A series of top names withdrawing from a Masters 1000 event could be seen as a boost for Stefanos Tsitsipas but the Greek has voiced his own concerns about playing in the tournament.
The tennis star is ranked fifth in the world but will be the second seed in the upcoming Miami Open due to a series of top names pulling out. Novak Djokovic has decided not to play in order to spend more time with his family. Joining the likes of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal who has also skipped the event. Overall, six top 20 players will not be playing in the tournament.
As a result of the loss of some top names, Tsitsipas has a golden opportunity to achieve his best run at the tournament so far in his career. It will be his third appearance in Miami after 2018 when he lost in the first round and 2019 when he lost in the third. However, the 22-year-old admits that he has little excitement about the upcoming tournament and facing the prospect of entering another bubble.
“Honestly I like Miami as a tournament, but I feel, I won’t hide anything from you, I feel it won’t be as good as the previous years and I feel it won’t be as good as Acapulco this week,” Tsitsipas said following his loss in the final of the Mexican Open on Sunday. “I find it very difficult to believe. So I go there with low expectations, not expecting much from the tournament itself.“
Tsitsipas says the tournament will ‘operate entirely on its own and with a different system.’ He goes on to say that the current situation is linked to why a series of players will not be participating but he refrained from mentioning the specific details.
“I like playing there but without fans it’s going to be really hard different and some other things that will be happening, as well, that I heard, I guess that also explains the absence of players. I don’t want to say more and comment more on that, but in a way I’m not surprised,” he said.
It is unclear as to why he says there will be no fans or if he was comparing Miami with Mexico in terms of public attendance. At present Miami has opened up their tournament and are selling tickets. This year only a limited number of fans will be allowed to attend the three biggest stadiums of the venue provided they have reserved tickets. Attendance will also be limited to between 800-1000 per session and therefore other courts will be fan-free.
During their stay players will be based in a bubble at one of the tournament hotels. Upon arrival they will have a COVID-19 test and they must remain in their room until the all clear is given. They will be transported to and from the Hard Rock Stadium via bus shuttle, and wil not be allowed to socialize with anybody outside of the bubble.
“I still think there will be energy because players are happy just to be playing in front of any fans,” tournament director James Blake told The Miami Herald. “They’re realizing how much they’re missing that interaction, that feedback from fans after big points, even if it is a smaller number. It will still be special for those fans. It will be a unique atmosphere, different from other years, but we have an amazing field and fans will get great tennis.”
Blake’s optimism comes amid the unpredictability of the virus. The Miami Open is located in Miami-Dade County which has recently experienced one of America’s worst outbreaks. According to the latest figures, 1,275 new cases and eight deaths were reported on March 20th. Overall, there have been more than 400,000 cases of COVID-19 in the county.
Team World One Win Away From Victory in Laver Cup
Team World take a huge 10-2 lead over Team Europe heading into the final day
After losing the first four editions of the Laver Cup, Team World look set to win the event for a second time as the event reaches its conclusion tomorrow.
Team World Captain John McEnroe was thrilled with the day’s results but warned against complacency: “We’re just going to keep doing what we’re doing. The job’s not done but we’re pretty close.”
American duo Taylor Fritz and Frances Tiafoe both earned straight sets wins over Andrey Rublev and Hubert Hurkacz, while Felix Auger-Aliassime and Ben Shelton beat Hurkacz and Gael Monfils.
“I want to play well for the guys,” said Tiafoe after his singles victory. “I played really well tonight. Just being in a team environment is so foreign to us as tennis players, it’s such an individual sport.”
After winning his third singles match in three appearances at the Laver Cup, Fritz was also motivated to do well:
“Yesterday, all the guys played really well. I felt that and wanted to come out on court and show what I can do. That definitely motivated me. Any type of team environment, I feel like it always elevates my game. I feel like my record in team events is really strong because I have a team cheering for me. I get pumped up. I’m excited to play for them. It just adds more pressure and fire to it. I think I play better in those situations.”
The doubles was a typically dynamic and feisty affair, and after the match Shelton was full of praise for his partner:
“It’s amazing, when you play with a guy who serves and returns like Felix, is as athletic as him, and goes back for the overhead as strong as him, it’s a fun time,” said Shelton. “We call him ‘Laver Cup Felix’ because he turns into something special this week, just glad I got to share the court with him at least once.”
Auger-Aliassime returned the compliments: “The best comes out of me when I’m playing not only for myself but for team-mates. Ben carried me through the end of that match, it was tough for me to get it done.”
Casper Ruud, meanwhile, beat Tommy Paul for Europe’s only points so far.
Matches on the final day are worth three points each – meaning that Team Europe would have to win all four remaining matches to prevent Team World from winning the trophy.
T. Fritz def A. Rublev 6-2, 7-6
F. Tiafoe def H. Hurkacz 7-5, 6-3
F. Auger-Aliassime & B. Shelton def H.Hurkacz & G. Monfils 7-5, 6-4
C. Ruud def T. Paul 7-6, 6-2
ATP RANKINGS UPDATE: Novak Djokovic, No.1 once more
After the US Open the Serbian champion reclaims top spot. Alexander Zverev is back in the Top 10
By Roberto Ferri
“Don’t ever underestimate the heart of a champion”
Rudy Tomjanovich coined this maxim just after his Houston Rockets won the NBA championship in 1995. He was paying homage to Akeem Holajuwon. It perfectly suits the heart of Daniil Medvedev, who proved 99% of tennis fans in the world to be wrong, convinced as they were that he would lose the semifinal to former No 1 Carlos Alcaraz.
But his dream to win a second US Open, after his triumph in 2021, was shattered by another champion, whose heart and class is even greater: that’s Novak Djokovic, who affixes his seal on his return to No.1, equalling Margaret Court Smith’s record of 24 majors.
Djokovic dethroning Alcaraz is not the only change in the top 20: Sascha Zverev is back in the top 10 after almost one year and Ben Shelton, great protagonist of the Us Open, debuts in the top 20 best players in the world.
A few comments:
Stefanos Tsitsipas, Andrei Rublev and Alexander Zverev gain 2 positions.
Ben Shelton devours 28 positions.
Sinner, Tiafoe, Norrie and Dimitrov lose one.
Casper Ruud and Karen Khachanov, runner up and semi-finalist respectively at the 2022 US Open, drop 4 positions.
One step forward for Fritz, de Minaur, Paul, Auger-Aliassime and Hurkacz.
ATP NITTO FINALS
From 12 to 19 November the 8 best players of the ranking based on the points earned in the ongoing solar season will be playing the Nitto ATP Finals in Turin.
Will Novak Djokovic succeed in winning a second straight title? He appears to be heading in the right direction.
Thanks to his triumph at the US Open the Serbian overtakes Alcaraz also in the Race to Turin.
Jannik Sinner holds fourth spot while Andrei Rublev overtakes Stefanos Tsitsipas and is now fifth.
The eighth position is occupied by Alexander Zverev.
Last year runner up, Casper Ruud is currently 10th. This means he would feature in Turin as a reserve.
ATP NEXT GENERATION FINALS
The Next Gen Finals, dedicated to the best under 21s, (8 effectives and 2 reserves) of the season will take place this year in Gedda, Saudi Arabia.
The 2022 winner, Brandon Nakashima, will not be defending his title, since he was born in 2001.
Taking for granted that Alcaraz and, most likely Rune, will be playing the ATP Finals, we have included in the chart the 12 current top under 21s.
Besides Ben Shelton, other 11 players have achieved their career highest this week.
We tribute a double applause to the four players who are making their debut in the top 100.
The 25-year-old Croatian Borna Gojo, 22-year-old Australian Rinky Hijkata and the Swiss next gen Dominic Stricker all reap the reward for their brilliant runs at the US Open. Seyboth Wild, the Brazilian who stunned Medvedev in the first round of Roland Garros leaps to No.76 after winning the Challenger in Como last week.
Translated by Kingsley Elliot Kaye
COMMENT: Novak Djokovic Proves His Greatness At US Open
Love him, or hate him. But respect him.
No tennis player has ever been better than Novak Djokovic.
Even Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer have to take their hats off to Novak, and admire him.
Now that Rafa and Roger have left Djokovic on his own stage at least for now, tennis fans love Novak.
DJOKOVIC WENT ONE STEP FURTHER
Djokovic’s performance on Sunday evening in the U.S. Open final was simply amazing. Daniil Medvedev also played his heart out, but Djokovic went one step further. He was sensational.
It was a thrill-a-minute three-set match. It lasted well into the night after starting at mid-afternoon. The second set alone lasted 104 minutes.
Djokovic was the winner, 6-3, 7-6 (5), 6-3, but New York still loves 2021 champion Medvedev.
A FOURTH AND 24TH TITLE, AND A 24 TRIBUTE
At 36, the oldest U.S. Open men’s champion ever, Djokovic obviously has a special place in his heart for the number four. It’s the number of times he has won this tournament and the 24th time he has won a Grand Slam title.
The number 24 also was displayed prominently on the white jacket. Novak, his team members and family wore for the victory celebration as a tribute to the No. 24 jersey of deceased friend Kobe Bryant.
Djokovic lost his footing at least three times in the tight second set, stumbling to the surface once, apparently due to the length of the rallies.
Djokovic could look like he was almost completely wiped out of it physically one minute, and then play like Superman the next minute.
THREE POINTS MAY HAVE BEEN DECISIVE
Both men played great tennis, especially in the thrill-a-second second set in which Medvedev gained one set point in the 12th game before Djokovic recovered to force a tiebreaker.
Medvedev appeared to be in charge after out-playing Novak to win one of his drop shots to take a 5-4 lead in the tiebreaker. The match may have been decided on the next three points, all won by Djokovic on errors by the 6-6 Russian.
The big question now is what happens next January in the Australian Open. Right now, Djokovic probably wants to play . . . and win what has been his favorite tournament as far as success. But things can change quickly for players in their mid-30s. Just ask Roger or Rafa.
James Beck was the 2003 winner of the USTA National Media Award. A 1995 MBA graduate of The Citadel, he can be reached at Jamesbecktennis@gmail.com.
Maria Sakkari sets up quarter final match against Caroline Garcia in Tokyo
Marcos Giron battled past Stan Wawrinka in Astana
‘The Full Package’ – Maria Sharapova Hails The Rise Of Coco Gauff
Daria Kasatkina Criticises Decision To Not Use Roof At Sweltering Pan Pacific Open
Novak Djokovic Upbeat About The Future Of Men’s Tennis As He Praises Alcaraz
‘Bulls**t’ – Expert Involved In Simona Halep’s Anti-Doping Case Blasts Four-Year Ban
Maria Sakkari ‘Scared’ Of Anti-Doping Testing Measures After Halep Ban
Gutsy Novak Djokovic Prevails In Grueling Battle With Medvedev To Win US Open
Iga Swiatek Dismisses Criticism Over Recent US Open Exit
COMMENT: Novak Djokovic Proves His Greatness At US Open
(VIDEO EXCLUSIVE) Steve Flink, Ubaldo Scanagatta Review The 2023 Wimbledon Men’s Final
(VIDEO EXCLUSIVE) Steve Flink, Ubaldo Scanagatta Review The 2023 Wimbledon Women’s Final
(VIDEO): Novak Djokovic Faces Sinner Test, Women’s Semis Take Centre Stage
(VIDEO): Novak Djokovic Sets Rublev Quarter-Final Clash
(VIDEO EXCLUSIVE) Plenty Of Surprises Could Occur In This Year’s Wimbledon Women’s Draw
Hot Topics3 days ago
Elena Rybakina’s Coach Blasts The WTA After Player Withdraws From Tokyo
Hot Topics2 days ago
South Korean No.1 Kwon Faces Disciplinary Action After Asian Games Meltdown
Latest news2 days ago
Daria Kasatkina beats Marta Kostyuk to advance to the second round in Tokyo
Latest news2 days ago
Eight of the top 10 players in the line-up in Beijing
Hot Topics1 day ago
Fit-Again Holger Rune Targets ATP Finals Qualification
Latest news2 days ago
Alexander Zverev beats Roman Safiulin to to claim his second title of the year in Chengdu
Hot Topics2 days ago
Carlos Alcaraz Set For China Debut With Eyes Set On Reclaiming No.1 Spot From Djokovic
Latest news1 day ago
Iga Swiatek survives Mai Hontama to reach the quarter final in Tokyo