Team Europe Leads Heading into Sunday's Final Day at Laver Cup - UBITENNIS
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Team Europe Leads Heading into Sunday’s Final Day at Laver Cup

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-Geneva, Switzerland

Team Europe is in a familiar spot after Saturday’s play at the Laver Cup but the event is certainly nowhere close to being locked up just yet. Thanks to hometown hero Roger Federer and World No. 2 Rafael Nadal, the Euro squad leads Team World 7-5 heading into Sunday’s final day.

Europe led after Saturday at both previous Laver Cups in 2017 & 2018. The score heading into Sunday was the same last year in Chicago.

In the first match of the night session, Nadal continued his fine play from the summer defeating a rusty Milos Raonic 6-3, 7-6. The reigning US Open champion has now won 29 of his last 30 matches. The only loss coming to Federer in the Wimbledon Semi-Finals.

The Canadian started off well mustering up eight break point chances in Nadal’s first three service games. Only problem, he wasn’t able to convert any. Nadal hit some blistering forehands throughout the match including several down the line for winners and his traditional fist pumps were widely on display.

Raonic, who’s dropped to No. 24 in the World, made 28 unforced errors in the match and his net play which has been one of his strengths was shaky on the dark Laver Cup court. He won just 20 of 39 points at the net.

Raonic also admitted after the match his absence from the tour was because of a torn left glute. In fact he tore the same glute twice, once in Montreal and once the week before the US Open.

In Saturday’s doubles finale, the team of American Jack Sock and partner Nick Kyrgios stayed undefeated as a duo all-time in Laver Cup play (3-0) knocking out Nadal and Stefanos Tsitispas 6-4, 3-6, 10-6. It was a big win for Team World who would have been down 9-3 instead of 7-5 heading into Sunday.

During the day session Federer gave his team the lead after a thrilling come from behind victory over Kyrgios 6-7, 7-5, 10-7. Both players played some high level tennis with just a few points separating the two players.

Kyrgios fired 14 aces in the match and lost just eight points on his first serve. Federer’s serve was on the mark as well firing at 67-percent for his first serve percentage.

Federer was in some trouble in the second set but managed to get out of a couple of jams. At 5-5 he forced Kyrgios to win three straight points before breaking him to go up 6-5. He followed that up with a solid service game giving him the middle set.

The crowd obviously in favour of the 20-time Grand Slam winner was electric and made for a fantastic atmosphere. Federer afterwards saying it was louder in the crowd than any ATP Tour event he can remember. The emotion of the match did get to Kyrgios at one point as he threw down his racquet in disgust going down 4-2 in the third set super tiebreak.

“He played well. I’m not gonna sit here and just continually say he’s the best, he’s the best, the best” said a dejected Kyrgios.”Yeah he’s good at tennis, he played unbelievable he was way too good for me today.”

In the first match of the day, John Isner and Alexander Zverev battled it out with the American coming away with a 6-7, 6-4, 10-1 victory. Both players also served well including 14 aces from Isner. The World No. 20, who had just one win in seven previous meetings with the German including a loss at last years Laver Cup in Chicago, roared with jubilation after securing the victory. The super tiebreak score was the most lopsided in the events history.

On Sunday, each match win will be worth 3 points starting with Doubles beginning at Noon local time. “Fedal” will reunite as Federer and Nadal take on Isner & Sock in the opening contest. The World No. 2 & No. 3 players played just once before that coming at the 2017 Laver Cup in Prague. They defeated Sock & Sam Querrey at that event.

That will be followed by the first singles match of the day featuring the highly anticipated Nadal vs Kyrgios matchup. Their first meeting since the Australian won in Acapulco. Federer vs Isner would be the third singles match followed by Zverev vs Raonic if necessary.

@Sportshorn

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Rival Backs Dominic Thiem To Win Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award

Only two players have won the award since 2004.

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For the past 15 years only two players have managed to get their hands on the prestigious Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award, but one player thinks there could be a brand new winner this year.

 

Diego Schwartzman has lent his support behind world No.4 Dominic Thiem. The award recognizes those who have conducted the highest level of professionalism and integrity on the ATP Tour throughout the season. Established in 1977, Roger Federer has won the honour in 13 out of the past 15 years. The only other player to triumph during that period was Rafael Nadal, who won it in 2010 and 2018.

“I think Thiem can win it, he showed throughout the year a competitiveness and a respect with everyone that was spectacular,” Schwartzman told ole.com. “On top of that he is having great years of his career and this season was even better for the achievements he had.’
“He has a good chance of winning it.” He added.

Schwartzman, who reached the quarter-finals of the US Open earlier this year, has also been shortlisted for the award. Along with regular nominees Federer and Nadal. Only once has an Argentinian player won the title, which was José Luis Clerc back in 1981. At that time it was known as the ATP Sportsmanship award before getting renamed in 1996.

“I learned first (of getting nominated) through social networks rather than the official designation that the ATP sends you by mail.” The 27-year-old revealed.
“It is more spectacular than anything for the players I have next to me. It is a very important prize that recognizes a little what you do off the court, not only hitting the ball.”

Whilst he is dreaming of winning the honour himself, Schwartzman is just happy that he has been nominated.

“If I won this award, it would be spectacular. Now I am on that payroll that is very good and represents the values ​​that I try to maintain on a day-to-day basis and that (my coaching teams over the years) have taught me. It is very nice to be recognized for that. “ He concluded.

The four nominees for the Stefan Edberg Award was shortlisted by the ATP. However, it will be the players who will decide the winner. The result will be revealed later this month.

Multiple winners of the Stefan Edberg/ATP Sportsmanship award

Roger Federer – 13
Stefan Edberg – 5
Pat Rafter – 4
Alex Corretja – 2
Todd Martin – 2
Paradorn Srichaphan – 2
Rafael Nadal – 2

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Kei Nishikori In Doubt For The Australian Open

Asia’s highest ranked male tennis player is contemplating when he should return to the tour following surgery.

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Kei Nishikori (photo by chryslène caillaud, copyright @Sport Vision)

World No.13 Kei Nishikori is refusing to rule out the prospect of skipping the first grand slam event of 2020 as he continues his recovery from surgery.

 

Nishikori hasn’t played a match on the tour since his third round loss at the US Open back in September. A month later he underwent a procedure on his right elbow in a move that brought his season to an early end. Currently undergoing rehabilitation, it is unclear as to when the Japanese player believes he will return to the ATP Tour.

“The prospect of a return from surgery on right elbow in January. Maybe February. In the second half of next year I want to be able to play well.” Nikkan Sports quoted Nishikori as saying.
“I don’t want to overdo it,” he added.

The Australian Open will get underway on January 20th in Melbourne. Should he miss the grand slam, it will be the second time he has done so in the last three years. Nishikori also withdrew from the 2018 edition due to a wrist injury. In January he reached the quarter-finals and therefore has 360 points to defend next year.

During his time away from the court, the 29-year-old has been kept busy making changes to his team. Recently it was confirmed that he has started working alongside Max Mirnyi, who is a former world No.1 doubles player. Mirnyi, who has won 10 grand slam titles in men’s and mixed doubles, will be working full-time with Nishikori alongside existing coach Michael Chang.

“I’m getting closer to retirement. I want to be cured and come back to play good tennis in the second half of next year.” Nishikori stated.

Despite the injury setback, Nishikori has enjoyed success in 2019. Reaching the quarter-finals in three out of the four grand slam tournaments. The first time he has ever done that in his career. He also claimed his 12th ATP title at the Brisbane International. Overall, he won 29 out of 43 matches played.

Nishikori will turn 30 on December 29th.

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Family Of Venezuelan Doubles Star Launches GoFundMe Page For Cancer Treatment

Roberto Maytin was playing on the Challenger tour less than a month ago, but now faces a new battle.

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One of Venezuela’s highest ranked players on the ATP Tour is facing challenges off the court after being recently diagnosed with cancer.

 

Roberto Maytin, who currently has a doubles ranking of 136th, is undergoing treatment for testicular cancer Non-Seminoma. Non-seminomas are made up of different types of tumour, such as teratomas, embryonal tumours, yolk sac tumours and choriocarcinomas. Maytin’s brother Ricardo has launched a GoFundMe page to help cover the costs. The tennis player made $19,441 in prize money this season, which doesn’t factor into account numerous expenses such as travel, accommodation and paying for his coaching team.

“If life gives you a chance to live longer, I think nobody would miss the opportunity. In this plane, we all want to be (alive) for years however we forget that we are with a 50% chance of leaving at any time every day.” The fundraising page reads.
“My brother was diagnosed with testicular cancer NO Seminoma, at 30 years old. He now faces a crucial match that life has put him for growth as an individual, as a man and as an athlete. He is forced to undergo 4 stages of aggressive chemotherapy in order to heal at all and leave no trace of a Cancer that has been moving for months causing some damage.”

A former top 25 junior player, Maytin is one of only two players from his country to be ranked inside the top 200 in either singles or doubles on the men’s tour. This season he has won four Challenger titles across America. However, he has only played in one ATP Tour event since the start of 2018. He achieved a ranking high of 85th in the doubles back in 2015.

Once a student at Baylor University in Texas, Maytin formed a successful partnership with former world No.2 doubles player John Peers. Together they earned All-American honours with a win-loss of 36-5 and reached the quarter-finals of the 2011 NCAA tournament.

Maytin is also a regular fixture in his country’s Davis Cup team. Since 2007 he has played 15 ties and won 10 out of 16 matches played.

“I am also clear that the family is the gift of God for each one of us, so in this way and in whatever way I will put my desire and my energy so that my Brother Roberto Maytin, a Venezuelan professional tennis player, is back to the courts, which is where he belongs as soon as possible.”

Almost $25,000 has been raised so far to fund Maytin’s treatment. Click here to visit his GoFundMe page.

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