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Challenger Reform: New System And Entry Lists Announced

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The Challenger Tour undergoes a big reform, as the ITF Tour introduces a new world’s ranking. 

 

The 2019 season will see some crucial changes happening in the tennis tour, expecially in the Challenger and the ITF Tours. The aim is to reduce the number of the truly “professional” players (in the ATP World Tour ranking) and to give them enough money to make a living.

Chris Kermode, ATP Executive Chairman & President, said: “These are significant changes that will lead to a real enhancement of the ATP Challenger Tour, particularly as we seek to provide more earning opportunities for players at the entry level into men’s professional tennis. A big priority for us is to ensure we have a healthy player pathway and that we improve the viability of a career in men’s professional tennis. These changes represent an important step in the right direction for our sport.”

From 2020, the ITF Tour will no longer award ATP points, so the Challenger Tour will be the first stage of professional tennis. That will cut a lot of players from the ATP ranking, which will be made of 600-700 players, compared to about 2000 ones before. Still, from 2019 there will be a new ranking called “ITF World Tennis Ranking”, which will be used to enter ITF and Challenger tournaments, together with the ATP Ranking.

The changes in the Challenger tournaments will affect draw-size, tournament schedule, prize money and on-site facilities. Also, every main draw singles match will be streamed online. The events will last seven days, from Monday to Sunday.

The singles main-draw will host 48 players, compared to 32 before, who will have a guaranteed prize-money. Furthermore, the qualifying tournament will be radically cut, from 32 to only 4 players (2 qualifiers advancing to main draw), while the doubles draws will still feature 16 teams.

The new entry lists will consider both ATP and ITF rankings, reserving 4 main-draw places and 3 qualifying places to the highest-ranked ITF players. There will be two alternate lists, one for each ranking. The first challenger tournaments with the new system will be those of Noumea, Playford and Orlando, taking place from the 31st of December to the 6th of January.

 

Challenger Noumea (New Caledonia, Hard), entry list:
80 Delbonis, Federico (ARG)
128 Halys, Quentin (FRA)
135 Rubin, Noah (USA)
146 Sugita, Yuichi (JPN)
159 Caruso, Salvatore (ITA)
164 Barrere, Gregoire (FRA)
166 Baldi, Filippo (ITA)
175 Milojevic, Nikola (SRB)
189 Rola, Blaz (SLO)
196 Robert, Stephane (FRA)
197 Janvier, Maxime (FRA)
198 De Schepper, Kenny (FRA)
202 Robredo, Tommy (ESP)
213 Coppejans, Kimmer (BEL)
216 Horansky, Filip (SVK)
219 Lee, Duckhee (KOR)
223 Giustino, Lorenzo (ITA)
224 Galovic, Viktor (CRO)
231 Brown, Dustin (GER)
233 Clezar, Guilherme (BRA)
OUT Kwon, Soonwoo (KOR)
239 Sakharov, Gleb (FRA)
242 Harrison, Christian (USA)
249 Young, Donald (USA)
256 Ymer, Mikael (SWE)
259 Masur, Daniel (GER)
275 Chung, Yunseong (KOR)
276 Benchetrit, Elliot (FRA)
291 Marcora, Roberto (ITA)
297 Kwiatkowski, Thai-Son (USA)
303 Brkic, Tomislav (BIH)
OUT Setkic, Aldin (BIH)
310 Lamasine, Tristan (FRA)
311 Altamirano, Collin (USA)
OUT Gomez-Herrera, Carlos (ESP)
327 Takahashi, Yusuke (JPN)
OUT Crepatte, Baptiste (FRA)
ITF25 Barrios Vera, Marcelo Tomas (CHI)
OUT Torebko, Peter (GER)
OUT Petrone, Alessandro (ITA)
OUT Hossam, Youssef (EGY)

ITF132 Sinclair, Colin (NMI)
ITF141 Wang, Tak Khunn (FRA)
ITF144 Simon, Tobias (GER)
(WC)
(WC)
(WC)
(WC)
(WC)
Qualifying:
OUT Ornago, Fabrizio (ITA)
OUT Tokuda, Renta (JPN)
OUT Niklas-Salminen, Patrik (FIN)
OUT Simon, Tobias (GER)

ITF157 Blancaneaux, Geoffrey (FRA)
ITF180 Niki, Takuto (JPN)
ITF209 Arconada, Jordi (USA)
(WC)
Alternates (ITF):
OUT Lock, Benjamin (ZIM) ITF101
OUT Hossam, Youssef (EGY) ITF 125
IN Sinclair, Colin (NMI) 132
OUT Celikbilek, Altug (TUR) ITF133
OUT Bortolotti, Marco (ITA) ITF134
IN Wang, Tak Khunn (FRA) ITF141
IN Simon, Tobias (GER) ITF144
OUT Jahn, Jeremy (GER) ITF147
OUT Avidzba, Alen (RUS) ITF150
Blancaneaux, Geoffrey (FRA) ITF157
OUT Hassan, Benjamin (GER) ITF160
OUT Piros, Zsombor (HUN) ITF179
Niki, Takuto (JPN) ITF180
Arconada, Jordi (USA) ITF209
1. Giner, Marc (ESP) ITF210
2. Pla Malfeito, Jaume (ESP) ITF211
3. Huesler, Marc-Andrea (SUI) ITF236
4. Escoffier, Antoine (FRA) ITF245
5. Korda, Sebastian (USA) ITF290
Alternates (ATP):
IN Smith, Roy (USA) 329
IN Olivo, Renzo (ARG) 332
OUT Wang, Tak-Khunn (FRA) 334
OUT Tokuda, Renta (JPN) 338
OUT Piros, Zsombor (HUN) 339
IN Grenier, Hugo (FRA) 342
1. Harris, Andrew (AUS) 344
OUT Vukic, Aleksandar (AUS) 349
2. Escoffier, Antoine (FRA) 356
OUT Saville, Luke (AUS) 363
OUT Wu, Tung-Lin (TPE) 366
3. Huesler, Marc-Andrea (SUI) 372
4. Statham,Rubin (NZL) 374
5. Caruana, Liam (ITA) 381

 

 

 

Challenger Playford (Australia, Hard), entry list:
107 Sonego, Lorenzo (ITA)
112 Ruud, Casper (NOR)
127 Harris, Lloyd (RSA)
129 Menendez-Maceiras, Adrian (ESP)
133 Travaglia, Stefano (ITA)
145 Moutet, Corentin (FRA)
149 Ito, Tatsuma (JPN)
151 Moraing, Mats (GER)
152 Lestienne, Constant (FRA)
160 Dutra Silva, Rogerio (BRA)
OUT Giannessi, Alessandro (ITA)
162 Koepfer, Dominik (GER)
163 Bublik, Alexander (KAZ)
OUT Smyczek, Tim (USA)
168 Otte, Oscar (GER)
169 Vanni, Luca (ITA)
170 Laaksonen, Henri (SUI)
172 Krstin, Pedja (SRB)
178 Majchrzak, Kamil (POL)
181 Nedovyesov, Aleksandr (KAZ)
OUT Quiroz, Roberto (ECU)
185 Safwat, Mohamed (EGY)
188 Escobedo, Ernesto (USA)
192 Moriya, Hiroki (JPN)
193 Evans, Daniel (GBR)
195 Watanuki, Yosuke (JPN)
200 Napolitano, Stefano (ITA)
201 Pavlasek, Adam (CZE)
203 Paul, Tommy (USA)
204 Donati, Matteo (ITA)
205 De Greef, Arthur (BEL)
206 Troicki, Viktor (SRB)
208 Molleker, Rudolf (GER)
209 Zhang, Ze (CHN)
210 Kolar, Zdenek (CZE)
211 Gaio, Federico (ITA)
212 Gutierrez-Ferrol, Sergio (ESP)
ITF19 Zhurbin, Alexander (RUS)
OUT Bega, Alessandro (ITA)
ITF71 Doumbia, Sadio (FRA)
OUT Eriksson, Markus (SWE)
ITF108 Lopez-Perez, Enrique (ESP)
ITF130 Li, Zhe (CHN)
(WC)
(WC)
(WC)
(WC)
(WC)
Qualifying:
OUT Ornago, Fabrizio (ITA)
OUT Banes, Maverick (AUS)
OUT Lock, Benjamin (ZIM)
ITF134 Bortolotti, Marco (ITA)
ITF155 Tseng, Chun Hsin (TPE)
ITF210 Giner, Marc (ESP)
(WC)
Alternates (ITF):
IN Lopez-Perez, Enrique (ESP) ITF108
IN Li, Zhe (CHN) ITF130
OUT Sinclair, Colin (NMI) ITF 132
OUT Celikbilek, Altug (TUR) ITF133
Bortolotti, Marco (ITA) ITF134
OUT Wang, Tak Khunn (FRA) ITF141
OUT Simon, Tobias (GER) ITF144
OUT Jahn, Jeremy (GER) ITF147
OUT Avidzba, Alen (RUS) ITF150
OUT Ilkel, Cem (TUR) ITF151
Tseng, Chun Hsin (TPE) ITF155
OUT Blancaneaux, Geoffrey (FRA) ITF157
Giner, Marc (ESP) ITF210
1. Pla Malfeito, Jaume (ESP) ITF211
2. Look, Michael (AUS) ITF229
3. Saville, Luke (AUS) ITF230
4. Fancutt, Thomas (AUS) ITF232
5. Escoffier, Antoine (FRA) ITF245
Alternates (ATP):
IN Kamke, Tobias (GER) 214
IN Soeda, Go (JPN) 215
IN Hemery, Calvin (FRA) 217
OUT Lopez-Perez, Enrique (ESP) 220
1. Moroni, Gian Marco (ITA) 227
2. Griekspoor, Tallon (NED) 232
3. Davidovich Fokina, Alejandro (ESP) 238
4. Li, Zhe (CHN) 278

 

 

Challenger Orlando (USA, Hard), entry list:
198 Marchenko, Illya (UKR)
199 King, Darian (BAR)
OUT Galan, Daniel Elahi (COL)
229 Krueger, Mitchell (USA)
243 De Bakker, Thiemo (NED)
244 Peliwo, Filip (CAN)
248 Gombos, Norbert (SVK)
251 Ignatik, Uladzimir (BLR)
252 Cid Subervi, Roberto (DOM)
255 Aragone, JC (USA)
258 Novikov, Dennis (USA)
262 Bonzi, Benjamin (FRA)
263 King, Kevin (USA)
264 Elias, Gastao (POR)
265 Serdarusic, Nino (CRO)
266 Bourgue, Mathias (FRA)
267 Zapata Miralles, Bernabe (ESP)
270 Tatlot, Johan (FRA)
271 Mager, Gianluca (ITA)
273 Ojeda Lara, Ricardo (ESP)
274 Broady, Liam (GBR)
280 Coria, Federico (ARG)
282 Uchida, Kaichi (JPN)
283 Oliveira, Goncalo (POR)
284 Taberner, Carlos (ESP)
285 Couacaud, Enzo (FRA)
286 Miedler, Lucas (AUT)
287 King, Evan (USA)
288 Grigelis, Laurynas (LTU)
OUT Viola, Matteo (ITA)
293 Choinski, Jan (GER)
294 Safranek, Vaclav (CZE)
295 Griekspoor, Scott (NED)
300 Pavic, Ante (CRO)
301 Collarini, Andrea (ARG)
302 Sarkissian, Alexander (USA)
OUT Przysiezny, Michal (POL)
ITF11 Reboul, Fabien (FRA)
ITF14 Souza, Joao (BRA)
ITF22 Jomby, Tom (FRA)
ITF24 Sels, Jelle (NED)
(WC)
(WC)
(WC)
(WC)
(WC)
Qualifying:
ITF28 Ortega-Olmedo, Roberto (ESP)
ITF31 Menezes, Joao (BRA
ITF38 Brouwer, Gijs (NED)
(WC)
Alternates (ITF):
OUT Boluda-Purkiss, Carlos (ESP) ITF42
1. Mertens, Yannick (BEL) ITF51
2. Gomez, Emilio (ECU) ITF54
3. Muller, Alexandre (FRA) ITF75
OUT Rinderkneck, Arthur (FRA) ITF79
4. Dougaz, Aziz (TUN) ITF112
5. Hoyt, Evan (GBR) ITF114
Alternates (ATP):
IN Giron, Marcos (USA) 309
IN Gonzalez, Alejandro (COL) 313
IN Blanch, Ulises (USA) 314
1. Kozlov, Stefan (USA) 317
2. Ortega-Olmedo, Roberto (ESP) 320
3. Song, Evan (USA) 322
4. Fanselow, Sebastian (GER) 324
OUT Smith, Roy (USA) 329
5. Torpegaard, Mikael (DEN) 331

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Andy Murray Surging In Confidence After Reaching First ATP Quarter-Final Since 2019

The 34-year-old believes he is getting better with every match played on the Tour as he eyes a spot in the final later this week.

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Andy Murray (image via https://twitter.com/ATPTour_ES)

Former world No.1 Andy Murray says he is starting to gain more belief in his game after reaching the quarter-finals of the Moselle Open on Wednesday.

 

The three-time Grand Slam champion rallied to a 6-3, 6-3, win over Canada’s Vasek Pospisil in the French city. Murray dropped serve only once at the start of the second set but broke his opponent four times en route to the victory. It is the first time he has registered back-to-back wins on the ATP Tour since Wimbledon and it is the first time he has reached a quarter-final since winning the 2019 Antwerp Open.

Murray showed glimmers of his best tennis recently at the US Open where he took Stefanos Tsitsipas to five sets in the first round before losing. However, in his following tournament on the Challenger circuit he lost in the second round to world No.154 Roman Safiullin. Despite the mixed performances, the Brit says his fitness continues to improve and he believes he is heading in the right direction.

“For me, this period of the last few years has been the most I have played really,” Murray said following his win over Pospisil.
“My body feels good and I am starting to gain just a little bit of confidence with each match, starting to see the points and how I want to play them, which is great.
“There have been times in the past year where I have been a little bit confused and not seeing how the points are developing which was always a strong part of my game.
“It made me feel quite uncomfortable on court when I was feeling that way, so I am starting to get that back and the results are coming, my tennis is getting better.”

The 34-year-old, who now plays on the Tour with a metal hip after undergoing two operations, is targeting a return back into the world’s top 100 for the first time since 2018. He came agonisingly close in July when he reached 102. At present, he is currently ranked 113 but will climb at least four places following his run in Metz this week.

In the next round Murray will play either top seed Hubert Hurkacz or former top 10 player Lucas Pouille. Both players are likely to be a stern challenge for the three-time Grand Slam champion who is hoping to reach the final for the first time since 2007.

“I would love to get another opportunity to play here in the final, but there is a lot of tennis to be played before then potentially against the number one seed in the next round,” he reflected.
“It is not going to be easy if I want to reach the final, but I am playing well and have an opportunity.”

Murray has won 42 ATP titles and has earned more than $62M in prize money so far in his career.

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Diego Schwartzman Receives Threats On Social Media Following Shock Davis Cup Defeat

The world No.15 is the latest player to speak out about recieving abusive messages on social media.

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The weekend has been an emotional rollercoaster for Diego Schwartzman, who suffered ‘one of the worst’ losses of his career before helping secure victory for his country in their Davis Cup tie against Belarus.

 

On Saturday the world No.15 was stunned by unranked 18-year-old Daniil Ostapenkov who is yet to play a professional match on the pro Tour. Ostapenkov is currently ranked 63 in the world on the junior circuit. The comprehensive victory shocked the Argentinian team who was hosting the tie at the Buenos Aires Lawn Tennis Club.

Despite the shock upset, Schwartman managed to redeem himself the following day when he defeated Alexander Zgirovsky 6-1, 6-2. That victory handed his country an unassailable 3-1 lead in their tie and secured their place in the 2022 Davis Cup qualifiers which will take place next March.

Not only playing Davis, but in Buenos Aires, with a lot of people you don’t see, it’s not easy. My level can be and has to be much better. After the game on Saturday I had a difficult day in the spirit of being able to get up and enjoy with the group,” La Nacion quoted Schwartzman as saying.
“The most normal thing was that we won the series. It’s what everyone expected. But when you have a very difficult day at work like it was on Saturday and then you win, it excites you because you have some internal things withheld.”

Between those two matches, Schwartzman revealed that he was trolled on social media by some people unhappy about his loss in the tie. The 2020 French Open semi-finalist said he received criticism and even threats from some asking him to leave his home country. Something he admits affected him at times.

“It was one of the worst days of my career,” Schwartzman commented on his loss to Zgirovsky. “I lost to an unranked, inexperienced player. All that already affects (me) a lot. Although 80 or 90 percent of the people are always encouraging (me), there was a minority who criticized me with bad intentions.’
“I received threats, insults and requests not to return to Argentina. More or less, it affects (me)”.

Schwartzman is not the first player to speak out about online abuse. During the US Open Shelby Rogers said she was expecting to receive ‘death threats’ following her loss to Emma Raducanu who went on to win the title. Sloane Stephens has also previously spoken out about being the victim of racism online.

The 29-year-old says he has previously tried to interact with those who have trolled him on social media to find out why they are doing so.

Sometimes I start to answer some messages and I ask those people if they realize what they are sending,” Schwartzman said during his press conference. “The vast majority apologize and say they had not realized it. But at the moment it hurts. That very ill-intentioned criticism is the only bad thing about social networks.”

Schwartzman has won four ATP titles and earned more than $10M in prize money so far in his career.

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Spanish Veteran Feliciano Lopez Addresses Future On The Tour

23 years after he played his first main draw match on the ATP Tour, Lopez says his longevity in the sport has been achieved with the help of of some luck.

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Feliciano Lopez of Spain is pictured during the semi-final of ATP Fever-Tree Championships tennis tournament at Queen's Club in west London on June 20, 2019.

Feliciano Lopez has dismissed any speculation that he could retire in the coming weeks after saying he is taking life on the Tour in his stride.

 

The 39-year-old Spaniard is currently the second oldest player in the world’s top 200 after Roger Federer, who is a year older than him. Lopez made his ATP Tour debut at the 1998 Barcelona Open which was before the birth of Jannik Sinner and Carlos Alcaraz. In June he became the 10th active player to record his 500th win on the Tour.

Currently ranked 111th in the world, some are starting to wonder how much longer Lopez will continue playing. So far this season he has achieved a win-loss record of 9-19 with his best performance being a run to the quarter-finals of the Mallorca Open which was held on the grass. It was in Mallorca where he defeated Karen Khachanov who is the only top 30 player he has beaten so far in 2021.

I play year-by-year, the last 6-7 years have been like this, a tennis player at that age cannot think about extending his career. After turning 30 I have been lucky, I have obtained the best results of my career,” Lopez told reporters on Friday.
It is not very common for players my age, at (almost) 40 years to continue playing in the best tournaments.” He added.

Throughout his career, Lopez has impressively played in a record 78 consecutive Grand Slam tournaments dating back to the 2002 French Open. During that period he has reached the quarter-finals of a major tournament on four occasions.

“I don’t play to break records, what makes me most excited is to continue playing Grand Slams. For me, maintaining that record (78 consecutive Grand Slams played) is very nice, but more to follow. Being competitive,” he commented on the milestone.
“It is difficult for someone to overcome it because it is 20 years in a row without missing a great one. I have had continuity and enormous luck. Those of my generation are practically all retired.”

Away from the court, the former world No.12 is the current tournament director of the Madrid Open. Making him one of a few players historically to both be playing on the Tour and managing a tournament at the same time. Recently it was confirmed that Madrid will continue hosting it’s combined event until at least 2030 following a renewed agreement between the city council and the Madrid trophy promotion.

Lopez has won a total of seven ATP titles so far in his career and has earned more than $18M in prize money.

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