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Tiafoe, Stepanek Off To Winning Starts In Melbourne

Wed, 01/11/2017 - 4:23am

Qualifying veterans and #NextGenATP stars both started making their way to the main draw of the Australian Open on Tuesday as qualifying matches got underway in Melbourne.

Top seed Radek Stepanek took his opening qualifying match 6-3, 6-7(2), 6-2 against American Sekou Bangoura. Stepanek, 38, is trying to reach his 15th Australian Open singles main draw. The right-handed Czech will face Slovenian Blaz Kavcic next.

Second seed Frances Tiafoe, a member of the ATP World Tour's Next Generation, also advanced in three sets. The 18-year-old American won 75 per cent of his first-serve points to beat Italian Marco Cecchinato 6-3, 5-7, 7-5 in two hours and 14 minutes. Tiafoe is attempting to reach his first Australian Open main draw.

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Two other seeded Americans also claimed opening victories on Tuesday. Sixth seed Bjorn Fratangelo beat Slovenian Grega Zemlja 6-4, 7-6(3), and 21st seed Ernesto Escobedo took 74 per cent of his second-serve points to beat German Maximilian Marterer 7-6(5), 7-5.

Slovakian Jozef Kovalik, who upset World No. 6 Marin Cilic last week after qualifying for the Aircel Chennai Open, couldn't keep his good run going. The 24-year-old Kovalik fell 6-3, 6-3 to Argentine Marco Trungelliti.

Go Soeda of Japan, the 29th seed, also moved on in straight sets, beating Belgian Ruben Bemelmans 7-6(10), 6-3.

How Murray's Time On Court Compares To The Top 10

Tue, 01/10/2017 - 8:22pm

Time is one of the most precious commodities a tennis player has to manage. Time on court is invaluable, but then again, so is limiting that time to avoid injuries and stay fresh. The big picture clearly dictates that improvement is predicated on playing more matches, which means more time on court in the cauldron of competition.

An Infosys ATP Beyond The Numbers analysis of the 2016 season showed Andy Murray’s ascension to the No. 1 Emirates ATP Ranking was built on spending substantially more time on court than anyone else in the Top 10.

Murray spent 162 hours on court in 2016, which was up from 151 hours in 2015. Murray’s average set time in 2015 was 44 minutes, and that rose to 46 minutes last year as he climbed to take the No. 1 ranking.

Time Spent On Court During The 2016 Season

No.  Player   Hours On Court Average Set Time In Minutes  1 Andy Murray 162 46  2   Novak Djokovic 130 44  3  Milos Raonic 127 42 4  Stan Wawrinka 121 42 5  Kei Nishikori 129 42 6   Gael Monfils 90 39 7 Marin Cilic 109 43 8  Dominic Thiem 136 40 9  Rafael Nadal 89 47 10  Tomas Berdych 107 43 --  AVERAGE 120 43

It’s interesting to note that there is no link between hours on court and ranking spots, as eighth-ranked Dominic Thiem spent the second most amount of time on court of the Top 10 at 136 hours. Rafael Nadal spent the least amount of time on court of the Top 10 in 2016 at just 89 hours.

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He played only 53 matches as injury took him away from the tour. Nadal completed a full workload in 2015, spending 152 hours on court.

Even though the Spaniard racked up the least amount of match hours in 2016, his average set time was the longest, at 47 minutes. Murray was next highest at 46 minutes, with Gael Monfils being the quickest per set at 39 minutes.

The Top 10 average of 120 hours on court for the season is a valuable number for players to know and prepare for with their off-court training regimens. The average time per set is more of a reflection of playing styles and shot tolerance.

As players rise up the Emirates ATP Rankings to the coveted Top 10, they now have a clearer understanding of the on-court workload that is required, and the off-court preparation that must fuel it.

Next Gen ATP Finals Concept Preview 2017

Tue, 01/10/2017 - 4:22pm
Get a sneak peek at the four key concepts that make up the Next Gen ATP Finals, which will hold its inaugural tournament in Milan, Italy in November!

Muller Saves Match Point To Beat Dolgopolov Sydney 2017

Tue, 01/10/2017 - 3:13pm
Sixth seed Gilles Muller saves one match point to defeat Alexandr Dolgopolov in two hours and seven minutes at the Apia International Sydney on Tuesday. Photo: Getty Images. Video courtesy Tennis Australia.

Granollers Tops Giraldo In Sydney 2017 Highlights

Tue, 01/10/2017 - 3:13pm
Eighth seed Marcel Granollers beats lucky loser Santiago Giraldo 6-7(5), 7-5, 6-3 in the first round of the Sydney Apia International on Tuesday. Photo: Getty Images. Video courtesy Tennis Australia.

Thompson Advances To Sydney Second Round 2017

Tue, 01/10/2017 - 3:13pm
Jordan Thompson discusses his first-round win in Sydney on Tuesday as he goes on to face fifth seed Philipp Kohlschreiber. Video courtesy Tennis Australia.

De Minaur Claims First ATP Win Over Paire In Sydney 2017 Highlights

Tue, 01/10/2017 - 3:13pm
Aussie teen Alex De Minaur captures his first ATP World Tour match win, beating Frenchman Benoit Paire in Sydney on Tuesday. Photo: Getty Images. Video courtesy Tennis Australia.

De Minaur Discusses First ATP Match Win Sydney 2017

Tue, 01/10/2017 - 3:13pm
Alex De Minaur reflects on his first ATP World Tour match win, a 6-3, 3-6, 7-6(1) victory over Frenchman Benoit Paire. Video courtesy Tennis Australia.

Thompson Reaches Second Round Sydney 2017 Highlights

Tue, 01/10/2017 - 3:13pm
Watch highlights as Aussie Jordan Thompson knocks out lucky loser Nikoloz Basilashvili to reach the second round of the Sydney Apia International. Photo: Getty Images. Video courtesy Tennis Australia.

Go Behind The Scenes At Doha 2017

Tue, 01/10/2017 - 2:41pm
ATP World Tour Uncovered presented by Peugeot takes you behind the scenes of the 25th edition of the Qatar ExxonMobil Open in Doha, including interviews with Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic, Tomas Berdych and Jo-Wilf

ATP World Tour Stars Explain Greatness Within 2017

Tue, 01/10/2017 - 2:40pm
Greatness Within, the new ATP World Tour global marketing campaign, comes under the spotlight of ATP World Tour Uncovered presented by Peugeot, with insight from Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic and Tomas Berdych.

Lu Battles Past Khachanov, Saves 2 M.P.

Tue, 01/10/2017 - 1:06pm

Yen-Hsun Lu held his nerve to beat #NextGen ATP star Karen Khachanov, who recovered from a 3-5 deficit in the deciding set and held two match points, in a thrilling 4-6, 7-6(5), 7-6(9) victory on Tuesday at the ASB Classic. Lu, the 2014 finalist, could not convert two match point opportunities at 5-4 in the third set, and at 6/5 and 8/7 in the tie-break. He saved match points at 6/7 and 8/9 before completing a memorable win, over two hours and 39 minutes, with a forehand winner. He will next play seventh seed Steve Johnson.

Joao Sousa started his 2017 with a 6-1, 7-5 victory against fifth seed Albert Ramos-Vinolas. Sousa won 55 per cent of his second-serve points in the 88-minute win. He'll next meet 27-year-old qualifier Brydan Klein, who saved one match point to outlast Facundo Bagnis 6-1, 6-7(6), 7-6(3). Klein could not convert four match point opportunities at 6/2 in the second set tie-break, while Bagnis held one match point chance at 5-3 in the deciding set.

Eighth seed Marcos Baghdatis, in his third appearance in Auckland, will hope to improve on his 3-0 FedEx ATP Head2Head record against wild card Dustin Brown in the second round after he beat 2015 finalist Adrian Mannarino 6-4, 6-4. Jeremy Chardy won the final match of the day 6-4, 6-2 over local wild card Artem Sitak and now challenges sixth seed Feliciano Lopez. Chardy and fellow Frenchman Fabrice Martin won the Qatar ExxonMobil Open doubles title last week.

Matkowski/Qureshi Reach Doubles QFs
Fourth seeds Marcin Matkowski and Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi lost just three of their first service points and struck eight aces past Ryan Harrison and John Isner in a 7-6(4), 6-1 victory over 67 minutes for a place in the last eight.

Bagnis and Diego Schwartzman edged past Ramos-Vinolas and Jiri Vesely 6-3, 6-7(5), 10-7 in one hour and 52 minutes. The Argentines could not convert one match point chance – on a deciding point at 5-4 in the second set and then minutes later saw a 5/3 lead vanish in the subsequent tie-break.

Emirates ATP Rankings Update 9 January 2017

Tue, 01/10/2017 - 12:19pm
See how the Emirates ATP Rankings look after week one of the 2017 ATP World Tour season, on 9 January 2017, following tournaments in Brisbane, Chennai and Doha.

Emirates ATP Race To Milan Is Underway

Tue, 01/10/2017 - 10:24am

The Emirates ATP Race To Milan is officially underway. Released this week are the first standings in the season-long race to the inaugural Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan, Italy, from 7-11 November.

Russian 20-year-old Daniil Medvedev has the honour of being the Race leader after week one of the 2017 ATP World Tour season after he reached his first tour-level final in Chennai.

Medvedev has 150 points to start the battle for one of eight spots in Milan, well clear of second-placed Australian Omar Jasika (48 points), who reached the final of the Happy Valley Challenger in Australia.

See the Week 1 Emirates ATP Race To Milan standings

Both ATP World Tour champions and #NextGenATP players have shared their excitement for the tournament, which will help introduce the top 21-and-under players to tennis fans around the world. The event will award $1.275 million in prize money and will follow a similar format to the ATP Finals, with a round-robin group stage followed by a knock-out semi-finals and a final.

“I think this is a great idea. It's good for tennis. It's great to promote these young players,” Stefan Edberg said when the tournament was announced in November.

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Eighteen-year-old Frances Tiafoe, who was on hand for the announcement in London, said he and his American peers already have their eyes on qualifying for the event. “It's a great opportunity to compete against the top young guys,” he said.

Seven spots will be determined by the Emirates ATP Race To Milan standings. The eighth player will be chosen by wild card.

Stefan Kozlov, another #NextGenATP American, said he'll be watching the leaderboard right along with ATP World Tour fans. “Hopefully I have a good year so that I can always check the leaderboard,” Kozlov said. “It will be fun. It's really competitive. I think it's a wonderful idea.”

Next Gen ATP Finals contenders currently in the Emirates ATP Rankings Top 100

Alexander Zverev (Rank: 24; Age: 19): The 6'6” German thrilled tennis fans throughout the world in 2016 with his rock-solid backhand, easy power and big-match prowess. In September, the Hamburg native ended Stan Wawrinka's 11-match win streak in finals by winning the St. Petersburg Open. The right-handed Zverev also became the first teenage titlist on the ATP World Tour since 19-year-old Marin Cilic won New Haven in 2008.

Read More: Zverev's First-Time Winner Spotlight

Karen Khachanov (Rank: 51; Age: 20): All season long, the Moscow native had been hovering outside the Top 100 of the Emirates ATP Rankings, working hard to break through on the ATP World Tour. Then, at the inaugural Chengdu Open in China, Khachanov beat four Top 35 players to win his maiden ATP World Tour title.

Read More: Khachanov's First-Time Winner Spotlight

The next week, he jumped 46 spots in the Emirates ATP Rankings, from No. 101 to No. 55, and solidified himself as one of the top #NextGenATP players. In 2017, the right-hander will look to show he belongs in the Top 50.

Borna Coric (Rank: 57; Age: 20): The determined Croatian put together another impressive season in 2016, finishing in the Top 50 for the second consecutive year. Coric played in his first two ATP World Tour finals in 2016, falling in Chennai to Stan Wawrinka and in Marrakech to Federico Delbonis of Argentina.

In Cincinnati, the 20-year-old Zagreb native brought his best tennis to one of the game's grandest stages, reaching the quarter-finals of the Western & Southern Open, an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event. Coric beat Benoit Paire, Nick Kyrgios and then-No. 5 Rafael Nadal to become the youngest Masters 1000 quarter-finalist since Novak Djokovic in 2006.

Daniil Medvedev (Rank: 65; Age: 20): The Russian snuck into the Top 100 at the end of 2016 in part because he reached his first ATP World Tour quarter-final at the VTB Kremlin Cup in Moscow, Medvedev's hometown. Along the way, the 6'6” right-hander earned the biggest win of his career by beating then-No. 28 Viktor Troicki of Serbia in the second round.

Medvedev, who uses Tecnifibre gear, was also named the Tecnifibre Young Gun on the Road in 2016 for his on-court success and social media skills.

Taylor Fritz (Rank: 91; Age: 19): The American burst onto the scene in early 2016, reaching the Memphis Open final in only his third tour-level event. He improved throughout his first year on the ATP World Tour as well, winning 15 tour-level matches and reaching a career-high Emirates ATP Ranking of No. 53 in August.

The California native punctuated his debut season by being named the ATP Star Of Tomorrow presented by Emirates, which is given to the youngest player in the Top 100 and also had been awarded to Coric (2014) and Zverev (2015).

Read More: Fritz's Path To Another Banner Season

Top 100-200

Jared Donaldson (Rank: 101; Age: 20): The 6'2” American savoured his Grand Slam breakthrough in New York, reaching the third round of the US Open. Donaldson, who trained in Argentina as a teenager, will try to make successive wins at big tournaments a pattern in 2017.

Hyeon Chung (Rank: 104; Age: 20): An abdominal injury forced Chung to miss June through August but the Korean rebounded by winning an ATP Challenger title in September (Kaohsiung, Taiwan) and November (Kobe, Japan). Chung reached his career-high ranking of No. 51 in October 2015.

Frances Tiafoe (Rank: 107; Age: 18): The next young talent in an impressive group of Americans showed promise in 2016, holding two match points against David Goffin in Indian Wells and taking his first ATP Challenger Tour title in Granby. After cracking the Top 100 for a week at No. 100 in October, the Maryland native will try to earn a two-digit ranking for all of 2017.

Stefan Kozlov (Rank: 117; Age: 18): The Macedonia native, who moved to the U.S. with his parents when he was about 1, celebrated his first ATP World Tour victory in 2016. The right-hander beat #NextGenATP player Yoshihito Nishioka of Japan at the Ricoh Open in 's-Hertogenbosch before following it up with a straight-sets win against then-No. 39 Steve Johnson.

Ernesto Escobedo (Rank: 133; Age: 20): The California native beat countryman Tiafoe in July for his first ATP Challenger title. A month later, Escobedo celebrated his first Grand Slam win by beating Lukas Lacko at the US Open.

Duckhee Lee (Rank: 148; Age: 18): The Korean might have the most fascinating story on the ATP World Tour: Lee is deaf and is one of the best young talents. He spent all of 2016 at ATP Challenger tournaments or playing qualifying matches. But look for Lee to reach the main draw of an ATP World Tour event in 2017.

Quentin Halys (Rank: 154; Age: 20): The 6'3” Frenchman took his first ATP Challenger title in April in Tallahassee (d. Tiafoe). Halys made another Challenger final in October in California (l. to Giraldo).

Andrey Rublev (Rank: 156; Age: 19): The 6'2” Russian finished 2016 by making his second ATP Challenger final in Mouilleron Le Captif, France, where he lost to Frenchman Julien Benneteau in the final but beat World No. 47 Benoit Paire in the semi-finals.

Elias Ymer (Rank: 161; Age: 20): The right-hander reached his first ATP World Tour quarter-final in July at the J. Safra Sarasin Swiss Open Gstaad. Three months later, he partnered with his younger brother, Mikael Ymer, to win his first ATP World Tour doubles title at the If Stockholm Open.

Michael Mmoh (Rank: 195; Age: 18): Another young American ranked inside the Top 200, Mmoh won his first ATP Challenger title in Knoxville in November and earned a wild card into the 2017 Australian Open.

Noah Rubin (Rank: 197; Age: 20): The 5'10” Rubin, the 2014 Wimbledon boys' singles champion, struggled with an ankle injury for part of 2016 but regained his health in time to reach his second ATP Challenger final in October in Stockton (l. to Tiafoe).

Muller Saves 1 M.P. To Edge Dolgopolov In Sydney

Tue, 01/10/2017 - 9:56am

Sixth seed Gilles Muller saved one match point at 4-5 in the deciding set to beat Alexandr Dolgopolov 6-3, 3-6, 7-5 in two hours and seven minutes. Muller, a semi-finalist in Sydney for the past two years, struck 14 aces and will next challenge qualifier Matthew Barton.

Eighth seed Marcel Granollers required two hours and 37 minutes to beat lucky loser Santiago Giraldo, a replacement for the fatigued Fernando Verdasco, 6-7(5), 7-5, 6-3. Watch Highlights

This month only keeps getting better for 17-year-old Alex De Minaur. Last week, the young Aussie qualified for an ATP World Tour event for the first time. On Tuesday, the Sydney native captured his first ATP World Tour match win, beating Frenchman Benoit Paire 6-3, 3-6, 7-6(1). Watch Highlights

De Minaur, who received a wild card into the Sydney main draw, will meet Russian Andrey Kuznetsov in the second round. Kuznetsov advanced after seventh seed Martin Klizan retired from their match down 2-6, 6-1, 3-0 – due to a foot injury.

Read & Watch: Aussie Teen Makes Grand Entrance In Brisbane

Mischa Zverev won 31 of his 35 first service points to get past the experienced Nicolas Almagro 6-4, 6-2 in 70 minutes and set up a clash against fourth seed Pablo Carreno Busta.

Jordan Thompson knocked out lucky loser Nikoloz Basilashvili 7-5, 6-2 and now goes onto face fifth seed Philipp Kohlschreiber. The 22-year-old Australian had been set to face his doubles partner, fellow wild card Thanasi Kokkinakis, who withdrew prior to their match due to an abdominal strain. Kokkinakis had been due to play a singles match for just the second time since October 2015, having undergone right shoulder surgery on 29 December 2015. Watch Highlights

Colombians Through To Doubles QFs

Colombians Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah knocked out third seeds Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo 7-6(3), 4-6, 10-5 for a place in the quarter-finals against Serbians Viktor Troicki and Nenad Zimonjic.

Train At Tecnifibre's On The Road Camp

Mon, 01/09/2017 - 10:23pm

From 9-12 December, Tecnifibre organised a pre-season physical training camp, an initiative born from the unique “On the Road to the ATP World Tour” concept with the ATP World Tour.

Five young and hopeful players from the Tecnifibre team gathered in Bretagne in France for four days of training. The camp concentrated on performance, commitment, sharing information and training together. Russians Daniil Medvedev, No. 99 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, and Alen Avidzba along with Frenchmen Hugo Grenier, Johan Tatlot and Boris Fassbender pushed their limits during the intensive training designed by coach Patrick Chamagne.

The players participated in numerous activities, including beach soccer, paddle tennis, sand yachting, sea kayaking and sea aquagym. The goal of the camp was to discover disciplines that were very far away from tennis so that the players could step outside of their comfort zones to prepare physically and mentally for the long 2017 season ahead of them.

This was also an opportunity for members of the Tecnifibre team to not only to create a link of proximity with one another, but also to evaluate their own potential for the years to come.

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Guillaume Ducruet, Sports Marketing Manager, said: “To step outside of tennis and to change their daily routines, it was interesting for us to see if they could step up to the challenge. The team experience also allowed the players to share their experiences and to motivate one another. Tecnifibre likes to be at the side of its athletes all year-round. This proximity is part of our brand culture. It is rare for these young players who are always on tour, to spend time as part of a group.”

Tecnifibre, where open-mindedness is one of the keys to success at this level, is the only brand that offers such an experience to its ambassadors: to go one step further other than to give out equipment.

Medvedev, recently winner of the second Tecnifibre “Young Guns” contest, found this experience extremely enriching. “Preparation is the most important element in tennis. You find your weaknesses, your physical ability, your mental ability. This is what prepares you for the season to come.

“My main goal for the next year is to remain in the Top 100 and, if possible, to go up into the Top 50. This is why I take preparation seriously and why I came to this camp this winter.”

Medvedev has made a good start to the 2017 season. The #NextGenATP player reached his first ATP World Tour final on Sunday at the Aircel Chennai Open (l. to Bautista Agut).

Tecnifibre On The Road Camp

Mon, 01/09/2017 - 10:19pm
Training on the beach and in the water for tennis? Tecnifibre's On The Road camp is not your typical training camp. See how the tennis brand helps its players, including NextGenATP player Daniil Medvedev, get prepared for 2017.

Thiem Visits The Beach In Sydney 2017

Mon, 01/09/2017 - 6:13pm
Dominic Thiem enjoys a visit to The Beach at Cutaway, Bangaroo Reserve ahead of the 2017 Apia International Sydney.

Gojowczyk Reflects On Happy Valley Challenger 2017 Title

Mon, 01/09/2017 - 5:12pm
Peter Gojowczyk looks back on claiming his fifth ATP Challenger Tour title in Happy Valley, Australia. Video courtesy Tennis Australia.

Kokkinakis Happy To Be Back At Sydney 2017

Mon, 01/09/2017 - 4:12pm
Thanasi Kokkinakis, a wild card entry at the Apia International this week, talks about his comeback in 2017 so far. Video courtesy Tennis Australia.