Gael Monfils joins star-studded line-up at Mubadala World Tennis Championships - UBITENNIS
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Gael Monfils joins star-studded line-up at Mubadala World Tennis Championships

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Eight-time ATP Tour champion and former world number 6 Gael Monfils is the latest addition to the 2019 star-studded line-up at the Mubadala World Tennis Championships at Abu Dhabi’s International Tennis Centre at Zayed Sports City from 19th to 21st December. The tournament features four of the top six players.

 

Monfils will join the line-up which features world number 1 and 2019 Roland Garros and US Open champion and Davis Cup winner Rafael Nadal, reigning Australian Open and Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic, 2019 ATP Finals champion Stefanos Tsitsipas and this year’s Cincinnati and Shanghai Masters 1000 champion Danil Medvedev. Five-time Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova will face rising star Amanda Anisimova in the women’s match on day one.

Monfils will start his season at the Abu Dhabi exhibition only for the second time in his career. He is set to make his come-back in Abu Dhabi for the first time since 2012. The Frenchman, who reached the semifinals at Roland Garros and at the US Open, was beaten by Novak Djokovic in the quarter finals in his first appearance at the popular Abu Dhabi exhibition tournament.

“Having played in Abu Dhabi before, I know the special atmosphere of this Championship and I am really excited to be coming back. I am looking forward to going up against a strong field and I believe that it will be the perfect way to begin an important season”, said Monfils.

 Organisers previously announced four-time Mubadala World Tennis Championships Novak Djokovic, who enoyed a successful 2019 season, in which he won the Australian Open final against Rafael Nadal and beat Roger Federer in an epic Wimbledon final. Djokovic won the 2018 final of the Mubadala World Tennis Championships beating Kevin Anderson 4-6 7-5 7-5.

“Abu Dhabi is a special place and one where I have tasted success consistently. The courts are great, the spectators know their sport. The atmosphere is thoroughly enjoyable. The line-up for the tournament is really strong. You always want to play challenging opponents early in the season in order to get a good measure of yourself and I am hoping I can put in place a few things that I have been working on in the off-season”,said Djokovic.

Stefanos Tsitsipas confirmed that he will take part in the 12th edition of the Abu Dhabi tournament. The Greek player reached the semifinal at the Australian Open, and won three titles in Marseille, Estoril and at the ATP Finals in London one year after clinching the Next Gen ATP Finals trophy in Milan. He became the youngest ATP Finals champion since Lleyton Hewitt in 2001. Tsitsipas beat top 10 players Danil Medvedev, Alexander Zverev, Roger Federer and Dominic Thiem en route to winning his maiden ATP Finals title at the London O2 Arena.

 

“I have amazing things about the Mubadala World Tennis Championships and Abu Dhabi. The weather and the facilities make for the perfect destination to start the 2020 season and the organisers are putting together a strong line-up”,said Tsitsipas.

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Boris Becker, Marat Safin, Thomas Muster and Lleyton Hewitt named team captains at inaugural ATP Cup

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Six-time Grand Slam champion Boris Becker, Marat Safin, Thomas Muster, Lleyton Hewitt, Tim Henman and Grigor Dimitrov lead a line-up of past tennis stars in their role as team captains at the first edition of the ATP Cup, which will take place in Brisbane, Perth and Sydney from 3 to 12 January 2020.

 

Becker, who won the Wimbledon title in 1985 at the age of 17, will lead a strong German team which features 2018 ATP Finals champion Alexander Zverev.

“We have a strong chance in an extremely competitive section of the draw. Playing against the very best and representing your country sets the tone, sets the sport. I think we are going to see amazing tennis”, said Becker.

Germany has been drawn in Group F alongside Greece, Canada and home team Australia.

Lleyton Hewitt will captain a strong Australian team, which features two-time Next Gen ATP Finals runner-up Alex De Minaur and Nick Kyrgios.

“We are in a tough section, but I would give the Aussies a strong chance of beating any team. The guys are really excited to play in this new competition. It’s a game changer and it would mean so much to all of us to take it out”, said Hewitt.

Stefanos Tsitsipas will be the stand-out name of the Greek team, which will be captained by his father and coach Apostolos.

Former US Open champion Marat Safin will captain a star-studded Russian team, which features this year’s Shanghai and Cincinnati champion Danil Medvedev and Karen Khachanov.

Russia has been drawn in Group D against Italy, the USA and Norway.

“We have a real chance of winning the first ATP Cup with the calibre of players we have in the Russian side and I will be doing everything I can to make to happen from the bench”, said Marat Safin.

Italy will be captained by former player Vincenzo Santopadre, who coaches Matteo Berrettini, who reached the US Open semifinal and became the third Italian player in history to qualify for the ATP Finals. Berrettini will lead the Italian team hopes, while Fabio Fognini is likely to miss the ATP Cup, as his wife Flavia Pennetta is due to give birth to their second child.

Former Roland Garros champion Thomas Muster will lead Austria against Croatia, Argentina and Poland in Group E in Sydney. Muster was chosen by Dominic Thiem as captain.

“The ATP Cup brings some old rivals together as captains. The cream of tennis is competing across Australia and the player field is incredibly strong. I feel very excited to be part of it all”, said Thomas Muster.

Tim Henman will captain the British team, which feature three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray, his brother Jamie and British number 1 player Dan Evans. Great Britain has been drawn in Group C against Bulgaria, Belgium and Moldova. Grigor Dimitrov will be the playing captain of the Bulgarian team.

Gilles Simon will captain a strong French team led by Gael Monfils. France has been drawn against Serbia, South Africa and Chile.

The winners of the six groups and the two best second-placed finishers reach the ATP Cup Finals in Sydney. Each tie features two singles and one doubles match.

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Filip Krajinovic hires Janko Tipsarevic as new coach

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Janko Tipsarevic will start his new coaching career just a few months after retiring from tennis. The former world number 10 player will work with world number 40 Filip Krajinovic, who announced the start of his relationship to Tipsarevic.

 

Krajinovic is still aiming at achieving his goal to win the first ATP title of his career in 2020.

During his playing career Tipsarevic won four ATP titles and reached two consecutive quarter finals at the US Open in 2011 and 2012.

“It’s one of the best news of my career. It’s an honour to be coached by Tipsarevic”, wrote Krajinovic on his Instagram account.  

 Krajinovic achieved his career-high at world number 26 in April 2018 and reached the biggest final of his career in Paris Bercy in 2017. During the 2019 season Krajinovic reached two finals in Budapest (losing to Matteo Berrettini) and Stockolm and the quarter finals in Montpellier, Hamburg, Metz and Basel. He advanced to the fourth round at Indian Wells and the third round in Miami. He rallied from two sets down and saved one match point against Marco Cecchinato en route to reaching the third round at the Australian Open. He was one of the four Serbian players to reach the third round at the 2019 French Open.

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Francesca Schiavone wins battle against cancer.

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Francesca Schiavone broke news on social media on Friday that she had undergone successful chemotherapy to fight against a malignant tumour. The 2010 Roland Garros champion revealed the diagnosis was one of the reasons behind her absence online.

 

Schiavone played the final tournament at Gstaad in July 2018 and announced her retirement one month later at the US Open. She briefly consulted as a coach with Caroline Wozniacki during the clay-court season.

The 39-year-old star won eight titles, including the French Open in 2010, when she became the first Italian woman to win a Grand Slam tournament. Schiavone played in the longest ever women’s match at a Grand Slam tournament, when she beat Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-4 1-6 16-14 in the fourth round at the 2011 Australian Open. Later that year she lost to Li Na in French Open final. Schiavone also won three Fed Cup titles.

“I tell you what happened over the last seven months in my life. I was diagnosed with cancer. It was the hardest fight I have ever faced. The best thing is that I was able to win this fight. When I was told about it some days ago, I was so happy, and now I live of happiness. I am already happy to face new projects whom I had, but could not achieve. I fought a tough battle and now I am still breathing. I am now back in action. When they told me a few days ago, I exploded with happiness and I still live with happiness today. I can cut it with a knife”,wrote Schiavone on Twitter.

“I thank my parents. Without their help I would not have found the strength to fight this battle”

The world of sport reacted to Schiavone’s shock news:

“Your strength, your courage, your roar are always an inspiration”, tweeted Inter Milan, one of the two Serie A football clubs based in her home city Milan.

 Marion Bartoli sent her best wishes to Schiavone.

“I wish you the best of luck in this battle. Come on champion, you got this !”,wrote Bartoli.

 

 

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