Alex de Minaur Silences Critics With Run To Maiden Masters Final in Toronto - UBITENNIS
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Alex de Minaur Silences Critics With Run To Maiden Masters Final in Toronto



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It is never a nice feeling to be criticized for what you do but for Alex de Minaur it only adds fuel to the fire. 


The Australian world No.18 is enjoying a surge in form in recent weeks which began at the Los Cabos Open where he reached the final before losing to Stefanos Tsitsipas. Then at this week’s Canadian Masters, unseeded de Minaur scored a trio of high-profile wins over Cameron Norrie, Taylor Fritz and Daniil Medvedev. On Saturday he sealed his place in his first-ever Masters final with a comprehensive 6-1, 6-3, triumph over Alejandro Davidovich Fokina. 

De Minaur has been a regular fixture on the men’s Tour for a few years with him winning a total of seven Tour titles so far. He has struggled against top 10 opposition during stages of his career with his win-loss record currently standing at 13-34. However, this year he has won six out of 10 of those matches. His best Grand Slam run was to the quarter-finals of the 2020 US Open. 

Whilst there is plenty for the 24-year-old to be proud of, it still doesn’t stop some from criticizing him and questioning his ability to rise to the very top of the men’s game. Something de Minaur is now using to motivate him.

“I’m looking to prove a lot of the people wrong,” he said, “That’s probably the biggest thing for me. I take a lot of pride in what I do and a lot of people don’t have a lot of belief in me, but I get a real sense of satisfaction proving people wrong.”

As to what it is that has enabled him to go deep in Toronto this week, De Minaur credits his mental approach to the tournament following a quick turnaround from Los Cabos. He played his first doubles match in Toronto the day after losing to Tsitsipas in Mexico. 

“I think it’s been a great mindset from day one. I had a very quick turnaround from Los Cabos. I got in at 1:00 a.m. Monday. I played doubles that day. And the following day, I had to start my singles on Tuesday,” he said. 
“I just told myself to keep going at it. If I kept on giving myself chances, that there’s always a better chance that the next day I was going to play better tennis and find a better level, and that’s what I’ve been doing.”

De Minaur’s next opponent will be Jannik Sinner who was his partner in the doubles tournament. He is yet to beat the Italian on the Tour with all four of their previous meetings being on a hard court. 

“Jannik is one of the better ball strikers on tour. His ball speed is up there with definitely the highs from both sides. And he can definitely pound the ball.” He said of his upcoming opponent.
“I’m going to bring the same mindset. I’m going to go out there and enjoy it and compete until the end.”

De Minaur will rise to a career-high ranking of No.12 on Monday following his run in Toronto and will seal the 11th spot if he beats Sinner on Sunday. 


Lleyton Hewitt Renews Criticism Of Davis Cup Format



MALAGA, SPAIN - NOVEMBER 19: Team Australia pose for a photo during the Official Gala Dinner ahead of the David Cup Final at Museo de Malaga on November 19, 2023 in Malaga, Spain. (Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images for ITF) - Photo distributed to publishers by the ITF

Former world No.1 and captain of the Australian Davis up team Lleyton Hewitt has reiterated his stance that the team event was better in its old format. 


Hewitt, who has captained his country’s team since 2016, says he would like to see the return of home and away ties for the semi-final and final stages of the event. In recent years the Davis Cup has gone through numerous changes which was triggered by a deal with Kosmos to revamp the competition. However, Kosmos’ pledge to invest in the event for 25 years didn’t even last five years with the ITF terminating their contract.

Under the latest format, the top 16 teams are split down into four groups with each of those traveling to a specific location to play their ties. Then the top two of each group progress to the weeklong knockout stages, known as the Davis Cup Finals, in Malaga. 

However, Hewitt believes the latest structure of the event isn’t as good as it used to be. Speaking to reporters in Malaga on Monday, when asked what he would change about the event, the 42-year-old replied: “to how it was.”

“The No. 1 thing is home-and-away ties. I have watched plenty of vision the last few years, even back in the day when I was playing,” he said.
“Coming back here to Spain and remembering 2000. Rafa Nadal was carrying the flag onto the court in front of over 20,000 people, all booing and screaming against me, and it was still an unbelievable atmosphere. That’s what the Davis Cup was about.’
“Whether we played home semis and finals in Rod Laver Arena or away in France, in Nice, or Barcelona, it was an unbelievable experience and some of my best memories. Some of my hardest memories, as well, but some of my very best.”

During his professional career, Hewitt played in 43 Davis Cup ties and won 42 out of 56 matches played. He featured in the final three years in a row (1999-2001) and then again in 2003.

Australia will begin their latest campaign later this week when they will play the Czech Republic in the quarter-finals. The team includes Alex de Minaur, Max Purcell, Jordan Thompson, Alexi Popryin and Matthew Ebden. Thanasi Kokkinakis has been forced to pull out of the event due to an ankle injury. 

“The last couple of years it’s been a pretty settled team, to be honest,” said Hewitt.
“I haven’t used that many different players. It’s more about the camaraderie that the boys have. They know every time they step on the court they know what they’re playing for and it’s not just themselves.’
“They are playing for each other first, but they’re also playing for the rest of the team and support staff, but they’re also playing for their country.’
“It takes a certain player to be able to go out there and perform under that kind of pressures and expectations, and these boys can do it.”

Australia is aiming to go one step better than last year when they finished runners-up to Canada. 

Full list of Davis Cup quarter-final fixtures

  • Canada Vs Finland (to be played on 21/22/23 from 16:00 local time)
  • Australia Vs Czech Republic (to be played on 22/11/23 from 16:00 local time)
  • Italy vs Netherlands (to be played on 23/11/23 from 10:00 local time) 
  • Great Britain Vs Serbia (to be played on 23/11/23 not before 16:30 local time)

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ATP RANKINGS UPDATE: a Limitless Novak Djokovic Broadens His Lead



Novak Djokovic – ATP Finals 2023 (photo via Twitter @ATPTour_ES)

By Roberto Ferri


Also this year we conclude our weekly column on the ATP rankings by quoting the words which are said to be the last of emperor Augustus: “The play is over, applaud”.

And who, more than Novak Djokovic, deserves such an imperial applause? He crowns an outstanding year with a seventh ATP Finals title and a 400th week at the top of the rankings. Not to mention that it’s the 8th time he has ended the year as No.1. And what about the 2,390 points of margin on the No. 2 in the world, Carlos Alcaraz? As our director says: not too bad.

Since the top 20 positions are unchanged from last week, we have chosen to compare the final ranking of the top 20 players with the ranking they held at the start of 2023.

Position 20/11/23YOBPlayerCountryPtsPosition 02/01/23+/-
121999de MinaurAustralia27402412

A few comments:

·         Among the top 10 Jannik Sinner is the one who has most improved his ranking. He started the year at No. 11. Now he’s 4th.  

·         Nicolas Jarry wins the prize for the most improved top 20 of the season: he has gained 133 positions.

·         Casper Ruud is awarded a hardly desired prize: the most regressed. Indeed, from 3rd, he has dropped out of the top 10 and sadly rests in 11th seat.

·         Brian Shelton and Ugo Humbert have performed brilliantly, gaining 79 and 66 positions respectively.

·         The USA is the country boasting the highest number of players in the Top 20. Four Americans are featured in the top 20. Russia follows with three.

·         14 players of the top 20 are European.

·         Five players who started 2023 in the top 20 have dropped out, mainly due to physical issues: Felix Auger Aliassime (29), Dennis Shapovalov (105), Pablo Carreno Busta (601), Matteo Berrettini (90) and Marin Cilic (664).

·         Novak Djokovic is the only player who was born in the 80s. He’s still doing pretty well.


Among the 3 players who have risen to a career highest, the nineteen-year-old American Alex Michelsen is the only one who accomplished such feat by victoriously battling on court and triumphing in the Challenger in Knoxville.


That’s really all for now. We’ll be back in the new season.

Translated by Kingsley Elliot Kaye

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ATP Finals Daily Preview: Jannik Sinner Plays Novak Djokovic in the Championship Match



Novak Djokovic on Saturday in Turin (

It’s Championship Sunday in Turin, with the singles and doubles champions to be crowned. 


This past Tuesday, Jannik Sinner earned his first career victory over Novak Djokovic in his fourth try, and in the best match of the 2023 ATP Finals thus far.  Just five days later, Sinner will look to repeat that feat and beat the all-time great for the second time this week.  Jannik is playing for the biggest title of his young career, and trying to deny Novak a record-breaking seventh title at the ATP Finals.

Also on Sunday, In the doubles championship match, it’s Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos (5) vs. Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury (6).  Ram and Salisbury are looking to defend their titles from a year ago, while Granollers and Zeballos are vying for their biggest title as a team, though Granollers won this event back in 2012 alongside Marc Lopez.  Last year in the round-robin stage of this tournament, Ram and Salisbury defeated Granollers and Zeballos in a third-set tiebreak, though earlier this season on clay in Rome, Granollers and Zeballos avenged that loss, in another match decided by a third-set tiebreak.

Jannik Sinner (4) vs. Novak Djokovic (1) – Not Before 6:00pm

Sinner is the only singles player to go 4-0 this past week, with victories over Djokovic, Tsitsipas, Rune, and Medvedev.  His last three matches have all been three-setters, including a highly-competitive semifinal on Saturday against Medvedev.  Jannik is now 61-14 on the year, with four titles, two of which have come this fall.  He’s now claimed 17 of his last 18 matches, with the only loss coming against Ben Shelton in Shanghai.  And Sinner owns a career record of 10-3 in ATP finals, though two of those losses occurred this year.

Djokovic is 3-1 this week, and has now won 21 of his last 22 matches, with an overall record of 54-6 this season, and six titles (three of which were Majors).  His loss to Sinner on Tuesday is the only match he’s lost since losing the Wimbledon final to Carlos Alcaraz.  Djokovic rather comfortably defeated Alcaraz in Saturday’s semifinals, spending considerably less time on court than Sinner did in his semifinal earlier in the day.  In his 16th appearance at the ATP Finals, this is Novak’s ninth time reaching the championship match, where he is 6-2 previously.  Since winning this event a year ago, he is now 7-1 in his last eight tournament finals.

Djokovic leads their head-to-head 3-1, and they split their two prior meetings in 2023.  In comparing the stats between Novak’s straight-set victory over Jannik in this year’s Wimbledon semis, to Jannik’s three-set win over Novak on Tuesday, the first thing that stands out is Sinner’s improved serve.  At Wimbledon, he served eight aces and three double faults, compared to 15 aces and only two doubles on Tuesday.  And the other big difference is how Jannik took advantage of his break point chances.  At Wimbledon, we was 0-for-6 on break points, while on Tuesday he was 2-for-3.

Sinner has been the best player of the week, with the significant improvements he’s made in his game rewarded by the fast-playing courts in his home country.  As per Tennis Channel, Jannik has the fastest average speed on both his forehand and backhand out of any player in this field.  The Italian has also embraced the home crowd support, and played his best tennis during the most crucial moments.  But can he maintain that level to earn a second victory this week over 2023’s best player?

Jannik will also have to overcome a disturbing trend, as far as his chances are concerned.  Three out of the last four times the singles final at this event has been a rematch from round-robin play, the player who lost the round-robin match was victorious in the final.  That bodes well for Djokovic, and he’s also one of the players to previously do just that.  Back in 2015, he defeated Roger Federer in straight sets after losing to Roger earlier in the week.  However, Novak was also a victim of that trend in 2018, when he lost the final to Sascha Zverev.

As great as Sinner has performed this week, it’s hard to imagine him mustering the effort to defeat the 24-time Major champ again on Sunday.  And Djokovic will be motivated to avenge the one loss on his record from the last four months.  Novak continually reminds us how much he enjoys fighting off the younger generation’s best, and he is the favorite to overcome one of the sport’s fastest-rising stars on Sunday.  It would be his seventh title at the ATP Finals, surpassing Federer’s tally of six, and coming 15 years after his first.

Sunday’s full Order of Play is here.

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