Feliciano Lopez Set To Take Over As Director Of The Madrid Open - UBITENNIS
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Feliciano Lopez Set To Take Over As Director Of The Madrid Open

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World No.36 Feliciano Lopez has been appointed the assistant director of the Madrid Open, in what is set to be the start of a new era for the Spanish tournament.

The announcement was made on Thursday during a press conference at the AC Cuzco Hotel by tournament CEO Gerard Tsobanian. Lopez will be deputy to four-time grand slam champion Manolo Santana, who is credited for bringing the combined event to Madrid. During 2018 Lopez will be mentored by both Santana and Tsobanian for his new role.

“I have a lot to learn from Manolo and from Gerard. I have seen them run this tournament for more than 15 years and I have always admired what they have achieved.” Lopez told reporters.
“As time has gone by the Mutua Madrid Open has become one of the best tournaments on tour and one of the most valued by the players. And that is thanks to both of them. It will be a huge responsibility to make sure that their legacy continues for many years to come.”

The Madrid Open is a combined event played on the clay. It is categorised as a Masters 1000 event for the men and a Premier Mandatory event for the women. This year’s edition, which was won by Rafael Nadal and Simona Halep, attracted a record audience of 260,228 spectators. An increase of over 15,000 compared to the previous year. The current owner is former player and multimillionaire Ion Tiriac.

Lopez’s appointment is the start of his path to the top position. In plans outlined by the tournament committee, the 36-year-old will take over from Santana after 2018 to become chief director. Santana will maintain ties with the Madrid Open, but in a different format as an ‘honorary president’ after he turns 80 next May. Both of those plans are subjected to the approval of the board of directors, who will be holding meetings in the near future to discuss the motions.

“The Mutua Madrid Open is and always will be my home. We put a lot of effort into getting this tournament off the ground and I will always be working to help it grow.” stated Santana.
“I am really happy that Feli is joining the team, he is a wonderful addition to it and I will try to teach him as much as I can. He knows the tournament very well because he has played in it in every year. At first he will be the person by my side to learn and then I will be the one who is by his side to support him in everything he does. We will make a great team.”

During his career, Lopez has played in the Madird Open 16 consecutive times between 2002-2017. Overall, he has won 21 out of 37 matches played at the event, reaching the quarter-finals on four occasions. The Spaniard has been ranked as high as 12th in the world and currently has six ATP titles to his name. Including one from this year’s Aegon Championships.

“I can still remember when Manolo gave me a wildcard to play in the first tournament in 2002. That was when I realised that I could take on the best in the world (and I came close to beating Agassi!). I have a very special bond with the Mutua Madrid Open and I feel very lucky to work at the tournament. Today I feel as if Manolo has given me another wildcard to work with him and I hope to be able to make the most of it.” He said about his new posistion.

Next year will be the 17th edition of the Madrid Open and the tenth anniversary of it being held at the Caja Magica. It will take place from 4th – 13th May.

(Video in Spanish)

 

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Maria Sharapova will miss the Olympic Games in Tokyo

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Maria Sharapova is set to miss the Olympic Games in Tokyo 2020, as she has committed to play the World Team Tennis at Orange County Breakers in the United States from 28 to 29 July during the same week as the Tokyo event.

 

“I am excited to be back with the Breakers again. The competition in World Tennis is always strong and I am looking forward to playing in team format again”, said Sharapova.

Before the US Open 2019 the five-time Grand Slam champion appointed new coach Riccardo Piatti in her team.

Sharapova has announced that she will be playing in several exhibition matches like the Mubadala World Tennis Championships in Abu Dhabi, the Hawaii Open and the Kooyong Classic before the Australian Open.

 

 

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Stan Wawrinka, Daniel Medvedev, Fabio Fognini and Gael Monfils set to highlight the Diryah Tennis Cup in Saudi Arabia

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Stan Wawrinka, Gael Monfils, Danil Medvedev and Fabio Fognini are set to take part in the Diryah Tennis Cup, the first ever professional tennis tournament, which takes place from 12 to 14 December 2020.

 

Diriyah is a UNESCO World Tennis Heritage Site will host a hard-court tournament at the Diryah Arena, where the boxing match between Anthony Joshua and Antony Ruiz took place last weekend.

The exhibition tournament will feature Stan Wawrinka, Gael Monfils, Danil Medvedev, Fabio Fognini, David Goffin, Lucas Pouille, John Isner and this year’s Australian Open semifinalist Lucas Pouille.

Medvedev is the highest ranked player in the Saudi Arabia tournament. The Russian player won four titles in Sofia, Montreal and St. Petersburg and Shanghai and reached the final at the US Open finishing runner-up to Rafael Nadal.

“Saudi Arabia will be a big part of my preparation for the new season. The heat and the conditions will be similar to Australia. It will be a great test for us. It’s in our preseason, so we will want to get that match time in to prepare for the new season. The fans should expect us to fight hard like in any tournament. It will be competitive and hopefully they will be lots of fans coming to support us there. Hopefully I can play some great tennis, help the country raise awareness of the sport and inspire people to play. Looking at the players confirmed it’s a really great field. I have heard a lot of good things about Saudi Arabia. I am excited to promote tennis there especially as it’s the first tournament”, said Medvedev.

Wawrinka won three Grand Slam tournaments at the 2014 Australian Open, at 2015 Roland Garros and at the 2016 US Open. This year the Swiss player finished runner-up to Gael Monfils in Rotterdam and to Andy Murray in Antwerp. Wawrinka reached the French Open quarter final. He upset Novak Djokovic in the US Open fourth round before losing to eventual finalist Danil Medvedev. He ended the season ranked world number 16.

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ATP

Rival Backs Dominic Thiem To Win Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award

Only two players have won the award since 2004.

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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

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