Review Of The 2017 ATP Season: Part 1 - UBITENNIS
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Review Of The 2017 ATP Season: Part 1

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Ubitennis.net reviews a memorable 2017 ATP season, which was highlighted by the comeback of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, Grigor Dimitrov winning the ATP Finals and the breakthrough of 20-year-old German Alexander Zverev. We present the best players of the season, the best rivalries and the most thrilling matches, the best teams and the most exciting players of the future.

The best rivalry of the year: Federer vs Nadal:

Federer and Nadal came back from their 2016 injury ravaged seasons to provide the best rivalry of the season at last January’s Australian Open. They played for the Australian Open title for the first time since 2009, when Nadal won in five sets. This time it was Federer’s turn to lift the Australian Open Trophy at Melbourne Park after another thrilling five-set match. In one of the most exciting tennis matches of the year, Federer rallied from a 1-3 deficit in the fifth set to clinch his 18th Grand Slam title and his fifth title Down Under after a memorable 3-hour and 38-minute battle, winning 6-4 3-6 6-1 3-6 6-3.

The post-match interview provided one of the many examples of great friendship and sportsmanship between the two big rivals.

“I am out of words. I would like to congratulate Rafa on an amazing comeback. There are no draws in tennis, but I would have been very happy to accept one and share it with Rafa tonight”, said Federer.

Nadal led 23-11 in his head-to-head matches against Federer and won five of their previous six matches before the 2017 season, but the Swiss maestro scored four wins in all their clashes this year.

After their memorable Melbourne clash, Federer beat Nadal 6-2 6-3 in the fourth round at Indian Wells before lifting his fifth trophy in the Californian tournament. He completed the “Sunshine” double by beating Nadal 6-3 6-4 in straight sets in the Miami final. In October Federer completed the perfect 4-0 record against Nadal this season by winning his third Masters 1000 title of 2017 with a 6-4 6-3 victory in the Shanghai Rolex Masters final.

This year Federer has won more titles than anybody else on the ATP Tour, lifting a total of seven trophies. He dominated the grass season by winning his ninth trophy in his beloved Gerry Weber Open tournament in Halle and claimed his eighth Wimbledon title by beating Marin Cilic in the title match. He crowned his dream season with his eighth title in his home city Basel after beating Juan Martin Del Potro in a three-set final.

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Nadal lived up to his reputation as the “King of Clay” after winning tournaments in Monte-Carlo, Barcelona, Madrid and Roland Garros for the tenth time in his career. By winning the so-called “La Decima” Nadal became the first male or female in the Open Era to win ten titles in a single Grand Slam tournament. With 16 Grand Slam trophies won during his career, he has climbed to second on the all-time Grand Slam titles list behind Federer, who added two more titles to his collection with his wins in Melbourne and at Wimbledon.

Nadal also completed an impressive hard-court season, including grand slam title No.16 at the US Open, by winning the China Open in Beijing and ended the year as the world number 1.

“Federer played a very high level of tennis during the whole season, so well done for him and I am happy to see him play well”, said Nadal.

Federer and Nadal teamed up in the doubles at the first edition of the Rod Laver Cup in Prague, helping Team Europe win against the World team.

The comeback of the year: Roger Federer

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Federer won the ATP Comeback, Sportsmanship and Fans Favourite Awards. He has been selected as the fans favourite player for the 15th consecutive year and was voted by fellow players as the winner of the Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award for the 13th time and the seventh year in a row. He won the Comeback Award for the first time. He started the 2017 at world number 17 in the ATP Rankings after missing the second half of the 2016 season to recover from a knee injury and ended the year as the world number 2.

The Breakthrough of the season: Grigor Dimitrov

Grigor Dimitrov enjoyed a breakthrough season, winning the Brisbane ATP 250 Tournament, the Sofia title on home soil and his maiden Masters 1000 title in Cincinnati. He went on to celebrate the biggest title of his career at the ATP Finals at the O2 Arena in London after winning a three-set final against David Goffin. He fell down the ATP Rankings in 2016, dropping to World Number 40 but started his comeback in October that year, thanks to the advice of Venezuelan coach Dani Vallverdu, who guided to the best season of his career. He ended the year as the world number 3 behind Nadal and Federer with a career-best four ATP titles.

“We have a great connection. We see tennis in the same way. We have this bond and we really appreciate how the year has gone for us”, said Dimitrov about his relationship with Dani Vallverdu.

The best matches of the year:

Rafa Nadal Def. Grigor Dimitrov 6-3 5-7 7-6 (7-5) 6-7 (4-7) 6-4

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Dimitrov lost the Australian Open semifinal against Nadal in five sets after almost five hours in one of the most exciting matches of the season. Dimitrov did not convert a double break point in the eighth game of the fifth set as he was leading 4-3 before Nadal prevailed 6-3 5-7 7-6 (7-5) 6-7 (4-7) 6-4. Nadal broke the Bulgarian player with a backhand winner down the line to serve for the match at 5-4. Dimitrov saved the first two match points, but Nadal converted his third opportunity.

Roger Federer Vs. Nick Kyrgios 7-6, 6-7, 7-6

Federer battled past Kyrgios 7-6 (11-9) 6-7 (9-11) 7-6 (7-5) in three tie-breaks in an epic semifinal in Miami. In their only previous head-to-head match Kyrgios beat Federer in three-set tussle in Madrid in 2015 after three tie-breaks.

In Miami Kyrgios saved a set point at 5-6 in the first set with an ace and two more in the tie-break at 5-6 and 6-7. Federer fended off two set points in the tie-break at 7-8 and at 8-9 before winning the opening set on his third set point at 11-9. In the tie-break of the second set Kyrgios fired an ace at 10-9 to seal the second set. Both players held serve to force the match to a sixth consecutive tie-break in their two head-to-head matches. Federer hit a big first serve to clinch the match after three hours and ten minutes.

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Jack Draper Wins In Stuttgart, Potentially Faces Andy Murray in Round Two

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Jack Draper – ATP Monaco di Baviera 2024 (foto via Twitter @atptour)

Britain’s Jack Draper tight first round win headlined the opening day’s results at the Boss Open 2024 in Stuttgart – and possibly faces a second-round match with Andy Murray who takes on Marcos Giron tomorrow.

Less than 24 hours from the last ball being hit at Roland Garros, the ATP Tour had already switched surfaces onto the grass, and 22-year-old Draper was well tested but ultimately came through in two tie-breakers over Sebastian Ofner.

The sixth seed’s 7-6, 7-6 win contained just one break of serve each, both coming in the second set, as serve dominated proceedings on the faster grass courts in Germany.

While the Austrian won 75% on his first serve, Draper won a whopping 89% behind his first delivery as well as hitting eight aces. These kind of service stats will surely take him far during the grass court season.

“I thought it was a really good match,” Eurosport quoted Draper saying after his match. 
“Both of us played really clean tennis, executing really well.
“When it came down to it, I’m glad I competed really well and got over the line – it’s good to be back on the grass as well.”

There were also wins for Germany’s Yannick Hanfmann who won 6-3, 6-3 over wildcard Henri Squire, while compatriot Dominik Koepfer won in three sets over China’s Zhizhen Zhang 4-6, 7-6, 7-6. 

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Carlos Alcaraz Still Owns A Magical Racket

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The legend of Carlos Alcaraz and his magical racket lives on.

The 21-year-old Spaniard executed one magical shot after another with his racket and legs  Sunday afternoon in the French Open final. That bit of magic spelled defeat for Germany’s Alexander Zverev.

This was a final to remember, one of the great matches of all the Grand Slams. It just wasn’t in the cards for the 26-year-old Zverev to finally win a Grand Slam title.

HE HAD IT, THEN HE DIDN’T

Both players seemed to play a game of “he had it and then he didn’t.”

Alcaraz appeared to have everything under control in the first set, but Zverev rushed through the second set and then made a comeback from 5-2 down in the third set to win five straight games.

Zverev had everything going for him when he started the fourth set with a two-set advantage. It appeared that all the 6-6 Zverev had to do was to continue playing his masterful game of big serves and mighty ground strokes.

But Zverev couldn’t get started in the fourth set until he was down 4-0. So much for a smooth and easy ride to a Grand Slam title. By then, the magic of Alcaraz was heating up.

MAGIC OF ALCARAZ HEATING UP

Zverev still had his chances, even when he fell behind 2-1 in the fifth set. He had to feel pretty good about his chances when he took a triple break point lead against Alcaraz’s serve and appeared ready to even the set at 2-2. Even after Carlos came up with a winner to bring the  game score to double break point.

Zverev still was ready to even the entire match.

That’s when everything seemed to go haywire for the German, while all the while, Alcaraz was able to repeatedly come up with his magical shots as the Spaniard made critical shots that looked almost impossible to make.

ALCARAZ HEADED FOR GREATNESS

Everything for Zverev was lost in the magical racket of Alcaraz.

What was then initially called a game-ending Alcaraz double fault and a 2-2 deadlock quicky reversed itself and Alcaraz stayed alive by winning the next three points while taking a 3-1 advantage.

Zverev did get back to a 3-2 deficit and had a break point in the sixth game, but that was it for the hopes of Zverev. The last two games went rather easily in favor of Alcaraz to wrap up a 6-3, 2-6, 5-7, 6-1, 6-2 victory for Alcaraz.

That moved the Spaniard to a higher level of success on the ATP Tour. He became the youngest man to win Grand Slam titles on all of the different surfaces, clay, grass and hard courts.

Carlos Alcaraz and his magical racket appear to be headed for greatness.

James Beck was the 2003 winner of the USTA National Media Award  for print media. A 1995 MBA graduate of The Citadel, he can be reached at Jamesbecktennis@gmail.com. 

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Tsitsipas Brothers Hit With Trio Of Fines At French Open

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Stefanos Tsitsipas and his brother Petros have been fined more than 20,000 euros for multiple violations of the coaching rules at this year’s French Open. 

The brothers received a financial penalty during three different matches that they played in. Two of those were in the second and third rounds of the men’s doubles tournament. Furthermore, Stefanos was also penalised during his singles quarter-final match against Carlos Alcaraz, which he lost in straight sets. According to French newspaper L’Equipe, all three of those fines were issued as a result of coaching rules being broken.

Ironically, coaching is allowed during matches at the French Open but certain rules must be followed. ‘Verbal’ coaching can only be issued from the coaches and their team if they are sitting in the designated player’s box. Instructions must be limited to a few words and can only be given if the player is in the same half of the court as their coach. Although non-verbal coaching is allowed regardless of what side the player is on. Finally, players can’t start a conversation with their coach unless it is during a medical break, a bathroom break or when their opponent is changing clothes.

However, the Tsitsipas brothers have been found in violation of these rules, which is likely due to their animated father in the stands who is also their coach. Apostolos Tsitsipas has been given coaching violations in the past at other events, including the 2022 Australian Open. 

The value of the fines are €4,600 and €9,200 for the Tsitsipas brothers in the doubles, as well as an additional €7,400 just for Stefanos in the singles. In total, the value of their fines is €21,200. However, the penalty is unlikely to have an impact on the duo whose combined earnings for playing in this year’s French Open amount to roughly €495,000. 

So far in the tournament, the highest single fine to be issued this year was against Terence Atmane who hit a ball out of frustration that struck a fan in the stands. Atmane, who later apologised for his actions, managed to avoid getting disqualified from the match. Instead, he was fined €23,000. 

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