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Updated: 3 weeks 2 days ago

Basilashvili Reacts To Comeback At Hamburg 2018

Thu, 07/26/2018 - 8:25am
Nikoloz Basilashvili reflects on coming back to beat Pablo Cuevas on Thursday at the German Tennis Championships presented by Kampmann. Watch live tennis at tennistv.com.

Chung Thrilled At Triumphant Return In Atlanta

Wed, 07/25/2018 - 10:36pm
Hyeon Chung discusses winning his first match in more than two months against Taylor Fritz in the second round of the BB&T Atlanta Open on Wednesday. Photo: Peter Staples/ATP World Tour

Isner Surges Past De Minaur To Reach QF

Wed, 07/25/2018 - 9:09pm

The BB&T Atlanta Open continues to bring out the best in top-ranked American John Isner with a packed house of Georgia fans cheering on the four-time champion as he cruised past Alex de Minaur in the second round on Wednesday. The top seed powered to a 6-3, 6-2 result over the #NextGenATP Australian to set a quarter-final showdown with No. 7 seed Mischa Zverev.

The 19-year-old De Minaur was coming off a tight opening round win over Polish lucky loser Hubert Hurkacz but had no answers to the 6’10” Isner’s huge serving. The American finished with 15 aces and dropped just two points on his first serve. He did not face a break point.

“Yeah it was a pretty comprehensive win. You never know how you’re going to come out. This was my first match on hard court since Miami so it’s been a little bit and hadn’t practised too much because the focus was on resting after that long match (at Wimbledon) so I’m very happy.”

It was the 33-year-old’s first match since that epic six-hour, 36-minute semi-final defeat to South Africa’s Kevin Anderson in the Wimbledon semi-finals, a match in which Isner ultimately fell short 26-24 in the fifth set. It was a match that boosted Isner’s profile back home since.

“I’m very mature now. I know what it takes to bounce back from something like that,” Isner said. “As soon as I got off the plane I worked out actually. I have to keep my body constantly moving. Just sitting on a couch for days on end, I would have felt even worse… so I feel pretty good right now.”

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The win sends Isner into his fifth quarter-final of the season, with his biggest result coming in April when he claimed his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title at the Miami Open presented by Itau. He has claimed four titles from seven finals in Atlanta and only once has he failed to reach the final, in 2012, when he fell to Andy Roddick in the semi-finals. 

Zverev, though, will favour his chances of ending that streak. The German carries a 3-2 FedEx ATP Head2Head record into the quarter-final clash.

“I’ve never played him in Atlanta so that might help,” Isner said. “He’s certainly going to have a lot of belief against me on Friday. 

“He cleaned my clock at the US Open last year, he beat me in five sets in the Australian Open (in 2017) and he beat me somewhere else also. He’s a very good player and gives a lot of players trouble.”

Mischa Zverev, On His Love Of Planes, How To Have A Successful Career

Wed, 07/25/2018 - 7:17pm
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German Mischa Zverev accomplished a lifelong goal last month at the Nature Valley International in Eastbourne when he won his maiden ATP World Tour title. But winning a title every year won't make Zverev's tennis career a success, at least according to what he shared in this installment of "On The Line", a question-and-answer series about life off the court.

What's your biggest passion outside of sport and why?
Flying. I love airplanes. I love aviation. I love flying... I'm a pilot. I have a license. That's my passion... [I fly] not very often because my license is only good in the U.S. so I can only fly when I'm here in the States. Last time I flew was I think August last year so it's been awhile... In Tampa, I flew from home airport to home airport, stayed in the vicinity, did a couple landings, just flew around to get a feel for it again.

Anyone else in the plane?
No, when I don't fly very often, first couple times I have to go by myself just to make sure everything's good, and then start taking passengers.

Watch: Zverev Describes What Makes The Atlanta Tournament Unique

What do you fly?
A single-engine, four-seater, so a Cessna 172, Piper Cherokee, something like that... I don't have my own plane; I just rent... I always loved aviation. I like driving cars, I like driving boats and I love flying, so everything that has to do with manoeuvring and piloting, I love all that... Since I was little, I saw those big machines flying, I was fascinated.

What was the last book you read?
Russian book with a lot of short stories. I always have a few books, I try to read in Russian, German and English.

The last concert or show you attended?
Last year for my birthday (August), we went to a play, Macbeth, in New York, and it was where you are part of the play. It was this unique experience where you're in a building, four stories, and you walk around and the actors are all around you. Sometimes they walk straight at you. You have to get out of the way.

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Favourite sport to watch besides tennis and why?
Basketball. I enjoy basketball. I've always loved basketball. First time I came to the U.S. [when I was 5], the first live sports I ever watched was basketball, the Miami Heat, and since then I've just been passionate about basketball. I do like watching fishing on TV, it's very relaxing. It's a good start for a Saturday morning or Sunday morning. That's something I really enjoy.

Person, outside of significant other and your parents, whom you admire the most?
I think athletes like [Michael] Jordan and Roger Federer are the people I admire the most, for what they did on court and off the court.

My tennis career will be a success if I ________________.
Stop missing easy volleys.

After my tennis career, I want to _____________.
Fly more airplanes.

Chung Holds Off Fritz In ATP World Tour Return

Wed, 07/25/2018 - 6:59pm

Hyeon Chung made a triumphant return to the ATP World Tour on Wednesday to defeat #NextGenATP American Taylor Fritz at the BB&T Atlanta Open. The 2017 Next Gen ATP Finals champion saw off the 20-year-old American 6-4, 7-6(5) to reach the quarter-finals.

The South Korean had reached his maiden Grand Slam semi-final in January at the Australian Open and made the quarter-finals or better at seven events this season before a right ankle injury kept him sidelined since 8 May. This was his first match since an opening round defeat at the Mutua Madrid Open.

"I'm really happy to win after two months injured,” Chung said. “I'm really trying to focus on the match but it was a little bit hot, so I had to try to focus on all of the points. Physically I felt all good because I was training a lot in the past two months."

Fritz, sixth place in the Race to Milan, was bidding to reach his fourth ATP World Tour quarter-final of the season. Trailing a set and a break, he managed to peg back level for 4-4 in the second set before the South Korean went on to clinch the pair’s first FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting in a tie-break.

"He has a really good serve and big forehand, so I had many chances to finish in the second set but he was serving ace, ace, ace,” Chung said. “Tough second set. Anyway I'm really happy to win the match. After 10 weeks, I was really happy to be on the court."

He will next meet another American, No. 8 seed Ryan Harrison, for a place in the semi-finals. Harrison fought back to claim a 2-6, 6-2, 6-3 result over Slovak Lukas Lacko.

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German Mischa Zverev ended Russian Mikhail Youzhny’s final Atlanta campaign on Wednesday. The No. 7 seed prevailed 6-4, 6-2 over the 36-year-old former World No. 8. Youzhny announced after his opening round defeat of Emil Reinberg he would retire after the St. Petersburg Open in September.

"I think the conditions were good for me,” Zverev said. “Youzhny doesn't like it, I think, when the ball bounces too high and goes quick through the air. So I was able to get a lot of easy points off of him, especially with my serve and also when he was serving using his second serve. I think that was key.” 

The 30-year-old was coming off a run to his maiden ATP World Tour title last month on the grass at the Nature Valley International. He awaits the winner of top seed John Isner and Australian Alex de Minaur in the quarter-finals.

“Eastbourne was beautiful. It was a great, great feeling, a great experience,” he said. “I'm happy I can finally say yeah I have a title, which is good."

Highlights: Defending Hamburg Champ Mayer Ousts Monfils

Wed, 07/25/2018 - 4:43pm
Leonardo Mayer, chasing a third title in Hamburg, advances to the quarter-finals after a straight-sets win over Gael Monfils. Watch all the Day 3 highlights from the German Tennis Championships 2018. Watch live matches at tennistv.com

Isner, 33, Shares His Secret To Playing His Best Tennis Yet

Wed, 07/25/2018 - 2:32pm
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John Isner's secret to playing his best tennis at the age of 33: Not caring as much about the result.

The No. 1 American, who's the top seed at the BB&T Atlanta Open this week, has worked on playing more aggressively as he's reached career-best marks past the age of 30. The 6'10” right-hander approaches the net more often and swings through his returns.

During his Wimbledon quarter-final, when Isner beat Canadaian Milos Raonic to reach his first Grand Slam semi-final, Isner raced forward 37 times, winning 81 per cent of those points (30/37), and converting half of his six break points.

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But Isner said, in addition to a change to his game, just as importantly, he's feeling more confident about his new approach.

“It's not necessarily that I'm playing more aggressively, while I am... I think I'm able to do that because I'm more comfortable out there on the court, more relaxed. Not so much worried about the result. Of course it's great to win, if I lose, so be it,” Isner told ATPWorldTour.com.

It hasn't always been that way for the American, who's at No. 9 in the ATP Rankings this week. In the past, he has clammed up in tie-breaks, feeling more worried about the final score than how he's hitting.

“There have been a lot of times where I've been too wrapped up in the result,” he said. “I'm not doing that lately, and I think that's one of the reasons I've been playing so well.”

Watch: Isner Hears The Dawgs Barking

Off-court joy has also helped. Isner married longtime girlfriend Madison McKinley last December, and she is pregnant with a baby girl due 22 September.

“There's a lot of things going on in my life, a lot of very cool things going on in my life that I think are helping,” he said.

Few tournaments bring out Isner's best tennis than the BB&T Atlanta Open, where the former University of Georgia Bulldog has won four titles from seven finals and owns a 27-4 record at the ATP World Tour 250-level event. His worst showing was a semi-final loss to Andy Roddick in 2012.

“A lot of factors, I think, go into me playing so well here. I think for one, the surface is very good for me. I'm most comfortable playing on hard courts. It's of course what I grew up playing on. On top of that I prefer playing in the United States. Throughout my career, I've always played my best tennis at home,” Isner said.

Read More: 200 Fans Wait In Line For Isner's Autograph

“This tournament, in particular, is really home, because I went to school so close to here. There are so many Georgia Bulldog fans here in Atlanta, and this tournament is supported so well. When I'm playing, I have a lot of crowd support, the Dawgs are barking for me, and it spurs me on to play some good tennis.”

As the season enters its final four months, Isner is targeting his best finish yet – his first year-end Top 10 ATP Ranking and his debut at the season-ending Nitto ATP Finals, to be held 11-18 November at The O2 in London.

“A huge goal of mine is to make that tournament in London, I also want to finish in the Top 10,” Isner said.

“At 33, I feel like I'm playing my best tennis ever, which is super encouraging for me going forward. It's incumbent on me now to keep pushing on the gas pedal and keep pushing forward.”

Bautista Agut Begins Comeback, Reaches Gstaad QFs

Wed, 07/25/2018 - 12:50pm

Roberto Bautista Agut started his comeback from a groin injury on Wednesday by booking a place in the J. Safra Sarasin Swiss Open Gstaad quarter-finals. The 30-year-old, in his first match since the Gerry Weber Open five weeks ago, overcame fellow Spaniard Jaume Munar 2-6, 6-3, 6-2 in one hour and 42 minutes.

The World No. 17, who has won one of his eight ATP World Tour trophies on clay courts, will next challenge Japan’s Taro Daniel, who saved one match point at 5-6, Ad-Out in the deciding set against Roberto Carballes Baena of Spain in a 6-4, 4-6, 7-6(5) victory over two hours and 46 minutes.

Earlier in the day, Italian Matteo Berrettini knocked out fourth-seeded Russian Andrey Rublev 6-3, 6-3 in 62 minutes. The World No. 84, winner of his second ATP Challenger Tour title at the Trofeo Perrel - FAIP in February, will contest his first ATP World Tour quarter-final against eighth seed and 2016 titlist Feliciano Lopez.

Lopez drew upon his greater experience to overcome fellow Spaniard and lucky loser Oriol Roca Batalla in a hard-fought 4-6, 7-6(4), 6-4 win over two hours and 17 minutes.

Harrison Happy In The Heat Of Atlanta

Wed, 07/25/2018 - 12:17pm
American Ryan Harrison explains why he likes playing at the BB&T Atlanta Open, where playing in the heat helps him get in great shape.

Hot Shot: Where's Your Racquet Gael?

Wed, 07/25/2018 - 12:02pm
Watch Hot Shot as Gael Monfils gives his all - and drops his racquet - against Leonaro Mayer, who finally wins the point in Hamburg on Wednesday. Watch live tennis at tennistv.com. Photo Courtesy: Hamburg sports & entertainment GmbH

Kovalik Delighted With Molleker Win At Hamburg 2018

Wed, 07/25/2018 - 11:27am
Qualifier Jozef Kovalik discusses his second-round win over wild card Ruudolf Molleker on Wednesday at the German Tennis Championships presented by Kampmann. Watch live tennis at tennistv.com.

Fognini Visits Eggli Alp Farm At Gstaad 2018

Wed, 07/25/2018 - 10:44am
Fabio Fognini and his family visit Eggli Alp farm in Gstaad. Photo Credit: Christian Colle. Video courtesy: J. Safra Sarasin Swiss Open Gstaad

Schwartzman Happy With Performance At Hamburg 2018

Wed, 07/25/2018 - 10:42am
Diego Schwartzman reflects on recording his 25th match win of the season (25-16) by beating qualifier Daniel Masur at the German Tennis Championships presented by Kampmann. Watch live tennis at tennistv.com.

Monteiro Reacts To Verdasco Win At Hamburg 2018

Wed, 07/25/2018 - 10:37am
Thiago Monteiro reacts to beating eighth seed Fernando Verdasco on Wednesday at the German Tennis Championships presented by Kampmann. Watch live tennis at tennistv.com.

Schwartzman Into Hamburg QFs; Monfils, Verdasco Beaten

Wed, 07/25/2018 - 10:35am

Diego Schwartzman recorded his 25th match win of the season (25-16) by beating German qualifier Daniel Masur 6-2, 6-2 on Wednesday for a place in the quarter-finals of the German Tennis Championships presented by Kampmann. With two breaks of serve in each set of the 80-minute encounter, second seed Schwartzman now faces two-time champion and fellow Argentine Leonardo Mayer. Schwartzman won the biggest title of his career in February at the Rio Open presented by Claro (d. Verdasco).

Mayer, who beat Germany's Florian Mayer in last year’s Hamburg final, recorded his first win in four FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings against Gael Monfils of France in a 6-1, 7-5 victory over 80 minutes.

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Earlier in the day, Brazilian lucky loser Thiago Monteiro scraped past eighth seed Fernando Verdasco of Spain 3-6, 6-2, 7-5 in two hours and 12 minutes to reach his second quarter-final of the year (also Ecuador Open semi-finals). Verdasco had beaten Monteiro in the Argentina Open first round in February.

Second-seeded Frenchman Richard Gasquet was forced to pull out of the tournament on Wednesday due to a left hip injury. Chile’s Nicolas Jarry advances to the quarter-final.

Read & Watch: Fognini & Family Visit Eggli Farm In Gstaad

Wed, 07/25/2018 - 7:21am

Fabio Fognini joined his family on a trip to Eggli Alp farm in Gstaad, 1,600 metres above sea level, on Tuesday.

The defending champion, with his parents and sister, Fulvia, was initially scared to get too close to the animals, but later assisted farmer Ruedi Wehren with feeding the horses, milking the cows and preparing cheese. The Italian also took the goats outside for their evening stroll and tasted the homemade cheese.

“It is impressive to see how much farmers work,” said Fognini. “Ruedi gets up at 6:30am and works until 9pm most days. It was very interesting to see how he manages the farm and it was a great experience for me to milk the cows and spend time with the goats and the calves. They are really cute, the youngest one is only four weeks old.”

Fognini, who beat German qualifier Yannick Hanfmann in the 2017 J. Safra Sarasin Swiss Open Gstaad final, comes into this year's ATP World Tour 250 tournament on the back of lifting his seventh ATP World Tour trophy at the SkiStar Swedish Open (d. Gasquet) on Sunday. Read Report & Watch Highlights

“I feel great at the moment and I love playing on clay,” said Fognini, who has a 21-9 record on red dirt this year (31-14 overall record). He also won Brasil Open title (d. Jarry) in early March.

Isner In Atlanta: 'The Dawgs Are Barking For Me'

Wed, 07/25/2018 - 2:18am

World No. 9 John Isner, playing some of the best tennis of his career, was popular with fans on Tuesday when the American signed autographs in a 60-minute session at the PGA Tour Superstore in Roswall.

The line, made up of about 200 fans, extended across an entire side of the store. Isner, who attended the University of Georgia, between 2004 and 2007, signed a lot of Bulldogs’ memorabilia.

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Since the first edition of the ATP World Tour 250 tournament, 33-year-old Isner has reached the Atlanta hard-court final in seven of the past eight years. With a 27-4 tournament record, Isner has lifted the trophy in 2013 (d. Anderson), 2014 (d. Sela), 2015 (d. Baghdatis) and last year (d. Harrison). He also finished runner-up in 2010-11 (l. to Fish both times) and in 2016 (l. to Kyrgios).

Isner is hoping to carry the momentum of reaching the Wimbledon semi-finals (l. to Anderson) into the North American hard-court swing. He also captured his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title on 1 April at the Miami Open presented by Itaú (d. Zverev).

He is currently in ninth position in the ATP Race To London for a first-time qualification to the Nitto ATP Finals, to be held from 11-18 November.

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Hot Shot: Monfils Rips A Forehand Winner At Hamburg 2018

Wed, 07/25/2018 - 1:15am
Watch Hot Shot as Gael Monfils reaches for a forehand and rips a winner past Leonardo Mayer on Wednesday at the German Tennis Championships presented by Kampmann. Watch live tennis at tennistv.com. Photo Courtesy: Hamburg sports & entertainment GmbH

Pressure? Hyeon Chung Knows More About Pressure Than Most

Tue, 07/24/2018 - 11:49pm
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Before Milan, where Hyeon Chung won the inaugural Next Gen ATP Finals last November, and before Melbourne, where the South Korean reached his maiden Grand Slam semi-final in January, Chung showed his tour-leading clutch tennis in Incheon, South Korea.

At the 2014 Asian Games, Chung and countryman Yong-kyu Lim faced four match points in the doubles semi-finals, and much was on the line for the pairing.

Lose and they, like all South Korean males, would still be subject to almost two years of mandatory military service. But win the gold medal, and they'd be exempt.

“For Asians it's really big tournament... especially for Koreans because Koreans have to go to the Army. It's a big thing,” Chung told ATPWorldTour.com. 

He and Lim came back from 4/6 in the second set tie-break and 7/9 in the Match Tie-break to reach the final, Chung said. As fans cheered after every point and sometimes even shouted and exhaled after every shot, the South Koreans won the country's first tennis gold medal in 28 years.

Watch: A Different Ball Game: Chung Meets Atlanta Football Star At Atlanta

“I think the Asian Games started [it for me],” said Chung, who was 18 at the time and eventually served only four weeks in the military. “Because when I'm in the Asian Games, I'm really happy and I had many good, positive things so that I can win Next Gen last year, I can make Grand Slam semis.”

No one has played sweaty-palm situations better than Chung during his big runs and during the past 52 weeks, according to his “Under Pressure” rating on the Infosys ATP Stats LEADERBOARDS. The statistic is based on break points converted, break points saved, tie-breaks won and deciding sets won, and Chung's 247.6 rating is almost a point better than Juan Martin del Potro's (third, 246.7) and more than two points better than Roger Federer's (fifth, 245.5).

“He is able in the big moments to knuckle down and not think too much about what the end result is, and he's able to execute really well in the big moments, which is a skill in itself, and I think that's why the results show in the stats,” Neville Godwin, his coach, told ATPWorldTour.com.

Watch Chung's My Story

Chung will look to use those skills for the first time in more than two months as he returns this week at the BB&T Atlanta Open. A right ankle injury that took longer than expected to rehab has kept him out of play since 8 May when he lost in the first round of the Mutua Madrid Open.

Before Madrid, Chung had made at least the quarter-finals at seven of his eight tournaments and was in sixth place in the ATP Race To London.

But, after missing 11 weeks, he has fallen to the 17th spot in the Race and trails eighth-placed Kevin Anderson by 1,440 points.

“Obviously I would have liked him to play on the clay, and definitely on the grass as well because he was having such a great run and obviously in contention to go to London... It could be a bridge too far now,” Godwin said.

Read More: Americans Lead The Way In Atlanta

“The goal for the rest of the year is to really just stay healthy and keep building on the things that we started working on at the beginning of the year.”

Chung played in Atlanta last year for the first time, falling to #NextGenATP American Tommy Paul in three sets. Hard courts have been Chung's best surface on tour. The 6'2” right-hander has won almost 60 per cent of his matches on hard courts (53-36), compared to 58 per cent of his matches overall (71-52), according to his FedEx ATP Win/Loss Record.

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“I'm just trying to move the legs, and I'm just trying to play my best. Breathe... Stay calm. Trying to think about positive things,” Chung said of playing under pressure.

Not everyone, however, has been so enamored with Chung's clutch play. Indian Divij Sharan and his partner Yuki Bhambri lost the four match points against Chung/Lim at the Asian Games. Had Sharan/Bhambri reached the final, they would have faced another Indian team, guaranteeing their home nation a gold medal in tennis.

Sharan, who, with Kiwi Artem Sitak, is the top doubles seed in Atlanta, has seen video clips of the match. But he struggles to describe how a shot at gold slipped away from them.

“That was obviously a really, really close match,” Sharan told ATPWorldTour.com, “and I guess looking back, I just think, that was a tough one, just a match they had to win. It was just crazy.”

'The Last Time' With Nick Kyrgios

Tue, 07/24/2018 - 7:55pm
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Nick Kyrgios doesn't have to think too far back to remember "The Last Time" he played well at the BB&T Atlanta Open. The Aussie beat home favourite and four-time Atlanta titlist John Isner to win the 2016 title.

Kyrgios, after missing the tournament last year because of injury, is back at Atlantic Station to go for his second title of the season (Brisbane) and fifth overall. The Aussie spoke with ATPWorldTour.com about "The Last Time"...

I missed a flight?
I was with my agent, John Morris, and we were sitting at the gate. We were just watching Facebook videos... It was boarding, we were watching [videos], and we completely missed the flight. But I can't remember where it was or where we were flying from. I'm pretty organised like that. I don't miss too many flights.

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I lost something important?
Every day I lose my wallet, I don't know where I place it. I'm pretty forgetful like that... I always find it, though.

More "Last Times": Djokovic | Roddick | Chung

I strung a tennis racquet?
Never. I've never strung a racquet in my life... I have tried. Terrible... Not good. It took me hours... Three, four hours. I just stopped. I've never strung a racquet again.

Did you finish it?
No... That was 10 years ago.

Watch: Kyrgios Returns To Atlanta

I cooked for myself and others?
I don't cook that often. I'm a decent cook, I guess. I know how to make like eggs and stuff. Not for a while, though. I can't even remember.

Flashback: Kyrgios Picks His NBA Dream Team

I met a childhood idol?
I didn't really have an idol, but I looked up to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga when I was a kid. I played him at the Australian Open recently.

I shared a hotel room with another player?
Pretty recently. I share with my doubles partner Matt Reid pretty much all the time... We're good friends, he's a good companion, he's pretty good to room with, he's easy. He snores a little bit from time to time, but that's it.