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.

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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Beatriz Haddad Maia Provisionally Suspended After Testing Positive For SARMS

Top 100 player Beatriz Haddad Maia has been provisionally suspended after being caught under the ITF Anti-Doping Programme.

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Beatriz Haddad Maia (@TennisChannel - Twitter)

World number 99 Beatriz Haddad Maia has been provisionally suspended by the ITF for testing positive for the drug SARMS. 

 

The incident in question involves the WTA 125k event in Bol, Croatia where the Brazilian’s urine sample was found to contain two types of the SARM drug.

Currently ranked 99, Haddad Maia lost in the opening round to Sara Sorriibes Tormo at the event in Croatia and with immediate effect has been suspended.

In their statement the ITF said that the 23 year-old had been suspended under article 8.1.3(c) of the Anti-Doping Programme.

“Ms. Haddad Maia, a 23-year-old player from Brazil, provided a urine sample on 4 June 2019 in association with her participation in the WTA Croatia Bol Open held in Bol, Croatia from 3 June to 9 June,” the ITF said in the statement on Tuesday afternoon.

“That sample was sent to the World Anti-Doping Agency (“WADA”) accredited laboratory in Montreal, Canada for analysis, and was found to contain SARM S-22 and SARM LGD-4033 metabolite. SARM S-22 and SARM LGD-4033 are Non-Specified substances, which are prohibited under category S1 of the 2019 WADA Prohibited List (Anabolic Agents), and therefore are also prohibited under the Programme. Positive tests for Non-Specified Substances carry a mandatory Provisional Suspension.”

It is understood that Haddad Maia will appeal her case and is now the third Brazilian to be caught under the Anti-Doping programme after Thomaz Bellucci and Joao Souza.

Recently Haddad Maia had beaten former world number one Garbine Muguruza at Wimbledon before losing to Harriet Dart in the next round.

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Jack Sock Feeling Refreshed Ahead Of Tennis Return In Atlanta

Jack Sock is feeling ready to go ahead of his return to Tennis in Atlanta on Tuesday evening.

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Jack Sock (@BNPPARIBASOPEN - Twitter)

Jack Sock is feeling refreshed and raring to go as he looks to make his return to Tennis this week in Atlanta. 

 

After missing six months of action due to two torn ligaments in his thumb, Jack Sock is ready to make his return this week in Atlanta.

Although the injury was frustrating, Sock sees it as a blessing in disguise as he finished 2018 with a 8-22 record in singles, “It’s very unfortunate to get injured obviously, but I think it was potentially the biggest blessing in disguise for my career,” Sock told atptour.com.

“So to be able to take those months and get a new mentality, enjoy playing the sport again and get excited about playing and come back out, I’ll be ready to fire.” 

Even though Sock is making his return to action this week in singles and doubles, the American admits that it will take a while for the thumb to loosen up, “It’s still a little stiff,” Sock said.

“I was hoping to maybe start a little bit earlier than this and maybe have played a couple tournaments leading into the US Open Series, but you don’t realise how much you need your thumb in daily life and in tennis and how I hold it, the forehand was the last thing I was able to do.”

Now the two-time doubles grand slam champion is feeling refreshed and is looking forward to the challenge of being the underdog, “Overall I feel very refreshed. I’m excited to play again, which I haven’t been able to say that in a long time,” he explained.

“I’m definitely excited to get out there and compete again. I’m just going to go play tennis for the first time in a while. I’m just going to go be happy on the court and enjoy playing and I’ll be the underdog now, which will be nice.

“I’ll be the ranking underdog and be able to go out and play free and have a smile on my face. If I win, amazing. If I don’t win, I’m out there playing again. It’s not going to bother me.”

The 26 year-old is now 180 in the world in singles as he looks to reclaim some of the form that got him to the ATP World Tour Finals in 2017 and 2018 in doubles.

It will be a testing first round for Sock as he plays talented Serbian and Antalya finalist Miomir Kecmanovic in the first round at 7pm local time on Tuesday evening.

 

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Rudolf Molleker knocks out two-time champion Leonardo Mayer in Hamburg

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German 18-year-old Next Gen player Rudolf Molleker knocked out 2014 and 2017 Hamburg champion Leonardo Mayer 7-6 (8-6) 6-4 after 1 hour and 39 minutes at the Hamburg European Open.

 

Molleker beat Mayer in 2017 in the Hamburg qualifying round, but Mayer got a spot in the main draw as a lucky loser and went on to win the title.

Molleker fended off all three break points in two consecutive games of the first set, before saving two set points in the tie-break. He sealed the second set with a single break.

The German teenager saved two break points in the seventh game with two service games with two service winners and one more chance in the ninth game to set up a tie-break. Mayer took the lead twice at 6-5 and 8-7, but Molleker saved both chances with two winners and sealed the tie-break on the 18th point after a double fault from Mayer.

Molleker earned an early break at the start of the second set and held his service games in the next games before sealing the win with a service winner at 5-4 to secure his spot in the round of 16.

Marton Fucsovics cruised past Phillip Kohlschreiber 6-3 6-0 dropping just 16 points on serve. Fucsovics got an early break in the fourth game to clinch the opening set 6-3. The Hungarian player broke three times in a one-sided second set and sealed the win with a service winner.

Andrey Rublev, who lost in the second round at Wimbledon and Umag, edged this year’s Munich and Houston champion Christian Garin 6-4 7-6 (7-5) after 1 hour and 39 minutes to score his second win over the Chilean player this year. Rublev broke three times to seal the opening set 6-4. The Russian player got the break back at 4-5 in the second set to set up a tie-break, which he sealed 7-5.

Jeremy Chardy came back from losing the first set to beat Jeremy Chardy 6-7 (4-7) 7-5 6-3 after 2 hours and 34 minutes. Paire fended off a set point at 4-5 in the opening set to clinch the tie-break 7-4. Paire got a late break in the second set, but Chardy won two games at 5-5 to force the match to the third set. Chardy went up a double break to seal the third set 6-3.

Martin Klizan converted all five break points to cruise past Daniel Altmaier 6-2 6-2.

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