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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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Dominic Thiem Rules Federer Out Of GOAT Debate

The Austrian puts forward his theory on who should be regarded as the best player in history.

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Dominic Thiem; e-motion/Bildagentur Zolles KG/Martin Steiger, 27.10.2022

The honour of which player deserves to be regarded as the greatest of all time (GOAT) should be decided based on one factor, according to Dominic Thiem. 

 

The former world No.3 has weighed in on the debate by suggesting that the argument should be settled by the number of Grand Slam titles a player has won as they are the most prestigious tournaments in the sport. In tennis, the four major tournaments are the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open. 

Thiem’s GOAT criteria have therefore ruled Roger Federer out of contention. The Swiss maestro was at one stage the frontrunner due to the numerous records he has broken throughout his career. However, he retired from the sport last year with 20 Grand Slam trophies under his belt which is less than both Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic who are currently on 22 each. 

“In my opinion, the Grand Slam titles should be the defining criteria when determining the best of all time, they are the four most important tournaments in tennis,” Eurosport quotes Thiem as saying. 
“Everything else is fine, but it’s not the same. The Slams are what counts, so the GOAT will probably be the one with the most Grand Slams.”

Others will argue that more factors should be taken into account in the subjective debate. For example, Federer has won 103 ATP titles which are more than his two rivals, Djokovic holds the record for most weeks as world No.1 and Nadal has won more tournaments on clay than any other player in history. Furthermore, there is the players’ win-loss rate on the Tour and their records against the top 10 players. 

Recently at the Australian Open Djokovic won the men’s title for a historic 10th time in his career. An achievement that has been hailed by Thiem who was runner-up to the Serbian at Melbourne Park in 2021. 

“I am not very surprised, Djokovic still looks young,” he said. “Physically and mentally, because of the way he moves on the court. It’s like he was 25 years old.
“We have to be honest, he is the best, so his victory was not very surprising.”

Thiem has won one Grand Slam title which was at the 2020 US Open when he became the first man in the Open Era to come back from two sets down to win in the final. He has also been runner-up at the French Open twice, as well as the Australian Open once. 

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Novak Djokovic’s Australian Open Injury ‘Hard To Believe’ In The Eyes Of His Opponent

Some details surrounding Djokovic’s battle with a hamstring issue ‘doesn’t make sense,’ according to Enzo Couacaud.

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Image via Adelaide International Twitter

The only man to take a set off Novak Djokovic during the Serbian’s run to a historic 10th Australian Open title believes there are unanswered questions over his injury. 

 

France’s Enzo Couacaud took a set off the world No.1 before losing their encounter in the second round at Melbourne Park. At the tournament Djokovic was dealing with a hamstring problem which he picked up at the Adelaide International earlier this year. Throughout the tournament, he was wearing strapping on his leg and there was uncertainty about if he would be able to continue playing in the Grand Slam event. 

Despite the issue, Djokovic claimed a record-equalling 22nd Grand Slam title by disposing of Stefanos Tsitsipas in straight sets in the final. Afterwards his coach, Goran Ivanisevic, claimed that 97% of players would not have played if they were in a similar situation. The exact diagnosis of Djokovic’s injury hasn’t been addressed by his team but Australian Open director Craig Tiley said he suffered a 3mm tear. 

However, Couacaud has questioned the significance of the injury to begin with. During an interview with Tennis Actu, the world No.172 believes that some of the details appear to be ‘far-fetched’ as he draws parallels with Rafael Nadal, as well as footballer Kylian Mbappe.  

“Novak claimed he was playing with an injury, a big injury,” said Couacaud. “When athletes are injured in combat sports, they often can’t continue. When Rafael Nadal is injured, he can’t run. Kylian Mbappe, for example, is out for two weeks.
“And those are the greatest athletes, not those who don’t have access to top-notch care. It is therefore difficult to believe that only one man in the world can continue with an injury.
“When you take the examples of Nadal or Mbappe, but especially Rafa, with an injury to Wimbledon, he couldn’t even serve. When you see the greatest who can’t set foot on the pitch and another who wins a Grand Slam by playing every day for 15 days. It still seems a bit far-fetched.
“There are little things that don’t make sense to me. I was always told not to stretch with an injury. You saw Novak stretching all the time. You say to yourself, either they have a new method in Serbia, or it’s weird. Little things like that, he has his staff, but I’m too far to judge the authenticity of anything. It is true that it seems hard to believe.”

It is not the first time Djokovic has faced accusations that he has in some way exaggerated the significance of an injury. He encountered a similar situation during the 2021 Australian Open where he suffered an abdominal injury. After winning the tournament, he confirmed that he sustained a tear in the region. 

Speaking to journalists at Melbourne Park last month, the tennis star once again hit back at his critics and claimed that he was being singled out. 

“I leave the doubting to those people – let them doubt,” Tennis Majors quoted Djokovic as saying in Serbian following his fourth round win over Alex de Minaur. “Only my injuries are questioned. When some other players are injured, then they are the victims, but when it is me, I am faking it. It is very interesting… I don’t feel that I need to prove anything to anyone.
“I am not really interested at this point what people are thinking and saying. It is fun, it is interesting to see how the narrative surrounding me continues, narrative that is different compared to other players that have been going through similar situation. But I am used to it, and it just gives me extra strength and motivation. So I thank them for that.”

Djokovic has won 93 ATP titles during his career which is the fourth-highest tally in history. Only Ivan Lendl (94), Roger Federer (102) and Jimmy Connors (109) have won more. 

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Novak Djokovic ‘Hurt’ By Father’s Absence From Australian Open Final

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Novak Djokovic - Roland Garros 2022 (foto Roberto dell'Olivo)

Novak Djokovic said he mutually agreed with his father that he did not attend his latest Australian Open match but admits it was a bitter pill to swallow. 

 

Srdjan Djokovic had attended his son’s matches throughout the majority of the tournament but has recently been caught up in controversy. On Wednesday a video surfaced on social media of the 62-year-old posing for a photo with pro-Russian supporters with one of the fans waving a flag with the face of Vladimir Putin on it. Another fan was also wearing a t-shirt with the ‘Z’ symbol on it which is used to support the Russian army. 

The Russian and Belarussian flags were banned from the tournament this year following an incident in the first round. A Russian flag was shown during a match between Ukraine’s Kateryna Baindl and Russia’s Kamilla Rakhimova. Prompting anger from Ukraine with its ambassador to Australia calling for a ‘neutral flag’ policy to be implemented. 

Srdjan has since issued a statement saying the incident was ‘unintentional’ and said his family ‘only wish for peace in the world.’ He subsequently also missed Djokovic’s semi-final match to avoid any possible ‘disruption’ before doing the same for Sunday’s final.

“I thought things would calm down in terms of media and everything, but it didn’t. We both agreed it would probably be better that he is not there,” Djokovic said after beating Stefanos Tsitsipas to win a record-equalling 22nd Grand Slam title
“That hurts me and him (Srdjan) a lot because these are very special, unique moments. Who knows if they repeat again? So it was not easy for him.”

Whilst he was not in the stands, Djokovic was reunited with his father shortly afterwards. Although the tennis star said Srdjan ‘was not feeling his best’ due to the situation. 

“It is what it is. I think in the end also what he told me is that it’s important that I feel good on the court, I win the match, and he’s here for me,” Djokovic continued. 
“If it’s going to be better for me as the outcome of the match so that he’s not in the box, then so be it. That was the whole conversation.’
“In a way, I’m also sad that he was not there, present, in the stands. But he was throughout the entire tournament, so it’s fine. In the end, we have a happy ending.”

Djokovic has now won five out of the past seven Grand Slam tournaments he has played in. At the Australian Open alone he has won 28 matches in a row.

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