Volvo Car Open - Charleston, SC

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: 4 weeks 2 days ago

Zverev 'Knows What it Takes' To Win Indian Wells

Thu, 03/08/2018 - 1:49am

For top-ranked #NextGenATP player Alexander Zverev, his progression of firsts will always be duly noted. His first ATP World Tour title, first victory over a Top 10 opponent.

It makes reflecting upon the progression that much more intriguing when the talent in question goes on to post their first Masters 1000 title, first Grand Slam trophy or first stint at World No. 1.

A two-time Masters 1000 champion at the age 20 (in Rome and Montreal) sees anticipation naturally shift to whether the BNP Paribas Open’s fourth seed can go on to land a major or climb to the pinnacle of the ATP Rankings. There is no hiding from it.

“Everybody keeps talking about the Grand Slams but I’ve won two Masters [1000s] so I know what it takes to win the big tournaments, what it takes to beat the big players in those big tournaments,” said Zverev, who fell to Aussie Nick Kyrgios in the third round at Indian Wells last season. “I’ve beaten Novak [Djokovic] and Roger [Federer] in both of those finals so those are not small matches for either of them.”

Miss some of Wednesday's action? Keep reading below in our #ATPMasters 1000 Live Blog

Next Gen ATP Finals champion Hyeon Chung downed Zverev in five sets in the third round of the Australian Open in January. It was a surprise to some, but the German was well aware of the level his free-swinging South Korean opponent was capable of producing. 

“In Australia, I thought I played well. I played against a very strong Chung,” Zverev said. “That is somebody who played with a lot of confidence and great feel. For me it’s more about getting through those matches and playing my best and the rest will take care of itself.”

[ALSO LIKE] 

An early exit in Rotterdam followed (l. to Seppi) but he found form again in Acapulco where it took eventual champion Juan Martin del Potro to stop him in the semi-finals. Despite the defeat Zverev to declared he was back playing at a confident level.

“I feel like the year has barely started,” he said. “I’ve played three tournaments so far. For me, this is where this season really starts. The first Masters [1000], the first big ATP tournament that we have. I feel like I’m playing really good again and feel ready to play with anyone and for me that’s the most important thing coming into a big event like this.”

That first title came not so long ago, in St. Petersburg in September 2016.  As for that first Top 10 win? That’s one Zverev won’t forget in a hurry.

“[It] was against Roger in Halle on a grass court so that was quite special,” he said. “The way also that I got into the Top 10 last year was also very special to me because I made it through winning a Masters [1000] on clay which is one of the toughest ways to do it. So I remember both of those moments quite clearly and they’re very special.”

For Delpo, Some Things Never Change

Wed, 03/07/2018 - 10:25pm

Juan Martin del Potro is playing in his eighth BNP Paribas Open. But to Del Potro, some things are always the same in Indian Wells. For instance, his draw.

Every year, Del Potro said on Wednesday, he has the toughest draw. He doesn't even need to look at the other sections of the field. He just finds his name, and he knows – yep, that's the hardest part of the whole tournament.

“Always. It doesn't change. That's the draw, what I expect for sure,” Del Potro said during his pre-tournament press conference.

That was, without a doubt, the case last year in Indian Wells, when the Argentine, then the 31st seed, was drawn in the same quarter as second seed and five-time champion Novak Djokovic, fifth seed Rafael Nadal, ninth seed Roger Federer and up-and-coming players Nick Kyrgios and Alexander Zverev.

Miss some of Wednesday's action? Keep reading below in our #ATPMasters 1000 Live Blog

The quarter was aptly named “The Group of Death”. Del Potro fell to Djokovic in the third round, 7-5, 4-6, 6-1.

This year in Indian Wells, however, looks a little more pleasant for Del Potro, who's improved his seeding and therefore his draw.

He is the sixth seed in the desert, and will meet either German Jan-Lennard Struff or #NextGenATP Aussie Alex de Minaur in the second round. The earliest Del Potro can face another seed is in the third round, if No. 29 David Ferrer of Spain meets him there. It would be their third FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting of the year. Del Potro won both encounters but their FedEx ATP Head2Head series is tied at 6-6.

[ALSO LIKE]

Should Del Potro get past Ferrer, though, his time in the desert will get more interesting. In the fourth round, he could meet either 10th seed Djokovic or former World No. 4 Kei Nishikori.

“I'm very positive with my level of tennis at the moment, and I want to stay focused just on my first match and then see if I can go far in this tournament,” Del Potro said. “But I think that the most important thing is to try to stay calm and go step-by-step.”

Delpo at the BNP Paribas Open

Year

Result

2017

Round of 32, lost to No. 2 Novak Djokovic

2016

Round of 64, lost to No. 7 Tomas Berdych

2013

Finals, lost to No. 5 Rafael Nadal

2012

Quarter-finals, lost to No. 3 Roger Federer

2011

Semi-finals, lost to No. 1 Nadal

2009

Quarter-finals, lost to No. 1 Nadal

2007

Round of 64, lost to No. 16 Richard Gasquet

The 29-year-old is back into the Top 10 at No. 8, his highest ATP Ranking since 3 August 2014. Just four days ago, Del Potro also celebrated winning the Abierto Mexicano Telcel presentado por HSBC in Acapulco, his biggest title since the 2013 Swiss Indoors Basel, which is also an ATP World Tour 500-level tournament.

In Acapulco, Del Potro beat three Top 10 players – Dominic Thiem, Alexander Zverev and Kevin Anderson – en route to his 21st tour-level title.

“I've got much confidence. Looking forward to playing good tennis in this tournament. I beat top opponents during the Acapulco tournament, which means something good to myself and I'm very excited to keep playing at the same level as I did last week,” he said.

Del Potro has never won the BNP Paribas Open or an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crown. He reached the final in Indian Wells in 2013 (l. to Nadal).

“If you want to win a title like this, you must play good tennis and beat many other good players, too, and that's my biggest goal,” Del Potro said. “So I need to go step-by-step, match-by-match and see how far can I go.”

Sock Hits Reset For Indian Wells Return

Wed, 03/07/2018 - 9:33pm

Running on empty after a breakout 2017 and with an off-season stacked with charity events and weddings, Jack Sock has hit his reset button a little later than most. The first indication of the American’s big 2017 came at last year’s BNP Paribas Open where he reached the semi-finals.

Back to defend those points with a Top 10 ranking to boot, the 25-year-old is rebuilding after some delayed time-out. He fell in his opening two matches of the season – in Auckland and at the Australian Open – before deciding to take that much-needed break.

“That reset was the month after Australia I took,” Sock said. “Obviously, the last two weeks, results wise, it hasn’t really shown, the work I put in.

“I flew home from Melbourne, I think even that day I was in the gym. I was in the gym for three and a half to four weeks straight, taking that time off, choosing not to play Davis Cup in Serbia to get my mind right again and my body in shape.”

The upside to Sock’s maiden ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title at the Rolex Paris Masters late last season was a last-minute qualification for the Nitto ATP Finals in London.

He would reach the semi-finals there on debut to end the season with a Top 10 ATP Ranking. The downside was a shorter than expected off-season, juggling off-court commitments with a race to be fresh again for his return Down Under.

[ALSO LIKE]

“I had no expectations being in London so I had to re-do my off-season schedule. I’d already committed to things not thinking I was going to be in London,” Sock said. “I fly home and I’m travelling a lot in my off-season. In hindsight, I wouldn’t have probably scheduled that many things if I’d known I was going to be in London.

“So that’s why I took time after Australia to regroup, be home, being in my own bed for more than two days. I feel a lot more confident now, a lot happier, I’m out there playing instead of being stressed out.”

Sock won four straight three-setters before eventual champion Roger Federer brought his run to an end in the semi-finals of last year’s BNP Paribas Open. Sock saved four match points to upset Grigor Dimitrov in the third round and also stunned fifth seed Kei Nishikori in the quarter-finals en route.

Hopes of him becoming the next great American have only heightened. It’s an expectation he is all too aware of, having assumed the mantle as American No. 1.

“I think the [American] fans are used to having someone winning a slam, at least competing to win a slam, winning multiple tournaments outside of that,” he said. “There were multiple guys in the past to get behind. Obviously there hasn’t been that level yet. We’re all doing our best. It’s a tough sport.

“There’s a guy named Federer, another named [Rafael] Nadal and [Novak] Djokovic winning a lot of tournaments in the last 15 years so it’s not the easiest just to weasel your way in there and win.

“But I think the sport is changing a little bit … I think there’s a new wave coming in.”

Give Peace A Chance? Grigor Says 'No'

Wed, 03/07/2018 - 8:06pm

With a breakthrough title run at the prestigious season-ending Nitto ATP Finals and a career-best ranking, it is fair to suggest the stars are finally aligning for Grigor Dimitrov. Just don’t suggest he’s at peace with himself.

While the Bulgarian has never produced his finest results in the desert at the BNP Paribas Open – he is yet to make it beyond the third round in six appearances – he returns for the first time with a Top 4 seeding. Dimitrov admits he is enjoying what he does right now more than in previous years.

“Finally my body is starting to understand. I’ve been more consistent,” Dimitrov said. “I wouldn’t say I’m at peace, I don’t want to be at peace right now. I’m only 26. It’s a war.

“All jokes aside I’m in a place I can push myself on and off the court. When I get to the court I want to push myself to the maximum. When I get to the fitness I want to push myself to the maximum.”

[ALSO LIKE]

After his scorching run to close out the season in London, there were big expectations on Dimitrov when he returned Down Under as the defending Brisbane International champion and having reached the Australian Open semi-finals in 2017. He shone in a fourth-round victory over Nick Kyrgios at Melbourne Park in January to avenge a defeat to the Australian in Brisbane before a surprise loss to unseeded Kyle Edmund.

“I just wanted to kind of continue this momentum going. And I started my off-season kind of early this year,” he said. “My goal was to do very well in Australia. I still had a good result but it wasn’t what I was hoping for. I think I just need to keep going with the same attitude. Everything seemed to be in a good way.”

Dimitrov will be keen to erase memories of a harrowing defeat to Jack Sock in the third round at Indian Wells last year, where he let four match points slip. He atoned for that with a win over the American in the semi-finals of the Nitto ATP Finals. The pressure has certainly raised a notch though since Indian Wells 2017.

“I like pressure. You can go out on court at 5-all, 30-all, that’s a nice pressure to have so I always strive on that,” he said. “I want to do more and more. The people around me have to pace me sometimes. One of the things I learnt the most [in 2017] is actually how to rest. I’m still not good at it but I’m getting there.”

 

Fearless Felix Reaches First Masters 1000 Main Draw

Wed, 03/07/2018 - 6:30pm
.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%; }

Weeks after making his ATP World Tour debut in Rotterdam, teenager Felix Auger-Aliassime is about to tick off another first after winning through qualifying at the BNP Paribas Open on Wednesday. The 17-year-old from Montreal defeated Slovak Norbert Gombos 2-6, 7-6(4), 6-3 to reach his maiden ATP World Tour Masters 1000 main draw.

It makes Auger-Aliassime the first man born in the 2000s to contest a Masters 1000 main draw. And his reward for doing so – a first-round meeting with fellow Canadian qualifier Vasek Pospisil.

“I’m grateful. It just shows I’m on the right path,” Auger-Aliassime said “I’m doing some great things. The future is probably bright but there’s still a lot of work to do, to get a constant level in these matches.

“With the knee injury I didn’t play many matches at the start of the year so to come here, playing some tough guys, winning some tough matches, that’s exactly what I needed.”

The teenager narrowly fell to Filip Krajinovic in his tour-level debut at the ABN Amro World Tennis Tournament last month before falling to Italian Thomas Fabiano in his second tour outing as a wild card in Marseille. Our cameras caught up with Auger-Aliassime before his ATP World Tour 500 debut in Rotterdam.

The Canadian admitted nerves got the better of him on that occasion. Third time around in a tour-level main draw he would place no expectations on his results, just on his attitude.

“So excited. It’s so great,” Auger-Aliassime said. “I started good then he raised his level. He was dominating me through the first set and the first half of the second and then I just stuck with him.

“I served well, stayed calm and I think it just paid off at the end. After playing my best level since the start of the year in the third and to get through to my first Masters 1000, it is just unbelievable.”

The top seed in qualifying, Pospisil defeated Spaniard Adrian Menendez-Maceiras 7-6(5), 6-2 to book his main draw berth. Three times the World No. 75 has qualified for the BNP Paribas Open. Last year he did so and went on to land his biggest career win over then No. 1 Andy Murray en route to the third round.

The BNP Paribas Open is guaranteed a second all-Canadian battle in the second round when the winner of the Auger-Aliassime and Pospisil showdown meets No. 32 seed and 2016 runner-up Milos Raonic. In an impressive day for the Canadians in qualifying on Wednesday, Peter Polansky made it three from three when he saw off Italian Matteo Berrettini 6-3, 1-6, 6-3 to set a first-round meeting with Romanian Marius Copil.

[ALSO LIKE]

Indian Wells holds fond memories for Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis as the site of his lone victory over Roger Federer. Now sitting two spots out of the Top 100, the 32-year-old is finding form again at the BNP Paribas Open, into the main draw for the first time in three years.

The former No. 8 in the ATP Rankings posted a convincing 6-1, 6-2 triumph over Frenchman Vincent Millot to book a first-round clash with Yoshihito Nishioka.

It was eight years ago he brought down top seed Federer en route to the fourth round. His best result remains a quarter-final run on debut in 2006 before Rafael Nadal ended his run.

French veteran Nicolas Mahut also won through qualifying – the first time he had done so in four attempts this season. The 36-year-old defeated Spaniard Ricardo Ojeda Lara 6-3, 6-2 and will meet fellow qualifier Yuki Bhambri. In a battle between two players from India, Bhambri scored a 6-4, 6-2 result over Ramkumar Ramanathan.

Japan's Taro Daniel will get the chance to claim his first tour-level win of 2018 (0-5 so far) after he beat American Mackenzie McDonald 6-4, 6-3 in the final round of qualifying. This is the first time in three attempts the World No. 109 Daniel has survived qualifying in the desert and will go on to face fellow quaiflier Cameron Norrie, the Brit a 6-4, 6-2 winner over Sergiy Stakhovsky.

American World No. 200 Evan King, 25 from Chicago, was the first player to qualify for the 2018 main draw after he easily defeated third-seeded Israeli veteran Dudi Sela 6-0, 6-3. King, who will play just his fifth tour-level match, has played exclusively at the Challenger level in 2018 and has just one tour-level match win to his name in his career. He will take on compatriot Jared Donaldson first up.

World No. 126 Tim Smyczek became the second American to win through qualifying when he defeated Belgian World No. 113 Ruben Bemelmans 6-3, 7-6(1). The 30-year-old has now survived Indian Wells qualifying in five of his six attempts and meets Laso Dere in the opening round of the main draw.

Lithuanian Ricardas Berankis rebounded to see off Norwegian Casper Ruud 2-6, 6-2, 6-2. The World No. 106 will square off against #NextGenATP Canadian Denis Shapovalov in the first round.

Delpo’s Big Rise Built On Small Margins

Wed, 03/07/2018 - 6:13pm

Is it possible to move from outside the Top 1,000 into the Top 10 in just two years?

Yes. Juan Martin del Potro just did it.

The Tower of Tandil was ranked No. 1,042 in the ATP Rankings in February 2016. Skip forward two years and he was ranked No. 9 on 26 February, and he's up to No. 8 this week after winning the Abierto Mexicano Telcel presentado por HSBC in Acapulco on Saturday.

You would naturally think that Del Potro’s magical run, cutting his ranking from four digits down to just one in such a short period of time, was predicated on creating lop-sided win percentages. It wasn’t.

[ALSO LIKE]

An Infosys ATP Beyond The Numbers analysis uncovered that the Argentine won just 51.8 per cent (8111/15653) of points from February 2016 to February 2018. It’s simply mind-blowing that a 1.8 per cent increase over a 50-50 battle can produce such phenomenal success in just 24 months.

Del Potro played 15,652 points during the two-year period, crafting a winning margin of just 569 points (won 8111 points / lost 7542 points).

Del Potro - February 2016 - February 2018
Matches Won = 72.3% (81 won / 31 lost)

Points Won = 51.8% (8111 won / 7542 lost)

Del Potro played 112 matches, which breaks his points won advantage (569) down to just a five-point edge, on average, per match. This may be an overly simplistic view of his steep climb up the ATP Rankings, but it does clearly illustrate how little of a margin is really needed to vault from obscurity to the very elite tier of our sport.

Read More: Delpo Carries Momentum Into Critical Stretch

In winning five matches in Acapulco last week, and dropping only one set, Del Potro defeated three consecutive Top 10 opponents and won just 54 per cent (351/645) of total points. Our sport is built on crafting small margins at lots of different stopping points around the globe.

Del Potro Points Won
2016 = 52.5% (2604/4956)

2017 = 51.3% (4379/8534)

2018 = 52.1% (Jan/Feb) = (1128/2163)

It is all too common in our sport to have a “perfectionist” view of competition. We naturally want to win every point we play. Del Potro’s ascendency back into the Top 10 clearly shows that tennis is truly a game of percentages, and small gains in patterns of play when serving, returning, rallying and approaching can turn your wildest dreams into a stunning reality.

Bryans vs. Zverevs Among Number Of Enticing Doubles Matchups In Indian Wells

Wed, 03/07/2018 - 5:18pm

A brotherly bash will kick off the 2018 BNP Paribas Open doubles draw, which is always one of the most competitive doubles fields during the ATP World Tour season.

Seventh seeds and two-time champions (2013, 2014) Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan will be playing in their 20th consecutive BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells. But the legendary team hardly received a sweetheart draw: The Bryans open against another pair of brothers in Germany's Alexander Zverev and Mischa Zverev.

View Doubles Draw | View Singles Draw

Another must-see first-rounder at the season's first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament will take place when Feliciano Lopez and Marc Lopez (no relation) of Spain face Juan Martin del Potro and Grigor Dimitrov. Lopez/Lopez reached the semi-finals in 2016 (l. to Pospisil/Sock).

Top seeds Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo also will meet a pair of Spaniards to start their Indian Wells stay. Kubot/Melo open against Roberto Bautista Agut and David Ferrer.

[ALSO LIKE]

Oliver Marach and Mate Pavic are the third seeds in Indian Wells but they just might be the favourites to take home their first BNP Paribas Open title and their maiden Masters 1000 crown. Marach/Pavic have won 18 of their 20 matches in 2018, a run that includes three titles: Qatar ExxonMobil Open in Doha, the ASB Classic in Auckland and the Australian Open, their first Grand Slam doubles title as a team.

The Austrian/Croatian pairing face the wild-card pairing of Steve Johnson of the U.S. and Canadian Daniel Nestor in round one.

Other notable openers include 2016 champions Pierre-Hugues Herbert/Nicolas Mahut meeting Damir Dzumhur of Bosnia and Herzegovina/Serbia's Filip Krajinovic. Australian Open finalists Juan Sebastian Cabal/Robert Farah of Colombia will face South Africa's Raven Klaasen/Michael Venus of New Zealand. Klaasen won the 2017 Indian Wells title with Rajeev Ram of the U.S. Ram and Ivan Dodig of Croatia are the eighth seeds and open against Japan's Ben McLachlan/Julio Peralta of Chile.

Nishikori On The Comeback Trail

Wed, 03/07/2018 - 4:19pm
Watch as ATP World Tour Uncovered presented by Peugeot takes you behind the scenes with former World No. 4 Kei Nishikori as the Japanese superstar continues his comeback on the ATP World Tour.

Day 1 Live Blog From BNP Paribas Open

Wed, 03/07/2018 - 3:32pm

#NextGenATP Stars Break Down Indian Wells

Wed, 03/07/2018 - 11:34am
Next Gen Class of 2018: #NextGenATP stars discuss what they expect to see this year in Indian Wells and what makes the tournament so special.

Hot Shot: Garin Falls Into Drop Shot In Santiago 2018

Wed, 03/07/2018 - 4:34am
Watch as Christian Garin of Chile strikes a sublime sliding drop shot winner at the ATP Challenger Tour event in Santiago, Chile.

#NextGenATP Take Centre Stage In Indian Wells

Wed, 03/07/2018 - 1:16am
.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%; }

Two years ago, the ATP World Tour launched its “Next Generation” campaign on the eve of the 2016 BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells to celebrate the game's plethora of 21-and-under players climbing the ATP Rankings.

Two years later, some of the faces have changed, but the theme remains the same: The ATP World Tour has plenty of up-and-coming stars. Five of those #NextGenATP players – Russian Andrey Rublev, Aussie Alex de Minaur, Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece and Americans Taylor Fritz and Reilly Opelka – took time out of their day on Tuesday to talk to fans at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden about life on tour and their career aspirations.

Read More: Five Must-See First Rounds In Indian Wells 

Of the five, the 20-year-old Rublev has experienced the most success so far. The 6'2” right-hander won his maiden ATP World Tour title last year in Umag and later reached the quarter-finals of the US Open (l. to Nadal). Rublev also finished runner-up at the inaugural Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan, which welcomed eight of the best 21-and-under players in the world.

This season, Rublev has already reached a final, falling to Gael Monfils at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open in Doha during week one. Rublev, the 27th seed in Indian Wells, will be making his main-draw debut at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament.

View Draw

“I’m really excited, and I hope I can show a really great game,” he said. “All the ATP [World] Tour is really tough tournaments and the players are playing amazing and you have to be ready 500 per cent to compete every day, but I’m really grateful to be here and to be part of this.”

De Minaur certainly had the hottest start to the 2018 ATP World Tour season of the #NextGenATP group. The Aussie reached the semi-finals of the Brisbane International presented by Suncorp and his maiden ATP World Tour final at the Sydney International. The 19-year-old counts countryman and former World No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt as a mentor.

Read More: Belief, Hewitt's Advice, Propel de Minaur To Early Success

“It’s unbelievable. I’m extremely grateful. He’s pretty much told me to believe in myself, to leave it all out there on the court every time I step out on it, and just give it my all. That’s what I’m trying to do every day,” de Minaur said.

The right-hander received a wild card into the main draw and will meet German Jan-Lennard Struff in the first round.

The #NextGenATP players had to laugh when they heard who Fritz and Opelka would be playing in their Indian Wells openers: each other. It will be their first tour-level meeting, and it comes at a time when both have been raising their level.

The 20-year-old Opelka picked up his first Top 10 win two weeks ago at the Delray Beach Open against U.S. No. 1 Jack Sock. “It was good for me to get some more wins on the tour level. It was a pretty tough week. I had to play [Ryan] Harrison first round, Sock, so fellow Americans, which is never comfortable. It’s definitely given me a lot of confidence,” Opelka said.

Read Draw Preview: Federer, Djokovic Chasing History

Fritz has also upped his game. The American won the ATP Challenger Tour event in Newport Beach in January, and last month, the right-hander upset No. 12 Sam Querrey of the U.S. en route to the Delray Beach Open quarter-finals.

“I’ve found a bit of consistency on tour, and I’m looking to push it to the next level,” Fritz said.

Watch Fritz's My Story

Tsitsipas, like Rublev, is also in new territory: The 19-year-old Greek has reached a career-high No. 71 in the ATP Rankings and is set to make his BNP Paribas Open debut. Tsitsipas narrowly missed qualifying for the 2017 Next Gen ATP Finals, but he still attended the event as an alternate and played an exhibition match in Milan.

Read & Watch: 18 #NextGenATP To Watch In 2018

“I was grateful I had the opportunity to be there,” Tsitsipas said. “I left with some really positive vibes from Milan.”

The 2018 Next Gen ATP Finals will take place 6-10 November in Milan. Eligible players must be 21-and-under (born 1997 or later). The top seven players in the season-long ATP Race To Milan will qualify along with a wild-card recipient.

See Who's Leading The ATP Race To Milan

Five Must-See First Rounds In Indian Wells

Tue, 03/06/2018 - 9:13pm

With the Top 32 seeds having a bye, the focus is on a host of tantalising first-round showdowns at the BNP Paribas Open

Frances Tiafoe v Ernesto Escobedo
Fresh from his maiden ATP World Tour title at the Delray Beach Open, #NextGenATP American Frances Tiafoe will carry an abundance of confidence into his first FedExATP Head2Head meeting with 21-year-old countryman Ernesto Escobedo. The pair has clashed twice before at ATP Challenger Tour level, with Escobedo winning both in a third-set tie-break. However, both matches were in 2016 and Tiafoe has since surged up the ATP Rankings to No. 64, with Escobedo currently at No. 117. The 20-year-old Tiafoe defeated #NextGenATP Canadian Denis Shapovalov, Next Gen ATP Finals champion Hyeon Chung and his childhood idol Juan Martin del Potro en route to the Delray Beach Open title while Escobedo scored an impressive win over American No. 1 Jack Sock in the opening round in Acapulco last week. Spanish 28th seed Feliciano Lopez awaits the winner in the second round.

[ALSO LIKE]

Gael Monfils v Matthew Ebden
Enigmatic former World No. 6 Gael Monfils has already tasted hard-court success in 2018 when he collected the trophy in the season-opening Qatar ExxonMobil Open in Doha. The 31-year-old, currently at No. 42 in the ATP Rankings, has reached the quarter-finals in Indian Wells once before – in 2016, before he fell to Milos Raonic. His lone win over Matthew Ebden was on hard court at the Australian Open but that was eight years ago. The 78th-ranked Australian will be quietly confident after upsetting Sam Querrey, the defending champion, in Acapulco in the first round last week. He also counts a win in 2018 over John Isner in the opening round of his home Grand Slam tournament. Should Ebden beat Monfils he would earn a shot at beating Isner for a second time in 2018 in round two.

Taylor Fritz v Reilly Opelka
Twelve months ago, Taylor Fritz pulled off his first victory over a Top 10 opponent in the ATP Rankings when he brought down No. 6 seed Marin Cilic en route to the third round at the BNP Paribas Open. In a battle of 20-year-old #NextGenATP Americans, the 74th-ranked Fritz will open his 2018 campaign in the desert against Reilly Opelka. This will be their first FedExATP Head2Head encounter, however, Fritz did beat his 199th-ranked compatriot en route to the Newport Beach Challenger title on hard court in January, his first Challenger title in two years. Fritz earned a wild card into the BNP Paribas Open after his Challenger title run at Newport Beach and a semi-final run at the Indian Wells Challenger event leading in. Opelka impressed against his countrymen last week at the Delray Beach Open where he took down Ryan Harrison and Sock to reach the quarter-finals. The winner will take on No. 27 seed Andrey Rublev in the second round.

View FedEx ATP Head2Head for the 2018 BNP Paribas Open first round & vote for who you think will win! 
Fritz v Opelka | Johnson v Medvedev | Coric v Young

[GROUP POLL]103[/GROUP POLL]

View Daily Schedule

Borna Coric v Donald Young

A semi-finalist at last year’s inaugural Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan, Croatia’s Borna Coric arrives at Indian Wells having reached two quarter-finals on hard courts already in 2018 – last week in Dubai where he fell to eventual champion Roberto Bautista Agut and in January in Doha where Rublev had his number. In between, the World No. 49 in the ATP Rankings easily accounted for Shapovalov in a Davis Cup tie at home. In two prior FedExATP Head2Head meetings with American World No. 99, Donald Young, Coric has emerged victorious. The left-handed Young had his best run at the BNP Paribas Open last year when he defeated Sam Querrey and Lucas Pouille en route to a fourth-round defeat to Kei Nishikori. Victory will stamp a second-round clash with No. 19 seed Albert Ramos-Vinolas.

Stefanos Tsitsipas v Radu Albot
Greece’s NextGenATP charge, Stefanos Tsitsipas, enters his first-round BNP Paribas Open match with Radu Albot at a career-best No. 71 in the ATP Rankings. The 19-year-old reached the quarter-finals in Doha to open his season where he won through qualifying before bowing to Dominic Thiem. Last week, he beat No. 6 seed Philipp Kohlschreiber en route to the quarter-finals in Dubai. Tsitsipas scored his biggest win over home favourite David Goffin to reach his maiden ATP World Tour semi-final in October in Antwerp. He has never met the 88th-ranked Albot. The Moldovan scored his first Top 20 win over Isner before Nishikori ended his run in three sets in the New York Open quarter-finals last month. The winner will face fifth seed Thiem for a place in the third round.

 


.chant_polling_widget {height: 590px !important; border-radius: 5px; box-shadow: rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.4) 1px 1px 6px 0px;} .is-mobile .chant_polling_widget{ height:590px !important; max-width:360px !important;}

Federer, Djokovic Chasing Indian Wells History On Opposite Halves

Tue, 03/06/2018 - 7:59pm
.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%; }

In less than two weeks, the BNP Paribas Open could have an outright all-time greatest champion. But which five-time champion will perform better this fortnight: Roger Federer (2004-06, 2012, 2017) or Novak Djokovic (2008, 2011, 2014-16)? This could well be determined on the final Sunday of the season's first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament.

Federer and Djokovic have been drawn in opposite halves of the 96-player tournament, which begins on Thursday at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in California, U.S.A.

View Draw

But neither all-time great will have an easy path in the desert, including Federer, despite his perfect start. The World No. 1 is 12-0 on the season, having won both tournaments he's contested – the Australian Open, his 20th Grand Slam title, and the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam, his 97th tour-level crown, which pushed him back to No. 1 for the first time since 4 November 2012.

[ALSO LIKE]

After a first-round bye, Federer could meet American Ryan Harrison (2-0) or Federico Delbonis of Argentina (0-1) in the second round, with 2017 Rolex Paris Masters finalist Filip Krajinovic of Serbia possibly waiting in the third round. Brasil Open champion Fabio Fognini, always a tricky opponent, or 20th seed Adrian Mannarino of France will be the favourites to face Federer in the fourth round.

The Swiss' path could get plenty interesting in the quarter-finals. If the seeds hold, either fifth seed Dominic Thiem, who won the Argentina Open last month, or 12th-seeded Tomas Berdych could be Federer's quarter-final opponents. Berdych has beaten Federer six times, including five on hard courts, but trails in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series 6-20.

Miss some of the day's action? Read below to catch up on our #ATPMasters1000 Live Blog!

Berdych, however, might have to first squeeze past 2017 Next Gen ATP Finals champion Hyeon Chung in the third round. The South Korean has given nearly everyone in tennis trouble in 2018. The 21-year-old knocked out Alexander Zverev and Djokovic en route to his maiden Grand Slam semi-final in Melbourne.

Third seed Grigor Dimitrov will be favoured to face Federer in the semi-finals, in what would be a rematch of their Rotterdam final. But also lingering is Abierto Mexicano Telcel presentado por HSBC finalist Kevin Anderson; 17th seed Nick Kyrgios, who reached the quarter-finals here last year (w/o vs. Federer); and 27th seed Andrey Rublev, who might face Dimitrov in the third round. The occasion would be their fourth FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting since the 2017 US Open (Dimitrov leads 2-1).

The Past 10 Indian Wells Champions

Year

Champion

2017

Roger Federer

2016

Novak Djokovic

2015

Novak Djokovic

2014

Novak Djokovic

2013

Rafael Nadal

2012

Roger Federer

2011

Novak Djokovic

2010

Ivan Ljubicic

2009

Rafael Nadal

2008

Novak Djokovic

Djokovic, with an unfamiliar double-digit seed (10) next to his name, will meet a qualifier and, in the third round, possibly Kei Nishikori, another former Top 5 player on the comeback trail (wrist surgery). Djokovic has won 11 of their 13 FedEx ATP Head2Head matchups.

Should Djokovic prevail, fans could see a rematch of a third-round tilt from a year ago in Indian Wells. The Serbian might again meet the surging Juan Martin del Potro, who's fresh off his 21st tour-level title in Acapulco on Saturday (d. Anderson). Djokovic won their 2017 contest in Indian Wells and leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head series 14-4.

But let's not forget about Marin Cilic, the second seed who pushed Federer to five sets in the Australian Open final. Djokovic, Nishikori and Del Potro – they are all living in Cilic's quarter. The Croatian could meet Philipp Kohlschreiber and then 15th seed John Isner or 24th seed Gilles Muller before a potential matchup against Djokovic, Nishikori or Del Potro.

Two-time Masters 1000 champion Alexander Zverev (2017 Rome, 2017 Montreal) will be the favourite to emerge from the other quarter in the bottom half. His path to the quarter-finals features possibly Milos Raonic and then either Rio champion Diego Schwartzman, the 14th seed, or Australian Open semi-finalist Kyle Edmund, the 21st seed.

Eighth seed Jack Sock, who reached the semi-finals in Indian Wells last year, is projected to meet Zverev in the quarter-finals. But such a showing would mark a turnaround for Sock. He has started the year only 1-4.

Federer's March Form An ATP Rankings Indicator

Tue, 03/06/2018 - 1:03pm

World No. 1 Roger Federer will soon begin his quest for a fourth ‘Sunshine Double’ at the of 36. The March title feat requires ATP World Tour stars to make big adjustments in order to master the dry, thinner desert air of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells and the humidity and windy conditions of the Miami Open presented by Itau.

Seven players, since the ATP World Tour’s top tier Masters 1000 events were established in 1990, have lifted the Indian Wells and Miami titles back-to-back — Jim Courier (1991), Michael Chang (1992), Pete Sampras (1994), Marcelo Rios (1998), Andre Agassi (2001), Federer (2005-06, 2017) and Novak Djokovic (2011 and 2014-16). In Federer's three 'Sunshine Double' years, he finished the season at No. 1 in the ATP Rankings on two occasions (2005-06) and at No. 2 in 2017.

Federer’s game has historically hit top gear on the west and east coasts of the United States, going 57-11, with five titles (2004-06, 2012 and 2017) in Indian Wells, and 50-13, with three titles (2005-06, 2017) in Miami. With a 350-99 overall match wins tally at Masters 1000 tournaments, his 107-24 combined mark at March’s two events showcases his ability to adapt to the conditions.

Twelve months ago, on the eve of Indian Wells, Federer had an 8-1 season mark. He beat fellow Swiss Stan Wawrinka in the 2017 Indian Wells final and subsequently went on to complete a third ‘Sunshine Double’ with victory over Nadal in the Miami final. Federer has started 2018 in fine form, once again, and is 12 matches unbeaten, following trophies at the Australian Open (d. Cilic) and the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam (d. Dimitrov).

Watch 2017 Indian Wells Final Highlights

.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%; }

His dominance on hard courts since the start of 2017, as noted in a recent FedEx ATP Performance Zone analysis, sees Federer at 52-4 (92.9 per cent), with seven of his nine trophies on the surface. So Federer starts as the favourite to capture his sixth Indian Wells crown, which would represent his 28th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 trophy. Only Djokovic and Rafael Nadal (30) have won more.

But as the oldest No. 1 in ATP Rankings history (since 1973), the Swiss superstar will first look to add to his current 305 weeks in the top spot with a semi-final showing in the Californian desert. If he loses earlier than the semi-finals, Nadal would regain No. 1. View Federer's ATP Rankings Breakdown

Federer's five title runs in Indian Wells have all paved the way for a Top 2 finish in the year-end ATP Rankings, but he has only once before come into the Masters 1000 tournament unbeaten. In 2007, Federer was also a perfect 12-0 on his arrival in California, but he lost in the Indian Wells opening round to Guillermo Canas. Will 2018 be different? His performances this month may well help improve his chances of a sixth year-end No. 1 finish (2004-07, '09).

FEDERER'S INDIAN WELLS TITLE-WINNING SEASONS

Indian Wells Title Pre-Indian Wells Match W-L Season Match W-L Titles/Finals Year-End ATP Ranking 2004 16-1 74-6 11/11 1 2005 20-1 81-4 11/12 1 2006 16-1 92-5 12/16 1 2012 17-3 71-12 6/10 2 2017 8-1 52-5 7/8 2

Djokovic Works Out Ahead Of Indian Wells Opener

Tue, 03/06/2018 - 9:28am
Watch as Novak Djokovic prepares for his opening round match at the BNP Paribas Open.

ATP Rankings Update 5 March 2018

Tue, 03/06/2018 - 7:17am
Take a closer look at the ATP Rankings as of 5 March 2018, after the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, the Abierto Mexicano Telcel presentado por HSBC and the Brasil Open.

Uncovered: Behind The Scenes At Dubai 2018

Tue, 03/06/2018 - 7:17am
ATP World Tour Uncovered presented by Peugeot goes behind the scenes at the 2018 Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, featuring and off-court activity and interview with top seed Grigor Dimitrov.

Qureshi’s Stop War Start Tennis Spotlights Cambodia

Tue, 03/06/2018 - 3:26am

Ten-year-old Teck Toy should have been in school instead of foraging through the forest. But when hunger is extreme and your family is in danger of dying due to starvation, education takes a backseat. In remote villages of northwest Cambodia, hunger is staved off by boiling brackish water and making soup. Snakes, frogs, rats, lizards and anything else caught that can provide a bit of protein gets tossed into the pot and flavoured with forest plants and starchy roots. Toy reached down into the dense forest undergrowth full of vines to pick up what he thought to be a wild mushroom. Instead, he picked up a ‘bomblet’, a small-sized fragmentation bomb that is packed with hundreds of others into a larger cluster bomb, which is then dropped from the air or launched from the ground.

In a flash, Toy lost his left leg and joined Cambodia’s vast legion of amputees due to unexploded ordinance from decades-old fighting. Today, thanks to a Catholic mission established in the Battambang prefecture by a Spanish priest and his devoted volunteers, the 10-year-old no longer goes hungry or misses school. And he spends his free time not in the forest, but on a new tennis court playing wheelchair tennis with other amputees.

In February, I visited Cambodia on behalf of Stop War Start Tennis, the foundation that Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi founded to promote peace through tennis and to help communities ravaged by war to rebuild through our great sport. The foundation received a grant through the ATP ACES For Charity programme this year, as it did in 2013.

The funds are meant to help kids like Lisa Sokor, who wants to be a tennis star. The 11-year-old comes from the province of Siem Reap, home of the temples of Angkor Wat, which are considered one of the wonders of the world. Sokor grew up slightly more than a stone’s throw away from those magnificent Khmer structures in another village lying in ruins, Derc Sun Cang T’boung, quite possibly one of the poorest squatter villages in all of Cambodia. In Sokor’s village, homes are built on top of black slime mud; a sewage mix of gray water and black water spit out of thatched-palm huts through PVC pipes into a rain-soaked ground. Among the stench and filth, naked children run amok through a melting pot of malaria, cholera and dysentery.

It was Scott Windus who discovered a then seven-year-old Lisa Sokor. Windus is a former Tennis Australia Senior Club Coach, who has been introducing tennis to disadvantaged kids in Cambodia’s northwest territory for five years. Project Empower, which Windus spearheads, is funded by Australia’s Baptist Mission Agency.

“Lisa caught hold of the tail end of tennis, knowing that it would be her ticket out of this situation and to a bigger, brighter future,” said Windus. “At the age of 11, Lisa inspires all of us on a daily basis, as we are in awe of her self-motivated, never-say-die training and match attitude.”

Windus sets up shop and recruits players from the poorest villages in Siem Reap. For him, the challenges in Cambodia are not just providing opportunities for the poor, but also eradicating hatred and racial prejudices. Windus’ success stories range from a tuk-tuk driver turned tennis coach, to a half-dozen boys who have made it to the top of the national rankings. But his most impressive victory is a bit more subtle.

“The civil war of the 1980s dragged on in the northwestern region of the country for 19 years after hostilities stopped in the capital, Phnom Penh, in some areas not ceasing until as late as 1999,” stated Windus. “One of the enduring consequences is the tension that still exists between the Khmer national and the local Khmer/Vietnamese citizens, fathered by Vietnamese soldiers during the Vietnamese occupation.

“One success story is the village of Da Pol in Siem Reap City, home to a large number of the Khmer/Vietnamese families. Through the sport of tennis, the village is experiencing a unity like never before.

“Getting permission to use makeshift nets on the local Vietnamese dirt volleyball court, we were able to host a large number of Khmer and Vietnamese youth coming each week to learn tennis. Tennis gave them a chance to run around together and have fun, while forgetting about their existing prejudice towards the other. As these players grow in their tennis abilities, gain new experiences through travelling and meeting people from all over the world, their character and attitudes also mature to encompass expanded horizons and a vision of a world that is much bigger than the one they come from.”

In November 2017, some of Windus' students joined Tennis Cambodia’s national junior team for a trip to Vietnam.

“Interaction through tennis helps people form a more encompassing worldview and it also has the power to break down generational fears and prejudice across racial lines,” said Windus. “For the first time, they were able to witness the truth about their Vietnamese hosts being friendly, welcoming and encouraging. On the other side of this new experience and having met, played with and shared a meal with many of the Vietnamese team players and officials, the Cambodian children now have tools and a voice with which to challenge the status-quo within their communities and schools that want to continue the feud with their close neighbours.”

By the national road, it takes less than three hours to reach the city of Battambang from Siem Reap. While Siem Reap is on the map for its rich world heritage sites, Battambang has been a flaming arrow on the map for another reason — warfare. Invaders, rebels, bandits and deserting soldiers have all struck camp in and around Battambang. Even the name, Battambang sounds like it’s about to explode. The effects of anti-tank mines, cluster bombs and cheap homemade land mines are visible everywhere you go. Every year, just like clockwork, as the rainy season washes away thin layers of laterite soil thus bringing hidden explosives a little bit closer to the surface, a new batch of amputees appear on the scene.

Father Enrique Figueroda first came to Cambodia in the mid 1980s and was immediately struck by the amount of agony and misery he saw everywhere. Later, he was drawn to Battambang by the stories of how a small band of local Christians defied the Khmer Rouge genocidal mandate forbidding Christianity. It was here in Battambang that the soft-hearted father saw the maimed and disabled suffering while literally crying out for help. Soon, Figueroda became known as the wheelchair priest. Today, at his Arrupe Center, which is dedicated to helping teach and train locals, tennis wheelchairs are scattered about a cement slab that has a net strung across. Tennis is just one of the wheelchair activities that they sponsor. The Arrupe Center is staffed by young Spanish volunteers and local adults. Most of the Spanish staff live about 25 kilometres away in the village of Ta Hen at the sister school commune. The expression, “off the beaten track”, could have been talking about Ta Hen, but that is where the land was granted and a school and agriculture center were built. And it is also the least likely place that you will ever see two brand new lighted tennis courts constructed, complete with a practice wall — a gift from tennis-loving Spanish donors.

On the day I visited Ta Hen, both disabled and disadvantaged kids, many from parents who gifted them to the church because they were too poor to care for them, were trying to play tennis. I say trying, because there were not enough racquets and balls available for everyone to use at once. None of the kids had tennis shoes. I suppose that quite a few would rather have prosthetic legs first. Through previous Stop War Start Tennis visits in hard hit areas around the world, Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi and I have seen similar scenes. But here was something different. I looked around the tennis courts at kids as poor as church mice — some were missing limbs, others had birth defects, a few were stricken with incurable diseases and one child had never grown. There they all were running, limping, rolling and hobbling all over the place, as a constant roar of laughter seemed to shake the very hard-court surface.

"I am so happy to support and recommend these two projects in Siem Reap and Battambang," Qureshi told me. "What they have done for these children with so little is a testament to the dedication to improving lives through tennis. On the ATP World Tour, we have the best of everything. We often don't realise the value of used balls, racquets and shoes. Equipment we tend to discard could be used to bring joy to those less fortunate."

Later, I was allowed to visit the dorm rooms where kids slept three or four to a bed, watch other children tending to their assigned plots in the garden, and see others completing their daily tasks. Everywhere I went kids were smiling, singing, laughing and those that could; skipping and dancing around the commune. Then it dawned on me why these kids, who had every reason to be angry, sad or bitter seemed so happy. Here in a remote village — where remote takes on a new meaning — surrounded by rice paddies and corn fields, coconut palms and banana trees, lies a little haven where kids that nobody wants feel loved no matter what condition, shape or size they come in. During my visit, I quit counting the amount of times that I observed the Spanish volunteers hugging, holding hands or carrying these little children. Maybe that is why they are all volunteers — you cannot pay people to love in those unfortunate conditions. Over two days, I got to know a few of the volunteers: Ivan, Martia, Juan and Borja. Though they are not trained professional tennis coaches, there is nothing these young people would not do to encourage the kids to play tennis.

Afterwards, Qureshi asked me what I learned from this visit that we might share with other people who are considering creating similar projects around the world.

I could think of no easy answer. What I observed with Windus in Siem Reap and Figueroda’s team in Battambang — to whom Qureshi donated five wheelchairs last year — is just how amazing the amount of joy and hope that tennis can make in the lives of those who are afflicted in one way or the other. Against some pretty incredible odds, these two men and their teams have succeeded where lesser-determined people would have given up long ago.

View Qureshi's Charity Profile

Learn More About ATP ACES For Charity

If interested in communicating or supporting either project in Siem Reap or Battambang, Cambodia, please contact Robert Davis at editor@elitetennis.org for further details.

Tennis TV To Stream Every March Masters Match

Tue, 03/06/2018 - 12:22am

After a frantic start to the 2018 season, the ATP World Tour turns its attention to the first Masters 1000 events of the season – the BNP Paribas Open and the Miami Open presented by Itaú.

With the world’s best players heading to North America for the 'Sunshine Double', fans can follow every singles and doubles match on the ATP's official streaming service, TennisTV.com.

Subscribe to either a monthly or annual subscription to Tennis TV today!

With live streaming from up to eight courts at once, you can enjoy the option of Tennis TV’s multi-screen player to make sure you keep up with all the action. Watch live and on-demand coverage of 252 matches from Indian Wells and Miami, on a range of devices including Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Roku and Xbox One.

Last year saw Roger Federer win memorable back-to-back titles to complete the 'Sunshine Double' for the third time. Will the new World No. 1 repeat the feat this year, or will the likes of Rafael Nadal, Alexander Zverev, Grigor Dimitrov, Marin Cilic or perhaps a dark horse triumph in either the Californian desert or the Florida Keys?

Federer will play his first event since becoming the oldest man in history to hold the World No. 1 spot in the ATP Rankings. Nadal will be hot on his heels as he bids to regain the top position at the first Masters 1000 event of the year.

The action will then roll over to the east coast in Miami, beginning 21 March, with the tournament being held at Crandon Park for the last time before moving to Hard Rock Stadium for 2019.

Not yet subscribed?
Sign up for Tennis TV today to watch up to 2,000 matches from all 64 ATP World Tour tournaments in 2018 including live streaming from ATP World Tour Masters 1000, ATP 500* and 250* events.

*Geo-restrictions may apply. Click here for more information.