The Nitto ATP Finals officially presented to the press in Turin - UBITENNIS
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The Nitto ATP Finals officially presented to the press in Turin

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The 2021 Nitto ATP Finals were officially presented during a press conference at the Intesa San Paolo skyscraper in Turin. The Piedmont city will host the 52nd edition of the ATP Finals and is the 15th city to host the end-of-season tournament. 

The press conference was attended by Angelo Binaghi, President of the Italian Tennis Federation, Andrea Gaudenzi, ATP Chairman, Valentina Vezzali, Undersecretary for Sport, Vito Cozzoli, President of Sport and Health, Domenico Carretta, President of Sport and Piedmont Region, and Gian Maria Gros Pietro, President of Intesa San Paolo. 

The first Turin edition will be held from 14 to 21 November at the Pala Alpitour in Turin, the venue of the 2006 Winter Olympic Games. The Nitto ATP Finals will award the title of Masters to both the singles singles player and the best doubles team of the season. 

Binaghi said that more than 100000 tickets have been already sold.

“Today we passed the 120000 tickets sold for a total of over 15 million euros in revenues. At least 10000 people will be coming from outside the area of the tournamen, including 200 journalists. Our ambition is to be the best ever for this event. We will organise the best ever indoor tournament despite all the challenges related to the pandemic, said Angelo Binaghi.  

Hubert Hurkacz has earned the final qualifying spot for the Nitto ATP Finals becoming the second Polish player to achieve this feat in tournament history after 1976 runner-up Wojtek Fibek. Hurkacz secured his spot by beating Australia’s James Duckworth in three sets to reach the semifinals at the Paris Rolex Masters. Hurkacz won his first Masters 1000 in Miami beating his friend Jannik Sinner. 

Hurkacz has joined a star-studded field which features Novak Djokovic, winner at the Australian Open, Roland Garros and Wimbledon, 2020 ATP Finals champion Danil Medvedev, this year’s US Open champion and winner of the Toronto Masters 1000 tournament, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters champion, Alexander Zverev, 2021 Olympic gold medallist and winner of two Masters 1000 tournaments in Madrid and Cincinnati and two ATP 500 titles in Acapulco and Vienna, Andrey Rublev, winner at the ATP 500 in Rotterdam and finalist at two Masters 1000 tournaments in Monte-Carlo and Cincinnati, Matteo Berrettini, this year’s Wimbledon and Madrid finalist and first-time qualifier Casper Ruud, who won five titles in Geneva, Bastad, Gstaad, Kitzbuhel and San Diego. Jannik Sinner, who won the 2019 Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan and claimed four titles in 2021 in Melbourne, Washington, Sofia and Antwerp, has been confirmed as the first alternate. 

Berrettini will carry the Italian hopes in front of the home fans. The Rome native player is the first Italian player to qualify twice for the Nitto ATP Finals as well as winning a round robin match in London in 2019. The only other Italian players to qualify for the end-of-season tournament were Adriano Panatta in 1975 and Corrado Barazzutti in 1978, but they were unable to win any match in their singles appearances.  

The eight teams qualified for the doubles tournament are: Nikola Mektic/Mate Pavic, Rajeev Ram/Joe Salisbury, Marcel Granollers/Horacio Zeballos, Pierre Hugues Herbert/Nicolas Mahut, Juan Sebastian Cabal/Robert Cabal, Kevin Krawietz/ Horia Tecau, Jamie Murray/Bruno Soares. While Filip Polasek and and Ivan Dodig have already secured their berths, Polasek remains in contention in the Paris Bercy semifinal this weekend. If Polasek and Peers also finish in the top 8 in the ATP top 8 Rankings, Polasek will need to decide whether he partners Dodig or Peers. 

Mektic and Pavic have clinched the year-end number 1 Doubles Team Ranking after claiming nine titles at Wimbledon, at the Tokyo Olympic Games, three ATP Masters 1000 tournaments at Miami, Monte-Carlo, Rome, Rotterdam and Eastbourne.

The eight players are qualified through the ATP Race to Turin based on the best 19 results achieved during the season. All singles matches are the best of three sets, including the final. All doubles matches are two sets (no ad) and a Match tie-break. The eight single players  and doubles teams are split into two robin groups. The top two from each group advance to the semifinals. 

“Congratulations to all players at this year’s Nitto ATP Finals. I want to thank all institutions, partners and sponsors who supported us. Competion on the Tour is fierce and to be standing amongst the top 8 at the end of the season is a phenomenal achievement. We look forward to a high-energy and action-packed season finale in Turin. Players will put on a big show During the presentation video with the winners of the past editions of the ATP Finals during the 52 years of history of the ATP Finals I got the goose bumps. The Race is the easiest qualifying system for the ATP Finals. The round-robin is the best possible format. I am proud that an Italian player will take part in the tournament. The average age of this year’s player field in the youngest at the ATP Finals since 2009. Most of the players in action in Turin are under 25. The only over 25 player is Novak Djokovic. We owe the success of tennis in the past 20 years to Djokovic, Nadal and Federer, but the new generation guarantees a great future for our sport. Tennis is a global sport. We are in a transitional period. The Era of the Big 3 has not ended yet, but the changing of the guard is near. When I was a player, I experienced the period that followed the Sampras and Agassi period. Every professional player feared that tennis could live a period of crisis. At that time I would have believed that a player could win 14 Grand Slam titles, but I have been proved wrong three times by Djokovic, Nadal and Federer. The future of tennis is bright”, said ATP Chairman Andrea Gaudenzi. 

The ATP Finals will be broadcast in over 180 countries for a potential audience of 95 million live viewers from Europe to Africa, from Asia to North and South America, from Australasia to the Middle East. The most important TV networks, such as ESPN, Eurosport, Canal +, Bein Sports, Telefonica/Movstar, the Reuters channel and Tennis Channel will be covering the Nitto ATP Finals. The tournament will be broadcast in Italy by Sky Sport. Rai will broadcast one live match per day during the group stages, plus one semifinal and the Final on Rai 2. 

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Rising Star Mirra Andreeva Teams Up With Wimbledon Champion Martinez

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Mirra Andreeva – Australian Open 2024 (foto: X @WTA)

Teenage sensation Mirra Andreeva has begun working with a former Grand Slam champion on a trial basis ahead of the French Open.

The 16-year-old has linked up with Conchita Martinez, who is overseeing her run at this week’s Rouen Open in France. Martinez peaked at a ranking high of No.2 during her career and won 33 WTA titles. After retiring from the sport, she has coached Garbine Muguruza and Karolina Pliskova. 

Andreeva’s latest partnership was formed with the help of her agent ‘two or three weeks ago.’ According to the WTA website, their practice week went well and now they are testing working together during a tournament. 

“So far, so good,” said Andreeva“I like it, I hope she likes it too. We will see how it will go and then we will decide about our next tournaments. I cannot say there are special aspects we are working on. But the first thing we worked on was my slice, because she was a good slicer. So she told me some tricks, and I’m trying to use it when I have time and a good possibility on court.”

Andreeva is currently ranked 43rd in the world and is the youngest player in the top 100. She has already reached the fourth round of both Wimbledon and the Australian Open but is yet to win a WTA title. So far this year the Russian’s best result was a quarter-final appearance at the Brisbane International. 

Martinez, who also reached the last 16 of a major at the age of 16, spoke about the teenager with Ubitennis during last year’s Wimbledon Championships. At the time she pointed out that consistency is key for the youngster.

“The most important thing is that she keeps practising and focusing on what she has to do to get better. It’s great what she is doing now but she has to maintain it,” she commented.

Andreeva kicked off her campaign in Rouen with a 6-1, 6-3, win over Nadia Podoroska. 

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Carlos Alcaraz In Doubt For Madrid Open Title Defence

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Carlos Alcaraz admits that he is not certain if he will be ready in time to play at next week’s Madrid Masters.

The 20-year-old is yet to play a clay tournament in Europe due to a forearm injury which ruled him out of both Monte Carlo and Barcelona. He hurt his right arm whilst training shortly before the Monte Carlo event began. 

It is the latest in a series of injury issues that has affected Alcaraz throughout his young career. Since the start of 2023, he has also been derailed by issues with his abdominal, hamstring, post-traumatic arthritis in his left hand and muscular discomfort in his spine. 

“My feeling isn’t right, but it is what it is. Now I’m fully focused on recovery and I have a little more time,” Alcaraz told reporters in Barcelona on Monday.
“My goal is to try and go to the Madrid Open, but at the moment nothing is certain. I was given specific recovery times and I’ve respected them, but I haven’t felt good. I don’t want to get ahead of myself.
“I can’t say I’ll be 100% in Madrid, but that’s my intention. We’ll train and do everything we can so that the feelings improve so I can play a match … It’s also a very special tournament for me.”

Alcaraz has won the past two editions of the Madrid Open, which is classed as a Masters 1000 event. In 2022 he defeated Alexander Zverev in the final and then 12 months later he beat Jan-Lennard Struff in the title match.

The setback comes after what has been a steady start to the year for Alcaraz who has reached the quarter-finals or better in four out of five tournaments played. He successfully defended his title in Indian Wells and then reached the semi-finals in Miami. 

Should he not play in Madrid, it is likely that the Spaniard will lose his No.2 spot to Jannik Sinner who is just over 100 points behind him in the standings. He will still have the chance to play a clay-court event before the French Open with Rome taking place early next month. 

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Roberto Bautista Agut is within one win of a milestone 400th win on the ATP Tour

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Roberto Bautista Agut beat Roman Safiulin 6-3 7-6 (10-8) after 1 hour and 59 minutes to win the 399th match win on the ATP Tour of his career. 

Bautista Agut earned his first game in the seventh game to take a 4-3 lead. The Spaniard converted his fourth break point in the ninth game to seal the first set 6-3. 

Both players held on their service games en route to the tie-break. 

Bautista Agut saved a set point at 8-7 in the tie-break of the second set before winning the final three points to seal the tie-break 10-8 after nearly two hours on Pista Rafa Nadal. 

Bautista Agut drew level to 1-1 in his two head-to-head matches against Safiulin. 

The former world number 9 set up a second round against Karen Khachanov. In this match Bautista Agut will have the chance to reach the milestone 400th win on the Tour. 

Nick Hardt came back from one set down to beat Spanish Next Gen player Martin Landaluce 2-6 6-4 6-3. Hardt won his ATP Tour main draw debut match. He has become the first Dominican player to win an ATP Tour match since Victor Estrella Burgos in Quito in 2018. 

Hardt converted his third break point in the first game of the opening set and held serve at 15 to take a 2-0 lead. Landaluce broke three three times to win the first set 6-2. Hardt earned a break in the third game to win the second set 6-4. Hardt broke twice in the third and ninth games to close out the third set 6-3. 

“It was a crazy day, obviously a very special day. I feel at home here in Barcelona. Two weeks ago I won my first Challenger here, this week I qualified for my first ATP 500, and I won my first Tour match in the main draw”, said Hardt.   

Brandon Nakashima beat Daniel Evans 7-6 (7-5) 6-2 to set up a second round match against Andrey Rublev. Evans earned his first break to take a 1-0 lead. Nakashima won four games in a row with two consecutive breaks to take a 4-1 lead. Evans broke back in the ninth game to draw level to 5-5. Both players traded two mini-breaks to draw level to 3-3 in the tie-break. Nakashima earned his third mini-break to win the tie-break. Nakashima broke serve at deuce in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead. The US player converted his fifth break point in the seventh game and held serve at love in the eighth game to close out the second set 6-2. 

Matteo Arnaldi was drawing level to 5-5 in the first set against Arthur Cazaux, when the Frenchman was forced to withdraw from the match due to an ankle injury. 

Facundo Diaz Acosta beat Daniel Rincon 6-1 6-4. 

Marco Trungelliti beat Duje Ajdukovic 6-2 7-6 (7-3). 

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