Fresh Faces Descend Upon The Laver Cup To Fill Void Left By Big Three - UBITENNIS
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Fresh Faces Descend Upon The Laver Cup To Fill Void Left By Big Three

With Roger Federer and Co sidelined, those posed to replace them in the future are hoping to make their mark.




BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - SEPTEMBER 22: (L-R) Daniil Medvedev, Alexander Zverev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, alternate player Feliciano Lopez, Matteo Berrettini, Andrey Rublev, Casper Ruud, Vice Captain Thomas Enqvist of Team Europe, Rod Laver, Captain John McEnroe, Vice Captain, Patrick McEnroe, Diego Schwartzman, Denis Shapovalov, Felix Auger-Aliassime, Nick Kyrgios, alternate player Jack Sock, John Isner and Reilly Opelka of Team World pose for a portrait with the Laver Cup trophy in front of the Boston skyline at LoPresti Park ahead of the 2021 Laver Cup on September 22, 2021 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images for Laver Cup)

This weekend’s Laver Cup will be a test for organisers to see how their event fair with fans without some of the sports biggest names gracing their presence.


Since its debut back in 2017, the team competition has grown rapidly on the men’s Tour and even has a slot in the ATP calendar after being given special status two years ago. The competition is inspired by Golf’s prestigious Ryder Cup event with players from Europe taking on those from the rest of the world. Named after tennis great Rod Laver, players battle it out over three days with the first team to 13 points being declared the winner.

This year’s edition is taking place at the TD Garden in Boston 12 months later than originally planned due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For the first time since its birth, no member of the Big Three will be present. Roger Federer, who helped create the event, and Rafael Nadal are sidelined with injury. Meanwhile, Novak Djokovic has opted not to participate.

“Obviously we’re missing the top three guys, but our team (Europe) is one of the strongest I think we’ve ever had,” four-time Laver Cup participant Alexander Zverev assures. “We have all the young gun generation guys, which is great to see. Everybody is very motivated. It’s going to be a fun, entertaining week for all of us.”

The absence of the trio ironically provides an opportunity for the Laver Cup which will still feature 10 out of the world’s top 20 players in the competition. The Organisers are keen to showcase that there is much more to the men’s game than just three players if they want their event to last for years to come. Recently Discovery Sports locked in a 10-year deal to broadcast the Laver Cup exclusively until 2030.

In Team Europe a quartet of players will be making their debut with one of those being recently crowned US Open champion Daniil Medvedev. The world No.2 says he has sought advice from one of his teammates ahead of the competition.

“I asked Sascha (Zverev) when we practiced, how was it (the Laver Cup) in Chicago because that’s when we (Team Europe) were kind of the guests. He told me everybody is gonna be against us,” Medvedev told reporters on Thursday.
“I think the toughest is when you’re not ready and everybody is against you, that’s when you’re gonna have problems. So we are all ready for it.”

Whilst there are no ranking points up for grabs, there is big money to be made. Those who win the Laver Cup this year are reportedly set to earn $250,000 each. Meanwhile, the runner-ups will receive half of that.

Although money isn’t everything for those taking part. Some are relishing the experience of being able to play alongside their peers instead of against them. Federer recently said he hopes the Laver Cup provides an opportunity for the younger players to learn from those who are more experienced.

“It’s an amazing atmosphere here. We are all making fun of each other. We spend a great time together. We are practicing well, preparing well, and we will see what’s gonna happen,” Laver Cup debutante Andrey Rublev said.
“Many guys said that they are the best players. All of them know how to play tennis, what is inside, how we feel, how each player is going to feel. All of us can give advice, if someone sees something from outside the court.” He added.

Norway’s Casper Ruud is another newcomer who says he has benefitted from listening to what his fellow peers have said about the event. Earlier this year Ruud won three consecutive ATP titles on the clay within as many weeks. Since then he has reached the quarter-finals of two Masters events but lost in the second round of the US Open. He will play in the first match of the Laver Cup on Friday against Reiley Opelka.

“I’m really excited. It will be fun to kind of get the show going. I’m sure I will feel some nerves, in the 24 hours when I’m about to step on court,” Ruud admits.
“I have great teammates. They shared their knowledge in our team dinner about how it was, and we have a good plan, I think. Hopefully I can get Team Europe off to a good start.”

On the first day of the competition, three newcomers will be playing for Europe. Besides Rublev and Ruud, Wimbledon finalist Matteo Berrettini will also take to the court against Felix Auger-Aliassime. The Canadian is one of two players in Team World who is playing in the event for the first time along with Opelka.

“We have Sascha and Stefanos (Tsitsipas) who have been here before. They have helped to explain and to share their knowledge about how this event is all about,” vice-captain of Team Europe, Thomas Enqvist, commented.
“The guys have been unbelievable how quickly they come together and how hard they have been working to preparing for this event. I’m really looking forward to the matches.”

Team Europe head into the tie seeking their fourth consecutive trophy and are yet to lost to Team World.

Day 1 order of play

1pm (local time)
Reilly Opelka (World) vs. Casper Ruud (Europe)
Felix Auger-Aliassime (W) vs. Matteo Berrettini (E)

Diego Schwartzman (W) vs. Andrey Rublev (E)
John Isner/ Denis Shapovalov (W) vs. Matteo Berrettini/Alexander Zverev (E)

*All matches count 1 point


Filip Krajinovic To Skip Australian Open If Required To Quarantine For More Than Five Days

The world No.34 says he ‘sees no reason’ why vaccinated players should have to go through a long quarentine in Australia.




Image via (Alexander Scheuber)

The second highest-ranked Serbian player in men’s tennis says it would be ‘unacceptable’ for organisers of the Australian Open to require players to quarantine for more than a week if they have been fully vaccinated.


Filip Krajinovic has become the first player to publicly state that they will not be prepared to travel to Melbourne at the end of this season if they have to go through strict quarantine measures once again. All the players who participated in this year’s Australian Open were required to be quarantined in a designated hotel for 14 days upon arrival in the country. During their stay they were allowed to use training facilities but that was the only time they could leave the premises unless there was an emergency.

There is no final decision regarding the travel requirements for the 2022 tournament but there are concerns that unvaccinated players may not be allowed to enter the country. The Victorian government recently issued a mandate ordering all essential workers to be vaccinated, including athletes. However, the regional government will not have the final say concerning tennis players arriving in the country with the national government being the ones in charge of that decision.

“They are very rigorous there and honestly, if I have to be in quarantine for 14 days after arriving in Melbourne, I will not go to Australia,” Krajinovic told Serbian newspaper Blic.
“I was vaccinated, I did everything in my power to protect myself and the people around me, so I really see no reason to sit there for 14 days in a room.’
“If they (the organisers) say that after arrival I need, say, five days to be in isolation, that’s OK for me, but anything beyond that is unacceptable to me. With the season ending late, I will have 20 days to get ready and go. Charter flights will be organized again and the last one is planned for December 28 for the players and that is the final date when I can go to Australia. I will see what the final decision from Melbourne will be, so I will cut what is the best thing to do.”

Earlier this week Victoria’s Sports minister Martin Pakula urged players to be vaccinated because it give them ‘the best opportunity to play in the Australian Open.’ It is expected that if unvaccinated players are allowed to attend, they will be subjected to stricter restrictions. This might include a longer quarantine period upon arrival and limitations of where they can go during their stay.

Last year, all of those players had to do their 14 days of quarantine. Right now there looks like there will be different rules for people who enter this country who are vaccinated as against unvaccinated and I don’t think the tennis will be any exception to that.” Pakula told the Sports Entertainment Network (SEN).
“In terms of what rules apply for people to enter Australia, whether unvaccinated people are allowed in at all, I don’t the answer to that yet. That’s going to be the subject of discussion at national cabinet and among the federal cabinet … those rules are not set by state governments.” He added.

Krajinovic is currently ranked 34th in the world and has a win-loss record this season of 18-18. At the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells he reached the second round before falling in straight sets to Daniil Medvedev. His best run so far this year was at the Hamburg Open where he reached the final.

“When we look at the whole of 2021, I played one final, one semifinal, there were good victories, but also worse results,” the 29-year-old commented.

Krajinovic is currently without a coach but is currently in ‘negotiations’ with somebody without elaborating further about who that person is.

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Alexander Zverev Secures Place In ATP Finals With Indian Wells Win

Zverev will be seeking to win the season-ending extravaganza for the second time in his career.




Alexander Zverev (GER) Credit: AELTC/Edward Whitaker

Germany’s Alexander Zverev has become the fourth player to officially qualify for the ATP Finals after reaching the third round of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.


The world No.4 defeated America’s Jenson Brooksby 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, in his second round match on Sunday which pushed him over the points threshold to secure his spot in the end-of-season event. It is the fifth year in a row he has qualified for the ATP Finals which he won back in 2018. He is one of only three German players to ever win the title after Boris Becker and Michael Stich.

This year’s tournament will take place in Turin, Italy for the first time in history after being held at The O2 Arena in London for more than a decade. Only the eight highest ranked players are eligible to play in the round-robin tournament which has on offer up to 1500 rankings points for an undefeated champion.

“My first time in Turin. I’ve been to London four times before. London is obviously very special to me because I won there, as well. I think the stadium is incredible, one of the most special events that we had,” Zverev told reporters on Sunday.
“But I also love playing in Italy. I had great success in Italy. I won my first Masters in Rome. I’m looking forward to being there. I’m looking forward to playing in front of the Italian fans. It’s going to be a great week.”

The 24-year-old approaches the final quarter of this season with four titles already won this year. He has won two Masters 1000 trophies, an ATP 500 event in Mexico and a gold medal in singles at the Tokyo Olympic Games. Zverev, who has recorded seven wins over top 10 players, also reached the semi-finals at both the French Open and US Open.

Zverev joins Novak Djokovic, Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas as the players who have qualified for the ATP Finals so far. It is the third straight season the quartet has qualified for the event.

This year’s ATP Finals will get underway on November 14th. Medvedev is the defending champion.

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Denis Shapovalov Advances After Pospisil Retires In Indian Wells

The battle of the two Canadians didn’t go as planned…




Denis Shapovalov (CAN) Credit: AELTC/Edward Whitaker

Vasek Pospisil faced off against his fellow Canadian Denis Shapovalov in the second round of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells and it was the world number 13 who got the win after the Vernon native pulled out due to an injury whilst trailing 0-3.


It was a rough start for Pospisil who seemed to struggle with his serve in the opening game of the match and double-faulted twice in a row to give the early break and Shapovalov had no issues consolidating the break.

Shapovalov continued to apply pressure on the Pospisil serve and after saving two breakpoints the world number 68 pulled up after a serve and stopped play, calling for the trainer. He ended up taking a medical timeout off the court and a couple of minutes later returned to court. Pospisil was broken once again and the following game after a couple of returns decided to call it quits.

” It was pretty awful…and if I’m being honest I am shaking a bit…It really sucks I hope it’s nothing serious…He’s a great guy he’s a real warrior he’s fought back from some injuries surgeries to such a great level.” Shapovalov said of his compatriot.

Shapovalov will face 19th seed Aslan Karatsev in the next round after the Russian thrashed Salvatore Caruso 6-2, 6-0.

In the other results of the day sixth seeed Casper Ruud dominated Roberto Carballes Baena 6-1, 6-2, Roberto Bautista Agut beat the Argentine Guido Pella 7-5, 6-3 and Sebastien Korda won an all American battle with Frances Tiafoe 6-0, 6-4.

Finally, Diego Schwartzman needed three sets to beat another American in Maxime Cressy winning 6-2, 3-6, 7-5.

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