On Thursday it was announced that a 48-year-old Italian will be taking over from Chris Kermode as the Chairman on the ATP. Andrea Gaudenzi was confirmed for the position following numerous rumours that circulated in the media before an official announcement.
Backed for the role by the ATP Board, Gaudenzi is a familiar figure in the sport for many. But how much do tennis fans around the world know about him?
Here are five facts about the man set to become one of the most powerful figures in tennis.
1. He is a former player
Gaudenzi is best known as a former tennis player who reached a ranking high of 18th in 1995. During his professional career he won three titles on the ATP Tour – one in 1998 (Casablanca) and two in 2001 (Bastad and St. Polten). All three of his triumphs occurred on the clay. During his career has achieved 12 wins over top 10 players, including Alex Corretja, Thomas Enqvist and Yevgeny Kafelnikov. However, Gaudenzi had less success in the grand slams with only one appearance in the fourth round of a major at the 1994 French Open.
He retired from tennis in 2003 with a win-loss record of 219-132 on the ATP Tour and prize money earnings of $3,063,479.
2. There was one player he found tough to play
In an interview with Startup Italia earlier this year, Gaudenzi named Andre Agassi as the toughest player he has ever faced on the court. The two clashed five times between 1994-1998. Only in two of those matches Gaudenzi was able to take a set off the American. Their meetings took place on the ATP Tour, grand slam tournaments, Davis Cup and 1996 Olympic Games.
“Agassi had periods in which he was impossible to play as he was good, and others in which he could lose to anyone. I had the misfortune of finding myself in front of him 4 times, and always when he was number one in the rankings. I had the impression of playing against a steamroller, he was playing ping pong and I was running behind.”
|1998|| Australian Open
|Outdoor Hard||R32||Andre Agassi||
62 62 60
|1996|| Atlanta Olympics
|Outdoor Hard||R16||Andre Agassi||
26 64 62
|1995|| USA V ITA QF
|Outdoor Clay||RR||Andre Agassi||
64 64 61
|Indoor Carpet||QF||Andre Agassi||
|Outdoor Grass||R128||Andre Agassi||
62 673 63 62
3. He has a law degree and an MBA
As well as an athlete, the Italian also gained a solid education. In 2001 he graduated from the University of Bologna with a degree in law. His thesis was ‘Commercial Law: The Sponsorship Contract.’ Three years later he obtained an MBA in Business Administration from the University of Monaco.
According to his LinkedIn profile, Gaudenzi can speak Italian, Spanish, English and French.
4. A veteran businessman
Apart from serving on the ATP Board of Directors since January 2017, Gaudenzi has been involved in various businesses over the past two decades. At present he is on the board of directors for Musixmatch. A music data company founded in 2010 that claims to have 50 million active users, according to their website. He has also previously been a regional director for the Bwin Group (2010-2011) and co-founded pre-paid company card business Soldo.
“I strongly believe that a guy who has played sports at a competitive level, not necessarily as a professional, has something extra. Sport educates to discipline, to sacrifice and to achieve goals: useful qualities also in the business world.” – Gaudenzi during an interview with Startup Italia.
5. Djokovic has given his blessing
In a press release issued by the ATP earlier this week, world No.1 Novak Djokovic said Gaudenzi had the ‘qualities’ to lead the tour. Djokovic is currently the president of the influential players council and will be a key figure in any future changes that could occur.
‘On behalf of the players, I’d like to welcome Andrea as the next Chairman of the ATP.” Said Djokovic.
‘As a former player, he has walked in our shoes, and has also become a successful entrepreneur following his playing career.
‘He has all the qualities to lead the Tour and we look forward to working together for the benefit of the players and the sport more generally.’
Gaudenzi will begin his four-year term on January 1st 2020.
Denis Shapovalov Handles Opelka To Reach Australian Open Fourth Round
The Canadian managed to get past his 6ft 11 American opponent in a match that lasted over three hours.
Denis Shapovalov is into the fourth round of the Australian Open after beating 23rd seed Reilly Opelka 7-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 in three hours and two minutes on Margeret Court Arena.
The Canadian hit 39 winners and served 10 aces while limiting Opelka to just 17 aces. In contrast the American finished the match with a costly 46 unforced errors as Shapovalov booked his spot in the second week of the tournament.
” I think I did a really good job against Reilly (Opelka) today and I took a lot of my chances and managed to get a read on his serve,” said the world No.14.
Both players were doing a good job early on when it came to holding serve and at 3-3 it was the Toronto native who had three chances to break. On his third opportunity broke serve with his trademark backhand winner.
However, that break didn’t last long for Shapovalov as he struggled to consolidate the break and ultimately gave the break right back with a poor service game and it was back on serve at 4-4.
The first was decided by a tiebreaker and Shapovalov got the crucial break to take a 3-1 lead in the breaker which was enough for him to take the first set.
The second frame was much like the first with both players holding serve until 3-3 when Opelka broke serve. He was able to consolidate and serve out the set to level the match.
The third set stayed on serve until 3-2 and the momentum swung back in the Canadians favor. He got the break of serve this time using his forehand to great effect and served out the third to take a two sets to one lead.
Just like the third set the fourth set had no breaks until 3-2 when again the number 14 seed broke Opelka serve again and that break of serve was enough for him to serve out the match and the win.
After the match in his post-match interview, he was asked how he was able to limit his opponent to just 17 aces in the match.
” It’s never easy against Reilly (Opelka) but I am happy I was able to pull through and make it to the next round”. He said.
Shapovalov will face the number three seed Alexander Zverev in the round of 16.
Felix Auger-Aliassime Survives Australian Open Marathon
For a second time this week the Canadian was pushed but managed to win a tough four-set match against his Spanish opponent.
Felix Auger-Aliassime booked his spot in the third round of the Australian Open after beating Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 7-6, 6-7, 7-6, 7-6 in a match that lasted four hours and 20 minutes.
The Montreal native hit 58 winners and served 28 aces while Davidovich Fokina hit 51 unforced errors. It is the second time the 21-year-old has reached the last 32 in Melbourne Park in what is his third appearence.
The first game of the match was a nervy one for the world number nine as it lasted six minutes and it involved him saving two breakpoints before being able to hold serve. The opener stayed on serve until 2-2 when the Fokina came up with an impressive passing shot to set up two more chances for the first break of serve of the match and this time managed to convert. Three games later the Canadian fought back and broke right back to go back on serve.
It was a tiebreak which decided the first set. The Montreal native jumped out to a 3-0 lead before the Spaniard came back again to win the next four points but the Canadian responded again winning three straight points to take the breaker 7-4 and the first set.
The second set was another impressive performance on serve by both players and once again was decided by a back and forth breaker that this time was won by Davidovich Fokina to level the match.
The third frame was much the same as both players kept their level up and not much differentiated the two. This tiebreaker was much more straightforward as the Canadian jumped out to a 5-1 lead before closing out the third set 7-5 and taking two sets to one lead.
The fourth set stayed on serve until 2-1 when the world number 50 had a chance to break and was able to get it for a 3-1 lead before the Canadian was able to break back the following game to go back on serve.
For the fourth time, the set was decided by a tiebreaker and this one was super tight with the Canadian getting the crucial break to take a 4-3 lead and that one break was enough for him to serve it out.
Auger Aliassime will now face Dan Evans in the third round after the Brit was handed a walkover against Frenchman Arthur Rinderknech who pulled out of the match due to injury.
‘Best Feeling I’ve Ever Had’ – Underdog Christopher O’Connell Stuns Schwartzman At Australian Open
Prior to this week the 27-year-old had never won a main draw match at Melbourne Park or beaten a top 20 player.
World No.175 Christopher O’Connell has pulled off a major upset at the Australian Open by knocking out 13th seed Diego Schwartzman.
The 27-year-old wild card had only ever won one match in the main draw of a Grand Slam prior to this year but illustrated the talent that he has with a 7-6, 6-4, 6-4, win over Schwartzman. A player who is currently ranked 162 places above him in the rankings. Against the Argentine he fired a total of 44 winners and won 75% of his first service points on route to claiming his first win over a top 20 player.
“It’s the best feeling I’ve ever had on a tennis court. I’ve been playing tennis since I was four. To have moments like this it’s a dream come true.” O’Connell said during his press conference.
Despite the straightforward score, the match itself was a marathon. The opener alone lasted for almost 90 minutes with the underdog saving three set points whilst down 4-5 before prevailing in the tiebreaker. Then in the following two sets he broke Schwartzman three times in total.
“I knew how crucial that first set was. It was really warming up out there. It was really a battle back and forth. It was crucial to get that first set, especially in the heat,” he said.
A late bloomer on the men’s Tour, the Australian started to make a breakthrough last year by reaching his first quarter-final at the Atlanta Open where he defeated Jannik Sinner. During that year he also reached the final of a French Challenger event before withdrawing due to injury and reached the second round of the US Open.
O’Connell, who has been ranked as high as 111th in the world, credits his coach for helping him reach new milestones in the sport. He is mentored by former player Marinko Matosevic who reached a ranking high of 39th back in 2013 and made more than $2M in prize money during his playing career.
“The process didn’t start yesterday. It’s been happening all of last year,” he stated.
“I’ve been working with Marinko. He’s just really confident with how I want to play tennis now. It’s the first time I’ve really had a one-on-one coach literally every day with me.’
“Marinko was such a great player. All his knowledge of the game, he’s just putting it onto me.”
Next up for O’Connell will be the in-form Maxime Cressy who lost to Rafael Nadal in the final of the Melbourne Summer Set just over a week ago. The American defeated Czech qualifier Tomáš Macháč 6-1, 3-6, 6-1, 7-6(5), in his second round match.
“I knew I had good results in me. It’s just being consistent. I felt today was a consistent match from me,” he reflected.
“But the biggest thing for me is just staying healthy, not having these injuries where I miss two months of tournaments. I nearly missed five or six months last year. I can’t be doing that.’
“The belief is always there, but I just got to make sure my body’s healthy this year. I want to play a full year.”
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