December 8, 2016

Jeff Greenwald Wins USTA National 40 Hard Court Championships

jeff-greenwald

JEFF GREENWALD RECEIVES WALKOVER IN MEN’S SINGLES
FINAL AT USTA NATIONAL 40 HARD COURT CHAMPIONSHIPS

4th Seeded Oren Motevassel Unable to Play Due to Right Knee Injury
La Jolla, Calif. – (December 4, 2016) – It was a highly-anticipated men’s singles final at the USTA National 40 Hard Court Championships as sixth-seeded Jeff Greenwald, the 2009 champion, was ready to take on fourth-seeded Oren Motevassel, who won the tournament title in 2011 and 2012.

Since winning the title seven years ago, Greenwald had met Motevassel in the National 40 Hard Court Championships on four occasions, including three times in the semifinals, and had lost each encounter. The 50-year-old Greenwald was excited to get another shot at Motevassel, especially with the title on the line.

On Sunday morning, both players stepped onto Court 1 at the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club for the traditional pre-match warm-up. However, at the conclusion of the warm-up, Motevassel announced he was unable to play due to a right knee injury. Greenwald was awarded the title with a walkover.

“It’s not the way I wanted it. I was shocked and extremely disappointed to come out and get ready for a final. You’re excited and have your plan and you want to see if you can execute it. I was very disappointed,” Greenwald said after learning that Motevassel could not compete in the final.

Earlier this summer, Greenwald won the singles title at the USTA National 50 Hard Court Championships in Santa Barbara, Calif.  After dealing with several injuries, he was unsure if would play this week’s tournament in La Jolla. Shortly before the entry deadline, he decided to enter the event.

“After that tournament, it seemed to take a toll on me. I had some nagging injuries for about two months. Eventually it resolved itself about six weeks ago. I wasn’t planning on playing (National 40) this year because of family and the commitment,” Greenwald said.

Thanks to his last-minute decision to enter the event, Greenwald went on to complete an incredible run to the title, which included a hard-fought 6-4, 5-7, 6-3 victory over top-seeded Stuart Ross Duncan in Saturday’s semifinals that took three hours to complete.

“Yesterday’s match was probably the toughest match I’ve ever played. He (Duncan) was so fit, so fast and so relentless. He was not giving up very many errors,” Greenwald added. “I had to dig as deep as I ever had to dig to find the energy.  It gives me some comfort that I earned the opportunity to be out here today.”

For final tournament results and updated draws for each division, please go to:
http://tennislink.usta.com/Tournaments/TournamentHome/Tournament.aspx?T=170902

The USTA National Father/Son and Grandfather/Grandson Hard Court Doubles Championships concluded on Sunday. The top-seeded team of Peter and Tanner Smith of Long Beach, Calif., defeated second-seeded Bruce Man Son Hing and Bruce Man Son Hing, Jr., of Calabasas, Calif., 6-2, 6-2 to win the Father/Son National title.

In the Grandfather/Grandson National final, third-seeded Chase Helpingstine of San Francisco and Ronald Keiger of Wilmington, N.C., teamed for a 6-0, 6-0 victory over the unseeded team of Bob Hoffman of West Hempstead, N.Y. and Christopher Schwab of Massapequa, N.Y.

The Father/Son Championship has been held continuously at the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club since 1959, and attracts the top father and son tennis teams in the nation.  The Grandfather/Grandson Championship is a relatively new competitive division that started at the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club in 2003.

Designated one of the Top 100 Tennis Resorts in the world by Tennis Resorts Online, the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club’s reputation as a top tennis destination started in 1942 when it attracted its first major tournament, the Pacific Coast Men’s Doubles Championship. The Club will be hosting the 128th edition of The Pacific Coast Mens’ Doubles Championships in March 2017, and the USTA National Hard Court Championships for Womens’ 50-90 age groups in May 2017.

About the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club, Inc. – The La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club is a fourth-generation, family-owned and operated company dedicated to the operation of a 14-acre beachside resort. The resort includes three properties, including the exclusive La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club, the 128-room La Jolla Shores Hotel and The Marine Room restaurant. Resort amenities include 14 championship tennis courts, a nine-hole par-3 golf course, two swimming pools, two additional oceanfront restaurants and cocktail lounges, and one of Southern California’s only private beaches. For more information visit www.LJBTC.com.
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USTA National 40 Hard Court Championships
La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club
La Jolla, Calif.
Sunday’s Results

Men’s Singles
Championship

Jeff Greenwald (6), San Anselmo, Calif., def. Oren Motevassel (4), San Jose, Calif., Walkover (injury)

Men’s Doubles
Championship

Michael Noel (1), Bakersfield, Calif., and Peter Smith, Long Beach, Calif., def. Patrick Crow (7), Lake Forest, Calif., and Jeff Tarango, Manhattan Beach, Calif., 6-7 (2), 7-6 (5), 6-1

Women’s Doubles
Championship

Eleanor Hammargren (1) and Jennifer Lyons, San Clemente, Calif., def. Amy Alcini (3), Malibu, Calif., and Carolina Blouin, Augusta, Ga., 6-1, 6-3

Mixed Doubles
Championship

Tracie Currie (1), and William Quest, Ventura, Calif., def. Brett Buffington (3), La Jolla and Ros Nideffer, San Diego, 6-3, 6-1

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Hiromi Sasano Wins Wins Women’s Singles at USTA National 40 Hard Court Championships

Hiromi Sasano

Hiromi Sasano

SAN DIEGO’S HIROMI SASANO CROWNED WOMEN’S SINGLES
CHAMPION AT USTA NATIONAL 40 HARD COURT CHAMPIONSHIPS

4th Seeded Oren Motevassel to Face 6th Seeded Jeff Greenwald in Men’s Singles Final
La Jolla, Calif. – (December 3, 2016) – Fourth-seeded Hiromi Sasano of San Diego defeated top-seeded Dina McBride of Stevenson Ranch, Calif., 6-1, 5-5, ret., to capture the women’s singles title at the USTA National 40 Hard Court Championships at the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club.

McBride, who was attempting to win the National 40 Hard Court Championships for the third time after winning titles in 2012 and 2014, suffered a right leg injury in the 11th game of the second set and was unable to continue the match.

The 41-year-old Sasano, a native of Chiba, Japan, jumped out to a quick start in the championship match and won the first set in 30 minutes as she broke McBride’s serve in the third, fifth and seventh games with the loss of only three points.

In the second set, Sasano continued her strong play, capitalizing on two service breaks to build a commanding 5-2 lead. However, the momentum of the set began to swing in McBride’s favor as she cut down on her unforced errors and began extending the rallies.

McBride staged a spirited comeback and won the next three games to knot the set at 5-5. With Sasano serving in the 11th game, McBride held a break point at 30-40, when she suffered her injury and was forced to retire.

Following the match, Sasano was overcome with mixed emotions. She was excited to win the match, but she also knew what McBride was going through. In last year’s tournament, Sasano had to retire from her second-round match after one game due to a back injury and was taken off the court in a wheelchair.

“It was an exciting match. In the first set, I told myself to attack, because that’s how I play. In the second set I lost a little patience and I was a little tight. Overall I thought I played well,” Sasano said. “I had a goal of getting a (USTA) gold ball this year. It’s awesome. That’s what I wanted since last year.”

The men’s singles final, which will take place at 9 a.m. (PST) on Sunday, will feature two former tournament champions. Fourth-seeded Oren Motevassel of San Jose, Calif, the singles champion  in 2011 and 2012, will take on 2009 singles champion Jeff Greenwald of San Anselmo, Calif.

The 49-year-old Motevassel, who reached a career-high singles ranking of No. 161 on the ATP World Tour in 1997, reached Sunday’s final with a 3-6, 6-1, 6-3 semifinal victory over fifth-seeded Jesse Walter of Mercer Island, Wash.

The 50-year-old Greenwald, who is seeded sixth, continued his remarkable tournament run as he stunned top-seeded Stuart Ross Duncan of Laguna Beach, Calif., 6-4, 5-7, 6-3 in a three-hour semifinal match.

For the latest tournament results and updated draws for each division, please go to:
http://tennislink.usta.com/Tournaments/TournamentHome/Tournament.aspx?T=170902

Admission for spectators is free and onsite parking is available for a nominal fee.

The USTA National Father/Son and Grandfather/Grandson Hard Court Doubles Championships will conclude on Sunday.

The Father/Son Championship has been held continuously at the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club since 1959, and attracts the top father and son tennis teams in the nation.  The Grandfather/Grandson Championship is a relatively new competitive division that started at the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club in 2003.

Designated one of the Top 100 Tennis Resorts in the world by Tennis Resorts Online, the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club’s reputation as a top tennis destination started in 1942 when it attracted its first major tournament, the Pacific Coast Men’s Doubles Championship. The Club will be hosting the 128th edition of The Pacific Coast Mens’ Doubles Championships in March 2017, and the USTA National Hard Court Championships for Womens’ 50-90 age groups in May 2017.

USTA National 40 Hard Court Championships
La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club
La Jolla, Calif.
Saturday’s Results

Women’s Singles
Championship
Hiromi Sasano (4), San Diego, def. Dina McBride (1), Stevenson Ranch, Calif., 6-1, 5-5, ret. (injury)

Men’s Singles
Semifinals
Jeff Greenwald (6), San Anselmo, Calif., def. Stuart Duncan (1), Laguna Beach, Calif., 6-4, 5-7, 6-3
Oren Motevassel (4), San Jose, Calif., def. Jesse Walter (5), Mercer Island, Wash., 3-6, 6-1, 6-3

For complete scores and results, go to: tennislink.usta.com/Tournaments/TournamentHome/Tournament.aspx?T=170902#&&s=8Results2

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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)

 

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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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Andy Murray Survives Kei Nishikori in Three-Set Battle to go 2-0 at ATP World Tour Finals

Andy Murray fh

(November 16, 2016) World No. 1 Andy Murray survived a three-hour and twenty-minute struggle against Kei Nishikori to win 6-7 (9), 6-4, 6-4 to go 2-0 in round robin play at the ATP World Tour Finals at the O2 Arena on Wednesday.

The match set an ATP World Tour Finals record as the longest three-set match in time.

Murray is in the top position in his group to qualify for the semifinals of the year-end event for the first time since 2012. This is the first time since 2009 that the Scot has won his first two matches at the event.

Murray has won 21 straight matches.

“Especially the first set, beginning part of the second set, he was dictating almost all of the rallies,” said Murray. “At one stage they put up the graphic on the screen in the first set, said I made 96% of returns, which at that stage means maybe I missed one. There wasn’t any quick points on his serve. There was a lot of rallies one after another.

“Often on a surface like this, you’ll play some quicker points where you maybe get aced or don’t make returns. But it was kind of every point there was rallies, and you’re having to play four, five shots.

“It’s tough. Like you say, he does move the ball around extremely well, better than anyone maybe. So, yeah, it was physically tough. Thankfully I was getting quite a few free points on my own serve, which helped.

“It wasn’t easy because I wasn’t able to dictate many of the points, it felt. More so in the third set I was able to. But not in the first couple sets. I was having to run, fight, get as many balls back as I could.”

Kei Nishikori

Kei Nishikori

“Well, it’s never feel good, you know, after losing the match,” Nishikori said. “I know it was close. I mean, definitely disappointed. But there’s much is coming into this, so try to be ready for that.”

“He’s tough player, so… Think it was great match, both of us. Also for me, played really consistent, playing with good energy.

“Well, I’m sure he’s going to qualify for the group. I try to aim for the second spot.”

It could all come down to a battle for year-end No. 1 against Novak Djokovic later in the tournament

“It could come down to a match between me and Novak,” Murray said. “Who knows what’s going to happen the next few days. Just from my side, concentrate on trying to win my own matches, get through as many as I can, make it as tough as possible for Novak to jump me.”

Gael Monfils

Gael Monfils

Gael Monfils has withdrawn from the year-end event with an 0-2 group record. He’s still suffering from a rib injury he’s had since the Stockholm event.

“Definitely I can’t play for tomorrow because I still feel worse and worse, my ribs, that I had lately,” Monfils said in a news conference. “Yeah, I feel that even yesterday was tough in the game. I feel unfortunately today I couldn’t be feeling great and couldn’t practice, so I just decide that I couldn’t play tomorrow.”

“I hurt myself in Stockholm tournament. From then, you know, I just start to practice last Monday.

“You know, I knew it’s going to be six weeks, they told me, of rest. I try to make it. I couldn’t really make it.”

“I’m very happy first to be here in the top eight. I think it’s the greatest season I ever done. I can say also I missed quite a lot. Big occasion to play.

“It give me more hope for next year. Definitely, I had a lot of big change for me. I think for the new season I will have new changes and hopefully I can be even stronger next year.”

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Novak Djokovic First to Qualify for ATP World Tour Finals Semis

Novak Djokovic

(November 15, 2016) Novak Djokovic earned the first semifinal spot at the ATP World Tour Finals on Tuesday, when he defeated Milos Raonic 7-6 (6), 7-6 (5) to go 2-0 in group play at London’s O2 Arena.

“Two tiebreaks against a big server is a great win and great confidence boost,” said the world No. 2.

“Well, it was a very close match. I think very few points separated us tonight. It really could have gone either way.

“I was fortunate to get through the first set tiebreaker. I was down very early in both tiebreaks tonight. But I just managed to stay committed and put pressure on his second serves. I had couple looks on his second serves midway through, towards the end of both tiebreaks, which helped obviously to get into the rally. I knew once I get into the rally, I have a better chance to win the point.

“But I should have done my job earlier, to be honest. I’m not very pleased to drop my serve twice against Milos, especially the second time. I was 4-3, 30-Love, then just four pretty bad unforced errors.

“Credit to him for really hanging in there, putting pressure, being aggressive, especially from the forehand. But, you know, I think I should have done better there.”

88 Raonic

“I believe all the breakpoints, except for maybe the set point at the end, he put in a first serve every single time,” Raonic said of his night session match. “I believe when he had his breakpoints, I didn’t put in one.

“I think it’s those little things that make a difference. I think he’s probably winning over 75% of his first serve points and I’m probably doing the same. Those moments he stepped up and played well. I just maybe hesitated a little bit too much.”

Raonic is now 1-1 in round robin play. He’ll face Dominic Thiem on Thursday.

 

Dominic Thiem

Dominic Thiem

The Austrian Thiem, seeded eighth pulled off a three-set win over France’s Gael Monfils 6-4, 1-6, 6-4 to go 1-1 in the group. The Frenchman double faulted three times in the final game of the match.

 

“Today I had a good start,” Thiem said. “I tried to avoid the mistake I did in the first match: to drop a little bit. Didn’t really happen that good.

“But I was trying to stay tough in the third set. At the end, of course, he helped me a little bit with the three double-faults.

“But I’m very happy with the win.”

Gael Monfils

Gael Monfils

Monfils, dealing a rib injury said: “It was a tough one. I think today was tough one. Dominic was better than me. I think I didn’t play a great match, but I gave everything I had.”

Monfils is still debating whether to play his final round robin match against Novak Djokovic on Thursday.

 

Order of Play – WEDNESDAY, 16 November
Afternoon Session 12:00 PM Group John McEnroe & Group Fleming/McEnroe

[5] H. Kontinen (FIN) / J. Peers (AUS)

[7] R Klaasen (RSA) / R Ram (USA)

ANDY
MURRAY

[1] (GBR)

KEI
NISHIKORI

[5] (JPN)

Evening Session 6:00 PM Group John McEnroe & Group Fleming/McEnroe

[1] P. Herbert (FRA) / N. Mahut (FRA)

[4] F. Lopez (ESP) / M. Lopez (ESP)

STAN
WAWRINKA

[3] (SUI)

MARIN
CILIC

[7] (CRO)

ATP World Tour Results
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Andy Murray Wins First Match As No. 1 at ATP World Tour Finals

Andy Murray

Andy Murray

 

(November 14, 2016) Andy Murray began the ATP World Tour Finals with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Marin Cilic to mark his first match win as world No. 1.

Murray who moved into the top spot last week, was warmly welcomed by the British crowd at the O2 Arena in London in his first round robin match during the evening session. Murray and second seed Novak Djokovic will be battling it out for year-end No. 1 this week.

“It was a great reception obviously,” Murray said. “A really, really good atmosphere tonight. Yeah, it was obviously nice to play in that stadium with the crowd like that. It obviously helps.

“After a long kind of few months, it’s nice to know that I’m going to be finishing the year, you know, playing in that sort of atmosphere. It helps you get up for the matches a bit more, as well.”

Murray was asked about if he’s thinking about the No. 1 ranking: “I’ve not been thinking about that really. Sort of the day it happened and also the day of the final in Paris, it was definitely on my mind, you know, quite a lot. Then I had a lot of message on the Monday.

“The last few days, I haven’t thought about it too much. It didn’t change much for me.”

Questioned in regard to seeing Novak Djokovic after he reached No. 1, the Scotsman said: “No, it wasn’t strange. I mean, we’ve known each other for such a long time. I think both of us have been kind of used to congratulating each other over the years. I mean, we bump into each other every week after he’s won an event the last few years, and it’s become quite a normal thing to congratulate him on winning tournaments and everything he’s achieved. It’s quite normal.

“We don’t go, Congratulations, and talk about it for 10 minutes. We talk about our families and other stuff. We don’t discuss it much.”

Despite giving up a mere five games, the match was closer than the score indicated. Murray had to fight to hold his serve early in the match.

 

Marin Cilic

Marin Cilic

Despite the loss, No. 7 seed Cilic still felt upbeat about the match:

“I think I felt I started quite well. I had first game two breakpoints, then lost my serve, came back and was a little bit at the beginning not serving that well. That I think was one thing that helped Andy to be in the rallies.

“Obviously we played quite a lot in the rallies in the first five, six games. They were quite long games, quite long rallies.

“I had also on his third service game a few chances, 15-40 I think again. Just felt that maybe in a few I made just wrong decisions. When I need to step in, I didn’t. When I need to wait a little bit longer, I wasn’t waiting.

“Overall I felt I was not playing too bad, just obviously maybe a different pattern of the balls. The hitting could have been better. Yeah, a little bit unfortunate to go 6-3, 6-2 down, where it felt it was much, much closer in the first set. Beginning of the second, I had couple chances as well.

“Unfortunately, that’s the way it is. Obviously tougher to start straightaway with matches like these against the best guys. I’m not so used to it. That’s something I guess quite new for me. Most of the tournaments I’m playing them third, fourth round at least. It’s a little bit different to start straightaway in the match.

“But I’m quite positive with the way I was playing. Just saying it could have been some better decisions.”

Murray is now 1-0 in his group.

Kei Nishikori

Kei Nishikori

No. 5 seed Nishikori stopped third seed Stan Wawrinka 6-2, 6-3 during the day session.

Nishikori has a chance to end the year at No. 3 with a good tournament this week.
“I’m not thinking too much about rankings, but would be nice if I could finish 4 or 3,” said the top Japanese player. “I see good chance to be there if I can play good this week. That’s one of my goal this week. Also next year I hope I can stay No. 4 or No. 3, try to catch up Andy and Djoko.”

Asked about playing the top seeded Murray later this week, Nishikori said: “This year we played three, four times. I had a tough loss in Rio. But US Open and Davis Cup, we played, you know, some good match. I feel more chance, you know, to win the match against Andy.

“Obviously it’s the toughest match maybe in this group. Yeah, for sure I have to play well and play hundred percent to beat Andy. This match will help, for sure, for next match.”

 

Stan Wawrinka

Stan Wawrinka

 

Wawrinka was not happy with his performance on Monday. “It was not a great match compared to what I can do, that’s for sure,” said the Swiss. “I don’t think I find anything on the court today. I was a little bit slow on everything. I was hesitating a lot with my game, my movement.”

“I’m sure I still have something inside me to play some great tennis before the end of the year, so I’m going to try everything for that in the next match,” noted the three-time major champion. “I’m going to do what I need to do tomorrow to get ready for trying to play better in two days.”

 

 

Order of Play – TUESDAY, 15 November
Afternoon Session 12:00 PM Group Ivan Lendl & Group Edberg/Jarryd

[2] J. Murray (GBR) / B. Soares (BRA)

[3] B. Bryan (USA) / M. Bryan (USA)

GAEL
MONFILS

[6] (FRA)

DOMINIC
THIEM

[8] (AUT)

Evening Session 6:00 PM Group Ivan Lendl & Group Edberg/Jarryd

[6] I. Dodig (CRO) / M. Melo (BRA)

[8] T Huey (PHI) / M Mirnyi (BLR)

NOVAK
DJOKOVIC

[2] (SRB)

MILOS
RAONIC

[4] (CAN)

 

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