Monday, December 31, 2018

Tennis players shine at Hopman Cup NYE Gala

Team Switzerland looking spffy I think they win best dressed but I'm biased

 Team Greece

 Team Germany

 Team Spain

 Team France

 Team Australia

Team USA

Team Great Britain 

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Defending Champions Roger Federer & Belinda Bencic make winning return at Hopman Cup

Roger Federer outplayed Great Britain’s Cameron Norrie 6-1, 6-1 to secure a winning start for the defending champions Switzerland at the Hopman Cup in Perth on Sunday .

Gearing up for his Australian Open title defence, Federer overcame three break points in his opening service game before rediscovering his rhythm to race to a 5-0 lead.

With 18 winners and four aces, Federer wrapped up the opening set in 31 minutes as Norrie struggled to match Federer’s crisp stroke-making.

Federer’s playing partner Belinda Bencic beat Katie Boulter 6-2, 7-6 in the women’s contest to clinch Switzerland’s victory in the round-robin stage.

The 37-year-old Federer, has won the last two Australian Open titles after taking part in the mixed-team tournament in Perth. “This was a great start but obviously there’s a long way to go here and in Melbourne,” the world No 3 said. “It’s nice I’m feeling as good as I am and played a wonderful match against Cameron.”

Switzerland play USA on New Year’s Day, with Federer, a 20-times grand slam winner, set to play the 23-times grand slam winner Serena Williams in the mixed doubles. The match pits arguably the two greatest players of all time against each other in their first contest on court.

Norrie, the world No 91, beat the Greek world No 15 Stefanos Tsitsipas in straight sets for the biggest win of his career on Saturday. Great Britain return to Hopman Cup action on Thursday.

“I admire everything she has done both on and off the court,” Federer said. “I have always thought how is it to return that serve and go head-to-head with her.

“It’s very exciting for us. I hope tennis fans tune in and watch it because it’s going to be one time and probably never again in this type of competition.

“I don’t know her that well. I only know her from some champions’ dinners at Wimbledon. We have busy lives and a big entourage, so it’s rare to really deep dive. We can relate to each other more so now, being parents.”

Last year’s runners-up Germany made a triumphant return when Alexander Zverev and Angelique Kerber recorded hard-fought victories in their singles matches.

Coming off a title win at the season-ending ATP Finals in London, Zverev countered his 45 unforced errors with 39 winners and eight aces to beat Spain’s David Ferrer 6-4, 4-6, 7-6.

After the match, Zverev paid tribute to former world No 3, who will retire next year at the age of 36. “All the credit is [to] David, coming back from a set down and break down,” Zverev said.

“He is the greatest fighter, maybe, that we have ever seen in tennis. What he has done in tennis over the past 15 or 20 years has been absolutely amazing.”

Kerber, the world No 2, beat Garbiñe Muguruza 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 to end a five-match losing streak against the two-times grand slam winner.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Roger Federer excited to face Serena Williams at Hopman Cup in Perth

Roger Federer is relishing the chance to play against Serena Williams as he begins his 2019 season at the Hopman Cup in Perth, Australia.

Federer enjoyed another sensational year on the ATP Tour in 2018, the Swiss native winning four titles, including a 20th Grand Slam at the Australian Open.

Despite turning 37 in August, Federer claimed 48 wins across the year and continues to flourish, something he hopes to carry into 2019.

First up is the mixed-team exhibition event in Australia where Federer will look to defend Switzerland's title with Belinda Bencic.

The group stage of the event will see Federer and Bencic face Williams and United States teammate Frances Tiafoe, and it is a match the world No. 3 cannot wait for.

"We'll probably play it down a little bit and say it's not that big of a deal for us, it's just another tennis match, but it really isn't because it's probably going to happen once and never again," Federer said. "That's why I hope we're both going to be injury free when that day comes around."

Federer will use the event as part of his Australian Open preparation, where he is looking for a third successive title, and he says his training has been going well.

"I've been very happy with how the offseason went," he added. "The last three or four weeks have been very intense. I'm very excited and motivated for this next season.

"A lot of things need to happen to win any slam. I hope that again it will be the start of a great season for me because the last two seasons have been crazy good for me."

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Australian Open to introduce final set 10 point tie-breaks for the WTA at 2019 Championships

The Australian Open will introduce final-set tiebreaks from next month.

The deciding set in singles and doubles will draw to a conclusion after 6-6 using the longer of the tiebreak formats – first to 10 points.

The decision comes following the most extensive consultation in the tournament’s history.

“We asked the players – both past and present, commentators, agents and TV analysts whether they wanted to play an advantage final set or not, and went from there,” Australian Open Tournament Director Craig Tiley said.

“We went with a 10-point tiebreak at six games all in the final set to ensure the fans still get a special finale to these often epic contests, with the longer tiebreak still then allowing for that one final twist or change of momentum in the contest. This longer tiebreak also can lessen some of the serving dominance that can prevail in the shorter tiebreak.

“We believe this is the best possible outcome for both the players and the fans around the world,” Tiley added.

The Australian Open 2019, the first Slam of the season, will take place at Melbourne Park from January 14 to 27.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Wimbledon to introduce final set tie-break at 12 all in 2019

The All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) has announced that, as of 2019, matches that reach 12-12 in the final set at the Wimbledon Championships will now go to a tie-break in an effort to end never-ending matches, such as Kevin Anderson's mammoth victory over John Isner earlier this year.

The men’s semi-final between the pair became the second-longest match in Grand Slam history after lasting more than six-and-a-half hours, with the South African Anderson eventually prevailing in exhausting circumstances.

American Isner was also involved in the longest ever match recorded when he beat Nicolas Mahut in 2010, with their first round encounter at Wimbledon finishing in a 70-68 final set that spanned over three days.

But this year’s semi-final will be the last of its kind after the AELTC announced on Friday that, after considerable review of the last two decades at SW19 along with players and officials, a first-to-seven tie-break will be used when the scores reach 12-12 in the fifth set – though players must still have an advantage of two clear points as is used throughout all over sets under the previous rules.

“In reaching this decision, the AELTC Committee sought the feedback of both players and officials, analysed two decades of match data, and considered other factors including scheduling complexities and spectator experience,” said AELTC chairman Philip Brook.

“Our view was that the time had come to introduce a tie-break method for matches that had not reached their natural conclusion at a reasonable point during the deciding set. While we know the instances of matches extending deep into the final set are rare, we feel that a tie-break at 12-12 strikes an equitable balance between allowing players ample opportunity to complete the match to advantage, while also providing certainty that the match will reach a conclusion in an acceptable timeframe.

“As a next step, we look forward to sharing further details with our Grand Slam, ITF, WTA and ATP colleagues when we meet in Singapore.”

Sunday, December 02, 2018

Tennis coaching carousels for 2018

Towards the end of each year, the firing and hiring of coaching staff – or often a more simple and amicable parting of ways – becomes the topic du jour in tennis.

This season is no different. So to keep up with it all, here’s a look at which players have recently made changes their coaching personnel.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

The former world No.5 announced he would be adding Sergi Bruguera to his team for the 2019 season. “I look forward to being able to start working together and meet new challenges,” said Tsonga, in a translated version of his tweet. The Frenchman is currently ranked outside the world’s top 250, having returned to the tour in September after seven months away due to left knee surgery. He continues to work with Thierry Ascione as well. Bruguera, meanwhile, will also continue his role as Spanish Davis Cup captain.

Sam Stosur

The Australian revealed she would reunite with childhood coach Nick Watkins for the Australian summer in January. Stosur recently completed a two-week training block on the Gold Coast with Watkins and loved the experience. “We (Watkins and I) did a lot things on court obviously, we kind of went back to basics I guess in a lot of ways. Worked on a number of different things, I really enjoyed it,” she said. “We had breakfast on Sunday so I was like ‘so what do you reckon (about continuing)?” Earlier in November, Stosur parted ways with Josh Eagle, her coach of two years.

Simona Halep

After several fruitful years – the zenith being Halep’s victory at Roland Garros earlier this year – the Romanian and coach Darren Cahill will no longer work together. In what appears to be an entirely amicable parting of ways, Cahill wrote on Instagram: “After much thought and discussion, and many years with 30 plus weeks on the road away from my family, I’ve decided to take a 12 month break from coaching to be home more for support as our children enter important stages of their lives with the final year of high school, sports and college preparations all becoming more time consuming. I’d like to thank Simona for the last 4 amazing years.” Halep replied on Twitter: “I was lucky to have you and what a journey we had. Wishing you and your family nothing but the best and I’m sure I’ll see you soon!”

Halep has since said she will start the 2019 season without a coach. “I thought about it and I will not have a coach in the following period. I want to go to some tournaments on my own and we’ll see how that goes,” the world No.1 told Romanian press.

Angelique Kerber

The Wimbledon champion will link up with fellow German Rainer Schuettler, the retired ATP player who reached the Australian Open 2003 final. As reported on WTA Insider, the former world No.5 will replace Wim Fissette, from whom Kerber separated before the WTA Finals after less than a year together. “I am really looking forward to the opportunity of working with Angelique during this phase of her career,” Schuettler said in a statement. “She has obviously shown what a great champion she is and I hope my experience can bring a fresh perspective to an already strong team.” In a statement re Fissette from Kerber’s management team translated by Germany’s Tennis Magazine, the split was “due to different views in regards to the future collaboration.” Added Kerber: “We were talking a lot. When you decide also like to not working anymore … if you know it (that’s) why I decide to split before (the WTA Finals). There were some details, but I don’t want to go too deep into the details.”

Belinda Bencic

Bencic has split with Slovakian coach Vladimir Platenik. Platenik, who previously coached Dominika Cibulkova and Daria Kasatkina, will be looking for a new partnership, while Bencic aims to build on a 2018 season that saw her move 128 ranking places to No.37.

Elina Svitolina

The Ukrainian has promoted hitting partner Andrew Bettles to be her new head coach after a career week at the WTA Finals. Bettles has been working as Svitolina’s main coach since she parted ways with Thierry Ascione after the US Open and worked briefly with Nick Saviano during the Asian swing. “I’m the kind of person that I like something fresh,” she said in Singapore. “I think we (Ascione and I) got a little bit stuck that moment. For me, was just, yeah, the time to move forward … the career is not that long.”

Victoria Azarenka

Azarenka has reunited with Wim Fissette, who last month split from Angelique Kerber (more on that below). Azarenka and Fisette were snapped together at the IMG Academy in Florida with revered coach Nick Bollettieri as Azarenka prepares for the 2019 season. She previously worked with Fissette from early 2015 until she became pregnant and stepped away from the tour in July 2016. At the beginning of 2018 Azarenka started working with US college tennis coach Slava Konikov and during the clay-court season linked up with Benjamin Ebrahimzadeh, who remains listed as her coach on the WTA website.

Kiki Bertens

Bertens has added former player and countrywoman Elise Tamaela as a part-time coach and travelling physio. Tamaela served as interim coach for Bertens’ during her title run in Charleston this year. Dutchman Raemon Sluiter will stay on as the world No.9’s full-time coach in 2019.

Maria Sakkari

Sakkari has hired Mark Petchey as her new coach for 2019. Petchey coached Andy Murray during his rise to the top 50 but more recently has been providing ATP analysis for BBC, Sky Sports and ITC. Sakkari split with Thomas Johansson at the end of this season.

Johanna Konta

Former world No.4 Konta has locked up Dimitri Zavialoff – former coach to Swiss players Stan Wawrinka and Timea Bacsinszky – after recently separating from Michael Joyce. Following a first-round loss at the US Open, Konta said of Joyce: “I still definitely feel we’re doing good work. I think you need to give things time. I feel, yeah, happy with the relationship that we have.” Within six weeks, the relationship ended.

Dominic Thiem

The Austrian’s co-coach Galo Blanco has announced he will focus on his new role as part of the Davis Cup executive committee, and therefore cannot continue to work with Thiem. Blanco joined Thiem’s entourage in late 2017 to work alongside long-time coach Gunter Bresnik. “That’s a shame. That was a really good collaboration, but it does not work anymore. He can not go on tour with anyone,” said Thiem at the Vienna Open, in an interview translated from German. Thiem will continue to work with Bresnik, but admitted in the same interview he was looking for a new touring coach to replace Blanco.

Eugenie Bouchard

Meanwhile, the Canadian former top-five player has snapped up Joyce. Their first tournament together was last week’s WTA Luxembourg Open, where Bouchard started in the qualifying rounds and won six straight matches to reach the semifinals. Joyce is the fourth coach Bouchard has worked with in 2018.

Karolina Pliskova

Pliskova is one of the rare players showing faith in female coaches, revealing in Singapore she will keep working with Rennae Stubbs and Conchita Martinez in a co-coaching arrangement through the off-season and next year’s Australian summer circuit. Pliskova split with Czech coach Tomas Krupa at the start of the US summer and re-united with Stubbs, whom she worked with briefly in late 2017. Martinez came in for the US Open fortnight while Stubbs was unavailable.

I was honestly most shocked about Cahill splitting with Simona, given how much success they had together this year. 

It'll be interesting to see what sort of impact this has on her hopefully it won't shake things up too much and she is able to continue what she started this year. 

Angie Kerber spitting with Fissette was the other big surprise, but I think in her case it will be a good one, since I've heard those 2 have had a lot of differences of opinion in the later part of the year especially (it sort of showed in Angie's performances). 

So I think in her case it'll be a largely positive change. 

I also hope Genie Bouchard and Victoria Azaranka can make some in roads on tour next season. 

It should be an intriguing one, I'm really looking forward to it.  Just another month to go. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

ATP unveils 'ATP Cup' Team Event for 2020

The ATP and Tennis Australia today officially unveiled the ATP Cup - a new team competition to kickstart the men’s tennis season from 2020. The tournament, which was announced during the Nitto ATP Finals in London, will be played across three Australian cities over ten days in the lead up to the Australian Open and will feature teams from 24 countries.

World No. 1 and President of the ATP Player Council Novak Djokovic was among the players who joined ATP Executive Chairman & President Chris Kermode and Craig Tiley, CEO of Tennis Australia, to reveal the details of the competition, which has been shaped through extensive consultation over several years with players, tournament organisers and sponsors. The launch also revealed the ATP Cup’s new brand identity and a promotional video to bring the plans to life.

The event sees the return of an ATP team competition into the calendar for the first time since the ATP World Team Cup, which was held in Dusseldorf from 1978-2012.

The move represents the latest initiative by ATP to innovate in the sport, as well as providing increased earning opportunities for its players, and introducing new fans to the game. The tournament will ensure every season starts with an event with a truly global profile, giving players the chance to see their nation crowned the best in the world. The 2020 ATP Cup will offer US$15 million in prize money and up to 750 ATP Rankings points to the winners.

Djokovic, who finished 2018 as year-end No.1 for a fifth time, stated: “I like that it’s owned by ATP, by the players, and that we have ranking points, and it’s going to be the best way to kick start the season. Australia is a country that has a Grand Slam, that nurtures tennis tradition. More than 90 per cent of the time we’re playing as individuals and we don’t have too many team events. This is going to bring together a lot of nations and for me personally it will be a very nice and proud moment to represent my country.”

Kermode added: “This new event fits perfectly with our strategy to innovate and look towards the future. We know from our extensive discussions with the players that the ATP Cup will provide a great way for them to open their season – bringing together the world’s best for a major team event that compliments existing scheduling, provides highly-coveted ATP ranking points and clearly links to the Australian Open. The first week of the season is when the players want to play and that’s why the tournament has their strong support. By staging the event with Tennis Australia, which is renowned for its experience as an outstanding event promoter, we know that the tournament will be a great success from year one.”

Tennis Australia CEO, Craig Tiley added: “This is an amazing opportunity, in close collaboration with the players and the tour, to deliver a globally impactful event that further elevates the sport and the fan interest in it.

“We want to keep growing tennis, give the players an environment where they can perform to the best of their abilities and then ensure they are appropriately appreciated and rewarded. This event will help us all achieve that while connecting with new generations of tennis fans. It will provide a new source of inspiration for young athletes to choose our sport.”

The format of the ATP Cup will see nations split into six groups, with eight teams emerging from the round-robin stage to compete in the knockout phase until only one team is left standing. There will be up to five players in each team, with ties comprising two singles matches and one doubles match. The criteria for entry into the ATP Cup will be based off the ATP Ranking of the No. 1 singles player from each country.

Venue announcements will be made in due course.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Roger Federer : 'It's been a historic season'

There was a lot on the line for Roger Federer at the 2018 Nitto ATP Finals. The Swiss had a chance to not only extend his record to seven titles at the season finale, but lift his 100th tour-level trophy, becoming just the second player to do so (Jimmy Connors, 109).

But Federer fell short in the semi-finals at The O2 on Saturday, losing against an impressive Alexander Zverev. Perhaps the fact that at 37, Federer had a chance to reach his 11th championship match at the Nitto ATP Finals speaks even louder than the disappointment of losing.

“I must tell you I'm very proud that at 37 I'm still so competitive and so happy playing tennis. From that standpoint, as disappointed as I might be about this match, if I take a step back, I'm actually very happy about the season,” Federer said. “It's been a historic season in some ways. Got back to World No. 1. For me, that was a huge moment in my life, to be honest, in my career because I never thought I would get there again.”

In January 2017, Federer fell to No. 17 in the ATP Rankings after missing six months due to a knee injury. The Swiss hadn’t been placed that low in more than 15 years. But Federer battled back, and this February, after winning the ABN Amro World Tennis Tournament for the third time, he returned to the top of tennis’ proverbial mountain, becoming the oldest player to attain top spot and set the record for the longest period between stints as World No. 1

Throw in a 20th Grand Slam title at the Australian Open and two more tour-level triumphs in addition to Rotterdam — in Stuttgart and Basel — and Federer still had a strong season, despite falling short in London.

“[Pete] Sampras once upon a time said, ‘If you win a Slam, it's a good season’. So [my season] started great. I played super well in Australia again. So obviously I can't wait to go back there in a couple of months,” said Federer, who finishes his year with a 48-10 record. “The second half of the season could have been better, maybe. I also have high hopes to always do well. So I'm happy I gave myself opportunities again in that second half of the season. I maybe lost a couple of too-close matches that could have changed things around for me a little bit.”

There was plenty of build-up surrounding the possibility of Federer claiming a historic 100th title at the prestigious season finale after claiming victory No. 99 at home in Basel. But Federer was quick to throw a light-hearted response back to a reporter who said after the Swiss’ loss to Zverev that, “you need 100 titles”.

“I don't need it, but go ahead,” Federer said with a smile. “I will breathe air also if I don't.”

Federer will still finish the year at No. 3 in the ATP Rankings, the 14th time he has ended a season inside the Top 3. Federer even made personal history in 2018 with a career-best 17-0 start before losing in the BNP Paribas Open final.

“Five years ago, where was I? I was probably fighting with back pain in '13, not sure if I was ever going to figure that back pain out again because I had it for almost probably four or five months of the season. It really rocked my tennis for a bit,” Federer admitted. “Here I am having actually a pretty good season physically, as well, won another Slam, got back to World No. 1. So, yes, you can see it as a very, very positive season. That's probably how I will look back on it, as well.”

If nothing else, Saturday’s defeat will serve as more motivation for Federer. He saw that he was once again in contention for one of the sport’s crowning jewels, the Nitto ATP Finals title. And now, Federer can begin the process of chasing after it once again.

“I'm here now. So I'm a little bit disappointed there because I believe I was close. Being close makes me believe I can keep going, I can win again. That's uplifting in some ways,” Federer said. “But because I know I could have won, I'm also disappointed because I aim high. From that standpoint, I'm a little bit disappointed now, which is normal. Overall I'm happy how the season went. There are many positives, to be quite honest. So I'm excited for next season.”

Did You Know?

Federer has now won four titles or more 14 times in his career. And at the Nitto ATP Finals, he has advanced to the semi-finals or better in 15 of his 16 appearances.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Roger Federer won't let No. 100 get in his head

Entering Thursday at the Nitto ATP Finals, there was a chance Roger Federer would fail to reach the semi-finals at the season finale for just the second time in 16 appearances. But one impressive straight-sets win against fourth seed Kevin Anderson later, and the 37-year-old is through round-robin play atop Group Lleyton Hewitt.

Suddenly, a major milestone is within reach. If Federer wins two more matches, he will lift his 100th tour-level trophy, with Jimmy Connors (109 titles) the only other player who has achieved the feat.

“Personally I'm still not thinking of the number, 100. I won't let that get in my head, make me go crazy because it should be something I'm excited about and not something I should feel extra pressure [to earn],” Federer said. “It's just going to be hard to finish it. I'm happy I gave myself the opportunity. I'm happy that I'm raising my level of play throughout this week. This is what I hope to do. It's exciting to be in this situation now, of course, no doubt.”

Just four days ago, the Swiss lost a round-robin match at the Nitto ATP Finals in straight sets for the first time, so he knows that he has to take it one step at a time. That is part of what makes this tournament so special; every match poses a major challenge.

“I think regardless of the numbers, this is a massive tournament for the players. Of course, I can only speak for myself, but I've loved being part of the Tennis Masters Cup, today [the Nitto ATP] Finals,” Federer said. “I've always tried to pace myself in a way… that I would have something left in the tank, that I would peak at this event.”

And Federer has gotten better with every match at The O2 in 2018. After an exchange of breaks in the first set against tournament debutant Anderson, Federer used his backhand slice well to throw off the game of the South African, who had not faced break point in the entire event. Federer broke him four times.

“I'm feeling great,” Federer said. “I'm very happy that I still have energy left in the tank. Mentally, I feel fresh.”

And Federer’s secret sauce continues to work. The second seed took a day off of practice after losing to Kei Nishikori on Sunday. And that strategy has not failed him since.

“Look, I'm a big believer in vacation. I'm a big believer in taking time off sometimes. When I go to work, I go hard, I go the right way, I go professional about it with my team,” Federer said. “I didn't think of taking a day off, to be honest, after the Nishikori match. I thought, ‘What are we going to do? Where are we going to train?’”

But Federer’s team suggested taking a day off, and the Swiss heeded their advice. He did not practice on Wednesday after beating Dominic Thiem on Tuesday, and Federer says he doubts he will hit balls on Friday. Why change something if it’s not broken?

“It's one of the first times I've done it like that,” Federer said. “I'm happy it's paying off so far. But I’ve got to be very, very focused the moment I step on court for the practice, the warm-up. I think that's key, as well.”

And Federer will look to remain focused regardless of his opponent in the semi-finals. Novak Djokovic leads Group Guga Kuerten after two matches, with Marin Cilic, John Isner and Alexander Zverev still hoping to advance. Federer, this year’s Australian Open, Rotterdam, Stuttgart and Basel titlist, is now 57-14 at the Nitto ATP Finals. And while he’s triumphed at the tournament six times, the Swiss seeks his first victory since 2011.

“I'm happy that this is another week like this. Didn't look like it maybe 72 hours ago,” Federer said. “But I was able to come back and play good tennis.”

Sadly he lost against Zvarev, but Zvarev played well so I hope he can beat Djokovic though a big part of me highly doubts it.  

It's too bad Roger's final tournament of the season ended on a loss. 

But he'll have plenty of chances to get #100 next year, maybe even at Aussie Open. 

Rest up Roger, see you in 2019.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Roger Federer gets his revenge on Anderson reaches semis at ATP World Tour Finals

Roger Federer walked onto Centre Court at The O2 on Thursday knowing he needed a strong performance if he wanted to advance to the semi-finals at the Nitto ATP Finals for the 15th time.

And Federer responded in a big way, defeating fourth seed Kevin Anderson 6-4, 6-3 to not only guarantee that he would move on to the last four in London, but that he would win Group Lleyton Hewitt with a 2-1 record.

The week might not have started off well for the 37-year-old Swiss, who shockingly fell in his opening match against Kei Nishikori in straight sets, the first time he has fallen in two sets at the event in round-robin play. But Federer bounced back to beat Dominic Thiem and now Anderson without dropping a set.

"We’re used to you lose, you leave and you don’t hang around. So from that standpoint, I think it was more straightforward for me today," Federer said on court after his win. "I’ve always wanted to go out with a bang today and win the match. If I go through, great, if I don’t well I don’t deserve to be through and that’s okay, too. I’m happy I’m still alive."

Federer came out focused early against Anderson, who was 2-0 in his Nitto ATP Finals debut, breaking first. But the second seed played a sloppy service game and struggled to pinpoint his serve like usual to give that break back.

From there, though, Federer locked down his game, and did well to win 68 per cent of second-serve return points against the big-serving Anderson to triumph in 77 minutes. The 99-time tour-level champion did everything in his power to keep Anderson from getting in a rhythm, hitting dagger-like backhand slices short in the court to elicit mishits from his opponent, and to bring Anderson into the net without the 6'8" right-hander necessarily wanting to journey into the forecourt.

"Unfortunately I had a rocky service game myself after that [first service break. I didn't let that frustrate me or disappoint me. I kept on plugging away, kept on trying," Federer said. "I think my attitude was good today. I think I had an aggressive playing mindset, a good variation as well with my slice. I think it was just a good match from my side."

With Thiem’s victory over Nishikori in straight sets earlier in the day, Anderson was already guaranteed to become the first South African to move into the semi-finals at the season finale since the tournament began in 1970. So Federer will face the second-placed competitor in Group Guga Kuerten, while Anderson will clash against that group’s winner.

"I’m very happy. First match was tough against Kei, never got going. And with the back against the wall, maybe it’s easier for me to play, I’m not sure. But I fought hard," Federer said. "In the end, I played some good tennis today and I’m very happy. Kevin’s had a wonderful year, and so have the other two guys. It’s been a fun group, with many different kinds of players in the group. I’m thrilled. Thanks for the support, of course, and I’m excited to be in the semis."

The win is even sweeter for the Swiss, as Anderson came from two sets and a match point down against Federer in this year’s Wimbledon quarter-finals to earn perhaps the biggest win of his career en route to the final at SW19. Federer now leads Anderson 5-1 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series.

Did You Know?

Federer broke Anderson four times in the match. The South African had not faced a break point in his first two matches at the season finale.

Looks like just like in Paris Roger is getting better with each match. 

I think he may need to play more matches before tournaments to help him fine tune things. 

But I guess we'll see next year, he does tend the start the year off strong. 

It could have just been that he really wanted to prove a point vs Anderson over his Wimbledon loss.

Saturday's match against Zvarev should be an interesting one. 

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Agnieszka Radwanska announces retirement from professional tennis

Former World No.2 Agnieszka Radwanska has announced her retirement from professional tennis.

In a statement, the Pole said: "I'd like to share with you one of the most important decisions of my life. Today, after 13 years of playing tennis competitively, I have decided to end my career. This was not an easy decision. I am grateful to have so many special memories, including 20 WTA titles, the WTA Championships in Singapore, a Wimbledon final, and so many others.

"Unfortunately I am no longer able to train and play the way I used to, and recently my body can't live up to my expectations. Taking into consideration my health and the heavy burdens of professional tennis, I have to concede that I’m not able to push my body to the limits required."

Radwanska was the first Polish player to reach a Grand Slam singles final in the Open Era, and the first to win the WTA Finals. She was also voted the WTA Fan Favorite for six consecutive years.

She thanked her family and support team, and added: "I’m hanging the racquet up and say goodbye to the pro tour, but I’m not leaving tennis. Tennis is and always has been special in my life. But now it’s time for new challenges, new ideas, equally as exciting as those on the tennis court, I hope.

"Throughout my career, I always did my best to represent my country in the best possible way. I hope that my tennis matches were the source of emotions and joy for you all. Your support, warm words and faith in me were with me in every single match I played and this is what I’m thankful for. Thank you for every sleepless night in front of the TV and all those Fan Favorite awards – that was the biggest honour and best reward for my hard work. I am truly grateful for having the best and most loyal fans in all of tennis."

In all, Radwanska won 20 career WTA singles titles. In addition to her Wimbledon exploits, she reached the semifinals of the Australian Open twice, the quarterfinals of the French Open once, and also regularly featured in the second week of the US Open.

“Congratulations to Agnieszka on an outstanding career,” said WTA CEO and Chairman Steve Simon. “Agnieszka embodies the qualities that make a true champion, on the court delivering world class performances and incredible displays of athleticism, and off the court with her poise, professionalism and support for her fellow players. Agnieszka leaves a legacy on the game across the globe and on behalf of the WTA, she will truly be missed.”

Tennis will not be the same without you Aga, every match was always exciting to watch just for the sheer amount of incredible shots.  

There's a reason why the media dubbed you the Polish Ninja. Not only is this a huge loss for the sport of tennis itself, but for Polish tennis in particular. 

I think it's going to be a while before we have another player that can reach the elite level the way she did.  

Aga has always been compared to Martina Hingis for her similar style when it comes to net play, which is the biggest complement one can receive when it comes to the sport.  

With both of them retired now, I hope the new generation of players that come along adapt some of those same play qualities. It would be a real shame if that got completely lost.

Thank you for 13 years of  outstanding athleticism, and for representing your country with absolute grace and respect, you will be sorely missed on the WTA tour.  All the best in the new chapter ahead. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Players defend Roger Federer over Julien Benneteau's unfair advantage claims

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic leapt to the defence of great rival Roger Federer on Tuesday (AEDT) after claims that the Swiss enjoys preferential treatment on Tour.

Frenchman Julien Benneteau caused a stir during an interview on French radio station RMC Sport on Monday in which he said tournament referees were often kinder to Federer when it came to scheduling his matches.

Benneteau was particularly referring to the Australian Open where he said 20-time Grand Slam champion Federer played “12 or 13” of his 14 matches at Melbourne in the past two years at night, so avoiding the often scorching temperatures.

He also suggested Federer’s Laver Cup project, an exhibition team event in which Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley is also involved, represented a conflict of interest.

“When he [Federer] promotes the Laver Cup, there are a number of conflicts of interest that have become disturbing,” Benneteau said.

“In the organisation of this event, there’s Craig Tiley, the boss of the Australian Open, who deals with marketing and television rights. He is paid by Roger Federer’s agent and, on the back of that, as luck would have it, Federer played 12 of his 14 matches at 7.30pm.”

Asked for his thoughts after his round-robin victory over American John Isner at the ATP Finals on Tuesday, Djokovic said Federer had earned the right for special treatment.

“In the end of the day, in a way he deserves the special treatment because he’s six-time champion of Australian Open and arguably the best player ever,” Djokovic told reporters.

“If he doesn’t have it, who is going to have it? People want to see him play on the centre court, and they want to see him play in showtime, the best hours, which is 7:30 at night in Rod Laver Arena.

Asked for his thoughts after his round-robin victory over American John Isner at the ATP Finals on Tuesday, Djokovic said Federer had earned the right for special treatment.

“I understand Julien’s point because sometimes it does seem that maybe certain players get more favoured year after year in certain tournaments. On the other side, you have to understand that Federer is a driving force of tennis in terms of revenue, in terms of attention.

“Julien and guys like him are also benefiting from tennis, because of Roger, because of what he has done for the sport.”

Isner went even further, saying the likes of Federer, Djokovic and Rafael Nadal should get even more privileges.

“If anything, maybe they should get more special treatment because those guys, the top players, have made other players below them a lot of money,” the American said after his 6-4 6-3 defeat.

“It is like the Tiger Woods effect in golf. So that is how you can look at a guy like Roger. He is men’s tennis in my opinion. He deserves everything and more that he’s ever had.”

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Roger Federer stays alive at ATP World Tour Finals defeating Thiem in straights

On a one-sided day of competition in London, Roger Federer and Kevin Anderson win in straight sets – meaning everyone in the Lleyton Hewitt Group is still in the hunt for the semifinals.

Roger Federer shook off a rusty performance in his first match at the ATP Finals by beating Dominic Thiem in straight sets in his second outing in London on Tuesday.

The Swiss star brushed Thiem aside in just 66 minutes, winning 6-2 6-3 to get his campaign back on track.

The victory followed Kevin Anderson’s 6-0 6-1 thumping of Kei Nishikori, a result that saw Anderson head the Lleyton Hewitt Group standings with two-straight-sets victories. All four players remain in contention for the semifinals

Lleyton Hewitt Group

1Kevin Anderson2-04-025-10
2Roger Federer1-12-221-18
3Kei Nishikori1-12-214-21
4Dominic Thiem0-20-414-25

It also continued a streak of one-sided matches at the season-ending event; not one of the six round-robin matches played so far in London have extended to three sets.

“Amongst the best (matches) I’ve played. I felt I did a fantastic job throughout really,” said Anderson, who next plays Federer.

Nishikori beat an error-strewn Federer on the first day of the ATP Finals, but in his second outing he could not content with Anderson, who landed 78 per cent of his first serves, smacked 10 aces and did offer up a break point during the 64-minute rout.

The Japanese hastened his own demise with 24 unforced errors – including 15 from his forehand alone.

Still, it wasn’t as many unforced errors as what Thiem produced.

The Austrian managed just 11 winners while spraying 34 errors in his first match against Federer in two years. He won just three of his 11 points at net, and like Nishikori was unable to earn a break point at any stage of the match.

Federer appeared much sharper than in his first match, dominating on serve and landing 80 per cent of his returns to neutralise Thiem’s delivery.

“It feels good, I’m very happy I showed a reaction after the last match against Kei,” Federer said.

“No match is easy here and it’s not something I’m used to, losing and then coming back and playing again, but it’s a great challenge and I’m happy with my attitude and how I played.”

His attention now turns to Anderson, whom he lost to in their most recent meeting in the Wimbledon quarterfinals.

“I hope it’s not a match like Kevin played this afternoon,” Federer said. “It’s never easy to play against him, especially indoors. He deserved that win at Wimbledon but hopefully I’ll get my revenge.”

Anderson simply needs to win a set off Federer to secure his place in the semifinals.

The only way his misses out is if he loses in straight sets and Nishikori wins in straight – and even then he could qualify if the group standings require a count of games won and loss to determine the semifinalists.

Roger Federer cancels practice ahead of Thiem clash at ATP World Tour Finals

Federer was due to prepare for his meeting with Dominic Thiem tomorrow at Queen's Club in west London.

The Swiss star has opted to use the ATP 500 grass courts, despite the ATP Finals taking place on a hard court.

But after storming away from the O2 Arena last night in a foul mood following his shock defeat to Kei Nishikori, the world No 3 cancelled his practice session.

Federer had moaned about not finding a practice court with similar conditions to the match court after his opening-round defeat.

"I've been feeling, I mean, fine. It's just that practice has been a bit all over the place," Federer said.

"I practised in Queen's, practised on the outside courts here, then centre as well. So it's not always exactly the same conditions."

Federer has once again been handed the evening slot tomorrow so he will clash with Thiem at 8pm.

A defeat will likely spell the end of his campaign with one round-robin match remaining.

"I've been feeling, I mean, fine. It's just that practice has been a bit all over the place," Federer said.

"I practised in Queen's, practised on the outside courts here, then centre as well. So it's not always exactly the same conditions."

Federer has once again been handed the evening slot tomorrow so he will clash with Thiem at 8pm.

A defeat will likely spell the end of his campaign with one round-robin match remaining.

The court is very weird," said Zverev.

"When you hit it flat and hard like Cilic does, the court is very fast.

"When you hit it with more topspin, the court takes it away and it bounces up.

"It's more different than other tournaments. For me, it is pretty quick.

"Also Roger wants to play on the fastest court possible, I guess (smiling)."

This does not bode well, I guess we'll see tomorrow, but this is definitely not good. 

Monday, November 12, 2018

Roger Federer loses 1st round of round robin in straight sets at ATP World Tour Finals

Seventh seed Kei Nishikori defeated six-time former champion Roger Federer 7-6(4), 6-3 on Sunday night at the Nitto ATP Finals. Nishikori, who is a two-time semi-finalist at the season finale held at The O2 in London, had not beaten Federer since March 2014 in Miami.

Nishikori required 88 minutes to wrap up the Group Lleyton Hewitt round-robin match. It marked his 43rd match win of the season, which includes three runner-up finishes at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters (l. to Nadal), the Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships 2018 (l. to Medvedev) and the Erste Bank Open 500 in Vienna (l. to Anderson.

Nishikori dropped to 0/30 when serving at 5-6, but trusted his technique and attacked Federer’s backhand to work his way back to level terms with a net approach and half volley backhand on the stretch. Nishikori shut the door closed and in the tie-break won six of the first seven points to put pressure on Federer. The second seed recovered to 4/6, however Federer struck a forehand in the net to end the 51-minute opener.

The pair exchanged service breaks at the beginning of the second set, then Nishikori broke Federer’s serve for a 4-2 advantage when aggressive play from the baseline once again reaped dividends.

Federer, who has now competed at the year-end championships 16 times, lifted the trophy in 2003-04, 2006-07, 2010-11. He drops to a 46-9 match record on the season.

“I felt we both struggled throughout the first set,” said Federer. “I had my chances maybe a bit more than he did. Then I started to feel better in the second set. I think we both did. The level went up. Unfortunately, I couldn't keep the lead that I got early. That was important, I think, at the end. That was the key of the match, that sort of - I guess – [a] 10-minute swing at the end of the first throughout maybe 1-1 in the second.”

Federer will next play sixth-seeded Austrian Dominic Thiem on Tuesday in the round-robin group. Thiem lost to first-time qualifier and fourth seed Kevin Anderson of South Africa during the afternoon.

The up and down performances of 2018 continue, this was probably his worst one, or 2nd worst one after Wimbledon.  Paris was his best (even though he also lost), this was definitely his worst.  

He was looking all kinds of uncomfortable and unhappy, it wasn't the Roger we know and love that's for sure.

Neither player was particularly impressive in this one to be honest, but Nishikori did just enough in the end by cleaning up his unforced errors.   

It's the first time in years that he's lost the opening round of round robin at this tournament in straight sets (and 46 previous victories). So things will only be harder now. 

But I'm holding on to hope that he'll find a way to bounce back against Thiem on Tuesday. 

Friday, November 09, 2018

Roger Federer eager to end positive season with success in London

Heading into the Nitto ATP Finals, Roger Federer took a moment to reflect on his 2018 season as he looks to end his year with a milestone 100th tour-level trophy at The O2 in London.

After a stunning 2017 season which saw the Swiss capture seven titles, including Grand Slam crowns at the Australian Open and Wimbledon, Federer was clear that his 2018 season has been a success as he heads into the elite eight-man event. After defending his Australian Open title to win his 20th major trophy in Januay, Federer has lifted three further titles this year and compiled a 46-8 tour-level record.

"If I would have known that last year, this would have been the season [I would have], I would have taken it," said Federer. "I am very happy that I won a Grand Slam. I am very happy that I played as well as I did throughout the season. Maybe Wimbledon and the US Open didn't go the way I was hoping, but those were really the only two disappointments of the season.

"I won a bunch of tournaments again and played great at the Australian Open. Again, I won my home tournament in Basel... I have just had a really solid season. I stayed injury free also, for most of the year, so I am actually very happy with this season so far."

With a record six titles at the Nitto ATP Finals, second-seeded Federer is eager to capture his first trophy at the season-ending tournament since 2011. Including his debut in 2002, the 99-time tour-level champion has competed in 15 of the past 16 editions of the event. Only in 2016, after cutting his season short to aid rehabilitation from knee surgery, has the Swiss not appeared at the season finale.

"I love playing this event. I always have, ever since I qualified for the very first time back in 2002," said Federer. "It was a massive highlight in my career to be amongst the best eight and I actually had a great run too, that first time in Shanghai."

Two of Federer's six triumphs in the unique competition have come in London, having lifted back-to-back titles at The 02 in 2010 and 2011. Playing in front of a packed crowd, in a world-renowned venue, has always provided Federer with the perfect end to a successful season. More than 250,000 fans attend the event annually, with global viewership figures reaching an average of 95 million viewers each year.

"Here at The O2 we have really had some great crowds, a beautiful, great venue and also some good matches too," said Federer.

Having hosted the event since 2009, when Nikolay Davydenko defeated Juan Martin del Potro in the championship match, the 10th edition of the event begins with questions over the future location of the tournament. With a contract in place until 2020 at The O2, plans for the future of the event, from 2021 onwards, will be announced early next year. Alongside a number of interested cities, London will be up for consideration when the ATP World Tour makes its decision not before March 2019.

"If [the tournament] stays I think it is definitely a good choice," said Federer. "I don't know what the options are. I think the options are clearly important to look at... If The O2 is happy and the crowds keep coming here to this venue and the Tour has a good deal, why not stay here?

"I don't see a reason to change, unless there is somewhere else. A city that really wants it badly and is really willing to come in and support the Tour in a major way for many years to come... I have enjoyed playing in a city that knows tennis very well and has got a strong media following. It has been a good place for us players to showcase our talents."

Thursday, November 08, 2018

Roger Federer wins ATP World Tour Fan Favourite Award 16th year in a row

Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Stefanos Tsitsipas have been named among the recipients of the 2018 ATP World Tour Awards presented by Moët & Chandon, with winners revealed ahead of Friday evening’s award presentations at the Official Launch of the Nitto ATP Finals.

Djokovic, who will receive the 2018 year-end ATP World Tour No. 1 trophy this Sunday at The O2, has also been selected by fellow players as the Comeback Player of the Year following his historic return from elbow surgery and a No. 22 ATP Ranking in June to clinch year-end No. 1. Marian Vajda, who guided Djokovic in his return to the top with the pair reuniting in April, has been named by his peers as ATP Coach of the Year.

Nadal has been honoured by players as winner of the Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award for a second time, while fans have selected Federer as the Fans’ Favourite presented by Moët & Chandon for a 16th straight year. In doubles, a new pair – Americans Mike Bryan and Jack Sock – has been crowned Fans’ Favourites.

A pair of #NextGenATP players win in two player-voted categories, with 19-year-old Australian Alex de Minaur awarded Newcomer of the Year and 20-year-old Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas taking Most Improved Player of the Year honours. Other winners include Oliver Marach and Mate Pavic, the year-end ATP World Tour No. 1 Doubles Team, and Tommy Robredo, who receives the Arthur Ashe Humanitarian Award.

The ATP World Tour's best tournaments have also been revealed, with the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells (Masters 1000), the Fever-Tree Championships at The Queen’s Club (500) and the Intrum Stockholm Open (250) named the Tournaments of the Year in their respective categories.

And the BBC’s Sue Barker has been recognised as the recipient of the Ron Bookman Media Excellence Award for her long-standing contribution to the popularity of the game.

2018 ATP World Tour Awards presented by Moët & Chandon

ATP World Tour No. 1
(determined by ATP Rankings)
Comeback Player of the Year
(voted by ATP players)

Novak Djokovic: The Serbian secured a historic return to year-end No. 1 in the ATP Rankings, becoming the first player to be ranked outside the Top 20 and climb to the top spot in the same season. Djokovic fell as low as No. 22 in June after undergoing right elbow surgery earlier in the year. Everything changed when he entered Wimbledon, subsequently posting a 31-2 record including Grand Slam titles at the grass-court major and the US Open, as well as ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crowns in Cincinnati and Shanghai. With his victory in Cincinnati, he notched the Career Golden Masters, becoming the first player to complete the set of all nine Masters 1000 titles. Having previously finished at year-end No. 1 in 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2015, Djokovic joins Jimmy Connors and Roger Federer for the second-most top finishes, behind only Pete Sampras (6).

ATP World Tour No. 1 Doubles Team
(determined by ATP Doubles Team Rankings)

Oliver Marach & Mate Pavic: The Austrian-Croatian duo clinched the year-end top spot for the first time, becoming the first players from their respective countries to achieve the feat in any of the ATP Rankings (singles, doubles, team). Marach and Pavic completed a dominant campaign, beginning with a 17-match win streak and titles in Doha, Auckland and the Australian Open. Also champions in Geneva and Chengdu, they reached a total of nine finals, including runner-up finishes at Roland Garros and Monte-Carlo. Marach, 38, is the oldest member of a year-end No. 1 doubles team since 38-year-old Sherwood Stewart in 1984. The 25-year-old Pavic is the youngest member of a year-end No. 1 doubles team since Todd Woodbridge, 24, in 1995. It marks the fifth straight year in which a different team has finished as year-end No. 1.

Most Improved Player of the Year
(voted by ATP players)

Stefanos Tsitsipas: The 20-year-old became the top-ranked Greek in ATP Rankings history after rising to a career-high No. 15 this season, and he also became the first player from Greece to win a tour-level title. The champion at the Intrum Stockholm Open, Tsitsipas dropped just one set en route to the indoor-hard court crown. He rose from a season-opening ATP Ranking of No. 91 to become the youngest member of the Top 20. He also finished runner-up at the ATP World Tour 500 event in Barcelona and the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event in Toronto, falling to Rafael Nadal in both finals. In Toronto, Tsitsipas became the youngest player to beat four Top 10 opponents at a single tournament since the ATP World Tour was established in 1990.

Newcomer of the Year
(voted by ATP players)

Alex de Minaur: From outside the Top 200 to open the year, de Minaur soared to a career-high No. 31 in 2018. De Minaur began his campaign with a first tour-level semi-final in Brisbane and final in Sydney. He would carry the momentum to the Challenger circuit, where he captured his maiden title in Nottingham in June. The 19-year-old also reached his biggest final at the ATP World Tour 500 event in Washington and earned third-round finishes at Wimbledon and the US Open. In 2017, de Minaur won two tour-level matches. In 2018, he secured a total of 24 victories. Making his debut at the Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan, he is one of just two teenagers in the year-end Top 100 of the ATP Rankings.

Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award
(voted by ATP players)

Rafael Nadal: Fellow players voted Nadal as the winner of the Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award for a second time, recognising the Spaniard for his fair play, professionalism and integrity on and off the court. Nadal also received this honour in 2010. This season, the 32-year-old Spaniard spent 36 weeks atop the ATP Rankings and won five titles, including record 11th titles at Roland Garros, Monte-Carlo and Barcelona. Off the court, Nadal supported flood relief efforts in Mallorca.

Arthur Ashe Humanitarian Award
(awarded by ATP)

Tommy Robredo: To honour the memory of his close friend, the Spaniard launched his foundation and an international wheelchair tennis tournament, the Santi Silvas Open, in 2009. Robredo’s foundation organises activities which encourage sports training for disabled people, especially wheelchair tennis. It also creates awareness of the importance of sport as beneficial to mental and physical health, and at the same time as a stimulant to personal growth and wellbeing.

ATP Coach of the Year
(voted by ATP coaches)

Marian Vajda: Vajda and long-time pupil Novak Djokovic reunited this past April at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters after a one-year split in 2017. The 53-year-old Slovakian guided Djokovic to a return to No. 1 in the ATP Rankings and Grand Slam victories at Wimbledon and the US Open, as well as ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crowns in Cincinnati and Shanghai. Vajda is a former World No. 34 and won a pair of ATP World Tour titles in the late 1980s. Fans' Favourite presented by Moët & Chandon (Singles)
(voted by fans)

Roger Federer: The 37-year-old Swiss extended his reign in this category, winning the popular vote from fans for a 16th straight year to take his record tally of ATP World Tour Awards to 37. This season, Federer became the oldest World No. 1 in the 45-year history of the ATP Rankings and also claimed his 20th Grand Slam title at the Australian Open. Ahead of the Nitto ATP Finals, he won his 99th tour-level title at his hometown tournament in Basel. Fans' Favourite presented by Moët & Chandon (Doubles)
(voted by fans)

Mike Bryan & Jack Sock: The Americans claimed the fan-voted award in their first year as a duo. Mike Bryan previously won this Award with his brother Bob Bryan from 2005-17. With Bob sidelined with injury since Madrid, Mike Bryan and Sock teamed up during the grass-court swing and won the Wimbledon title in only their second tournament together. They followed with a second Grand Slam title at the US Open.

Ron Bookman Media Excellence Award
(awarded by ATP)

Sue Barker: As accomplished in a television studio as she once was on a tennis court, the former Roland Garros champion and World No. 3 anchors BBC's tennis coverage, including this coming week from the Nitto ATP Finals. Each summer at the All England Club, Barker performs what has become a Wimbledon tradition: an on-court interview with the new men’s and women’s singles champions. Barker started her television career with Channel 7 in Australia, before working for SKY and then becoming one of the most celebrated presenters at the BBC.

ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Tournament of the Year
(voted by ATP players)

BNP Paribas Open (Indian Wells): The BNP Paribas Open wins in the Masters 1000 category for a fifth straight year. Ahead of the 2018 tournament, the BNP Paribas Open unveiled a brand-new “Full Bloom” marketing campaign that highlighted the world-class venue and players set amidst the stunning natural beauty and backdrop of the desert landscape. In parallel, the Indian Wells Tennis Garden underwent a beautification project to further amplify the feeling of Tennis Paradise. Inside Stadium 1, video walls were replaced and upgraded to complement the action on court. Earlier this year, BNP Paribas extended its title sponsorship of the tournament through 2023.

ATP World Tour 500 Tournament of the Year
(voted by ATP players)

Fever-Tree Championships (Queen’s Club): The Fever-Tree Championships reclaims the distinction as Tournament of the Year after previously winning in the ATP World Tour 500 category in 2015-16 and the 250 category in 2013-14. The grass-court event has been staged for more than a century at The Queen’s Club in London, and has increased its centre court capacity by more than 30 per cent over the last two years. In 2018, the tournament welcomed Fever-Tree, the premium mixer drinks company, as its title-sponsor.

ATP World Tour 250 Tournament of the Year
(voted by ATP players)

Intrum Stockholm Open (Stockholm): The Intrum Stockholm Open wins the Tournament of the Year award in the 250 category for the second time. It previously shared the honour with the Winston-Salem Open in 2016. The indoor hard-court tournament marked its 50th anniversary this year. With the help of new tournament promoter Game Set Events, it celebrated unique moments of the tournament, including interviews on court with Bjorn Borg, Mats Wilander and Stefan Edberg.