The current world No. 1 Novak Djokovic and No. 2 Rafael Nadal are due to play a charity match tomorrow in Kazakhstan.
The commitment of playing in Kazakhstan means the star duo are missing tournaments in Vienna and Basel, which could be seen as a priority to play over an off the calender match. The two players have got permission from ATP CEO Chris Kermode, however, some other people are not happy about this. Edwin Weindorfer, who is the director of the Vienna Open, is one of them.
“I do not think it’s good that there are exhibitions ongoing during ATP events. Players are ATP members. There is an off-season after the ATP Finals and anybody can play during that time,” Weindorfer said as reported by Express.
In reality ATP players cannot play any exhibition matches during weeks of ATP Masters 1000 tournaments, ATP 500 tournaments, ATP Finals, and should they violate these rules, they would be subjected to penalties. These are described under the player Major Offence Conduct Contrary to the Integrity of the Game, unless they get a special permission allowing them to do so as stated. The rulebook states “A player has the right to petition the president or his designee for an exemption to these requirements unless otherwise specified above,” which both players have done in this case, and now they’re clear to play.
“There was approval from ATP CEO Chris Kermode because, per rules, during ATP tournaments, an exhibition match cannot be held. So we need to respect that.” Weindorfer added.
The Vienna Open director isn’t the only one person to speak out about the topic. Thomas Muster, who is a former world No.1 and French Open Champion, has had his say too.
“The tournament [Vienna] will always share the top stars with Basel. Of course, Federer plays there and Nadal and Djokovic only play where and when they want. But despite some cancellations, it is again a top field.” He said.
It’s worthy noting that playing either Vienna or Basel could have kept Djokovic as world No.1 for a longer time. He is set to lose the leading rank to the Nadal on November 4 regardless of their results at the Paris Masters.
Lukas Kubot and Marcelo Melo come back from one set down to beat Ivan Dodig and Filip Polasek
Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo came back from one set down to beat Ivan Dodig and Filip Polasek 4-6 6-4 10-5 in one hour and 40 minutes at the Nitto ATP Finals at the O2 Finals in London. Kubot and Melo moved to 1-0 in the Group Jonas Bjorkman.
The Polish and Brazilian team join Michael Venus and and Raven Klaasen at the top of the Group Bjorkman with a 1-0 lead.
Dodig and Polasek rallied from 3-4 down by winning three consecutive games to claim the opening set 6-4. Kubot and Melo saved a break point in the fourth game before getting the first break three games later to take a 4-3 lead.
Dodig and Polasek did not convert a break point before dropping serve, but they earned two consecutive breaks to claim the first set 6-4. Dodig and Polasek were broken in the first game of the second set and did not convert any of their two break points in the next game.
Kubot and Melo wasted four consecutive set points in the ninth game, but they served out the second set at love with a backhand passing shot down the line to force the match to the third set.
Kubot and Melo got two mini-breaks in the Match Tie-Break 10-5. Kubot hit an ace to seal the tie-break 10-5.
“It feels great to get the win. I think we played a very good match today. I think the level was high. We are very happy to play such a great set and a Match Tie-Break”,said Melo.
In the first match of the afternoon match Raven Klaasen and Michael Venus saved four break points in his 6-3 6-4 win over Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury 6-3 6-4 in 64 minutes. Klaasen and Venus saved two break points in the opening game before breaking serve in the fourth game to open up a 3-1 lead. Klaasen claimed the break with a backhand volley after a forehand return from Venus. Klaasen and Venus sealed the opening set after 30 minutes.
Both players held serve in the first six games before Klaasen and Venus claimed the decisive break in the seventh game to take a 4-3 lead after a double fault from Salisbury.
“To be the first match of the Finals is a bit nerve racking and to get off to a good start certainly puts our minds at ease for the rest of the tournament”, said Klaasen.
Dominic Thiem Topples Six-Time Champion Federer At ATP Finals
The Austrian has continued his unbeaten record against the world No.3 this year.
LONDON: Dominic Thiem has got off to a dream start at the ATP Finals after downing a lackluster Roger Federer in straight sets.
The two-time French Open finalist held his nerve throughout what was a tense encounter as he prevailed 7-5, 7-5. Hitting 21 winners alongside 22 unforced errors. Moving him into second place in the group behind Novak Djokovic, who dropped just three games against Matteo Berrettini earlier in the day.
“It’s overwhelming every single time to enter this Arena. Especially if it is completely packed like that.” Thiem commented on the 17,800 capacity arena.
“I think we had a good and close match. Of course, it is always special to beat Roger as he is an absolute legend. I love to play against him and learn a lot.”
26-year-old Thiem belongs to a very exclusive club when it comes to taking on the 20-time grand slam champion. He is one of only five players to have a winning record against Federer (5-2) after playing six or more matches. Joining the likes of Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal. Both of their previous meetings in 2019 saw Thiem rally back from a set down to win.
This time around it was slightly different at The O2 Arena. A rollercoaster opener saw Federer at his best and worst as he struggled at times with his service consistency. An erratic start from the Swiss player enabled Thiem to open up a 2-0 lead before proceedings were level again. With little disparity between the two on the court, the slightest errors proved problematic to their winning chances. Eventually, it was six-time champion Federer who buckled at the worst moment. Serving at 5-5, a couple of loose shots from him enabled Thiem to break once again and this time have a chance to serve the set out. A mission he achieved with the help of a Federer backhand drifting wide on set point.
Despite securing the breakthrough he seeks, Thiem was denied the luxury of running away with the match. In a case of deja vu the second frame was once again a cat and mouse chase. However, the Austrian continued to maintain the momentum thanks to his emphatic defensive play that drew frustration from the world No.3.
It was a rare case of lightning striking twice on Sunday evening. At the exact same stage as the opening set, a dismal Federer service game featuring a series of errors enabled Thiem to break and move a game away from victory. Closing out the match was by no means an easy task as he saved two break points. Nevertheless, he clinched the scalp with the help of a serve out wide.
“It’s amazing to play against maybe the best player of all time. A real legend.” Thiem said in tribute to Federer. “Luckily I have a pretty good record against him and I try to stay positive every time I play him.”
“The game where I have to serve it (the match) out is always a struggle. You don’t get any presents from him. He will put every return in, play the rallies and of course it was a little due to nerves too.” He added.
Thiem’s win means Federer now faces two crucial matches in order to qualify for the semi-finals. One of those being against Djokovic. Federer last failed to progress out of the round-robin stages more than a decade ago in 2008. Excluding the 2016 edition, he missed due to injury.
“It’s a normal tournament from here on forward.” The visibly disappointed 38-year-old declared during his press conference. “I’m not allowed to lose anymore (in the tournament). That’s how it is every week of the year for the last 20 years, so from that standpoint, there is nothing new there.”
Federer also lost his opening match at the ATP Finals 12 months ago to Kei Nishikori.
Medvedev Picked Nadal Over Djokovic
This season has been so even between Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic. Both players have shared the four grand slams titles, two for each, won two Masters 1000 tournaments and now are taking on the battle for year-end world No.1 at the O2 arena in London.
However, the Russian Daniil Medvedev, who makes his debut at the Nitto ATP Finals after such an amazing performance particularly in the last half of the season, thinks that the Spaniard was more consistent.
“I think everyone can say Nadal was the best player of the year, since he has always been consistent and he got amazing results, winning many titles including two Grand Slams. I do not know if he is at 100 percent or not, but I know I will have to give my best” Said Medvedev
The Russian player played both of the players this season more than once. Although, he didn’t manage to have a win over Nadal in two occasions, he played such a thriller 5-sets final match in the US Open.
The US Open semi-finalist has played the 16-time grand slam champion Novak Djokovic three times so far in this season, winning two out of the three meetings with 3-2 head to head overall profile for Djokovic.
Daniil Medvedev has played with a very high level in last summer. After reaching Washington and Canadian Opens’ finals, he got the rewards for his hardworking in Cincinnati when he clinched his first Masters 1000 title there before he adds later his second one at Shanghai.
Medvedev will play his first match at the O2 arena on Monday when he takes on the other debutant to the Nitto ATP Finals Stefanos Tsitsipas in the afternoon. The Russian has been drawn in Andre Agassi group which features as well Rafael Nadal and defending Champion Alexander Zverev.
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