Dominic Thiem's ranking move could significantly affect Rafael Nadal's Australian Open - UBITENNIS
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Dominic Thiem’s ranking move could significantly affect Rafael Nadal’s Australian Open

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Dominic Theim could be seeded to reach the quarter-finals of the Australian Open ahead of Rafael Nadal as a result of moves last week (Zimbio.com)

In the wake of the main ATP events ending with Paris, there have been fewer moves amongst the very top players in the last weeks of the season. Nevertheless, challenger events and the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals have resulted in moves that will likely affect outcomes for next season’s Australian Open.

 

Milos Raonic: Up from No.4 to No.3. An excellent World Tour Finals display. Wins against Gael Monfils and Dominic Thiem helped him reach the semi-finals, where he put up a real fight against Andy Murray in the longest three-set match of Murray’s career. He replaces Stan Wawrinka who could not match his semi-final run from last year, winning just one of his three group matches.

Marin Cilic: Up from No.7 to No.6. Won just the one match in London, against Kei Nishikori, but it was enough to take him above Gael Monfils who swaps places with Cilic after the Frenchman pulled out with a rib injury having lost his first two matches.

Dominic Thiem: Up from No.9 to No.8. Like Cilic won just one match at the World Tour Finals, but it was enough for him to build a 115 points lead over Rafael Nadal. This move should it stay this way could have a serious impact on the seedings for Australian Open as, if Nadal is to stay seeded ninth, he will be seeded to face one of the top eight as early as the fourth round in Melbourne.

The rest of the movers are the results of  Challenger titles or performances.

Diego Schartzmann: Up from No.58 to No.52. The titlist in Montevideo, Schartzmann adds to the Barranquilla title he won early in the season, collecting 90 points after beating Rogerio Dutra Silva in the final. Guido Pella moves from No.59 to No.72 

Taylor Fritz drops to No.77 after he elected not to defend the finalist points he earned from Champaign last season. He plays this week in Columbus as the top seed.

James Duckworth put himself in a strong position to avoid qualifying for the Australian Open. The Aussie moved up to No.104 after winning the Toyota Challenger. He may have been awarded a wildcard anyway, but it might mean the Australian Tennis Federation can look to select someone else if Duckworth can get into the main draw on his own merits.

In comparison, Taro Daniel (No.126) and Tatsumo Ito (No.125) suffered drops of nineteen places and twelve places respectively, ensuring that only a strong performance in the last events this year and the first events of 2017 could help them avoid the qualifying draw.

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‘Tell Them Your Considering Working With A Dog’ – Andy Murray Says He Was Mocked For Hiring Female Coach

The former world No.1 believes former mentor Amelie Mauresmo was treated differently because of her gender.

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Andy Murray says he was ridiculed by some when rumours started to emerge that he was going to appoint a woman as his head coach.

 

The three-time Grand Slam champion was mentored by Amelie Mauresmo between 2014-2016 who herself is a former world No.1 on the women’s tour. Although Murray admits that his decision was one that was treated somewhat differently by both the media and those on the Tour. It still remains rare that a top player on the ATP Tour is coached by a female.

Speaking on Sky Sports’ Driving Force programme, Murray recounted the reception he received when news started to emerge that he was thinking about appointing a female member to his team. At the time he had just parted ways with Ivan Lendl, who guided him to two Grand Slam titles as well as a gold medal at the 2012 Olympic Games.

‘It was in the press that I was considering working with a female coach,’ Murray said.
‘I started getting messages from other players, from their coaches, saying “I can’t believe you’re playing this game with the media. You should tell them tomorrow you’re considering working with a dog.”

The 33-year-old believes Mauresmo was scrutinized more than any of his other coaches by the media. During their time together he won seven titles, including his first two on the clay. However, he failed to win Grand Slam trophies. The two ended their partnership with a ‘mutual agreement.’

“I never had experienced that before because I’d never worked with a female coach on the tour. And then it’s kind of spiralled from there that when I started working with her, yeah, there was negative press towards her,” he explains.
‘Every time I lost the match, which was never the case kind of, when I lost matches previously in my career, nobody questioned my coach. In tennis generally, it’s the individual that gets questioned. And that wasn’t the case when I was working with Amelie.
‘It’s one of my regrets that I didn’t win a Grand Slam when I was working with her. And for people, a lot of people, that was considered a failure because I didn’t do that.”

The experience failed to deter Mauresmo from continuing her work in men’s tennis. After Murray she coached fellow Frenchman Lucas Pouille until October this year when she stepped down from the role due to family-related issues. Mauresmo has also previously been selected to captain the French Davis Cup team but didn’t take the role because she wanted to work with Pouille instead.

“I feel like she was harshly judged by a lot of people just purely because she was a woman,” Murray concluded.

According to the ATP, only one member of the year-end top 20 have listed a female as part of their primary coaching team. Denis Shapovalov is coached by his mother Tessa, as well as Mikhail Youzhny.

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Daniil Medvedev’s ATP Finals Breakthrough Praised By Idol Davydenko

The former world No.3 speaks out about Medvedev’s Grand Slam title chances.

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One of Daniil Medvedev’s childhood idols believes the world No.4 is physically ready to contest for a Grand Slam title in the future.

 

Nikolay Davydenko has praised Medvedev’s tactical approach to the Nitto ATP Finals which saw him become the first Russian player to win the title since 2009. The year when Davydenko won it himself. In Sunday’s final, the 24-year-old battled back from a set down to edge out Dominic Thiem. He is the first player in the history of the year-end event to have defeated the top three players in the world en route to the title.

“Medvedev was tactically flexible. With his coaches, they used different Medvedev was tactically flexible. He and his coaches used different tactical approaches in different matches. The semifinal against Nadal had one tactic decision. The other things worked in the final against Thiem, Davydenko told news agency TASS.
Medvedev was in the optimal condition and did everything right, he added.

During the trophy ceremony, the world No.4 paid tribute to his compatriot by describing him as one of his ‘idols.’ The two men are the first and last players to have won the ATP Finals during the time it was staged in London. Next year the event will be moved to Italy. To Medvedev’s surprise, he got the chance to speak with Davydenko shortly after his win.

“I didn’t know but Nikolay Davydenko commented on my match on Russian TV and I managed to talk to him just after,” he said.
“I was so surprised and so happy because he was one of my idols when I was growing up when I was actually already starting to play tennis not so bad, he was there and he was playing unbelievable.’

The victory caps off what has been a remarkable month for Medvedev. Between November 2019 and October 2020 he didn’t claim a single win over a top 10 player. However, this month he has managed to record a total of seven victories and also won his second Masters 1000 title in Paris. Overall, he has defeated 16 top 10 players on the ATP Tour in his entire career.

After winning his biggest title yet, some are starting to wonder if Medvedev has what it takes to claim a Grand Slam trophy in 2021. In recent years the majors have mostly been dominated by the Big Three contingent but Davydenko believes the 2019 US Open finalist is physically ready to challenge for the biggest titles in the sport.

“In five-set matches, it’s harder to keep your concentration. Both psychologically and physically it is more difficult to hold oneself for a longer time. But it seems to me that Medvedev is now ready for this. Physically he is ready, but I don’t know if he has enough mental strength to withstand such concentration,” he said.

Medvedev ends his year with a win-loss record of 28-10 and is one of two Russian men to end the season in the world’s top 10. The other is Andrey Rublev, who won a record five singles title on the Tour this year.

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Daniil Medvedev Wins ATP Finals In Epic As London Waves Goodbye To Premier Event

The 24-year-old has become the first player in history to win the season-ending championship by defeating the three highest ranked players in the world.

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Russia’s 11-year wait for an ATP Finals champion has ended after Daniil Medvedev staged a marathon comeback to defeat Dominic Thiem and win the biggest title of his career to date.

 

The world No.4 was on the verge of losing in straight sets before fighting back to prevail 4-6, 7-6(2), 6-4, in what was a thrilling encounter at The O2. Emulating his clash with Rafael Nadal that took place on the previous day, Medvedev refused to back down as he eventually wore down Thiem both mentally and physically. Hitting a total of 37 winners to 28 unforced errors and saving three out of the four break points he faced.

“What a match. This was maybe one of my best victories. I mean, two hours and 42 minutes, three sets against an amazing player like Dominic,” Medvedev said during the trophy ceremony.
“Dominic, congratulations already for what you have achieved in your career. I think your name is already in the history books,” he added.

In what was a repeat of this year’s US Open semi-final, Medvedev proved troublesome for Thiem from the onset. Two games into the match he was forced to save two break points during a marathon 10-minute opening service game. There was little to distinguish between the two players until a lacklustre service game from Medvedev three games later. Trailing 0-40, Thiem clinched five points in a row to get the crucial break for 3-2. Prompting his rival, who hit a double fault whilst facing a break point, to drop his head in frustration. Continuing to weather the storm, the world No.3 carefully manoeuvred his way to clinching the opener. Doing so with a stroke of luck after a shot from the Austrian brushed the top of the net before flying past his rival. Prompting laughter from both men as they walked to their seats.

As the two engaged in some gut-busting baseline rallies, Thiem continued to pile the pressure but struggled to get the desired breakthrough. At 3-3 in the second set he had a duo of break point opportunities but was unable to convert. Triggering an uncharacteristic outburst of sheer anger from Thiem.

Medvedev’s resistance eventually paid off after almost two hours of battling when he turned his fortunes around in a crucial tiebreaker. After going down a mini break, out of nowhere he won seven straight points to force proceedings into a decider. Applying pressure onto Thiem, Medvedev benefitted from three consecutive unforced errors before sealing the tiebreaker with an ace.

The match was very much like a boxing bout with both players dealing blows to the other. Three games into the decider, Thiem was in danger of getting broken as a series of errors saw him fall behind 0-40. Despite the blips, he regained composure to hold and nudge ahead 2-1. However, Medvedev launched another offensive two games later and this time he changed the dynamic of the match completely. A volley at the net saw him break Thiem for the very first time to move ahead 3-2.

Medvedev’s sole breakthrough was enough to see him over the line. Approaching the closing stages of the marathon clash, he worked his way to championship point after a Thiem shot landed just centimetres beyond the baseline. Then victory was his after a 132 mph serve out wide forced his rival to return the ball into the net.

Life in the bubble is not easy for anybody but I think we manage it quite good. It’s a fun time and of course I am happy with my last two tournaments,” Medvedev commented on a season which has been marred by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I’m thankful for everything that has happened here. Even though many players have said it is not perfect, it is a really tough job to do tournaments nowadays.”

Runner-up Thiem is left waiting another year to win the tournament for the first time. Twelve months ago, he also reached the final before losing in three sets to Stefanos Tsitsipas.

“I’m disappointed but at the same time I am proud of my performance throughout the week,” he commented.
“Daniil really deserved it (the title). It was an amazing match and congratulations to you for another amazing year in general.’
“I hope that we will have many great matches to come and today was a pleasure even though I lost.”

Sunday’s showdown also marked the end of London’s reign of hosting the season-ending extravaganza since 2009. During that period the event has welcomed 2,803,967 fans to the event. Although this year’s edition took place behind closed doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic. From 2021 the ATP Finals will be played in Turin to make it the first time the competition has ever been held on Italian soil.

“I always said before this tournament that it would be an amazing story if here in London the first champion would be Russian and so would the last,” Medvedev said.
“I have a lot of thanks to (2009 champion) Nikolay Davydenko for being an inspiration for many kids, such as me, by winning here and I hope to continue to do his job.”

Medvedev is the fifth different player to have won the ATP Finals within as many years.

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