December 10, 2016

Kathy Rinaldi Named US Fed Cup Captain

From the USTA: WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., December 8, 2016 – The USTA announced that Kathy Rinaldi has been named U.S. Fed Cup Captain. This announcement coincides with an expansion of the captain’s role. In this redefined position, the U.S. Fed Cup Captain will more closely work with Team USA players throughout the WTA Tour year, as well as support players in the offseason. Rinaldi will also work hand-in-hand with all departments of the USTA, including Player Development, to achieve maximum results. Mary Joe Fernandez previously held the position of U.S. Fed Cup Captain, stepping down in October, after 8 years at the post.

“Kathy brings a rare combination of skills to the Fed Cup captaincy. She was a top-ten player when competing on the WTA Tour and now is a top-flight coach with impeccable credentials. Kathy already commands the respect and confidence of the U.S. players. This coupled with her leadership experience, and winning mentality makes her the ideal individual to ensure that the team is best composed, and best prepared, to compete with whatever opponent is across the net,” said Katrina Adams, Chairman of the Board and President, USTA. “Just as importantly, Kathy understands the significance of working with our Community Tennis group to promote the game at the youth level – which will only help to recruit and develop the next generation of Fed Cup and Davis Cup players for the United States.”

Rinaldi, 49, was ranked as high as No. 7 in the world in singles (May 1986) and No. 13 in the world in doubles (February 1993). In 1981, she became the youngest player to win a match at Wimbledon (14 years, 91 days), a record that stood until 1990. She also reached the quarterfinals of the French Open in 1981, at age 14, and again in 1987. Rinaldi advanced to the singles semifinals of Wimbledon in 1985 and reached the doubles semifinals of the 1985 US Open, the 1987 French Open, and the Australian Open in 1991 and 1993. She won three WTA singles titles and two doubles titles in her career. She received the WTA Newcomer of the Year honor in her rookie season in 1981 at age 14, as well as a WTA Comeback Player of the Year award in 1989 after suffering an injury in 1987. Rinaldi also competed for the U.S. vs. Great Britain in the Wightman Cup competition, winning in 1983, ’85-86.

As a coach, Rinaldi currently serves as Lead National Coach, Team USA – Pro Women for USTA Player Development, focused on helping American pros achieve Top-100 rankings. She has coached the U.S. to multiple junior international team competition titles, including the 16-and-under Junior Fed Cup (2012, 2014) and the 14-and-under World Junior Tennis (2009-10), and coached the U.S. women in the Pan-American Games in 2015. Rinaldi has also coached a multitude of American junior and pro women on either a primary or supplemental basis, and was named the U.S. Olympic Committee’s National Coach of the Year for tennis in 2011.

“The change in the role of the Fed Cup Captain is part of the USTA’s attempt to align all of our divisions for the greatest benefit of American tennis,” said Stacey Allaster, Chief Executive, Professional Tennis, USTA. “In Kathy, we have someone that understands the importance of this, as well as someone uniquely qualified and equipped to work with players throughout the year, benefitting the overall development of American professionals, while at the same time raising the level of the U.S. Fed Cup team.”

“This is an unbelievable opportunity, and I am incredibly excited and honored to take on the position of U.S. Fed Cup Captain. I believe that my experiences as both a player and a coach have given me insight that will help me to succeed in this role and can assist in getting the U.S. Fed Cup team to the next level.” said Kathy Rinaldi, Fed Cup Captain and Lead National Coach, Team USA – Pro Women. “I look forward to working closely with the players throughout the year as we move forward in our goal of bringing the Fed Cup back to the United States.”

 

Related article:

Approach Shots – Q & A with USTA Player Development GM Martin Blackman

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Andy Murray and Angelique Kerber Lead Australian Open Fields as Acceptance Lists are Announced

 

(December 8, 2016) The world’s top 99 men and 99 women are confirmed for Australian Open 2017 in January.

 

The two new world No.1s – defending Australian Open champion Angelique Kerber and five-time finalist Andy Murray – will be top seeds in Melbourne, a sign of the changing of the guard in world tennis.

 

The all-star player field will also feature six-time champion, No.2 Novak Djokovic, who’ll be aiming to hoist the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup for a record seventh time. Six-time Australian Open champion Serena Williams (USA) also has an eye on the record books as she begins her campaign for a 23rd Major singles title, to surpass Steffi Graff and set a new record for the Open Era.

 

The only name missing from the women’s draw is two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka, who in July announced she was expecting her first child.

 

Players expected to use protected rankings include former world No.2 Tommy Haas (GER), Dmitry Tursunov (RUS), Jerzy Janowicz (POL) and Australia’s Thanasi Kokkinakis.

 

On the women’s side Karin Knapp (ITA) and Galina Voskoboeva (KAZ) will enter on protected rankings.

 

Australian Open Tournament Director Craig Tiley is looking forward to welcoming the world’s best players to Melbourne in January.

 

“We have an exceptionally strong field for Australian Open 2017, and it’s exciting to welcome two new world No.1s, and two new top seeds in Angie [Kerber] and Andy [Murray].

 

“We have been in regular contact with Roger [Federer] and Rafa [Nadal] and both are ready and excited for the Aussie summer, with Roger heading to Perth and Rafa to Brisbane for the first time.

 

“Like all the players, they can’t wait to get to Melbourne and start the year off well. We’re very excited about the changes onsite, and as always we have a few more surprises.

 

“The players already appreciate how close Melbourne Park is to the city, and how easy it is to get around. With the new bridge in place, and the whole precinct now facing the CBD, it’s even more convenient and I have no doubt all the players and fans will have a great time,” Tiley continued.

 

There will be 16 male qualifiers and 12 female qualifiers added to each draw, along with eight wildcards.

 

 

Women’s main draw wildcards (as at 8 December 2016)

 

US reciprocal: Kayla Day (USA)
French reciprocal: Myrtille Georges (FRA)
Asia Pacific Play-off: Luksika Kumkhum (THA)
Discretionary: Lizette Cabrera (AUS)
Discretionary x 4: TBC

 

 

Men’s main draw wildcards (as at 8 December 2016)

 

US reciprocal: Michael Mmoh (USA)
French reciprocal: Quentin Halys (FRA)
Asia Pacific Play-off: Denis Istomin (UZB)
Discretionary x 5: TBC

 

 

Men’s main draw acceptance list

 

ATP Rank First Name Last Name Nation
1 Andy Murray GBR
2 Novak Djokovic SRB
3 Milos Raonic CAN
4 Stan Wawrinka SUI
5 Kei Nishikori JPN
6 Marin Cilic CRO
7 Gael Monfils FRA
8 Dominic Thiem AUT
9 Rafael Nadal ESP
10 Tomas Berdych CZE
11 David Goffin BEL
12 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga FRA
13 Nick Kyrgios AUS
14 Roberto Bautista Agut ESP
15 Lucas Pouille FRA
16 Roger Federer SUI
17 Grigor Dimitrov BUL
18 Richard Gasquet FRA
19 John Isner USA
21 David Ferrer ESP
22 Pablo Cuevas URU
23 Jack Sock USA
24 Alexander Zverev GER
25 Gilles Simon FRA
25* Tommy Haas GER
26 Bernard Tomic AUS
27 Albert Ramos-Vinolas ESP
28 Feliciano Lopez ESP
29 Viktor Troicki SRB
30 Pablo Carreno Busta ESP
31 Sam Querrey USA
32 Philipp Kohlschreiber GER
33 Steve Johnson USA
34 Gilles Muller LUX
35 Martin Klizan SVK
36 Marcos Baghdatis CYP
37 Marcel Granollers ESP
38 Juan Martin del Potro ARG
39 Nicolas Mahut FRA
40 Paolo Lorenzi ITA
41 Federico Delbonis ARG
42 Fernando Verdasco ESP
43 Joao Sousa POR
44 Nicolas Almagro ESP
45 Kyle Edmund GBR
46 Andrey Kuznetsov RUS
47 Benoit Paire FRA
48 Borna Coric CRO
49 Fabio Fognini ITA
50 Florian Mayer GER
51 Mischa Zverev GER
52 Diego Schwartzman ARG
53 Karen Khachanov RUS
54 Stephane Robert FRA
55 Jiri Vesely CZE
56 Facundo Bagnis ARG
57 Mikhail Youzhny RUS
57* Tommy Robredo ESP
58 Malek Jaziri TUN
59 Robin Haase NED
60 Adrian Mannarino FRA
61 Thomaz Bellucci BRA
62 Alexandr Dolgopolov UKR
63 Jan-Lennard Struff GER
64 Yen-Hsun Lu TPE
65 Juan Monaco ARG
66 Daniel Evans GBR
67 Kevin Anderson RSA
68 Gerald Melzer AUT
69 Jeremy Chardy FRA
70 Guillermo Garcia-Lopez ESP
71 Horacio Zeballos ARG
72 Dustin Brown GER
73 Paul-Henri Mathieu FRA
74 Illya Marchenko UKR
75 Adam Pavlasek CZE
76 Taylor Fritz USA
77 Damir Dzumhur BIH
78 Pierre-Hugues Herbert FRA
79 Jordan Thompson AUS
80 Guido Pella ARG
81 Gastao Elias POR
81* Thanasi Kokkinakis AUS
82 Thiago Monteiro BRA
83 Renzo Olivo ARG
84 John Millman AUS
85 Konstantin Kravchuk RUS
86 Steve Darcis BEL
87 Andreas Seppi ITA
88 Donald Young USA
89 Mikhail Kukushkin KAZ
89* Dmitry Tursunov RUS
90 Ryan Harrison USA
91 Santiago Giraldo COL
92 Ricardas Berankis LTU
93 Dusan Lajovic SRB
94 Nikoloz Basilashvili GEO
94* Jerzy Janowicz POL
95 Carlos Berlocq ARG
96 Dudi Sela ISR
98 Rogerio Dutra Silva BRA
99 Daniil Medvedev RUS

*Denotes protected ranking

 

 

Women’s main draw acceptance list

 

WTA rank First Name Last Name Nation
1 Angelique Kerber GER
2 Serena Williams USA
3 Agnieszka Radwanska POL
4 Simona Halep ROU
5 Dominika Cibulkova SVK
6 Karolina Pliskova CZE
7 Garbiñe Muguruza ESP
8 Madison Keys USA
9 Svetlana Kuznetsova RUS
10 Johanna Konta GBR
11 Petra Kvitova CZE
12 Carla Suárez Navarro ESP
14 Elina Svitolina UKR
15 Timea Bacsinszky SUI
16 Elena Vesnina RUS
17 Venus Williams USA
18 Roberta Vinci ITA
19 Caroline Wozniacki DEN
20 Barbora Strycova CZE
21 Samantha Stosur AUS
22 Kiki Bertens NED
23 Shuai Zhang CHN
24 Caroline Garcia FRA
25 Daria Gavrilova AUS
26 Daria Kasatkina RUS
27 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova RUS
28 Timea Babos HUN
29 Irina-Camelia Begu ROU
30 Ekaterina Makarova RUS
31 Laura Siegemund GER
32 Monica Puig PUR
33 Yulia Putintseva KAZ
34 Anastasija Sevastova LAT
35 Sloane Stephens USA
36 Coco Vandeweghe USA
37 Yaroslava Shvedova KAZ
38 Monica Niculescu ROU
39 Alison Riske USA
40 Misaki Doi JPN
41 Alizé Cornet FRA
42 Kristina Mladenovic FRA
43 Belinda Bencic SUI
44 Jelena Ostapenko LAT
45 Christina McHale USA
45* Karin Knapp ITA
46 Eugenie Bouchard CAN
47 Ana Konjuh CRO
48 Naomi Osaka JPN
49 Sara Errani ITA
50 Johanna Larsson SWE
51 Annika Beck GER
52 Katerina Siniakova CZE
53 Julia Goerges GER
54 Jelena Jankovic SRB
55 Andrea Petkovic GER
56 Viktorija Golubic SUI
57 Lesia Tsurenko UKR
58 Yanina Wickmayer BEL
59 Shelby Rogers USA
60 Kristyna Pliskova CZE
61 Lauren Davis USA
62 Lucie Safarova CZE
63 Ana Ivanovic SRB
64 Tsvetana Pironkova BUL
64* Galina Voskoboeva KAZ
65 Kirsten Flipkens BEL
66 Lara Arruabarrena ESP
67 Anna-Lena Friedsam GER
68 Louisa Chirico USA
69 Kateryna Bondarenko UKR
70 Pauline Parmentier FRA
71 Danka Kovinic MNE
72 Qiang Wang CHN
73 Madison Brengle USA
74 Oceane Dodin FRA
75 Catherine Bellis USA
76 Heather Watson GBR
77 Cagla Buyukakcay TUR
78 Kurumi Nara JPN
79 Vania King USA
80 Sorana Cirstea ROU
81 Mirjana Lucic-Baroni CRO
82 Kristina Kucova SVK
83 Camila Giorgi ITA
84 Shuai Peng CHN
85 Saisai Zheng CHN
86 Evgeniya Rodina RUS
87 Carina Witthoeft GER
88 Nicole Gibbs USA
89 Varvara Lepchenko USA
90 Naomi Broady GBR
91 Denisa Allertova CZE
92 Sabine Lisicki GER
93 Irina Khromacheva RUS
94 Nao Hibino JPN
95 Magda Linette POL
96 Risa Ozaki JPN
97 Maria Sakkari GRE
98 Irina Falconi USA
99 Jana Cepelova SVK
100 Donna Vekic CRO
101 Kateryna Kozlova UKR
102 Francesca Schiavone ITA
103 Ying-Ying Duan CHN
104 Mandy Minella LUX
105 Marina Erakovic NZL
106 Sara Sorribes Tormo ESP
107 Patricia Maria Tig ROU

*Denotes protected ranking

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Tennis Channel To Recap 2016 Season

mary carillo

Mary Carillo to Host Men’s and Women’s
Year in Review December 12 at 8 p.m. ET
LOS ANGELES, December 6, 2016 -Tennis Channel is doubling its Year in Review coverage in 2016 by airing two hour-long shows dedicated to both the men’s and women’s tours, respectively. The network will debut the women’s Year in Review on December 12, at 8 p.m. ET, which will be immediately followed by the ATP Year in Review at 9 p.m. ET.
Both editions will be hosted by Mary Carillo, who will be joined by Hall of Famers Tracy Austin (@thetracyaustin) and Lindsay Davenport (@LDavenport76), and former players and coaches Justin Gimelstob (@justingimelstob) and Paul Annacone (@paul_annacone). The panel will discuss the season’s most compelling storylines, which include Maria Sharapova’s suspension following a failed drug test, Stan Wawrinka’s upset of Novak Djokovic in the US Open final and Andy Murray becoming the year-end No. 1. Along with a recap of the 2016 season’s biggest news, “Player of the Year” will be named for both the WTA and ATP tours. Additionally, over the course of the evening, the team will look ahead to 2017 and discuss what to expect when play resumes in January.
This is the second installment of Tennis Channel’s Year in Review but it is the first time the network is devoting an hour to each of the two professional tours. Last year, Tennis Channel named Novak Djokovic as “Player of the Year” and the US Open semifinal between Roberta Vinci and Serena Williams as “Match of the Year.”
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Argentina Rallies to Win First Davis Cup Title

 

 

(November 27, 2016) Argentina rallied from a 1-2 deficit going into the final day to beat Croatia 3-2 to win their first Davis Cup title on Sunday in Zagreb.

In reverse singles, world No. 38 Juan Martin del Potro came back from two sets down for the very first time in his career to beat No. 6 Marin Cilic 6-7 (4), 2-6, 7-5, 6-4, 6-3 in four-hours and fifty-three minutes to level the tie in the opening match at 2-2.

Frederico Delbonis clinched the title for Argentina with a 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 two-hour and nine-minute win over No. 20 Ivo Karlovic in Arena Zagreb.

This was the fifth Davis final in which Argentina participated. They lost in 1981, 2006, 2008 and 2011.

Croatia was trying to win their second title. They were victorious in 2005.

Argentina is only the third team since the World Group began in 1981, to come back from a 1-2 deficit to win the title.

The southpaw, No. 41 Delbonis said “This is fabulous.” “We somewhat felt we could do it despite trailing after the doubles.”

“We played with our heart and tried to do the best.”

 

 

“I was calm, I hoped all the time that I could win and I did it,” said Del Potro to media.  The 2009 US Open champion injured his pinky in the fifth set. “I’m very happy to hand my team a chance of a victory.”

“It is very difficult to lose such an important match,” Cilic said of the almost five-hour match. “I feel a lot of disappointment.”

“After losing the third set, I was still confident I could win as he looked tired,” Cilic said. “I started pushing a bit too hard, handing him a chance for a comeback.”

 

“We did what we had to do,” said Argentina’s Davis cup coach Daniel Orsanic. “We could have lost, but the guys were amazing today. Juan Martin won an incredible match and Federico played the best match of his life. I dreamed for this so many times.”

DAVIS CUP
2016 World Group Final
CROATIA 1, ARGENTINA 1
Venue: Arena Zagreb, Croatia

Marin Cilic (CRO) d. Federico Delbonis (ARG) 6-3, 7-5, 3-6, 1-6, 6-2
Juan Martin del Potro (ARG) d. Ivo Karlovic (CRO) 6-4, 6-7(6), 6-3, 7-5
Ivan Dodig / Marin Cilic (CRO) d. Leonardo Mayer / Juan Martin del Potro (ARG) 7-6(2), 7-6(4), 6-3
Juan Martin del Potro (ARG) d. Marin Cilic (CRO) 6-7 (4), 2-6, 7-5, 6-4, 6-3
Federico Delbonis (ARG) d. Ivo Karlovic (CRO) 6-3, 6-4, 6-2

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Andy Murray Beats Novak Djokovic to Claim ATP Year-End Title and World No. 1

Andy Murray

Andy Murray

(November 20, 2016) Andy Murray reached two milestones on Sunday in London’s O2 Arena – he beat Novak Djokovic to win his first ATP World Tour Finals title and sealed the No. 1 spot for 2016.

The three-time major champion beat Novak Djokovic 6-3, 6-4. It marked the first time in ATP World Tour history that the No. 1 ranking was on the line for both players in the final match of the ATP Tour’s season.
It was also the first time since Lisbon in 2000 that the year-end No. 1 ranking was decided in the final when Brazil’s Gustavo Kuerten beat Andre Agassi in the final to finish at No. 1 ahead of Marat Safin.

“I would like to try and stay there, obviously,” Murray said of his top ranking.  “It’s taken a huge effort the last five, six months to get there. I would obviously like to stay there. I’m aware that’s going to be extremely difficult because I had a great year this year. I only managed to do it by one match. To repeat that again next year is going to be extremely difficult.

“But now that I’ve got there, I obviously would be motivated to try and stay in that position. But yeah, I mean, the majors are what gets me working hard and what really, really motivates me.

“When I go away in December to train, I’m training with the Australian Open in mind. Because of the best-of-five-set matches, they’re the ones you have to really put in the extra work for and the extra training for. That’s what motivates me.”
The 29-year-old spot leapfrogged Djokovic for the No. 1 ranking on November 7, when he won the Paris Masters event.

Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic

“I expected him to play on a high level, said the 29-year-old Serb. “As I said yesterday after my semifinals, I didn’t expect him to be too tired.

“But I just played very poorly, made a lot of unforced errors from the backhand side. It just wasn’t my day. On the other hand, credit to Andy for being mentally tough and playing the right shots, making me play extra shots in every rally. He definitely deserved to win.”

 

“Well, right now the goal is just to rest a little bit,” Djokovic said in his post-match news conference. “It’s been a long season, a very nice year, a lot to reflect on, a lot to take in. But, you know, it’s time to leave the racquet aside for a little bit, just recover, then I’ll start thinking about next season.”
The last five, six months have not been ideal. Surely, you know, I could have maybe done slightly better in some tournaments. Nevertheless, I played finals of US Open, finals here. It’s still pretty good playing finals. Even though I set a high standard for myself, especially the last couple years, I’m very grateful to have had the career that I’ve had.

“But, you know, sometimes it’s just normal, I guess, to experience, to live these kind of things, not to have the half seasons as well as you want them to be, as well as they’ve been in the last three, four years. That’s all, you know.

“Surely there were things I could have done better on the court. I know that. It was also a tough season considering there were Olympic Games. I’ve just been through so much emotions in the first six months with Roland Garros in place. I needed some time to really take it all in, digest it. But I didn’t have that time. I had to a few weeks later be on the court right away. I guess that all had its toll.

“Right now I’m actually looking forward to have a month and a half with no tournaments. That’s something that is a luxury in the men’s tennis.”

 

For Murray, it’s been a career year, winning a second Wimbledon title, defending his Olympic gold and claiming three Masters Series titles. He was victorious in 8 finals and now has a total of 44 career titles. He’s on a 24-match win streak. He completed the year at 78-9.
“It’s a very special day, playing against Novak in a match like this,” said Murray. “We’ve played in Grand Slam finals, Olympics and matches like this – it’s been a tough rivalry. I’ve lost many of them, but I am happy to have got the win today to clinch the year-end No. 1. It’s very special, it’s something that I never expected. My team and family have been a great help, making a lot of sacrifices for me and my tennis. I’d like to congratulate Novak on everything he has achieved this year.”

Andy’s older brother, Jamie Murray and his partner Bruno Soares claimed the year end No. 1 doubles ranking as a team. This marks the first time in the history of the official ATP rankings that two brothers have finished year-end No. 1 in singles and doubles in the same season.
“These next few years, obviously I want to try and make them the best of my career, yeah, try and win as much as I can,” Murray said. “But it’s going to be tough because as you get older, you know, the young guys are going to keep improving and getting better. There’s some really good young ones now.

“It’s going to be hard, but I’ll try to keep going.”

 
ATP WORLD TOUR YEAR-END NO. 1 HISTORY
Year    Player
2016    Andy Murray (Great Britain)
2015    Novak Djokovic (Serbia)
2014    Novak Djokovic (Serbia)
2013    Rafael Nadal (Spain)
2012    Novak Djokovic (Serbia)
2011    Novak Djokovic (Serbia)
2010    Rafael Nadal (Spain)
2009    Roger Federer (Switzerland)
2008    Rafael Nadal (Spain)
2007    Roger Federer (Switzerland)
2006    Roger Federer (Switzerland)
2005    Roger Federer (Switzerland)
2004    Roger Federer (Switzerland)
2003    Andy Roddick (U.S.)
2002    Lleyton Hewitt (Australia)
2001    Lleyton Hewitt (Australia)
2000    Gustavo Kuerten (Brazil)
1999    Andre Agassi (U.S.)
1998    Pete Sampras (U.S.)
1997    Pete Sampras (U.S.)
1996    Pete Sampras (U.S.)
1995    Pete Sampras (U.S.)
1994    Pete Sampras (U.S.)
1993    Pete Sampras (U.S.)
1992    Jim Courier (U.S.)
1991    Stefan Edberg (Sweden)
1990    Stefan Edberg (Sweden)
1989    Ivan Lendl (Czech Republic)
1988    Mats Wilander (Sweden)
1987    Ivan Lendl (Czech Republic)
1986    Ivan Lendl (Czech Republic)
1985    Ivan Lendl (Czech Republic)
1984    John McEnroe (U.S.)
1983    John McEnroe (U.S.)
1982    John McEnroe (U.S.)
1981    John McEnroe (U.S.)
1980    Bjorn Borg (Sweden)
1979    Bjorn Borg (Sweden)
1978    Jimmy Connors (U.S.)
1977    Jimmy Connors (U.S.)
1976    Jimmy Connors (U.S.)
1975    Jimmy Connors (U.S.)
1974    Jimmy Connors (U.S.)
1973    Ilie Nastase (Romania)

 

Related articles:

Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares Clinch Year-End No. 1 ATP Doubles Team Ranking

Approach Shots –  Judy Murray Q & A Part One

Approach Shots – Judy Murray Q & A Part Two

Approach Shots – Judy Murray Q & A Part Three

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Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic Set Up Showdown for Year-End No. 1 in ATP Finals

Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic

(November 19, 2016) Semifinal wins by Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic have set up a showdown for year-end No. 1 in the final of the ATP World Tour Finals in London’s O2 Arena on Sunday. This will mark the first time that the two top players will play for the year-end No. 1 spot in the last match of the season.

“I must say that I’m very honored to be part of the history,” Djokovic said. “I hear this is the first time in the history of the ATP that the two best players are deciding the rankings in the last match. That is something we should all be conscious of.

“I’m excited to go out on the court and battle.”

Andy Murray

Andy Murray

Top seed Murray won another marathon match, this time 3 hours and 38 minutes and saved a match in his 5-7, 7-6(5), 7-6(9) win over Milos Raonic. This was the longest ever three-set match at the ATP World Tour Finals. It will be the first time that the Scot has reached the year-end final.

I don’t know how I’ll feel tomorrow,” Murray said. Obviously tired just now because it was a really hard match. It wasn’t just that it was physically hard, it was mentally a tough match, too. It was pretty stressful.

“I was quite far behind obviously in the second set. A set and a break down, managed to turn it round. Then it was back and forth in the third set.

“The physical side, obviously the body is a bit sore after such a long match, but mentally it was tiring, too.”

I think it was pretty dramatic. Both of us had chances. In the tiebreak, I think we played some pretty good stuff in the tiebreak. I don’t think it was, like, bad points that we were losing or bad shots we were losing. As points, I think we played some good stuff in the breaker.

“But, yeah, I mean, it was one of the tougher matches I played this year. For sure it was not easy, for the reasons I gave, obviously with it being very long, but also mentally tiring as well. The nature of it was very up and down.”

Milos Raonic

Milos Raonic

“I have to be proud that I finished the year with giving it every ounce of energy I had,” said the Canadian. “I’m pretty sure I’m going to feel like crap tomorrow.

“I’ll look back at 2016 with a lot of good moments, a lot of pride, a lot to be proud of.”

 

The best match I’ve ever competed, yes,” explained Raonic. “I don’t know necessarily playing-wise. I don’t think I necessarily served phenomenal throughout the match, these kinds of things.

“But the way I was constantly trying to stay positive, keep my energy up, trying to fight through, that’s definitely the most significant thing I’ve done today.”

Raonic will finish the season at a career high No. 3.

 

 “Well, I fought really hard today, yeah,” Murray said. “I fought hard. I fought very hard this week. I have also the last few months, too.

“It would have been easy today when I was behind to have gone away a little bit, but I didn’t. I fought hard. Even after serving for the match twice, having a bunch of match points in the tiebreak, still stayed tough, chased balls down, fought as best as I could. It was enough to get me the win.”

The victory extended Murray’s winning streak to 22.

Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic

No. 2 Djokovic’s task was much easier. The Serb needed only 66 minutes to dismiss Kei Nishikori 6-1, 6-1. The man from Japan could only hold his serve once during the match.

Yes, I mean, the best performance of the tournament came really at the right time,” he said. “Everything kind of clicked together tonight.

“I felt really well. I started with a great pace, great concentration, dictating the play, mixing up the pace. Everything was going well. I must be very pleased. I enjoyed myself.

“On the other hand, you know, Kei was not obviously close to his best. The fact that he played late last night, it’s been a long year for him, long tournament, so he was probably a little bit tired.

“Nevertheless, I tried to make myself present on the court, make him feel that I’m playing till the last shot, which I did. Even 6-1, 5-1, I was really committed.

“All in all it was a really good performance. I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s final.”

Kei Nishkori

Kei Nishkori

“I think Novak played pretty awesome,” said Nishikori. “Well, nothing I can complain. But I wasn’t ready to play against Novak I think physically.

“Well, yeah, I tried to play good tennis, but I couldn’t today.”

The 2014 US Open finalist will end the year at No. 5

I think it was one of the best year for me. Play a lot of matches, you know, beating those top players this year a lot. I get a lot of confidence this year.

“Maybe this is not the finish what I wanted to finish, but still I think it was good year.”

As I said at the beginning of this tournament, concerning the rankings situation, I actually have things in my hands,” Djokovic said. “I don’t need to depend on anybody else. That’s all I’ve been focusing on, to be honest, really building my game, getting myself to a higher level, quality level of tennis in each match. As I progress through the tournament, that’s what’s happening. Hopefully I’ll be able to stick with it and perform as well as I did in last couple of matches tomorrow.

“Andy, you cannot take anything away from what he did in the last four, five months. Yes, we haven’t played against each other, but his level was phenomenal. He deserves to be in the situation where he is at the moment. He’s No. 1 of the world, and deservedly so.

“He’s had 20-plus matches won. He got himself out of trouble today because of that confidence. He really has been winning a lot.”

“I’m sure, even though he has had a couple of very long matches in the last couple days, I doubt that he’s going to feel tired. I know that he’s very fit. He’s committed to the working ethics. He’s going to do everything to recover and to be ready for tomorrow.”

Djokovic goes into Sunday’s final having won 22 of 23 matches in the O2 Arena.

“I’ve had lots of success on this court in the last five, six years,” said the 12-time major winner. “Every time I step on the court, I relive certain kind of memories from the years before. 80% of the guys that I get to play year after year are more or less the same. That gives me that comfort. But it’s not something that decides the match. I’ll say it that way.”

Djokovic leads in the head-to-head record against Murray 24-10. The Serb is seeking his sixth year-end title, while Murray is in the final for the first time.

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Andy Murray Reaches Semifinals of ATP World Tour Finals

 

(November 18, 2016) Andy Murray finished a perfect 3-0 in the John McEnroe group on Friday at the ATP World Tour Finals, beating Stan Wawrinka 6-4, 6-2.

“I weathered the early storm a little bit,” said Murray. “Stan came out hitting the ball huge. He was hitting a lot of winners, a lot of aces.”

“But once I got through the early part of the match, I started to create chances in most of his service games. I served very well myself, got a lot of free points with my serve. That allowed me to also dictate a lot of the points, whereas at the beginning of the match I wasn’t able to do that.”

Stan Wawrinka

Stan Wawrinka

“I think he was serving really well, especially playing good after the serve,” said Wawrinka. “He didn’t give me many chance, especially at the beginning.

“Yeah, he make me hesitating a little bit with my game, when to go, when to stay back. That’s why he’s so good. That’s why he’s No. 1. He’s in full confidence. He’s playing the right things.”

The Scot who advances to the semifinals against Milos Raonic, keeps his hopes alive for trying to end the year as the top player for the first time. Novak Djokovic is trying to end the season as No. 1 for the fifth time in six years. The Serb will play Kei Nishikori in the other semifinal.

“It’s a big match, obviously,” Murray said of his semifinal against the Canadian. Milos, you know, he obviously serves big, goes for his shots. He moves forward when he has the chance. I think he probably likes the conditions here. It’s a little bit quicker.

“Yeah, you don’t normally get loads of opportunities against the big servers. Then it comes down to when you do get those chances, whether you take them or not. And this year when I’ve played him, I’ve created a few opportunities in the matches. When they’ve come, I’ve been pretty clinical. I’ll need to be the same tomorrow if I want to win.”

Should Djokovic lose to Nishikori, and Murray beats Raonic, the Murray will finish as No. 1. If Murray loses in the semifinals and Djokovic wins, the 12-time major champion will finish the year at No. 1.
Earlier in the day, Murray’s brother Jamie along with his doubles partner Bruno Soares clinched top spot in doubles for the year.

“They had an amazing year,” said Andy. “Only started playing with each other in January. Won the two slams, you know, which is fantastic. Jamie had not won a slam before this year, a men’s doubles slam. Bruno neither.

“They obviously complement each other’s games very well. They’ve played I think really good in most of the big competitions. They deserve it. They’ve obviously played extremely well this week. They knew pretty much what they were going to have to do. Yeah, won all three of their matches here.

“It’s a great achievement for both of them. Very proud of Jamie.

“I think my mum is here. My grandparents came earlier in the week. They went home on Thursday. My dad was here for the first few days, and he went home on Tuesday morning. He saw me and Jamie play one match each.

“But, no, I mean, obviously, the whole year has been fantastic for both of us. Obviously, yeah, we would like to finish it perfectly if we can. Still there’s a good chance that doesn’t happen. Yeah, regardless of what happens over the weekend, we can look back on this year and be very proud of what we’ve done as a family.”

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Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares Clinch Year-End No. 1 ATP Doubles Team Ranking

 

LONDON – The first-year pairing of Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares has clinched the year-end No. 1 Emirates ATP Doubles Team Ranking. Murray and Soares join Grant Connell and Patrick Galbraith (1993), and Jonas Bjorkman and Todd Woodbridge (2001) as the only teams to claim the honour in their first season together.

Great Britain’s Murray and Brazil’s Soares, who completed Group Edberg/Jarryd play this week with a 3-0 record to advance to the semi-finals at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals, are guaranteed the year-end No. 1 honour after French pair Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut lost their final round-robin match at The O2 in London, venue of the season finale.

Additionally, as a result of Mahut’s loss, if Soares goes on to win the season finale crown with Murray on Sunday, the 34 year old will become the 50th player (since 1976) to rise to the individual No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Doubles Rankings, when the new standings are published on 21 November.

“It takes time to develop a partnership,” said Murray. “We were fortunate to hit it off on the right note at the beginning of the year and it gave us a lot of confidence. We knew we could do good things on the court together and the No. 1 ranking shows that. We’ll try and compete this weekend to win the [Barclays] ATP World Tour Finals. It’s pretty exciting to be the No. 1 team.”

Soares said, “My phone is shaking quite a lot now. It’s a great achievement and now I have to win the title to become the individual No. 1 [in the Emirates ATP Doubles Rankings]. So I have a chance.”

Murray and Soares captured three titles in 2016 at the Australian Open (d. Nestor/Stepanek), the US Open (d. Carreño Busta/Garcia-Lopez) and the Apia Sydney International (d. Bopanna/Mergea). The pair was also runners up at two ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournaments, the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters (l. to Herbert/Mahut) and the Rogers Cup in Toronto (l. to Dodig/Melo).

Jamie Murray’s brother, Andy, is also battling Novak Djokovic for the coveted year-end No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, which will be decided in the final days of the 2016 season at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals.

Andy Murray on his brother and Soares ending the year No . 1:

“They had an amazing year. Only started playing with each other in January. Won the two slams, you know, which is fantastic. Jamie had not won a slam before this year, a men’s doubles slam. Bruno neither.

“They obviously complement each other’s games very well. They’ve played I think really good in most of the big competitions. They deserve it. They’ve obviously played extremely well this week. They knew pretty much what they were going to have to do. Yeah, won all three of their matches here.

“It’s a great achievement for both of them. Very proud of Jamie.”

“I think my mum is here. My grandparents came earlier in the week. They went home on Thursday. My dad was here for the first few days, and he went home on Tuesday morning. He saw me and Jamie play one match each.

“But, no, I mean, obviously the whole year has been fantastic for both of us. Obviously, yeah, we would like to finish it perfectly if we can. Still there’s a good chance that doesn’t happen. Yeah, regardless of what happens over the weekend, we can look back on this year and be very proud of what we’ve done as a family.”

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Novak Djokovic 3-0 in ATP World Tour Finals Group, Suggests Round Robin Format for Olympics and Davis Cup Changes

Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic

(November 17, 2016) Novak Djokovic in his quest to end the year as No. 1, dismissed David Goffin 6-1, 6-2 to complete a perfect 3-0 round robin record at the ATP World Tour Finals at London’s O2 Arena on Thursday. Goffin, from Belgium, was an alternate for Gael Monfils who withdrew with a rib injury.

Djokovic, who says he likes the round robin format, thinks it should be used for the Olympics.

I think this format is exciting,” said the Serb. “I mean, look, it’s the only tournament in the year that we have this kind of format. I like playing in the round-robin system.

“To be honest, I think certainly events, maybe like Olympic Games, should have this format. I guess you play more matches. The people like to see the top players being at least for a couple matches, two, three matches, in the tournament. It gives more value to the event.

“Of course, it makes you feel also more, I guess, at ease because you know you’re going to play at least three. Even if you lose a match, you can have a chance to qualify for the knock-out stage.”

 

The 12-time major champion also talked about changing the Davis cup format and added his suggestions:

“This format is not working for the top players, especially for the top players, because it’s just completely at the wrong time in the schedule. If you go back five years, let’s say five, six years, you see the amount of the top players that played at the later stages of the Davis Cup, you see that it lost value.

“Of course, they have to change. They need to have the format, in my opinion, the only way to work, is once a year, one or two weeks, two weeks, have a round-robin format, four, five, six groups, have teams play in different locations, then come together in one location and play a knock-out stage, quarterfinals, semifinals, final four, whatever.

“It’s a no-brainer. I’m not the only one to have this kind of opinion about it. Many of the players have been talking about this format and the schedule, top players especially, because it just comes right after Grand Slams, right after World Tour Finals.

“Playing over three days, best-of-five… I think they should cut it down to two days, best-of-three. Have two singles and one doubles, those kind of things.

“In tennis, it’s a bit confusing with the ITF, ATP, Grand Slams. Everybody is a separate entity. You have to consider different sides and negotiate.

“ITF owns Davis Cup. ITF hasn’t been really very helpful with the players’ demands. The only thing that they wanted to change is the neutral final, I think for next year or the year after that, which talking to all the players on the council, most of the players also around the tour, nobody agrees with that. Again, you’re taking away from the players the one thing that players love about Davis Cup, which is the home tie, the home crowd.

“Yeah, I don’t know how the future of Davis Cup will look like. I mean, I respect that competition. It has a long history. I love playing for my country. This is the only official team competition we have in our sport.

“But there is definitely something radically that has to change. I don’t know if they realize, but they’re losing a lot of value in terms of commercial perspective, marketing perspective, whatever.

“People don’t know the format of the competition, the system, how it works, who plays who, until it gets to the finals. Even the finals is not as attractive in some countries anymore.”

 

Djokovic qualified for the semifinals on Tuesday. Milos Raonic defeated Dominic Thiem 7-6(5), 6-3 to clinch the second semifinal spot from the group.

Raonic become the first Canadian to reach the singles semifinals of the year-end event.

Friday will determine the other two semifinal spots. Right now Andy Murray, Stan Wawrinka and Kei Nishikori remain in contention.

Djokovic, leader of the Ivan Lendl group will play the the second place finisher in the John McEnroe group. Raonic will play the leader of the John McEnroe group.

 

 

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Legacy Arena in Birmingham, Ala., to host USA vs Switzerland Davis Cup Tie in February

USDavisCup

USTA: WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., November 17, 2016 – The USTA announced that the Legacy Arena at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex (BJCC) in Birmingham, Ala., has been selected as the site for the 2017 Davis Cup by BNP Paribas World Group First Round between the United States and Switzerland, Feb. 3-5. Davis Cup will return to Birmingham for the first time since 2009, when the city also hosted Switzerland in the World Group First Round at the BJCC. In that tie, the U.S. team of Andy Roddick, James Blake, and Bob and Mike Bryan defeated Switzerland, 4-1. The Swiss team was led by 2016 US Open singles champion Stan Wawrinka.

Founded in 1900, Davis Cup by BNP Paribas is the World Cup of Tennis and is the largest annual international team competition in sport with approximately 135 nations competing each year.

The best-of-five match series between the U.S. and Switzerland begins on Friday, Feb. 3, with two singles matches featuring each country’s No. 1 player against the other country’s No. 2 player. Saturday’s schedule features the pivotal doubles match. And the final day of play on Sunday features the two “reverse singles” matches, when the No. 1 players square off, followed by the No. 2 players meeting each other in the final match. All matches are best-of-five tiebreak sets; the first country to win three matches wins the tie. A revised schedule for Sunday may take place if a team clinches in the third or fourth match.

“Birmingham was a fantastic host for our players, fans, and staff in 2009 and we are thrilled to be coming back,” said Katrina Adams, USTA Chairman of the Board, CEO, and President. “Davis Cup is a unique event and we look forward to showcasing high-quality tennis, while also growing the game in this community. We expect fans to fill the stands and to come out once again to cheer on Team USA to victory in our first step to the Davis Cup trophy.”

Tickets will go on sale to the public on Friday, Dec. 9, at 10 a.m. CT. An exclusive pre-sale for USTA members will take place on Wednesday, Dec. 7, and Thursday, Dec. 8. From Friday, Dec. 9, through Thursday, Jan. 5, only three-day ticket packages will be sold at prices ranging from $90 to $500 ($30 to $166 per day), representing the greatest initial ticket value. Beginning on Friday, Jan. 6, at 10 a.m. CT and pending availability, fans will then have access to only single-day tickets for Friday, Saturday, or Sunday with prices ranging from $40 to $175 per day. Fans are encouraged to purchase three-day ticket packages to take advantage of the best prices and to ensure availability.

Tickets may be purchased by visiting www.usta.com/daviscup or by calling 888-484-USTA (8782).

The USTA has partnered with Bruno Events Team and The City of Birmingham to bring this event to Birmingham.

“Showcasing such a high-caliber tennis event right here in Birmingham is extremely exciting for our city,” stated Gene Hallman, CEO of Bruno Event Team and Executive Director of the Alabama Sports Council. “This event will reinforce Birmingham’s reputation as being a superior host to a wide variety of sporting events and we couldn’t be more excited to once again bring world-class tennis to Birmingham.”

“It’s an honor for the City of Birmingham to be selected to host the 2017 Davis Cup First Round tie with the USA versus Switzerland,” stated City of Birmingham Mayor William Bell. “The city has been working hard to bring this event back to Birmingham for quite some time and everything has finally come together. We look forward to hosting both teams and expect fans to come out and support the event.”

The winner of this tie advances to the World Group Quarterfinal, April 7-9, and will play either the Czech Republic or Australia. The losing nation will compete in the World Group Playoff, Sept. 15-17, for the right to remain in the World Group in 2018.

U.S. Davis Cup Team Captain Jim Courier will select the four players to represent the United States no later than ten days prior to the event. The U.S. team is expected to be led by Top 25 players Jack Sock and John Isner.

The U.S. holds a 3-1 record over the Switzerland in Davis Cup. The U.S. last faced Switzerland in the 2012 World Group First Round in Fribourg, Switzerland. The U.S. swept that tie, 5-0, with Isner upsetting Roger Federer and Mardy Fish beating Wawrinka before the Bryan brothers secured the win for the U.S. In addition to facing Switzerland in Birmingham in 2009, the U.S. also squared off against the Swiss in 1992 and 2001, with Switzerland’s only win coming in 2001.

The site selection is subject to final approval by the International Tennis Federation.

Tennis Channel will present live daily coverage of the World Group First Round.

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