Stefanos Tsitsipas, Alex De Minaur, Danil Medvedev and Alex De Minaur to headline the Sydney International - UBITENNIS
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Stefanos Tsitsipas, Alex De Minaur, Danil Medvedev and Alex De Minaur to headline the Sydney International

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This year’s Next Gen ATP Finals and Stockolm Open champion Stefanos Tsitsipas, 2018 Australian Open semifinalist Kyle Edmund, defending champion Danil Medvedev and Alex De Minaur will be in the spotlight at the Sydney International from 7 to 13 January 2019.

 

Twenty-year-old Greek Next Gen Stefanos Tsitsipas ended the 2018 season with a career-high of world number 15 improving from world number 91 at the start of the 2018 season and won two tournaments at the ATP 250 in Stockolm and at the Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan. He became the first Greek player to win an ATP title, reached the final in Barcelona and beat four top 10 players in one week at the Canadian Open to qualify for his second ATP final. In both title matches he lost to Rafa Nadal.

“I am looking forward to my first visit in Sydney and being part of what’s shaping up to be a very interesting draw”, said Tsitsipas.  

Tsitsipas could face again this year’s Next Gen ATP Finals runner-up Alex Minaur, who grabbed the headlines in last year’s edition of the Sydney International, where he reached the maiden ATP final of his career before losing to Russia’s 22-year-old Russian player Danil Medvedev in three sets 1-6 6-4 7-5. In the semifinal Medvedev came back from 2-6 2-4 down to beat Italian star Fabio Fognini. Medvedev will return to Sydney to defend his title.

The line-up also features French players Lucas Pouille, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Jeremy Chardy, Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman and another representative of the Next Gen Frances Tiafoe.

“Both Kyle and Stefanos have enjoyed breakthrough seasons on the ATP Tour this year”,said Sydney International Tournament Director Lawrence Robertson.

“Kyle came to the attention of the tennis world this year with his impressive run to the semifinals of the Australian Open, and by clinching his first ATP title in Antwerp. His forehand is one of the most feared on the tour and is now reaching levels in the sport that his hard work and talent deserve. Stefanos Tsitsipas has quickly established himself at the very top of the game. At only 20 years old, he has already proven himself alongside the very best, defeating four top 10 players to reach the final in Toronto, and following that with his first title in Stockolm. I have no doubt that Stefanos is destined for the top, and urge anyone who wants to see the future of men’s tennis to join us at Sydney’s Olympic Park in January. It was a coup for us to secure ATP Next Gen champion Stefanos Tsitsipas, and Frances is another stand-out talent among the current crop of the ATP Next Gen players. Frances’s ability to hit winners from any point on the court has firmly established as a fan favourite, and I am excited that he has chosen to use the Sydney International as a launch pad for the 2019 season”, said Robertson.

 

Kyle Edmund enyoyed a breakthrough season in 2018 reaching the 2018 Australian Open semifinal last January. He went on to reach his second final of the year in Marrakesh on clay last April before winning his maiden title in Antwerp.

 

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REPORT: Grigor Dimitrov Appoints New Coach

The former ATP Finals champion appears to have found a new mentor.

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Former top 10 player Grigor Dimitrov has found a replacement following the departure of Radek Stepanek, according to one Bulgarian news source.

 

Tennis Kafe has reported that the world No.20 is now working alongside Christian Groh. A German-born coach who has worked with a number of top players on the men’s tour. Including Tommy Haas and Taylor Fritz. It is his work with Haas that Groh is best known for. During their 24 months together, he guided him from outside the top 200 to 11th in the ATP rankings.

The development comes a month after the 28-year-old stated that he was in no hurry to find a new mentor on the tour. Back in May he ended his collaboration with Dani Vallverdu after almost three years working together. He made the decision shortly before he exited the world’s top 50 for the first time since 2012.

“I’m not in a panic right now to find a coach. I always think that when I don’t have someone beside me, it’s hard to train. However, in the past months, I have done things myself that I have not done.” Dimitrov told reporters in November.
“You need to have freedom, to find yourself, to become closer to yourself.” He added.

Despite Stepanek stepping away, Dimitrov is still in contact with eight-time grand slam champion Agassi. Agassi is not a coach to the Bulgarian, but has agreed to a sort of consultation role where the two talk with each other regularly.

Dimitrov has experienced a roller coaster run on the tour this season with a win-loss record of 22-21. At one stage he failed to win back-to-back matches at six consecutive tournaments over the summer. However, his form surged during the last quarter of 2019 where he reached the semi-finals at both the US Open and Paris Masters.

Neither Dimitrov or Groh has yet confirmed their new partnership on the tour. Groh has recently been working as a consultant for the United States Tennis Association (USTA).

Heading into the new season, the first test for the duo will be at the ATP Cup in Australia. As well as playing, Dimitrov is the captain of the Bulgarian team.

Groh’s coaching CV

  • 2011: Michael Berrer
  • 2012-2013: Tommy Haas
  • 2014: Bradley Klahn and Taylor Fritz
  • 2015: Tommy Haas and Taylor Fritz
  • ATP/WTA Players and United States Tennis Federation Player Development since 2015
    Source -ATP/Linkldn

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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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Kei Nishikori In Doubt For The Australian Open

Asia’s highest ranked male tennis player is contemplating when he should return to the tour following surgery.

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Kei Nishikori (photo by chryslène caillaud, copyright @Sport Vision)

World No.13 Kei Nishikori is refusing to rule out the prospect of skipping the first grand slam event of 2020 as he continues his recovery from surgery.

 

Nishikori hasn’t played a match on the tour since his third round loss at the US Open back in September. A month later he underwent a procedure on his right elbow in a move that brought his season to an early end. Currently undergoing rehabilitation, it is unclear as to when the Japanese player believes he will return to the ATP Tour.

“The prospect of a return from surgery on right elbow in January. Maybe February. In the second half of next year I want to be able to play well.” Nikkan Sports quoted Nishikori as saying.
“I don’t want to overdo it,” he added.

The Australian Open will get underway on January 20th in Melbourne. Should he miss the grand slam, it will be the second time he has done so in the last three years. Nishikori also withdrew from the 2018 edition due to a wrist injury. In January he reached the quarter-finals and therefore has 360 points to defend next year.

During his time away from the court, the 29-year-old has been kept busy making changes to his team. Recently it was confirmed that he has started working alongside Max Mirnyi, who is a former world No.1 doubles player. Mirnyi, who has won 10 grand slam titles in men’s and mixed doubles, will be working full-time with Nishikori alongside existing coach Michael Chang.

“I’m getting closer to retirement. I want to be cured and come back to play good tennis in the second half of next year.” Nishikori stated.

Despite the injury setback, Nishikori has enjoyed success in 2019. Reaching the quarter-finals in three out of the four grand slam tournaments. The first time he has ever done that in his career. He also claimed his 12th ATP title at the Brisbane International. Overall, he won 29 out of 43 matches played.

Nishikori will turn 30 on December 29th.

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