Review Of The 2017 ATP Season: Part 2 - UBITENNIS
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Review Of The 2017 ATP Season: Part 2

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The second part of Ubitennis’ review of 2017 looks at the rising stars on the tour, the best doubles team and the Davis Cup kings. The first part can be viewed here.

The Rising stars of the year:

Alexander Zverev:

The 20-year German player won five titles during his breakthrough season, including two Masters 1000 titles in Rome and Montreal, three more trophies in Montpellier, Munich and Washington and qualified for his first ever ATP Finals in London. In Rome, he became the youngest player since Novak Djokovic in 2007 to win a Masters 1000 title and the first player born in the 1990s to achieve this feat. He also broke into the top five for the first time in his career. The younger brother of Mischa Zverev also finished runner-up in the Halle final, losing to Roger Federer. The German star, who is coached by Juan Carlos Ferrero, is considered as a player who could follow in the footsteps of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray.

Denis Shapovalov:

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Shapovalov was honoured with the Most Improved Award and the ATP Star of Tomorrow Award during the ATP Finals. The Canadian teenager started the year at world number 250 in the ATP Ranking and ended it at world number 51 after breaking the top 50 during the season. He beat Juan Martin Del Potro and Rafa Nadal last August en route to reaching his first Masters 1000 semifinal at the Rogers Cup in Montreal. Becoming the youngest ever Masters 1000 semifinalist. As a qualifier he reached the fourth round at the US Open to become the youngest player since Marat Safin at 1998 Roland Garros to reach the last 16 stage at a Grand Slam tournament.

“The semifinal in Montreal was a life-changing achievement as it gave me the confidence that I can play against these guys and I belong there,” said Shapovalov.

Hyeon Chung:

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The 2017 season for Hyeon Chung was marked by the first edition of the ATP Next Gen Finals in Milan, where new rules were introduced. The ATP launched this new tournament to promote the stars of the future. The 21-year-old South Korean player celebrated his maiden ATP Tour title in Milan after beating US Open quarter finalist Andrey Rublev. He completed a perfect 5-0 record in the Italian city, beating Shapovalov, Daniil Medvedev, Gianluigi Quinzi and Andrey Rublev twice en route to winning the biggest title of his career. During the season he won a Challenger title in Maui (USA), reached the quarterfinals in Barcelona as a qualifier, the semifinals in Munich and the third round at Roland Garros, his best result at Grand Slam level so far in his career. In Barcelona he took eventual champion Nadal to a tie-break before losing the match 7-6 6-2.

The best doubles team: Peers and Kontinen

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The Australian and Finnish team formed by John Peers and Henri Kontinen beat Marcelo Melo and Lukasz Kubot 6-4 6-2 to become the first doubles team to win two consecutive ATP Finals titles since US twins Mike and Bob Bryan in 2003 and 2004. Kontinen started his career as a singles player and lost the 2008 Wimbledon Junior final against Grigor Dimitrov.

“We have had an amazing run here and saved the best for last,” said Henri Kontinen.

During the season they also won the Australian Open title and lost to eventual champions Kubot and Melo at Wimbledon. Kontinen and Heather Watson reached the Wimbledon mixed doubles final for the second consecutive year, but lost to Jamie Murray and Martina Hingis.

The best Davis Cup team: France

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France clinched their 10th Davis Cup title in history and their first since 2001. Drawing level with Great Britain in third place in the list of the most successful Davis Cup nations behind the USA (32) and Australia (28). The French team captained by 1983 Roland Garros champion Yannick Noah beat Belgium 3-2 in front of 25000 enthusiastic fans at the Pierre Mauroy Stadium in Lille. Noah clinched his third title as Davis Cup captain after leading France to wins at this event in 1991 against the USA and in 1996 against Sweden. He is the fourth captain after Neale Fraser, Niki Pilic and Hans Olsson to guide a team to three or more victories. France did not feature any top ten players during the final against Belgium but was represented by eight different players on their title-winning run. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Lucas Pouille, Pierre-Hughes Herbert and Richard Gasquet played against Belgium, but Julien Benneteau, Jeremy Chardy, Nicolas Mahut and Gilles Simon also played in the first three rounds contributing to the French triumph. With 10 players in the top 100 France are the most successful tennis country on the ATP Tour.

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REPORT: Madrid Open To Be Axed Amid COVID-19 Concerns In Latest Setback For Tennis

Hopes of Spain holding their top tennis event in 2020 are over.

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The world of tennis is set to suffer another severe blow with multiple media sources confirming that organisers of Spain’s most prestigious tennis tournament will officially cancel their event on Tuesday. 

 

The Mutua Madrid Open will be removed from the 2020 calendar following a meeting involving tournament owner Iron Tiriac. Recently doubts have been cast on the event after local health officials called for it to be suspended due to a spike in COVID-19 cases. Although the final decision was up to Tiriac and his team. It had been due to take place between September 12 to 20, following the conclusion of the US Open. 

“We have to be realistic now, we have to accept that health is always the priority. We must not endanger anyone, neither the fans, nor the players, nor the staff, all those who come to Madrid in September,” tournament director Feliciano Lopez told L’Equipe over the weekend. 

Spain has seen their rate of COVID-19 cases rapidly rise since the country ended its lockdown. According to El Pais, the number of cases recorded within 24 hours is eight times the amount compared to 40 days ago. Rising from 334 (June 20) to 2,789 (between July 29 and 30). On Friday July 31st there were 3092 new cases in the country in what is a post-lockdown record.

Held at the Caja Magica, the Madrid Open is a key event for both men and women. It is currently classed as a Masters 1000 for the men and as a Premier Mandatory for the women. Last year each of the singles champions took home €1,202,520 in prize money. It was originally set to be played in May but was postponed due to the pandemic.

The demise of Madrid this year is another setback for what is becoming a rapidly thinning 2020 tennis calendar. Within the past two weeks China has confirmed that they will not be hosting any tournaments this year, Japan’s scrapped it’s premier women’s event and the Italian Open has been advised to not allow any fans to their event this year. 

As a result of the latest development, only two WTA clay-court events will take place after the US Open leading up to Roland Garros. They are both set to get underway on September 21st in Rome and Strasbourg. As for the men, Rome will be their only point of call. 

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Fate Of Madrid Open To Be Decided This Week

Spain’s most prestigious tennis tournament looks to be in serious danger of getting the axe following recent developments.

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There will be a final decision regarding this year’s Madrid’s Open within the next couple of days but hopes of the tournament going ahead are low, according to its tournament director.

 

Feliciano Lopez has spoken out about the current situation in an interview with the L’Equipe newspaper on Saturday. The mixed tournament has been thrown into doubt after the local council said it would be “inadvisable” for the tournament to be played in September because of the “health risks involved for the public, organization, and players.” Spain is currently experiencing a rise in COVID-19 cases amid concerns of a second wave. On Friday there were 3092 new cases in the country in what is a post-lockdown record.

“We were confident two months ago that the tournament would take place. The situation has worsened in the last two or three weeks in the Madrid region, not just in the city of Madrid, but in the whole region,” Lopez told L’Equipe.
“We have to be realistic now, we have to accept that health is always the priority. We must not endanger anyone, neither the fans, nor the players, nor the staff, all those who come to Madrid in September.”

A decision is set to be made within “two or three days” by tournament owner Ion Tiriac and Super Slam Ltd, the tournament’s licence holder. Tiriac is a Romanian billionaire businessman who is also a former tennis player. He won the 1970 French Open doubles title with compatriot Ilie Nastase.

Weighing up its chances, Lopez admits that he ‘isn’t optimistic’ that the Madrid Open will be able to go ahead. The event is currently classed as a Masters 1000 for the men and as a Premier Mandatory for the women. It was originally set to be played in May but was postponed due to the pandemic.

We are not very optimistic now. We were very positive a few weeks ago. We have a very good protocol, everything is ready, we worked hard to make the event take place, because it is also very important to offer tournaments to the players today.” Said Lopez.
“Last week, we had meetings with the government. Their recommendation is to cancel all events now during the summer. Of course, the decision is ours, it will be Ion’s. We have to work with everyone, the government, the ATP, the WTA and make the best decision for everyone. But we must also listen to the recommendations of the authorities, see how the situation is developing this week.”
He added.

Held on clay at the Caja Magica, the Madrid Open has been a combined event for the men and women since 2009. Last year Novak Djokovic and Kiki Bertens won the singles titles with them each taking home €1,202,520 in prize money.

Besides having the responsibility of the Madrid Open, world No.56 Lopez is continuing his career on the Tour at the age of 38. Questioned about the remaining 2020 season, the Spaniard admits there is a lot of uncertainty for all players. Tournament across Asia have already been cancelled due to the virus and recently the Italian Open was told at present they can’t allow fans to their tournament, which takes place the week after Madrid’s slot.

This season is already completely lost. But what will happen next year, when we still don’t have a vaccine? The situation will be exactly the same as now if we don’t have a vaccine! When is it going to end, I don’t know.” Lopez concluded.

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‘Think Of Others For Once’ – Nick Kyrgios Issues Warning To Rivals As He Withdraws From US Open

The world No.40 has once again took a swipe at Novak Djokovic’s ‘money-grabbing’ Adria Tour.

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Australian tennis star Nick Kyrgios has said he is pulling out of the US Open in respect of those in his home country as well as America who has lost their lives during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

The former top-20 player published a video outlining his reason for withdrawing from the event on the social media accounts of athlete empowerment brand Uninterrupted. During the video he once again made a swipe at Novak Djokovic and others over their ‘selfish’ involvement in the controversy-stricken Adria Tour. Which was criticised for a lack of anti-COVID measures before an outbreak of the virus among players and coaching staff occurred. Djokovic, Grigor Dimitrov, Borna Coric and Vikor Troicki all got infected.

“You can’t be dancing on tables, money-grabbing your way around Europe or trying to make a quick buck, hosting an exhibition. That’s just so selfish. Think of the other people for once. That’s what this virus is about,” he said.
“It doesn’t care about your world ranking or how much money you have. Act responsibly.”

Kyrgios has stated that he isn’t critical of the decision made by the United States Tennis Association to hold the event this year. Which will have on offer 90% of the prize money that was available during the 2019 tournament. Under strict measures, the tournament will be held behind closed doors for the first time in history with players kept in what is being described as a ‘protective bubble.’

“I have got no problem with the USTA putting on the US Open and if players want to go, that’s up to them, so long as everyone acts appropriately and acts safely,” he stated.
“No-one wants people to keep their jobs more than me.’
“I am speaking for the guy who works in the restaurants, the cleaners and the locker room attendants. These are the people who need their jobs back the most and fair play to them.”

The announcement comes shortly after women’s world No.1 Ash Barty announced that she wouldn’t be playing due to coronavirus concerns. Another Australian player, Alexi Popryin, have previously said he would not attend the event. Furthermore, Chinese world No.29 Wang Qiang has pulled out due to ‘travel and safety concerns.’

“To those players who have been observing the rules and acting selflessly, I say good luck to you. Play at your own risk, and I have no problem with that,” said Kyrgios.

The withdrawal ends Kyrgios’ streak of seven consecutive main draw appearance at Flushing Meadows. His best rest was reaching the third round on four separate occasions (2014, 2016, 2018 and 2019). Overall he has won eight out of 15 matches played in New York.

This year’s US Open will get underway on August 31st.

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