TENNIS – The Draw Ceremony of the Rogers Cup Master 1000 Tournament in Toronto was held today. Three.time Rogers Cup champion and this year’s Wimbledon winner Novak Djokovic attended the Draw Ceremony at the Ontario Legislative Building in Queen’s Park in Toronto. The potential quarter finals could be Djokovic vs Murray, Wawrinka vs either Dimitrov or Nishikori, Raonic vs Berdych and Federer vs Ferrer. Diego Sampaolo
Novak Djokovic will face a very tough tournament at the Rogers Cup which starts on Monday in Toronto. This year’s Wimbledon champion will face either Gael Monfils or Radek Stepanek in the second round and could square off Jo Wilfred Tsonga in the third round and 2013 Wimbledon champion and eighth seed Andy Murray in the quarter final.
Top-seed Djokovic will be looking to win his fourth Rogers Cup title after winning in 2007 against Roger Federer, in 2011 against Mardy Fish and in 2012 against Richard Gasquet. If he wins, he will become the third player to win 20 Master 1000 titles after Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer.
Murray will also face a second-round match against Australian rising star Nick Kyrgios who beat Rafa Nadal at Wimbledon reaching the quarter final.
The most important matches of the top-half draw of the draw will be 2006 Roger’s Cup finalist Richard Gasquet against Vasek Pospisil and Radek Stepanek against Gael Monfils. Pospisil, who reached the semifinal last year at the Roger’s Cup, beat Tomas Berdych this year in Washington
The second quarter of the draw features two potential third round matches like Kei Nishikori against Grigor Dimitrov and Stan Wawrinka and either Fabio Fognini or Kevin Anderson.
Wawrinka will start against Alejandro Falla in the second round or a qualifier. He could face a potential quarter final against either Nishikori or Dimitrov. The Bulgarian reached the semifinal in Rome and Wimbledon and won Acapulco, Bucharest and the Queen’s on three different surfaces
Nishikori will start against Phillip Kohlschreiber and the winner of the match between Austrian rising star Dominic Thiem and Giles Simon. Thiem lost the Kitzbuhel final against Belgian David Goffin.
In the third quarter of the draw last year’s Roger’s Cup finalist Milos Raonic could face Ernests Gulbis in the third round. Gulbis is always a dangerous and unpredictable player and reached a Grand Slam semifinal at the Roland Garros this year. The potential quarter final in this section of the draw could be Raonic against Tomas Berdych. This year’s Rome and Wimbledon semifinalist Raonic, who will start against the winner of the first round match between Jack Sock and Jurgen Melzer, finished runner-up to Rafa Nadal in the Roger’s Cup last year and will be looking to improve the result this year. Sadly Nadal has been forced to withdraw from Toronto and Cincinnati due to a wrist injury and may miss the US Open.
Berdych could face the winner of the first-round all-Spanish match between Roberto Bautista Agut and Feliciano Lopez. The other interesting first round match will be played Lleyton Hewitt and Julien Benneteau
Roger Federer, who won the Roger’s Cup title twice in 2004 against Andy Roddick and 2006 against Richard Gasquet, will start his US hard-court campaign against the winner of the first round match between Peter Polansky and 2013 Wimbledon semifinalist Jerzy Janowicz. The Swiss 17-time Grand Slam winner could take on either Marin Cilic or Denis Istomin in the third round, either David Ferrer or US giant John Isner in the quarter final and either Raonic or Berdych in the semifinal. Cilic-Istomin could be the most interesting first round match in the bottom half of the draw.
REPORT: Grigor Dimitrov Appoints New Coach
The former ATP Finals champion appears to have found a new mentor.
Former top 10 player Grigor Dimitrov has found a replacement following the departure of Radek Stepanek, according to one Bulgarian news source.
TennisKafe.com has reported that the world No.20 is now working alongside Christian Groh. A German-born coach who has worked with a number of top players on the men’s tour. Including Tommy Haas and Taylor Fritz. It is his work with Haas that Groh is best known for. During their 24 months together, he guided him from outside the top 200 to 11th in the ATP rankings.
The development comes a month after the 28-year-old stated that he was in no hurry to find a new mentor on the tour. Back in May he ended his collaboration with Dani Vallverdu after almost three years working together. He made the decision shortly before he exited the world’s top 50 for the first time since 2012.
“I’m not in a panic right now to find a coach. I always think that when I don’t have someone beside me, it’s hard to train. However, in the past months, I have done things myself that I have not done.” Dimitrov told reporters in November.
“You need to have freedom, to find yourself, to become closer to yourself.” He added.
Despite Stepanek stepping away, Dimitrov is still in contact with eight-time grand slam champion Agassi. Agassi is not a coach to the Bulgarian, but has agreed to a sort of consultation role where the two talk with each other regularly.
Dimitrov has experienced a roller coaster run on the tour this season with a win-loss record of 22-21. At one stage he failed to win back-to-back matches at six consecutive tournaments over the summer. However, his form surged during the last quarter of 2019 where he reached the semi-finals at both the US Open and Paris Masters.
Neither Dimitrov or Groh has yet confirmed their new partnership on the tour. Groh has recently been working as a consultant for the United States Tennis Association (USTA).
Heading into the new season, the first test for the duo will be at the ATP Cup in Australia. As well as playing, Dimitrov is the captain of the Bulgarian team.
Groh’s coaching CV
- 2011: Michael Berrer
- 2012-2013: Tommy Haas
- 2014: Bradley Klahn and Taylor Fritz
- 2015: Tommy Haas and Taylor Fritz
- ATP/WTA Players and United States Tennis Federation Player Development since 2015
Since the publication of this article, Ubitennis has received some additional details on Dimitrov’s work with Groh. The editor of TennisKafe.com, Borislav Orlinov, confirmed it was Dimitrov’s manager (Georgi Stoimenov) who revelled the two will be working together. They are currently training in Monte Carlo, but will head to Australia before the New Year.
Rival Backs Dominic Thiem To Win Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award
Only two players have won the award since 2004.
For the past 15 years only two players have managed to get their hands on the prestigious Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award, but one player thinks there could be a brand new winner this year.
Diego Schwartzman has lent his support behind world No.4 Dominic Thiem. The award recognizes those who have conducted the highest level of professionalism and integrity on the ATP Tour throughout the season. Established in 1977, Roger Federer has won the honour in 13 out of the past 15 years. The only other player to triumph during that period was Rafael Nadal, who won it in 2010 and 2018.
“I think Thiem can win it, he showed throughout the year a competitiveness and a respect with everyone that was spectacular,” Schwartzman told ole.com. “On top of that he is having great years of his career and this season was even better for the achievements he had.’
“He has a good chance of winning it.” He added.
Schwartzman, who reached the quarter-finals of the US Open earlier this year, has also been shortlisted for the award. Along with regular nominees Federer and Nadal. Only once has an Argentinian player won the title, which was José Luis Clerc back in 1981. At that time it was known as the ATP Sportsmanship award before getting renamed in 1996.
“I learned first (of getting nominated) through social networks rather than the official designation that the ATP sends you by mail.” The 27-year-old revealed.
“It is more spectacular than anything for the players I have next to me. It is a very important prize that recognizes a little what you do off the court, not only hitting the ball.”
Whilst he is dreaming of winning the honour himself, Schwartzman is just happy that he has been nominated.
“If I won this award, it would be spectacular. Now I am on that payroll that is very good and represents the values that I try to maintain on a day-to-day basis and that (my coaching teams over the years) have taught me. It is very nice to be recognized for that. “ He concluded.
The four nominees for the Stefan Edberg Award was shortlisted by the ATP. However, it will be the players who will decide the winner. The result will be revealed later this month.
Multiple winners of the Stefan Edberg/ATP Sportsmanship award
Roger Federer – 13
Stefan Edberg – 5
Pat Rafter – 4
Alex Corretja – 2
Todd Martin – 2
Paradorn Srichaphan – 2
Rafael Nadal – 2
Kei Nishikori In Doubt For The Australian Open
Asia’s highest ranked male tennis player is contemplating when he should return to the tour following surgery.
World No.13 Kei Nishikori is refusing to rule out the prospect of skipping the first grand slam event of 2020 as he continues his recovery from surgery.
Nishikori hasn’t played a match on the tour since his third round loss at the US Open back in September. A month later he underwent a procedure on his right elbow in a move that brought his season to an early end. Currently undergoing rehabilitation, it is unclear as to when the Japanese player believes he will return to the ATP Tour.
“The prospect of a return from surgery on right elbow in January. Maybe February. In the second half of next year I want to be able to play well.” Nikkan Sports quoted Nishikori as saying.
“I don’t want to overdo it,” he added.
The Australian Open will get underway on January 20th in Melbourne. Should he miss the grand slam, it will be the second time he has done so in the last three years. Nishikori also withdrew from the 2018 edition due to a wrist injury. In January he reached the quarter-finals and therefore has 360 points to defend next year.
During his time away from the court, the 29-year-old has been kept busy making changes to his team. Recently it was confirmed that he has started working alongside Max Mirnyi, who is a former world No.1 doubles player. Mirnyi, who has won 10 grand slam titles in men’s and mixed doubles, will be working full-time with Nishikori alongside existing coach Michael Chang.
“I’m getting closer to retirement. I want to be cured and come back to play good tennis in the second half of next year.” Nishikori stated.
Despite the injury setback, Nishikori has enjoyed success in 2019. Reaching the quarter-finals in three out of the four grand slam tournaments. The first time he has ever done that in his career. He also claimed his 12th ATP title at the Brisbane International. Overall, he won 29 out of 43 matches played.
Nishikori will turn 30 on December 29th.
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