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Roger Federer Shows Better Sportsmanship Than His Fans

Federer and Zverev played the best match of the ATP Finals. The Swiss fell short at the end, while the German didn’t deserve the booing from the crowd. Djokovic will be the favorite “with caution” in today’s championship match.

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LONDON – After 12 fairly ugly and boring matches in the group stages at this year’s ATP Finals, the first semifinal deservedly won by Sasha Zverev against Roger Federer offered plenty of entertainment, unlike the second semifinal dominated by Novak Djokovic over Kevin Anderson. Since losing the Queen’s final to Marin Cilic in June, Djokovic raised his level and jumped to world No. 1 once again, capturing 35 of the last 37 matches he played.

 

This doesn’t necessarily mean that Novak is now unbeatable since a bad day at the office can happen to anybody. It is also complicated to beat the same player twice in the same week. In 18 occasions, the championship match was contested by two players that had previously faced each other in the group stages, and 50% of the times the player that lost in the round-robin ended up winning the final.

Nevertheless, Djokovic is the overwhelming favorite in Sunday’s final. He defeated Zverev 64 61 three days ago in their round-robin match and dominated his younger rival 62 61 in Shanghai about a month ago. On Wednesday the big serving German was able to stay with Novak until the score was 4-4 in the first set. He also had two break-points to go up 5-4 and serve for the set but he fell apart after squandering those two opportunities – one by missing an easy lob with Djokovic in the wrong position at the net.  

Ivan Lendl, who started working with Zverev earlier this year, was furious about Sasha’s lackluster performance in the second set, so I do believe that the German will at least try to compete at his best throughout the entire championship match instead of throwing in the towel mid-match. If Zverev has a good serving day, we are certainly in for a competitive match, despite Djokovic’s outstanding return game.

Djokovic was all over Anderson’s serve in yesterday’s semifinal, breaking the South African early in each set and taking absolute control of the match. The Serb has also been serving impeccably this week, hitting all the spots and never dropping serve in four matches.

Zverev showed an incredibly high level of tennis against Roger Federer and prevailed over the Swiss maestro in the first semifinal of the day. Sasha was surprisingly more aggressive than Roger, who at 37 years of age seems to be a step slower than in the past. Therefore, it was crucial for Roger to put pressure on his opponent, but the German didn’t allow him to control the patterns of play.

Roger played a horrendous service game at the end of the first set and went on to squander a break advantage at the start of the second. Federer was able to break back and force a tie-breaker, during which we witnessed the most controversial moment of the match. With Federer leading 4-3, Zverev stopped mid-rally after a ball slipped from a ballboy’s hand and into his line of vision. When the point was replayed — as the rules allow for when a ballkid drops a ball — Zverev served his seventh ace of the match. The crowd thought that Zverev was given an unfair advantage by the chair umpire and they started booing against the German.

Roger talked about the incident in his post-match press conference: “As soon as the ballboy and line judge confirmed what happened, the obvious choice was to replay the point. I am not questioning Sasha’s sportsmanship. He actually showed some courage to stop the rally, because the umpire could have said something like: ‘Sorry, you are in the middle of a rally, I didn’t see anything, you lose the point.’ That’s why I wanted to clarify the situation with the chair umpire, who made his decision after talking to the ballkid and line judge. I am not quite sure what the rule is in this case.”

The boos and heckling from the crowd were absolutely unfair and disrespectful. Zverev outplayed Federer during the entire match and deserved to win. I believe that most of the spectators didn’t quite understand what happened and why Zverev stopped that rally.

Zverev – who is not of the nicest guys on tour and often seems quite arrogant – this time showed his softer side and apologized to the crowd in his post-match interview, understanding that most of them were there to support Federer.

At 21 years of age, Zverev is the youngest finalist at the year-end championships since Juan Martin del Potro in 2009. Novak Djokovic is looking to win title number six that would equal Roger Federer’s record.

(Article translation provided by T&L Global – Translation & Language Solutions – www.t-lglobal.com )

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Emma Raducanu Looking For Experience After Splitting With Coach

Emma Raducanu revealed her post-US Open plans as she prepares for life on the main WTA tour.

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Emma Raducanu (@CambridgeAwe - Twitter)

Emma Raducanu is looking for more experience in her team after splitting from her short-term coach Andrew Richardson.

 

The US Open champion revealed the news at the ‘homecoming party’ set up at the National Tennis Centre in London where the Duchess of Cambridge was present.

Speaking at the event Raducanu said that she needed more experience as she will now play on the main tour on a regular basis, “At this stage of my career I really need someone that has had that WTA Tour experience at that high level,” Raducanu was quoted as saying by the BBC website.

“Especially right now as I’m so new to it, I think I really need someone just to guide me who has already been through that themselves. “Never did I even dream of winning the US Open and now I’m ranked 22 in the world, which is pretty crazy to me.”

Richardson was always a short-term arrangement with him now committed to improving his 10 year-old son.

As for Raducanu she is now 22 in the world and faces unfamiliar territory in playing a full-time schedule.

After winning the US Open as a qualifier, Raducanu has received unlimited amount of attention and expectation which is something she will need guidance with.

Now Raducanu will set out a schedule in the next few days with the Brit set to return as early as Indian Wells which starts on the 6th of October, “I got back on court a few days ago, and yesterday I did a full training day,” she explained.

“I was feeling pretty good about myself and my game, and I am very excited to compete again. All the opportunities I am getting have been very fun, but where I really want to be is on the tennis court, as I’m just thriving out there.

“I haven’t decided on my schedule yet – I will decide in the next few days where I am going to go to – but wherever I play next, I’m going to make sure I’m ready. I don’t want to jump into things too early.”

Should the 18 year-old make a strong end to the season then she could make the WTA Finals in Guadalajara.

Although she is 14th in the race, players such as Ash Barty and Naomi Osaka could miss the event and it’s something that is on the back of the mind of Raducanu, “The WTA Finals I would never even dream of before, because it was just so far out of reach and out of sight, but coming reasonably close to it now, I think it would be great if I qualified,” she admitted.

“But if not, it’s a complete bonus, because my priority is just putting in the best possible pre-season that I can, so I can start strong next year and next season.”

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Berrettini pulls off comeback win over Auger Aliassime at Laver Cup

Matteo Berrettini contributed to a 3-1 overall scoreline for Team Europe over Team World after day one of the Laver Cup.

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Matteo Berrettini (@LaverCup - Twitter)

The Italian fought back from a set down to beat the Canadian and give team Europe a commanding lead.

 

In the longest match in Laver Cup history so far Matteo Berrettini needed a match tiebreak to beat the world number 11 and good friend Felix Auger Aliassime 6-7, 7-5, 10-8 in a match that lasted two hours and 52 minutes.

The Italian hit 15 winners and served seven aces while the Montreal native hit 37 unforced errors in the loss.

“I was fighting and I felt the match was really hard and Felix (Auger-Aliassime) was playing well and he didn’t give me anything and he made no mistakes and he was serving really well and I felt a different energy because we are playing for a team, not just myself and they helped me a lot”.

The first set stayed on serve until 2-2 when it was the Italian with the first two breakpoints of the match but the Canadian was able to save both and hold serve.

The next game was a rollercoaster and the Montreal native responded by earning four chances to break and after 13 minutes finally made the breakthrough to take a 4-2 lead.

At 5-3, the world number 11 found himself with two set points but failed to convert and the Italian fought back and got the break back and at 6-5 the Canadian had five more set points but again the Italian saved all five and the set was decided by a tiebreaker.

Auger Aliassime got the early break to take a 2-0 lead and that break was enough for him to finally serve out the first set and take a 1-0 set lead. The world number seven was keen to bounce back and had two early chances to break at 1-1 but the Canadian saved both and held serve once again.

The very next game it was the Montreal native turn to apply the pressure on the Berrettini serve but the Italian managed to save both breakpoints he faced and held serve.

At 5-5, the Canadian kept pushing earning two more break points but couldn’t get the breakthrough, and the very next game the Rome native pounced and managed to get the crucial break to win the second set and force a match tiebreak.

The breaker was extremely tight until 3-3 when the Canadian managed to get the break and jumped out to a 5-3 lead before losing two straight points and the breaker was even at five.

Once again the world number 11 got the break again and was up 7-5 but again lost two straight points and we were even at seven and then at 9-8 Berrettini with the rally of the match sealed the win with a great passing shot.

After the match in his post-match interview, the Italian was asked about being selected to play doubles in the night session.

“I am going to be honest when they told me I would be playing singles and doubles I didn’t expect to play a match that long so I spoke with the captain and we will see but I am still young”.

Day 1 results

Casper Ruud got the ball rolling for Team Europe as he beat the American Rielly Opelka in the first match of the day in straight sets 6-3, 7-6 to give his team the first point of the tournament.

In the first match of the night session Andrey Rublev gave Team Europe a convincing 3-0 lead as he came back to beat the Argentine Diego Schwartzman 4-6, 6-3, 11-9 in the match tiebreaker.

Finally in the last match of the day Team World got their first point as the duo of John Isner and Denis Shapovalov came back from a set down to beat the doubles pairing of Matteo Berrettini and Alexander Zverev 4-6, 7-6, 10-1.

Day 2 preview:

Day 2 features some amazing matchups in both the day and night session with Stefanos Tsitsipas starting the day against the Aussie Nick Krygios before John Isner takes on Alexander Zverev.

In the night session Denis Shapovalov takes on the US Open champion from Russia Danil Medvedev with another doubles match wrapping things up as the team of Andrey Rublev and Tsitispas will take on John Isner and Nick Kyrgios.

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ATP Moves Closer To Staging Five More 12-Day Masters 1000 Events After Board Approval

Changes are coming to the men’s Tour which includes a brand new ‘profit-sharing formular’ for players.

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Masters tournaments in North America, Europe and Asia are set to be expanded over the coming months after the ATP Board recently approved some ‘key aspects’ of their strategic plan.

 

In a letter issued to players, ATP chairman Andrea Gaudenzi said an agreement has been reached concerning a variety of topics, which include the expansion of various Masters 1000 events. It is understood that the plan is for Rome, Madrid, Canada, Cincinnati and Shanghai to be increased to 12-day events instead of just one week. Putting them more in line with Indian Wells and Miami. Tennis.com reports that under the new structure, ATP 250 events will also take place during the second week of those tournaments and they could receive a subsidy from the ATP Tour, provided by extra fees paid by the Masters tournaments.

Masters 1000 events are the third highest-ranked category events in men’s tennis after Grand Slams and the ATP Finals in terms of prize money and ranking points on offer. The series was first introduced back in 1990 but it wasn’t until 2009 that the name ‘Masters 1000’ was born. The number represents how many ranking points the winner receives.

Besides the proposed changes to the Masters series, the Board has also given a green light to “a new Profit-Sharing formula” and “long-term prize money levels.” The prize money increase is reportedly said to be 2.5 percent of a base level, plus a bonus pool with a 50 percent share of the collective profit of the Masters events.

“This represents significant progress for our sport and the way our player and tournament members operate under the equal partnership of the ATP Tour. It is only through the spirit of this partnership, transparency, and alignment of interests that we can truly maximise your potential and switch our focus to the competition we face in the border sports and entertainment landscape,” Gaudenzi wrote in his letter to players.

Part of the plan also include making changes to ATP Media, who are in charge of broadcasting the events. At present it is currently jointly owned by the Tour and each of the Masters 1000 events. However, in the future it has been proposed that those tournaments trade in their ownership rights for shares in ATP media. Exact details about this process have not been publicly disclosed and it is unclear if all of the tournaments would agree to such a move.

The ATP also wants to create a ‘Tennis Data Innovations’ which will be an independent entity.

All of these proposed changes are still subject to further agreement around additional matters. The ATP have been working on details of their strategic plan for the past 18 months.

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