ATP Finals Day 8 Preview: Will Alexander Zverev Deny Novak Djokovic The Title? - UBITENNIS
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ATP Finals Day 8 Preview: Will Alexander Zverev Deny Novak Djokovic The Title?

Novak Djokovic plays for his record-tying sixth championship at the ATP Finals, but a 21-year-old phenom stands in his way.



Six months ago, Novak Djokovic even qualifying for the ATP Finals seemed nearly unfathomable.  In mid-May, he arrived in Rome with a 6-6 record on the year, having not won a Major in two years.  But in the second half of 2018, Djokovic has played some of the best tennis of his career, especially this week in London.  Since Wimbledon, he’s 35-2, with two Majors and two Masters 1,000 titles. He comes into this final having not dropped a set this week, and as per Ravi Ubha on Twitter, is vying to become the first man to win this event without losing a set since Ivan Lendl in 1986.  Regardless of the result today, Djokovic will end the year as world No.1 for the fifth time. A win today would give him an over 2,000-point lead over world No.2, Rafael Nadal, heading into 2019.


His opponent on Sunday is playing for the biggest title of his career.  Sascha Zverev has won nine titles in his young career, including three Masters 1,000 events.  Zverev though is yet to get to the latter stages of a Major, with only one Major quarterfinal appearance, and an ordinary 22-14 record at Grand Slam events.  A win today would be a significant next step in his career advancement. Unlike Djokovic, he’s not played his best in the past few months. Sascha’s last title came in July, and this is his first final since that time.  He advanced out of the round robin stage this week despite some instances of lackluster play, but really upped his game to take out Roger Federer in Saturday’s semifinals. He’ll need to raise his level even higher to stay with Novak on Sunday.

Novak Djokovic vs. Sascha Zverev

These two met just four days ago in round-robin play, a match which Djokovic won comfortably, dropping just five games.  Novak has all won all his matches this week without being threatened, dominating all comers. The best returner in the world is yet to have his serve broken in this tournament.  As highlighted by Enrico Maria Riva on Twitter, Djokovic has lost only 19 points this week on his first serve. And in even more terrifying news for Zverev fans, Novak has lost only 13 points on his second serve, and five of those were double faults.  If Djokovic continues to serve like that on Sunday, it’s hard to imagine Zverev having a chance.

Sascha himself served extremely well on Saturday against Federer, winning 88% of first serve points, and 64% of second serve points.  And he was really ripping his groundstrokes, moving Roger back in the court. Utilizing his power will be crucial for Zverev against Djokovic, as will getting off to a strong start.  After dropping the first set to Novak four night ago, it appeared at times he was not giving his best effort in the second. I’m confident Sascha will not do the same in the biggest final of his career today, but a victory over Djokovic when Novak is playing like this is an extremely tall order.  In a week where only one of fourteen singles matches have gone to three sets, let’s hope Zverev can at least make this an interesting and prolonged final. However, a Zverev win on Sunday would be quite a shock. Djokovic will be a heavy favorite to tie Federer with his sixth ATP Finals trophy.



India’s Sumit Nagal Receives Sponsorship Boost After Revelling Financial Struggles



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A leading food and drink company has pledged to support India’s highest-ranked men’s player who was unable to train at his usual facility in Germany earlier this year due to a lack of money. 


Earlier this week world No.159 Sumit Nagal made a public plea for financial support to help him continue his career as a tennis player. In recent years he has been based at the Nansel Tennis Academy in Germany but was unable to train there during the first three months of the 2023 season due to a lack of funds. During this period he relied on his friends, including former player Somdev Devvarman, to help maintain his fitness. 

“If I look at my bank balance, I have what I had at the beginning of the year. It is 900 euros. I did get a bit of help. Mr Prashant Sutar is helping me with MAHA Tennis Foundation and I also get monthly (salary) from IOCL but I don’t have any big sponsor,” Nagal told the Press Trust of India.
“I am investing whatever I am making. The yearly cost where I travel with one coach is costing me around Rs 8 million to Rs 10 million (90,000-113,000 euros) and that is just with one travelling coach (no physio). Whatever I have made I have already invested,” he added.

Nagal, who is 26 years old, has reached the semi-finals of better at five tournaments on the lower-level Challenger Tour so far this season. His only Grand Slam result was at the US Open where he lost in the first round of qualifying to Taro Daniel. It was at the US Open where he took a set off Roger Federer before losing in 2019. 

Despite being the only player from his country to be ranked in the top 400, Nagal is currently not part of the Target Olympics Podium Scheme. An initiative set up by the Indian government to provide support to their top athletes.

After learning about Nagal’s ongoing struggles on the Tour, a leading company has decided to support the tennis player by signing a three-year deal with him. Gatorade specializes in sports drinks and is manufactured by PepsiCo. Under the deal, Nagal will receive support with his recovery and nutrition from experts at the Gatorade Sports Science Institute (GSSI).  

“I am deeply moved and grateful to join hands with Gatorade. This association comes to me at a pivotal time, and I am thankful my hard work and passion is getting recognized and appreciated. With Gatorade by my side, I am sure I will reach new heights and give it my all both on and off the court,” the Indo-Asian News Service quoted Nagal as saying on Thursday. 

Speaking about the new partnership, Ankit Agarwal from PepsiCo India has hailed the collaboration. Agarwal is the company’s Associate Director of Energy & Hydration. 

“Sumit is a role model for the new-gen athletes of India with his career being a true example of hard work and sweat that makes talent shine,” he said.
“As a brand that is dedicated to supporting athletes in removing barriers to sporting success, we are delighted to welcome Sumit to the Gatorade squad.”

Nagal has been ranked as high as No.122 in the world. So far in his career, he has won four Challenger titles with two of those occurring this year in Italy and Finland. 

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(VIDEO): Malaga Line-Up Set As Davis Cup Most Unpredictable Tournament In History

UbiTennis founder Ubaldo Scanagatta explains why any of the eight teams in Malaga could win November’s Davis Cup Finals




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The Davis Cup quarter-final line-up is set after an incredible Group Stage over Bologna, Split, Manchester and Valencia.


Now eight teams remain including Novak Djokovic’s Serbia, Great Britain and Australia.

However surprise teams such as the Netherlands, Finland and the Czech Republic will also appear in the quarter-finals.

Ten-time champions Great Britain will face Serbia with the winners taking on the winner of the quarter-final between Italy and the Netherlands.

In the other half of the draw Canada will be heavy favourites against Finland while the Czech Republic face Australia.

The final eight tournament will take place in Malaga and will take place between the 21st and the 26th of November.

However this year’s Davis Cup could be the most unpredictable version in the tournament’s history with there being no Spain or USA.

It really could be anyone’ tournament with Tennis’ most prestigious team competition up for grabs in November.

In this video UbiTennis founder Ubaldo Scanagatta explains why this year’s Davis Cup finals could be the most unpredictable edition of all-time and why any of the teams could win the title.

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Simona Halep Claims Doing Ban Is ‘Based On Scenarios’ Without Proof




Former world No.1 Simona Halep has questioned the fairness of her anti-doping hearing after being suspended from the sport for four years. 


The two-time Grand Slam champion is suspended from tour events until 2026 after an independent tribunal concluded that the Romanian broke rules set out in Tennis’ anti-doping program. In a 126-page report by the International Tennis Integrity Agency (ITIA), investigators accepted that the collagen supplement taken by Halep – called Keto MCT – was contaminated with Roxadustat “on the balance of probability.” However, they stated that there must have been another source of Roxadustat based on the level detected in her sample taken during the 2022 US Open. 

Furthermore, three experts in the area said they have ‘a high degree of confidence‘ that there was not an ‘innocent explanation’ for the abnormalities detected in Halep’s Athlete’s Biological Passport (ABP). They reported that ‘likely doping’ occurred based on an analysis of 51 valid samples of Halep’s blood and rejected her explanation for the irregularity. The tennis star cited blood loss during surgery and spells when she was inactive as her defence. 

Despite the comprehensive ruling, Halep has insisted that she is innocent and never intentionally took any banned substances. During an interview with Front Office Sports on Monday, the 31-year-old claimed that the ITIA’s four-year ban handed to her was based on ‘scenarios’ instead of any proof. 

“I was confident after the hearing because there were so many things that made no sense and that are not fair,” she said.
“When I received the decision, I was in complete shock. I could not believe that they suspended me for four years when we found the contamination and my blood was totally normal. They didn’t find anything bad in my blood. It’s crazy that they made this decision with everything [her legal team presented]. They judged me on scenarios. There is no proof. It’s just insane.”

The ITIA originally requested a six-year ban for Halep due to what they described as ‘repetitive and sophisticated’ doping practices. She is accused of using blood doping to improve her performance during Wimbledon and the US Open last year. However, the report found it was not ‘completely satisfied’ that Halep has been doping since March 2022 despite there being ‘strong grounds for suspicion.’

As for the substance Roxadustat, Halep says she would have never deliberately taken the drug as it would ‘work against her.’ She says that the drug would have worsened a thyroid issue which she has been dealing with for several years. Front Office Sports referred to a European Medicines Agency study which finds a possible link between the drug and decreased thyroid function. 

“There was no point for me to take this,” Halep said. “It’d work against me. It wouldn’t help me.”

The study couldn’t establish how common this side effect is due to the amount of data available at the time. 

In the wake of Halep’s ban, some have publicly expressed their views on the matter. One of the most notable to do so was Serena Williams who wrote on social media ‘8 is a better number” in a jibe at her former opponent. The reference was to the 2019 Wimbledon final when seven-time champion Williams lost in straight sets to Halep. 

“I think everyone has the right to judge me because the tribunal decided that I have the fault here,” Halep commented. “Someone told me today that those players who are hating on me because I beat them.”

Halep is set to appeal against her ban to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). 

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