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2014 ATP Finals: How the players rated

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TENNIS 2014 ATP FINALS – With the ATP Finals over it is time to rate the performances of the nine players who took part in the tournament that was rather disappointing. The only highlight was the all-Swiss semifinal. From London, Paul Sassoon

 

The 2014 ATP Finals had an unexpected and underwhelming ending with Federer forced to withdraw because of injuries, but it has left a lot of speculation and unanswered questions. How injured is the Swiss? Is he trying to save himself for the Davis Cup? And what happened between Federer, his wife Mirka and Wawrinka? The first two questions will be answered next weekend in Lille but the answer to the last one is probably never come out.

The tournament was disappointing for the most part and the exhibition match that ended it is probably a fitting show end with. Let’s look at how the players performed:

Novak Djokovic (A-), The serb won his fifth Master title and secured the end of year number one position in the ATP rankings, so overall a really good week for him. In the whole event he only dropped one set in the semifinal against Nishikori. He lost that set because of a drop in concentration when he took issue with the crowd that applauded his double fault on break point. As I wrote at the time, the applause was more due to the fans wanting to see a longer match rather than against the world number one. Nole’s tennis level is probably worth an A+ but that gesture towards the fans after that double fault is something that a world number one like him should not do. It wasn’t anything major, especially because he did apologise later.

Roger Federer (B+), The Swiss also deserved more for his performances on court, but the ending was not the best. He was fantastic in the three Round Robin matches and he took part in one of the best matches of the year in the semifinal against Wawrinka. I couldn’t give him an A, not because he didn’t play the final, after all we cannot assume that he just wanted to save his back for the Davis Cup, he retired only three times in his career prior to yesterday, so he should have at leas the benefit of the doubt, but because he didn’t come into the press room to talk with the media. Some further explanations were necessary and the speculation going on now is also a result of not having a press conference.

Stan Wawrinka (B-), Stan the man played a fantastic semifinal and deserved to play in the final against Djokovic. That match was easily the highlight of the tournament, but at the end of the day he did miss four match points and he should have been able to finish Federer off before the final set tie-break as he was in control of the match. Had he played better in the Round Robin matches I would have put his performance on the same level as Federer’s.

Kei Nishikori (C+), It was a good performance in his first ATP Finals. Reaching the semifinals at the first attempt is always a great feat. Also he has been the only player capable of taking a set from the Serb. The disappointing par twas that bagel he received in the last set of the semifinal, he should have been able to win at least a game as he had the chance to do so at the start of the set.

David Ferrer (C), There is no better example of a real professional player on tour than David Ferrer. He came to London as an alternate and just spent four days training and taking care of a back problem, but when he was called in to replace Raonic he played a good match, fighting for three sets against Nishikori despite the fact that he had no chance of qualifying for the semifinals

Tomas Berdych (D), Same old story for the Czech player. He has the talent to be competing at the very top for the big titles on tour, including this one, but he has never been able to really challenge for the trophies that matter. Again he seemed to be happy to be here and far too content of being behind the top players. He needs to try something different as time to leave his mark is running out.

Andy Murray (D), I was expecting more from him. His run in the last couple of months was probably too much and he arrived in London with an empty tank. Still he should have done better than winning just one match and he should have avoided the humiliation of losing 6-0, 6-1 against Federer. He gets some extra marks for coming to the rescue of the ATP accepting to play an exhibition match with Djokovic and a doubles with McEnroe, Cash and Henman with only a couple of hours notice and for no money at all.

Milos Raonic and Marin Cilic (F), It was their first time at the ATP Finals, but that is not enough of an excuse for such poor performances. Nor is the slow court that penalises the serve. If you want to be a top ten player and stay there for some time you cannot depend only on the serve, there must be a plan B. I hope they will learn from this experience and come back better prepared in the future.

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Laver Cup Daily Preview: Team Europe Goes for a Fifth Straight Laver Cup

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The lineup for Day 3 (twitter.com/lavercup)

Heading into Day 3, the 2022 Laver Cup is feeling extremely familiar.  Team Europe has an 8-4 advantage, and only needs two wins on Sunday to secure their fifth consecutive Laver Cup.  Team World needs to win three matches to pull off the upset and obtain their first. 

 

Sunday’s play gets underway in London at 12:00pm local time.  And each match on Sunday is worth three points.


Matteo Berrettini and Andy Murray (Team Europe) vs. Felix Auger-Aliassime and Jack Sock (Team World) – 12:00pm

Berrettini was victorious in both singles and doubles on Saturday, defeating Auger-Aliassime in singles, and teaming with Djokovic to overcome Sock and de Minaur in doubles.  So Matteo gained victories over both of his Sunday opponents on Saturday.  Murray lost to de Minaur in singles on Friday.  Andy and Jack are the most accomplished doubles players in this match, as Sock is pretty much Team World’s doubles specialist.  If he and Felix cannot pull of the victory on Sunday, it could be a pretty short day.


Novak Djokovic (Team Europe) vs. Felix Auger-Aliassime (Team World)

Like Berrettini, Djokovic won in singles and doubles on Saturday, comfortably dispatching of Tiafoe in singles.  While it was his first match in over two months, Novak showed no rust whatsoever.  Auger-Aliassime’s loss to Berrettini on Saturday will not help his confidence against the 21-time Major champion.

Novak and Felix have only played once before, and that occurred four months ago in Rome on clay.  It was a pretty tight affair, but Djokovic prevailed 7-5, 7-6(1).  And there’s not much evidence to support a different outcome on Sunday.  Novak is surely eager to re-assert his authority after missing so much of this season due to his vaccination status.


Stefanos Tsitsipas (Team Europe) vs. Frances Tiafoe (Team World) – If Necessary

Tsitsipas easily beat Diego Schwartzman on Friday, dropping just three games.  He is 3-2 against Tiafoe, and 3-1 on hard courts.  However, Frances claimed their most recent encounter, last fall in Vienna, which was also on an indoor hard court.


Casper Ruud (Team Europe) vs. Taylor Fritz (Team World) – If Necessary

Ruud defeated Sock on Friday, while Fritz defeated Norrie on Saturday.  If this match takes place, it will be their first career meeting.


The full Laver Cup schedule is here.

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Laver Cup Daily Preview: Novak Djokovic to Play Singles and Doubles on Saturday

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The lineup for Day 2 (twitter.com/lavercup)

In the wake of Roger Federer’s incredibly emotional retirement on Day 1, the focus of this event shifts to the rest of the competitors on Day 2.  And for the first time in the five-year history of the Laver Cup, Team World goes into Day 2 without a deficit.  With both Federer and Rafael Nadal replaced by alternates for Day 2 and Day 3, is this Team World’s opportunity to capture their first Laver Cup? 

 

Each day, this preview will look at all four scheduled matches, while taking an extended look at the most notable match of the day.  Saturday’s day session gets underway in London at 1:00pm local time, and the night session at 7:00pm.  And each match on Saturday is worth two points.


Matteo Berrettini (Team Europe) vs. Felix Auger-Aliassime (Team World) – 1:00pm

These two good friends have played four times, with Berrettini winning on three of those occasions.  Matteo’s wins came three years ago in the final of Stuttgart on grass, in the quarterfinals of last year’s Wimbledon, and a year ago in this event.  Auger-Aliassime’s only win occurred last summer in Cincinnati.  Matteo is coming off a quarterfinal run in New York, as well as three victories last week in Davis Cup.  Felix was upset in the second round of the US Open by Jack Draper, and went 2-1 in Davis Cup.


Cameron Norrie (Team Europe) vs. Taylor Fritz (Team World) – Second in the Day Session

Norrie was also an alternate in last year’s Laver Cup, but did not play.  Fritz was a part of Team World in 2019, when he went 1-1 in singles, defeating Dominic Thiem during Sunday’s play in a must-win match to keep his team alive.  Cam is now 45-22 on the year, while Fritz is 36-17.  Both men achieved their best-ever Major performances two months ago at Wimbledon.  They played each other just last week in Davis Cup, with Norrie prevailing after three tight sets.  Overall they have split 10 previous meetings.


Novak Djokovic (Team Europe) vs. Frances Tiafoe (Team World) – 7:00pm

Is Tiafoe ready to upset another member of “The Big Three” on Saturday?  He earned the biggest win of his career by taking out Rafael Nadal at the US Open, and defeated Nadal and Federer in doubles on Day 1 alongside Jack Sock.  Meanwhile, this will be the first match for Djokovic in over two months, since he won the Wimbledon final over Nick Kyrgios.  The unvaccinated Novak was unable to travel to North America for the hard court summer season.

Djokovic has only played seven tournaments this year, amassing a record of 23-5.  Tiafoe is 26-19, and is coming off his exciting semifinal run in New York.  Their only previous matchup was at the 2021 Australian Open, when Novak defeated Frances in four sets.  Frances is certainly the much more match-tough player on this day.  But despite his recent inactivity, Djokovic should still be considered the favorite.


Matteo Berrettini and Novak Djokovic (Team Europe) vs. Alex de Minaur and Jack Sock (Team World) – Second in the Night Session

Novak will have only a few minutes of rest ahead of this doubles match, so the length of his match with Tiafoe could impact the result here.  This will be Novak’s first time playing doubles since last year’s Davis Cup finals.  Berrettini played three doubles matches this past January at the ATP Cup, going 1-2.  De Minaur overcame Andy Murray in singles on Friday in what was a grueling contest, while Sock was defeated in singles and victorious in doubles.


The full Laver Cup schedule is here.

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Frances Tiafoe And Jack Sock Ready To Rain On Federer’s Parade At Laver Cup

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Frances Tiafoe describes his first match at this year’s Laver Cup as ‘iconic’ but he is determined to seal victory with doubles partner Jack Sock. 

 

Tiafoe, who reached the semi-finals of the US Open earlier this month, will feature in what will be the final match of Roger Federer’s illustrious career. The Swiss maestro has announced that the team competition will be the last event he will play before retiring from the sport at the age of 41. Federer will partner up with long-time rival Rafael Nadal in what promises to be an emotional encounter for all involved on Friday evening. 

“It’s going to be iconic to be part of that,” Tiafoe told reporters in London. “Both guys are absolute legends, and obviously Roger’s last dance. We are definitely just out there trying to get a win.”

Looking at the wider picture, Tiafoe knows a win in the doubles could prove vital in team World’s bid to win the Laver Cup for the first time in history. Whilst on paper his achievements are overshadowed by those he faces, his current form gives him the edge. Federer hasn’t played a match since Wimbledon last year due to a knee injury. Furthermore, Nadal is still trying to get back to his best shape following an abdominal injury and was beaten by Tiafoe at the US Open. 

“This is a special night. I just think me and Jack are just looking for a special night, come out there, have fun,” he continued. “The crowd is obviously going to be for them. You understand that kind of moment, and just go out there and do your part and just try to get a win. It’s going to be a special night tomorrow. I’m just happy I get the opportunity to do it with Jack.”

Sock, who has won three Grand Slam titles during his career, echoes Tiafoe’s desire to seal victory over the two tennis giants. 

“I’m just stoked to be a part of it with my guy Foe (Tiafoe),” he said. 
“We will go out and enjoy the moment, but not going to hold anything back. Sorry, Roger. Don’t want to spoil the night.”

Federer’s final match at The O2 Arena in London is set to take place in front of a sellout crowd. Following his retirement announcement, ticket sales for the three-day event have exploded. Ace Odds have reported a 4020% rise in demand for tickets with prices starting from £900. An extraordinary outcome considering the most expensive ticket for the Laver Cup was originally £510. 

The doubles match involving Federer, Nadal, Tiafoe and Sock is estimated to start around 20:20 BST on Friday. 

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