Spider Digital Tennis Classic

Nominate a Tennis Star from Your Community

Social Media

Facebook Instagram Twitter YouTube

The Quest for Stars & Trophies

2017 State Championships

Submit Your Award Nominations Today

News
Syndicate content
Headline News - powered by FeedBurner
Updated: 1 day 3 hours ago

Top Seven Stories Of 2017 So Far

Wed, 04/05/2017 - 7:29pm
.videoWrapper { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; /* 16:9 */ padding-top: 25px; height: 0; } .videoWrapper iframe { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; }

The season is only three months old but there's already a plethora of storylines to track. Here are the top seven stories of 2017 so far:

1. Roger Federer's Surprise Start

Federer, arguably the greatest player of all-time, has been the story of 2017. The Swiss star is still bringing his love for tennis that has helped millions of fans adore him. But Federer's ability to change might be the most impressive detail about his comeback so far. The right-hander has surprised and impressed most with his new flattened-out backhand, aided by his bigger, 97-inch racquet.

Heck, the fact that Federer still wants to tinker with his game – at 35 years old, in his 20th year on tour and with four kids and Mirka at home – is worth noting as well.

No one expected Federer to sprint to a 19-1 start and to beat Rafael Nadal three times, including during two finals – Australian Open and the Miami Open presented by Itau – and no one knows what the remainder of 2017 will hold for the 26-time ATP World Tour Masters 1000 champion. Maybe No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Rankings?

Federer's Best Starts To A Season

Year W-L Sunshine Double? Year-End Emirates ATP Ranking 2017 19-1  Yes ? 2006
33-1  Yes No. 1 2005
35-1  Yes No. 1
2004
23-1  No No. 1


2. Rafael Nadal's Resurgence

Two of the biggest questions coming into 2017: How would Federer come back, and how would Nadal return after another injury? We know about Federer, and we now know about Nadal as well. The Spaniard has hit top form on the hard courts, reaching three finals – Australian Open (l. to Federer), Abierto Mexicano Telcel (l. to Querrey) and the Miami Open presented by Itau (l. to Federer) – and has posted a 19-5 record to start 2017, tying him with Federer for the most wins to date.

Perhaps most importantly, Nadal feels good about his team's new addition, Carlos Moya, and about his play. “I am at a very high level of tennis and I believe I am ready to win titles,” Nadal said after falling in the Miami final. “I'm playing well [enough] to fight for everything.”

With the clay-court season set to start next week, expect Nadal to be feeling even better about his tennis.

FedEx ATP Win/Loss Index (2017)

Player W-L Roger Federer 19-1 Rafael Nadal
19-5 Jack Sock
18-4 Grigor Dimitrov  17-4  Jo-Wilfried Tsonga  17-4  David Goffin  17-7  Dominic Thiem  17-8 

[ALSO LIKE]

3. Nick Kyrgios' Play

His start to the year was hardly what he had imagined: a five-set loss to Andreas Seppi in the second round of his home Grand Slam. But Kyrgios has answered nearly every question that trailed him in Melbourne.

Mental toughness? See back-to-back straight-set wins against Novak Djokovic in Acapulco and Indian Wells. Showing up at every event? His last four tournaments: semi-final in Marseille; semi-final in Acapulco; quarter-final in Indian Wells; and semi-final in Miami.

His attitude? “I feel like my level of tennis, it's always been high, but mentally I'm competing for every point. That's making the difference,” he said after his Miami semi-final loss to Federer, one of the best matches of 2017. “I got a lot of work to do. I'm 16 in the world. There are 15 players better than me.”

4. Jack Sock Climbing The Emirates ATP Rankings

The Nebraska native has more than carried the American flag for the first three months of the season. After not winning a title during all of 2016, Sock has already captured two crowns – Auckland and Delray Beach. At the March Masters, he made his first Masters 1000 semi-final in Indian Wells (l. to Federer) and backed it up with a last-eight showing in Miami (l. to Nadal).

Sock is 18-4 on the season, second behind only Federer and Nadal in wins. The Kansas City resident reached a new career high of No. 15 in the Emirates ATP Rankings this week. At this rate, the 24 year old will crack the Top 10 by the end of the season and become the first American to do so since John Isner in May 2014. Sock is currently No. 7 in the Emirates ATP Race To London.

5. Alexander Zverev Leading #NextGenATP

#NextGenATP players continued to make strides during the first few months of 2017. Russian Daniil Medvedev celebrated his first final at the Aircel Chennai Open (l. to Bautista Agut). Emirates ATP Star Of Tomorrow Taylor Fritz checked off his first Top 10 win by beating Marin Cilic in Indian Wells. But no #NextGenATP player has delivered like Zverev this season.

The 19 year old won his second ATP World Tour title at the Open Sud de France in Montpellier. In Miami, he improved to 2-0 against Stan Wawrinka in their FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry and made his first Masters 1000 quarter-final (l. to Kyrgios). The strong start has Zverev atop the Emirates ATP Race To Milan, which will determine who qualifies for the inaugural Next Gen ATP Finals, to be held 7-11 November in Milan.

6. Grigor Dimitrov Knocking On Top 10

The Bulgarian already has two titles – Brisbane and Sofia – and returned to the semi-finals of a Grand Slam for the first time since 2014 Wimbledon. Before falling to Nadal in the Australian Open semi-finals, Dimitrov had won 10 consecutive matches. He's 3-1 against Top 10 players and he might be rejoining that elite group soon.

Dimitrov is currently No. 12 in the Emirates ATP Rankings but he's played like a Top 5 player so far this season. His spot in the Emirates ATP Race To London: No. 4.

7. Surprise Beginnings From Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic

They're ahead of Federer in the Emirates ATP Rankings, but No. 1 Murray and No. 2 Djokovic have garnered a small fraction of the attention that Federer has received so far. Djokovic started the year with a memorable run in Doha, beating Murray for the title in one of the best matches of the year. That epic final had tennis fans thinking that this year's battle for No. 1 would again be a two-man affair.

But both Murray and Djokovic suffered early losses in Melbourne. Murray rebounded in Dubai to celebrate his 45th tour-level title, while Djokovic fell to Kyrgios in the Acapulco quarter-finals. In Indian Wells, both fell before the last eight, and they both withdrew from Miami with elbow injuries. With three Masters 1000 tournaments only weeks away, though, both men will be looking to get their season back on track.

Beyond The Numbers: Dimitrov, Kyrgios Leading The Way This Season

Wed, 04/05/2017 - 7:04pm

The first quarter of 2017 is in the books, so let's see who had the hot hand to start the new year.

The big picture clearly shows Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal out in front in the Emirates ATP Race To London. But what about the specifics of serving, returning and elevating in the pressure moments? That’s where the specific metrics of our game step in to paint a clearer picture.

An Infosys ATP Beyond The Numbers analysis of the first quarter identifies four players who are outperforming their peers, laying the foundation for a rise up the Emirates ATP Rankings this season.

No. 1 Service Games Won = Nick Kyrgios 93.3% (208/223)

Ivo Karlovic has been the leader in this category for the past three years, but Kyrgios has knocked the 6’11” Croatian into second place to kick off 2017. Kyrgios defeated Karlovic 6-4, 6-7(4), 7-6(2) in the third round of the Miami Open presented by Itau last week.

Kyrgios broke Karlovic once in the opening set, while the Croatian was not able to break Kyrgios at all, seeing just one break point for the match. The Australian dropped serve twice in his opening-round match in Miami against Damir Dzumhur, and then only dropped serve once (to Federer) during the next 62 service games.

No. 1 Break Points Converted = Daniel Evans 53.7% (51/95)

Evans reached a career high of No. 41 just four weeks ago and currently sits at No. 44. He has a 10-6 record in 2017 after going 9-10 up to this point in 2016. Evans is taking advantage of the big moments so far this season.

He's the only player on the ATP World Tour who has converted more than half of his break points. Evans reached the final of the Apia International Sydney in January, converting an impressive 64.5 per cent (20/31) of his break points.

No. 1 Break Points Saved = Grigor Dimitrov 75.9% (101/133)

Dimitrov has been one of the most dangerous players on tour in 2017, with two titles and a 17-4 record. He played what some think has been the highest quality match so far this season, narrowly going down to Rafael Nadal in five sets during the semi-finals of the Australian Open.

The Bulgarian saved 61.5 per cent (8/13) of his break points in that match, and is saving an astounding 75.9 per cent so far this season. Dimitrov is now up to No. 12 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, from No. 17 at the start of the year, and is knocking hard on the Top 10.

No. 1 Second-Serve Return Points Won = Richard Gasquet 61.1% (225/368)

The 30-year-old Frenchman had a solid February, reaching the final of the Open Sud de France in Montpellier and the semi-finals of the Open 13 Marseille. Gasquet’s career average for winning second-serve points is 51 per cent, so he is clearly crushing that at 61.1 per cent. To give some historical perspective, Spaniard Alberto Berasategui has the career record for second-serve points won at 56.3 per cent.

Nadal & Federer: 89 Hours And Counting...

Tue, 04/04/2017 - 9:38pm
.videoWrapper { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; /* 16:9 */ padding-top: 25px; height: 0; } .videoWrapper iframe { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; }

The very best parts of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal's FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry will remain unquantifiable forever. How their games have evolved throughout their careers. The passion they share for tennis. The feelings of excitement they've provided millions of fans during the past two decades.

But certain aspects of their rivalry, one of the best in all of sport, can be counted. And when you've played each other 37 times over 14 years and your match-ups have decided 23 tour-level titles, the numbers add up quickly.

To begin: They've spent a lot of time together. Nadal and Federer have been on court together for the equivalent of almost four full days – three days, 17 hours and 16 minutes, to be precise. If you're thinking about that in terms of a workweek, that's one busy week – 89 hours.

They've played more than 7,000 points, more than 1,100 games and more than 100 sets. They've had their share of faults – 126 double faults to be more accurate – but they've also aced each other dozens of times, and that's not hyperbole.

To relive all 37 matches they've played, click here. For more stats, keep reading.

[ALSO LIKE]

By The Numbers: Federer v. Nadal

Category Stat Total Points Played    7,161 Time On Court (Minutes)  5,356 Total Games Played  1,138 Total Sets Played  115
Category Federer Nadal Break Points Faced 319 297 Break Points Converted  110 133 First-Serve Points Won  1,575 1,747  First-Serve Return Points Won 871 671 First-Serve Points Played 2,246 2,618 Second-Serve Points Won 658 532 Second-Serve Return Points Won 431 676 Second-Serve Points Played 963 1,334 Total Service Points Won  2,233 2,279 Aces 302 79 Double Faults 65 61

 

Emirates ATP Rankings Update 3 April 2017

Tue, 04/04/2017 - 2:58pm
See how the Emirates ATP Rankings look after the Miami Open presented by Itau on 3 April 2017.

Players, Former Greats Share Their Secret Weapon

Tue, 04/04/2017 - 2:57pm
A strong serve. Calming presence of a spouse. Familiar routine. ATP World Tour Uncovered presented by Peugeot talks to former players and current top players, including Tomas Berdych and David Goffin, about their secret weapon.

#NextGenATP Race Leader Zverev Has Massive March

Tue, 04/04/2017 - 2:09pm

Alexander Zverev started March strong and ended his month with a vengeance. And the 19-year-old German, ranked World No. 20 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, notched a few career milestones along the way.

Continuing his stranglehold on the Emirates ATP Race To Milan, Zverev began March with 340 points in the Race, holding a 45-point lead ahead of then No. 2 Daniil Medvedev. As of the 3 April Emirates ATP Race to Milan standings, he leads the pack with 565 points, 260 points ahead of Medvedev.

Pre-Register for Tickets To The Next Gen ATP Finals

At the BNP Paribas Open, the first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament of 2017, after a bye in the first round, Zverev handily beat Facundo Bagnis to set a third-round clash with Nick Kyrgios, their first tour-level meeting and thus beginning a rivalry that will be one to watch for years to come.

"It will be a very exciting match, because he's played well this year and I've played well this year too," Zverev said ahead of the match. "I don't want to say I can be the champion by the end of the next week, but I feel I can play great tennis and I can beat anybody. I have the toughest quarter of the draw and I have a feeling the champion will come out of this section. The next few rounds will be very, very difficult for all us."

The Aussie claimed the win 6-3, 6-4, but the pair would have a rematch sooner than they thought. But before we get ahead of ourselves, the German teen made waves at the start of his Miami Open presented by Itau campaign.

Following a bye in the first round, he had no trouble getting past Yen-Hsun Lu 6-0, 6-3, before big-server John Isner provided an exceptional challenge. A fourth-round berth in the Masters 1000 tournament in South Florida was Zverev’s prize after saving three match points to beat the American 6-7,(5), 7-6(6), 7-6(5).

Next was a chance to oust top seed Stan Wawrinka, and Zverev didn’t hold back, coming from a set down to run away with the Round of 16 clash and claim a 4-6, 6-2, 6-1 victory. With that, he booked a spot in the quarter-finals of a Masters 1000 for the first time.

[ALSO LIKE]

“I had to be aggressive. I felt like he was the one controlling all the points all the time, so I had to change that. It worked out well for me. Happy to be in the quarter-finals now. Hopefully I can play as great as I did today,” Zverev said after his Wawrinka triumph.

As if his last two matches weren’t entertaining enough, it was time for fireworks in Florida: Zverev was to face Kyrgios for the second time in March in what proved to be a spectacular match. Thursday night, under the lights, Zverev pushed Kyrgios further than their first meeting, forcing the Aussie to require six match points to capture the emotion-filled win 6-4, 6-7(9), 6-3.

The towering German will now look to extend his lead in the Emirates ATP Race To Milan on the clay swing in Europe, where he performed well in 2016. He advanced to the semi-finals in the BMW Open by FWU, the final in the Open de Nice Cote d'Azur, while also reaching the third round at Roland Garros (All lost to Thiem).

Should Zverev manage to maintain his level from March, the ATP World Tour could witness a few more career milestones in the near future.

View Full Emirates ATP Race To Milan

Doubles Review: Kontinen, Kubot/Melo Take Centre Stage In Early 2017

Tue, 04/04/2017 - 1:09pm

Kontinen New No. 1

Finland’s Henri Kontinen on Monday became the 50th player in the history of the Emirates ATP Doubles Rankings to rise to No. 1, following a strong run of form with his regular partner John Peers over the past six months. Kontinen's rise to the summit ends the 38-week stint at the top spot for France’s Nicolas Mahut.

Read: Kontinen No. 1 Tribute

Kontinen and Peers have put together a 25-6 match record since mid-October 2016, picking up titles at the Paris Masters (d. Herbert-Mahut), the ATP Finals (d. Klaasen-Ram) and the Australian Open (d. Bryans). They were also runners up at the Shanghai Rolex Masters (l. to Isner-Sock). In 2017, they are the early pace-setters in the Emirates ATP Doubles Race To London.

Kontinen leads Peers (7,560) by 140 points in the Emirates ATP Doubles Rankings, with Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan tied third, narrowly behind on 7,430 points. The Bryans, who have finished in year-end top spot on 10 occasions, had the opportunity to return to No. 1 if they had lifted their fifth trophy at the Miami Open presented by Itau. The twins lost to Nicholas Monroe and Jack Sock in the semi-finals.

Kubot/Melo Enjoy Strong Start

One of the season’s new teams, Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo, are up to No. 2 in the Emirates ATP Doubles Race To London for one of the eight spots at the ATP Finals, to be held at The O2 from 12-19 November. After a relatively slow start (4-5 record), the Polish-Brazilian tandem hit their stride in the March sunshine by beating Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares twice, en route to finishing runner-up at the BNP Paribas Open (l. to Klaasen-Ram) and capturing the Miami crown (d. Monroe-Sock).

Buy Tickets For London

Raven Klaasen and Rajeev Ram look to be backing up their late 2016 charge with the Delray Beach Open crown (d. Huey-Mirnyi) and four Match tie-break wins for Indian Wells glory.

Read: Five Things We Learned From Miami

Former No. 1s Close In On Milestones

Keep an eye on Max Mirnyi, who first became No. 1 as a 25 year old on 9 June 2003, as he continues his quest for the 50th doubles trophy of his career in partnership with Treat Huey.

Also, Nenad Zimonjic is seven match wins (693) from becoming the 10th player in ATP World Tour history to record 700 match wins and joining Daniel Nestor, Bob Bryan, Mike Bryan, Todd Woodbridge, Mark Knowles, Sherwood Stewart, Leander Paes and Jonas Bjorkman in the ‘700 Wins Club’. Zimonjic, 40, who first rose to No. 1 on 17 November 2008 and spent 50 weeks in top spot, clinched his 54th career crown in February at the Garanti Koza Sofia Open with Viktor Troicki.

Behind The Scenes At The 2017 Miami Open

Tue, 04/04/2017 - 10:42am
ATP World Tour Uncovered presented by Peugeot goes behind the scenes during the second week of the 2017 Miami Open presented by Itau. Getty Images photo.

Big Titles: 'Unpredictable' Start Helps Federer Pad Lead

Mon, 04/03/2017 - 7:30pm

What to call the beginning of Roger Federer's 20th year on the ATP World Tour?

In January, we would have used adjectives such as “hopeful” or “upbeat”. Federer, describing himself, picked “rejuvenated” and “refreshed”.

In what looks like prescient language now, three months on, the Swiss veteran said at the start of the year, “I do believe it could be very beneficial for the future of my tennis career that I've had this six-month layoff... I feel rejuvenated, refreshed. Maybe mentally I needed this rest more than I thought I would. Maybe also my body needed a rest more than I thought I would.”

But now, after Federer has rolled through the Australian Open, the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells and the Miami Open presented by Itau, his earlier adjectives no longer work.

Perhaps “unbelievable”? None of this was predicted – not by Federer, not by his coaches, not by tennis pundits and maybe not even by the millions of fans across the world who scream for the Swiss star. But whatever term you pick, there's no mistaking what Federer's start has added to his place among the best in the game.

By capturing the season's first three “Big Titles”, Federer has extended his “Big Titles” lead against long-time rivals Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal. The Swiss right-hander now has 26 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crowns and 50 overall “Big Titles”. That puts Federer three “Big Titles” ahead of Djokovic and eight ahead of the left-handed Spaniard.

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  12/49 5/10 30/95 47/154 (3.3) Rafael Nadal 14/47 0/7 28/100 42/154 (3.7) 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 3/44 1/8 14/93 18/143 (7.9) 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) Lleyton Hewitt 2/66 2/4 2/75 6/145 (24.2) Patrick Rafter 2/35 0/2 2/48 4/85 (21.3) Sergi Bruguera 2/33 0/3 2/63 4/96 (24) Juan Carlos Ferrero 1/45 0/3 4/84 5/132 (26.4) Carlos Moya 1/47 0/5 3/76 4/128 (32) Stan Wawrinka 3/48 0/4 1/93 4/145 (36.3) Yevgeny Kafelnikov 2/38 0/7 0/77 2/122 (61)

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

“Once you win a big tournament like the Australian Open, or any big tournament for that matter, you can just bank usually on some confidence,” Federer said on Sunday after beating Nadal for his third Miami title. “That confidence gets you through a lot of the tough matches that nobody ever speaks about again.”

[ALSO LIKE]

To earn that belief, in Melbourne, the 17th-seeded Federer had to beat Tomas Berdych, Kei Nishikori, Mischa Zverev, Stan Wawrinka and Nadal for his 18th Grand Slam.

In Indian Wells, Federer met Nadal, not in the final, but in the fourth round, and then faced rising American Jack Sock before again beating Wawrinka in the final.

The past two weeks in Miami, Federer had to overcome Juan Martin del Potro and Roberto Bautista Agut to reach the last eight. In the quarter-finals, Federer saved two match points against Berdych before outdoing Nick Kyrgios in an epic semi-final and again beating Nadal in the final.

Federer's stats from the three big tournaments: 18 wins, zero losses; a 7-0 record against the Top 10; a 10-2 record in tie-break sets, and the most important number: Three more “Big Titles”.

“I can't explain. I told Severin [Luthi], my coach, when I was warming up, if I would have just played the Miami finals, no Indian Wells, no Australian Open, we would still be very happy right now,” Federer said on Sunday. “But I have way more, so that's why I was trying to remind myself just to play without pressure. Just do it one more time and go out there and be brave on the big points. I think I was able to do that.”

“Be brave” – it's the same mantra Federer carried with him during the Australian Open final, the first time he surprised Nadal with his flat backhand, and likely the same advice he brought to the court in Indian Wells. “Be free in your head, be free in your shots, go for it. The brave will be rewarded here,” Federer said in Melbourne.

Watch & Vote: March Masters Golden Hot Shot

His “Big Titles” lead is hardly secure, though, especially considering his announcement that he'll take an extended break and likely play only Roland Garros on the clay. Three Masters 1000 tournaments sit between now and the season's second Grand Slam, which starts 28 May, including the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters, the Mutua Madrid Open and the Internazionali BNL d'Italia in Rome.

All three other members of the “Big Four” have brought home hardware from those clay-court Masters 1000 events. Djokovic and Nadal have won all three titles in their careers, and Andy Murray is missing only the Monte-Carlo crown.

Just last year, Nadal won his ninth Monte-Carlo title, Djokovic claimed his second Madrid trophy, and Murray celebrated his first Rome championship. Djokovic also still remains the all-time leader in Masters 1000 titles with 30.

"Unpredictable"? You could say that about Federer's first three months, and about the next few months of the ATP World Tour season.

A Look Back At The 2017 Miami Open

Mon, 04/03/2017 - 6:27pm

Moët Moment: Federer Wins Miami 2017

Mon, 04/03/2017 - 1:42pm
Roger Federer celebrates winning his third Miami Open presented by Itau title in this Moët Moment. Photo: Getty Images

Menendez-Maceiras Halts Decade Title Drought

Mon, 04/03/2017 - 11:50am
.videoWrapper { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; /* 16:9 */ padding-top: 25px; height: 0; } .videoWrapper iframe { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; } A LOOK BACK

Torneo Internacional Challenger (Leon, Mexico): Adrian Menendez-Maceiras lifted a trophy for the first time in a decade to cap an astonishing week in Mexico. The 31 year old had lost his past eight finals on the ATP Challenger Tour, but prevailed 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 against Roberto Quiroz in the first all-qualifier Challenger final since 2010.

Menendez’s reward for his second Challenger title, his first since Cordoba in 2007, is for the Spaniard to climb up 70 places to No. 210 in Emirates ATP Rankings.

Open Harmonie Mutuelle (Saint-Brieuc, France): Austrian top seed Gerald Melzer lost in the opening round at Saint-Brieuc. His conqueror Egor Gerasimov won seven matches in eight days as a qualifier to clinch a second Challenger title.

The 24 year old is the lowest-ranked title winner in 2017 (No. 404) and as a result surges up 141 spots to No.263 in the Emirates ATP Rankings. Also, Gerasimov is the second Belarusian winner on the Challenger Tour this year, joining Rennes champion Uladzimir Ignatik.

WHAT THE PLAYERS SAID

Menendez-Maceiras: "This is really important for me. I can't say how many finals I lost over the last 10 years, so this is very, very important. With hard work and patience I won this tournament with my level. I hope to return next year and fight for the title again."

A LOOK AHEAD

Onto the clay and there are two Challengers on the schedule this week, leading with the €64,000 event in Sophia Antipolis, France. World No.40 Benoit Paire enters as a wildcard to take the top seeding, alongside a strong field in France, which includes former Top 10 player Nicolas Almagro and fellow Spaniard Guillermo Garcia-Lopez. #NextGenATP player Stefanos Tsitsipas has taken a wildcard into the clay court event.

The $50,000 tournament in Panama City, Panama, is back on the calendar following a two year absence. 2012 champion Rogerio Dutra Silva returns to try and reclaim his title, with Argentine Horacio Zeballos playing as top seed. Victor Estrella Burgos will also be a threat in Panama, having taken his third-straight title on the clay at the Ecuador Open in February.

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.

Fognini Soaring Again, Mover Of The Week

Mon, 04/03/2017 - 10:06am

Gregarious Italian Fabio Fognini moved up 12 places to his highest position in the Emirates ATP Rankings since 15 February 2016 (at No. 24) courtesy of reaching the semi-finals at the Miami Open presented by Itau.

The World No. 28 won five matches in Florida, including a straight-sets victory over second seed Kei Nishikori, to earn a spot in his first Masters 1000 semi-final since 2013, when he played the last four in Monte-Carlo (l. Djokovic).

Donald Young continues to build on his impressive start to 2017, as he climbed nine places to No. 42. The American secured semi-final spots at the Memphis Open and Delray Beach Open. Then at Indian Wells he toppled Abierto Mexicano Telcel champion Sam Querrey and World No. 17 Lucas Pouille en route to the fourth round.

View Latest Emirates ATP Rankings

The 27 year old edges nearer to his career-high ranking of No. 38 (27 February 2012) after another Masters 1000 fourth round showing in Miami. Victories over Dustin Brown, Pouille and Benoit Paire produced another fine tournament, before Fognini prevailed in straight sets.

A trio of #ATPNextGen players have made significant rises in the rankings this week. Jared Donaldson enjoyed a remarkable run in Miami to achieve his first Masters 1000 fourth round. The 20 year old has risen up 20 places to World No. 75 after coming through qualifying in Florida, finally falling to Jack Sock in the Round of 16.

Frances Tiafoe also impressed in Key Biscayne. The 19 year old advanced through qualifying to play eventual champion Roger Federer in the second round. Tiafoe managed to take the Swiss maestro to a tie-break in a 7-6(2), 6-3 encounter and moves up 12 places to World No. 89 following his endeavours in Miami.

Ernesto Escobedo is the the third #NextGenATP player who caught the eye in Miami. The American has cracked the Top 100 for the first time, having qualified for the main draw and defeated World No.44 Daniel Evans. His Miami progress was halted 7-6(9), 7-5 by Fernando Verdasco, but moved Escobedo up 13 places to No. 95 in the Emirates ATP Rankings.

A New Chapter At No. 1 For Finland's Kontinen

Mon, 04/03/2017 - 8:45am

Henri Kontinen is the new No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Doubles Rankings, ending the 38-week stint of France’s Nicolas Mahut at the summit of the professional game. He is the first Finn and 50th player overall since the establishment of the team rankings in March 1976 to become World No. 1.

Just as hard-graft helped Jarkko Nieminen become world-class for a place in Finland’s sporting history, alongside the likes of Janne Ahonen, Mika Häkkinen, Sami Hyypiä and Teemu Selänne, Kontinen’s determination to succeed has also helped his talent blossom. In four short years, the 26 year old has risen from competing in ITF Futures tournaments on the comeback trail from injury, uncertain of his future, to today leading the team sport.

“In doubles, you win and lose as a team so you set shared goals,” Kontinen told ATPWorldTour.com. “I never set out to be No. 1, you always try to improve and string together results to build up confidence. But it’s pretty cool to know I’ve got to No. 1.”

When it became official, the 26-year-old Kontinen was fast asleep in Tampere, a city in southern Finland, in preparation to joining his friend at an ice hockey match on Friday. So it was the fate of a friend to inform ‘Henkka’ of the news that Nicholas Monroe and Jack Sock had beaten Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan, the leaders of professional doubles over much of the past 15 years, at the Miami Open presented by Itau.

With the help of his Australian partner John Peers, Kontinen has risen from No. 40 in the Emirates ATP Doubles Rankings 12 months ago. The pair has put together a 25-6 record since mid-October 2016 – picking up the Paris Masters, ATP Finals and Australian Open titles.

“It really is an amazing accomplishment for Henri to become World No. 1 and the first Finnish player to do so as well,” Peers told ATPWorldTour.com. “He continues to break records for Finnish tennis and the sky is the limit for him. It certainly is a great feeling to be able to do what we have done together so far. I am hoping this is just the start of what we can accomplish.”

But it could have been very different for the relaxed and easy-going Kontinen, who, aged 21 had two knee, two right wrist surgeries and shoulder problems on the horizon. It wasn’t until June 2013 that the likeable Finn felt ready to compete. Having moved with his family to the Czech Republic aged 15, competing at the highest level, for which he’d been touted, was a distant goal.

“It was hard to take and certainly the toughest moments of my career, being so young and realising that a career of playing tennis in the future might not happen,” Kontinen told ATPWorldTour.com. “Injuries are a part of the deal when you play sport. I was unlucky early on, but I worked hard on my fitness to get stronger, and now manage my knee and be careful.”

As Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer contested arguably the greatest match in tennis history: the 2008 Wimbledon final, 100 yards away on No. 1 Court, Grigor Dimitrov and Henri Kontinen were competing in the boys’ final. It proved to be a high point for the big fish of the junior world. Shortly after helping Finland to a 3-2 victory over Poland in a Davis Cup zonal tie in September 2011, Kontinen underwent surgery on a left knee injury that had gotten progressively worse.

Robert Lindstedt, who trained with Kontinen when he partnered Nieminen, told ATPWorldTour.com, "We all used the same physio, Jarmo Ahonen, and I used to go to Helsinki a lot. At one stage we were both so injured that we were not allowed to play tennis and we did fitness together. I told him in a text message the other day, who would have thought that all we were allowed to do was slowly jog around a track, years later he would be a Grand Slam champion and now World No. 1.”

“I love the sport, watch it and study it,” said Kontinen, who also grew up playing football and basketball. “When I turned my focus to doubles, upon returning from injuries on the Futures circuit with my former junior partner, Christopher Rungkat [winners of the 2008 Roland Garros boys’ doubles title], I had to learn and get used to where to position myself. In teaming up with John, he has helped me a lot with his greater doubles experience. So I've found that the best way is to learn as a team.”

In recent years, Kontinen has been able to develop and improve his game consisting of a huge serve, good feel at the net, a single-handed backhand and an attacking attitude. Relaxed and easy-going Kontinen combines finesse with serious firepower and an ability to focus and thrive on big points.

Today, it has helped him become the youngest player to reach No. 1 since the Bryans (aged 25) on 8 September 2003. Belarus’ Max Mirnyi was also 25 when he reached No. 1 for the first time on 9 June 2003.

TRIBUTES TO THE NEW WORLD NO. 1

Max Mirnyi: It’s great to see fresh, young blood in the game! Henri has shown that he is good all-around player and has been playing consistently for a couple of years already with winning some of our biggest tournaments. Congratulations, Henri, on accomplishing this special feat!!! Enjoy the leadership and continue to promote and grow the great game of doubles.

Nenad Zimonjic: I’d like to congratulate Henri, a relaxed and easy-going guy. He definitely deserves it as he’s been winning a lot. Rankings don’t lie and he’s now one of the youngest No. 1s in ATP history.

Jean-Julien Rojer: I would like to congratulate him for this amazing achievement. It is even more impressive for me because he's one of the younger doubles players on Tour and how quickly he's got up there. Everybody knew that he was super-talented and he's now put it together mentally as well. As good as he is on the court, he is off the court. He's a very nice, easy-going guy that everyone gets along with and very respectful. Congrats to him, and a tip of the cap!!

Horia Tecau: It's a well-deserved ranking for Henri. It's very impressive to reach No. 1 in such a short time being on Tour. Good for him! He's a complete player, owns all the weapons in the game and managed to dominate at the end of 2016 and the start of 2017 together with his partner, and the guy who deserves to get recognition for the No. 1 spot as well, John Peers.

Robert Lindstedt: He is one of the really nice guys on Tour and I am really happy for him. Not only because I have known him for so long, but also because I know the physical struggles he has had with injuries - and to overcome that is, to me, a true sign of a champion.

Treat Huey: Huge congratulations to Henri for reaching World No. 1. He's one of the younger doubles guys on the Tour right now and is an incredible shot maker. He's a good dude that enjoys himself on the court and Tour and he's going to be around the top of the game for many years to come.

Roger Won't Chase No. 1, But It May Come To Him

Mon, 04/03/2017 - 3:13am
.videoWrapper { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; /* 16:9 */ padding-top: 25px; height: 0; } .videoWrapper iframe { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; }

Let's be clear about one thing: While Roger Federer would welcome a thoroughly unexpected return to the top of the Emirates ATP Rankings, he has no interest in grinding his way back to World No. 1.

At 35, No. 1 is not the priority. Physically and mentally, it can't be. Winning Grand Slams and ATP World Tour Masters 1000 titles, leading a balanced family life and staying healthy and motivated is what's most important to the Swiss, who holds the record for spending 302 weeks at the top spot.

Andre Agassi (33 years, 4 months) was the oldest man to reign as World No. 1. Federer, who was last No. 1 in October 2012, would be more than two years older than the American should he reclaim top spot later this year.

After sweeping the March Masters at the BNP Paribas Open and Miami Open presented by Itau, Federer said that he would likely shut it down this month and next before returning for Roland Garros (beginning 28 May). Currently 1,810 points clear of second-placed Rafael Nadal in the calendar-year Emirates ATP Race To London (a predictor of the year-end rankings), Federer’s sabbatical will see the Spaniard cut or possibly wipe out the Swiss’ lead in the Race during the clay swing.

ESPN analyst Brad Gilbert, a former World No. 4 and a winner of 20 titles, says, “Right now Fed’s got a better than 50 percent chance of finishing the year No. 1. When you look at how far Djoker and Murray are behind, I think it's going to come down to Roger and Rafa.

“Roger has finished the year No. 1 five times and in four of those five times he's left Miami first in the Race. He told me after the match that he's not 24 anymore and that possibly he'll only play the French. That's three Masters 1000s out of the way, but he can finish No. 1 if he wins one of the last three majors, which is certainly possible. He belongs on the Mt. Rushmore of the seven greatest athletes of all time, along with Michael Jordan and Tom Brady.”

Federer told Gilbert and ESPN viewers on court that he was “focussing on the French, the grass and then the hard courts is going to be the key for me. And if things happen for World No. 1 that would be great, but I still believe I’m a long way away.”

 Watch Full Match Replays

Year-by-Year Emirates ATP Race To London Leaders After Miami

In eight of the previous 13 years, the player who was the Race leader after Miami went on to finish the season No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Rankings. Current Race points leader Roger Federer has finished No. 1 five times and on four occasions he was the Race leader after Miami.

                                               Points                   Year-end No. 1 (Position after Miami)
2017 – Roger Federer             4,045                           ?
2016 – Novak Djokovic            4,340                     Andy Murray (No. 3)
2015 – Novak Djokovic            4,385                     Djokovic
2014 – Novak Djokovic            2,690                     Djokovic
2013 – Novak Djokovic            2,990                     Rafael Nadal (No. 2)
2012 – Novak Djokovic            3,540                     Djokovic
2011 – Novak Djokovic            4,725                     Djokovic
2010 – Andy Roddick              2,450                     Rafael Nadal (No. 6)
2009 – Rafael Nadal                3,605                      Roger Federer (No. 3)
2008 – Novak Djokovic             331 #                    Rafael Nadal (No. 2)
2007 – Roger Federer              276 #                     Federer
2006 – Roger Federer              492 #                     Federer
2005 – Roger Federer              450 #                     Federer
2004 – Roger Federer              379 #                     Federer

# Points based on old system

Later, in his press conference, Federer expanded on his goals for the rest of the season, saying, “Wimbledon has to be the biggest goal... but all of the grass really is important to me because I'll play Stuttgart and Halle there, too. Then of course I am looking very good for the [ATP] Finals, for the year-end championships, where I've been very successful. I like the indoors as well. So for me basically the second half of the season is a big priority now. That's why I'll take a break.”

Federer has opened a significant gap on the rest of the field in the Emirates ATP Race To London after winning the three biggest titles so far this year: The Australian Open and ATP World Tour Masters 1000s in Indian Wells and Miami. At the beginning of the season it looked like Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray would battle each other for No. 1, especially after they played an epic final in Doha in the first week of the season.

But unpredictability is one of the beauties of sport, and after a stunning first quarter of the season that no one saw coming, Murray (840 points) is 12th in the Race, 3,205 points adrift of Federer, and Djokovic (475) is 22nd, 3,570 points behind the Swiss. With Federer (4,045) first and Nadal (2,235) second, it feels more like 2007 than 2017.

Except for one thing: Gilbert believes Federer is playing better today than 10 years ago.

“I’ve been watching Roger since 1998 and in my humble opinion he is playing better tennis than at any point in his career,” Gilbert says. “He’s been forced to get better and he’s had to raise his backhand and return of serve. He’s playing more complete tennis. I look at the numbers and sometimes when something goes up, something goes down.  But Roger’s breaking five per cent more while still holding 90 per cent of the time. And he’s converting 50 per cent of break points.”

Federer is determined that another key measure – his fitness – also remains in positive territory, hence his decision to embark on an extended break now. “I'm not 24 anymore. I have to pick my moments where I can peak and stay healthy,” Federer said in his presser.

[ALSO LIKE]

“At the end of the day, I need to look out for my health, that I'm happy in all parts of my life, personal, private, on-court life, professional life, and I can't keep this pace up on every single day. Just too much and I'll run out. The desire will run out.

“I would rather take a step back and then really come back with a lot of energy and happiness. Then I can share that with everybody. Otherwise you'll see me here and you will see that all I want to do is get out of here. I don't want to be that guy. I really don't.”

After Another Big Title, Federer Reflects On 'Dream Run'

Sun, 04/02/2017 - 11:14pm
.videoWrapper { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; /* 16:9 */ padding-top: 25px; height: 0; } .videoWrapper iframe { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; }

It took three months, three “Big Titles” and a 19-1 start to the 2017 season, but Roger Federer has officially declared the “comeback” portion of his season finished. The 35 year old, who took five months off last year to rest his surgically repaired left knee, made the announcement after dominating another ATP World Tour Masters 1000 final on Sunday for his third Miami Open presented by Itau title.

“The comeback is over,” Federer said. “I'm happy that nothing major happened throughout this period. It's been a dream run on the court, off the court as well. My body has reacted very well and I couldn't be happier, of course.”

Federer captured his 26th career Masters 1000 crown by beating Rafael Nadal 6-3, 6-4 in the South Florida sun. The Swiss also claimed his third “Sunshine Double” after winning the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells last month. Federer has now won 11 consecutive matches and is 7-0 against Top 10 players in 2017.

Few, including Federer, would have predicted such a fast start three months ago when he began his comeback Down Under. All kinds of questions surrounded Federer, as he reminded on Sunday.

“Let's see how the knee is going to feel in Australia. How is the body going to be in the Middle East? How is the body going to be West Coast, East Coast?” Federer said, tracking his season, which started at the Australian Open, then went to Dubai and then Indian Wells and most recently Miami. “There is a lot of traveling, and the knee can act funny when you travel and fly transatlantic and all that stuff. It's not like I went home and all I did is take a warm shower. I had to do a lot of stretching, massage, and sleep well... I needed to be very professional to wake up every morning and be ready to compete.”

[ALSO LIKE]

Federer, who tore his meniscus in his left knee in January 2016, began this season with modest goals. “I told Severin, my coach, when I was warming up if I would have just played the Miami finals, no Indian Wells, no Australian Open, we would still be very happy right now,” Federer said. “But I have way more.”

For Federer, winning begets winning. The confidence he earned from his earlier titles in Australia and Indian Wells during his “comeback” helped him in Miami and against Nadal, whom he was playing for the 37th time in their FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry.

“You win a big tournament like the Australian Open, or any big tournament for that matter, you can just bank on some confidence. That confidence gets you through a lot of the tough matches that nobody ever speaks about again,” Federer said.

In the third round, Federer beat Juan Martin del Potro to reach the Round of 16. There, he survived two tight tie-break sets against Roberto Bautista Agut to make it to the quarter-finals.

In the last eight, Federer had to save two match points to outlast Tomas Berdych 7-6(6) in the third set. In the semi-finals, Federer again came through in a third-set tie-break, beating Aussie Nick Kyrgios 7-6(5) in the decider. For the tournament, Federer was 6-1 in sets that ended in tie-breaks.

“I think I am definitely profiting from confidence, and then also from the right mindset. [I'm] able to compress all my energy into one single match and not be distracted by everything else going on around me,” Federer said.

Against Nadal, the Swiss star again focused on the match in front of him. “I was trying to remind myself just to play without pressure. Just do it one more time and go out there and be brave on the big points. I think I was able to do that,” Federer said. “I think it's been a challenging four weeks because you have to be focused for a long time. I was able to do that and I'm very happy.”

Federer now plans to take an extended break before playing Roland Garros and a full grass-court schedule.

Vote For March Masters Golden Hot Shot

Sun, 04/02/2017 - 10:52pm

Re-live eight great hot shots from the BNP Paribas Open and Miami Open presented by Itau, and help crown the Golden Hot Shot from the season’s first two ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournaments.

Watch the clips and cast your vote before the poll closes at 6pm CEST/noon EDT on Friday, 7 April. Here are the candidates:

Indian Wells
Del Potro Lands Tweener
Djokovic Quick Hands
Cuevas Left Bloodied & Bruised
Soares Goes Behind The Back

Miami
Federer Soft Hands
Nadal Laces Passing Shot
Kyrigos Hits Between The Legs Winner
Verdasco Rifles Mammoth Forehand

Subscribe to our Hot Shot playlist, and watch match replays on TennisTV.

Brain Game: Federer Thwarts Nadal's Serve +1 Plan

Sun, 04/02/2017 - 10:20pm

Never compromise what makes you great.

Roger Federer defeated Rafael Nadal 6-3, 6-4 in a close Miami Open presented by Itau final, with Federer's forehand serving as the difference maker. Nadal's forehand, on the other hand, failed to have its usual impact in the match, primarily because he was not as committed to hitting it as much as he normally is – especially as the first shot after the serve.

With Federer winning their past three matches, it's understandable that Nadal was looking for variations and creases to his normal strategy. It’s smart to look for counter moves, offer different looks and to try to rattle the cage in Federer's mind. But ultimately, Nadal adjusted too far and strategically lost his way. His forehand got lost in the shuffle.

Nadal normally hits a forehand around 80 per cent of the time after his serve and wins approximately 65 per cent of those points. It's without question the engine room.

But in this final, Nadal hit forehands as his first shot after the serve exactly 50 per cent (22/44) of the time, drastically down from his career average. It may be as low as he has ever been in this strategic area on such a big stage.

Nadal Serve +1

• Serve +1 forehands = 50% (22/44)

• Serve +1 forehand win percentage = 55% (12/22)

• Serve +1 backhand win percentage = 41% (9/22)

As you would expect, Nadal won a higher percentage of Serve +1 forehands (55 per cent to 41 per cent). The last time Nadal defeated Federer was in the semi-final of the 2014 Australian Open. In that match, Nadal hit 73 per cent (45/62) Serve +1 forehands, winning a dominant 69 per cent (31/45) of those points. It’s that important, and then some.

Nadal is normally locked onto hitting Serve +1 forehands. For example, when he defeated Stan Wawrinka 6-3, 6-2 in the 2015 ATP Finals, Nadal hit a Serve +1 forehand 89 per cent of the time (33/37).

The Spaniard normally loves to blast forehands through Federer's backhand. But the 2017 version of Federer's backhand is like nothing Nadal has ever seen, and in the process of adjusting to it, other parts of Nadal's game have suffered. Federer, on the other hand, dictated throughout the Miami final with his Serve +1 strategy, hitting a forehand after the serve 82 per cent of the time.

[ALSO LIKE]

Federer Serve +1

• Serve +1 forehands = 82% (32/39)

• Serve + 1 forehand win percentage = 63% (20/32)

• Serve +1 backhand win percentage = 71% (5/7)

Federer got to play in his comfort zone, racking up 19 forehand winners to Nadal's eight.

Serve Location

Nadal also went with secondary serve patterns much more than usual. It used to feel like Nadal directed 100 per cent of his serves at Federer's backhand, but in this match Federer actually hit more forehand returns (34) than backhands (26).

Of the 26 backhand returns Federer hit, he came over 24 of them, only slicing two because of the quality of Nadal's delivery. Federer's backhand return found Nadal's Serve +1 backhand eight times, while 14 went to the forehand, and four were return errors. Federer's new and improved backhand return is clearly wrecking havoc with Nadal's Serve +1 forehand intentions.

Federer stuck with his typical serve patterns, making Nadal hit 68 per cent (38/56) backhand returns for the match. In the deuce court, Nadal typically serves down the middle against Federer, but the Spaniard landed only five serves there, winning two of those points. By comparison, Nadal made 12 first serves out wide to Federer's forehand, winning just 50 per cent (6/12).

In the ad court, Nadal won a healthy 80 per cent (8/10) of his first serves out wide. The left-hander won 53 per cent (9/17) serving at the body in the deuce court and 67 per cent (8/12) in the ad court.

With Nadal serving at 3-4, 30/40 in the second set, with the match squarely on the line, he hit an 89 mph second serve at Federer's backhand. The Swiss stepped into the court and hit a backhand return down the line to Nadal's backhand. Nadal missed four Serve +1 backhands for the match, including this one, and Federer would serve the match out in the following game.

Nadal will ultimately look back at the four break points he didn't convert in the opening set as key moments that could have led to victory. One thing is for certain. Nadal must get back to doing what makes him so great against Federer. Nadal's forehand has more to do with the lopsided 23-14 scoreline he owns in their FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry than basically everything else combined.

Nadal: 'I Am Ready To Win Big Titles'

Sun, 04/02/2017 - 10:14pm
.videoWrapper { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; /* 16:9 */ padding-top: 25px; height: 0; } .videoWrapper iframe { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; }

On Sunday, Roger Federer put the rest of the ATP World Tour on notice, claiming his third title of the season at the Miami Open presented by Itau.

Federer's run of dominance has been arguably the biggest storyline in 2017, but the Swiss does not stand alone. Despite falling 6-3, 6-4, Rafael Nadal is tied with his longtime rival atop the match wins leaderboard and after a strong fortnight in Miami, he says he is ready to challenge for big titles once again. The Spaniard believes his deep run at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event is representative of his resurgent form.

"I think I am close to where I need to be," said Nadal. "I am at a very high level of tennis and I believe I am ready to win these titles. I already played three finals this year and today I lost to a player that had lost only one match."

Two weeks ago, Federer was at his ruthless best against Nadal in Indian Wells, dropping just five games. On Sunday, the Miami final yielded the same outcome, but Nadal admits that it was a completely different match.

With both competitors surging to Top 5 returns in the Emirates ATP Rankings, the Spaniard, who will rise two spots to World No. 5, is looking to build on the momentum in the weeks and months to come. 

"For me, it was a much closer result than the result says and completely different than last week," Nadal added. "I have been playing well during the whole event. It was a positive tournament for me obviously. A lot of [Emirates ATP Rankings] points, a lot of confidence for the most important part of the season for me that's just in two weeks."

FedEx ATP Win/Loss Index (2017)

Player W-L Roger Federer 19-1 Rafael Nadal
19-4 Jack Sock
18-4 Grigor Dimitrov  17-4  Jo-Wilfried Tsonga  17-4  David Goffin  17-7  Dominic Thiem  17-8 

Nadal was bidding to claim his first Miami title in his fifth final appearance and join Andre Agassi as the only players to win ATP World Tour Masters 1000 titles in their teens, 20s and 30s. 

The 30 year old next turns his attention to his most successful stretch of the year, as the European clay-court swing is set to commence in two weeks at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters. Following an impressive run on the North American hard courts, reaching the final in Acapulco, Round of 16 in Indian Wells and final in Miami, Nadal is confident for a strong run on his favourite surface. 

"I'm playing enough well to fight for everything I think. I have good hopes that I going to be ready for Monte-Carlo. Always when I am playing that well, on clay it helps a little bit more for me. I need to work hard to be ready for that. If I am ready for that, I think I am very excited about playing on clay again.

"I think about resting a little bit, having fun a little bit in Mallorca and I'll be happy to be back home after one-and-a-half months. Then I will start working hard on clay. That's my goal now. My goal is to feel ready to play on clay again and I know if I have good preparation and have a healthy transition to the clay and find my rhythm on clay, I can be one of those candidates."

Nadal will seek to make history on the clay, vying to become the first player to win 10 titles at a single tour-level event. He currently owns nine each in Monte-Carlo, Barcelona and Roland Garros

Miami Open 2017 Hot Shots Of The Week

Sun, 04/02/2017 - 10:01pm
The 2017 Miami Open presented Itau has enjoyed a host of sublime hot shots. Here are the best from the Tennis Center at Crandon Park in Florida. Watch live matches at tennistv.com.