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Updated: 19 min 23 sec ago

Smyczek Shares 'Last Time'...

3 min 28 sec ago

In Tallahassee, Florida, for last week’s $50,000 ATP Challenger Tour event, Tim Smyczek shares the last time…

I missed a flight? 

John Isner were and I flying from Tampa to Milwaukee for my charity event a couple of years ago. We went to get lunch and missed our connection.

I paid money to rent a tennis court or buy tennis balls?

I’ve bought tennis balls relatively recently. You kind of have to when you get to a tournament before everything is fully set up.

Being famous helped me?

I can’t say it has. I have an example of where it didn’t help me! Last year in Miami, I got to the tournament and the credential office was closed. I had to go to the locker room because I needed to get treatment and the attendant guard said he recognised me from my match against Rafael Nadal at the Australian Open. I was like, “Thanks, man.” I tried to explain that the credential office was closed, but he still wouldn’t let me in.

I strung a tennis racquet?

Three years ago. I would string a few on my own, but it would take me an hour and I just decided it was worth it to pay someone else to do it.

I cooked for myself or someone else?

Last night. We had some chicken and pasta with broccoli. I cook a lot whenever I can.

I asked someone for an autograph?

Probably a long time ago when I met Marat Safin.

I shared a hotel room with another player?

Denis Kudla and I have the same coach, so sometimes we’ll let him have his own room when his wife is around and we’ll share a room.

I went to a concert?

I went to Coldplay a couple of years ago and they were awesome. That was a lot of fun.

Nadal, Murray Highlight Tuesday Madrid Action

15 min 28 sec ago

The second round commences and first round concludes at the Mutua Madrid Open on Tuesday as four-time champion Rafael Nadal and two-time champion Andy Murray begin their campaigns. Nadal enters on a 10-match and 11-set winning streak with clay-court titles at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters and Barcelona Open BancSabadell. The Spaniard has victories over No. 2 Murray, No. 4 Stan Wawrinka and No. 6 Kei Nishikori during his unbeaten run. He opens against in-form Andrey Kuznetsov, who has won a career-best 16 matches already this season and is a career-high No. 39 in the Emirates ATP Rankings.

Murray has the distinction of winning the last Madrid title on a hard court in 2008 and on a clay court in 2015, when he dropped only five games against Nadal in the final. Should the Brit defend his title this week, he will capture his first ATP World Tour championship of the season. Murray meets 37-year-old qualifier Radek Stepanek at 8 pm on Manolo Santana. Stepanek has lost 17 of his last 18 matches against Top 10 opponents, upsetting then-No. 5 Murray to reach the 2014 London/Queen’s Club quarter-finals.

Also on the schedule are five players who competed in finals on Sunday: Munich champion Philipp Kohlschreiber and runner-up Dominic Thiem, Estoril champion Nicolas Almagro and runner-up Pablo Carreno Busta, and Istanbul runner-up Grigor Dimitrov. Thiem seeks an ATP-best 30th win of the season against former World No. 4 Juan Martin del Potro, who is playing in Madrid for the first time since reaching the 2012 semi-finals. In other matches, new World No. 10 Milos Raonic faces Alexandr Dolgopolov and No. 13 seed Gael Monfils meets Kevin Anderson, who is returning from knee, shoulder and ankle injuries.

Goffin Tracks Down Hot Shot Madrid 2016

1 hour 36 min ago
David Goffin somehow tracks down a drop shot from Lucas Pouille in first-round action at the Mutua Madrid Open. Watch live tennis from Madrid at tennistv.com.

Goffin and Pouille Show Off Volleys Hot Shots Madrid 2016

1 hour 37 min ago
David Goffin hits a volley so well, Lucas Pouille races to the net but can't even get a racquet on the ball. Later on, Pouille shows off his own volleying skills. Watch live tennis from Madrid at tennistv.com.

Gasquet, Ferrer, Pouille Advance In Madrid

3 hours 28 min ago

Richard Gasquet, David Ferrer and Lucas Pouille moved into the second round on day two of the Mutua Madrid Open.

Gasquet, the No. 10 seed, was flawless on serve in his opening match against local favourite Roberto Carballes Baena, saving all three break points against him to prevail in one hour and 47 minutes 6-1, 7-6(5). The Frenchman will next renew his rivalry with wild card Fernando Verdasco in the second round. Verdasco currently leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head by 8-7.

In a match which finished well past midnight, No. 9 seed David Ferrer fought back to prevail against countryman Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 3-6, 6-1, 6-2. Ferrer has reached at least the quarter-finals in his past five appearances in Madrid. He will next play the winner of the match between Ivo Karlovic and qualifier Denis Kudla

Pouille, a qualifier, continued his outstanding clay court season by recording one of the biggest wins of his career over No. 12 seed David Goffin, saving four match points to prevail in their epic battle 7-6(4), 2-6, 7-6(7). Pouille saved three match points while serving at 4-5 in the final set, then saved another match point down 6-7 in the final set tie-break with a backhand winner. He converted on his second match point opportunity and dropped to his knees in celebration. Pouille will now play the winner of the match between Sam Querrey and qualifier Pierre-Hugues Herbert.

Also advancing on Monday was Joao Sousa. He only needed one break point opportunity in each set of his match against Nicolas Mahut, grabbing the lone break in each set to comfortably advance 6-4, 6-4. The Portuguese also landed 78 per cent of first serves and saved each of the six break points that he faced in the match, all of which came in the opening set. Next up for Sousa is lucky loser Marcel Granollers, who made his way into the draw due to the withdrawal of Roger Federer. Sousa leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head by 2-1.

Gasquet, Ferrer, Pouille Advance In Madrid

3 hours 28 min ago

Richard Gasquet, David Ferrer and Lucas Pouille moved into the second round on day two of the Mutua Madrid Open.

Gasquet, the No. 10 seed, was flawless on serve in his opening match against local favourite Roberto Carballes Baena, saving all three break points against him to prevail in one hour and 47 minutes 6-1, 7-6(5). The Frenchman will next renew his rivalry with wild card Fernando Verdasco in the second round. Verdasco currently leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head by 8-7.

In a match which finished well past midnight, No. 9 seed David Ferrer fought back to prevail against countryman Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 3-6, 6-1, 6-2. Ferrer has reached at least the quarter-finals in his past five appearances in Madrid. He will next play the winner of the match between Ivo Karlovic and qualifier Denis Kudla

Pouille, a qualifier, continued his outstanding clay-court season by recording one of the biggest wins of his career over No. 12 seed David Goffin, saving four match points to prevail in their epic battle 7-6(4), 2-6, 7-6(7). Pouille saved three match points while serving at 4-5 in the final set, then saved another match point down 6-7 in the final set tie-break with a backhand winner. He converted on his second match point opportunity and dropped to his knees in celebration. Pouille will now play the winner of the match between Sam Querrey and qualifier Pierre-Hugues Herbert.

Also advancing on Monday was Joao Sousa. He only needed one break point opportunity in each set of his match against Nicolas Mahut, grabbing the lone break in each set to comfortably advance 6-4, 6-4. The Portuguese also landed 78 per cent of first serves and saved each of the six break points that he faced in the match, all of which came in the opening set. Next up for Sousa is lucky loser Marcel Granollers, who made his way into the draw due to the withdrawal of Roger Federer. Sousa leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head by 2-1.

Transition Game: Challenger Players Take The Leap

6 hours 43 min ago

Upon lifting his second ATP Challenger Tour trophy in Savannah one week ago, Bjorn Fratangelo echoed the sentiments of all players on the circuit: “Hopefully, I won’t be back here next year.”

No disrespect intended, just the reality of life on the circuit. Players battle against world-class competition with the hope of ascending the Emirates ATP Rankings and realising their dreams on the ATP World Tour. The piece of silverware in Fratangelo's hands was the reward for not just one strong week, but rather months, if not years, of hard work.

The 22-year-old American had made 33 Challenger appearances before stepping into the spotlight for the first time at the tour-level last year, making his debut at the Masters 1000 tournament in Cincinnati. The moment of contesting a first ATP World Tour event is filled with elation; it’s the goal of every player who fights to make a living in professional tennis. But, for players who return to the Challenger level in the coming weeks, it can be fleeting, leaving another, even bigger, target to strive for.

“It’s a little different, I'm one of the hunted ones now in Challengers,” said Fratangelo, who claimed his first ATP World Tour match win last month in Indian Wells, also snatching a set off World No. 1 Novak Djokovic. “It's the beauty of tennis. No week is going to be the same. It can be tough in terms of the atmosphere of the tournament and the hustle and bustle. You come back down to a smaller Challenger that's more laid back with not as many people and you have to refocus.”

Frances Tiafoe, a member of the ATP’s Next Generation, made his ATP World Tour debut in Washington in 2014 – nearly one year prior to competing in his first ATP Challenger Tour main draw in Sarasota. The taste of tennis at the highest level gave the 18-year-old added incentive to fight even harder for another bite.

“I had a bunch of good weeks here last year so it makes me feel good,” said Tiafoe. “It's another chance to build your ranking and another chance to keep improving.”

In the past year, Tiafoe has competed in a Challenger the week after contesting a tour-level event on four occasions. Just one month removed from attaining a career-high No. 167 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, after notching his first match win at the Masters 1000 level in Indian Wells, the #NextGen star reached his third Challenger final last week in Tallahassee. Not fazed by the constant state of transition, Tiafoe understands that it’s all part of the process.

“That result (in Indian Wells) meant a lot to me and then losing to (David) Goffin 7-6 in the third was big. I was playing great tennis there, but it's a whole different game here. You have a great result like that and you become more of a target on the Challenger Tour. They are going to come after you and every match you have to play your hardest. There are no easy matches.”

While Fratangelo and Tiafoe had little trouble adapting, a monumental result on the ATP World Tour can often yield significant growing pains in the months to come, as expectations grow. In 2016, Gerald Melzer has exploded out of the gates on the Challenger circuit, setting the pace with a 24-5 mark and three titles. On the precipice of cracking the Top 100 of the Emirates ATP Rankings, the Austrian has come a long way since surging onto the scene with a stunning run to the semi-finals at the ATP World Tour event in Munich exactly one year ago. He had won five matches in seven days as a qualifier, including an emotional three-set victory over countryman and current World No. 15 Dominic Thiem.

But with sudden success comes mounting pressure and Melzer admits he struggled thereafter, winning a combined eight matches from 10 Challenger events the rest of the season. It was all a learning experience.

“Munich was my biggest result ever, and after that I felt I could go for it as I didn’t have anything to defend for the rest of the summer,” said Melzer. “But the expectations were higher than they should have been. I felt more pressure to win more matches and get to the Top 100. I learned a lot from the last year and it’s helping me take the next step in my career.

“I wasn’t too confident at the beginning of the year, but then I started winning and round-by-round I was feeling better. I won almost all my three-set matches. Now I feel that if I hang in the match and do my best, I will always have a chance to win. All of a sudden I won three of my first six tournaments. I’m more than happy with that.”

Fratangelo looks at his breakthrough success on the ATP World Tour as a turning point in his career. The Pittsburgh native would go on to claim the USTA’s wild card into Roland Garros with a dominant run on the green clay in Sarasota and Savannah. He says the transition is different than anything he’d previously experienced, but stresses that it instilled a critical sense of clarity and confidence in his game.

“I learned a lot from those two weeks. Even just from the Djokovic match. How disciplined I was. It took a lot of mental effort to stay with him. If I was going to have any chance I had to be more disciplined in my shot selection. I couldn't do the normal things I do and I now know that I can use that at this level.

“Can I play better? Of course. I've proven that. You take the opportunities as they present themselves, which I did. Wins are wins, no matter what level they are at.”

Leonardo Mayer Turns Batman in Madrid

8 hours 49 min ago
Leonardo Mayer helps to remove a pesky bat during his first-round match at the Madrid Mutua Open 2016. Watch live Madrid matches at TennisTV.com.

Federer Withdraws From Madrid

8 hours 59 min ago

Roger Federer has withdrawn from the Mutua Madrid Open because of a back injury, the World No. 3 announced on Monday. The Swiss was scheduled to play on Wednesday in just his second tournament back since undergoing knee surgery in February.

“Sorry to the tournament for coming and leaving without playing,” Federer said. “I arrived and I was okay, and then I practised on Saturday and hurt my back a little bit in practice and then stopped early.”

The three-time Madrid champion said he was scheduled to practice for two hours but had to quit after one hour and 15 minutes. He skipped practice altogether on Sunday and Monday. “At this point I don't want to take more chances as I know I'm not going to be fully ready for Wednesday,” he said.

Federer has struggled with injuries this season. He underwent arthroscopic surgery to repair a torn meniscus on 3 February and was scheduled to return at the Miami Open presented by Itau in March. But the all-time great had to withdraw from the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament because of a stomach virus. Instead, he returned to tour-level action last month at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters, making the quarter-finals.

Federer had hoped to continue his clay-court season at Madrid. He even rearranged his schedule to play at the season's fourth Masters 1000 tournament. “I'm very disappointed, to say the least. I was hoping to play,” he said. “This is not really what I wanted to do, come here and do a press conference about pulling out.”

He took some solace in that his back was bothering him and not his left knee. The 24-time Masters 1000 champion has endured back pain in recent years. “This is normal back things I've had in the past, which I guess is good because I know how to handle it. I know how long it can take. Sometimes it can vary by a few days here or there,” he said.

Federer hopes to be ready for next week's Internazionali BNL d'Italia, another Masters 1000 tournament on clay. “It's been a tough year,” he said, “so I hope it gets better from here.”

Roger Federer Withdraws From Madrid 2016

9 hours 3 min ago
Roger Federer withdraws from the Mutua Madrid Open with a back injury. Watch live matches from Madrid at TennisTV.com.

Raonic, Simon, Lopez Move On In Madrid

9 hours 28 min ago

Milos Raonic, Gilles Simon and Feliciano Lopez were among the first-round winners in early action on day two of the Mutua Madrid Open.

Raonic, who's back into the Top 10 of the Emirates ATP Rankings for the first time since 2015 October, beat Thomaz Bellucci 7-6(4), 6-1 in one hour and 21 minutes. The Canadian hit five aces and never faced a break point against the Brazilian. In the second round, the No. 11 seed will face Alexandr Dolgopolov, who beat American Steve Johnson 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(4). Raonic and Dolgopolov's FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry is tied at 1-all.

Simon, the No. 16 seed, beat Marcos Baghdatis 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 in two hours and 24 minutes. The Frenchman erased six of eight break points and won despite winning one less point than Baghdatis (93 to 94). Simon also evened their FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry at 3-all. He will face Pablo Carreno Busta or Grigor Dimitrov next.

Lopez avenged a 2015 Madrid loss and beat Argentine Leonardo Mayer 7-6(5), 4-6, 6-4. The Spaniard won 78 per cent of his first-serve points to move into the second round. “It was a complicated match. He is an overall complete player. He hits the ball very well and serves pretty good,” Lopez said. “It's not easy to return his balls because they're very heavy. In the end, I think it was a pretty tight match.”

The 34 year old is the only player in the tournament's 15-year history to have participated in every singles draw. “I'm a very fortunate player. I've been playing tennis a lot of years. I didn't think to be able to play so many years and have such a long career. I feel very proud and fortunate to be able to still be competitive with my age,” Lopez said. “Secondly, well, I'm very lucky to have a tournament like this in my city where I live since it started until today. I said it yesterday, that it's been 15 great years with a lot of the matches and things to remember.”

Lopez will next face Santiago Giraldo of Colombia or No. 15 seed Roberto Bautista Agut.

Russian Andrey Kuznetsov also advanced on Monday, beating Serbian Viktor Troicki 6-4, 6-4. Kuznetsov will face No. 5 seed Rafael Nadal in the second round.

Behind The Scenes At Media Day Madrid 2016

9 hours 33 min ago
Get a backstage look as Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray, Tomas Berdych, Kei Nishikori, Stan Wawrinka and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga sit down for their pre-tournament interviews at the Mutua Madrid Open.

Murray Remembers At Madrid 2016

10 hours 15 min ago
Andy Murray recalls his memories of wining the 2015 Mutua Madrid Open. Watch live online at TennisTV.com.

Mayer Goes For Broke In Madrid 2016 Hot Shot

10 hours 15 min ago
Watch Hot Shot as Feliciano Lopez rushes the net, only to see Leonardo Mayer play an all or nothing backhand on Monday at the Mutua Madrid Open. Watch live online at TennisTV.com. Photo: Getty Images

Ferrer Gasquet Prevail In 1R Madrid 2016 Highlights

11 hours 26 min ago
Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray look ahead to the Mutua Madrid Open, while David Ferrer, Milos Raonic and Richard Gasquet win their first-round matches Monday. Watch live tennis at TennisTV.com.

Wawrinka Focused On Strong Week At Madrid 2016

12 hours 23 min ago
Stan Wawrinka looks ahead to the Mutua Madrid Open, which includes every member of the Top 10 in the Emirates ATP Rankings. Watch live online at TennisTV.com.

Tsonga Reflects On Rankings Rise At Madrid 2016

12 hours 25 min ago
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga reflects on his return to top form and his rise to No. 7 in the Emirates ATP Rankings ahead of the Mutua Madrid Open. Watch live online at TennisTV.com.

Schwartzman Dimitrov In Istanbul 2016 Final Highlights

12 hours 29 min ago
Watch highlights of the 2016 TEB BNP Paribas Istanbul Open final, featuring Diego Schwartzman and Grigor Dimitrov.

Nishikori Ready For Strong Bid At Madrid 2016

12 hours 32 min ago
Kei Nishikori looks back on the clay swing so far and his memories of a run to the 2014 Mutua Madrid Open final. Watch live online at TennisTV.com.

Confident Nadal Eyes Records At Madrid 2016

12 hours 39 min ago
Rafael Nadal, buoyed with confidence, looks forward to trying to win a fifth Mutua Madrid Open title and a 29th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crown. Watch live online at TennisTV.com.