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Raonic Gets A Taste of Tennis In Virtual Reality

Tue, 11/15/2016 - 3:15pm
Milos Raonic dons some Sony PlayStation VR goggles to take in an immersive fan experience at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. Watch live matches at tennistv.com.

Murray Soares Stay Undefeated In London Highlights

Tue, 11/15/2016 - 2:34pm
Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares continue their push for year-end No. 1 honours with their second round-robin win at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. Watch live matches at TennisTV.com. Photo: Peter Staples / ATP World Tour

Murray/Soares Storm Past Bryan Brothers In Pursuit Of No. 1 Spot

Tue, 11/15/2016 - 2:22pm

Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares have boosted their chances of ending the season as the No. 1 pair in the Emirates ATP Doubles Team Rankings after dispatching the Bryan Brothers 6-3, 6-4 to in their second round-robin match at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals.

Murray/Soares are on the brink of securing a semi-final place at the O2 arena, where they are locked in a battle with Frenchmen Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut for year-end No. 1 honours.

Last year the partnership of John Peer’s and Murray surrendered five match points facing the Americans as they exited the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. “I thought about it (last year’s match) in the changeover in the last game,” admitted Murray. “A lot of people come up and ask me about that still!

“They are the greatest team ever,” insisted Murray referring to the Bryan Brothers. “There's no kind of disputing that I think with the number of titles they've won. If we want to be the best, we got to beat the best.”

On court the quartet – Murray/Soares and the Bryans - were locked on serve in the opening exchanges. Jamie Murray gained a routine hold at 3-3 courtesy of a remarkable reaction volley by his feet.

In the very next game the Scot cut an acute smash beyond the reach of the Bryans for the first break point of the contest, before Soares consolidated their advantage by deflecting a backhand return winner down the line. The 29 minute opening set was completed as Murray held to love for 6-3, with the second seeds achieving 100 per cent success on first service points.

The Californian twins won the only previous meeting back at the ATP Masters 1000 Rome but the four-time champions at the season finale could not break the dominance of Murray/Soares on serve.

Again a single break was sufficient in the second set as British and Brazilian pairing canvassed the net with aplomb for the decisive lead. Murray was able to serve out the set to close the gap to Herbert/Mahut to just 175 points in their charge towards being crowned No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Doubles Team Rankings.

“We certainly played a great match from start to finish,” hailed Murray. “Probably one of our best matches of the year. We served really well throughout, cleaned up well on our serves. I think we both returned the ball smartly, put it in some difficult spots for them, and we were really active around the net.

“I think we're both super pumped about the win and should have a good chance to progress further in the tournament now.”

On the cusp of a place in the semi-finals, Murray hailed their preparation as the key to their strong start in London. “We came here, we had a good week of practice,” explained the 30-year-old. “All our team here are working hard for us, trying to make sure we have things going in the right direction each day in the lead up to the tournament. We’ve had a good focus, good energy about us. It's showing in the performances.”

The World No. 2 duo have now accumulated 40 ATP World Tour victories this season, with just 16 defeats, during a landmark campaign which has included the Australian Open and US Open titles.

View practice schedule & watch live stream from practice courts

Monfils Vs Thiem London 2016 Preview

Tue, 11/15/2016 - 1:36pm
Singles alternate David Goffin gives his thoughts ahead of the Tuesday afternoon must-win clash for Gael Monfils and Dominic Thiem.

Murray/Soares Vs Bryan/Bryan London 2016 Preview

Tue, 11/15/2016 - 1:01pm
Doubles alternates Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah look ahead to the Tuesday afternoon clash between Jamie Murray / Bruno Soares and Bob Bryan / Mike Bryan.

Federer Takes Three-Set Thriller In 2013 London Finale Classic Moment

Tue, 11/15/2016 - 3:37am
In this Barclays ATP World Tour Finals Classic Moment, Roger Federer defeats Juan Martin del Potro in a three-set thriller in 2013. Watch live tennis at tennistv.com.

Year-End Top 100 At Stake On ATP Challenger Tour

Tue, 11/15/2016 - 3:35am

The tennis season is set for a thrilling conclusion with all eyes on The O2 in London for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. But the captivating drama isn't limited to the top eight players in the world.

The ATP Challenger Tour season is hurtling towards a frantic finish, with players fighting for position in the Emirates ATP Rankings going into 2017. Securing year-end Top 100 spots is of particular importance for those eyeing direct entry into ATP World Tour events next season.

There are four tournaments in four continents this week on the ATP Challenger Tour, with an additional three to conclude the season next week. #NextGen stars Daniil Medvedev, Yoshihito Nishioka, Hyeon Chung, Frances Tiafoe and Jared Donaldson are all clustered within 11 spots of each other in the Emirates ATP Rankings, with the latter four on the cusp of returning to the Top 100.

Medvedev made his Top 100 debut at No. 98 on Monday after reaching the semi-finals in Bratislava, while Chung has catapulted to No. 104 following his title run in Kobe, Japan. The Korean is back on the rise after returning from injury, winning 20 of 23 Challenger matches since September. "I am looking forward to playing in Toyota and hopefully finish 2016 back inside the Top 100,” he said.

With no points to defend through the end of the year, Donaldson is looking to build on his No. 109 standing. As has always been his mantra, the American is trusting in the process, but the taste of breaking into the Top 100 in September is driving him to return there.

"It's important and I feel like it's just as important to get into the main draw of the Australian Open and ATP World Tour events early next year. Top 100 will get me there," said Donaldson, top seed in Champaign. "If I keep my mental attitude on the court and do the things that have made me successful, then I feel I will be Top 100 sooner than later.

"If I have to come through qualies (at ATP World Tour events), that's fine. I've played my best tennis in qualies, but it does make things easier to get into the main draw directly. It helps with scheduling, but it's good to keep things in perspective also. As soon as you start expecting something and feel you deserve something, mentally I have a tough time dealing with it on the court. As soon as you get to a certain ranking, you'll always want more, whether I'm Top 100, Top 50, Top 10."

A total of eight players, all positioned between No. 101 and No. 110 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, have the opportunity to crack the Top 100 this week and put themselves in prime position to finish the year there. No. 101 Carlos Berlocq, No. 103 Rogerio Dutra Silva, No. 109 Guido Andreozzi and No. 110 Nicolas Kicker are competing in Montevideo, while Nishioka, Chung and No. 107 Yuichi Sugita are in Toyota, and Donaldson is battling on home soil in Champaign.

Donaldson, Nishioka and Sugita were Top 100 newcomers earlier this year, while Andreozzi and Kicker, two key members of Argentina's dominant 19-title campaign, are looking to make their debuts.

Also jockeying for year-end Emirates ATP Rankings positions are American teens Michael Mmoh and Reilly Opelka. Mmoh, 18, and Opelka, 19, claimed their maiden ATP Challenger Tour titles in recent weeks in Knoxville and Charlottesville, respectively, putting them just outside the Top 200. Mmoh rose 64 spots to No. 204, while Opelka is at No. 208. Both will be keen to improve their standing this week in Champaign.

"I definitely want to do well this week and end the year Top 200," said Mmoh. "I'm pretty close and think I can get there. That's my main goal. If I win the (USTA's) Aussie Open wild card that's a big bonus, but I'm focusing on ending the year in the Top 200.

"My goal at the beginning of the year was Top 150, but maybe Top 200 was a little more realistic. When I got injured, that was erased. But I'm really happy now and I hope I can make a push and end the year Top 200."

Finale Debutants Battle; Djokovic, Raonic Vie for Group Ivan Lendl Lead

Tue, 11/15/2016 - 1:45am
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Globally, these are uncertain times. If this month's tournament in Paris was about regime change - with Andy Murray usurping Djokovic as No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Rankings - then prepare for the possibility of a counter-revolution in London.

Little over a week has passed since Djokovic's hold on No. 1 ended after 122 consecutive weeks, with Murray becoming the first Briton to ascend to the top of the standings. But, with so little between them, Djokovic could gather enough points at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals to regain that status and be the year-end No. 1. You have to spool all the way back to 2001, when this tournament was held in Sydney, for the last time that the No. 1 position switched from one player to another at the season finale, which was when Australia's Lleyton Hewitt dislodged Brazilian Gustavo Kuerten

What makes this week's Barclays ATP World Tour Finals so fascinating is that, if Djokovic and Murray were to meet in Sunday's final, the champion would also be the year-end No. 1, so long as Djokovic had won two group matches. After beating Thiem in his opening appearance in Group Ivan Lendl, that second round-robin victory could come today against Raonic. This afternoon's singles match, between Monfils and Thiem, is a contest between two debutants.

Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares play Mike and Bob Bryan in this afternoon's doubles match, with Ivan Dodig and Marcelo Melo to face Treat Huey and Max Mirnyi this evening.

DAY 3 PREVIEW: This season finale isn't like 1950s polite society - debutants aren't given a gentle, choreographed introduction to the new world they are entering. Here at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, reality tends to hit on day one, and it's a reality free of any on-court niceties. Dominic Thiem experienced that in his defeat against Novak Djokovic on Sunday, while Gael Monfils came off worse in his encounter with Milos Raonic

And, with both losing their opening matches, they have much work to do if one of them is to become the first debutant champion at this tournament for the best part of 20 years, since Alex Corretja in 1998. In all, just five debutants have taken the title - Stan Smith in 1970 (that was the first year of the tournament), Ilie Nastase in 1971, Guillermo Vilas in 1974, John McEnroe in 1978, and then Corretja, so this hasn't happened for 18 years. Just by reaching this tournament for the first time, Monfils has achieved something historic, with the 30-year-old Frenchman the oldest first-time competitor since the 1970s. Monfils is just the sixth man in his 30s to compete at this tournament, after 36-year-old Ken Rosewall in 1970, 32-year-old Rod Laver in 1970, 30-year-old Pierre Barthes in 1971, 32-year-old Bob Hewitt in 1972 and 35-year-old Andres Gimeno in 1972. 

Monfils is the second-oldest player in this year's singles draw, after 31-year-old Stan Wawrinka. By contrast, 23-year-old Thiem is the youngest singles competitor. Thiem played some decent tennis when taking the opening set against Djokovic on Sunday - winning the tie-break 12-10 - but he then couldn't stay with the Serbian.

For Raonic, the scenario is simple in London on Tuesday. If the Canadian defeats Novak Djokovic in straight sets, he qualifies for the semi-finals regardless of the Monfils vs. Thiem outcome or his own result against Thiem on Thursday. However, Raonic has yet to take two sets from Djokovic in seven FedEx ATP Head 2 Head meetings. The Serbian superstar is 7-0 in matches and 17-1 in sets against Raonic, sweeping 14 straight sets in their one-sided rivalry. Earlier this season, Djokovic defeated Raonic 6-2, 6-0 in the ATP Masters 1000 Indian Wells final and 6-3, 6-4 in the ATP Masters 1000 Madrid quarter-finals.

This stellar record of Djokovic's applies to the rest of Group Ivan Lendl; the Serb has won all his 24 matches against the trio in his round-robin cohort. 

After his opening victory over Dominic Thiem on Sunday, Djokovic extended his lead over the Austrian in the FedEx ATP Head2Head to 4-0. All 13 of his encounters with Gael Monfils have ended with these words from the umpire's chair: "Game, set and match, Mr Djokovic". And Djokovic has seven victories from seven meetings with Raonic. Dig a little deeper and you'll notice that only once has Djokovic lost a set against the Canadian, and that was a tie-break a couple of years ago when they played at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event in Rome.

Then you consider Djokovic's success at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. How he is seeking to win this event for a fifth successive year, and to put himself level with Roger Federer on a record six titles. And how he is the only man in this year's field to have previously gone beyond the semi-finals - no one else has experience of the final, let alone lifting the trophy. Weighing all this up, Djokovic can't be anything other than the heavy favourite in this round-robin match. 

But there's a reason why Raonic could potentially defeat Djokovic, and it's the same reason why he reached the finals at The Queen's Club and Wimbledon this year - the might of his serve. With the court surface in Greenwich playing faster this year, that can only help Raonic, who opened his tournament on Sunday by defeating Monfils in straight sets.

Besides battling for the Group Ivan Lendl lead, Djokovic and Raonic are engaged in ranking races at The O2. After topping the Emirates ATP Rankings for 122 straight weeks, Djokovic fell behind Andy Murray on November 7. He will reclaim No. 1 in time for the year-end rankings by defeating Raonic en route to the title, among other scenarios. Raonic, meanwhile, leads Stan Wawrinka and Kei Nishikori in the three-man competition to finish 2016 as the World No. 3. Neither Raonic nor Nishikori has ever been ranked as high as No. 3. In fact, only six players have been in the Top 3 since August 13, 2007 -- Murray, Djokovic, Wawrinka, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and David Ferrer.

Group Ivan Lendl Semi-finals Qualification Scenarios (Tuesday)

  • Raonic qualifies if he defeats Djokovic in 2 sets.
  • Raonic also qualifies if he defeats Djokovic and Monfils defeats Thiem.
  • Djokovic qualifies if he defeats Raonic and Thiem defeats Monfils.

 

Group Edberg/Jarryd play continues with Australian Open and US Open champions Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares facing four-time ATP Finals champions Bob and Mike Bryan. Both teams could qualify for the semi-finals with a win and depending on the result of Ivan Dodig and Marcelo Melo vs. Treat Huey and Max Mirnyi. A victory would also inch Murray and Soares within 175 points of Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut in the race to end 2016 as the top-ranked doubles team in the world. If the Bryans defeat Murray and Soares, Mahut will clinch year-end No. 1 in the individual doubles rankings. No Frenchman has ever finished a season as World No. 1 in singles or doubles.

Group Edberg/Jarryd Semi-finals Qualification Scenarios (Tuesday)
- J. Murray/Soares qualify if they defeat Bryan/Bryan and Huey/Mirnyi defeat Dodig/Melo.
- J. Murray/Soares also qualify if they defeat Bryan/Bryan in 2 sets and Dodig/Melo defeat Huey/Mirnyi in 3 sets.
- Bryan/Bryan qualify if they defeat J. Murray/Soares and Dodig/Melo defeat Huey/Mirnyi.

TUESDAY FEDEX ATP HEAD 2 HEADS – GROUP IVAN LENDL

 

[2] Novak Djokovic (SRB) vs [4] Milos Raonic (CAN) Djokovic Leads 7-0

13 Davis Cup SF (Serbia) Clay RR Novak Djokovic 7-6(1) 6-2 6-2
14 ATP Masters 1000 Rome (Italy) Clay SF Novak Djokovic 6-7(5) 7-6(4) 6-3
14 Roland Garros (France) Clay QF Novak Djokovic 7-5 7-6(5) 6-4
14 ATP Masters 1000 Paris (France) F Novak Djokovic 6-2 6-3
15 Australian Open (Australia) Hard QF Novak Djokovic 7-6(5) 6-4 6-2
16 ATP Masters 1000 Indian Wells (U.S.A.) Hard F Novak Djokovic 6-2 6-0
16 ATP Masters 1000 Madrid (Spain) Clay QF Novak Djokovic 6-3 6-4

Djokovic 2016 Summary

W (7): Doha (d. Nadal); Australian Open (d. Murray); ATP Masters 1000 Indian Wells (d. Raonic); ATP Masters 1000 Miami (d. Nishikori); ATP Masters 1000 Madrid (d. Murray); Roland Garros (d. Murray); ATP Masters 1000 Toronto (d. Nishikori); F (2): ATP Masters 1000 Rome (l. to Murray); US Open (l. to Wawrinka); SF: ATP Masters 1000 Shanghai (l. to Bautista Agut); QF (2): Dubai (l. to Lopez); ATP Masters 1000 Paris (l. to Cilic)
YTD W-L: 62-8 (44-5 on hard)
YTD Titles: 7 / Career Titles: 66
Date of Birth: May 22, 1987 (29)
Emirates ATP Ranking: 2
Barclays ATP World Tour Finals W-L (Best Result): 28-10 (2008, 2012-15 Champion)

Djokovic at ATP Finals

• Rallied from a set down and spoiled Thiem’s debut 67(10) 60 62 on Sunday. On Thiem’s 7th SP, lost longest TB at ATP Finals since 2005 final between Federer and Nalbandian (13-11). Rebounded to win 2nd set 60 for his 3rd bagel at ATP Finals (also vs Wawrinka in 2014 RR and vs Nishikori in 2014 SF). Improved to 9-1 in opening matches
• The 29-year-old Belgrade native is making his 10th consecutive season finale appearance. Comes in as only player to win 4 straight titles in tournament history and also won 2008 title in Shanghai (d. Davydenko). Only loss during 4-year title run came vs Federer in 2nd match last year
• Trying to tie Federer’s record of 6 year-end championship titles. Currently tied with Lendl and Sampras with 5 titles
• Overall has a 28-10 match record and only player with 5+ titles who has never lost a final
• Has ranked in Top 3 each time coming into year-end finale, including No. 1 in 2011-12 and 2014-15
• In his last 4 title runs, defeated No. 2 Federer in 2012 final, No. 1 Nadal in 2013 final and No. 3 Federer in 2015 final
• Won by walkover in 2014 final vs. No. 2 Federer, who withdrew due to a back injury
• Has earned $10,119,000 in tournament, which is No. 2 behind Federer ($14,349,000)
• Has an 11-2 career record in decisive-set matches (.846), which is 2nd-best in tournament history behind Ilie Nastase (12-1, .923)

Djokovic 2016 Highlights

• Won Roland Garros title to become 8th man with career Grand Slam and 3rd with all 4 majors at once (d. Murray)
• Surpassed 200 weeks at No. 1, $100 million in prize money and 50 wins at all 4 majors during Roland Garros
• Tied Emerson for 4th all-time with 12 Grand Slam men’s singles titles
• Also tied Emerson’s all-time record with 6th Australian Open title (d. No. 2 Murray)
• Suffered 1st loss in 15 matches vs Cilic in ATP Masters 1000 Paris QF, ending 122-week streak at No. 1 on Nov. 7
• Advanced to 7th US Open final and 21st Grand Slam final overall, 2nd all-time to Federer’s 27 (l. to No. 3 Wawrinka)
• Defeated by Querrey in Wimbledon 3R, ending 30-match win streak at majors
• Swept titles at Indian Wells (d. Raonic) and Miami (d. No. 6 Nishikori) for 3rd straight year and 4th time overall
• Added Madrid (d. No. 2 Murray) and Toronto (d. No. 6 Nishikori) to extend record 30 ATP Masters 1000 titles
• Lost to No. 3 Murray in ATP Masters 1000 Rome final, snapping career-long 17-match win streak vs Top 10
• Became 3rd active player to reach 700 wins by beating Jaziri in Dubai 2R on Feb. 24 (also Federer and Nadal)
• Fell 1 shy of Lendl’s Open-Era record 18 straight finals appearances, retiring vs Lopez in Dubai QF (eye)
• Withdrew from ATP Masters 1000 Cincinnati (left wrist) and Beijing (elbow)

Raonic 2016 Summary

W: Brisbane (d. Federer); F (3): ATP Masters 1000 Indian Wells (l. to Djokovic); London/Queen's Club (l. to Murray); Wimbledon (l. to Murray); SF (4): Australian Open (l. to Murray); ATP Masters 1000 Cincinnati (l. to Murray); Beijing (w/o vs Dimitrov); ATP Masters 1000 Paris (w/o vs Murray); QF (4): ATP Masters 1000 Miami (l. to Kyrgios); ATP Masters 1000 Monte-Carlo (l. to Murray); ATP Masters 1000 Madrid (l. to Djokovic); ATP Masters 1000 Toronto (l. to Monfils)
YTD W-L: 51-15 (31-9 on hard)
YTD Titles: 1 / Career Titles: 8
Date of Birth: December 27, 1990 (25)
Emirates ATP Ranking: 4 (Career-High)
Barclays ATP World Tour Finals W-L (Best Result): 1-2 (2014 Round Robin)

Raonic at ATP Finals

• Secured 1st Barclays ATP World Tour Finals win of career on Sunday, beating Monfils 63 64. Hit 12 aces and 0 double faults, won 25 of 29 points on 1st serve (86%), and did not face a break point in the match
• The 25-year-old Canadian is appearing in the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals for 2nd time in 3 years
• Made debut in 2014 and lost to No. 2 Federer 61 76 and No. 6 Murray 63 75. Withdrew from final round robin match due to a right thigh injury (vs. Nishikori) and was replaced by alternate Ferrer

Raonic 2016 Highlights

• Became 1st Canadian man and 2nd Canadian overall to reach major singles final at Wimbledon (l. to No. 2 Murray)
• En route to Wimbledon final, earned 1st win from 2 sets down to beat Goffin, then defeated No. 3 Federer in 5 sets
• Also fell to No. 2 Murray in London/Queen’s Club final after leading 76 30
• Won 1st 9 matches of season, highlighted by 8th career title at Brisbane (d. No. 3 Federer)
• Upset No. 4 Wawrinka in 5 sets en route to Australian Open SF (l. to No. 2 Murray in 5 sets)
• Played in 3rd ATP Masters 1000 final at Indian Wells (d. No. 7 Berdych, Monfils and Goffin; l. to No. 1 Djokovic)
• Reached ATP Masters 1000 SFs at Cincinnati (l. to No. 2 Murray) and Paris (w/o vs No. 2 Murray), and QFs at Miami (l. to Kyrgios), Monte-Carlo (l. to No. 2 Murray), Madrid (l. to No. 1 Djokovic) and Toronto (l. to Monfils)
• Held 2 MPs before falling in ATP Masters 1000 Shanghai 3R to Sock 76 in 3rd
• Withdrew from Delray Beach and Acapulco (hip); gave walkovers in Beijing SF (right ankle) and Paris SF (right leg)

[6] Gael Monfils (FRA) vs [8] Dominic Thiem (AUT) Thiem Leads 1-0

15 Umag (Croatia) Clay SF Dominic Thiem 1-6 6-3 6-1

Monfils 2016 Summary

W: Washington (d. Karlovic); F (2): Rotterdam (l. to Klizan); ATP Masters 1000 Monte-Carlo (l. to Nadal); SF (3): ATP Masters 1000 Toronto (l. to Djokovic); US Open (l. to Djokovic); Tokyo (l. to Kyrgios); QF (4): Australian Open (l. to Raonic); ATP Masters 1000 Indian Wells (l. to Raonic); ATP Masters 1000 Miami (l. to Nishikori); Rio Olympics (l. to Nishikori)
YTD W-L: 44-16 (37-12 on hard)
YTD Titles: 1 / Career Titles: 6
Date of Birth: September 1, 1986 (30)
Emirates ATP Ranking: 6 (Career-High)
Barclays ATP World Tour Finals W-L (Best Result): 0-1 (Debuting)

Monfils at ATP Finals

• Lost in Barclays ATP World Tour Finals debut to Raonic 63 64 on Sunday. Won only 15 of 31 points on 2nd serve (48%) and 4 of 29 points on 1st-serve return (14%). Failed to earn a break point during the match
• The 30-year-old Frenchman is 1 of 2 first-time participants (Thiem) in this year’s field and 2nd-oldest in this year’s field behind Wawrinka (31)
• He is 9th different Frenchman to qualify for the year-end championship (since 1970)
Richard Gasquet was last Frenchman to qualify in year-end championship in 2013. He went 0-3 in round robin play
• First 30-year-old to make debut in season finale since Andres Gimeno (35) and Bob Hewitt (32) at 1972 Barcelona
• In history of tournament, 2 Frenchmen have reached the final: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in 2011 (l. to Federer) and Sebastien Grosjean in 2001 (l. to Hewitt)
Monfils 2016 Highlights
• Captured biggest title of career at ATP World Tour 500 event in Washington, saving 1 MP vs Karlovic in final
• Did not drop a set en route to 2nd Grand Slam SF at US Open (l. to No. 1 Djokovic in 4 sets)
• Achieved career-high No. 6 in Emirates ATP Rankings on November 7
• Reached 3rd ATP Masters 1000 final at Monte-Carlo (d. No. 9 Tsonga, l. to No. 5 Nadal in 3 sets)
• Also reached ATP Masters 1000 Toronto SF (d. No. 7 Raonic, l. to No. 1 Djokovic) and QFs at Indian Wells (l. to Raonic) and Miami (l. to No. 6 Nishikori after holding 5 MPs)
• Held 3 MPs vs No. 7 Nishikori in Rio Olympics QF before losing once again 76 in 3rd
• Advanced to 1st Australian Open QF in 11th appearance (l. to Raonic)
• Lost to Klizan in Rotterdam championship match and is now 6-19 lifetime in finals
• Withdrew from Marseille (right leg), Munich (groin strain), Roland Garros (virus), Halle (virus) and Paris (rib)
• Conceded walkover to No. 9 Thiem in ATP Masters 1000 Cincinnati 3R (back)

Thiem 2016 Summary

W (4): Buenos Aires (d. Almagro); Acapulco (d. Tomic); Nice (d. A. Zverev); Stuttgart (d. Kohlschreiber); F (2): Munich (l. to Kohlschreiber); Metz (l. to Pouille); SF (4): Brisbane (l. to Federer); Rio de Janeiro (l. to Pella); Roland Garros (l. to Djokovic); Halle (l. to F. Mayer); QF (3): ATP Masters 1000 Rome (l. to Nishikori); ATP Masters 1000 Cincinnati (l. to Raonic); Chengdu (l. to Ramos-Viñolas)
YTD W-L: 57-23 (25-14 on hard)
YTD Titles: 4 / Career Titles: 7
Date of Birth: September 3, 1993 (23)
Emirates ATP Ranking: 9
Barclays ATP World Tour Finals W-L (Best Result): 0-1 (Debuting)

Thiem at ATP Finals

• Lost in Barclays ATP World Tour Finals debut to Djokovic 67(10) 62 60 on Sunday. Secured 1st set on 7th set point after hitting 3 double faults in tiebreaker. Fell to 21-3 in deciding sets this season (.875)
• The 23-year-old Austrian is the youngest player in this year’s field and 1 of 2 first-time participants (Monfils)
Thomas Muster is only other Austrian to qualify for the year-end finale (1990, 1995-96). Played as an alternate in 1997 (l. to Moya 62 63). He compiled a 2-8 round robin record. He also was a non-playing alternate in 1993

Thiem 2016 Highlights

• Won titles at Buenos Aires (d. Almagro), Acapulco (d. Tomic), Nice (d. A. Zverev) and Stuttgart (d. Kohlschreiber)
• Advanced to 1st Grand Slam QF and SF at Roland Garros (d. Goffin, l. to No. 1 Djokovic)
• Set career-highs this season in wins (57) and ranking (No. 7 on June 6)
• Youngest man in Top 10 since Raonic (Aug. 12, 2013), 3rd Austrian overall and 1st since J. Melzer (May 30, 2011)
• Saved 1 MP in Buenos Aires 2R (d. Elias) and SF (d. No. 5 Nadal), then 2 MPs in Stuttgart SF (d. No. 3 Federer)
• Runner-up at Munich (l. to Kohlschreiber 76 in 3rd) and Metz (l. to Pouille)
• Defeated No. 2 Federer at Rome for biggest win of career by ranking and to reach 2nd ATP Masters 1000 QF
• Needed 1 win to reach ATP Masters 1000 Cincinnati QF (1R bye, 2R d. Millman, 3R w/o, QF l. to No. 6 Raonic)
• Reached 1st ATP doubles final at Kitzbühel w/Novak (l. to Koolhof/Middelkoop 11-9 in Match TB after holding 1 MP)
• Earned 1st 3 Davis Cup victories of career to lead Austria to 4-1 win over Portugal in Group I 1R
• Withdrew from Hamburg (illness), Los Cabos (hip) and ATP Masters 1000 Shanghai (illness)

• Retired in Sydney 2R (blisters), ATP Masters 1000 Toronto 2R (hip) and US Open 4R (right knee)

TUESDAY FEDEX ATP HEAD 2 HEADS – GROUP EDBERG/JARRYD

[2] Jamie Murray (GBR)/Bruno Soares (BRA) vs Bryan/Bryan Leads 1-0

[3] Bob Bryan (USA)/Mike Bryan (USA)

16 ATP Masters 1000 Rome (Italy) Clay QF Bryan/Bryan 6-3 6-4

J. Murray/Soares 2016 Summary

W (3): Sydney (d. Bopanna/Mergea); Australian Open (d. Nestor/Stepanek); US Open (d. Carreño Busta/Garcia-Lopez); F (2): ATP Masters 1000 Monte-Carlo (l. to Herbert/Mahut); ATP Masters 1000 Toronto (l. to Dodig/Melo); SF (2): Doha (l. to Lopez/Lopez); Vienna (l. to Marach/Martin)
YTD W-L: 39-16 (28-9 on hard)
YTD Titles: 3 / Career Titles: 3
Date of Birth: J. Murray - February 13, 1986 (30); Soares - February 27, 1982 (34)
Emirates ATP Doubles Team Ranking: 2
Barclays ATP World Tour Finals W-L (Best Result): J. Murray 2-2 (2015 Round Robin); Soares 4-4 (2013 SF)
• Inched within 375 ranking points of No. 1 Herbert/Mahut by beating Huey/Mirnyi 64 75 on Sunday
• The British-Brazilian duo is appearing in first Barclays ATP World Tour Finals as a team and 1 of 5 teams making their maiden appearance at the O2. This is the 2nd straight year-end finals showing for Murray, who was 1-2 last year (w/Peers). Soares is making his 3rd year-end finals appearance after qualifying in 2013-14 (w/Peya). They reached SFs in 2013 (l. to Bryans)
• This is 2nd straight year a brother duo is playing in year-end finals in singles and doubles (Andy and Jamie Murray). Prior to last year, last brothers to qualify in season finale came were John and Patrick McEnroe in 1989. John reached SF at Masters in New York and Patrick won doubles title in London (w/Grabb)
• J. Murray and Soares have a 39-16 match record (3-2 in finals), including an outstanding 17-2 mark in Grand Slam play, winning titles at Australian Open (d. Nestor/Stepanek) and at US Open (d. Herbert/Mahut in SF and Carreño Busta/Garcia-Lopez in F). Became first team to win 2+ Slam titles in a season since Bryan/Bryan in 2013. Also advanced to QF at Wimbledon (d. Pavic/Venus 16-14 in 5th, l. to Benneteau/Roger-Vasselin 10-8 in 5th)
• In 2nd week of season in Sydney, captured maiden title together (d. Bopanna/Mergea). Then followed with title run in Melbourne, only dropping 2 sets
• In ATP Masters 1000 play, put together a 10-9 record with runner-up showings in Monte-Carlo (l. to Herbert/Mahut) and Toronto (l. to Dodig/Melo)
• J. Murray became 1st Briton to rank No. 1 in Emirates ATP Rankings (singles or doubles) on April 4 and held top spot for total of 9 weeks. Younger brother Andy became No. 1 in singles on Nov. 7. With Andy, became 1st brothers in Open Era to reach doubles and singles finals at same major, accomplishing feat at Australian Open
• Soares captured 3rd Grand Slam mixed doubles title in Melbourne w/Vesnina (d. Tecau/Vandeweghe). Advanced to Rio Olympics QF w/Melo (d. Djokovic/Zimonjic, l. to Mergea/Tecau in 3 sets). Reached a career-high No. 2 in doubles on Oct. 17. Came within one win of becoming No. 1 but lost in ATP Masters 1000 Shanghai QF (l. to Kontinen/Peers)

Bryan/Bryan 2016 Summary

W (3): Houston (d. Estrella Burgos/S. Gonzalez); Barcelona (d. Cuevas/Granollers); ATP Masters 1000 Rome (d. Pospisil/Sock); F (2): Delray Beach (l. to Marach/Martin); Roland Garros (l. to Lopez/Lopez); SF (7): ATP Masters 1000 Miami (l. to Herbert/Mahut); Stuttgart (l. to Marach/Martin); Halle (l. to Klaasen/Ram); ATP Masters 1000 Cincinnati (l. to Rojer/Tecau); Beijing (l. to Carreño Busta/Nadal); ATP Masters 1000 Shanghai (l. to Isner/Sock); Vienna (l. to Kubot/Melo)
YTD W-L: 47-20 (21-14 on hard)
YTD Titles: 3 / Career Titles: 112
Date of Birth: April 29, 1978 (38)
Emirates ATP Doubles Team Ranking: 3
Barclays ATP World Tour Finals W-L (Best Result): 36-20 (2003-04, 2009, 2014 Champions)

 

• Improved to 7-3 lifetime against Dodig/Melo with 76(3) 60 victory on Sunday
• The American twins qualified for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals for 14th straight year, though they did not play in 2007 due to Mike’s elbow injury. Last year reached SFs (l. to eventual champs Rojer/Tecau). They have a 36-20 match record at the tournament, winning titles at Houston in 2003 (d. Llodra/Santoro) and 2004 (d. W. Black/Ullyett), at Shanghai in 2009 (d. Mirnyi/A. Ram) and at London in 2014 (d. Dodig/Melo). Their 36 match wins is a tournament record. They also were finalists in 2008 (l. to Nestor/Zimonjic) and 2013 (l. to Marrero/Verdasco). In last title run two years ago, opened with round robin loss and then won four matches in a row to win title
• They are 47-20 on season -- 16th straight year they have won at least 40 matches. They had won at least 60 matches in a season for 9 years in a row from 2006-14
• They compiled a 3-2 record in finals, highlighted by 3 clay-court titles in Houston (saved 2 MPs in 1R vs Kudla/Young, d. Estrella Burgos/S. Gonzalez in F), Barcelona (d. Cuevas/Granollers) and ATP Masters 1000 Rome (d. Pospisil/Sock), their record 36tth Masters 1000 title. That was also their last title in May and 5-month title drought is longest coming into season finale
• Put together a 15-8 record in ATP Masters 1000 play with SF results in Miami, Cincinnati and Shanghai
• In Grand Slam play, compiled a 13-4 record with their best result a runner-up at Roland Garros (l. to Lopez/Lopez), which is also their last final reached in June. They have a 16-13 career record in Slam finals (last title came at 2014 US Open). Also 3R at Australian Open and QF at Wimbledon and US Open
• They have won a record 112 titles together and with their QF win over Cuevas/Troicki in Vienna, became first team in Open Era to win 1,000 matches as a team (1,002-311). Their streak of having won at least 5 titles in a season ended after a record 14 years in a row. Passed Jimmy Connors’ 109 singles championships for most ATP World Tour titles ever in singles or doubles in Open Era
• Suffered losses at 3 straight events with combined 17 MPs: Memphis 1R vs Krajicek/Monroe (3 MPs), Delray Beach final vs Marach/Martin (6 MPs) and ATP Masters 1000 Indian Wells QF vs Roger-Vasselin/Zimonjic (8 MPs)
• Dropped to No. 9 and No. 10 in Emirates ATP Doubles Rankings on Apr. 18 (lowest since Aug. 26, 2002).
• In Davis Cup, defeated Hewitt/Peers in 5 sets in 1R to improve to 13-0 in road matches (USA d. AUS 3-1) and lost at home in QF to Cilic/Dodig (CRO d. USA 3-2)

 

[6] Ivan Dodig (CRO)/Marcelo Melo (BRA) vs [8] Treat Huey (PHI)/Max Mirnyi (BLR) Series Tied 1-1

16 ATP Masters 1000 Miami (U.S.A.) Hard R16 Huey/Mirnyi 7-6(1) 6-4
16 ATP Masters 1000 Monte-Carlo Clay QF Dodig/Melo 6-4 6-4

 

Dodig/Melo 2016 Summary

W (2): ATP Masters 1000 Toronto (d. J. Murray/Soares); ATP Masters 1000 Cincinnati (d. Rojer/Tecau); F: Nottingham (l. to Inglot/Nestor); SF (3): ATP Masters 1000 Monte-Carlo (l. to J. Murray/Soares); ATP Masters 1000 Madrid (l. to Bopanna/Mergea); Roland Garros (l. to Lopez/Lopez)
YTD W-L: 25-13 (12-6 on hard)
YTD Titles: 2 / Career Titles: 6
Date of Birth: Dodig - January 2, 1985 (31); Melo - September 23, 1983 (33)
Emirates ATP Doubles Team Ranking: 6
Barclays ATP World Tour Finals W-L (Best Result): 8-6 (2014 Finalists)

 

• Playing 1st match together since US Open 1R loss on August 31, fell to Bryan/Bryan 76(3) 60 on Sunday
• The Croat and Brazilian are appearing in their 4th straight Barclays ATP World Tour Finals (8-6 record) and reached final in 2014 (l. to Bryan/Bryan). Also reached SF in 2013 debut with a 3-0 round robin record (l. to eventual champs Marrero/Verdasco) and last year (l. to Bopanna/Mergea)
• Own a 25-13 record with back-to-back ATP Masters 1000 titles in Toronto (d. Murray/Soares) and Cincinnati (d. Rojer/Tecau). Also runner-up in Nottingham (l. Inglot/Nestor). Put together 13-5 record in ATP Masters 1000 play. In addition to pair of titles, reached SF in Monte-Carlo (l. to Murray/Soares) and Madrid (l. to Bopanna/Mergea after holding 1 MP)
• Best Grand Slam result was SF at Roland Garros (l. to eventual champs Lopez/Lopez). Fell in 3R at Australian Open and Wimbledon and 1R at US Open. Did not play together during entire fall season after US Open
• Dodig helped Croatia reach Davis Cup final (vs. Argentina) by compiling a 3-0 record, teaming w/Skugor to beat Bemelmans/Goffin in 1R and then w/Cilic to beat Bryan/Bryan in QF and Herbert/Mahut in SF. Only played in one doubles event post-US Open, in Basel (w/Zimonjic, l. in 1R). Saved 1 MP vs Herbert/Mladenovic to reach 1st mixed doubles final at Roland Garros w/Mirza (l. to Paes/Hingis)
• Melo ranked No. 1 for 17 weeks earlier this season and comes into London ranked No. 7. He reached QF at Rio Olympics w/Soares (d. Djokovic/Zimonjic, l. to Mergea/Tecau in 3 sets). Also won title in Vienna (w/Kubot). Teamed w/Nestor for Canadian’s 1,000th win in Sydney 1R (d. Chardy/Paes, l. to Kubot/Matkowski in QF)

Huey/Mirnyi 2016 Summary

W: Acapulco (d. Petzschner/Peya); SF (5): Delray Beach (l. to Marach/Martin); ATP Masters 1000 Miami (l. to Klaasen/Ram); Barcelona (l. to Bryan/Bryan); Estoril (l. to Butorac/Lipsky); Wimbledon (l. to Herbert/Mahut)
YTD W-L: 30-23 (15-14 on hard)
YTD Titles: 1 / Career Titles: 1
Date of Birth: Huey - August 28, 1985 (31); Mirnyi - July 6, 1977 (39)
Emirates ATP Doubles Team Ranking: 8
Barclays ATP World Tour Finals W-L (Best Result): Huey 0-1 (Debuting); Mirnyi 20-16 (2006, 2011 Champion)

 

• Fell to J. Murray/Soares 64 75 on Sunday for 8th loss in last 9 matches (since ATP Masters 1000 Cincinnati 2R)
• The Filipino and Belarussian are making their Barclays ATP World Tour Final debut as a team. Mirnyi is making his 10th year-end finals appearance with a 6th different partner, first since 2012. Has a 20-16 career record and a 2-time champion, in 2006 (w/Bjorkman) and 2011 (w/Nestor). Also runner-up in 2009 (w/A. Ram) and 2010 (w/Bhupathi)
• Won lone ATP World Tour title of season in late-February in Acapulco where they saved 2 MPs in 1R win over Guccione/Tomic (d. Petzschner/Peya in final). Mirnyi also earned his 700th career match win vs. Aussies
• Compiled 9-4 record in Grand Slam play with QF at Australian Open (d. Bopanna/Mergea, l. to Nestor/Stepanek) and SF at Wimbledon (l. to eventual champions Herbert/Mahut in 5 sets). Mirnyi made 20th straight appearance at All England Club and was playing with 14th partner. Also 3R at Roland Garros (l. to Benneteau/Roger-Vasselin)
• Best ATP Masters 1000 result of season was SF in Miami (d. Dodig/Melo in 2R, l. to Klaasen/Ram). Put together 9-7 in ATP Masters 1000 events
• Huey retired in Washington 1R and withdrew from ATP Masters 1000 Toronto due to lower back injury
• Mirnyi participated in 5th consecutive Olympic Games (w/Bury l. to Marach/Peya in 1R)

Murray Wins First Match As World No. 1

Tue, 11/15/2016 - 12:41am

Andy Murray made a winning start in his first match as No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Rankings. The Scot defeated seventh seed Marin Cilic 6-3, 6-2 in their Group John McEnroe clash at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals on Monday night.

"It was a really, really good atmosphere tonight," said Murray, who is now 20 matches unbeaten since 18 September. "After a long few months, it's nice to know that I'm going to be finishing the year playing in that sort of atmosphere. It helps you get up for the matches a bit more, as well.”

Murray added 200 points with his 12th win over Cilic and now has 11,110 points in the Emirates ATP Rankings as he battles Novak Djokovic (10,980) for year-end No. 1. Enjoying a career-best year, Murray is now 73-9 (44-6 on hard) with eight titles overall. He will next play fifth seed Kei Nishikori on Wednesday.

"I didn't see the match, but Nishikori obviously must have played very well," said Murray, who has a 7-2 FedEx ATP Head2Head record against Nishikori. "I would say this is probably his best year that he's had on the tour. He's one of the best players in the world. He's been playing very well the last few months especially."

The first five games of Murray and Cilic's 15th meeting featured break points, with Murray breaking twice to take a 3-1 lead. Cheered on by a patriotic crowd, Murray played with great patience, but struggled to hold serve – serving four double faults and winning 43 per cent of his second service points. Cilic, who committed 17 unforced errors, looked for a second break, but Murray was able to clinch the 46-minute opener.

In the second set, Cilic attempted to impose his game and despite his best efforts, creating one break point at 1-0, with Murray serving at 30/40, he could not break through. Murray absorbed the pressure and broke twice in a run of five straight games to wrap up victory in 90 minutes.

Cilic, who first qualified for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in 2014, is now 0-4 at The O2 in London. He will play third seed Stan Wawrinka in two days’ time, hoping to improve on his 47-22 record on the year.

"Obviously, I need to get into the rhythm on the serve," said Cilic. "I think I wasn't hitting the spots so well today. I think obviously Andy was returning really well. I have to prepare definitely a little bit better [against Wawrinka] than for today. Hopefully I can start a little bit better in that match."

New Ranking, Same Murray

Tue, 11/15/2016 - 12:26am

After an outstanding season that has seen him post a 61-5 record since April and reach the final in 11 of his past 12 events, one could forgive Andy Murray for feeling a little tired. But the new World No. 1 said he is feeling energised by the home crowd at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals and ready for one final push.

Murray scored a comprehensive victory on Monday over seventh seed Marin Cilic to score his 20th win in a row. With the local crowd firmly on his side, the Brit raised his level in the most important points and kept his opponent pinned behind the baseline.

“It was a great reception, a really good atmosphere tonight. It was obviously nice to play in that stadium with the crowd like that. It obviously helps,” said Murray. “After a long few months, it's nice to know that I'm going to be finishing the year playing in that sort of atmosphere. It helps you get up for the matches a bit more.”

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Murray unseated Novak Djokovic on 7 November to became the 26th player in history to reach No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Rankings. Both players are moving closer to a championship showdown that could determine who finishes the year as World No. 1, but their on-court rivalry doesn’t reflect their more low-key relationship off the court.

“We've known each other for such a long time. I think both of us have gotten used to congratulating each other over the years. It's quite normal,” said Murray. “We bump into each other every week and talk about our families and other stuff. We don't discuss [results] much.”

More: Watch Murray's 2016 Finale Profile

Part of Murray’s on-court success can be attributed to his stable family life off the court. After welcoming his first child this February with wife Kim Sears, Murray said his approach to life is now drastically different.

“It doesn't directly impact your tennis. You have to still go out there on the practise court, train hard, get in the gym, work hard on your game. It's more away from the court. I've been dealing with wins and losses much better because I have something else that's more important. I’m not getting too high after wins or too down after losses, which was maybe the case in the past.”

“When I won [at the BNP Paribas Masters], it was great. I really enjoyed that. But then you come home and you're back with your family,” added Murray. “I'm not thinking about Paris. I feel just a bit more sort of even-keeled through the year.

Watch Highlights: Murray Makes It 20 In A Row In London

Tue, 11/15/2016 - 12:13am
Watch highlights of Andy Murray winning his 20th match in a row by beating Marin Cilic and moving to 1-0 at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. Watch live tennis at tennistv.com. Getty Images photo.

Daily Snapshot: London Day Two

Tue, 11/15/2016 - 12:10am
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Missed a moment of the action from Monday at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals? Here is your executive summary:

1) Battle for World No. 1 Heats Up

In his first match as World No. 1, top seed Andy Murray put on an impressive performance in his opening match at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, scoring his 20th consecutive win with a comprehensive 6-3, 6-2 victory over World No. 7 Marin Cilic. Murray broke Cilic twice in each set and controlled most of the baseline rallies, improving his record to 61-5 since April. Read Match Report

With Djokovic winning his opening match on Sunday over Dominic Thiem, the pair are one step closer to a blockbuster championship match that could determine who finishes the year at No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Rankings. Read Battle For No. 1 Explained

2) Nishikori’s No-Look Backhand Overhead

World No. 5 Kei Nishikori literally got his campaign at The O2 off to a flying start with this stunning winner, impressing the London crowd from start to finish with his 6-2, 6-3 win over third seed and reigning US Open champion Stan Wawrinka. Read Brain Game

3) Quote Of The Day

“It doesn't directly impact your tennis. You have to still go out there on the practise court, train hard, get in the gym, work hard on your game. It's more away from the court. I've been dealing with wins and losses much better because I have something else that's more important. I’m not getting too high after wins or too down after losses, which was maybe the case in the past.” - Murray explaining how becoming a new parent has changed his approach to the sport. Read Murray Reaction

4) Best Doubles Point Of 2016?

No corner of the court was left untouched as Henri Kontinen/John Peers prevailed in a sensational rally over Feliciano Lopez/Marc Lopez.

5) Upsets Galore In Doubles Draw

Sixth seeds Raven Klaasen/Rajeev Ram scored the first major doubles upset of this year’s Barclays ATP World Tour Finals with a 7-5, 6-4 win over top seeds Pierre-Hugues Herbert/Nicolas Mahut. With just 375 points separating Herbert/Mahut from Jamie Murray/Bruno Soares, the battle for the top spot in the Emirates ATP Doubles Team Rankings is poised to come down to the wire. Read Match Report

Fifth seeds Kontinen/Peers put on a serving clinic in their 6-3, 7-6(7) win over fourth seeds Lopez/Lopez. The Finnish-Australian pair didn’t face a break point in the contest and have now won 10 of their past 12 matches. Read Match Report

Player Blog: Thiem Unveils Player Gifts

Mon, 11/14/2016 - 11:58pm

Before arriving in London on Wednesday evening, I had heard about how nice the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals was and how well the players were treated at the season finale.

But this nice?

I walked into my hotel room at the London Marriott Hotel County Hall, close to Big Ben and the London Eye, and couldn't believe what I was seeing: Barclays ATP World Tour Finals T-shirts and hats with the tournament logo emblazoned on the apparel; a new Ted Baker suit, which I wore to the Official Launch; a new electric toothbrush, which is always nice; and maybe the most impressive gift, a new set of Ping golf clubs with my name on the bag and the clubs.

I'm not a golf player but I think I will start now.

It's incredible to receive all of these gifts because they're nice, of course, but also because only eight players in the world receive them. The gifts symbolise how special it is to reach the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals.

To be honest, I was happy enough just qualifying for the season-ending tournament, which has been a dream of mine for years. Last year, I remember seeing the tournament and thinking it would be nearly impossible to tally enough Emirates ATP Rankings points to reach the Top 8 by the end of the season.

But this year, with a little help from my friends Milos Raonic and Andy Murray, I made it to The O2. When Raonic beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Murray beat Tomas Berdych in the BNP Paribas Masters quarter-finals, I could officially celebrate and make plans for London.

It all didn't sink in, though, until I walked into my hotel room. The next day, last Thursday, I felt even more in awe. I was shown to my own personal locker room, which players don't get at almost any other tournament. The locker room featured a bigger than life-size poster of myself, and a “Congratulations” message with my four different titles written on the wall. The room also had a mirror with my name engraved on it.

I was so impressed I had to take photos of the locker room and send to my friends, who, like me, know what regular tournaments are like and were learning how the season finale differs. This week is also special because I have my parents and a handful of friends here with me. London isn't far from Austria, and it's extra special to have my parents here, since I don't see them much during the season; they get to only about five tournaments a year.

The new sensations continued on Sunday, too, when I made my official finale debut against Novak Djokovic. I usually feel nervous before matches but I felt extra tense before stepping in front of almost 18,000 people at The O2. I felt more butterflies tingling than usual, and my hands weighed more than they typically do before matches.

Walking through the smoke and onto the court with almost 18,000 fans cheering was a much different experience as well. But once we started playing, it was regular tennis, one on one, just like I've done dozens of times this season. I was pleased to take a set off Novak and wish I could have won another one, but I'll be here all weeklong, cherishing the experience and working to finish my season strong.

Dominic Thiem spoke with Jonathon Braden

Thiem Meets Jose Mourinho

Mon, 11/14/2016 - 11:35pm
Moments after making his debut at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, Dominic Thiem meets his sporting hero, Jose Mourinho, and receives a very special gift.

Players Tested On '80s Knowledge

Mon, 11/14/2016 - 11:27pm
With the Finals Club celebrating the heritage of the 1980s at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, we see just how much the current stars of the ATP World Tour know about the 80s.

Peers/Kontinen Win Best Doubles Point Of 2016

Mon, 11/14/2016 - 9:48pm
John Peers and Henri Kontinen win the best doubles point of 2016 at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London. Watch live tennis at tennistv.com. Photo: Peter Staples / ATP World Tour

Mmoh Reacts To Winning First Challenger Title In Knoxville

Mon, 11/14/2016 - 9:39pm

On Sunday, 18-year-old American Michael Mmoh claimed his maiden ATP Challenger Tour title, defeating Peter Polansky 7-5, 2-6, 6-1 in the Knoxville final. Mmoh, who soars 64 spots to a career-high No. 204 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, is the fourth different American teen to prevail on the Challenger circuit this year, joining Taylor Fritz, Frances Tiafoe and Reilly Opelka. The title comes on the heels of reaching his first final last month as a qualifier in Tiburon. It also marks the 12th time a teenager has won a Challenger title in 2016.

Congratulations, Michael. You turned things around in the third set after you struggled with an ab injury in the second. What was the difference there after you got that early break?
The first game in the third was huge, even though I was serving and it was just a regular hold. It gave me so much momentum. I was pretty down after my intensity dropped in the second set. I was feeling it in the legs and my abdominal was hurting too. In my mind, I wasn't prepared for the battle at that point.

My tactic was to slow it down and then pump it back up in the third set and that's why the first game was huge. I started going for my shots a little more and I played pretty well in the end.

That seemed to be a theme for you during the week. Once you go up a break, you open up a bit and play more freely.
Once I start matches, I know I can make it tough for them. I can make a lot of balls and that's always tough when you start off a match and the guy's not missing. You're getting into the rhythm and getting all the balls back. Once I get the break, I go for my shots and be a little more free. That's been working really well in the past few months. Obviously I could be a little more aggressive, but I'm happy with the way I'm playing.

American Teen Finalists In 2016

Player

Age
Tournament
Result
Taylor Fritz
18 yrs, 2 mos
Happy Valley (AUS)
Won title
Stefan Kozlov
18 yrs, 2 mos
Le Gosier (GP)
Runner-up
Frances Tiafoe
18 yrs, 3 mos
Tallahassee (USA)
Runner-up
Frances Tiafoe
18 yrs, 5 mos
Winnetka (USA)
Runner-up
Frances Tiafoe 18 yrs, 6 mos
Lexington (USA)
Runner-up
Frances Tiafoe
18 yrs, 6 mos
Granby (CAN)
Won title
Frances Tiafoe
18 yrs, 8 mos
Stockton (USA)
Won title
Michael Mmoh
18 yrs, 8 mos
Tiburon (USA)
Runner-up
Stefan Kozlov
18 yrs, 9 mos
Suzhou (CHN)
Runner-up
Michael Mmoh
18 yrs, 10 mos
Knoxville (USA)
Won title
Reilly Opelka
19 yrs, 2 mos
Charlottesville (USA)
Won title
Jared Donaldson
19 yrs, 6 mos
Savannah (USA)
Runner-up
Ernesto Escobedo*
19 yrs, 10 mos
Sao Paulo (BRA)
Runner-up
*Escobedo won first Challenger title less than a month after turning 20 in July, in Lexington (USA)

Talk a little about the changes you and (coach) Glenn Weiner have made to your forehand that's gotten you to this point.
Well, it wasn't a huge change, but it made a huge difference. My swing had a little bit of a hitch and it was a little too big. At this level when they're hitting it hard and really pounding it, they will realize that your forehand is weaker and hit a lot of balls there. I was struggling big time with that. The small change I made was huge. It gave me an advantage with my shots. Now, I think I'm hitting it well. That small adjustment really turned my year around.

You've played a lot of tennis over the last couple of months. You have at least one more tournament, in Champaign, and are now in the lead for the Australian Open wild card. How you do approach Champaign?
I definitely want to do well next week and end the year Top 200. I'm pretty close and think I can get there. That's my main goal. If I win the Aussie Open wild card that's a big bonus, but I'm focusing on ending the year in the Top 200.

What was your goal at the beginning of the year and how did it change over the summer?
My goal at the beginning of the year was Top 150, maybe Top 200 was a little more realistic. When I got injured, that was erased and my only goal was to be around No. 250 at the end of the year. I'm really happy now and I hope I can make a push and end the year Top 200. I was not picturing that earlier in the year, especially after Binghamton when I lost 2 & 1 in the first round.

The big question: How are you going to celebrate?
Well, Champaign starts tomorrow, but we might drive to the University of Kentucky in Lexington along the way and see one of my best friends who goes there. I might have a nice dinner with him and treat myself.

Kontinen/Peers Serve To Victory In London

Mon, 11/14/2016 - 9:17pm

Fifth seeds Henri Kontinen/John Peers made their Barclays ATP World Tour debut as a pairing a memorable one, not facing a break point in defeating fourth seeds Feliciano Lopez/Marc Lopez 6-3, 7-6(7) in one hour and 17 minutes.

Kontinen/Peers have now won 10 of their past 12 matches. They’ve won four ATP World Tour titles together this season, including their first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title earlier this month at the BNP Paribas Masters in Paris. That victory enabled Kontinen to make his debut inside the Top 10 of the Emirates ATP Rankings.

Kontinen was making his debut at The O2, while Peers was making his second consecutive appearance at the season-ending championships. Feliciano Lopez was also making his debut at The O2 while Marc Lopez, 34, won the 2012 Barclays ATP World Tour Finals crown with fellow Spaniard Marcel Granollers.

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Although Lopez/Lopez made 88 per cent of their first serves, they still found themselves struggling to manage the aggressive returns of Kontinen/Peers in the first set. The Finnish-Aussie pair broke Feliciano Lopez to take a 3-1 lead and remained flawless in their own service games, winning 12 straight points on serve to grab an early lead.

Both players traded routine service holds in the second set to force a tie-break. A backhand volley winner from Peers gave his team a mini-break to lead 3/2, but the Aussie gave it back at 5/4 with a double fault. Kontinen/Peers were unable to convert on match points at 6/5 and 7/6, but a backhand volley from Kontinen at 8/7 wrapped up the contest.


Kontinen/Peers Upstage World No. 1 Murray In London

Mon, 11/14/2016 - 9:06pm

By John Peers

Our 2016 Barclays ATP World Tour Finals has certainly gotten off to a good start. We've already beaten new World No. 1 Andy Murray in the all-important “Gong Challenge”.

Standing on centre court, Murray tossed the ball up six times but couldn't hit the 14-inch gong, which sat about 20 metres away in the stands. (For the record, he was using someone else's racquet).

My doubles partner, Henri Kontinen, had also tried to peg the gong six times but he, too, couldn't connect. But I grabbed my Prince racquet, tossed the ball up and hit the gong on my first attempt. I'll admit, it was luck, but I won't be testing that theory. I've never done it since and won't be doing it again.

We're hoping that luck extends to our on-court action this week as we make our team debut at the season-ending championships in London. We've had a good run of late, and it's encouraging to see all of our work from throughout the season paying off now.

Last month, we reached our first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 final at the Shanghai Rolex Masters. Earlier this month, we won our first Masters 1000 title by beating Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut, who are the top seeds in London.

For me this week, it'd be great to improve upon my 2015 finale record, when I was playing with then-partner Jamie Murray. We went 1-2 in the round-robin stage and failed to reach the semi-finals.

But no matter what happens, it's always fun to be back at The O2. Last year was such a great experience. They put on such a great show for not only the players but also the spectators. As a player you always want to try and strive to make the year-end tournament, which means you've had a good year. So to be here is great.

By Henri Kontinen

At 26, I'm the second youngest player in the doubles draw (Herbert, 25) and I'm thrilled to be making my debut at the finale. All the players hyped it throughout the year and said what a great event it is, and to actually be here is a cool experience.

I'm also hoping my luck in England continues. In July, I was fortunate enough to win the Wimbledon mixed doubles title with Brit Heather Watson. I won't be heading to the All-England Club this week, though. John and I are too focused on doing our best at The O2.

We're going to take it one match at a time. That's what we've been doing, especially at the back end of this year, and that's worked out really well.

We also plan to make future return visits to the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. When, towards the end of last season, John and I first discussed working together, we both had the long game in mind. We thought it was an exciting chance for us to be able to play together for more than a couple of years and hopefully form a long-standing partnership.

Peers and Kontinen spoke with Jonathon Braden

Brain Game: Nishikori Wins With Court Sense

Mon, 11/14/2016 - 7:35pm

Look at the reality of the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. Eight elite players. Eight different ways to hit a forehand and a backhand.

Kei Nishikori defeated Stan Wawrinka 6-2, 6-3 at the O2 Arena this afternoon, mainly because of the improvement he made with where he was standing hitting the ball - not with how he hit it.

Through the 2016 season, Nishikori made contact with the ball 25 per cent inside the baseline, and 75 per cent behind it. With the Japanese star leading 6-2, 0-1, he had made contact with 33 per cent of his shots inside the baseline, clearly signaling his baseline superiority in a battle of modern day baseline Goliath’s.

“I see a lot of opportunity today, so I try to be aggressive,” Nishikori said post match. To be clear, that aggression manifested as much with his feet as with his racquet. With Nishikori leading 6-2, 2-2, he had built a 22-14 lead in baseline points won, which was significant considering how even this battle typically is between these two players.

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The more Nishikori inched forward, the more his chances of winning the point improved. Nishikori felt the magnetism of the baseline and Wawrinka clearly did not. Playing up in the court also facilitates finishing points at net, which was another clear advantage for Nishikori.

In the opening set, Nishikori hit 11 total winners to only four for Wawrinka, and won a significant 100% (7/7) at net. The Swiss star, playing deeper in the court, found it tougher to come forward, only winning two of four points approaching and volleying.

After a tight start to the match, with it evenly poised at 2-2, Nishikori won 20 of the last 26 points of the set to firmly wrestle control of the match. Almost two out of every three points (64%) for the match ended in the first four shots, with Nishikori notching up a significant 18-11 advantage in this key metric.

Interestingly, Nishikori ran slightly further in Set 1 (482m to 463m), but the good problem of knocking off volleys at the net was a contributor. He also ran slightly further in the match (1025m to 1021m), but again, that was much more because he was taking better advantage of both the front and back of the court.

Nishikori’s performance behind his second serve was also a major factor in defeating Wawrinka. Nishikori won an incredible 90 per cent (9/10) of second serve points in Set 1, and finished the match winning a commanding 74 per cent (17/23) on second serve. For Wawrinka, this part of his game was far more liability than asset. Wawrinka won 62 per cent (23/37) on first serve, but only a lowly 38 per cent (8/21) behind his second serve.

Our eyes naturally focus on the skill and power of Nishikori’s explosive technique, but don’t forget to look at where he is standing on the court to hit the ball. There is a good chance it’s going to be closer to the baseline than his opponent.