How Many Points Are Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic And Co Defending On Clay? - UBITENNIS
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How Many Points Are Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic And Co Defending On Clay?

Ubitennis looks at who is defending what points on the men’s tour over the coming weeks.

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This week is the official start of the clay-court swing of the men’s tour with tournaments taking place in Marrakech and Houston. As the focus of the players switch to the dirt, some are facing a critical two-and-a-half months on the tour.

 

Under the current ranking format, any points a player win at a tournament are theirs until the following year. Then they have the chance to defend those points. For example, at the upcoming Monte Carlo Masters, Rafael Nadal is the current champion and won 1000 points in 2018. Therefore, this year, he is defending 1000 points in the tournament.

Here is a guide to how many points players are defending on the clay this season.

Rafael Nadal (current ranking – 2)

2018 Points defending – 4680 :-
– Monte-Carlo: 1000 (champion)
– Barcelona: 500 (champion)
– Madrid: 180 (quarter-finals)
– Rome: 1000 (champion)
– Roland Garros: 2000 (champion)

Like every year, the clay court season is vital for Rafael Nadal. A player nicknamed as the king of the surface due to his record-breaking success on it. At the 2018 French Open he became the first man in history to win the same grand slam for an 11th time. Besides Roland Garros, he was also triumphant at two Masters tournaments and an ATP 500 event in Barcelona.

Along with his dominance on the clay comes a big challenge. No other player – man or woman – will be defending as many points as Nadal this season. To put this into perspective, in the current top 10 on the ATP Tour he is defending at least 2290 more points than anybody else.

Nadal’s season so far has seen him reach the final of the Australian Open, but he has also been bothered by injury issues. Withdrawing from his Indian Wells clash with Roger Federer due to a right knee injury and missing Miami afterwards.

So far in his career, Nadal has won 57 of his 80 ATP titles on clay.

https://twitter.com/woody16668/status/1115540532288270336

Novak Djokovic (current ranking – 1)

2018 Points defending – 855 :-
– Monte-Carlo: 90 (quarter-finals)
– Madrid: 45 (round 2)
– Rome: 360 (semi-finals)
– Roland Garros: 360 (quarter-finals)

A lot has changed for Novak Djokovic since his last tournament on the clay. The Serbian world No.1 is currently on a 21-match winning streak in the grand slam tournaments. Should he prevail at Roland Garros later this season, he would hold all four major titles at the same time for a second time in his career.

There is a lot of optimism for Djokovic, who is undoubtedly in better shape both mentally and physically than that of 12 months ago. Although, he had recently endured a disappointing run in America with earlier than expected losses in Indian Wells and Miami.

With just 855 points to defend, Djokovic is in a prime position to strengthen his lead at the top of the rankings. Should he perform better at certain events, especially the Madrid Open where he lost in the second round last year.

Djokovic has contested 23 ATP finals on the clay so far in his career, winning 13 titles. However, his most recent triumph was back in 2016 at the French Open.

Roger Federer (current ranking – 4)

2018 points defending – 0 :-
– Didn’t play any clay tournaments in 2018

Swiss Maestro Roger Federer finds himself in a win-win situation. The 20-time grand slam champion is set to make his return to the clay at the Madrid Open next month. In what will be his first competitive match on the surface since the 2016 Italian Masters. In recent years, Federer has missed the clay swing due to either injury or opting to rest his body.

Due to his hiatus from the clay, any wins Federer records will add to his current points tally. Few regards him as a serious contender for major glory given the likes of Nadal and Djokovic, but should Federer achieve some deep runs in tournaments, he could rise further up the rankings. Placing him in a stronger spot heading into his beloved grass season.

“I’m not very confident going into this clay court season, I can tell you that, because I don’t even remember how to slide anymore. I’m taking baby steps at this point.” Federer told reporters in March.
“To be honest, I didn’t play one point — not one shot on clay, I don’t believe, last year. Two years ago I played two days. Three years ago I played not feeling great in Monaco and Rome and all that. So it’s been so little that I really don’t know what to expect.”

It was at the French Open where Federer played his first main draw match in a grand slam. Losing in the first round of the 1999 tournament to third seed Pat Rafter.

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Alexander Zverev (current ranking – 3)

2018 points defending – 2570 :-
– Monte Carlo: 360 (semi-finals)
– Munich: 250 (champion)
– Madrid: 1000 (champion)
– Rome: 600 (runner-up)
– Roland Garros: 360 (quarter-finalist)

21-year-old Zverev is the only top 10 player in action this week after accepting a wild card to play in the Marrakech Open. A tournament where the winner can claim 250 points. The German is hoping to turn his fortunes around over the next few weeks following a roller coaster start to 2019.

Blighted by illness recently, Zverev was far from his best on the America hard courts. However, he has illustrated his talent during the first two events of the year. Reaching the fourth round of the Australian Open (losing to Milos Raonic) and the final of the Mexican Open (losing to Nick Kyrgios).

Zverev has the second highest amount of points to defend after Nadal. Last year he enjoyed his best-ever run on the clay, which was highlighted by a Masters title (Madrid) and reaching the quarter-finals at Roland Garros. Zverev’s best grand slam performance to date.

Zverev will kick-off his Marrakech campaign on Tuesday against Denis Istomin.

Dominic Thiem (current ranking – 5)

2018 points defending – 2240 :-
-Monte-Carlo: 180 (quarter-finals)
– Madrid: 600 (runner-up)
– Rome: 10 (Round 2)
– Lyon: 250 (Champion)
– Roland Garros: 1200 (Runner-up)

It can be argued that Austria’s Dominic Thiem is at his most dangerous when playing on the clay. Illustrated by the fact he is one of only three of players to have ever defeated Nadal on the surface three times. The other two are Djokovic and Gasto Guido.

Thiem embarks upon the clay swing high in confidence after clinching his first Masters 1000 title in Indian Wells. He will return to action next week in Monte Carlo as the fourth seed in the draw.

“One thing that would never change is that clay is my home.” Thiem recently stated. “It’s my favourite surface. I grew up on it. I just feel great whenever I come back at it.”

So far in Thiem’s career, 14 out of his 19 ATP finals have been played on the clay.

Kei Nishikori (current ranking 6)

2018 points defending – 970 :-
– Monte-Carlo: 600 (finalist)
– Madrid: 10 (Round one)
– Rome: 180 (quarter-finals)
– Roland Garros: 180 (Round Four)

In 2014 Kei Nishikori became the first Japanese-born player to win a clay court title on the ATP Tour at the Barcelona Open. Meanwhile, at the French Open he has reached the fourth round or better every year since 2015.

The biggest challenge for Nishikori starts on Monday in Monte Carlo, where he will be defending 600 out of his 970 points on the clay. Last year at the tournament he scored wins over Marin Cilic and Zverev, before losing to Nadal.

“I’m not playing bad or terrible. I try to keep my head up. Clay court season is coming. It’s completely new season. I try to have a good practice, two more weeks, and be ready for Monte-Carlo.” Nishikori said following his loss at the Miami Open.

https://twitter.com/keinishikori/status/1113432531058266112

The other guys

Here is the amount of points some other members of the ATP Tour are defending this year :-

No.7 Kevin Anderson – 550 points (SF Madrid, R1 Rome and QF French Open)
No.8 Stefanos Tsitsipas – 575 points (R2 Monte Carlo, Runner-up Barcelona, SF Estoril, R2 Rome and R2 French Open)
*No.9 Juan Martin del Potro – 900 points (QF Madrid, QF Rome and SF French Open)
*No. 10 John Isner (SF Houston, SF Madrid, R2 Rome, SF Lyon and QF French Open)
No.13 Borna Coric – 235 points (R2 Monte Carlo, QF Madrid, R1 Rome and QF French Open)
No.16 Marco Cecchinato – 1091 points (R2 Monte-Carlo, Champion Budapest, R2 Rome and SF French Open).

* currently sidelined by injury

Note: rankings based on week commencing 8/4/19)

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Ash Barty Reveals ‘Excitement’ After Mixed Doubles Medal In Tokyo

Ash Barty has revealed her excitement after her and John Peers won Australia’s first Olympic tennis medal for 17 years.

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Ash Barty and John Peers (@ITFTennis - Twitter)

Ash Barty revealed her excitement at winning Bronze in the mixed doubles in Tokyo with John Peers.

 

The world number one along with doubles specialist John Peers claimed Australia’s first tennis medal at the Olympics since 2004.

Despite benefiting from a bronze medal match withdrawal from Novak Djokovic and Nina Stojanovic, that hasn’t taken away the happiness of claiming an Olympic medal.

Speaking to the Channel 7 programmes Sunrise Barty proudly spoke about the achievement, “It’s been an amazing week for both John and I,” Barty was quoted as saying by Tennis Australia.

“We’ve played some great tennis, probably the best we’ve ever played together. To walk away with a medal and contribute to the team total here in Australia has been incredible.

“Johnny and I, we put ourselves in a position all week to play good tennis and I feel like we really deserve this one. We were so close to being in that gold medal play-off and I think for both of us, it’s been awesome. We’ve played great. I felt like we really deserved this one for Australia.

“No, I think for us it’s excitement. I just hope as athletes, as a whole Australian team that’s here – all 480 odd of us – we can bring a smile to people’s faces at home when they’re sitting on the couch enjoying watching us trying (to) go out there and do Australia proud.”

As for John Peers it was an achievement of a lifetime, inspired by the traditional Olympic spirit, “Any chance you get to represent your country and to do it alongside Ash, to be able to say we’re the first mixed doubles medallists at an Olympics for Australia is something really special,” the 33 year-old commented.

“There was so much uncertainty leading into the Games and to be able to see the way the Australian team’s come together and sort of really bonded has really shown the Australian spirit, the way that all the athletes get behind each other.

“To be able to show the Olympics is going on in uncertain times is just something really special and unique and hopefully it can be the turning point for the world, and Australia, to come out the other side.”

Both will be hoping that this week will be the start of something special for Australian tennis as they will look to capitalise on this success in three years time in Paris.

Next for John Peers will be Washington next week where he and Filip Polasek are the top seeds.

While Ash Barty will be starting her preparations for the US Open in Cincinnati which starts on the 16th of August.

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Czech Republican Trailblazers Inspire Krejcikova and Siniakova To Olympic Gold In Tokyo

Barbora Krejcikova and Katarina Siniakova reflect on Czech Republic’s Olympic past after Olympic gold.

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Barbora Krejcikova and Katarina Siniakova (@WeAreTennis - Twitter)

Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova admit that former Czech Republican trailblazers inspired them to win doubles gold in Tokyo.

 

The top seeds claimed gold with a 7-5 6-1 win over Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic and Viktorija Golubic.

After edging a tight opening set, the Czech Republican duo eased to victory to claim gold in Tokyo.

It was a historic gold as the pair went one better than trailblazers Jana Novotna and Helena Sukova who won silver in Seoul 1988 and Atlanta 1992.

After the victory today Krejcikova paid tribute to those before them and said that they were inspired by those who came before them, “The motivation we got from the previous medallists is really big,” the Roland Garros champion told the ITF website.

“I think we got really inspired by them. I think we really need to thank them because without them we just wouldn’t have the motivation and the inspiration.

“It’s really big. We’re really happy and really grateful that we could be here. We did such a great job during these 10 days and we have this beautiful gold medal. It’s pretty much a dream come true.”

While Katerina Siniakova also outlined how special it is to win the gold medal as the top seeds remain the team to beat in the Women’s doubles game, “It’s really special this one,” Siniakova admitted.

“I really enjoyed my whole time here. It was really tough and I’m so glad we kept fighting and in the end we have this one, this gold medal. It’s really amazing. I feel so honoured I got to represent my country.”

The Czech Republican will be favourites to win their fourth grand slam at the US Open in late August.

As for Bencic and Golubic, it has been a successful tournament especially for Bencic who won Olympic gold yesterday.

After the match Bencic admitted it’s not just about Olympic medals and that its about the memories created, “It’s not just about the medals or the titles, it’s about the memories you create that will last forever,” Bencic claimed.

“To share this with Viki is unbelievable. The whole week I never felt like I was in a normal tournament or playing alone. She was alongside me the entire way. I always tell her we won this gold medal together as well.

“When we will be 80 years old and have a coffee, we will talk about these moments and I cannot wait for that.”

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Tokyo Olympics Daily Preview: Sascha Zverev and Karen Khachanov Play for Gold

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Karen Khachanov celebrating victory earlier this week in Tokyo (twitter.com/ITFTennis)

48 hours after ending Novak Djokovic’s bid for a Golden Slam, a feat only achieved by German Steffi Graf, Sascha Zverev looks to win another gold medal for Germany.  But a big-hitting Russian stands in his way, one who owns a winning record against Zverev on hard courts.

 

The last day of tennis in Tokyo will also host two gold medal matches in doubles.  In women’s doubles, Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova have won three Majors, and now go for a gold medal against Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic and Viktorija Golubic.  For Bencic, it’s an opportunity to win a second gold medal in as many days.  

In addition, a pair of teams representing the Russian Olympic Committee will face off for gold in mixed doubles.  Will Elena Vesnina be able to recover from a devastating loss in Saturday’s women’s doubles bronze medal match?  Vesnina and Veronika Kudermetova held four match points, only to lose the last six points of the match and fail to reach the podium.

Sunday’s play gets underway at 3:00pm local time.

Sascha Zverev (4) [GER] vs. Karen Khachanov (12) [ROC] – Second on Centre Court

Overall they have split four previous encounters, but Khachanov leads 2-1 on this surface, which includes their two most recent meetings.  And neither of those have been close.  At the 2018 Paris Masters, it was 6-1, 6-2.  At the 2019 Rogers Cup, it was 6-3, 6-3.  The event in Paris was the biggest title run of the Russian’s career, and a week where he also defeated Dominic Thiem and Novak Djokovic.  However, he hasn’t won a title, or even reached a final, ever since.  And prior to his run to the quarterfinals of Wimbledon, Khachanov was only 16-14 on the year.  But it is worth noting he’s 4-0 lifetime in ATP finals, with his other three victories coming at 250-level events.

Zverev is certainly the far more accomplished player.  He owns 15 career titles, which includes four Masters events, as well as the 2018 ATP Finals.  And he’s reached the semifinals or better at Majors three times, something Khachanov is yet to achieve.   Though I do wonder just how much scar tissue was created by his loss in the final of last year’s US Open, where he was up two sets before eventually losing in a fifth-set tiebreak.  Both he and Dominic Thiem played a considerably nervy match, and this will be Zverev’s first best-of-five final since that painful loss.

And that could be a significant factor on this day: the men’s singles gold medal final is the only match at the Olympics that is best-of-five.  Zverev possesses a much stronger record in best-of-five, and a far superior record in five-setters.  As per Tennis Abstract, Sascha is 16-9 in fifth sets, compared to Karen’s record of 6-7.  And Khachanov’s two most recent five-set wins were not pretty.  A few weeks ago in the fourth round of Wimbledon, against Sebastian Korda, 13 out of the 18 games in the fifth set were breaks of serve.  And last summer at the US Open, he was only able to come back from two sets down thanks to the cramping of Jannik Sinner. 

So who is the favorite to win gold?  Their head-to-head favors Khachanov, while recent form and best-of-five experience favors Zverev.  And the German has been serving excellently throughout this tournament, striking 40 aces and only three doubles, especially impressive for a player who has suffered from double fault issues in the recent past.  However, Zverev had a much easier road to this final than Khachanov.  Other than Djokovic, Sascha faced no one ranked inside the top 40, while Karen beat three top 30 players.  The Olympics are an event which often produces surprising tennis results.  And these are two men who are known to get tight in big matches.  But considering the way Zverev has been serving, and the confidence boost his upset of Djokovic should provide, I give Sascha the slight edge to become an Olympic champion.

Other Notable Matches on Sunday:

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Andrey Rublev (4) [ROC] vs. Elena Vesnina and Aslan Karatsev [ROC] – Vesnina not only lost a heartbreaker on Saturday, she and Kudermetova also served for the championship a few weeks ago at Wimbledon, before losing 9-7 in the third.  And Vesnina and Karatsev were defeated in the mixed doubles final at Roland Garros, the same event where Pavlyuchenkvoa lost in the women’s singles final.  Who will realize redemption on Sunday?

Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova (1) [CZE] vs. Belinda Bencic and Viktorija Golubic – The Czechs are of course the favorites, with three Major titles as a team.  The Swiss are a new team formed exclusively for this event.  But don’t count them out, especially with Bencic coming off a gold medal victory in singles on Saturday evening.

Sunday’s full Order of Play is here.

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