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Updated: 19 hours 1 min ago

Nadal's Big Titles On Clay Boost No. 1 Hopes

Tue, 06/13/2017 - 10:11am

By virtue of his stellar performances this season, and particularly over the past two months, Rafael Nadal has thrust himself to the forefront of the sport once again and in strong contention for his fourth year-end No. 1 finish in the Emirates ATP Rankings (2008, 2010, 2013).

In winning 24 of his 25 matches on the European clay-court swing, the Spanish superstar has lifted three 'Big Titles' - his 10th Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters, his fifth Mutua Madrid Open and his 10th Roland Garros crown. The Open Era leader for most clay-court titles won (53), also picked up his 10th Barcelona OpenBanc Sabadell trophy in April.

With 45 'Big Titles' - 15 Grand Slams and 30 ATP World Tour Masters 1000s - it has inched Nadal closer to long-time rivals Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic. The Spanish superstar wins one big title for every 3.5 events played, an average marginally bettered by Djokovic, whose 47 elite titles have been captured for every 3.4 events played.

Nadal currently leads the Emirates ATP Race To London, a calendar-year points race that started in the first week of January, with 6,915 Race points. As the first player to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals, he is 2,870 points ahead of No. 2-placed Roger Federer, winner of 50 'Big Titles', who has 4,045 Race points. From 17 April to 12 June, Nadal has added 4,680 Race points from five events to his total.

When asked about an assault on No. 1, following his historic title run in Paris, the 31-year-old Nadal said, "I am playing well and I am in a good position... If I am able to keep playing well, [then] why not?"

Current and Former Champions' Big Titles Won (Records Since 1990)

Player Grand Slams ATP Finals
1000s Total (Avg) Roger Federer 18/69 6/14 26/125 50/208 (4.2) Novak Djokovic  12/50 5/10 30/98 47/158 (3.4) Rafael Nadal 15/48 0/7 30/103 45/158 (3.5) Pete Sampras 14/52 5/11 11/83 30/146 (4.9) Andre Agassi 8/61 1/13 17/90 26/164 (6.3) Andy Murray 3/45 1/8 14/96 18/147 (8.2) Boris Becker* 2/26 2/6 5/51 9/83 (9.2) Thomas Muster 1/29 0/4 8/53 9/86 (9.6) Gustavo Kuerten 3/33 1/3 5/67 9/103 (11.4) Jim Courier 4/38 0/4 5/71 9/113 (12.6) Stefan Edberg** 3/28 0/4 1/24 4/56 (14) Marcelo Rios 0/26 0/1 5/56 5/83 (16.6) Michael Chang 1/50 0/6 7/86 8/142 (17.8) Marat Safin 2/41 0/3 5/87 7/131 (18.7) Andy Roddick 1/46 0/6 5/75 6/127 (21.2)

 * Becker's four other Grand Slam titles came before 1990.
** Edberg's three other Grand Slam titles came before 1990.

All eyes now turn to Federer to see how the Swiss will respond in the No. 1 battle as the ATP World Tour moves to grass in the next five weeks. The 35-year-old is making his eagerly anticipated return to action at this week's Mercedes Cup in Stuttgart. Nadal is scheduled to compete at next week's Aegon Championships.

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Since 2004, the year-end No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Rankings has either been first or second in the year-to-date standings after Roland Garros.

Nadal has been among the top two in the year-to-date standings after Roland Garros in 11 of the past 14 years. This is the first time since 2010 that Nadal and Federer occupy the top two spots in the Emirates ATP Race To London at this stage in the season.

Emirates ATP Rankings 13 June 2017

Tue, 06/13/2017 - 8:57am
See the latest Emirates ATP Rankings as of 13 June 2017, after Roland Garros.

Nadal First To Qualify For Nitto ATP Finals

Tue, 06/13/2017 - 8:57am
Look back on a phenomenal first six months of the season for Rafael Nadal, who is the first player to qualify for the eight-man field at the Nitto ATP Finals.

Grass Court Swing Uncovered 2017

Tue, 06/13/2017 - 8:57am
ATP World Tour Uncovered presented by Peugeot looks ahead to the grass-court swing, which features eight tournaments over six weeks, highlighted by Wimbledon.

Nadal First To Qualify For 2017 Nitto ATP Finals

Tue, 06/13/2017 - 7:46am

Rafael Nadal will look to add the Nitto ATP Finals trophy to his impressive collection when he returns to The O2 this November. The Spaniard becomes the first player to clinch a berth at the prestigious season-ending tournament, to be staged 12-19 November in London, after winning his record 10th Roland Garros title on Sunday in Paris.

Get Tickets Now

“I've had a great season so far and I am happy to have already qualified for London,” said Nadal. “I could not play last year because of injury so I look forward to returning in November.”

Since first qualifying in 2005, Nadal has earned a place in the elite eight-man field for 13 straight seasons. He achieved his best results in 2010 and ‘13, when he finished runner-up to Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic respectively.

This season, Nadal has compiled an ATP-best 43-6 match record with four titles. In addition to becoming the first player in the Open Era to claim 10 titles at a single Grand Slam tournament, he joined Novak Djokovic at the top of the all-time ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title leaders list, taking his haul to 30 with his triumphs at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters and Mutua Madrid Open. He also won the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell title and reached three other finals, at the Australian Open, Miami Open presented by Itau (l. to Federer at both) and Abierto Mexicano Telcel in Acapulco.

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Six-time champion Federer – winner of the Australian Open, BNP Paribas Open and Miami Open titles – is next in line to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals and returns to action this week on grass at the MercedesCup in Stuttgart. Dominic Thiem stands third in the Emirates ATP Race to London, and is followed in the standings by Stan Wawrinka, Alexander Zverev, Djokovic and defending champion Andy Murray.

The Nitto ATP Finals welcomes more than 250,000 fans to The O2 arena each year, as well as generating a global TV viewership of more than 100 million, as the ATP’s best eight singles players and doubles teams compete over eight days at the biggest indoor tennis tournament in the world.

Ball Kid Wins Point At Lyon Challenger 2017

Tue, 06/13/2017 - 6:04am
Arthur de Greef got more than he bargained for during a break in the action at the ATP Challenger Tour event in Lyon.

Federer: 'There Are No More Breaks Now'

Mon, 06/12/2017 - 10:11pm
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A rejuvenated Roger Federer is committing to a full schedule in the second half of the season, saying that he’s had enough of practice and is hoping to quickly recapture his stunning early-season form. Fresh off a two-month break to rest his 35-year-old body, Federer returns to the ATP World Tour this week at the grass-court MercedesCup in Stuttgart.

“There are no more breaks now,” Federer told ATPWorldTour.com Monday. “I’ve had enough breaks. I'm a practice world champion now and that's not who I want to be. I want to be a champ on the match courts. So I'm going to be playing a regular schedule for the second part of the season... And this is the beginning here at the MercedesCup in Stuttgart.

After an unpredictable first half of the season that now sees Rafael Nadal and Federer in first and second place in the Emirates ATP Race To London, the Swiss said that he remains surprised at how the season has unfolded. When Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic played a pulsating final in Doha in the first week of the season, most tennis fans thought that last year’s No. 1 and No. 2 finishers would wage a two-man battle for the year-end No. 1 Emirates ATP Ranking again in 2017.

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So far this season it has been a two-way battle for year-end No. 1… between Federer and Nadal, The Spaniard has now firmed as a strong favourite following a dominant clay-court swing that included titles No. 10 in Monte-Carlo, Barcelona and Roland Garros, as well as a fifth crown in Madrid. But Federer will hope to close that gap during the next five weeks on his favourite surface, grass. He’s playing the next two weeks in Stuttgart and Halle before taking a week off before chasing an eighth title at Wimbledon.

"I was terribly surprised to win the Australian Open and to back it up and win the sunshine double in Indian Wells and Miami was a complete surprise to me,” Federer said. “I think Rafa winning the French Open is less of a surprise because he'd done it nine times before... I was hoping he was going to dominate the clay-court season like the olden days.

“But I'm still surprised we were able to do it. It maybe had something to do with Murray having a bit of a letdown after his great finish to last year and Novak not playing his absolute best. We were able to take advantage of the fact that we were in great shape and came refreshed into the season after our injuries at the end of last year.”

Federer readily admits that Nadal is a hot favourite to finish No. 1 for the fourth time, but says that the second half of 2017 promises to be much more competitive than the first half.

"Obviously Rafa is in great position to finish World No. 1. For him it's going to be all about staying injury free. For me it's about getting back to winning ways, where I left off in Miami.

“I'm sure a lot of guys are going to start playing their best in the second half of the season, like Murray, Djokovic, Nishikori, Raonic, Zverev, Kyrgios, Stan. We'll all be playing our best tennis. It's going to be an epic finish to the end of the season. Quite exciting actually for the ATP Tour.”

Federer’s opening match in Stuttgart will be against the winner of Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert and German veteran Tommy Haas.

Federer Says No More Breaks This Year

Mon, 06/12/2017 - 9:29pm
Roger Federer says he doesn't want to be a practice court world champion and that the second half of the ATP World Tour season will be epic.

s-hertogenbosch 2017

Mon, 06/12/2017 - 8:36pm

Haas Readies For Final Stuttgart Experience

Mon, 06/12/2017 - 8:31pm

Tommy Haas is ready for one last run in Stuttgart. The 39-year-old German, who has said he will retire after this season, is making his seventh and final appearance at the MercedesCup in Stuttgart this week.

Haas, who reached the final in 1999 when the tournament was played on clay, will be making his second appearance at the grass-court edition of the event. He fell in the second round in 2015, the first year the tournament had transitioned to grass.

“I am very excited that my body is co-operating and I have the chance to play here one more time in Stuttgart,” Haas said on Monday.

The right-hander is 4-8 so far this season but he has thrived on grass courts. Two of his 15 ATP World Tour titles have come on the surface – the 2009 and 2013 Gerry Weber Open crowns in Halle.

“I’m also looking forward to Halle next week,” Haas said. “There are a lot of positive emotions after lots of gruelling hours to get ready again.”

 Watch Live On TennisTV

 Watch Full Match Replays

Haas and top seed Roger Federer visited the Stuttgart city centre on Monday morning, hitting some balls at the Schlossplatz, the largest square. It is also the home to the Neues Schloss, built between 1746 and 1807.

Federer is making his second appearance at the MercedesCup after falling in the semi-finals last year to Austrian Dominic Thiem.

“It was a great experience last year, a lovely tournament with great people,” said Federer. “So I am happy to begin the grass swing here again, playing with Tommy and doing activities in the city together. I can’t wait to play my first match on Wednesday possibly against Tommy. I’m happy to be back in tournament mode again after a 10-week spell of not playing tournaments.”

Federer, a winner of 15 grass-court titles, could meet Haas or Pierre-Hugues Herbert in the MercedesCup second round. The 35-year-old Swiss right-hander is competing at an ATP World Tour tournament for the first time since capturing the 93rd title of his career at the Miami Open presented by Itau (d. Nadal) on 2 April.

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Haas/Mayer Kick Off Doubles In Stuttgart

Mon, 06/12/2017 - 8:28pm

German wild cards Tommy Haas and Florian Mayer upset third seeds Florin Mergea of Romania and Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi of Pakistan 7-6(5), 2-6, 10-7 on Monday at the MercedesCup in Stuttgart.

Haas, 39, and Mayer, 33, saved four of seven break points and will next meet Marcin Matkowski of Poland and Max Mirnyi of Belarus. Matkowski/Mirnyi beat Spaniard David Marrero and Frenchman Benoit Paire 4-6, 6-3, 10-4.

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Stuttgart 2017

Mon, 06/12/2017 - 8:22pm

Zverev, Johnson Start Strong In Stuttgart

Mon, 06/12/2017 - 6:26pm

Sixth seed and home favourite Mischa Zverev was ruthless on serve during his grass-court opener on Monday, winning 84 per cent of his service points (32/38) to beat Tunisia's Malek Jaziri 6-3, 6-1 at the MercedesCup in Stuttgart.

Zverev hit seven aces and never faced a break point during the 54-minute victory. The 29 year old, who reached the Stuttgart quarter-finals in 2009 and 2015, is one of eight Germans in the draw and will next meet wild card and compatriot Yannick Hanfmann, who beat Hungarian qualifier Marton Fucsovics 6-3, 7-5.

“I think it was a good match, and I felt pretty comfortable based on the circumstances, it's the first match after changing surfaces,” Zverev said.

 Watch Live On TennisTV

 Watch Full Match Replays

The left-hander said he benefited from an early start on the grass-court season and a more than competent practice partner. Zverev, who lost in the first round at Roland Garros, spent a week practising on grass courts in London with his brother, #NextGenATP star Alexander Zverev, who also fell in the first round in Paris.

“We played a lot of practice sets, and we had a lot of good battles. I think it definitely helped me to start off playing well today in the first round,” Mischa Zverev said.

Fifth seed Steve Johnson was forced to work hard during his MercedesCup debut to beat German wild card Maximilian Marterer 3-6, 7-6(2), 6-4. The American captured his first ATP World Tour title at last year’s Aegon International (l. to Cuevas), when the grass-court tournament was held in Nottingham. Johnson will next challenge Marcos Baghdatis or Philipp Kohlschreiber in the second round.

German Jan-Lennard Struff also advanced, saving all eight break points to prevail past Slovakian qualifier Lukas Lacko 6-4, 7-6(3) in 89 minutes.

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Brain Game: Nadal's 22 Minutes Of Mayhem

Sun, 06/11/2017 - 8:53pm

It was 22 minutes of mayhem.

The match lasted two hours and five minutes, but the torturous time the ball was in play was just 21 minutes and 59 seconds. It must have felt like an eternity for Stan Wawrinka.

Rafael Nadal defeated Wawrinka 6-2, 6-3, 6-1 on Sunday afternoon at Roland Garros. From 2-2 in the first set, it was basically game over.

Overall, Nadal won 94 points to 57 (62%). The average point duration for the match was just eight seconds. Eight seconds of side-to-side, lactic acid domination. Eight seconds of Nadal running Wawrinka to whatever arrondissement of Paris he wanted him to go.

Wawrinka is so dangerous when he gets to step into a ball, but he spent the majority of the 22 minutes out wide on the edges of the court, playing defense against the best clay courter of all time.

Has Nadal ever played a better match than he did this afternoon in Paris? Maybe. Maybe not.

More: Nadal Reflects On 'Perfect' Roland Garros

Forehands

The most influential shot on the court was Nadal’s forehand. He only hit 14 forehand winners, but that was three more than Wawrinka’s 11. When Wawrinka defeated Novak Djokovic to win the Roland Garros title in 2015, Wawrinka crushed 60 total winners. Today he could not even manage a third of that (19). Wawrinka hit 26 forehand winners against Djokovic, but just 11 against Nadal.

The flow of rallies constantly saw Nadal hitting deep, aggressive forehands, while Wawrinka was on defense out wide on the edges of the court. Wawrinka made 20 forced errors on his forehand side and 17 unforced. Wawrinka essentially played the entire match on his back foot.

Backhands

The Nadal backhand was rock solid. He hit five backhand winners, but committed only 14 total backhand errors. Both of those metrics trumped Wawrinka, who managed just three winners on the backhand wing while committing a substantial 28 backhand errors. The Spaniard measured incredible range off the backhand wing, consistently going cross-court to make Wawrinka have to hit defensive forehands on the run.

Serving

When serving in the Deuce court, Nadal won a mind-blowing 91 per cent (20/22) of his first-serve points. On second serve, he won 67 per cent (8/12). That never happens.

Nadal faced only one break point for the match, at 1-1, 30/40 in the first set. As expected, Nadal served out wide in the Ad court, but Wawrinka missed a backhand return wide and long. Nadal then hit a 189kmh ace out wide in the Deuce court, and won the following point off a Wawrinka missed forehand return.

Overall for the tournament, Nadal won 72 per cent of his first-serve points, and a mind-blowing 74 per cent of his second-serve points. The Spaniard won 65 per cent (15-23) of his second serve points against Wawrinka.

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Baseline

Nadal won an impressive 60 per cent (370/618) of his baseline points for the tournament, and a lights-out 65 per cent (58/89) against Wawrinka in the final. The primary tactic was to force Wawrinka to hit defensive backhands in Ad court exchanges. Nadal then made the Swiss star hit defensive forehands out wide.

Wawrinka hardly stepped into a ball all afternoon. You’ve got to give Nadal all the credit for creating that dynamic.

Summary

Nadal was +19 in the 0-4 shot rally length, +12 in the 5-8 shot rally length, and just +6 in the 9+ shot rally length. Nadal owned the short points, and won a ridiculously high 90 per cent (18/20) of his points at net. He also never served a double fault.

This is the new version of Rafael Nadal that had the fingerprints of new coach, Carlos Moya, all over it. Rafa didn’t grind. He didn’t wait. He was always on the front foot and always looking to make Wawrinka uncomfortable.

This match was also vintage Toni Nadal. You don’t win 10 Roland Garros titles without an extremely knowledgeable mentor. When it was all said and done, it was Uncle Toni who handed Rafa the trophy. Perfect symmetry for La Decima. 

Nadal: It Was A Perfect Roland Garros

Sun, 06/11/2017 - 8:11pm

Twelve years ago, a precocious, long-haired Rafael Nadal stood on Court Philippe Chatrier with his arms wrapped around the Coupe des Mousquetaires for the first time. For more than a decade, the Spaniard re-wrote the history books with a clay-court mastery never before witnessed.

On Sunday, Nadal cemented his Roland Garros legacy with an extraordinary, incomprehensible 10th victory at the clay-court Grand Slam. Few superlatives accurately reflect the magnitude of Nadal's achievement and the Spaniard himself struggled to find the right words to describe his emotions.

"It's about the work you put in every day," Nadal said to the assembled media following a 6-2, 6-3, 6-1 victory over Stan Wawrinka. "It happened 10 times here already. All the things that happened in this tournament for me have been magical. I'm very happy for everything.

"Today was a very important day for me. There have been some tough moments and injuries, so it's great to have a big success like this again. I'm happy because I have been working a lot to be where I am today... The only thing that I know is I am playing well now. I am happy. I am enjoying every week and I want to continue like this. I am going to try to keep working hard to enjoy more beautiful weeks."

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Nadal's journey to his 15th Grand Slam crown was his most dominant yet. A relentless force throughout the fortnight in Paris, the new World No. 2 marched to the trophy without dropping a set. Moreover, his 35 games lost is just the second fewest en route to a major title in the Open Era. He also became just the third player to win a Grand Slam title in his teens, 20s and 30s, joining Ken Rosewall and Pete Sampras.

"You know, on paper, when you look at the scores, it all seems fairly easy. But it's not... I have been playing great during the whole event, since the beginning. So it was a perfect Roland Garros for me.

"It's not that I am playing more or less aggressive. I am playing well. And when you play well, you have the chance to play more aggressive. I won in two hours because I didn't lose a set during the whole event and not one set went to five - 5-all - so that's why the time on court had not been that long."

Nadal didn't just turn back the clock with his run through the clay-court season, posting a 24-1 record and emerging victorious in Monte-Carlo, Barcelona and Madrid. He sent a message to the rest of the ATP World Tour in establishing a 2,870-point lead in the Emirates ATP Race To London. There seems to be no stopping the Spaniard in 2017.

"Winning these kind of titles, then you have chances to become any number on the ranking. If I am able to keep playing well, why not?" Nadal added when asked about his prospects to return to World No. 1 .

10 trophies, infinite emotions // 10 trophées, beaucoup plus d'émotions. #LaDecima pic.twitter.com/wmXGiHRlbU

— Roland-Garros (@rolandgarros) June 11, 2017

"It is true that this one is going to be one of the more special for the number [10], for the ceremony after the final, for so many things. And because I am 31 already and not a kid anymore. Because of the level of tennis and accepting that I have had physical problems for the last period of time, that's an important one."

With a surge of momentum at his back, the Manacor native will next look to conquer the grass as he heads to London for the Aegon Championships and Wimbledon. Nadal, the 2008 champion at Queen's Club and two-time titlist at the All England Club, will return to the tournaments for the first time since 2015.

While he eagerly anticipates his return to the prestigious events, Nadal is well aware of the challenges ahead.

"I'm going to be under pressure in one week when I play in Queen's. That's the real thing and that's the sport. And that's the beautiful thing about our sport. My motivation is still there. I really want to keep competing for important things and I am going to keep working hard to try to have more days like today.

"That's my motivation and that's why I am playing tennis, still playing tennis, because I have the passion for the game and I like the competition. I will keep having chances to compete for the most important things and that's what I want to try to do."

Sugita Opens Grass Season With Surbiton Title

Sun, 06/11/2017 - 7:29pm

A LOOK BACK

Aegon Surbiton Trophy (Surbiton, U.K.): Sixth seed Yuichi Sugita of Japan came out on top in a tight 7-6(7), 7-6(8) final over seventh seed Jordan Thompson of Australia. Sugita saved two set points in the second-set tie-break at 6/7 and 7/8. He didn’t drop a set throughout the tournament, surviving a waterlogged week in London. 

The 28 year old picks up his ninth ATP Challenger Tour title and his first on grass. Three of those titles have come this year, including victories in Yokohama and Shenzhen. Sugita joins Janko Tipsarevic, Aljaz Bedene and Thomas Fabbiano as the only players with at least three Challenger titles in 2017.

UniCredit Czech Open (Prostejov, Czech Republic): Second seed Jiri Vesely delighted the home crowd with a 5-7, 6-1, 7-5 win over Federico Delbonis of Argentina. Vesely served to stay in the match at 4-5 in the deciding set. He picks up his third title at this event, having also won in 2014-2015, and improves to 21-3 in six appearances here. The win gives the Czech player his sixth Challenger title and is projected to boost him to No. 42 in the Emirates ATP Rankings on Monday, just seven spots off his career-high standing.

.@jiri_vesely lifts his sixth #ATPChallenger trophy and fifth on Czech soil, prevailing in Prostejov on Saturday. pic.twitter.com/VEIRUQsr8s

— ATP Challenger Tour (@ATPChallenger) June 10, 2017

WHAT THE PLAYERS SAID

Vesely: "In the first set, I made a few errors, didn’t press enough and, most importantly, lost my serve three times. I lost my serve at the very beginning of the second set and it became more difficult. Fortunately, I broke him back and then I played better. In the third set, I had three break points at the beginning which I didn’t convert. My performance was not great today, but I managed to win which is the most important thing.

"I really wanted to win the tournament very much. I’ve said it a few times that it was not about the points, but a matter of heart for me."

A LOOK AHEAD

There are four Challengers on the schedule this week, with the $150,000 event in Nottingham, U.K., taking top billing. This event was held as an ATP World Tour tournament last year. Local favourite Daniel Evans is the top seed and Marius Copil of Romania is the second seed. A slew of #NextGenATP players are also in the draw, including Canadian Denis Shapovalov, Akira Santillan of Japan, and Americans Michael Mmoh and Reilly Opelka, who face off in the opening round.

The long-standing $150,000 tournament in Caltanissetta, Italy, celebrates its 19th consecutive year. Former Top 5 player Tommy Robredo is a past champion (2012). Home favourite Paolo Lorenzi is the top seed and Serbian Dusan Lajovic is the second seed. Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan is the third seed and Radu Albot of Moldova is the fourth seed. Rounding out the field is #NextGenATP Russian Andrey Rublev.

The $75,000 event in Lyon, France, is back for the second consecutive year. Argentine Horacio Zeballos is the top seed and Spaniard Marcel Granollers features as the second seed. #NextGenATP players Casper Ruud of Norway and Duckhee Lee of Korea are the fourth and seventh seeds, respectively, joining another #NextGenATP star in Sweden’s Elias Ymer. Rising 16-year-old Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime is a wild card entrant.

Lastly, the ATP Challenger Tour welcomes a new stop with the $50,000 tournament in Lisbon, Portugal. Damir Dzumhur of Bosnia and Herzegovina is the top seed and Czech Adam Pavlasek is the second seed.

View Draws & Watch Free Live Streams

ATP CHALLENGER TOUR ON TWITTER: The ATP Challenger Tour has launched a dedicated Twitter account for the latest news and information about players and events. Follow @ATPChallengerTour at twitter.com/ATPChallengerTour.

Wawrinka Takes The Positives From Roland Garros Run

Sun, 06/11/2017 - 5:57pm

Although he was disappointed to suffer a one-sided loss to Rafael Nadal in the Roland Garros final, Stan Wawrinka is choosing to focus on the gains he’s made over the past three weeks.

Congratulations on a great fortnight in Paris, Stan.

Always a champion. #RG17 pic.twitter.com/DMv2V0YEBC

— Roland-Garros (@rolandgarros) June 11, 2017

Wawrinka started his clay season with a 2-3 record before coming alive at the right moment, as he so often has throughout his career. He retained his title on home soil in Geneva and then stormed into the semi-finals in Paris without losing a set. On Friday, his fitness was on full display as he fought through World No. 1 Andy Murray in a marathon five-set match.

The Swiss star admitted not being able to replicate that same level against Nadal, but said simply making another it to a Grand Slam final is a positive result for him.

“I was nervous this morning about the match, about the final, about playing against him. But when I entered the court, I enjoyed it and appreciated being in the final of a Grand Slam. That's always something special and you need to see that from the bigger picture,” said Wawrinka. “This score wasn't good. The match wasn't good. But at the end of the day, there are a lot of positives to take from the past few weeks.

“I was really down three weeks ago, not winning matches in Masters 1000 events or playing my best tennis. There was a lot in doubt in my game,” he added. “In three weeks, I won in Geneva and made the final of a Grand Slam, so that's big for me.”

"I know what it takes to win a Grand Slam tournament. I have done it before."

Wawrinka savors 2nd RG final: https://t.co/UMBK0KghFH #RG17 pic.twitter.com/eswn5JzuDz

— Roland-Garros (@rolandgarros) June 11, 2017

Wawrinka was also full of praise for Nadal completing the historic La Decima at this event. Having faced Nadal in 19 FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings, with the first dating back to the 2007 Australian Open, he boldly claimed that the Spaniard has reached new heights with his tennis.

“What he did is so big for the sport. He’s playing the best he’s ever played,” said Wawrinka. “He’s an amazing fighter. There is always one more ball coming back. There is always spin on the ball. There is always a different bounce than what other players can make on this surface. He creates a doubt that you can’t have if you want to beat him.”

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Wawrinka, No. 3 in the Emirates ATP Rankings will put on his grass-court shoes in a few days as he competes next at the Aegon Championships in London, which starts 19 June. Wawrinka has hired Paul Annacone for the grass-court season in a bid to prevail at Wimbledon, the lone Grand Slam he has yet to win.

“I want to progress and make strides. I'm very happy with my team and all the people who are around me. But we had some discussions in order to get a new vision and another view of my game. That's why we have decided to turn to Paul,” said Wawrinka. “He has a lot of experience, so I hope that I will move in the right direction.”

Roland Garros">

5 Things We Learned: Roland Garros

Sun, 06/11/2017 - 4:51pm

1. Nadal Continues To Make History

Rafael Nadal transcended tennis history with his performance at Roland Garros, achieving one of the greatest feats in sports by completing La Decima with a victory over Stan Wawrinka in the final. He picked up his 15th Grand Slam title, surpassing Pete Sampras on the all-time win list and only trailing Federer at 18. Nadal dropped just 35 games, an average of five per match, to finish off one of the most flawless performances at a Grand Slam in the Open Era.

It’s unlikely that we’ll see anyone match Nadal’s level of dominance at Roland Garros. He officially joins other legends of the sport in producing jaw-dropping moments that may never be repeated, such as Rod Laver winning a calendar-year Grand Slam twice.

Nadal will move up to No. 2 in the Emirates ATP Rankings on Monday, marking the first time he’s been in the Top 2 since October 2014. If he continues this level of play in the second half of 2017, he'll be the hot favourite to finish the year as No. 1.

2. Wawrinka Always Raises His Level For Slams

Although Sunday’s final didn’t go the way he envisioned, Wawrinka should be still commended for a tremendous fortnight. Not many people would have penned the Swiss star for his second Roland Garros final at the start of the event. He opened his clay season with a tame 2-3 record. Despite retaining his title on home soil in Geneva, it was unclear if his form would lead to another big run at a major.

But like he has done throughout his career, Wawrinka produced his best tennis when it mattered most. He stormed into the final four without losing a set and then prevailed in an epic five-set battle over World No. 1 Andy Murray in the semi-finals. In reaching the championship, he became the oldest man to play a final in Paris since Niki Pilic in 1973.

Wawrinka is already looking ahead to Wimbledon by hiring respected coach Paul Annacone for the grass-court season. As he looks to triumph at the only Grand Slam he’s yet to win, hearing a new voice could serve him well as he seeks to build on his recent success.

3. Murray Is Back In Business

After a disappointing clay season by his high standards heading into Paris, Murray turned the corner with a semi-final finish. After struggling in his first two rounds, he continued to improve with every match, scoring impressive wins over Juan Martin del Potro, #NextGenATP player Karen Khachanov and Kei Nishikori. Fitness played a factor in Murray fading out in the fifth set against Wawrinka, but it was vintage tennis from the Brit for most of the match.

The World No. 1 now turns his attention to his strongest surface as he aims to defend titles at the Aegon Championships and Wimbledon. With an always-supportive home crowd sure to back him over the next few weeks, a revitalised Murray is likely to make plenty of noise on the grass.

4. Thiem’s Stock Continues To Rise

Dominic Thiem turned in another solid performance by reaching the semi-finals before falling to a red-hot Nadal. The Austrian was particularly impressive in his quarter-final match against Novak Djokovic, finishing with a bagel set to pick up his first win over the Serbian in six attempts. Thiem was the second-most dominant player on clay this year behind Nadal, scoring numerous wins over top players and going deep in almost every event he entered.

Although Wimbledon is the only Grand Slam that Thiem hasn’t reached the second week of, he has the game to excel there. He defeated Roger Federer last year en route to prevailing in Stuttgart (d. Kohlschreiber) and reached the semi-finals in Halle. Thiem is currently No. 3 in the Emirates ATP Race to London and will go deep at SW19 if he continues to produce his current level of tennis.

5. Any Team Can Win In Doubles

Not many people would have pegged Ryan Harrison and Michael Venus to win the doubles title, but their triumph shows the level of depth in the game. The doubles draw was particularly wild this fortnight, with only five seeded teams advancing to the third round. The top two seeds (Kontinen/Peers, Herbert/Mahut) bowed out in the first round for the first time in the Open Era at Roland Garros.

With three different teams also prevailing in the Masters 1000 clay-court events this year (Bopanna/Cuevas in Monte-Carlo, Kubot/Melo in Madrid and Herbert/Mahut in Rome), it’s anyone’s guess as to who will assert their dominance during the grass-court season.

Social Reacts to Nadal's Triumph

Sun, 06/11/2017 - 4:38pm

Tennis fans, media and players worldwide celebrated as Rafael Nadal claimed a historic 10th Roland Garros crown with a straight-sets win over Stan Wawrinka in Sunday's final in Paris. See how they reacted on social media to the Spaniard's feat.

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10 ...... 10 ....... 10 ..... you can say it as much as you want. It's so not normal. Huge respect for @RafaelNadal .. pleasure to watch

— andyroddick (@andyroddick) June 11, 2017

Congratulations @RafaelNadal on your historic 10th @rolandgarros championship. You are an inspirational champion on and off the court.

— Billie Jean King (@BillieJeanKing) June 11, 2017

Rafael Nadal!! Único

Nadal Dominant In Winning 10th Roland Garros Title

Sun, 06/11/2017 - 3:48pm

With yet more history on the line, Rafael Nadal delivered perhaps his finest performance during a Roland Garros final on Sunday, pushing three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka off the court with blistering forehands to win his 10th Roland Garros title 6-2, 6-3, 6-1.

“La Décima” lifts Nadal to truly historic territory. He becomes the first man or woman in the Open Era to win 10 titles at a Grand Slam.

Most titles at the same Grand Slam tournament (men and women)

Player

Grand Slam Titles

Years

Margaret Court

Australian Open* 11

1960-66, 1969-71, 1973

Rafael Nadal

Roland Garros 10

2005-08, 2010-2014, 2017

Martina Navratilova

Wimbledon 9

1978-79, 1982-87, 1990

*Known as Australian Championships before 1969

He climbs to second place on the all-time Grand Slam titles list, separating himself from Pete Sampras in the standings. Nadal now sits only three Grand Slam titles away from matching his long-time rival Roger Federer.

Player

No. of Grand Slam titles

Roger Federer

18

Rafael Nadal

15

Pete Sampras

14

Novak Djokovic

12

Roy Emerson

12

Bjorn Borg

11

Rod Laver

11

Most impressively, Nadal, who turned 31 on 3 June, achieved it all with a historic fortnight. He sprinted through the Roland Garros field, not dropping a set en route to the Roland Garros title for the third time in his career – also 2008 and 2010.

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It was also nearly the best run at a Grand Slam since the Open Era began 49 years ago, in April 1968. Only Bjorn Borg during the 1978 Roland Garros dropped fewer games en route to a Grand Slam title.

Fewest games dropped in winning a Grand Slam title*

Bjorn Borg

32

1978 Roland Garros

Rafael Nadal

35

2017 Roland Garros

Bjorn Borg

38

1980 Roland Garros

Rafael Nadal

41

2008 Roland Garros

*Where all matches played were best-of-five-sets

“[It's] been magical, all the things that have happened in this tournament for me. I'm so very happy for everything,” Nadal said. “Today was a very important day for me. There have been some tough moments... injuries, so it's great to have big success like this again.”

Nadal will rise to No. 2 in the Emirates ATP Rankings for the first time since October 2014. He'll receive 2,000 Emirates ATP Rankings points and €2,100,000 in prize money. He also places himself in prime position to finish the season as year-end No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Rankings for the first time since 2013.

Nadal's 53rd clay-court title caps a remarkable 12-month turnaround for the Spaniard. A year ago, he left Roland Garros in disappointment, having to retire from his third-round match against countryman Marcel Granollers because of a left wrist injury. Nadal then cut his 2016 season short to give himself more time to recuperate.

To state the obvious: The strategy has worked. Nadal has reached a tour-leading seven finals so far this season, starting the season with final runs at the Australian Open, the Abierto Mexicano Telcel and at the Miami Open presented by Itau. Nadal fell to Federer in two of the three title matches, but on the red dirt in Europe, the Spaniard has been nearly perfect.

He won 24 of the 25 matches he played on clay, winning his 10th Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters and his 10th Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell. Nadal also celebrated his fifth Mutua Madrid Open title.

The Spaniard's only loss came in Rome to Austrian Dominic Thiem, a defeat he more than avenged during a routine semi-final victory at Roland Garros on Friday. Nadal is now 43-6 on the season and boasts a staggering 79-2 record at the clay-court Grand Slam.

Roland Garros

Champion

2017

Rafael Nadal

2016

Novak Djokovic

2015

Stan Wawrinka

2014

Rafael Nadal

2013

Rafael Nadal

2012

Rafael Nadal

2011

Rafael Nadal

2010

Rafael Nadal

2009

Roger Federer

2008

Rafael Nadal

2007

Rafael Nadal

2006

Rafael Nadal

2005

Rafael Nadal

Wawrinka reached the final, his second Roland Garros title match, in top form, having beaten World No. 1 Andy Murray in memorable five-set semi-final. The Swiss right-hander also had beaten Nadal the only other time they met during a Grand Slam final, the 2014 Australian Open title match.

But Wawrinka had no answer for Nadal in Paris. The Spaniard never let Wawrinka into the match, keeping the 2015 champion behind the baseline for much of the contest and hardly letting the powerful right-hander gain any momentum.

“He's playing the best he's ever played. That's for sure. But not only here. I think since the beginning of the year, you can see he's playing more aggressive, staying more close to the line,” Wawrinka said. “That's why he's winning so much again.”

The Spaniard blasted 27 winners compared to 12 unforced errors and claimed more than half of his return points. Wawrinka will receive 1,200 Emirates ATP Rankings points and will climb to No. 3 in the Emirates ATP Rankings. The 32-year-old Wawrinka also will receive €1,060,000 in prize money.

Most wins in 2017

Rafael Nadal

43-6

Dominic Thiem

34-13

David Goffin

31-12

Pablo Carreno Busta

27-14

Alexander Zverev

27-10

Stan Wawrinka

26-9

Roland Garros">