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Updated: 1 week 1 day ago

Isner, 33, Shares His Secret To Playing His Best Tennis Yet

Wed, 07/25/2018 - 2:32pm
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John Isner's secret to playing his best tennis at the age of 33: Not caring as much about the result.

The No. 1 American, who's the top seed at the BB&T Atlanta Open this week, has worked on playing more aggressively as he's reached career-best marks past the age of 30. The 6'10” right-hander approaches the net more often and swings through his returns.

During his Wimbledon quarter-final, when Isner beat Canadaian Milos Raonic to reach his first Grand Slam semi-final, Isner raced forward 37 times, winning 81 per cent of those points (30/37), and converting half of his six break points.


But Isner said, in addition to a change to his game, just as importantly, he's feeling more confident about his new approach.

“It's not necessarily that I'm playing more aggressively, while I am... I think I'm able to do that because I'm more comfortable out there on the court, more relaxed. Not so much worried about the result. Of course it's great to win, if I lose, so be it,” Isner told ATPWorldTour.com.

It hasn't always been that way for the American, who's at No. 9 in the ATP Rankings this week. In the past, he has clammed up in tie-breaks, feeling more worried about the final score than how he's hitting.

“There have been a lot of times where I've been too wrapped up in the result,” he said. “I'm not doing that lately, and I think that's one of the reasons I've been playing so well.”

Watch: Isner Hears The Dawgs Barking

Off-court joy has also helped. Isner married longtime girlfriend Madison McKinley last December, and she is pregnant with a baby girl due 22 September.

“There's a lot of things going on in my life, a lot of very cool things going on in my life that I think are helping,” he said.

Few tournaments bring out Isner's best tennis than the BB&T Atlanta Open, where the former University of Georgia Bulldog has won four titles from seven finals and owns a 27-4 record at the ATP World Tour 250-level event. His worst showing was a semi-final loss to Andy Roddick in 2012.

“A lot of factors, I think, go into me playing so well here. I think for one, the surface is very good for me. I'm most comfortable playing on hard courts. It's of course what I grew up playing on. On top of that I prefer playing in the United States. Throughout my career, I've always played my best tennis at home,” Isner said.

Read More: 200 Fans Wait In Line For Isner's Autograph

“This tournament, in particular, is really home, because I went to school so close to here. There are so many Georgia Bulldog fans here in Atlanta, and this tournament is supported so well. When I'm playing, I have a lot of crowd support, the Dawgs are barking for me, and it spurs me on to play some good tennis.”

As the season enters its final four months, Isner is targeting his best finish yet – his first year-end Top 10 ATP Ranking and his debut at the season-ending Nitto ATP Finals, to be held 11-18 November at The O2 in London.

“A huge goal of mine is to make that tournament in London, I also want to finish in the Top 10,” Isner said.

“At 33, I feel like I'm playing my best tennis ever, which is super encouraging for me going forward. It's incumbent on me now to keep pushing on the gas pedal and keep pushing forward.”

Bautista Agut Begins Comeback, Reaches Gstaad QFs

Wed, 07/25/2018 - 12:50pm

Roberto Bautista Agut started his comeback from a groin injury on Wednesday by booking a place in the J. Safra Sarasin Swiss Open Gstaad quarter-finals. The 30-year-old, in his first match since the Gerry Weber Open five weeks ago, overcame fellow Spaniard Jaume Munar 2-6, 6-3, 6-2 in one hour and 42 minutes.

The World No. 17, who has won one of his eight ATP World Tour trophies on clay courts, will next challenge Japan’s Taro Daniel, who saved one match point at 5-6, Ad-Out in the deciding set against Roberto Carballes Baena of Spain in a 6-4, 4-6, 7-6(5) victory over two hours and 46 minutes.

Earlier in the day, Italian Matteo Berrettini knocked out fourth-seeded Russian Andrey Rublev 6-3, 6-3 in 62 minutes. The World No. 84, winner of his second ATP Challenger Tour title at the Trofeo Perrel - FAIP in February, will contest his first ATP World Tour quarter-final against eighth seed and 2016 titlist Feliciano Lopez.

Lopez drew upon his greater experience to overcome fellow Spaniard and lucky loser Oriol Roca Batalla in a hard-fought 4-6, 7-6(4), 6-4 win over two hours and 17 minutes.

Harrison Happy In The Heat Of Atlanta

Wed, 07/25/2018 - 12:17pm
American Ryan Harrison explains why he likes playing at the BB&T Atlanta Open, where playing in the heat helps him get in great shape.

Hot Shot: Where's Your Racquet Gael?

Wed, 07/25/2018 - 12:02pm
Watch Hot Shot as Gael Monfils gives his all - and drops his racquet - against Leonaro Mayer, who finally wins the point in Hamburg on Wednesday. Watch live tennis at tennistv.com. Photo Courtesy: Hamburg sports & entertainment GmbH

Kovalik Delighted With Molleker Win At Hamburg 2018

Wed, 07/25/2018 - 11:27am
Qualifier Jozef Kovalik discusses his second-round win over wild card Ruudolf Molleker on Wednesday at the German Tennis Championships presented by Kampmann. Watch live tennis at tennistv.com.

Fognini Visits Eggli Alp Farm At Gstaad 2018

Wed, 07/25/2018 - 10:44am
Fabio Fognini and his family visit Eggli Alp farm in Gstaad. Photo Credit: Christian Colle. Video courtesy: J. Safra Sarasin Swiss Open Gstaad

Schwartzman Happy With Performance At Hamburg 2018

Wed, 07/25/2018 - 10:42am
Diego Schwartzman reflects on recording his 25th match win of the season (25-16) by beating qualifier Daniel Masur at the German Tennis Championships presented by Kampmann. Watch live tennis at tennistv.com.

Monteiro Reacts To Verdasco Win At Hamburg 2018

Wed, 07/25/2018 - 10:37am
Thiago Monteiro reacts to beating eighth seed Fernando Verdasco on Wednesday at the German Tennis Championships presented by Kampmann. Watch live tennis at tennistv.com.

Schwartzman Into Hamburg QFs; Monfils, Verdasco Beaten

Wed, 07/25/2018 - 10:35am

Diego Schwartzman recorded his 25th match win of the season (25-16) by beating German qualifier Daniel Masur 6-2, 6-2 on Wednesday for a place in the quarter-finals of the German Tennis Championships presented by Kampmann. With two breaks of serve in each set of the 80-minute encounter, second seed Schwartzman now faces two-time champion and fellow Argentine Leonardo Mayer. Schwartzman won the biggest title of his career in February at the Rio Open presented by Claro (d. Verdasco).

Mayer, who beat Germany's Florian Mayer in last year’s Hamburg final, recorded his first win in four FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings against Gael Monfils of France in a 6-1, 7-5 victory over 80 minutes.

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Earlier in the day, Brazilian lucky loser Thiago Monteiro scraped past eighth seed Fernando Verdasco of Spain 3-6, 6-2, 7-5 in two hours and 12 minutes to reach his second quarter-final of the year (also Ecuador Open semi-finals). Verdasco had beaten Monteiro in the Argentina Open first round in February.

Second-seeded Frenchman Richard Gasquet was forced to pull out of the tournament on Wednesday due to a left hip injury. Chile’s Nicolas Jarry advances to the quarter-final.

Read & Watch: Fognini & Family Visit Eggli Farm In Gstaad

Wed, 07/25/2018 - 7:21am

Fabio Fognini joined his family on a trip to Eggli Alp farm in Gstaad, 1,600 metres above sea level, on Tuesday.

The defending champion, with his parents and sister, Fulvia, was initially scared to get too close to the animals, but later assisted farmer Ruedi Wehren with feeding the horses, milking the cows and preparing cheese. The Italian also took the goats outside for their evening stroll and tasted the homemade cheese.

“It is impressive to see how much farmers work,” said Fognini. “Ruedi gets up at 6:30am and works until 9pm most days. It was very interesting to see how he manages the farm and it was a great experience for me to milk the cows and spend time with the goats and the calves. They are really cute, the youngest one is only four weeks old.”

Fognini, who beat German qualifier Yannick Hanfmann in the 2017 J. Safra Sarasin Swiss Open Gstaad final, comes into this year's ATP World Tour 250 tournament on the back of lifting his seventh ATP World Tour trophy at the SkiStar Swedish Open (d. Gasquet) on Sunday. Read Report & Watch Highlights

“I feel great at the moment and I love playing on clay,” said Fognini, who has a 21-9 record on red dirt this year (31-14 overall record). He also won Brasil Open title (d. Jarry) in early March.

Isner In Atlanta: 'The Dawgs Are Barking For Me'

Wed, 07/25/2018 - 2:18am

World No. 9 John Isner, playing some of the best tennis of his career, was popular with fans on Tuesday when the American signed autographs in a 60-minute session at the PGA Tour Superstore in Roswall.

The line, made up of about 200 fans, extended across an entire side of the store. Isner, who attended the University of Georgia, between 2004 and 2007, signed a lot of Bulldogs’ memorabilia.

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Since the first edition of the ATP World Tour 250 tournament, 33-year-old Isner has reached the Atlanta hard-court final in seven of the past eight years. With a 27-4 tournament record, Isner has lifted the trophy in 2013 (d. Anderson), 2014 (d. Sela), 2015 (d. Baghdatis) and last year (d. Harrison). He also finished runner-up in 2010-11 (l. to Fish both times) and in 2016 (l. to Kyrgios).

Isner is hoping to carry the momentum of reaching the Wimbledon semi-finals (l. to Anderson) into the North American hard-court swing. He also captured his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title on 1 April at the Miami Open presented by Itaú (d. Zverev).

He is currently in ninth position in the ATP Race To London for a first-time qualification to the Nitto ATP Finals, to be held from 11-18 November.


Hot Shot: Monfils Rips A Forehand Winner At Hamburg 2018

Wed, 07/25/2018 - 1:15am
Watch Hot Shot as Gael Monfils reaches for a forehand and rips a winner past Leonardo Mayer on Wednesday at the German Tennis Championships presented by Kampmann. Watch live tennis at tennistv.com. Photo Courtesy: Hamburg sports & entertainment GmbH

Pressure? Hyeon Chung Knows More About Pressure Than Most

Tue, 07/24/2018 - 11:49pm
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Before Milan, where Hyeon Chung won the inaugural Next Gen ATP Finals last November, and before Melbourne, where the South Korean reached his maiden Grand Slam semi-final in January, Chung showed his tour-leading clutch tennis in Incheon, South Korea.

At the 2014 Asian Games, Chung and countryman Yong-kyu Lim faced four match points in the doubles semi-finals, and much was on the line for the pairing.

Lose and they, like all South Korean males, would still be subject to almost two years of mandatory military service. But win the gold medal, and they'd be exempt.

“For Asians it's really big tournament... especially for Koreans because Koreans have to go to the Army. It's a big thing,” Chung told ATPWorldTour.com. 

He and Lim came back from 4/6 in the second set tie-break and 7/9 in the Match Tie-break to reach the final, Chung said. As fans cheered after every point and sometimes even shouted and exhaled after every shot, the South Koreans won the country's first tennis gold medal in 28 years.

Watch: A Different Ball Game: Chung Meets Atlanta Football Star At Atlanta

“I think the Asian Games started [it for me],” said Chung, who was 18 at the time and eventually served only four weeks in the military. “Because when I'm in the Asian Games, I'm really happy and I had many good, positive things so that I can win Next Gen last year, I can make Grand Slam semis.”

No one has played sweaty-palm situations better than Chung during his big runs and during the past 52 weeks, according to his “Under Pressure” rating on the Infosys ATP Stats LEADERBOARDS. The statistic is based on break points converted, break points saved, tie-breaks won and deciding sets won, and Chung's 247.6 rating is almost a point better than Juan Martin del Potro's (third, 246.7) and more than two points better than Roger Federer's (fifth, 245.5).

“He is able in the big moments to knuckle down and not think too much about what the end result is, and he's able to execute really well in the big moments, which is a skill in itself, and I think that's why the results show in the stats,” Neville Godwin, his coach, told ATPWorldTour.com.

Watch Chung's My Story

Chung will look to use those skills for the first time in more than two months as he returns this week at the BB&T Atlanta Open. A right ankle injury that took longer than expected to rehab has kept him out of play since 8 May when he lost in the first round of the Mutua Madrid Open.

Before Madrid, Chung had made at least the quarter-finals at seven of his eight tournaments and was in sixth place in the ATP Race To London.

But, after missing 11 weeks, he has fallen to the 17th spot in the Race and trails eighth-placed Kevin Anderson by 1,440 points.

“Obviously I would have liked him to play on the clay, and definitely on the grass as well because he was having such a great run and obviously in contention to go to London... It could be a bridge too far now,” Godwin said.

Read More: Americans Lead The Way In Atlanta

“The goal for the rest of the year is to really just stay healthy and keep building on the things that we started working on at the beginning of the year.”

Chung played in Atlanta last year for the first time, falling to #NextGenATP American Tommy Paul in three sets. Hard courts have been Chung's best surface on tour. The 6'2” right-hander has won almost 60 per cent of his matches on hard courts (53-36), compared to 58 per cent of his matches overall (71-52), according to his FedEx ATP Win/Loss Record.


“I'm just trying to move the legs, and I'm just trying to play my best. Breathe... Stay calm. Trying to think about positive things,” Chung said of playing under pressure.

Not everyone, however, has been so enamored with Chung's clutch play. Indian Divij Sharan and his partner Yuki Bhambri lost the four match points against Chung/Lim at the Asian Games. Had Sharan/Bhambri reached the final, they would have faced another Indian team, guaranteeing their home nation a gold medal in tennis.

Sharan, who, with Kiwi Artem Sitak, is the top doubles seed in Atlanta, has seen video clips of the match. But he struggles to describe how a shot at gold slipped away from them.

“That was obviously a really, really close match,” Sharan told ATPWorldTour.com, “and I guess looking back, I just think, that was a tough one, just a match they had to win. It was just crazy.”

'The Last Time' With Nick Kyrgios

Tue, 07/24/2018 - 7:55pm
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Nick Kyrgios doesn't have to think too far back to remember "The Last Time" he played well at the BB&T Atlanta Open. The Aussie beat home favourite and four-time Atlanta titlist John Isner to win the 2016 title.

Kyrgios, after missing the tournament last year because of injury, is back at Atlantic Station to go for his second title of the season (Brisbane) and fifth overall. The Aussie spoke with ATPWorldTour.com about "The Last Time"...

I missed a flight?
I was with my agent, John Morris, and we were sitting at the gate. We were just watching Facebook videos... It was boarding, we were watching [videos], and we completely missed the flight. But I can't remember where it was or where we were flying from. I'm pretty organised like that. I don't miss too many flights.


I lost something important?
Every day I lose my wallet, I don't know where I place it. I'm pretty forgetful like that... I always find it, though.

More "Last Times": Djokovic | Roddick | Chung

I strung a tennis racquet?
Never. I've never strung a racquet in my life... I have tried. Terrible... Not good. It took me hours... Three, four hours. I just stopped. I've never strung a racquet again.

Did you finish it?
No... That was 10 years ago.

Watch: Kyrgios Returns To Atlanta

I cooked for myself and others?
I don't cook that often. I'm a decent cook, I guess. I know how to make like eggs and stuff. Not for a while, though. I can't even remember.

Flashback: Kyrgios Picks His NBA Dream Team

I met a childhood idol?
I didn't really have an idol, but I looked up to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga when I was a kid. I played him at the Australian Open recently.

I shared a hotel room with another player?
Pretty recently. I share with my doubles partner Matt Reid pretty much all the time... We're good friends, he's a good companion, he's pretty good to room with, he's easy. He snores a little bit from time to time, but that's it.

Highlights: Djokovic Battles Past Nishikori, Through To SF At Wimbledon 2018

Wed, 07/11/2018 - 11:21am
Watch highlights as three-time champion Novak Djokovic earns his eighth semi-final appearance by defeating Kei Nishikori in four sets at Wimbledon on Wednesday. Photo Credit: Julian Finney/Getty Images. Video courtesy of Wimbledon. Video not available in U.K. U.S.A, Italy, Austria, Germany, Spain and South America.

Live: Nadal vs. Del Potro

Wed, 07/11/2018 - 11:13am

Two-time former champion Rafael Nadal, the second seed, leads fifth seed Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina 7-5 on Wednesday in the quarter-finals of The Championships.

Nadal leads Del Potro 10-5 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series, including a four-set victory at Wimbledon in 2011. The winner of the Centre Court clash will take on No. 21 seed and three-time former titlist Novak Djokovic, who is returning to peak form after beating No. 12 seed Kei Nishikori of Japan earlier in the day.


Nadal needed to bide his time in a brilliant first set, which lasted 54 minutes and was full of long rallies. Del Potro was, at times, predictable in his service patterns and although he struck 14 winners, Nadal was patient. Del Potro recovered from 15/40 at 3-4, but hit a backhand into the net in the 12th game on Nadal's second set point opportunity.

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Live: Federer vs. Anderson

Wed, 07/11/2018 - 9:43am

Roger Federer and Kevin Anderson are locked at 6-2, 7-6(5), 5-7, 4-6, 11-11 on No. 1 Court at Wimbledon. The eight-time champion appeared to be cruising to a straight-sets win after equalling his record for most consecutive sets won at Wimbledon (34) to take a two-set lead. But Anderson had other ideas after saving match point in the third set and edging a tightly contested fourth set.

As was the case in his fourth-round triumph over Adrian Mannarino, Federer made a quick start. The defending champion varied his returns, blocking and attacking Anderson's serve with depth, to earn breaks in the first and seventh games. Having lost just one point on serve throughout his opening three service games, Federer then held serve to love, for the third time, to take a one-set lead.

Federer's streak of 85 consecutive games won on serve ended abruptly early in the second set, as Anderson stepped in on his return. The South African mixed power and precision, especially on his forehand side, to extract errors from Federer, who was forced to retreat behind the baseline.

But Federer responded well, retrieving the service break in the fifth game before coming from a mini-break down in the tie-break to secure a two-set advantage. Federer's forehand dictated proceedings late in the tie-break, with powerful shots and uncharacteristic errors deciding points, before converting his third set point.

Federer appeared to be heading towards a straight-sets victory as he manufactured a match-point opportunity at 5-4 Ad Out. But Anderson responded emphatically, charging the net and forcing Federer into a backhand error before holding serve.

Anderson capitalised on forehand errors to earn break point in the 11th game, which he converted with a confident backhand return up the line. The New York Open champion then dug himself out of a tricky situation, winning his fifth consecutive point from 0-40 down with an ace up the 'T' to force a fourth set.

With both men holding serve with relative ease in the fourth set, Anderson made the crucial move in the seventh game. While Federer faltered on his forehand, Anderson fired his into the corner to earn two break point opportunities. A fortunate backhand return for Anderson, which hit the net cord, forced Federer into another forehand error. That moment proved to be the decisive moment of the set as Anderson held serve, after saving break point, in the tenth game to ensure a deciding set.

Federer is bidding to reach the final four at a Grand Slam event for the 16th time since turning 30, while Anderson is aiming to become the sixth man representing South Africa, and the first since Kevin Curren in 1983, to reach the semi-finals at Wimbledon.

The winner will face John Isner or Milos Raonic for a place in the semi-finals. Raonic was the last man to beat Federer at Wimbledon, in the 2016 semi-finals.

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Did You Know?
Roger Federer is aiming to reach his 44th Grand Slam semi-final. The Australian Open (14) has been his most successful Grand Slam in terms of reaching the final four, with Wimbledon (12), the US Open (10) and Roland Garros (7) also providing regular success for the 98-time tour-level titlist.

Djokovic Back In Business, Reaches Eighth Wimbledon Semi-final

Wed, 07/11/2018 - 9:17am

Three-time former champion Novak Djokovic moved into his eighth semi-final at The Championships on Wednesday with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 victory over Kei Nishikori, the No. 24 seed from Japan, in two hours and 35 minutes.

The Serbian, who retired in the 2017 Wimbledon quarter-finals with a right elbow injury against Tomas Berdych that resulted in a six-month injury lay-off, is returning to peak form at just the right time. Djokovic lost just eight of his first-service points (52/61) and won 18 of his 20 points at the net against Nishikori.

He will next face second-seeded Spaniard and two-time titlist Rafael Nadal or fifth seed Juan Martin del Potro, the 2013 semi-finalist, from Argentina. Djokovic leads Nadal 26-25 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series and leads Del Potro 14-4.

Through to his 32nd Grand Slam championship semi-final — second only to Roger Federer (44) — Djokovic also recorded his 63rd match win (63-10) at the All England Club, the same number as 1993-95, 1997-2000 Wimbledon winner Pete Sampras (63-7).

Djokovic came into the grass-court major on the back of a runner-up finish at the Fever-Tree Championships — his first ATP World Tour final for 12 months. He has a 23-9 record on the season, which includes two other victories over Nishikori at the Mutua Madrid Open and the Internazionali BNL d'Italia, two ATP World Tour Masters 1000 events.

Djokovic highlighted his growing confidence and tremendous athleticism from the front and back of the Centre Court, in the fourth game at 15/30, when a forehand down the line left Nishikori lunging for the ball. Two points later, Nishikori mis-timed a deep backhand, which clipped the baseline, to give Djokovic a 3-1 advantage. But the Serbian struck a double fault in the next game to hand the break back to Nishikori.

Nishikori, who set up his favoured backhand stroke down the line with serves out wide, particularly on the Ad-court, got back to 3-3, but subtle changes of groundstroke pace by Djokovic reaped dividends in the eighth game. The 38-minute set ended with Nishikori committing a backhand error.

Nishikori came through a 10-minute first game in the second set, then began to change his approach by coming to the net against one of the sport’s greatest returners. He earned a confidence boost by recovering from 0/40 at 1-1, much to the frustration of Djokovic, who received a code violation for racquet abuse.

Having battled to two service holds in 17 minutes, Nishikori was gifted a 3-1 lead, courtesy of his Serbian opponent attempting to hit a sliced drop shot into the net. Djokovic tightened up his game, putting Nishikori under pressure, but could not make the breakthrough.

Djokovic proved to be adept at the net and quick on approach in the third set, when he highlighted his mental capabilities and flexibility in recovering from 0/40 at 2-2. The 31-year-old capitalised on early fatigue from Nishikori, letting out a roar when he broke the Japanese for 30 for a 4-2 advantage and won eight of the next nine points to dominate.

“I think that was the biggest chance I had,” said Nishikori, when asked about the fifth game of the third set. “But he played three great points. Maybe things change if I got the game. I mean, he was also playing great tennis. I know it's not going to be easy holding my serve, even after I break him, but after that he was playing better. I think he was playing more aggressive and didn't give me any free points.”

Nishikori bounced back by breaking in the first game of the fourth set, but it only heightened Djokovic’s motivation and soon the Serbian couldn’t miss, forcing Nishikori to strike one extra ball in their baseline rallies. From 0-1, a fired up Djokovic won 16 of the next 20 points with exceptional hitting. Djokovic struck his 39th winner - a forehand - on approach to the net for victory.

Nishikori had been bidding to become the first Japanese man to reach the Wimbledon semi-finals since Jiro Satoh in 1931. The 28-year-old is now 20-10 on the year.

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Who Leads The Way On Return At Wimbledon?

Wed, 07/11/2018 - 8:38am

You would think winning points returning serve on Wimbledon’s grass courts would be a tougher task on average than normal.

Not so for the eight men who booked their spots into the quarter-finals.

An Infosys ATP Beyond The Numbers comparison of the 2018 season leading into The Championships and the performance of the eight quarter-finalists through the first four rounds shows that overall return performance is improving at SW19 for the players that are still alive in the tournament.

Return Points Won vs. First Serve

Roger Federer and Milos Raonic have shown the biggest improvement with return points won at Wimbledon against first serves with an eight percentage point jump over their 2018 season average leading into The Championships.

Wimbledon Quarter Finalists: Return Points Won vs. First Serve

Player 2018 Season To Wimbledon 2018 Wimbledon Percentage Point +/- Roger Federer 31% 39% 8 Milos Raonic 26% 34% 8 John Isner 25% 28% 3 Kevin Anderson 28% 30% 2 Novak Djokovic 36% 38% 2 Rafael Nadal 39% 40% 1 Juan Martin del Potro 29% 27% -2 Kei Nishikori 31% 27% -4 - 30.6% 32.9% 2.3

Six of the eight players all improved in this category, with only Juan Martin del Potro (-2 percentage points) and Kei Nishikori (-4 percentage points) faring worse against their 2018 season average.

Rafael Nadal only improved one percentage point, which seems like a nominal gain for one of the best returners in our sport. But when you compare his metrics against the field, you see that he is actually leading the tournament with return points won against first serves at 40 per cent (84/209).

The majority of play in 2018 for these eight players has been on hard courts and clay courts, where conventional wisdom says it should be easier to win more return points than on grass. Two possible explanations are that Wimbledon’s pristine grass courts are not as hard to return on as we think, and/or these eight players have currently uncovered an improved vein of good form returning this year.

Return Points Won vs. Second Serve

Novak Djokovic and Juan Martin del Potro have shown the biggest improvement with return points won against second serves at Wimbledon, with Djokovic improving a substantial nine percentage points the past week and a half against his 2018 average.

Wimbledon Quarter Finalists: Return Points Won vs. Second Serve

Player 2018 Season To Wimbledon 2018 Wimbledon Percentage Point +/- Novak Djokovic 53% 62% 9 Juan Martin del Potro 53% 59% 6 Roger Federer 50% 55% 5 John Isner 40% 45% 5 Kevin Anderson 45% 49% 4 Kei Nishikori 53% 53% 0 Milos Raonic 50% 46% -4 Rafael Nadal 60% 52% -8 - 50.5% 52.6% 2.1

Out sport may need a timely paradigm shift of just how successful players can really be winning points when returning serve at Wimbledon.

USTA, ATP & WTA Implement Rules Innovations At Events Throughout Summer

Wed, 07/11/2018 - 6:00am

The USTA, ATP and WTA today announced that a series of in-game innovations will be implemented at a number of events taking place within the United States and Canada throughout the summer, including at the 2018 US Open. These rule changes were a result of collaboration and consultation between all three organizations, and are aimed at increasing pace of play and ensuring a consistent set of enforcement standards.

The following innovations will be instituted:

• Warm-Up Clock

o A one-minute clock will begin when the second player/team entering the court arrives at their chair(s). If at the end of that one minute, a player is not at the net, they will be notified by the Chair Umpire and subject to a post-match fine. This will not be a time violation.

o A five-minute time clock will begin following the coin-toss and begin the warm-up period. During this time, the Chair Umpire will make announcements informing the players of the 3-minute, 2-minute, 1-minute, 30-seconds, and end-of-warm-up marks. Following the conclusion on the five-minute warm-up period, a one-minute countdown will commence. At the end of this one-minute countdown, a player must be ready to play. If a player is not ready at this juncture, the Chair Umpire will announce a “Start of Match Violation” and the player will be subject to a post-match fine. This will not be a time violation.

• Serve Clock

o The server will be given up to 25 seconds to serve. This will be enforced in the following ways:

 During a game • Following the point, the score will be entered, the Chair Umpire will announce the score, and then start the 25 second-clock. If the player has not started the service motion at the completion of the 25-second countdown, the Chair Umpire will issue a time violation.

 After even-numbered games • The Chair Umpire will start the clock when the balls are all in place on the server’s end of the court. If the player has not started the service motion at the completion of the 25-second countdown, the Chair Umpire will issue a time violation.

o The receiver is responsible for playing to the server’s reasonable pace

***The Chair Umpire will have the ability and discretion to pause the clock. The Chair Umpire will have the ability to resume the clock from the same time or reset the clock to 25-seconds.

Although the exact location has yet to be determined, a “clock” will be placed in a position visible to players, fans and the Chair Umpire.

Along with the US Open, the following events will incorporate the innovations: Citi Open (Washington, D.C.), Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic (San Jose, Calif.), Rogers Cup (Montreal and Toronto, Canada), Western & Southern Open (Cincinnati, Ohio), Connecticut Open (New Haven, Conn.), and Winston-Salem Open (Winston-Salem, N.C.).

In 2017, the US Open utilized both a Serve Clock and a Warm-Up Clock in the Men’s and Women’s Qualifying Tournaments, as well as the Junior Tournament, Wheelchair Competition, American College Invitational, and Champions Invitational. The ATP also featured a Shot Clock at the inaugural Next Gen ATP Finals at Milan in 2017.