TENNIS ATP FINALS – The draw ceremony of the ATP World Tour Finals was held on Monday afternoon in London. Defending champion Novak Djokovic has been drawn in the Group A against two Grand Slam champions Marin Ciic, Stan Wawrinka and Tomas Berdych. Roger Federer has been drawn into a very tough Group B against Andy Murray, Kei Nishikori and Milos Raonic, who are enjoying a good period of form during the indoor season. Diego Sampaolo
Novak Djokovic won the Paris Bercy Indoor Master 1000 last week for the third time in his career extending his lead over Roger Federer to 1310 point in the ATP Ranking and has a good chance to end as the World Number 1 player for the third time in his career. Federer’s hopes to overtake Djokovic have been dashed after his defeat in the quarter final against Milos Raonic in Paris Bercy.
Djokovic is looking to win the ATP World Tour Finals title for the third consecutive year after beating Federer in 2012 and Nadal in 2013.
The ATP World Tour Finals will feature three newcomers Marin Cilic, Kei Nishikori and Milos Raonic who have reached the end-of-year tournament for the first time in their careers after their outstanding season. Cilic won the US Open following in the footsteps of his coach Goran Ivanisevic, who won his first Grand Slam title at Wimbledon 2001. The Croatian player beat Kei Nishikori in the US Open final. The Japanese player is the first Asian player to play at the ATP Finals
Djokovic is the strong favourite to win the Group A as the only player in his group who beat him this year was Wawrinka. The Swiss player won their quarter final clash at last January’s Australian Open and went on to clinch his first ever Grand Slam Tournament. The Belgrade player has extended his winning streak indoors to 27 consecutive matches and had more time to rest between Shanghai and Paris Bercy and reaches London well-rested and with a strong motivation after becoming father of his first son Stefan two weeks ago.
“Two consecutive wins in London in the last two years give me reason to believe that I can do well. It helps that I am playing well and that I am feeling well about myself on the court playing indoors. Every match that I play gets me closer to holding the Number 1 spot at the end of the year”, said Djokovic
The A group features the two Grand Slam champions of this year Cilic and Wawrinka and 2010 Wimbledon finalist Stan Wawrinka.
Djokovic has a combined winning record of 41-5 in his head-to-head matches against Wawrinka, Cilic and Berdych and never lost in his 10 career matches against Cilic. The Serbian player had to dig deep to beat Cilic in five sets in the quarter final at Wimbledon last July. Djokovic won six ATP titles this year, more than anyone else. He triumphed at Indian Wells, Miami, Rome, Wimbledon (after a fantastic five-set match against Federer), Beijing and Paris Bercy. Djokovic secures the World Number 1 spot at the end of the year if he wins all his three matches in his group or reaches the final with at least one win in the round-robin group.
Berdych is the slight favourite for second place in the round-robin Group A as he showed recent good form winning in Stockholm and reaching the semifinal in Paris Bercy where he lost to Milos Raonic in three sets. Berdych is more experienced in this kind of tournament as he will play for the fifth time, On the contrary Wawrinka has qualified for the second time in his career after reaching the semifinal last year. Cilic will make his debut in the end-of-season after winning his first Grand Slam of his career at the US Open and three more tournaments in Zagreb, Delray Beach and Moscow and lost the Rotterdam final against Berdych last February after beating Andy Murray in the quarter finals. Cilic skipped Paris Bercy because of a right arm injury. The Croatian player beat Berdych twice in two Grand Slam tournaments this year at Wimbledon and at the US Open but doesn’t have a winning record against any of his rivals in his group.
Wawrinka won the Australian Open and Monte-Carlo but he has won just one match since he reached the quarter final at the US Open. The Lausanne player suffered three first round matches against Tatsuma Ito in Tokyo, Giles Simon in Shanghai and Mikhail Kukushkin in Basel and won only against Dominic Thiem in straight sets in Paris Bercy before losing in the next match against Kevin Anderson after serving for the match
Berdych has secured his spot for London for the fifth consecutive year with his win in three sets over Kevin Anderson in the Paris Bercy quarter finals. The Czech player won two indoor titles in Rotterdam and Stockholm and played in three more finals at Dubai, Oeiras and Beijing “Qualifying for the ATP World Tour Finals is always the proof of having a great season, especially in this era of tennis when you have the guys like today. So you have to fight”, said Berdych
Roger Federer, winner of five tournaments this year at Dubai, Halle, Cincinnati, Shanghai and Basel, starts as the favourite in the Group B against very strong rivals who have recently played very well during the indoor season Andy Murray, Kei Nishikori and Milos Raonic.
Federer has won the end-of-season tournament six times but has not won this title since 2011. He has reached the semifinals every year except from 2008 when he suffered from a back injury.
Federer boasts a 19-14 winning streak against the rivals in his group. He is tied 11-11 against Andy Murray but the Basel player won all his two head-to-head matches against the Scotsman this year in quarter final matches at the Australian Open and Cincinnati.
Federer is tied 2-2 in his head-to-head matches against Kei Nishikori. This year Nishikori beat Federer in the Miami quarter final but Federer took his re-match against the Florida based Japanese player in Halle.
The young Japanese player won four titles in Memphis, Barcelona, Kuala Lumpur and Tokyo and reached the final in Madrid against Rafa Nadal. He came close to winning his first Master 1000 Tournament but he was hampered by a back injury. At the US Open he beat Novak Djokovic in the semifinal to become the first ever Asian Grand Slam finalist. If he is fit without injury worries Nishikori could be a threat for every player. Last week Nishikori reached the semifinal in Paris Bercy where he lost to Djokovic after a marathon match against David Ferrer.
Federer won six career matches against Milos Raonic but the young Canadian broke his losing streak against the seventeen-time Grand Slam champion last week in the quarter final at Paris Bercy. This defeat put an end to his winning streak of 17 consecutive matches. Raonic played his second career Master 1000 one year after Toronto. Raonic showed consistency throughout the year reaching the semifinal in Rome and at Wimbledon.
Murray will have time to rest after playing 23 matches in six consecutive weeks winning three titles in Shenzhen, Vienna and Valencia after dropping out of the top 10. The reigning Olympic champion and 2013 Wimbledon winner lost his most recent match in the quarter final in Paris Bercy against Djokovic. .
“Winning the ATP World Tour Finals would be the goal but I know it will be difficult. A lot of guys, especially Novak and Roger are going in with a lot of motivation and would go in as the strong favourites. The guys with big serves Raonic, Berdych and Cilic enjoy playing indoors. It’s going to be an interesting tournament. If I play well, I give myself a good chance. I am definitely match fit. I won’t go in there undercooked”, said Murray.
Nishikori leads 4-1 on his head-to-head matches against Raonic this year. Murray has won all his three matches against Nishikori but he won only one of his four clashes against Raonic.
Tennis Player Disqualified From Shanghai Qualifying Match Two Points Away From Victory
It will be a match that Australia’s Marc Polmans will never forget but for all the wrong reasons.
The World No.140 looked to be on the verge of victory against Italy’s Stefano Napolitano when leading their match 7-6(3), 6-6(6-5), in the final round of qualifying at the Shanghai Masters. However, disaster struck at the next point when Polmans temper got the better of him and subsequently cost him.
With match point, he approached the net to hit a backhand shot but it ended up in the net. Prompting the frustrated 26-year-old to hit a tennis ball that unfortunately hit the umpire. As a result of that action, he was automatically disqualified from the match which handed Napolitano the victory and a place in the main draw.
It is not the first time a tennis player has been disqualified for such an incident. During a 2017 Davis Cup tie between Canada and Great Britain, Denis Shapovalov was disqualified for firing a tennis ball that hit the umpire’s eye. Novak Djokovic was also disqualified from the 2020 US Open after hitting a ball that accidentally struck a lines judge.
“Players shall not violently, dangerously or with anger hit, kick or throw
a tennis ball while on the grounds of the tournament site except in the reasonable pursuit of a point during a match (including warm-up),” the 2023 ATP rulebook outlines.
“For purposes of this rule, abuse of balls is defined as intentionally or reckless- ly hitting a ball out of the enclosure of the court, hitting a ball dangerously or recklessly within the court or hitting a ball with disregard of the conse- quences.’
“Violation of this section shall subject a player to a fine of up to $350 for each violation. In addition, if such violation occurs during a match, the player shall be penalized in accordance with the Point Penalty Schedule.”
It is a tough lesson for Polmans to learn. He was on the verge of playing in the main draw of a Masters 1000 event for the first time in his career. He is currently the 10th highest-ranked Australian player on the ATP Tour and reached the final of a Challenger event in Guangzhou, China last month.
Team World One Win Away From Victory in Laver Cup
Team World take a huge 10-2 lead over Team Europe heading into the final day
After losing the first four editions of the Laver Cup, Team World look set to win the event for a second time as the event reaches its conclusion tomorrow.
Team World Captain John McEnroe was thrilled with the day’s results but warned against complacency: “We’re just going to keep doing what we’re doing. The job’s not done but we’re pretty close.”
American duo Taylor Fritz and Frances Tiafoe both earned straight sets wins over Andrey Rublev and Hubert Hurkacz, while Felix Auger-Aliassime and Ben Shelton beat Hurkacz and Gael Monfils.
“I want to play well for the guys,” said Tiafoe after his singles victory. “I played really well tonight. Just being in a team environment is so foreign to us as tennis players, it’s such an individual sport.”
After winning his third singles match in three appearances at the Laver Cup, Fritz was also motivated to do well:
“Yesterday, all the guys played really well. I felt that and wanted to come out on court and show what I can do. That definitely motivated me. Any type of team environment, I feel like it always elevates my game. I feel like my record in team events is really strong because I have a team cheering for me. I get pumped up. I’m excited to play for them. It just adds more pressure and fire to it. I think I play better in those situations.”
The doubles was a typically dynamic and feisty affair, and after the match Shelton was full of praise for his partner:
“It’s amazing, when you play with a guy who serves and returns like Felix, is as athletic as him, and goes back for the overhead as strong as him, it’s a fun time,” said Shelton. “We call him ‘Laver Cup Felix’ because he turns into something special this week, just glad I got to share the court with him at least once.”
Auger-Aliassime returned the compliments: “The best comes out of me when I’m playing not only for myself but for team-mates. Ben carried me through the end of that match, it was tough for me to get it done.”
Casper Ruud, meanwhile, beat Tommy Paul for Europe’s only points so far.
Matches on the final day are worth three points each – meaning that Team Europe would have to win all four remaining matches to prevent Team World from winning the trophy.
T. Fritz def A. Rublev 6-2, 7-6
F. Tiafoe def H. Hurkacz 7-5, 6-3
F. Auger-Aliassime & B. Shelton def H.Hurkacz & G. Monfils 7-5, 6-4
C. Ruud def T. Paul 7-6, 6-2
ATP RANKINGS UPDATE: Novak Djokovic, No.1 once more
After the US Open the Serbian champion reclaims top spot. Alexander Zverev is back in the Top 10
By Roberto Ferri
“Don’t ever underestimate the heart of a champion”
Rudy Tomjanovich coined this maxim just after his Houston Rockets won the NBA championship in 1995. He was paying homage to Akeem Holajuwon. It perfectly suits the heart of Daniil Medvedev, who proved 99% of tennis fans in the world to be wrong, convinced as they were that he would lose the semifinal to former No 1 Carlos Alcaraz.
But his dream to win a second US Open, after his triumph in 2021, was shattered by another champion, whose heart and class is even greater: that’s Novak Djokovic, who affixes his seal on his return to No.1, equalling Margaret Court Smith’s record of 24 majors.
Djokovic dethroning Alcaraz is not the only change in the top 20: Sascha Zverev is back in the top 10 after almost one year and Ben Shelton, great protagonist of the Us Open, debuts in the top 20 best players in the world.
A few comments:
Stefanos Tsitsipas, Andrei Rublev and Alexander Zverev gain 2 positions.
Ben Shelton devours 28 positions.
Sinner, Tiafoe, Norrie and Dimitrov lose one.
Casper Ruud and Karen Khachanov, runner up and semi-finalist respectively at the 2022 US Open, drop 4 positions.
One step forward for Fritz, de Minaur, Paul, Auger-Aliassime and Hurkacz.
ATP NITTO FINALS
From 12 to 19 November the 8 best players of the ranking based on the points earned in the ongoing solar season will be playing the Nitto ATP Finals in Turin.
Will Novak Djokovic succeed in winning a second straight title? He appears to be heading in the right direction.
Thanks to his triumph at the US Open the Serbian overtakes Alcaraz also in the Race to Turin.
Jannik Sinner holds fourth spot while Andrei Rublev overtakes Stefanos Tsitsipas and is now fifth.
The eighth position is occupied by Alexander Zverev.
Last year runner up, Casper Ruud is currently 10th. This means he would feature in Turin as a reserve.
ATP NEXT GENERATION FINALS
The Next Gen Finals, dedicated to the best under 21s, (8 effectives and 2 reserves) of the season will take place this year in Gedda, Saudi Arabia.
The 2022 winner, Brandon Nakashima, will not be defending his title, since he was born in 2001.
Taking for granted that Alcaraz and, most likely Rune, will be playing the ATP Finals, we have included in the chart the 12 current top under 21s.
Besides Ben Shelton, other 11 players have achieved their career highest this week.
We tribute a double applause to the four players who are making their debut in the top 100.
The 25-year-old Croatian Borna Gojo, 22-year-old Australian Rinky Hijkata and the Swiss next gen Dominic Stricker all reap the reward for their brilliant runs at the US Open. Seyboth Wild, the Brazilian who stunned Medvedev in the first round of Roland Garros leaps to No.76 after winning the Challenger in Como last week.
Translated by Kingsley Elliot Kaye
Zhizhen Zhang Handles Home Pressure As Murray Exits Shanghai
Jannik Sinner beats Danil Medvedev in the China Open final to clinch the ninth title of his career
Iga Swiatek cruises past Magda Linette to reach the quarter final at the China Open in Beijing
Dusan Lajovic beats Stan Wawrinka to reach the second round in Shanghai
‘He’s Here To Stay’ – Stefanos Tsitsipas Brings Father Back Into Team After Philippoussis Split
‘Bulls**t’ – Expert Involved In Simona Halep’s Anti-Doping Case Blasts Four-Year Ban
Maria Sakkari ‘Scared’ Of Anti-Doping Testing Measures After Halep Ban
Gutsy Novak Djokovic Prevails In Grueling Battle With Medvedev To Win US Open
Iga Swiatek Says Her Priority Is Form, Not Reclaiming No.1 Spot
Iga Swiatek Dismisses Criticism Over Recent US Open Exit
(VIDEO EXCLUSIVE) Steve Flink, Ubaldo Scanagatta Review The 2023 Wimbledon Men’s Final
(VIDEO EXCLUSIVE) Steve Flink, Ubaldo Scanagatta Review The 2023 Wimbledon Women’s Final
(VIDEO): Novak Djokovic Faces Sinner Test, Women’s Semis Take Centre Stage
(VIDEO): Novak Djokovic Sets Rublev Quarter-Final Clash
(VIDEO EXCLUSIVE) Plenty Of Surprises Could Occur In This Year’s Wimbledon Women’s Draw
Latest news3 days ago
Jannik Sinner sets up a quarter final against Grigor Dimitrov in Beijing
Hot Topics1 day ago
Aryna Sabalenka Survives Scare, Wades Into Ball Quality Debate At China Open
Hot Topics2 days ago
Iga Swiatek Reacts To Row Over Use Of Performance Byes At China Open
Latest news24 hours ago
Jannik Sinner beats Carlos Alcaraz to reach the final in Beijing
Hot Topics2 days ago
‘My Brain Works Different’ – Coco Gauff Talks Positives From Online Criticism After China Open Win
Latest news2 days ago
Danil Medvedev is on a collision course for a potential quarter final against Jannik Sinner in Shanghai
ATP1 day ago
Tennis Player Disqualified From Shanghai Qualifying Match Two Points Away From Victory
Latest news2 days ago
Jannik Sinner beats Grigor Dimitrov to set up semifinal against Carlos Alcaraz