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Updated: 6 days 15 min ago

Murray, Del Potro Up For Global Sports Honours

Wed, 02/08/2017 - 7:49pm

Two of the ATP World Tour's biggest stars have been nominated for Laureus World Sports Awards, following a ballot of the world's media. Scot Andy Murray has been nominated for the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year Award and is competing against Usain Bolt, already a three-time Laureus winner, 5k and 10k Olympic champion Mo Farah, Cristiano Ronaldo and basketball duo Stephen Curry and LeBron James.

Juan Martin del Potro is in contention for the Laureus Comeback of the Year Award and also has stiff competition. The Argentine is up against Michael Phelps, the most successful Olympian ever, Spain’s high jumper Ruth Beitia, British show jumper Nick Skelton, Mauritius triathlete Fabienne St Louis and Norwegian skier Aksel Lund Svindal.

Olympians fill all six nomination places for the Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year Award, including Americans Simone Biles, Katie Ledecky and Allyson Felix. German WTA No. 1 Angelique Kerber, Jamaican sprint star Elaine Thompson and British cyclist Laura Kenny are the remaining nominees.

Laureus World Sports Academy Chairman Sean Fitzpatrick: “You always know in an Olympic year you are going to see a strong group of nominees and this year has certainly proved that. What delights me is that we have an amazing mix of some of the greatest names in sport who have been performing at the highest level for as long as a decade, combined with some of the most exciting new faces we have seen for many years. It really is going to be an exceptional Laureus Awards.”

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In another strong category, Mercedes AMG Petronas are nominated for the third straight year for the Laureus World Team of the Year Award, along with three football teams: European Champions Portugal, Champions League winners Real Madrid and Neymar-inspired Olympic gold medal winners Brazil. American teams Chicago Cubs, winner of their first baseball World Series for 108 years, and NBA champions Cleveland Cavaliers, led by LeBron James, are also shortlisted.

After finishing second in 2014 and 2015, Nico Rosberg finally won the Formula One World Championship last year and has earned nomination for the Laureus World Breakthrough of the Year Award. Joining him are Olympic world-record breakers Almaz Ayana and Wayde van Niekerk, and three teams who performed heroically in 2016: English Premier League Champions Leicester City, European Championship quarter-finalists Iceland and Olympic Rugby Sevens gold medal winners Fiji.

The Rio Paralympic Games provide all six nominees for the highly respected Laureus World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability Award: Swimmers Ihar Boki from Belarus and New Zealand’s Sophie Pascoe; visually-impaired Cuban sprinter Omara Durand, Iran weightlifter Siamand Rahman, Swiss wheelchair racer Marcel Hug and Italian fencer Beatrice Vio.

The men’s and women’s surfing world champions John John Florence and Tyler Wright are nominated for the Laureus World Action Sportsperson of the Year Award, along with snowboarder Chloe Kim, skateboarder Pedro Barros, mountain biker Rachel Atherton and Estonia’s freestyle skier Kelly Sildaru, who at 13 became the youngest ever winner of a gold medal at the Winter X-Games.

The eventual winners, as voted for by members of the Laureus World Sports Academy, will be revealed in Monaco on February 14. For the first time ever, sports fans will have the chance to make their voices heard in a brand new Best Sporting Moment of the Year Award, which will celebrate the power of sport. More information coming soon.

While celebrating the greatest sporting successes of the year, the Laureus Awards Ceremony also showcases the work of Laureus Sport for Good, which uses the power of sport to end violence, discrimination and disadvantage, proving that sport can change the world. Today Laureus supports more than 100 programmes, in around 40 countries. Their work to transform society is championed by the Laureus World Sports Academy of more than 60 legends of sport. They are supported by more than 180 Laureus Ambassadors.

 

Behind The Scenes At The ATP Photoshoot

Wed, 02/08/2017 - 7:00pm
Canadian Milos Raonic gives ATP World Tour Uncovered presented by Peugeot a look behind the scenes at the annual ATP World Tour photo and video shoot in Melbourne.

Dimitrov Set For Homecoming In Sofia 2017

Wed, 02/08/2017 - 8:02am
After an exhilarating Australian Open semi-final clash with Rafael Nadal, Grigor Dimitrov is ready for a nostalgic homecoming at the Garanti Koza Sofia Open.

Medvedev On The March In Montpellier

Wed, 02/08/2017 - 1:53am

Next Gen ATP player Daniil Medvedev marked his Montpellier debut at the Open Sud de France with a 6-2, 7-6(3) triumph over Tobias Kamke on Tuesday.

The 20-year-old Russian, who reached a maiden ATP World Tour final at the Aircel Chennai Open last month, prevailed in straight sets to earn a contest with eighth seed Fernando Verdasco. The Spaniard put in an emphatic performance to move past Gregoire Barrere 6-2, 6-1.

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Great Britain’s Aljaz Bedene defeated another Next Gen ATP player, Borna Coric, 7-5, 4-6, 6-1, setting a second-round match-up with another rising star Alexander Zverev. Benoit Paire, 2013 finalist, managed to stifle the threat of 20-year-old Karen Khachanov in a 7-6(4), 6-4 battle. Paire has built on his promising start to 2017 after the Frenchman reached the semi-finals in Chennai.

Previewing Fantastic February On The ATP World Tour

Wed, 02/08/2017 - 12:59am
ATP World Tour Uncovered presented by Peugeot previews what will be a fantastic February on the ATP World Tour. Getty Images photo.

Ram Rallies To Stun Fifth Seed In Quito

Wed, 02/08/2017 - 12:28am

Rajeev Ram ensured it was a day for the underdogs in the first round of the Ecuador Open on Tuesday. The unseeded American fought back from a set and a break down to stun the No. 5 seed Alexandr Dolgopolov 3-6, 7-6(4), 6-3.

Dologopolov, a former World No. 13 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, served for the match after breaking for 6-5 in the second set before Ram swung momentum in his favour to secure his first victory over the Ukrainian.  “I think I was playing quite solid,” Dolgopolov said. “I was serving for the match and got a bit unlucky in that game.

“He played really well and hit a few winners and then it was a tie-break and he served well. I lost the tiebreak and the third set did not go my way, he was hitting a lot of winners from everywhere.

“He broke straight away to start the third set … it was not easy. I tried to come back after that but it was too late.”

Spanish qualifier Roberto Carballes Baena easily accounted for Brazil’s Rogerio Dutra Silva 6-3, 6-1, while Matthew Ebden, on a protected ranking, fought back to deny Argentina’s Agustin Velotti 2-6, 6-4, 6-3. In an all-Argentine battle, Nicolas Kicker defeated Guido Andreozzi 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.

Renzo Olivo was the only seed to advance in Quito. He survived a fight from Ecuadorian wild card Emilio Gomez 5-7, 6-2, 7-6(5).

Colombian lefty Alejandro Falla landed his first ATP World Tour 250 main draw win since February last year. Falla defeated Alessandro Giannessi 6-4, 6-3.

Lapenttis Fail To Convert 1 M.P.

It wasn’t to be for locals Giovanni Lapentti and Nicolas Lapentti. The Ecuadorian brothers failed to convert one match point opportunity, on a deciding deuce point, at 5-4 in the second set against Hans Podlipnik-Castillo and Max Schnur, who went on to win 5-7, 7-6(4), 10-8. Nicolas, 40, was playing his first match since 2010 Roland Garros, while younger brother, Giovanni, is playing his final tournament. Giovanni will play singles against qualifier Roberto Carballes Baena on Wednesday evening.

Muller Ignites Sofia Title Charge

Tue, 02/07/2017 - 10:37pm

Gilles Muller safely navigated through his opening match at the Garanti Koza Sofia Open on Tuesday to book a second-round encounter with Mikhail Youzhny.

The fifth-seeded Muller progressed to the 2016 semi-finals in Bulgaria and ignited his title charge with a 6-3, 6-2 victory over qualifier Mathias Bourgue. Youzhny, ranked No. 89, prevented Marko Tepavac from a debut ATP World Tour win, navigating past the Serbian 7-6(2), 6-4.

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Qualifier Cedrik-Marcel Stebe took advantage of his main-draw opportunity by defeating Teymuraz Gabashvili 2-6, 6-0, 6-1. The World No. 406’s reward is a contest with reigning champion Roberto Bautista Agut. Eighth seed Martin Klizan overcame Russia’s Andrey Kuznetsov 6-0, 7-6(4), whilst top Dutchman Robin Haase was too strong for home wild card Dimitar Kuzmanov in straight sets 6-4, 6-3.

Stefan Edberg: The King Of Returns

Tue, 02/07/2017 - 9:58pm

Stefan Edberg was a masterful server. He was an even better returner.

The 1991 season is a distant 26 years ago, but the numbers the cool, calm and calculated Swede put up that year on the returning side of the game still greatly impress to this day.

An Infosys ATP Beyond The Numbers analysis of Edberg’s 1991 season highlights a player who conquered the year-end No. 1 ranking primarily on the return side of the equation. The 1991 season was the first year complete statistics were recorded in tennis, providing an interesting snapshot of what was going on in our game more than 25 years ago. It is subsequently the initial year recorded in the year-end No. 1s ATP Stats LEADERBOARDS, powered by the Infosys Information Platform.

We remember Edberg as an accomplished serve-volley player who also attacked the net behind his ultra-flat forehand and heavy slice backhand. His pinpoint volleys were majestic, and his stoic, imperturbable demeanor was a delight to watch.

When you compare the analytics of Edberg’s 1991 season against the other 25 years up to Andy Murray’s stellar 2016 season where he finished year-end No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, you get a deeper understanding of what helped Edberg finish 1991 as the best player in the world.

He always relied on his great serve, but his return was invaluable, particularly when returning first serves. The Swede’s 1991 season has stood the test of time in this specific area, ranked second overall in 26 seasons in points won returning first serves at 35.5 per cent. He ever so slightly trails Novak Djokovic’s 2011 season, where the super Serbian won 35.7 per cent of his first-serve return points.

Stefan Edberg: 1991 Season Analysis

Strategy Winning Percentage How It Compares To Year-End No. 1s From 1992-2016 First-Serve Return Points Won  35.5% Second Break Points Converted  45% Seventh Infosys Return Rating  168.1 Eighth Return Games Won  33.3% 10th Second-Serve Return Points Won 54.3% 12th Infosys Serve Rating  277.7 24th

Edberg’s ATP Stats LEADERBOARDS Serve Rating, powered by the Infosys Information Platform, has his 1991 season ranked a lowly 24th out of 26, but his return rating sits much higher at No. 10. The Swede also finished seventh overall in break points converted, at 45 per cent, which was higher than banner years of three current champions in our game.

Break Points Converted Comparison

1991 Stefan Edberg 45%
2008 Rafael Nadal 44.5%
2015 Novak Djokovic 44.2%
2005 Roger Federer 44.2%

Edberg sits 35th in career service games won at 83 per cent, but he's ranked a much higher 22nd in return games won at 30 per cent. He was really a great returner masquerading as a serve-and-volleyer.

The Swede won only one Grand Slam event in 1991, defeating six Americans in seven matches to capture the US Open. Significantly, he defeated No. 22 Michael Chang in the Round of 16, No. 3 Ivan Lendl in the semi-finals and No. 5 Jim Courier in the final – all in straight sets to win the $400,000 champion’s paycheck.

Edberg could serve and volley and crash the net with the best our sport has ever seen, but once you dig deeper into the numbers of his great game, we get a much greater appreciation of his returning skills.

Cilic, Tsonga Meet Handball Stars In Montpellier

Tue, 02/07/2017 - 7:40pm

The courts at the Open Sud de France are set for the ATP World Tour 250 tournament this week, but that doesn’t mean they can’t also be used for a little handball!

Top two seeds Marin Cilic and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga were put to the test when French handball stars Vincent Gerard and Michael Guigou joined them on Tuesday in Montpellier. Gerard and Guigou, who play for the French national team, were fresh off a World Championship win and primed to challenge the ATP stars.

Super moment avec nos champions du monde à l'@OpenSuddeFrance

Thiem, Goffin Visit Historic Sofia Site

Tue, 02/07/2017 - 7:16pm

Dominic Thiem and David Goffin are set to bid for the Garanti Koza Sofia Open crown this week in Bulgaria, but the duo took to a different venue Tuesday morning in a historic part of the city. The top two seeds visited Ancient Serdica archaeological complex for a brief hit in the capital’s Ancient Roman complex.

“It’s a special occasion, a special area,” said second seed Goffin. “I didn’t know it was such a special place here in Sofia. I saw this place and I will try to visit more if I have time this week because I heard it’s a very nice city.

“I’m really impressed by the arena, it’s big and brand new,” said the Belgian, who will face Radu Albot in his opening match in the second round on Wednesday. “It’s not going to be easy. It’s never easy to play the first match in the tournament, but I’m feeling ready.”

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Largely below street level, the historic complex covers an area of about 9,000 square metres and includes eight streets and an early Christian basilica. The two stars hit in an amphitheatre under a glass dome at the square between the Council of the Ministers and the Presidency.

“It’s an impressive arena… I hope that it’s packed when we play,” Thiem said of the tournament’s venue. “Also the city is nice so I’m happy to play my first round soon.”

The Austrian will face the winner of the match between Nikoloz Basilashvili and Adrian Mannarino in the second round.

 

The Legendary Rivalry Federer Versus Nadal

Tue, 02/07/2017 - 3:12pm
ATP World Tour Uncovered presented by Peugeot looks back on the legendary rivalry of Roger Federer versus Rafael Nadal, from their first meeting at 2004 Miami to the 2017 Australian Open.

Emirates ATP Rankings Update 6 February 2017

Tue, 02/07/2017 - 3:12pm
See how the Emirates ATP Rankings look after week five of the 2017 ATP World Tour season, on 6 February 2017.

Tickets On Sale For 2017 ATP Finals

Tue, 02/07/2017 - 3:12pm
Get your tickets today for the 2017 ATP Finals, to be held at The O2 in London from 12-19 November. ATP World Tour Uncovered presented by Peugeot looks back at the prestigious season finale.

2017 ATP Finals Tickets On Sale Watch Federer

Tue, 02/07/2017 - 10:40am
Nothing beats being there. Get your tickets now for the 2017 ATP Finals, to be held at The O2 in London from 12-19 November.

2017 ATP Finals Tickets On Sale Watch Murray

Tue, 02/07/2017 - 10:39am
Nothing beats being there. Get your tickets now for the 2017 ATP Finals, to be held at The O2 in London from 12-19 November.

2017 ATP Finals Tickets Go On Public Sale

Tue, 02/07/2017 - 9:35am

Tickets to the 2017 ATP Finals are now on public sale, the ATP announced on Tuesday. From today, fans can secure their place at the prestigious season-ending showdown from 12-19 November at The O2 in London, featuring only the best eight qualified singles players and doubles teams, by purchasing tickets at www.ATPFinals.com.

Just over a month into the 2017 ATP World Tour season, all eight qualification spots in singles and doubles remain up for grabs as players continue to battle throughout the season for a chance to compete for the last title of the year in London.

Buy Your Tickets Now

The 2017 season has got off to one of the most memorable starts in recent history, highlighted by a record-breaking Australian Open that culminated with the latest chapter of a Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal rivalry that has transcended the sport over the past 15 years.

The Swiss and Spaniard are back at the top of the Emirates ATP Race to London in first and second place respectively. Elsewhere, Grigor Dimitrov has signalled his early intent with his best start to a season to-date, capturing a title at the Brisbane International presented by Suncorp before reaching the Australian Open semi-finals. The Bulgarian currently sits in third place in the Race, followed by Stan Wawrinka in fourth place.

Last year’s ATP Finals produced a historic culmination to the season, marking the first time that the year-end No.1 ranking was on the line for both finalists in the final match of the year. Andy Murray defeated Novak Djokovic to capture his first ever season-ending crown, and in the process became only the 17th player in history to finish as year-end No.1 in the Emirates ATP Rankings (since 1973). The season-ending event has now welcomed more than 2 million fans to The O2 since it moved to London in 2009.

‘Last year’s spectacular finish to the season at The O2 will live long in the memory,’ said Chris Kermode, ATP Executive Chairman & President. ‘The 2017 season has got off to an amazing start and, with all roads leading to London in November, we look forward to welcoming another 250,000 fans to The O2 in November for our 2017season finale.’

This year’s tournament will offer a record breaking US$ 8 million in prize money. The season-ending event has been contested in major cities around the world with a rich history dating back to The Masters in 1970 in Tokyo. Since 2000, the event has taken place in cities such as Lisbon, Sydney and Shanghai, before moving to London in 2009 where it will be held through 2018.

Nadal To Join Murray In Queen's Field

Tue, 02/07/2017 - 2:42am

Rafael Nadal will join Andy Murray in the Aegon Championships at The Queen’s Club in June. The Spaniard – winner of 69 ATP World Tour singles titles, including two Wimbledon crowns – can’t wait to return to the prestigious grass-court tournament he won in 2008. 

“I am very happy to be coming back to Queen’s in June,” said Nadal, who went on to win Wimbledon for the first time nine years ago, just three weeks after his triumph at The Queen’s Club. “Winning the title in 2008 is a great memory for me, the people that organise the event at Queen’s and the British crowds are fantastic, and it is the best way for me to be ready for Wimbledon.”

Nadal’s two Wimbledon titles (’08, ’10) both followed good runs at the Aegon Championships. He reached the Wimbledon final five times between 2006 and 2011, making the quarter-finals or better at The Queen’s Club prior to each one. 

Stephen Farrow, Aegon Championships tournament director, was delighted to confirm the World No. 6 in the Emirates ATP Rankings had joined the field. “Rafa is one of the greatest tennis players of all time and one of the most popular ever to play at The Queen’s Club,” he said.

“To be able to add his name to that of the world No.1, Andy Murray, in the Aegon Championships line-up in a year when we are expanding our Centre Court capacity by 30 per cent, and just a week after reaching the final in Australia, is wonderful news for the tournament, our spectators and our sponsors.”

Tara McGregor-Woodhams, head of brand and sponsorship, Aegon UK said: “We are thrilled that Rafael Nadal has committed to playing the Aegon Championships this summer. Everyone loves watching him play, and we look forward to seeing him in June.”

The Aegon Championships will be held from June 19-25 at The Queen’s Club, London.

Chardy Topples Spanish Seed In Montpellier

Tue, 02/07/2017 - 1:18am

Frenchman Jeremy Chardy upset seventh seed Marcel Granollers 6-0, 3-6, 6-3 on Monday to start the Open Sud de France in Montpellier. The 29-year-old Chardy saved seven of nine break points against Granollers and now leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head series 3-2.

Chardy is assured of meeting a fellow Frenchman in the second round, either Paul-Henri Mathieu or lucky loser Vincent Millot.

Dustin Brown, a semi-finalist a year ago, improved to 5-3 lifetime in Montpellier with a 7-6(4), 6-3 victory against Spaniard Guillermo Garcia-Lopez. The German's win booked a second-round showdown with top seed Marin Cilic.

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Tipsarevic Continues Climb To Top 100 In Quito

Tue, 02/07/2017 - 1:00am

Former World No. 8 Janko Tipsarevic took a step closer to returning to the Top 100 on Monday with a first-round win against Spaniard Daniel Gimeno-Traver at the Ecuador Open. The Serbian wild card advanced when Gimeno-Traver retired down 1-4.

The 32-year-old Tipsarevic started the year at No. 144 in the Emirates ATP Rankings but has climbed to No. 101 after winning back-to-back ATP Challenger Tour titles in Bangkok last month. He hasn't been inside the Top 100 since April 2014 when he was No. 94.

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Tipsarevic, who's playing in his first ATP World Tour tournament since Moscow last October, will meet 2016 finalist Thomaz Bellucci of Brazil in the second round. Austrian Gerald Melzer hit 14 aces to knock off sixth seed Horacio Zeballos of Argentina 6-7(4), 6-3, 7-6(4). Colombian Santiago Giraldo won 77 per cent of his first-serve points to beat German Benjamin Becker 6-4, 6-4.

Wild card Giovanni Lapentti, playing his final ATP World Tour event, rode home-crowd support to take down No. 7 seed Thiago Monteiro, of Brazil, 6-3, 6-2. The 34-year- old from Guayaquil, who reached a career-high No. 110 in 2005, announced his would retire after this tournament and had not won a match in two prior appearances.

Giovanni will team with brother Nicolas in doubles for the final time. Nicolas was ranked as high as No. 6 in the Emirates ATP Rankings in 1999.

Albot Sets Up Goffin Meeting In Sofia

Mon, 02/06/2017 - 9:46pm

Moldovan Radu Albot kicked off main draw play at the 2017 Garanti Koza Sofia Open on Monday with a 7-6(0), 6-2 win against 19-year-old Alexandar Lazarov of Bulgaria. Albot, No. 92 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, converted all four break points against Lazarov, who received a wild card into the main draw.

The 27-year-old Albot will meet second seed David Goffin in the second round. Goffin, No. 11 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, is one of four Top 20 players at the Garanti Koza Sofia Open, along with World No. 8 Dominic Thiem, top Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov and defending champion Roberto Bautista Agut.

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Bulgarian wild cards were more fortunate in doubles. Dimitar Kuzmanov and Alexandar Lazov battled past Ariel Behar of Uruguay and Andrei Vasilevski of Belarus 6-4, 6-7(9), 10-7.