanwhile, Djokovic was left looking as though he was unsure as to whether he was playing a man or a machine. Nadal was just that good on the big points and nothing was working against him.

There was no question that Nadal was going to take the match at this point. Djokovic looked physically unwell and at one point was even slightly sick on court. However, Nadal remained relentless in his pursuit for tennis glory. He broke Djokovic in the 6th game for a 4-2 lead. Djokovic broke back and levelled it 4-4. Nadal stayed ahead at 5-4 and forced Djokovic to serve to stay in the match. It was almost like watching their last two matches here at the French Open all over again particularly the 2012 final, Djokovic looked “done and dusted.” He pushed his forehand long to set up match point for Nadal and then double faulted to end the match. In all three sets that Nadal won, he never once served to close it out; he broke Djokovic every time. Djokovic summed of his performance in the match by saying, “I lost that service game 65, and then the momentums went his side. I started…playing quite bad…and didn’t move as well. Struggled a little bit physically throughout that third set…I wasn’t playing at the level that I wanted, especially in the second part of the match.”

Nadal proved once again, that he is the French Open. There is very little else one can say about him and this tournament. 9 titles, 5 in a row, 66-1 here in Paris, 14 major titles overall (tied for 2nd with Pete Sampras on the all-time list). Nadal beats his opponents both physically and mentally. Even that rare defeat back in 2009 to Soderling, the next year in 2010, Nadal had his revenge as be beat Soderling in the final in straight sets for his 5th title. “I knew that I had lost four times against Novak, so this win was very important to me. I had enough courage. I made the right decisions at the right moment.”

Djokovic had his chances to have at least taken it to a 5th set or even more so, made the scoreline more interesting. In the end though, Nadal did everything slightly better particularly on break point conversion and second serve points one: Nadal was 6/10 on break points and won 50% of 2nd serve whereas Djokovic was 3/9 and 36% on 2nd serve) Though they both had an excellent serving day, these noted differences proved to be the key factors of the match. On the other hand, Nadal feels that it more than his good tennis at play today. “Mentally I was so strong. I really wanted to defeat him. I don’t really know how to describe these things, but I managed to stick to it. I suffered quite a lot, but I found solutions. When there were problems cropping, I managed to find the solutions when the moments were very difficult with a number of shots which were quite tricky from the tennis point of view. I succeeded. I managed to win the match and the tournament.” Nadal has not only managed to win this tournament, one can say he really and truly owns it.

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Next Generation Of Players ‘Not Moving The Needle For Tennis,’ Claims McEnroe

The former tennis player and Davis Cup captain voices his concerns about the men’s game.

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Daniil Medvedev and Jannik Sinner pictured at the 2021 ATP Finals (image Via ATP)

Tennis faces an issue with the younger generation of the men’s game unable to sell the amount of tickets in comparison to that of the big three, according to one former Grand Slam champion.

 

Patrick McEnroe, who won the 1989 French Open doubles title, says the younger players are ‘not moving the needle’ for the sport compared to what Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have done. Three greats of the game who between them have won 60 Grand Slam titles and have spent more than 850 weeks as world No.1. Although with all of the trio being above the age of 30, many are wondering how the future of the sport will fair when they retire.

Speaking to The New York Times, 55-year-old McEnroe cites the US Open as an example of the next generation being unable to attract enough fans when compared to the Big Three. This year’s tournament took place without Nadal and Federer due to injury. However, Djokovic reached the final before losing to Daniil Medvedev.

“The larger issue for tennis if I put on my ESPN hat and former U.S.T.A. hat is that, let’s be honest, these young guys at the moment are not moving the needle for tennis the same way the older guys have,” he said. “They are not selling tickets the first week of the U.S. Open the same way that Nadal, Federer and Djokovic have been doing.”

Following his loss to Alexander Zverev at the ATP Finals on Sunday, world No.2 Daniil Medvedev said he is confident that the future of men’s tennis is in good hands. The 25-year-old Russian won his first major title earlier this year in Flushing Meadows and reached the final of the Australian Open.

When there was [Bjorn] Borg and [John] McEnroe, when they were close, finished their careers, everybody was like, ‘tennis is over, we won’t ever have any great players, it is finished,” Medvedev said.
“We did have some: [Pete] Sampras, [Andre] Agassi, they were at the top. [When] Sampras retired, [people were saying] ‘okay, tennis is over’.
“Then we had Novak, Roger and Rafa. If you asked just before they came, everybody would say, ‘well, tennis will not be interesting anymore’.
“It’s the same here. Tennis is a great sport, so I don’t see why our generation would miss on something.”

In the ATP’s year-end top 10 for 2021 eight out of 10 entrants are under the age of 25. The only exceptions are 34-year-old Djokovic and 35-year-old Nadal. Furthermore, seven out of the eight Masters 1000 events this year was won by different players which could be the start of a changing landscape on the Tour.

According to McEnroe, one player who he believes is destined to win a major title is Zverev who has won more matches (59) and ATP titles (six) than any other player this year. The German is the first male player from his country to end a year in the world’s top three since Boris Becker back in 1994.

“I feel like it’s inevitable Zverev is going to win a major,” said former Davis Cup captain McEnroe. “I’ve been saying for a couple years that he’s been knocking on the door. Now he’s banging on it.”

Zverev has played in 25 Grand Slam main draws so far in his career but he only reached the final once. That was during the 2020 US Open where he had a two-set lead over Dominic Thiem before losing in a five-set marathon.

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The 10 Highest-Earning ATP Players of 2021

37 men on the ATP Tour have earned more than $1M in prize money this year but who has made it into the top 10?

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If the 10 highest paid players on the ATP Tour put their 2021 earnings together it would exceed more than $40M and that doesn’t take into account what they have made away from the court via endorsements or other business activities.

 

A total of 37 men has crossed the $1M mark in prize money winnings this year which is nine more than the women’s WTA Tour who operate their own financial structure. Out of that group only one man has managed to make more money in doubles than singles to reach the milestone. That was France’s Pierre-Hugues Herbert who made $619,550 against $449,421.

11 men surpassed the $2M mark with Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime narrowly missing out on a place in the top 10 by $89,907. So who has made the most this year and how have they done it?

UbiTennis looks at the on-court earnings of the world’s best players based on data from the ATP. The figures are in US$ and don’t take into account other factors such as endorsements.

10) Jannik Sinner

Total earnings: $2,233,199
Prize money breakdown: SINGLES – $2,159,534 DOUBLES $73,665
ATP Matches won: 46
ATP titles won: 4
Year-end ranking: 10

Italy’s Jannik Sinner is the youngest player on the list at the age of 20. His earnings this season equates to almost two thirds of what he has earned during his entire professional career ($3,623,450). In 2021 the rising star won three ATP 250 titles and one 500 event in Washington. He also reached his first-ever Masters 1000 final in Miami which he lost to Hurkacz. On the other hand, he has experienced mixed results in the Grand Slams with two first round losses and two fourth round runs.

Sinner is the youngest player to finish a season inside the world’s top 10 since Juan Martin del Potro back in 2008.

9) Hubert Hurkacz

Total earnings: $2,313,289
Prize money breakdown: SINGLES – $2,173,247 DOUBLES – $140,042
ATP Matches won: 36
ATP titles won: 3
Year-end ranking: 9

Poland’s Hurkacz has achieved a series of firsts in his career this year. Prior to 2021, the 24-year-old had only ever won one ATP 250 title and never reached the second week of a major tournament. This changed in April when he stunned the field to win the Miami Masters whilst seeded 26th in the draw. Scoring back-to-back wins over top 10 players for the first time. A couple months later Hurkacz became the first male player from his country to reach the semi-finals at Wimbledon since 2013. He also won hard court titles in Delray Beach and Metz.

Hurkacz is the first Polish man in ATP rankings history to finish a season inside the top 10.

8) Casper Ruud

Total earnings: $2,314,629
Prize money breakdown: SINGLES – $2,230,592 DOUBLES – $84,037
ATP Matches won: 55
ATP titles won: 5
Year-end ranking: 8

Norway’s own king of clay Casper Ruud has blossomed on the Tour this season. During the summer he became the first player since Andy Murray in 2011 to win three ATP titles within as many weeks. The trio of titles during July came a couple months after he won another clay-court event in Geneva, Switzerland.

Clearly Ruud is at his most comfortable on the dirt but he has also produced some strong results on the hard courts. In February he reached the fourth round of the Australian Open which is his best performance at a Grand Slam to date. More recently, he won his first ATP title on the surface at the San Diego Open. Another sign of Ruud’s consistency this season is the fact he has reached the quarter-finals or better in five out of six Masters 1000 tournaments he has played in this year.

He is the first Norwegian to finish in the year-end top 10 on the ATP Tour.

7) Cameron Norrie

Total earnings: $2,623,881
Prize money breakdown
: SINGLES – $2,518,782 DOUBLES – $105,099
ATP Matches won: 50
ATP titles won: 2
Year-end ranking: 12

British talent Norrie started the year ranked outside the top 70 but has surged up the rankings since then. He has featured in the final of no fewer than six tournaments this year across three different surfaces. It was in the Mexican city of Los Cabos where he won his maiden trophy. However, that achievement was later surpassed by his unexpected run to the title in Indian Wells which is one of the biggest tournaments outside of the majors.

Norrie has recorded a career-best 50 wins this season and has recorded two wins over top 10 players – Dominic Thiem in Nice and Andrey Rublev in San Diego.

6) Matteo Berrettini

Total earnings: $3,231,908
Prize money breakdown: SINGLES – $3,201,126 DOUBLES – $30,782
ATP Matches won: 41
ATP titles won: 2
Year-end ranking: 7

Berrettini’s season came to a heartbreaking conclusion after he was forced to pull out of the ATP Finals in his home country due to injury. However, prior to that the Italian can take comfort in what has been another breakthrough season for him. It was on the Grass where Berrettini achieved his biggest success by winning the Queen’s title before going on to reach his first major final at Wimbledon.

Known for his thunderous forehand, the 25-year-old also achieved new milestones on the clay by reaching his first Masters 1000 final in Madrid. A couple weeks after Madrid, he won the Belgrade Open. Overall, he reached the quarter-final or better in three out of the four Grand Slam events.

Berrettini is the first Italian man in history to finish a season inside the top 10 on three separate occasions.

5) Andrey Rublev

Total earnings: $3,331,378
Prize money breakdown: SINGLES – $3,131,467 DOUBLES – $199,911
ATP Matches won: 49
ATP titles won: 1
Year-end ranking: 5

Rublev is the only player on the list to not win multiple titles this season. His sole triumph took place back in March when he won the Rotterdam Open. Although since then he has also reached the final of two Masters 1000 events as well as a 500 tournament in Halle. In the majors he achieved a win-loss record of 9-4 which his best result being a run to the quarter-finals of the Australian Open.

Among the 10 highest earners this year, Rublev has won the most when it comes to playing doubles ($199,911). Alongside compatriot Aslan Karatsev they won the Qatar Open and reached the final in Indian Wells. Rublev also won gold in the mixed doubles with Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova at the Tokyo Olympics but prize money isn’t awarded at that event.

4) Stefanos Tsitsipas

Total earnings: $3,579,155
Prize money breakdown: SINGLES – $3,503,608 DOUBLES – $75,547
ATP Matches won: 55
ATP titles won: 2
Year-end ranking: 4

Prior to being forced to pull out of his last tournament of the year due an elbow injury, Tsitsipas has enjoyed a mainly successful season on the Tour. The Greek has reached the semi-final stage or better in nine tournaments he has played in, including both the Australian Open and French Open. It was at Roland Garros where he played in first major final and led Djokovic by two sets before losing in five.

Overall, Tsitsipas has reached five ATP finals, winning titles at the Monte-Carlo Masters and Lyon Open. However, all of his final appearances took place during the first half of 2021 and he hasn’t defeated a top 10 player during the second half.

Nevertheless, he closes out 2021 with a year-end best ranking of fourth.

3) Alexander Zverev

Total earnings: $6,420,344
Prize money breakdown: SINGLES – $6,361,173 DOUBLES – $59,171
ATP Matches won: 59
ATP titles won: 6
Year-end ranking: 3

Zverev tops the 2021 leaderboard when it comes to most matches won (59) and most titles (six). However, he still hasn’t been able to rise to the top of the highest-earning players. The German saw a surge in his prize money last week where he won the ATP Finals which earned him an impressive $2,143,000.

This season Zverev has triumphed at two ATP 500 events, two Masters tournaments, won a gold medal at the Olympics and claimed the ATP Finals trophy. These achievements enabled him to become the first German player since Boris Becker back in 1994 to finish a season inside the world’s top three.

Against top 10 opposition, the 24-year-old had a winning record of 12-8.

2) Daniil Medvedev

Total earnings: $7,481,271
Prize money breakdown: SINGLES -$7,466,284 DOUBLES -$14,987
ATP Matches won: 58
ATP titles won: 4
Year-end ranking: 2

More than a third of Medvedev’s earnings this year is from just one tournament. His triumph over Novak Djokovic at the US Open earned the Russian a $2.5M payout. To put that into perspective, only six other ATP players have managed to earn more than this amount throughout the entire season.

Medvedev also won two 250 titles, as well as the Canadian Open. He finished runner-up at the Australian Open, Paris Masters and ATP Finals. Against top 10 opposition, he won 10 out of 15 matches played.

As a result of his success, Medvedev is the first Russian man since 2000 to finish a season ranked inside the world’s top two.

1) Novak Djokovic

Total earnings: $9,100,547
Prize money breakdown: SINGLES – $9,069,225 DOUBLES – $31,322
ATP Matches won: 51
ATP titles won: 5
Year-end ranking: 1

Djokovic has played in 12 just tournaments this season but it is his success at the majors which has elevated him to the honour of the highest-earning player in men’s tennis this year. By winning three out of the four Grand Slams he made roughly $6M alone. On top of that, Djokovic also won the second Belgrade Open and the Paris Masters.

The world No.1’s surge this year further cements his position as the highest-earning tennis player in history when it comes to prize money. His tally now stands at $154,756,726 which is over $24M more than his nearest rival (Roger Federer has made $130.5M).

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Daniil Medvedev Confident About The Future Of Tennis Without ‘Big Three’

The world No.2 also shares his view on Alexander Zverev’s chances of winning a Grand Slam.

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Tennis will continue to prosper when the Big Three of men’s tennis decide to hang up their rackets, according to Daniil Medvedev.

 

The reigning US Open champion says he can’t see any reason as to why the next generation of men’s players will not be able to take over from the prestigious trio of Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. All three tennis greats after over the age of 30 with Djokovic being the only one to play in the season-ending ATP Finals this year. Between them, they have won 60 Grand Slam titles and have spent more than 850 weeks as world No.1.

Speaking to reporters following his defeat at the ATP Finals on Sunday, world No.2 Medvedev said there was ‘no shame’ in him and his peers not being able to match the milestones set out by the trio.

“When there was [Bjorn] Borg and [John] McEnroe, when they were close, finished their careers, everybody was like, ‘tennis is over, we won’t ever have any great players, it is finished’,”Medvedev said.
“We did have some: [Pete] Sampras, [Andre] Agassi, they were at the top. [When] Sampras retired, [people were saying] ‘okay, tennis is over’.
“Then we had Novak, Roger and Rafa. If you asked just before they came, everybody would say, ‘well, tennis will not be interesting anymore’.
“It’s the same here. Tennis is a great sport, so I don’t see why our generation would miss on something.
“Of course, maybe we don’t [win] 20 Grand Slams, yet nobody did before Roger, Rafa and Novak, so they were also worse than them.
‘It’s definitely not going to be shameful [if we win fewer Grand Slams].

Earlier this year Medvedev became the first player outside of the Big Four, which includes Andy Murray, to break into the world’s top two for 15 years. At Flushing Meadows he ended Djokovic’s dreams of a calendar Grand Slam by prevailing in the final to win his first major.

There are signs that change is starting to occur on the men’s Tour. Seven out of the eight Masters 1000 tournaments to take place in 2021 were won by different players. The only person to win multiple trophies in the category was Zverev.

Coincidentally, it is Zverev who ends the season with the most wins on the ATP Tour at 59 which is one more than Medvedev. The German is yet to win a major title but he is more than capable of doing so according to his rival.

“He is a great player that is capable of beating anybody. He definitely can win a Grand Slam because it’s just obvious,” Medvedev commented.
“But he’s not the only one. That’s where it gets tough. He was in the semis in US Open, lost in five sets. Who knows, maybe if he was in the final, he would have beaten me.’
“It’s just a matter of every tournament is a different scenario, different surface. You need to win seven matches to be a Grand Slam champion. Is he capable? Yes. Is he going to do it? We never know.”

Medvedev has won a total of four ATP titles this season.

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