British Olympic gymnast Louis Smith visits The O2, where he won a silver medal at the London 2012 Olympics.
Denis Kudla makes a special trip to The O2 as winner of the Tecnifibre Young Guns contest.
Novak Djokovic snuffs out Rafael Nadal's last best chance to claw back into their semi-final with this amazing hot shot. Watch live matches at www.TennisTV.com
No. 8 seeds Rohan Bopanna/Florin Mergea reflect on their semi-final win.
American Denis Kudla received a cheque for $50,000 on Friday at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London, as a result of winning Tecnifibre's inaugural 'Young Guns Contest'.
Starting in May this year, four young players - including France's Jules Marie, Canada's Filip Peliwo, Japan's Hiroki Moriya and Kudla - took part in a competition based on on-court results and social network performances.
"I'm extremely proud to have won the Young Guns contest," said Kudla, who was first sponsored by Tecnifibre in 2008. "The support of my fans at the tournaments and on social media allowed me to obtain the results I achieved. Thank you to my fans and particularly to Tecnifibre for the incredible opportunity. This reward is a precious help for the continuation of my career. I will be able to stand on my own two feet and have a full-time coach."
Kudla reached a career-high No. 65 in the Emirates ATP Rankings on 12 October 2015 and advanced to the Wimbledon fourth round (l. to Cilic) and Atlanta semi-finals (l. to Isner). He grew his social fan base by three times and now has 10,000 followers on Twitter.
Thierry Maissant, the CEO of Tecnifibre and Chris Kermode, the ATP Executive Chairman & President, presented Kudla his prize. Earlier in the day, the American walked to the top of The O2, venue of the season finale.
"The first season of the Young Guns Contest was a success," explained Geoffroy Bourbon, ATP Vice President Sales & Sponsorship. "The four participants were extremely active in playing the game. Denis had an excellent season. He showed the world the daily life on tour and shared his good results with his community."
Novak Djokovic turned in a comprehensive performance in reaching a fourth consecutive final at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, defeating rival Rafael Nadal 6-3, 6-3 in 79 minutes on Saturday. It was a record 46th encounter in their storied careers.
Three-time defending champion Djokovic will look to retain his crown when he faces either Roger Federer or Stan Wawrinka on Sunday, in what will be his 85th tour-level final. With his consecutive finals reached streak up to 15 tournaments, the Serb is seeking to hoist his 11th trophy of 2015 - a career high in a single season. Moreover, Djokovic has become the first player to claim 30 match wins against Top 10 opponents in a single season.
"I served well especially in the first set," said Djokovic. "Second set maybe I dropped that first-serve percentage. Again, I was not too skeptical about the fact that I dropped the percentage of the first serves because I was backing that up with the baseline play, especially the quality of the first shot was really good today. Even though when I was missing first serves, I knew that with a good second serve, I give myself a very good chance from the back of the court with Nadal today, even though he has played well given the results and the matches he won during the week. I still felt like today I could have done most of the things that I intended to do."
Under the bright lights of The O2 on a Saturday afternoon in London, it was imperative for Nadal to make early in-roads in the Djokovic serve. He had broken his opponent's first service game in all three matches this week, against Andy Murray, Stan Wawrinka and David Ferrer, but the Serb would hold at 40/30 to open the match.
Djokovic was on the attack immediately against Nadal's own serve, pouncing on a short second serve for a return winner in the very first point and breaking to love for a quick 2-0 lead. The Belgrade native struck 12 winners and just one unforced error through the first three games.
Nadal, who was coming off a grueling two-hour and 37-minute battle against countryman Ferrer on Friday, struggled to create space and open the court for his groundstrokes. Djokovic was in control at the baseline, dictating play on his own terms and most importantly refusing to yield an inch on his own serve, claiming 20 of 27 points. With football legend David Beckham in attendance, he wrapped up an efficient opening set in 34 minutes.November 21, 2015
Patterns persisted in the second set, with Djokovic using his agility to stand tall on the baseline and he would break for 3-2 after a 25-shot rally. The Serb launched a backhand winner down-the-line on the run to give him his first match point at 5-3 and he would capitalise with another backhand winner - this time going cross-court. In total, he won 89 per cent of first serve points and launched 24 winners. The top seed converted on three of five break points without facing one on his serve.
The last time the pair met was in the China Open final, with Djokovic notching his sixth Beijing title 6-2, 6-2. With Saturday's win, he drew level at 23-23 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series. They hold the record for the most meetings between two players in the Open Era. The Serb is now 8-1 against the Spaniard since the 2013 US Open.
"He was better than me and he deserved to do what he did during the whole season," said Nadal. "He played just fantastic.
He joked: "When somebody's playing like this, just the only thing I can do is congratulate him and wish not the best of luck for the next year."
The Spaniard finishes the season with three titles (Hamburg, Stuttgart, Buenos Aires) from six finals. He amassed 61 match wins, including 11 at the Grand Slam stage and 21 in ATP World Tour Masters 1000 events."Everyone has a different motivation. I never practice thinking what do I have to do to beat Novak, what do I have to do to beat Roger. My motivation has always been just personal, that I want to improve myself, I want to be better. That's what I going to try to keep doing. So my motivation and my goal is try to keep being in that top league, that is the Top 5, Top 4 of the world. That's my goal, and we'll see if I am able to keep doing this.
"2016 is going to be a new year. Hopefully a better one for me. We'll see."
Watch Hot Shot as Florin Mergea scores with the forehand. Watch live tennis at tennistv.com.
Rohan Bopanna and Florin Mergea needed just 59 minutes to turn aside 2014 finalists Ivan Dodig and Marcelo Melo 6-4, 6-2 in Saturday's semi-finals at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals.
The Indian-Romanian pair converted on all four break point chances, ending the hopes of Dodig and Melo to finish year-end World No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Doubles Team Rankings. They are the first eighth seeds to reach the final at the season finale since Mariusz Fyrstenberg and Marcin Matkowski in 2011.
After securing the lone break of the first set in the fifth game, Bopanna and Mergea were poised to run away with the match following another break for 2-1 in the second. But Dodig and Melo looked to make one last stand, breaking back immediately to pull level. Their momentum would be short lived, however, as the eighth seeds broke once again in the fifth game with a Mergea rifled forehand winner down the middle of the court. They would break a third time in the set two games later as Mergea again struck a beautiful forehand pass. After qualifying for the tournament on the last day of the regular season, the duo will be competing for the ATP World Tour's biggest prize on Sunday. They exacted revenge on the Croatian and the Brazilian following two defeats this year in the quarter-finals of both Cincinnati and Paris.
Bopanna and Mergea, who teamed up for the first time in April, will contest their fifth final together. They lifted the trophy at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event in Madrid and on the grass of Stuttgart, while finishing runners-up in Casablanca and Halle. Bopanna will be appearing in his second title match at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, having reached the final alongside countryman Mahesh Bhupathi in 2012 (l. to Granollers/Lopez). The result means that the evening’s other semi-final between top seeds Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan and second seeds Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau will determine which team finishes the year No. 1.
Conventional wisdom says that the serve is the most important shot in tennis. The more astute tennis fan knows that quite the opposite is true.
After crunching the numbers from more than 60 tournaments on the ATP World Tour in 2015, Infosys ATP Beyond The Numbers shows that the return of serve is what really counts.
In 2015, none of the Top 3 players in the Service Games Won category made it to the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London. Yet the Top 4 players on the list of Return Games won – David Ferrer, Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray - all made it to The O2.Player Return Game Win % Matches 1 David Ferrer 35% 66 2 Novak Djokovic 34% 82 3 Rafael Nadal 31% 76 4 Andy Murray 31% 74 5 Gilles Simon 31% 63 8 Roger Federer 27% 67 9 Kei Nishikori 27% 63
Ferrer, who won five titles in 2015, topped the list by winning 35 percent of services games in 2015, followed by Djokovic with 34 and Nadal and Murray, both at 31 percent. Two others players in the Top 10 of this category also made it to The O2: Roger Federer and Kei Nishikori, who won 27 percent of their return games in 2015.
Looking at the Service Games won leaders of 2015, ace king Ivo Karlovic stood as tall as his 6’ 11’ frame by holding 96 out of every 100 services games in a season in which he also fired 1,447 aces. That put him tantalisingly close to Goran Ivanisevic’s season-record of 1477 in 1996.
Second was Canada’s Milos Raonic, who won 94 percent of his service games, while American John Isner, who fired 1,260 aces this year, held 93 percent of service games. But only Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic (who were among the best returners of the year), were the only members of the Top 5 list of service games won to make it to London.Player Service Game Win % Matches 1 Ivo Karlovic 96% 63 2 Milos Raonic 94% 47 3 John Isner 93% 68 4 Roger Federer 93% 67 5 Novak Djokovic 90% 82
On a more granular level, the percentage of points won on serve and against serve also supports the argument that good returning trumps great serving.
Six of the Top 7 players on the list of Points Won Returning Second Serve qualified for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals: Novak Djokovic topped the list, winning 57 percent of all second-serve return points, followed by Andy Murray and David Ferrer on 56 percent, Tomas Berdych on 55 percent. Rafael Nadal and Kei Nishikori were tied for sixth with 53 percent.
Ferrer, Djokovic, Nadal, Murray and Federer also occupied the top five places on the list of Points Won Returning 1st Serves. In contrast, Federer and Berdych were the only London qualifiers among the year’s Top 10 list for Most Points Won On First Serve.Player Points Won Returning 1st Serve Matches 1 David Ferrer 35% 66 2 Novak Djokovic 33% 82 3 Rafael Nadal 33% 76 4 Andy Murray 33% 74 5 Roger Federer 33% 67
The importance of winning points on second serves was a slightly different story. Novak Djokovic led that list with a 60% success rate. Roger Federer finished 3rd with 58 percent. Further back was Stan Wawrinka in eighth, Rafael Nadal in ninth and Tomas Berdych in 10th spot.
But success winning points returning second serves still proved to be even more important, with six of the top seven places on the list all being occupied by London qualifiers, led by Djokovic, who won 57 percent of points when returning second serves.Player Points Won Returning 2nd Serve
Matches 1 Novak Djokovic 57% 82 2 Andy Murray 56% 74 3 David Ferrer 56% 66 4 Tomas Berdych 55% 76 5 Gilles Simon 55% 63 6 Rafael Nadal 53% 76 7 Kei Nishikori 53% 63
John Isner chooses between basketball or American football, steak or sushi and horror or comedy as he strolls to visit sponsors at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals.
Power thumped precision. Stan Wawrinka defeated Andy Murray 7-6(4), 6-4 at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals on Friday night, primarily by pulverizing the ball with every single shot in the book.
Wawrinka punched his place into Saturday's semi-final against Roger Federer with a stunning display of power tennis, especially sending a message at the start of the match with his ferocious groundstrokes.
After the first three games, Wawrinka’s average forehand speed was a high-octane 80 miles per hour (mph), 11 mph faster than Murray’s average of 69 mph. Wawrinka pole-axed everything he could lay his hands on, setting the evening’s terms of engagement without saying a word.
Wawrinka was also getting after his backhand as well, averaging a substantial 75 mph, to Murray’s 68 mph. Wawrinka’s power tennis created sensational winners, and the atmosphere of a heavy-weight fight at the packed O2 arena.
The crowd were instantly engaged with Wawrinka’s angry groundstrokes, and the place buzzed with electricity and massive applause for both players as they stared each other down with raw power.
Murray responded to the early onslaught by upping his speed, effectively matching Wawrinka blow-for-blow. After seven games, Murray had increased his average forehand speed from 69 mph to 74 mph, taking the sting out Wawrinka’s forehand, which dropped from an average of 80 mph to 75 mph.
Wawrinka broke for a 5-3 lead in the first set, but was broken right back, and skipped his racquet from around the baseline to his chair in disgust at not putting Murray away.
There are several key elements to Wawrinka’s stunning power, including coiling his upper body so well against his lower body, pure racket-head acceleration, exceptional balance, and a conviction to make the ball feel like it’s made out of lead when the opponent tries to hit it back.
Half way through the second set, Wawrinka increased the power level again to race to the finish line. His forehand speed had risen to 77 mph, while Murray’s had slightly dropped back to 71 mph.
Wawrinka found the most separation in speed going backhand-to-backhand, averaging 73 mph to Murray’s 65 mph at the half-way point of the second set.
Wawrinka hit 73 per cent of his backhands cross court for the match, landing 14 per cent in the service box, 28 per cent closer to the back half of the court between the service line and the baseline, and 58 per cent around mid-court, closer to the service line than the baseline.
With Wawrinka serving for the match at 5-4, he quickly fell behind 0/30, but a raking 95 mph cross court forehand was simply too big for Murray to handle, dumping it in net on full defence.
Wawrinka would escape a 15/40 hole at 5-4, and with the score at deuce, Murray destroyed his racket after Wawrinka put away an overhead to move to match point.
The pressure cooker that the power created simply boiled over, and Wawrinka would win the match a few points later when Murray a missed a cross court backhand wide. Overall, Wawrinka hit 27 winners to Murray’s 22, with raw power being the primary weapon of choice.
It was not a good day serving for the Swiss, only making a lowly 45 per cent of his first serves, but when they did go in, his accuracy close to the lines was impeccable.
Infosys Match Insights showed that Wawrinka hit 87 per cent of his first serves within two feet of the edge of the service box.
Serving in the deuce court, Wawrinka landed 10/10 in the two-foot target close to the center line, and 3/5 sliding out wide. In the Ad court, Wawrinka pin-pointed 9/10 down the middle close to the line, and 5/9 kicking out wide to Murray’s backhand.
Wawrinka has always been a player that does not necessarily make the most first serves, but wins a substantial amount (75 per cent against Murray) when they do go in.
Wawrinka won a very healthy 59 per cent of his second serves (Murray 48 per cent), again using pace as a key weapon. Wawrinka's fastest second serve for the match was 111 mph, 14 mph faster than Murray’s 97 mph.
On the slow end of the scale on second serves, Wawrinka only dipped down to 90 mph, while Murray clocked a very pedestrian 77 mph.
Wawrinka’s power game will be on display this evening against Federer, and the same bruising tactics will surely be employed.
Craig O'Shannessy uses extensive tagging, metrics and formulas to uncover the patterns and percentages behind the game. Read more at www.braingametennis.com.
Watch highlights as Roger Federer downs Stan Wawrinka to join Novak Djokovic in the final. Watch live tennis at tennistv.com.
The ATP and Le Sports have announced a new partnership which sees China’s revolutionary digital sports broadcasting company become Official Online Video Partner and Platinum Partner of the ATP World Tour, as well as the season-ending Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, for a five-year period beginning in 2016.
In addition, through ATP Media, broadcast arm of the ATP, Le Sports has acquired the exclusive digital media rights to the ATP World Tour Masters 1000s and 500 tournaments in China over the same period.
Le Sports will bring live action of more than 20 of the biggest tournaments on the ATP World Tour, as well as the ATP’s weekly magazine TV show, ATP World Tour Uncovered, offering fans unique behind-the-scenes access of the ATP World Tour to a rapidly growing audience on its digital platforms.
Chris Kermode, ATP Executive Chairman & President, said: “As we continue to focus our efforts on expansion in the digital media sphere, the ATP is delighted to have reached this agreement with Le Sports that will help us to reach and connect with new audiences in one of our most important markets. We look forward to a successful partnership over the next five years.”
Mr. Lei Zhenjian, CEO of Le Sports, said: “As the world’s premier tennis organization, ATP World Tour and its events are extremely popular in China. Connectivity is the key function of the Internet, we hope our cooperation can help more people connect with sports, and generate more exchange between China and the world’s sports industry. We hope that with Le Sports’ unique internet eco-system and by joining forces with ATP World Tour, we can help further promote the sport of tennis in China, provide enhanced watching experience to Chinese fans, and encourage more people to play and enjoy this amazing sport.”
Mark Webster, CEO, ATP Media, said: “We are delighted that Le Sports have acquired the digital rights in China to the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 and 500 events along with our season finale, the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. We have no doubt that Le Sports will provide the passion and superb production values required to showcase the finest male tennis players competing in the world’s most exciting venues.” As with all our broadcasters, we look forward to a collaborative relationship where ATP Media can offer the extra service which serves as the benchmark in the sports broadcast industry.”
As part of the partnership, Le Sports will receive on-court branding at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals and will also become the presenting sponsor of the video section on the Tour’s flagship website, ATPWorldTour.com, the No.1 tennis digital portal which recorded 325 million visits in 2014.
Le Sports recently have acquired a number of media rights deals in 2015, including the rights to Wimbledon from 2016-2018, in addition to exclusive rights to English soccer’s Premier League in Hong Kong from 2016-2019.
Bob and Mike Bryan are honoured at The O2 after winning the ATP Fans' Favourite and Arthur Ashe Humanitarian Awards.
Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau reflect on finishing as the year-end World No. 1 doubles team after winning their semi-final match at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals.
The Wanted's Tom Parker talks about his love of tennis, his run on Celebrity Masterchef and more during a visit to the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals on Friday.
Roger Federer takes down countryman Stan Wawrinka to set up a meeting with Novak Djokovic.
Watch Hot Shot as Roger Federer hits every backhand shot in the book to beat Stan Wawrinka. Watch live tennis at tennistv.com.
Novak Djokovic reflects on his semi-final win over Rafael Nadal.
Djokovic and Federer set up fitting finale