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



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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Seb Korda Wins First Match Since Injury At French Open



Image via ATP Twitter

After what has been a rollercoaster past few months, Sebastian Korda has returned to the winner’s circle at the French Open. 


The 22-year-old started the year set to become one of the sports rising stars after reaching the final of the Adelaide International and then the quarter-finals of the Australian Open. However, he was forced to retire from his match against Karen Khachanov at Melbourne Park due to a wrist injury that ended up sidelining him from the Tour for weeks.

 “I went two, three months without touching a racquet, basically,” the American said of his injury woes in Paris on Sunday. “I even still had a little bit of pain in Madrid, and then Rome was the first tournament where I kind of had nothing, which was a really big positive for me. Now I have zero pain in my wrist.” 

Finally pain-free, Korda clinched the first win of his comeback at the French Open on Sunday by defeating Mackenzie McDonald 6-4, 7-5, 6-4. The player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of the Australian Open. It was a solid performance from the world No.20 who hit 52 winners and had an average first serve speed of 173 km/h. 

During his recent hiatus, the American used the opportunity to build on his physical development with the help of Jez Green. A highly experienced fitness coach who has previously worked with Andy Murray, Emma Raducanu and Dominic Thiem. 

“It was a tough period for me but a blessing in disguise. I had three, four months to really build the body and set a base that will basically be with me for the rest of my career.” Korda said of his work with Green. “I think that was one of the things I needed most was to kind of get the body right. The tennis I always had. It was just kind of getting the body right and getting ready for these long best-of-five matches to make deep runs.” 

It was at the French Open where Korda had his first major breakthrough. In 2020, when the tournament was held during the autumn due to Covid-19, he reached the fourth round on his debut. 

Korda will play Austria’s Sebastian Ofner in the second round.

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‘A Breath Of Fresh Air’ – Stefanos Tsitsipas’ High Praise For French Open Rival Alcaraz



Carlos Alcaraz’s rapid rise in the sport has left an impression on many, including his recent training partner Stefanos Tsitsipas.


The two top 10 stars held a practice session together at Roland Garros a day before this year’s tournament began. Alcaraz leads Tsitsipas 4-0 in their head-to-head and has only ever dropped three sets against him on the Tour. Whilst they are rivals on the court, there is a lot of admiration between them. This was highlighted by Tsitsipas following his 7-5, 6-3, 4-6, 7-6(7) win over Jiri Vesely in the first round on Sunday. 

“I had a practice session with Carlitos the other day and did throw in a “thank you” just randomly, and I don’t know if he understood that or not. I owe a lot to Carlitos because he’s such a breath of fresh air, the fact that he’s on the tour.” Tsitsipas said during his press conference.
“The fact that he’s so competitive and he’s always with a smile on his face, and almost so much charisma to him and so much positive energy that he distributes. I think that’s contributed a lot to his growth as a tennis player and his consistency too. He seems to be enjoying having fun.”

Despite being four years older than the Spaniard, Tsitsipas admits he has been inspired by his rival to make certain changes to how he approaches the sport. Currently ranked fifth in the world, he is yet to win a trophy this season. Although he finished runner-up at the Australian Open to Novak Djokovic and at the Barcelona Open to Alcaraz. 

“Last year during preseason I was, like, I want to apply that more into my game. Players focus maybe more on technical stuff and stuff that doesn’t focus on these aspects of the game,” he explained.
”I kind of admire him for who he is. I have the capacity of being that person. I truly believe that. That is also the reason that I’m just much more joyful and happy when playing this sport, due to him.”

Besides his high regard for the Spaniard, part of Tsitsipas must be secretly hoping Alcaraz will suffer an early exit in Paris. He is in contention for claiming the No.1 position but can only do so if he wins the title and Alcaraz loses before the third round and Daniil Medvedev loses before the quarter-finals. 

However, to even have a chance of winning his maiden slam Tsitsipas admits he needs to improve his game after saying he was ‘very inconsistent’ throughout his clash with Vesely. He will next play either former champion Stan Wawrinka or Albert Ramos-Vinolas in the second round. 

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Aryna Sabalenka Powers Through French Open Opener



World No.2 Aryna Sabalenka kicked off her French Open bid with a dominant win over Marta Kostyuk in the first round on Sunday.


Sabalenka, who is yet to reach the second week of Roland Garros in her career, overcame an early setback en route to a 6-3, 6-1, victory. The win is her 30th of the season which is more than anybody else on the WTA Tour. Against Kostyuk, Sabalenka fired a total of 18 winners and converted four out of nine break point opportunities. It is the second time she has beaten the Ukrainian after their inaugural meeting at the 2022 Dubai Tennis Championships. 

“I always thought that my first Grand Slam (title) would be at the French Open. I have no idea why because I couldn’t play on the clay but it was on my mind,” the reigning Australian Open champion said during her on-court interview.
“It’s another goal and I am doing everything that I can to bring my best tennis to the court every time.”

It had been widely expected that the match would be a tense encounter given the current political climate. Sabalenak’s country is accused of supporting Russia in its war against Ukraine which is where Kostyuk is from. On Friday the world No.2 said she didn’t expect a handshake to be taking place at the net and has called for politics to be kept outside of sport. A stance that has been criticized by her opponent. 

“Sabalenka might become number one in such a popular sport. Having such a large platform and such a large influence in the world, she refuses it. What kind of message is this for the world?” Kostyuk told BTU 24 hours before their match. 
“We are talking about people being murdered and as a response, we hear that we should leave sport outside of politics. But war does not choose whether you are an athlete or not when it comes to your home.”

However, on Court Philippe Chatrier there was little friction between the two. 20-year-old Kostyuk came into this year’s French Open with a dismal 0-13 record against top-10 opposition on the Tour. However, she was the first to strike in her clash with second seed Sabalenka. After saving two break points during the fourth game, she broke for a 3-2 lead with the help of a delicate drop shot followed by two consecutive errors from her opponent. 

Sabalenka responded instantly by increasing the intensity of her shot-making to once again establish her dominance. A four-game winning streak from the Belarussian enabled her to close out the opening set despite her blip. She secured the 6-3 lead with a clean backhand winner.  

In cruise control, the power of the 25-year-old continued to overwhelm her opponent throughout the second frame. In less than 20 minutes she broke Kostyuk two more times en route to a 4-1 lead. Serving for a place in the second round, Sabalenka battled back from 15-40 down before prevailing on her first match point after hitting a blistering forehand winner.

As expected, Kostyuk refused to shake hands with Sabalenka afterwards and ended up being booed off the court.

“It was a very tough match. It was tough emotionally. At first, I felt that this (the crowd booing) was against me so I was a little surprised but then I felt their support. It’s really important,” said Sabalenka.

It is the 11th time in a row that Sabalenka has won her opening match at a Grand Slam tournament. Besides competing for the trophy, she could also snatch Iga Swiatek’s No.1 ranking and will achieve the milestone if the Pole fails to reach the quarter-finals. 

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