Saturday, December 28, 2019

Roger Federer named GQ's most stylish man of the decade

by  Peter Hapak

Roger Federer has long been stylish with his game and his fashion, both on and off the court. And the Swiss superstar finished the 2010s with a big award in the style department, being named GQ’s Most Stylish Man of the Decade on Friday.

The award was decided by the fans in an Instagram-based bracket contest. Every day, fans voted between two celebrities on GQ's Instagram stories. The winner of each 'match' moved on. Federer advanced past A$AP Rockey, Jonah Hill and Harry Styles before defeating Timothée Chalamet for the title. The likes of LeBron James, Kanye West and Ryan Gosling also were part of the competition.

s The editors of GQ described each of the 16 celebrities in the bracket, and this is what they wrote about Federer:

“Some of the guys on this list made their reputations on red carpets; others, in paparazzi shots. Roger Federer, on the other hand, has a case for most stylish man of the decade thanks to something as simple as this: When the guy puts on his Wimbledon whites, he stands basically alone. It’s not about his clothes so much as the righteously relaxed, preternaturally confident way he moves in them. (Also: Dude is a Bond-level tux wearer.)”

Monday, December 02, 2019

Roger Federer first living person to be featured on Swiss coin

Roger Federer fans can now have the Swiss legend with them at all times. Swissmint has created a 20-franc silver coin bearing Federer's image. It's the first time in its history that Swissmint has created a commemorative coin to honour a living person.

Federer is perhaps Switzerland's most well-known individual, having won 103 tour-level titles, including 20 Grand Slam crowns and 28 ATP Masters 1000s. He has also spent a record 310 weeks at No. 1 in the ATP Rankings.

The 38-year-old finished No. 3 in the 2019 year-end standings, marking the 15th time he's finished in the Top 3, which is a record. He also became the oldest player to end his season at No. 3.

Off the court, the Swiss engages in philanthropic activity around the world with his self-named foundation, which he created in 2003. Federer has had other off-court commemorations as well. In 2012, the German city of Halle, where Federer is now a 10-time champion, named a street after the Swiss. In 2007, Swiss Post released a Roger Federer stamp in his birthplace of Basel.

More coins will have Federer's face next year. In May 2020, Swissmint plans to issue a Federer 50-franc gold coin featuring a different design.

For the 20-franc coin, the pre-sale began on Monday 2 December and continues until 19 December 2019, or until the first minting run of 55,000 units has sold out, whichever comes first.

Fans shouldn't despair, however, if they miss out on the first run. If demand exceeds the initial run, Swissmint “reserves the right to produce a further 40,000 coins and issue them in May 2020.”

All of the Federer coins can be purchased through the Swissmint's website.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Martina Hingis becomes Ambassador for Swiss Tennis Academy

Swiss tennis legend Martina Hingis will continue her involvement with the sport in her homeland by becoming an ambassador for the Swiss Tennis Academy.

The Academy, founded in 2009, wishes to focus specifically on high-performance athletes from at home and abroad, and it is hoped that Hingis, who also holds a coaching license and is the coach of the Swiss national team in Fed Cup, will be able to help attract talent from the Asian market.

“I’m absolutely delighted to once again be able to play a more active role in Swiss tennis,” she said in a statement. “In my mother’s academy I learnt what a difference good coaching can make and I’m very happy that I will be able to accompany many young players on their way forward together with the ambitious team at the Swiss Tennis Academy.”

Meanwhile, Swiss Tennis believe that the five-time Grand Slam singles winner’s commitment to the project is evidence that they are getting things right.

“The fact that Martina wants to work with us to develop the Swiss Tennis Academy further and in doing so position the location of Biel / Switzerland as a worldwide center of competence for tennis, is not only a great honor and pleasure for us, but also shows that we are on the right path,” René Stammbach, the president of Swiss Tennis, said.

With a coaching team that is five-strong, the focus is on quality rather than quantity.

“Our Academy is not the largest, but ‘small and sweet’ - this ranges from the coaching team with highest level of qualifications to individual support for every player. With us nobody is treated as a number, but each person is supported as an athlete and individual,” Peter Frey, the head of the academy said.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Roger Federer falls to Tsitsipas at Nitto ATP Finals, but is extremely excited for next season

Roger Federer admits to having his chances against Stefanos Tsitsipas on Saturday at the Nitto ATP Finals in London. The six-time champion went one for 12 on break points against the Greek in what must have felt like a sequel to their Australian Open quarter-final in January, when the Swiss didn't convert any of his 12 break points.

“No doubt I had my chances,” Federer said. “[I] had some good spells, but the spells where things were not working well, they were pretty bad. At this level, you just can't have it happen, so that was pretty disappointing today.”

But don't expect the 38-year-old Swiss, who will finish year-end No. 3 in the ATP Rankings, to mull over his semi-final loss for too long.

Federer can feel proud of finishing inside the Top 3 of the year-end ATP Rankings for the 15th time, his four ATP Tour titles, including his 100th in Dubai, and his 16th semi-final at the season finale at The O2.

“I've got to keep on playing at the level like I have this year, and then I will create some chances. I thought I played some consistent, solid tennis. Got to take care of my body, listen to the signs, work well with the team, get the balance right with everything that's happening in my life,” Federer said about his hopes for 2020.

“But I'm happy how I played this season, and I'm extremely excited for next season.”

The Swiss beat Tsitsipas for the Dubai title, won his 28th ATP Masters 1000 in Miami (d. Isner) and won his 10th title in both Halle (d. Goffin) and Basel (d. De Minaur), his hometown tournament.

Federer fell short of winning Big Titles at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells (l. Thiem) and at Wimbledon (l. to Djokovic). He'll look to shore up his performances in those big matches next year during his 23rd season on Tour.

“When the matches come, it's not maybe as easy as it was maybe 10, 15 years ago, where you're just going to play very good day in, day out. Maybe you need to do extra effort sometimes for that to happen. Maybe that's what it felt like today, just things were complicated. But I've got to maybe do even a better job at figuring these moments out, because the opportunities were there today, for instance. They were there in other moments as well this season, maybe Indian Wells or Wimbledon,” said Federer, who had two match points against Novak Djokovic in the Wimbledon final.

“That can change an entire season around, the confidence around, the flow of things.”

Federer, who is 2-2 against Tsitsipas in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series, was complimentary of the 21-year-old.

“I thought that he played really well. He took the ball early. I know he does that. I thought I returned actually pretty good on the first serve... For the most part I wasn't quite getting into the rallies the way I wanted to,” Federer said. “I think I have to credit him for pushing me to not play at the level I was hoping to today."

About Tsitsipas' one-handed backhand, which the Greek hit effectively down the line, Federer added, “He can loop it and come down on it, and that's why also I believe he's good on faster courts and on slower courts. It's going to be very beneficial for his career... Obviously it's his footwork that's always on the aggressive side. Any short ball will be attacked, and I think he does that very, very well. He's one of the best at that in the game.”

Federer, however, minutes after the loss, was already prepared to move on and think about future opportunities.

“It's the year-end. It's over now, and I can't make it better. I tried everything I could, to be honest. I tried to chip it eventually, tried to stay back and hit some. I tried to come forward. And for the most part I actually tried to play up in the court and tried to play aggressive. But, of course, with his aggression, it's not always easy because he always takes the ball very early himself too,” Federer said.

“I knew he was going to be incredibly athletic. He was just a little bit better today at all those little things.”

You win some, you lose some. That's kind of how the year went for Roger, lots of chances he just wasn't able to capitalize on. 

Something I am hoping he'll find a way to improve on in 2020, because generally his year has been pretty darn good. 

Got 4 titles (yeah ok no Grand Slams, but any title is always better than none confidence wise). 

And he got revenge on Djokovic for Wimbledon by finally beating him for the first time in 4 years. 

I thought Roger didn't play badly against Tsitsipas, he was just outplayed, and the forehand wasn't there for him, when that isn't there it always seems to make things more difficult. 

Can't be too upset with it all though, because as I said all in all it's been another stellar year for the man from Switzerland. I'm with Roger on this one bring on 2020. I can't wait for more.  

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Roger Federer gets revenge for Wimbledon loss in 49th meeting with Djokovic at Nitto ATP Finals

Roger Federer can probably play better, but it's hard to imagine how.

The 38-year-old Swiss beat Novak Djokovic for the first time in four years – and six FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings – on Thursday night, dazzling a capacity crowd at The O2 with a 6-4, 6-3 win against the World No. 2.

“Great atmosphere, a great opponent here in London at The O2, definitely incredibly special. Just a night I enjoyed from the beginning. I played incredible, and I knew I had to because that’s what Novak does and I was able to produce. So it was definitely magical,” Federer said.

The third-seeded Federer, making his 17th appearance, reached his 16th semi-final at the season-ending Nitto ATP Finals and ended Djokovic's season, along with his hopes of finishing year-end No. 1 in the ATP Rankings for a record-tying sixth time.

Djokovic needed to win the title to have a chance at knocking Rafael Nadal off the top spot, but now Nadal is guaranteed his fifth year-end No. 1 finish, evening him with Federer, Djokovic and American Jimmy Connors.

Federer finished second in Group Bjorn Borg, behind Austrian Dominic Thiem, who beat both Federer and Djokovic earlier this week. The Swiss will face the Group Andre Agassi winner on Saturday.

No matter who he faces, though, if the six-time champion plays like he did on Thursday evening, he'll be hard – if not impossible – to beat. Federer barely made a mistake against Djokovic, attacking the Serbian and serving flawlessly. He finished with 23 winners to only five unforced errors.

In the first set, Federer won 87 per cent (20/23) of his service points and made only one unforced error to start their 49th FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting. Djokovic had won their last meeting, saving two match points in the Wimbledon final, but the Serbian threw in a loose service game at 1-1. The World No. 2 donated two double faults to start, and on break point, 0/40, Federer walloped a sitting backhand.

“He was the better player in all aspects and absolutely deserved to win,” Djokovic said. “He served great, moved well, returned my serve very well... He did everything right.”

Djokovic, who led their head-to-head series 26-22, responded in the second set, saving two break points in the opening game to rip back momentum. The Serbian then saw his first break chance of the match in the fourth game, but couldn't convert and ran into more trouble on his serve at 2-2.

Djokovic, hearing chants of “Let's go, Roger, let's go!”, fell behind 15/40 and sailed a forehand long to give Federer the second break of the match. The Swiss, who lost the Wimbledon match points on his racquet, broke once more to close it out.

“There was a lot riding on the match. I think I served great, had great anticipation, a clear game plan and it worked to perfection tonight, and hopefully not the last time against Novak,” Federer said. “But even if it didn’t, it was all worth it. It was a great performance tonight from me.”

Ah revenge, how sweet it is. 

I will admit I had my doubts about this one, based on the level Novak was at in his first 2 matches especially vs Thiem even though he lost it generally his level was much better than Roger.  

Even after Roger won the first set, I was holding my breath because I knew the job was not done yet and Djokovic being Djokovic could still mount some miraculous comeback as soon as Roger slightly dropped his level on serve. 

After all Roger won the first set at Wimbledon and we all know what happened there. As he himself said in his post match interview tonight in terms of what he did differently "I won the match point I guess". 

We all know how much that loss still hurts, so this straight sets win was a real statement that had to feel good. First win over  Novak Djokovic since 2015 ATP World Tour finals and it was an emphatic one. 

And the manner in which he accomplished it must have felt even better. His serve was the best it's been all tournament, probably since winning Basel in October. 

It put a lot of pressure on Djokovic, not giving him a chance to get into the match by playing long points the way he usually does. 

Roger was playing on his terms and that was the real difference. 

And yes I'm sure some will say that Djokovic was playing half-heartedly due to his previous match with Dominic Thiem taking a lot out of him physically or mentally, and there's some truth to that (he did grab his elbow in the beginning of the 2nd set). 

Might have also been the pressure of trying to win for another shot at end of year world #1 spot, and maybe even the crowd getting to him a bit. 

But whatever the factor, there's no denying that Roger is the one who was better tonight and he thoroughly deserved the win. 

Looking forward to finding out who he plays next in the semis over the weekend. 

And I'm going to re-watch this one because I was too stressed to truly enjoy it while watching it live. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Roger Federer looking forward to Djokovic match at Nitto ATP finals

Roger Federer isn't shying away from the opportunity to avenge his Wimbledon final loss against Novak Djokovic. The Swiss held two match points on his serve but fell 7-6(5), 1-6, 7-6(4), 4-6, 13-12(3), marking the first time in Wimbledon history that a fifth-set tie-break decided the final.

Federer, who beat Italy's Matteo Berrettini on Tuesday to move to 1-1 at this year's Nitto ATP Finals, will face Djokovic again on Thursday with semi-final implications on the line.

“We have played a lot of matches since, and I think we both look back at a great match. I think we both can take away some confidence from the match. Him, obviously a lot. Me, maybe a tad bit less,” Federer said.

“But at the end of the day, I wasn't hoping [for] him not to be in my section or in my draw. I didn't hope I was never going to play him again.

“Actually, it's good for me to play him again, and maybe that all helps to get a chance to get him back or whatever it is... I'm personally excited to play against Novak on Thursday.”

Their Group Bjorn Borg meeting will be their first matchup since they played in the longest Wimbledon final in history (four hours and 57 minutes). Djokovic became the first Wimbledon champion to save match points in the final in 71 years.

The Serbian, who faces fifth seed Dominic Thiem on Tuesday night, leads his FedEx ATP Head2Head series with Federer 26-22 and has won their past four matchups. Djokovic is also 3-2 against Federer at the Nitto ATP Finals.

“I think indoors you've got to go with what you can do best. At the end of the day, maybe it took me a few days, couple weeks at most, to get over the Wimbledon loss,” Federer said. “I still thought I played a great final and a great tournament, beating Rafa there along the way.

“I'm excited [to be] playing against him. I'm excited to see how he's going to play tonight, as well. It's definitely going to give me some more information about what to expect.

“But other than that, I think I need to focus on my game, what I do best. And regardless of what I need to do, I just hope I play well.”

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Roger Federer gets past Berretini to stay alive at Nitto ATP Finals

Roger Federer declared that he's "not allowed to lose anymore" after dropping his opening match to Dominic Thiem at the Nitto ATP Finals. The Swiss stuck to his rule on Tuesday, prevailing 7-6(2), 6-3 against Italian Matteo Berrettini in Group Bjorn Borg.

”It’s unusual to lose and then come back to play again, but I did it last year, so I have some experience,” Federer joked. “I’m very happy with how I played today. Matteo was always going to be difficult with his big serve… I was pretty clean in my own service games and I think that helped today. I hope I can keep it up and maybe even play a bit better in the next match.”

The 38-year-old Federer improved to 2-0 against Berrettini their FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry, including a straight-sets victory this year at Wimbledon. The Swiss has more match wins (58) and titles (6) than any player in Nitto ATP Finals history. Federer, who fell to Dominic Thiem on Sunday, is 17-0 lifetime in his second round-robin match at this event.

”There's no reason to be too down [after losing to Thiem]. We came here to play three matches and give it all we have. It was the big goal of the season to qualify here, which we did," Federer said. "I had a day off and there’s plenty of ways to get rid of that loss. Hanging out with my kids will do that for me. I was ready and prepared today. That’s what matters the most right now.”

The match result also impacts Dominic Thiem's chances at advancing out of round-robin action. He'll qualify for the semi-finals if he defeats Novak Djokovic in Tuesday's night session. Thiem is bidding to become the first Austrian semi-finalist at the year-end championships since the event added semi-finals and finals in 1972.

Berrettini, who lost to Djokovic on Sunday, is still looking to become the first Italian to win a match at the season-ending championships.

Federer earned the lone break point of the first set at 6-5, but Berrettini erased it with a forehand winner. The Swiss drew first blood in the tie-break and earned a 2/1 mini-break advantage after Berrettini overcooked a forehand. Federer raced through the final three points of the set to grab the early lead after 42 minutes. The six-time champion is 21-7 in tie-breaks this season.

He continued to ride the momentum and broke the Italian to love in the opening game of the second set. Berrettini had a chance to level the match with Federer serving 4-3, but couldn't convert three break points. A slice forehand from Berrettini found the net in the next game and wrapped up play after 78 minutes.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Roger Federer loses opening round robin match to Thiem at Nitto ATP Finals

Roger Federer has mentally removed himself from Group Bjorn Borg at the Nitto ATP Finals. After dropping his opening match on Sunday to Dominic Thiem, he’ll likely need to win his two next matches in order to advance out of round-robin action and into the semi-finals. The Swiss is now treating this week as a knockout tournament.

“It's a normal tournament from here on forward. I’m not allowed to lose anymore,” Federer said. “That's how it is every week of the year for the past 20 years, so from that standpoint, there is nothing new.”

The six-time champion wasn't pleased about dropping his opening service game or being broken to love at 5-5 in the second set. But Federer still finished the night with more winners (24) than unforced errors (22) and only won five fewer points than Thiem (72 to 77). His level on Centre Court required a world-class performance to beat him and he praised the Austrian for delivering it.

“I thought he played well. The start definitely didn't help. That put me on the back foot,” Federer said. “But I recovered well and I thought the match was pretty even for a long period of time. I felt that I had my chances. Didn’t feel like I was outplayed or anything. Just maybe those first-match hiccups, not hitting your spots on the serve when you need to, getting into trouble early in the service games, which maybe doesn't happen later on in the tournament.”

Although Federer’s form dipped at times, the crowd support for him never wavered. The British public has adopted the Swiss as one of their own after the memorable moments he’s provided in London throughout his 21-year ATP Tour career, including two titles at The O2 (2010-2011). Despite the loss to Thiem, he remained optimistic that their energy can help propel him to a seventh title at this event.

“I thought the atmosphere was great. I wish I could have given them a bit more something to celebrate tonight,” Federer said. ”I felt like the fans were waiting and they were ready to go… Maybe getting that break in the second set would have done exactly that, but it's a wonderful event here. I'm happy I’ve played here so many times so I could enjoy the crowds. I'm looking forward to the next two [matches]."

Federer will shift his focus to his next match on Tuesday against Matteo Berrettini, who also lost his opening match to Novak Djokovic. He dropped just five games against the Italian in their lone FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting this year at Wimbledon, but said that anyone who qualifies for the season-ending championships can’t be underestimated.

“With his serve, with what he can do, obviously any opponent is dangerous here,” Federer said. “I've got to recover. I've got to make sure I play better than today and hopefully I can win that match.”

Federer is now 12-5 lifetime in opening matches at the Nitto ATP Finals. He also lost his first group match last year against Kei Nishikori. The 38-year-old won the season finale crown in 2003-04 (Houston), 2006-07 (Shanghai) and 2010-11 (London). He has a record 57-15 match record at the tournament, which was first held in Tokyo in 1970.

Not a shocking result, just very disappointing. Same thing happened to him last year with Nishikori so hopefully not all is lost just yet. 

But he'll definitely have to pick his game up a lot more because even though Thiem played really well Roger could have beaten him if he played more like he did in Basel (movement on the forehand being the key). 

Fingers crossed we see more of that on Tuesday.

Monday, November 04, 2019

Kim Clijsters delays comeback due to knee injury

BREE, Belgium - Kim Clijsters' comeback to the WTA Tour will be postponed due to a knee injury, the former World No.1 announced on social media today.

"I've had to make the decision that I will not be able to compete in January," wrote the 36-year-old. "I am undergoing rehab and treatment for a knee injury. It's a setback but I'm determined as ever to get back to the game I love. I really appreciate all your support and encouragement."

In September, Clijsters announced her return to professional tennis after a seven-year absence, intending to begin her comeback during the 2020 Australian swing. The mother-of-three turned pro in 1997 and first retired in 2007, returning two years later after having oldest daughter Jada for a glittering second career in which she won three Grand Slams, taking her overall total to four.

Saturday, November 02, 2019

Roger Federer pulls out of inaugural ATP Cup for family reasons

Switzerland's Roger Federer has withdrawn from the inaugural ATP Cup in January for "family reasons".

The 20-time Grand Slam champion's decision means Switzerland no longer qualify for the 24-team event.

Switzerland had been drawn in the same group as Great Britain, who qualified after Andy Murray confirmed his entry.

An extra team will now qualify for the event, which runs from 3-11 January 2020, with the final line-up confirmed on 13 November.

Federer, 38, said it had been a "difficult decision" to withdraw but he "looks forward" to playing the Australian Open later that month.

"It pains me to not be a part of the most exciting new event on the calendar, but this is the right thing to do if I want to continue to play for a longer period of time on the ATP Tour," Federer said.

"I have decided that the extra two weeks at home will be beneficial for both my family and my tennis."

The ATP Cup, which carries 750 ranking points, is separate from November's revamped Davis Cup but could amalgamate with that tournament, according to International Tennis Federation president David Haggerty.

A country's team for the ATP Cup can include up to five players and team's qualify courtesy of their players' singles rankings.

Friday, November 01, 2019

Martina Hingis excited for Clijsters comeback, but doesn't think she'll beat players like Andreescu

Martina Hingis and Kim Clijsters are members of an exclusive club.

The Hall of Famers are among a handful of players to hold the world No. 1 ranking in both singles and doubles.

The 39-year-old Hingis is rooting for the 36-year-old Clijsters in her planned 2020 return to the WTA Tour, but questions if the mother of three can make a successful comeback amid the physicality of today's tennis.

"To me, I think the game has evolved," Hingis told the media at the WTA Finals Shenzhen. "The last time she won was 2011 or 2013. It wasn't yesterday. After all of this, I mean, I played some exhibitions with her or against her, we also played in doubles, I think it's quite different.

"I mean, she was a much more physical player than I was. For me, the doubles was good enough. I felt like, This is what I can do, still participate. I finished at No. 1, so it was nice to come back and play. I felt like I would not be probably good enough for singles. Also I didn't want to put myself out there. That's why I said that it's quite ambitious to want to make that move."

Five-time Grand Slam singles champion Hingis mastered the art of the comeback. Hingis initially stepped away from the sport at age 22 before mounting a successful comeback in 2006.

The former No. 1 eventually worked her way back to No. 6 before retiring again on November 1st, 2007 following a hip injury and positive test for cocaine. Hingis launched another comeback in 2013. Playing exclusively doubles in her second comeback, Hingis won multiple Grand Slam doubles title and regained the world No. 1 doubles ranking.

The new mother suggests Clijsters will face a major challenge against younger players, including US Open champion Bianca Andreescu.

"Even for me it's going to be, like, interesting to watch," Hingis told the media at the WTA Finals Shenzhen. "If she can come back to the game she finished off with, then I'm sure she can have some good matches. Will that be enough to play in today's game? I don't know that.

"I mean, personally I can't see that she's going to go out there and beat Andreescu, Sabalenka, the people who qualified here. If she gets a chance, a good draw, she can get into it. Depends maybe on the first matches who she is going to face. As a wild card, if she's going to face Andreescu first round, you don't really know."

Though she suggests her fellow former No. 1 may struggle, Hingis said she's excited to watch Clijsters compete again.

"I think everybody was surprised to hear about that. She's 36 years old, three-time mother," Hingis said of Clijsters. "I think that's a very ambitious challenge to come back. But I'm sure she won't come back until she's ready. When she feels she's ready, she'll play some good tennis.

"I'm actually excited to see how she's going to do. I mean, speaking as a mother, it's not that easy after having a child and everything. Like I said, it's a very ambitious project. But I wish her all the best."

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Why pizza and tears remain a constant for Roger Federer in Basel

Roger Federer won his 103rd tour-level title on Sunday at the Swiss Indoors Basel. But for the 38-year-old, lifting trophies never gets old.

Tears filled the 10-time Basel champion's eyes as he spoke to the crowd during the trophy ceremony.

“You saw it hit me again hard winning here in Basel. I don’t take these tournament victories as a normal thing. I take them as something quite unique and special, even though it’s been a lot by now,” Federer said. “Every one has a different flavour and I try to enjoy them as much as I can in the moment.”

It’s especially emotional for Federer at home. His two years spent as a ball boy in Basel more than two decades ago have been well-documented, and the Swiss awards all the ball boys and ball girls medals and orders them pizza to celebrate their efforts. So even though it was the 10th time Federer has triumphed here, the tears were no surprise.

“I think it might be partially reminiscing back at everything that went on this week. Definitely the family, the thought of the team aspect, the family aspect, everything that goes into me still being able to do it today. People think I just go out there and just do it and have these types of weeks or these types of matches at will,” Federer said. “But there’s so much more that goes into it, let alone managing four children, [which] is a challenge, but a good one.

"Obviously when I stand there and look back at everything that I had to go through, it really touches me. Along with just the music and the thought of all the ball kids running in already gets me going.”

Federer has lifted plenty of trophies from the moment he picked up a tennis racquet as a kid. But that boy who once dreamt of being "one of the big guys" is now just six titles from Jimmy Connors' all-time mark of 109 tour-level titles.

“Back in the day when you lifted a trophy as a junior you’re like, ‘Ahh, let’s just pretend to be one of the big guys.’ But you clearly know you’re not. Now when you’re able to do it in a stadium with people chanting your name or celebrating you or your tennis, it’s a wonderful feeling,” Federer said. “There you probably have a couple of parents around and one photographer who happened to be there at the time. So clearly things have changed. Luckily there were some photographers at the time, because it was more of a luxury to have a camera at the time. It’s been an incredible journey. It’s definitely very different today.”

This is the second tournament at which Federer has won 10 titles, having accomplished the feat in Halle earlier this year. So even though his championship victory against Alex de Minaur was fairly straightforward, resulting in a 6-2, 6-2 scoreline, that didn’t make the moment he clinched the title any less special.

“You don’t get a chance to win 10 titles at the same event many times in your career ever, so I couldn’t be more happy that it also happened here in Basel, in Halle also,” Federer said. “It’s been a great week, a wonderful time. The fans were unreal again, like so many other years. I played great tennis and was able to pull it all the way through until the very end.”

Federer did not drop a set en route to his fourth title of the season. He dropped just 18 games in four matches.

“I started off very strong and very well this week. I was able to really keep a very solid level and sometimes even a fantastic level,” Federer said. “[It was] never really in doubt. If only it was always like that, but it’s not. So I take this week as a good one for sure.”

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Bianca Andreescu eliminated from WTA Finals due to knee injury

SHENZHEN, China-No.4 seed Bianca Andreescu will decide on Thursday whether or not to continue her participation at the Shiseido WTA Finals Shenzhen after suffering a left knee injury that had her retiring after the opening set against Karolina Pliskova, 6-3 (ret).

Leading No.2 seed Pliskova by an early break, 2-0, Andreescu ran for a forehand return in the third game of the match and immediately stopped the point, sinking to the ground with a grimace before taking a medical time out. The Canadian continued to play, but ultimately retired after losing the opening set.

“I stepped weirdly on a return,” Andreescu explained in her post-match press conference. “I heard my knee crack. It kind of went inwards. Putting pressure afterwards on it really bothered me. I could barely bend my knee. But I fought with the pain as much as I could.

“At some point an athlete has to say 'stop' and just listen to their body. That's what I did.”

“It's disappointing 'cause this is the last tournament of the year, you want to go all out,” she added. “You're playing one of the biggest tournaments of the year, too. It's not easy.”

Despite the acute pain, Andreescu - who fought through back pain in her opening match against Simona Halep - explained that her first impulse was to keep playing.

“Actually I've never had a during-match injury happen before, other than spraining my ankle, but that was back in 2015. Honestly, I really didn't know what to do,” she said. “I've fought through pain before, but this was different. It was like very acute.

“But it's the last tournament of the year. I just told myself, Push it as much as you can. You're going to have a good break after this. But yeah, maybe I could have pushed it more. I don't know.

“My team said no. It was good that I stopped. Honestly, I could have kept going. If I did, then I would just be, like, whining on the court. I don't want that. I've done that enough,” she added with a wry laugh.

It’s a disappointing turn of events for Andreescu, who is competing in her first WTA Finals after a breakthrough season catapulted her from outside the Top 100 in the rankings to the game’s highest echelons.

She was one of the most dominant players after lifting trophies at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells and the Rogers Cup in Toronto - becoming the first Canadian in the Open Era to win at home - before lifting her first Grand Slam title at the US Open.

But her season was abbreviated by injury as well, with a right shoulder injury keeping off of the tennis courts from Miami in March, missing the grass court season and Wimbledon before returning in Toronto.

“Some injuries are just inevitable,” Andreescu said. “It's the athlete's job, team's job, to just try our best to prevent as much as possible.

“It's a long season. It's not easy day in, day out. But I love doing this, so I'm just going to keep fighting.”

Well damn, my excitement for the WTA finals has just decreased considerably. 

I'll still be rooting for either Simona, Bencic or Kvitova to win it (out of the 3 I think Simona might have the biggest shot at it), but I'm so disappointed the year had to end on such a sad note for Bianca Andreescu.

She's provided some amazing play throughout the year and it's such a shame she can't end it on a high. 

I really hope she decides not to play her last group match, and just takes the time to rest, recover and comeback stronger for 2020. 

I'm really looking forward to seeing how she plays on grass next year. Get well soon Bianca.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Ladies of the WTA test their 2019 Tennis Knowledge at WTA Finals

I love how Simona completely forgot she was #1 at the beginning of the year. :D

To be fair I would honestly have to look each one of these up to remember who won what, it was a busy season with such a variety of winners.

Also Bencic answer on Pliskova's # of aces is my fave response to a question this year :D.

These ladies are so fun. Always love seeing them be themselves off the court, that's when their personalities really shine.

Monday, October 28, 2019

Roger Federer withdraws from Paris Masters

Former champion Roger Federer has withdrawn from this week’s Rolex Paris Masters.

"I am extremely disappointed to have to pull out," said 2011 titlist Federer. "I want to play as long as possible on the ATP Tour. I'm sorry for my French fans who I'll see at Roland Garros in 2020."

The Swiss superstar won a record-extending 10th Swiss Indoors Basel crown (d. de Minaur) on Sunday. Read Final Report & Watch Highlights

Federer, 38, will now prepare to compete alongside Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Daniil Medvedev, Dominic Thiem and Stefanos Tsitsipas at the Nitto ATP Finals, to be held at The O2 in London from 10-17 November. There are two singles spots left up for grabs this week.

Italian Andreas Seppi has replaced Federer as a lucky loser in the ATP Masters 1000 main draw.

Slightly disappointing, but no surprise here and a very wise decision in the long run. 

Especially if he wants to do well at the ATP World Tour Finals, which hasn't gone so well for him in recent years. 

Also given how many events he's committed to for next season (French Open Olympics etc.) I think skipping this one will ensure his body stays healthy throughout 2020.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Roger Federer gets the perfect #10 in Basel


Some things seem like they'll never change on the ATP Tour. Roger Federer won his 10th Swiss Indoors Basel title on Sunday, entering double digits at a tournament for only the second time by racing past #NextGenATP Aussie Alex de Minaur 6-2, 6-2.

Federer, playing in front of a fervent home crowd, played attacking tennis against the speedy 20-year-old, who was going for his fourth title of the season (3-1). The 38-year-old broke four times, mixing up the pace and keeping De Minaur on the move from the back of the court.

"It was fast but very nice. I think I played a great match. It was a tough opener, in the beginning, the first five games, we had some great rallies. I never looked back," Federer said. "I was great on the offence, made very few unforced errors and came up with the big shots and served well when I had to.

"I thought Alex played a great tournament as well, and I think we both can be very happy. But what a moment for me to win my 10th here in my hometown of Basel."

The Aussie targetted Federer's backhand, but Federer combatted the strategy well, slicing balls to keep De Minaur guessing. The Swiss broke twice in the opening set, smashing an overhead for a 3-1 lead and taking advantage of a loose service game from De Minaur to close out the opening set. In the second, the home favourite ripped a forehand pass to break in the second game and place a stranglehold on momentum.

"He just puts you under pressure," De Minaur said. "Any ball that isn't a metre from the baseline for him is a short ball. That's something I learned the hard way today. But I can't wait until I'm able to step out and play him again."

The Swiss now can count Basel alongside the NOVENTI OPEN in Halle as his most successful tournaments by titles won. Federer has won his home ATP 500 during his past five appearances. He improved to 75-9 at the tournament and has won 24 consecutive matches on centre court. "[I] couldn't be more happy," Federer said. "What a great tournament it's been for me, always, but particularly the last few times I've been here."
Roger Federer's Most Titles By Tournament (All Tournament Records)

Federer won his fourth title of the season, tied for second best on the Tour, and the 103rd of his career (103-54). He will receive 500 ATP Rankings points and €430,125 in prize money.

De Minaur, who was going for the biggest title of his career, will get 300 ATP Rankings points and €216,025 in prize money. The Aussie is projected to crack the Top 20 of the ATP Rankings for the first time in his career on Monday. De Minaur is also set to make his second appearance at the Next Gen ATP Finals, to be held 5-9 November at the Allianz Cloud in Milan.

“I'm very happy... [It's] been an incredible experience, one which I will learn a lot from,” De Minaur said. “I think it's a lot of good work that I've put in, a lot of hard work with my team. I'm happy to see the results paying off.”

Hello ATP title 103 ♥. Only player to have 10 times at 2 tournaments on 2 different surfaces. 


Saturday, October 26, 2019

Roger Federer is one win away from title #10 in Basel

Roger Federer made it clear on Saturday that he wants to pick up a 10th title at the Swiss Indoors Basel. The top-seeded Swiss booked his place in the final with a sterling 6-4, 6-4 performance against third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas.

“It was nice to come out strong. It was a really intense 35 or 40 minutes to start. I had a good middle section which gave me the first set and the lead in the second set, and never looked back,” Federer said. “It’s hard to believe that I’m in another Basel final. It’s super exciting.”

Federer added to his staggering numbers in Basel by reaching his 13th consecutive final and 15th overall. He moved to 74-9 at this event and has won his past 23 matches on centre court. The 38-year-old is through to his sixth ATP Tour final of the season, second only to Daniil Medvedev (9), and picked up his 50th tour-level win of the year.

“Even if I’m up a set and a break, the [crowd] are not just there when I’m down in the score and feel like I need it,” Federer said. “They enjoy when I’m playing good tennis and it pushes me to play even better, keep on trying every point and try to make something happen. That’s what you do with a home court advantage.”

Awaiting him in the championship match is #NextGenATP Aussie Alex de Minaur, who defeated American Reilly Opelka earlier in the day. Federer will have experience on his side when they meet for the first time on Sunday. The Swiss is competing in his 157th ATP Tour final (102-54), compared to six for De Minaur (3-2).

Federer was 0-12 on break points during his loss to Tsitsipas at this year's Australian Open and couldn't convert his first five in their latest clash. But with Tsitsipas serving at 2-2 in the first set, Federer let out a roar of approval after getting over the line with a strong forehand approach.

The Swiss looked to move forward whenever possible and was nearly flawless when he did, winning 9 of 10 net points in the opening set. Serving for the set at 5-4, he fired three aces and a delicate drop volley winner to grab the early advantage.

Tsitsipas was left to ruminate over hitting more winners than unforced errors (11 to 9), yet still coming up short. The Greek felt the pressure in the second set, hitting a double fault and a pair of wild baseline errors in the opening game to give Federer two break points. The top seed converted on his second with a forehand winner and jogged to his chair.

Federer's outstanding serving led to little resistance from Tsitsipas, with the Swiss dropping just eight points in his first nine service games. The third seed earned his first break point with Federer serving for the match at 5-4, but played it tentatively and pushed a forehand long. Two points later, a swinging forehand volley winner closed out play after 79 minutes. Federer finished the day with 28 winners to 11 unforced errors.

Despite the loss, Tsitsipas can be pleased with another strong week. He's prevailed in 10 of his past 13 matches and reached at least the semi-finals at his past three ATP Tour events.