Former World No.1 Marcelo Rios Announces Comeback At The Age Of 43 - UBITENNIS
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Former World No.1 Marcelo Rios Announces Comeback At The Age Of 43

20 years after reaching the final of the 1998 Australian Open, the Chilean is eyeing a return to professional tennis.

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14 years after retiring from tennis, Marcelo Rios has outlined plans to return to the Challenger tour in 2019 with the goal of becoming the oldest ever ATP Champion.

 

Rios, who spent six weeks as world No.1 back in 1998, has told newspaper La Tercera that he has been training for a return to competitive tennis. It is understood that Rios only intends to return to action at the lower level events located in America at the moment and it is unclear if he will travel further. He currently lives in the Sarasota, Florida.

“I’ve been training with pretty high-level guys.” Rios said during an interview with La Tercera.
“There are no guys that plays badly. I’ve been getting tired and I’ve had to lose weight. I have lost 12 stone and has almost reached the weight I was when I was a player (on the tour). I’m happy, it’s something different.”

The return of the Chilean player could happen as soon as next month. A formal request for a wild card to play at the upcoming Columbus Challenger has been submitted. The tournament is hosted at the Ohio State Varsity Tennis Center and will get underway on January 7th.

“There is an invitation committee, which will finally decide who gets a wild card,” said tournament director Todd Alles.

The ultimate goal of an ambitious Rios is to become the oldest ever winner of a challenger tournament. A title that is currently held by Croatia’s Ivo Karlovic, who won the Calgary Challenger this year at the age of 39 years and seven months.

“If I had not felt good or I had not lost weight, I would not have made the decision (to come out of retirement).” He said.
“From here to 7th January I can injure myself, because I train a lot, but I would like to do it, to get a wild card, to try it.”
“Imagine: winning a challenger at 43 is nice, whatever it may be. I feel qualified to play it and win it. If I did not feel good playing, I would not.” He added.

Rios, who turned 43 on December 26th, could become the only player to have an ATP singles ranking in the new year. Currently 39-year-old Karlovic is the oldest player in the top 1000. Further down the rankings, Spain’s Roberto Menendez is ranked 1660th at the age of 42.

During his career, Rios won 18 ATP titles and reached the final of the 1998 Australian Open. He is the first South American player to have topped the ATP rankings back in 1998 and finished in the year-end top 10 three years in a row (1997-1999). He was forced to step away from the sport at the age of 28 following a series of leg and back injuries.

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Taylor Fritz saves two match points to upset Alexander Zverev in Indian Wells

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Taylor Fritz saved two match points to score the second top 5 win of his career against 2021 Olympic champion Alexander Zverev at he BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells. Fritz has reached his first Masters 1000 semifinal. 

 

After a trade of breaks at the start of the opening set, Fritz saved two break points in the fifth game. Zverev broke serve in the seventh game to win the first set 6-4. 

Fritz broke in the fourth game to open up a 4-1 lead and served out 6-3 at deuce in the ninth game. 

Zverev earned an early break to take a 2-0 lead at the start of the third set and held on his next service games to open up a 5-2 lead. Fritz broke back in the ninth game, when Zverev made two double faults, as he was serving out the match.  

Fritz came back from 2-5 down in the third set and fended off two match points at 3-5 30-40 and 4-5 30-40 to beat Zverev 4-6 6-4 7-6 (7-3) after 2 hours and 22 minutes. 

Despite today’s defeat Zverev still leads 3-2 in his head-to-head matches against Fritz. The US player will face Nikoloz Basilashvili, who beat Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4 2-6 6-4 to reach his first Masters 1000 semifinal. 

“I was really down and out but I found a way to put myself into it. I really wanted to make him have to close me out and I was able to get back into the match Normally you would be so nervous in those situations and in the third set tie-break, but I felt so confident being aggressive, going after my game. It feels really great to play well with the pressure on”, said Fritz. 

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Nikoloz Basilashvili upsets Stefanos Tsitsipas in Indian Wells to reach his first ATP Masters 1000 semifinal

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Nikoloz Basilashvili upset world number 3 Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4 2-6 6-4 to reach his first ATP Masters 1000 semfinal. 

 

Basilashvili, who was playing in his first Masters 1000 quarter final, went up a 4-1 lead with a double break in the first and fifth games. Tsitsipas pulled one break back in the sixth game for 2-4. Basilashvili held on his next service games to claim the first set 6-4. 

Tsitsipas broke twice in the fourth and eighth games and did not face a break point to seal the second set 6-2. 

After a trade of breaks in the first and fourth games of the third set, Basilashvili earned his second break in the seventh game to take a 4-3 lead and fended off a break point in the eighth game to hold serve after three deuces. He served out the win on his first match point in the 10th game.   

Despite the defeat Tsitsipas still leads 2-1 in his three head-to-head matches against Basilashvili. The Georgian player had never won a main draw match in Indian Wells in his four previous appearances at this tournament. Earlier this year he won two titles at Doha and Munich. 

Tsitsipas was aiming to reach his third consecutive Masters 1000 semifinal in North America after advancing to the last four in two consecutive hard-court tournaments in Toronto and Cincinnati. 

“I have played really great matches this tournament. I was not played with how I played today but I was happy with how I managed my stress levels. First time in the quarter finals and it is a big court and Stefanos is still a tough player. I had to keep my physical levels and energy levels in a really good shape because I knew mentally I would be a little bit tight and stressed”, said Basilashvili.

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Carlos Moya, Flavia Pennetta and Ana Ivanovic are among the candidates for the 2022 International Tennis Hall of Fame

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Carlos Moya, the first Spanish player the number 1, and former Grand Slam champions Flavia Pennetta and Ana Ivanovic are among the candidates for 2022 International Tennis Hall of Fame. 

 

Ivanovic lifted the 2008 French Open Trophy after a final at the 2008 Australian Open and a semifinal at 2007 Wimbledon and claimed 15 WTA titles during her career. Since her French Open triumph, she spent 12 weeks as world number 1 player. She would become the first player representing Serbia to be voted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame. 

“Many of the women who I looked up to as a young girl are Hall of Famers and to be nominated to receive an honour that places my career alongside those who inspired me is just incredible”, said Ana Ivanovic. 

Flavia Pennetta became the oldest first-time Grand Slam champion when she beat her childhood friend Roberta Vinci in the all-Italian US Open Final in 2015. Pennetta teamed up with Vinci in guiding Italy to four Fed Cup titles. 

“I loved competing and to have my tennis career recognized in this way among the sports all-greats is such an incredible honour”, said Pennetta. 

Moya won the 1998 Roland Garros title and reached the 1997 Australian Open final. He became the first Spanish player to reach the top of the ATP Ranking and won 20 ATP titles, including three ATP Masters 1000 trophies. Moya lifted the Davis Cup title in 2004 for Spain after taking his his second singles win of the tie with his straight-set win over Andy Roddick. 

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