Following the Miami Open, Roger Federer’s rise up the rankings has continued and it was also a profitable week for Fabio Fognini. Meanwhile, three American’s have made significant climbs in the rankings, making them the biggest movers of the week. Here are the latest updates on the Emirates ATP Rankings and the Race To London.
The Miami Open concluded on Sunday, with Roger Federer being crowned as the champion after he defeated Rafael Nadal 6-3, 6-4. The Swiss completed the ‘Sunshine Double’ for the second time in his career following his victory in Indian Wells a couple of weeks ago. These points, added to his Australian Open triumph in January, have seen him rise two places in the rankings, up to four in the world.
Perhaps what is more notable for Federer is the lead which he is enjoying at the top of Race To London rankings. Based on this season’s results alone, the Swiss boasts three titles and a 20-1 record, meaning that he is already sitting on 4,045 points, 1810 points clear of Nadal, who sits in second place. Just to put into context how far ahead he is of the world’s current top two player’s in the world, Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic, the Brit is currently 12th in the race with 840 points. What comes as more of a surprise is that Djokovic, who completed the sunshine double last season, as well as winning in Melbourne, is down at 22nd in the race and only has 475 points, 3,570 less than Federer.
It is no secret that Federer has desires to get back to the top of the rankings and that is certainly a possibility for the 18-time Grand Slam champion this year. The Swiss trails world number one Murray by 6,655 points as it stands, but the Brit has plenty of points to defend in the coming months having won in Rome, Queen’s Club and Wimbledon last year, as well as reaching the final at the French Open and in Madrid. By contrast, Federer has little points to defend and can make up plenty of ground, even if he is to skip the Masters 1000 series events in Monte-Carlo, Madrid and Rome, which he hinted at after his victory in Miami.
Nadal may have suffered defeat in a final for the third time this season (Australian Open, Acapulco, Miami), but there are plenty of positives to take as he heads into the clay court season, a surface which he can very much dominate on. The Spaniard has climbed two places in the world rankings up to fifth, overtaking Milos Raonic and Kei Nishikori, who has slipped three places having failed to defends his points in Miami.
It was Fabio Fognini who ousted Nishikori last week at the quarterfinal stages, making it a memorable event for the Italian, who celebrated reaching just the second Masters 1000 series semifinal of his career. It did not go as well as he would have liked when going up against Nadal, leaving the court having suffered a 6-1, 7-5 defeat, but the Italian will benefit from a big boost in his ranking. Fognini has climbed back into the world’s top 30, ranked at 28, climbing 12 places.
It was also a great week for three Americans, all of which have enjoyed significant improvements in their rankings. Donald Young is getting back to the level which he showed five years ago. The 27-year-old reached the last 16 in Indian Wells and backed up that performance in Miami, also reaching the last 16, before succumbing to Fognini 6-0, 6-4. That achievement has seen Young move up nine places up to world number 42, just four places shy of his career high ranking of 38, which he reached way back in February 2012.
Young’s compatriot Jared Donaldson also had a memorable fortnight on home soil after he also reached the last 16. The 20-year-old saved three match points against young British talent Kyle Edmund in round one and rolled on from there, eventually being halted by fellow American Jack Sock, who won 6-2, 6-1. These results have taken the young American firmly inside the world’s top 100, up 20 places to a career high ranking of 75. Donaldson is the biggest mover of the week.
19-year-old Frances Tiafoe has also shown a lot of potential of late and put in a highly commendable performance against Federer in the second round, particularly in the first set, as he fell to the Swiss 7-6(2), 6-3. Tiafoe is back inside the world’s top 100 this week, climbing 12 places back up to 89, three places below his career high ranking which he reached one month ago.
The ATP World Tour now takes a week’s break, but will return on April 10th with ATP 250 level events taking place in Houston and Marrakech, meaning that there are plenty of points on offer to those just below the upper echelons of the game who are looking to improve their ranking.
Doubles Player Dream French Open Debut Ended By Instagram Message
Portugal’s Francisco Cabral said he found out he will not be playing in Paris through social media.
Playing in the main draw of a Grand Slam is the pinnacle of many players’ careers but one player missed out on that opportunity due to an unfortunate situation.
Portugal’s Francisco Cabral was set to play in the men’s doubles tournament for the first time at this week’s French Open. The world No.72 is currently at a career-high after winning his maiden Tour title in Estoril last month with compatriot Nuno Borges. In Paris, he entered into the draw alongside Denmark’s Holger Rune.
However, shortly before he was set to make his Grand Slam debut Rune pulled out at the last minute. Leaving Cabral unable to look for another partner in such a short time. Rune’s withdrawal from the doubles was based on medical advice after he hurt his ankle during his second round clash against Henri Laaksonen. The Dane tripped over the court cover at the back of the court but fortunately wasn’t seriously injured and managed to continue playing.
“Right now I feel a huge sadness because it’s a dream to play in a Grand Slam tournament. I’ve been here since Saturday training, waiting, watching games, experiencing a new world because it was my first Grand Slam and it’s another dimension and I was really, really looking forward to being able to play,” Cabral told Raquetc. “And having waited until 15 minutes before game time to know that I wasn’t going to play after all, it cost me a lot, but I did everything I could.”
Caral went on to criticize the behavior of Rune who informed him that he would not be playing in the doubles event via a message sent on Instagram. It is unclear why the two never spoke face-to-face.
“He only told me that he had sprained his foot, that he was at the doctor’s, and that he had told him not to play the doubles. I’m sad about his attitude because he didn’t even say this to my face, he just sent me a message on Instagram. I don’t think it went well, but as I said, I couldn’t have done anything differently, so I’ll just wait for the next opportunity.” He said.
25-year-old Cabral is targeting Wimbledon as the event where he will play his first main draw match.
Meanwhile, Rune will continue his singles campaign at Roland Garros on Saturday when he plays Hugo Gaston in the third round. The former world No.1 junior has shot up the rankings this season to a high of 40th.
Cabral and Rune has been replaced in the draw by Sander Arends and Szymon Walków.
French Open Crowd Crossed The Line, Says Frustrated Alex de Minaur
The Australian explains why he wasn’t entirely happy with the atmosphere in the French capital.
Alex de Minaur didn’t hide his irritation with fans at Roland Garros following his shock exit from the tournament on Tuesday.
The 19th seed fell to home player Hugo Gaston in a five-set epic that lasted more than four hours. De Minaur had a 3-0 lead in the decisive set but ended up losing 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, 0-6, 7-6(10-4) to the world No.74. He has now lost in the first round of the French Open in four out of six appearances.
During the match De Minaur had to contend with a boisterous crowd who were cheering on Gaston. He faced some booing and jeering from those in the stands which the world No.20 was not happy about.
“I think there is a difference between a great atmosphere and supporting your fellow countrymen, which is completely fine and it’s great. I’m sure for him was an amazing atmosphere, he enjoyed every second of it.” De Minaur said afterwards.
“But there is a line that, when I’m getting told things by people in the crowd, making eye contact with me after I hit a double fault, I think there is a certain line that needs to be kind of looked at.”
“Good on him (Gaston) for playing a great match in front of his home crowd and being able to feed off that, and you know, having a moment that I’m sure he won’t forget.”
De Minaur refused to go into what exactly was being said to him from certain members of the crowd but insisted that he was not being intimidated by what was occurring on the court. Towards the end of the match a series of unforced errors, including double faults, costed him dearly.
“I’m pretty sure I dealt with it pretty well, all things considering,” he said. “I was in the moment. I was in the heat of the moment battling out there. It felt like kind of an away Davis Cup match, and I thrive on that. It was a lot sometimes and sometimes you do your best to focus on playing a tennis match. There are outside factors that you do your best to control.“
Heading into Paris, De Minaur had shown encouraging results on the clay with semi-final runs to tournaments in Barcelona and Lyon. He also reached the third round in Rome and took a set off Andrey Rublev when they clashed in Monte Carlo.
Given those recent results on the Tour, it is clear that the latest defeat is one that will sit with him for a while.
“Ideally, I will sleep tonight and I will forget all about it, but I have a feeling that won’t be the case,” de Minaur admits.
“It’s disappointing, as everything is, it is what it is. It’s a sport that we are playing. You have your good days, your bad days. You win absolute battles; you lose absolute battles.”
As for Garon, he will face Argentine qualifier Pedro Cachin in the second round. This year’s draw is a golden opportunity for the Frenchman with him guaranteed to not play a seeded player until at least the last 16 if he makes it that far.
Novak Djokovic Opens Up About Wimbledon Points Removal
The world No.1 states that he will always support the views of his peers.
By Kingsley Elliot Kaye
In his press conference following his win over Yoshihito Nishioka at the French Open, Novak Djokovic expressed his views about the ATP decision to remove points from Wimbledon.
Negatively affected by such a decision – he will drop 2000 points – the world No.1 praised the ATP’s stance and called for players’ unity.
“I think collectively I’m glad that players got together with ATP, the governing body of the men’s tennis, and showed to the Grand Slam that when there is a mistake happening, and there was from the Wimbledon side, then we have to show that there are going to be some consequences. So I support the players, unification always. I have always done that. I will always do that.” He said.
Djokovic criticized the lack of communication between the parties involved, in particular with regard to a document of recommendation by the English Government which contained diverse options. Had it been discussed by the All England Club with ATP and players, a compromise may have been reached.
“I think it was a wrong decision. I don’t support that at all. But, you know, during these times, it’s a super sensitive subject, and anything that you decide, it’s unfortunately going to create a lot of conflict, a lot of separation instead of unification.” He continued.
Djokovic also mentioned other suggestions coming from WTA and ATP, that possibly men’s and women’s players from Belarus, Ukraine, and Russia could play together at some exhibition event during the slam or something like this and prize money could go to the victims in Ukraine. There were different ideas, but there was never really a strong communication coming from Wimbledon.
He stressed that removing the points from Wimbledon, therefore not allowing players to earn or to defend points, is a decision that affects everyone, a lose-lose situation for everyone, as he called it.
Nonetheless, the charm and prestige of Wimbledon shall rest unaltered and its meaningfulness extends far beyond: “A Grand Slam is still a Grand Slam. Wimbledon for me was always my dream tournament when I was a child. You know, I don’t look at it through the lens of points or prize money. For me, it’s something else.”
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