December 3, 2016

Federer, Del Potro, Bryans and Others Win 2016 ATP World Tour Awards

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ATP WORLD TOUR, LONDON – Roger Federer, Juan Martin del Potro and Bob and Mike Bryan have been honoured in the 2016 ATP World Tour Awards presented by Moët & Chandon. While the ATP World Tour No. 1 presented by Emirates award is still to be decided in singles between Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic and in doubles between Pierre-Hugues Herbert/Nicolas Mahut and Jamie Murray/Bruno Soares, the other award winners have been announced today.

Federer has been selected by fellow players as winner of the Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award for a 12th time and by fans as the ATPWorldTour.com Fans’ Favourite presented by Moët & Chandon for a 14th straight year. Since 2003, Federer has won a record total of 33 ATP World Tour Awards.

The Bryan brothers also extend their reign in the doubles category for ATPWorldTour.com Fans’ Favourite presented by Moët & Chandon to a record 12th straight year.

Visit the official ATP World Tour Awards section on ATPWorldTour.com

Juan Martin del Potro reclaims honours in the player-voted Comeback Player of the Year category, joining Sergi Bruguera and Tommy Haas as the only individuals to win this award twice. Lucas Pouille has been voted as the Most Improved Player of the Year, edging fellow nominees Daniel Evans, Dominic Thiem and Alexander Zverev, the recipient of last year’s ATP Star of Tomorrow Award presented by Emirates. American Taylor Fritz, 19, succeeds Zverev in this category this season as the youngest player ranked in the Top 100 of the Emirates ATP Rankings.

Marin Cilic has been honoured with the Arthur Ashe Humanitarian Award for off-court philanthropy through his foundation, which supports educational projects and aspires to give young people improved access to education.

Magnus Norman, Stan Wawrinka’s coach, has been chosen by his peers as the winner of the first ATP Coach of the Year Award, which honours the coach who helped guide his player to a higher level of performance during the season.

The trophy ceremonies for the 2016 ATP World Tour Awards presented by Moët & Chandon will take place during the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals Official Launch on Thursday night.

Mike Dickson from the Daily Mail is the recipient of the Ron Bookman Media Excellence Award while the ATP Tournament of the Year awards will be announced in 2017.

2016 ATP World Tour Awards presented by Moët & Chandon

ATP World Tour No. 1 presented by Emirates
(determined by Emirates ATP Rankings)
Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic will battle for the year-end No. 1 Emirates ATP Ranking at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. Murray rose to the top spot for the first time on Monday after winning his tour-best eighth title of the season, becoming the 26th player in history to be ranked World No. 1. Djokovic has clinched this award four times and this week looks to win his eighth title of the season and sixth at the season finale.

ATP World Tour No. 1 Doubles Team presented by Emirates
(determined by Emirates ATP Doubles Team Rankings)
A new team will win this award, with Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert & Nicolas Mahut taking a slim lead over Jamie Murray & Bruno Soares into the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. Herbert & Mahut have won five titles this season, including Wimbledon and three ATP World Tour Masters 1000 titles, while Murray & Soares claimed a pair of Grand Slam titles at the Australian Open and US Open.

ATP Star of Tomorrow Award presented by Emirates
(determined by Emirates ATP Rankings)
Taylor Fritz: This category in its fourth year, replacing the player-voted Newcomer of the Year, is awarded to the youngest player in the Top 100 of Emirates ATP Rankings as of 7 November. Fritz, who celebrated his 19th birthday at the end of the October, became the youngest ATP finalist since 2008 when he finished runner-up at the Memphis Open. The California native won 15 tour-level matches and reached a career-high No. 53 in the Emirates ATP Rankings in August. Two other contenders in this category, 18-year-old Frances Tiafoe and 20-year-old Jared Donaldson, finished behind their countryman at No. 102 and No. 108 in the Emirates ATP Rankings.

Comeback Player of the Year
(voted by ATP players)
Juan Martin del Potro: The 28-year-old Argentine was previously voted by his peers as the Comeback Player of the Year in 2011 following a successful return from right wrist surgery. He finished back in the Top 10 in 2013, only to be sidelined again – this time by a left wrist injury requiring multiple surgeries. Outside the Top 1000 of the Emirates ATP Rankings early in 2016, del Potro made his return in February with a semi-final effort at the Delray Beach Open and rose to No. 38 by November with a 30-match win effort. Among his season highlights, del Potro beat then-No. 1 Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal en route to a silver medal at the Rio Olympics, made the quarter-finals of the US Open and won his first tour-level title since 2014 at the If Stockholm Open, securing his return to the Top 50. Julien Benneteau, Ivo Karlovic and Florian Mayer were also nominated in this category.

Most Improved Player of the Year
(voted by ATP players)
Lucas Pouille: The 22-year-old Frenchman continued his steady improvement in his fifth professional season, climbing from a No. 91 Emirates ATP Ranking in February to a career-high No. 15 by the end of 2016. Pouille clinched his first ATP World Tour title in September at the Moselle Open, five months after reaching his first tour-level final at the BRD Nastase Tiriac Trophy in Bucharest. In between, he reached consecutive Grand Slam quarter-finals at Wimbledon and the US Open and an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 semi-final at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. Pouille compiled a 34-22 match record, nearly tripling his match wins total from last season (12-14).

Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award
(voted by ATP players)
Roger Federer: Fellow players voted the Swiss as the winner of the Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award for the 12th time and sixth year in a row. He also won the award six straight years from 2004-09. Andy Murray, 2010 winner Rafael Nadal and Stan Wawrinka were also nominated in this category.

Arthur Ashe Humanitarian of the Year
(awarded by ATP)
Marin Cilic: The Croatian established the Marin Cilic Foundation this year. With a goal of supporting educational projects around the world, the foundation has a special emphasis on giving youth in Croatia improved access to school and university education. “The main focus is to try to help kids as much as we can,” Cilic said upon the Foundation’s formal launch in June. “I want to give something back and also give some opportunities for some people and some kids that don’t have as many possibilities to pursue their dreams.”

ATP Coach of the Year
(voted by ATP coaches)
Magnus Norman: Stan Wawrinka’s coach since 2013, the 40-year-old Swede won in this new category over fellow nominees Gunter Bresnik (Dominic Thiem), Ivan Lendl (Andy Murray), Emmanuel Planque (Lucas Pouille) and Mikael Tillstrom (Gael Monfils). Norman, a former World No. 2 and winner of 12 ATP World Tour titles, guided Wawrinka back to a No. 3 Emirates ATP Ranking and four titles, including his third Grand Slam title at the US Open.

ATPWorldTour.com Fans’ Favourite presented by Moët & Chandon (Singles)
(voted by fans)
Roger Federer: The 35-year-old Swiss has been voted ATPWorldTour.com Fans’ Favourite presented by Moët & Chandon for a record 14th straight year, receiving 56 per cent of all votes cast. Andy Murray finished second, followed by Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Kei Nishikori.

ATPWorldTour.com Fans’ Favourite presented by Moët & Chandon (Doubles)
(voted by fans)
Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan: The 38-year-old American twins received 25 per cent of votes to be named the ATPWorldTour.com Fans’ Favourite presented by Moët & Chandon for a record 12th time, edging Jamie Murray & Bruno Soares. Spaniards Feliciano Lopez & Marc Lopez, Frenchmen Pierre-Hugues Herbert & Nicolas Mahut and the Canadian-American duo of Vasek Pospisil & Jack Sock rounded out the top five.

Ron Bookman Media Excellence Award
(awarded by ATP)
Mike Dickson: Dickson has been a tennis correspondent for nearly two decades with the Daily Mail, which has the most visited newspaper website in the world. He has also covered golf, football, rowing and four Olympics Games, and served as the chief cricket writer for nine years. He came up to ‘Fleet Street’ via working as a general news reporter on local newspapers and local radio.

 

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Roger Federer To Miss the Rest of the 2016 Season with a Knee Injury

Federer at changeover-001

(July 26, 2016) Roger Federer announced on his website  and Facebook page that he has called it quits for the rest of 2016 due to a knee injury. The 17-time major champion will miss the Rio Olympic Games which would have been his fifth Olympic games.

Since a knee injury after the Australian Open which forced him to have surgery, Federer withdrew from the French Open, the first time he has missed a major since 1999. The soon-to-be thirty-five-year-old Federer played Wimbledon where he lost in the semifinals.

He will also miss the US Open for the first time since 1999. Federer is a five-time US Open champion.

Last week the Swiss announced that he would be playing Hopman  Cup in January.

This is the announcement from his website:

 

End of 2016 season

26.07.2016 | Tennis

Dear Fans,

 

I’m extremely disappointed to announce that I will not be able to represent Switzerland at the Olympic Games in Rio and that I will also miss the remainder of the season. Considering all options after consulting with my doctors and my team, I have made the very difficult decision to call an end to my 2016 season as I need more extensive rehabilitation following my knee surgery earlier this year. The doctors advised that if I want to play on the ATP World Tour injury free for another few years, as I intend to do, I must give both my knee and body the proper time to fully recover. It is tough to miss the rest of the year. However, the silver lining is that this experience has made me realize how lucky I have been throughout my career with very few injuries. The love I have for tennis, the competition, tournaments and of course you, the fans remains intact. I am as motivated as ever and plan to put all my energy towards coming back strong, healthy and in shape to play attacking tennis in 2017.

 

Thanks for your continued support.

 

Roger

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Djokovic, Murray, Federer and Nadal Headline US Open Men’s Field

Novak Djokovic

NOVAK DJOKOVIC, ANDY MURRAY, ROGER FEDERER, RAFAEL NADAL

HEADLINE 2016 US OPEN MEN’S SINGLES FIELD

Field Features Five Former US Open Champions

and Includes the World’s Top 98 Men

From the USTA: White Plains, N.Y., July 20, 2016 – The USTA today announced that defending US Open champion and world No. 1 Novak Djokovic, world No. 2 and reigning Wimbledon champion Andy Murray, five-time US Open champion and world No. 3 Roger Federer, and two-time US Open champion and world No. 4 Rafael Nadal headline the men’s singles field for the 2016 US Open Tennis Championships. The field includes five former US Open singles champions, including Djokovic (2011, 2015), Murray (2012), Federer (2004-2008), Nadal (2010, 2013) and Marin Cilic (2014).

Each of the world’s top 98 men received direct entry into the US Open, representing 38 countries.

The 2016 US Open will be played Monday, August 29, through Sunday, September 11, at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y. The US Open Men’s Singles Championship is presented by Mercedes-Benz.

Djokovic,who has reached the singles final in Flushing five out of the last six years, leads the men’s field as the world No. 1 and defending US Open champion. The Serbian won his 12th major championship at the French Open in June to complete the “Career Grand Slam,” and held all four major titles until Sam Querrey ended his 30-match win streak at Grand Slams in the third round at Wimbledon.

Murray, of Great Britain, won his third major and second Wimbledon title this month after finishing runner-up to Djokovic in this year’s Australian and French Open finals. Murray, the reigning Olympic Gold Medalist, defeated Djokovic in the 2012 US Open final to win his first Grand Slam championship.

Federer, of Switzerland, is the all-time leader with 17 major singles titles, and was bidding for his eighth Wimbledon title this summer before falling to Milos Raonic in the semifinals. Federer is competing for his sixth US Open title, which would surpass Pete Sampras and Jimmy Connors for the most US Open men’s singles titles in the Open Era.

Nadal, of Spain, is a 14-time Grand Slam champion who won his 69th career ATP World Tour title in Barcelona this April. He has not played competitively since withdrawing from the French Open in June with a wrist injury.

Also included in the men’s singles field are: No. 5 Stan Wawrinka, of Switzerland, the 2014 Australian Open and 2015 French Open champion; No. 6 Kei Nishikori, of Japan, a 2014 US Open finalist; No. 7 Milos Raonic, of Canada, who reached his first Grand Slam singles final at Wimbledon this month; No. 8 Tomas Berdych, of the Czech Republic, a former world No. 4 and 2016 Wimbledon semifinalist; No. 9 Dominic Thiem, the 22-year old Austrian talent; No. 10 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, of France; No. 11 David Goffin, of Belgium; and No. 12 Marin Cilic, the 2014 US Open champion.

Canadian Vasek Pospisil, ranked No. 98, is the last man to receive direct entry into the field of 128. Six players used a protected ranking to gain entry, including Nos. 39 Julien Benneteau, of France, and Janko Tipsarevic, of Serbia, No. 56 Brian Baker, of the United States, No. 81 Thanasi Kokkinakis, of Australia, No. 89 Dmitry Tursunov, of Russia, and No. 94 Jerzy Janowicz, of Poland. Sixteen more players will gain entry through the US Open Qualifying Tournament, held August 23-26, while the eight remaining spots are wild cards awarded by the USTA.

American men who received direct entry are No. 16 John Isner, of Greensboro, N.C., No. 25 Steve Johnson, of Orange, Calif., No. 26 Jack Sock, of Lincoln, Neb., No. 29 Sam Querrey, of Las Vegas, No. 56 Brian Baker, of Nashville, Tenn., No. 57 Donald Young, of Atlanta, and No. 67 Taylor Fritz, of Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.

Argentina’s Juan Martin del Potro, the 2009 US Open champion, is entered as an alternate and would be making his first appearance at the US Open since 2013.

Among the players competing in the US Open Qualifying Tournament will be the winner of the seventh annual US Open National Playoffs – Men’s Championship, held during the Emirates Airline US Open Series’ Connecticut Open in New Haven, Conn., prior to the US Open Qualifying Tournament. The USTA created the US Open National Playoffs in 2010 to allow players 14 and older, regardless of playing ability or nationality, to vie for a spot in the US Open Qualifying Tournament via one of 15 sectional qualifying tournaments.

The July 18 edition of the Emirates ATP Rankings was used to determine the US Open main draw entry list. Seeds will be determined and announced closer to the start of the event.

The 2016 US Open will mark the culmination of the Emirates Airline US Open Series, the North American summer season of seven ATP World Tour and WTA events that began this week in Stanford, Calif.

The US Open is the highest-attended annual sporting event in the world. 2016 marks the second year of an 11-year partnership between the USTA and ESPN, which will see the US Open carried on the ESPN family of networks through 2025. During this year’s US Open, ESPN and ESPN2 will combine to air nearly 130 hours of live match play with more than 1,200 hours of first-to-last ball coverage to be seen on ESPN3 on WatchESPN, which will also be available via the US Open website – USOpen.org.  In the continued expansion of its US Open coverage, ESPN will feature play from up to 12 courts.

US Open tickets can be purchased: at USOpen.org; by calling Ticketmaster at 1-866-OPEN-TIX; and at all Ticketmaster outlets.

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Milos Raonic Rallies Past Roger Federer; Will Play Andy Murray for Wimbledon Title

Milos Raonic

Milos Raonic

(July 8, 2016) No. 6 Milos Raonic became the first Canadian to reach the Wimbledon final when he rallied past seven-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer 6-3, 6-7 (3), 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 in his semifinal on Friday.

Federer, who seemed to be in control of his service games in the fourth set, making headway into Raonic’s service games, but on the cusp of reaching a tiebreak, blew a 40-0 lead, hit toe double faults in a row, to be broken for the set and the momentum switched to Raonic, who never let it go.

“This one clearly hurts, because I felt I could have had it. So close,” said Federer. “It was really so, so close.”

Federer fell flat on his face, literally and figuratively in the fifth set and Raonic sprinted to a 4-1 lead and never looked back.

“I was able to finish,” Federer said, commenting about the fall. “But I don’t slip a lot. I don’t ever fall down. It was a different fall for me than I’ve ever had.”

He admitted in press that after slipping on the grass that he did not feel the same afterwards.

As for the 25-year-old Raonic, he survives and advances. “I sort of persevered,” he said.  “I was sort of plugging away.”

Two years ago, The Swiss beat the Canadian in the semifinals.

“Two years ago, I bottled up all the difficulties I had on court and never got it out,” Raonic said. “I was quite more vocal and a lot more positive on court.”

“I was struggling through many parts of the match,” he continued. “He gave me a little opening towards the end of the fourth. I made the most of it.”

“You’re playing who Roger is today,” Raonic added, “not who he’s been the past few years.”

 

Raonic will be joined in the final by 2013 champion and second seed Andy Murray. The Scot reached his third Wimbledon final and third major final of the year easily passing 10th seed Tomas Berdych 6-3, 6-3, 6-3. This will be the 11th major final of Murray’s career.

It will be the first major final where he won’t face either Novak Djokovic or Roger Federer. Murray is 2-8 in major finals.

“Obviously, first time I’ll play a Slam final against someone that isn’t Roger or Novak. So, yeah, that’s different,” Murray said to media. “But you never know how anyone’s going to deal with the pressures of a Slam final. So just have to go out there and concentrate on my side. Do what I can to prepare well for it and see what happens.”

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Roger Federer Rallies From Two Sets Down To Reach 11th Wimbledon Semifinal

(July 6, 2016) Roger Federer kept his hopes alive of winning a record eighth Wimbledon title when he rallied from two sets down and saved three match points to beat ninth seed Marin Cilic 6-7(4), 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(9), 6-3 to reach the semifinals on Wednesday on Centre Court. It was a little revenge for the Swiss who was destroyed by Cilic in the 2014 U.S, Open semifinals.

“Well, a lot happened out there,” Federer said to the BBC about the tenth time in his career coming back from a two-set deficit. “I knew I was in so much trouble in the third, and then again in the fourth.”

“I’m really, really pleased and just ecstatic I was able to come through somehow.”
The win for the third seeded Federer marks the 11th time he’s reached the semifinals of the All-England Club, tying Jimmy Connors and he also claims a record 307th match victory at a major, passing Martina Navratilova at 306. He also equaled Jimmy Connors with number of match wins at Wimbledon at 84.

This will be the 17-time major champion’s 40th major semifinal.

“I fought. I tried. I believed, and in the end I got it done, and so it’s great on so many levels,” Federer said to media.

Federer will face No. 6 seed Milos Raonic in the final four. The Canadian stopped the run of 28th seed American Sam Querrey, who upset Novak Djokovic in the third round, 6-4, 7-5, 5-7, 6-4.
Also advancing to his second Wimbledon semifinal was No. 10 Tomas Berdych beating No. 32 Lucas Pouille 7-6(4), 6-3, 6-2.

2013 Wimbledon winner and No. 2 Andy Murray held off No. 12th seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-6 (10), 6-1, 3-6, 4-6, 6-1 for the last spot in the final four on Centre Court.

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Roger Federer Ends Marcus Willis’ Run at Wimbledon

(June 29, 2016) British qualifier Marcus Willis had his Cinderella story come to an end when seven-time champion Roger Federer brought him down to earth 6-0, 6-3, 6-4 in the second round of Wimbledon on Wednesday. The tennis instructor ranked 772nd in the world reached the main draw through both a special pre-qualifying tournament for British players advancing into the regular qualifying tournament.

Willis had the crowd behind him on Centre Court with the roof closed at the All England Club. For Federer, a Wimbledon fan favorite, expected the crowd to support his opponent.

“I expected something like this, especially under the roof. He was going to have some supporters and they were going to have chants. I felt very well prepared. I enjoyed it.”

“It’s his moment. I wanted him to have a great time,” Federer said. “I’ll remember most of the Centre Court matches here at Wimbledon, but this one will stand out because it’s that special and probably not going to happen again for me to play against a guy 770 in the world. I enjoyed it as much as I possibly could.”

“I did look up twice as I bounced the ball, and saw Roger Federer, and thought, ‘Oh, haven’t seen this before,'” said the 25-year-old Brit who lives at home with his parents. “It was surreal.”
“It was all just a blur,” the left-handed Willis said after the match. “It was amazing. I did enjoy myself even though I was getting duffed up. I loved every bit of it. Not the duffing bit. I loved getting stuck in, fighting hard.”

“The whole experience was incredible.”

For Federer, it was his 81st match win at Wimbledon. He’s second all-time to Jimmy Connors with 84.

Top seed Novak Djokovic advanced earlier in the day which saw rain wash out 40 of the matches on the outer courts. Wimbledon is issuing refunds to many of the Wednesday patrons.

Djokovic won his 30th consecutive match at a major with his victory over France’s Adrian Mannarino 6-4, 6-3, 7-6(5).

 

Related article:

World No. 772 Marcus Willis Reaches Wimbledon Second Round and Will Face Roger Federer

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Djokovic, Federer Advance, Muguruza Extended, Ivanovic Beaten on First Day of 2016 Wimbledon

(June 27, 2016) Top seed Novak Djokovic, going for his fifth major tournament win in a row and the third leg of the “Grand Slam” opened his defense at Wimbledon with a 6-0, 7-6(3) win over No. 177 British wild card James Ward. The Serb was halfway to a “triple bagel” (6-0, 6-0, 6-0) before Ward got on the board.

“I honestly didn’t expect myself to start that well,” said Djokovic. “Nine games in a row, 6 0, 3 0. I thought it was just a matter of time when James would win his first game. I knew that the reaction of the crowd, and his own reaction, will be the way it was.

“As a home player, he enjoyed a lot of support today, especially when he won his first game. That’s when the energy kind of shifted on his side. He felt huge relief obviously winning the first game. On the other hand, I maybe dropped the concentration a little bit. The second set was quite close. Credit to him for serving well.

“The first part of the match was almost flawless, so I’m very pleased with the way I started Wimbledon.”

Seven-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer was pushed by No. 52 Guido Pella 7-6(5), 7-6(3), 6-3. The Swiss broke the Argentine’s serve once – in the second-to-last game of the match.
Pella is now 0-4 in tour grass court matches.

“I was very happy with the way I played. If I would have used my chances earlier in the first and second set, maybe things would have been a bit easier.” Federer said. “I’m happy I made it in three straight sets.”

Federer’s win sets up a contest with the “Cinderella” of the tournament in the second round. No. 772 Marcus Willis, a British qualifier, advanced with a straight set win over Ricardas Berankis. Willis, a teaching pro came through both pre-qualifying and qualifying to reach the main draw.

World No. 772 Marcus Willis Reaches Wimbledon Second Round and Will Face Roger Federer

 

New French Open and last year’s Wimbledon finalist, Garbine Muguruza was pushed to a third set before advancing over Italy’s Camila Giorgi 6-2, 5-7, 6-4.

Five-time Wimbledon winner Venus Williams beat Croatia’s Donna Vekic 7-6(3), 6-4 in her opening match. This is Williams’ 19th time competing at the All England Club.

Former world No. 1 Ana Ivanovic was an upset victim on Monday, losing to a qualifier ranked 223rd making her major tournament debut. The Serb seeded 23rd lost to Russian Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-2, 7-5. Also exiting on the women’s side was 25th seed Irina-Camelia losing 6-1, 6-4 to Germany’s Carina Witthoeft.

Ivanovic told media that her injury caused her many miss hits.

Upsets on the men’s side of the draw on day one were twentieth seed Kevin Anderson and 21st seed Philipp Kohlschreiber.

In the comeback of the day, 28th seed Sam Querrey, rallied from two sets down to beat Lukas Rosol 6-7 (6), 6-7 (5), 6-4, 6-2, 12-10. back in 2012 Rosol stunned Rafael Nadal in the second round of Wimbledon.

Related articles:

2016 Wimbledon Day 1 Men’s Results

2016 Wimbledon Day 1 Women’s Results

2016 Wimbledon – Day 2 Men’s Preview

 

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The Man with the Silver Bowl – Behind the Scenes at The Queen’s Club Draw

By Wendy M. Grossman

1-Queens Club draw Ceremony Wendy Grossman Tennis Panorama News

(June 11, 2016) LONDON, England – “Don’t look,” cautioned the man bearing the silver bowl.

Tennis conspiracy theorists always think tournament draws are fixed. Sometimes – for example, the 1996 US Open, when the players threatened to boycott unless the draw was remade – there are good reasons. In that case, the seedings had been announced after the draw had already been announced, and because they didn’t strictly follow the rankings, there were legitimate questions asked about whether the tournament was favoring American stars. A 2011 study of ten years of men’s and women’s singles Grand Slam draws found that the other Slams did indeed seem to produce random draws, but that that the US Open draws showed anomalies.

More common claims are that the draw is fixed to ease one or another player’s path or that the placing of seeds 3 and 4 is fixed in order to keep a particular pairing apart until the final. Every time a new draw for one of the majors is announced, you’ll find someone in a tennis discussion forum complaining that Roger Federer always gets an easy draw and Rafael Nadal a hard one, or  Novak Djokovic a tough road and Nadal an easy one…or some variation of that with whatever players the poster cares about.

Others would just like to tinker with the rules governing how draws are made. Over the years people have suggested that the semifinal pairings should always be 1-4 and 2-3, or that the entire draw should be remade before the quarter-finals to rebalance the gaps left by defeated seeds. Another favorite suggestion is that the majors should go back to seeding 16 players instead of 32, the rule until 2001. Doing so, the argument goes, would make the early rounds a little more tantalizing. I incline toward this latter idea myself, but it’s unlikely to happen because seeding 32 players was a concession Wimbledon made as part of a settlement of player complaints. The Spanish players were offended by the All-England’s habit of revising the seeding list to take into account past results on grass, which sometimes dropped the Spaniards out of the seeding list. This, they felt, was unfair: sure they often lost in the early rounds, but, they reasoned, they got no reverse consideration at the French Open, where they could be expected to do well but Pete Sampras was still top seed despite his habit of losing in the first two rounds.

2-Queens Club draw Wendy Grossman - portraits

Back to the man with the silver bowl. We are in the Presidents’ Room at Queen’s Club, surrounded by oil portraits, one of which is a dead ringer for Kaiser Wilhelm (it’s actually the Rt Hon Lord of Dalkeith, the club president from 1874 to 1879). The room is full of journalists and various people involved with running either the club or the tournament. (You can easily tell them apart. The people involved with the club are dressed for a cocktail party; tournament staff are wearing sponsored sports stuff; and the journalists look like they’ve been dragged in off the street.) At the front, next to a populated head table is a large screen with a blank 32-slot draw, and a load of numbered plastic tokens. We are introduced to three people who together have bid £250,000 (to be given to a children’s charity) for the right to be here today. Also on hand: Marin Cilic, the 2012 champion of this event. All of this, including the presence of a player, is fairly standard, though the exact mechanics vary.

The ritual begins with slotting the name of the top seed – Andy Murray – on line number 1 and second seed Stan Wawrinka on line 32. Next, the tokens for 3 and 4 are placed in the bowl and Queen’s man in the grey suit asks one of the dignitaries to pick one. This is where “Don’t look!” comes in. The one that is drawn – fourth seed Richard Gasquet – is placed on line 9, and the other, McEnroe-enhanced third seed Milos Raonic, on line 24. That settles the projected semifinal pairings. Next, the tokens for seeds 5 to 8 are placed in the bowl, and the man bowl is offered to three different people to fill the quarterfinal spots. Finally, the rest of the tokens are placed in the bowl, and the man goes around offering it to various people in the audience, even soliciting volunteers. Each person draws out one of the remaining numbers and the team at the front places it in the next empty line of the draw. There are tokens for qualifiers, whose names won’t be known until tomorrow (assuming the rain delay ends in time). These will also be drawn randomly to fill the empty spaces left for them.

As they go, the on-screen board fills in and profiles of the players and their match pairings pop up alongside. Some of the matches sound much tastier than the first round at Wimbledon will be. Cilic, interviewed, noted that the cut-off for the main draw this week was 44, which he thinks is the highest for any tournament on the tour. Murray, seeking his record-breaking fifth title here this year, draws Nicolas Mahut in the first round. Definitely a tough one: Mahut has grass cred. Besides being, famously, the loser in 2010’s three-day first-round Wimbledon encounter with John Isner, he’s a former finalist here who might have won the title but for an unlucky netcord, and recently the world’s number one doubles player. Other first-round contests that catch the eye: Nick Kyrgios versus Raonic sounds like an old-style serving contest; John Isner will have to contend with just-back Juan Martin del Potro; and Cilic faces Feliciano Lopez, the good-on-grass Spaniard who has troubled plenty of players here over the years.

Most draws, while not attended with quite as much ceremony, are pretty much like this: public events, with at least one player, some press, and various others in attendance. While it might be possible to fix the draw somewhere sometime, the intent is to make the process transparent and trustworthy. Conspiracy theorists should look elsewhere.

 

Queen’s Club Draws

Related articles:

A Look at the History of Queen’s Club with CEO Andrew Stewart

Keeping the Queen’s Club Grass Courts Perfect; Meet Graham Kimpton

Approach Shots: Getting to Know Tennis Umpire Ali Nili

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Novak Djokovic Wins French Open Title to Complete “Career Grand Slam” and win Fourth Straight Major Title

Djokovic thumbs up-001

(June 5, 2016) Novak Djokovic became the first man since Rod Laver won a calendar Grand Slam in 1969 to win four straight major titles, winning the French Open on Sunday over Andy Murray 3-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 on Sunday to complete a career Grand Slam. Djokovic is just the third man to hold all four majors titles at the same time which includes Don Budge 1938 and Rod Laver in 1962 and 1969.

The title gives No. 1 Djokovic his 12 major titles, tying him with Roy Emerson on the all-time list, behind Roger Federer with 17, Rafael Nadal and Pete Sampras with 14. The Serb is the eighth man to complete a career “Grand Slam” joining Don Budge, Fred Perry, Rod Laver, Roy Emerson, Andre Agassi, Roger Federer, and Rafael Nadal. The 29-year-old is now 12-11 in major finals.

“It’s a thrilling moment,” said Djokovic. “One of the most beautiful I have had in my career. “It’s incredibly flattering to know that Rod Laver is the last one that managed to do that. There are not many words that can describe it. It’s one of the ultimate challenges that you have as a tennis player. I’m very proud and very thrilled. It’s hard for me to reflect on what has happened before and what’s going to happen after. I’m just so overwhelmed with having this trophy next to me that I’m just trying to enjoy this moment.”

“Perhaps the greatest moment of my career.”

After completing the victory, Djokovic took a page out of former Roland Garros champion Gustavo Kuerten’s book, by drawing a heart in the clay and laying on his back inside it to celebrate.

“The most important thing for me is that I wrote down that heart, like Guga did,” Djokovic said after the match. “He gave me the permission to do this. The most important is that I felt the love, and drawing a heart means I will remain on this court with you every day.”

“This is Novak’s day,” Murray said during the trophy ceremony. “Winning all four Grand Slams at once is a great achievement. This is something that is so rare in tennis. What he’s achieved the last 12 months is phenomenal. I’m proud to be part of it today.”

Djokovic has now won 28 matches in a row in major tournaments dating back to last year’s French Open final.

His collection of majors: 6 Australian Opens, 1 Roland Garros, 3 Wimbledons and two U.S. Opens.

The French Open crown marks his 65 title, which puts him at number six on the all-time list behind Jimmy Connors (109), Ivan Lendl (94), Roger Federer (88), John McEnroe (77) and Rafael Nadal (69).

Djokovic is now halfway through a calendar Grand Slam, winning the Australian and French Opens. The last time a man won the first two majors in a year was Jim Courier in 1992.

 

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Novak Djokovic Could Face Rafael Nadal in the Semifinals of Roland Garros

 

(May 20, 2016) The French Open men’s and women’s singles draws were made in Paris on Friday and No. 1 Novak Djokovic and No. 4 seed, nine-time Roland Garros champion Rafael Nadal could be on a collision course to meet in the semifinals. Nadal moved into the No. 4 seed position when No. 3 Roger Federer withdrew from the tournament on Thursday.

Djokovic comes into Roland Garros seeking the only major tournament he has not won. He’s looking to become the eight man to have a “career slam,” winning each of the four major title at least once. Should the Serb win the French Open, he would hold all four major championships at the same time.

Djokovic has lost in the final of the French Open three out of the past four years. He will begin his quest for the Roland Garros crown against No. 100 in the world Lu Yen-hsun in, while Nadal will play big serving Australian, Sam Groth.

On the other side of the men’s draw, a pair of two-time major champions could meet in the other semifinal – No. 2 Andy Murray and No. 3 seed and defending champion Stan Wawrinka. Murray will play a qualifier in the first round, while Wawrinka will face-off against

The top seed in the women’s draw, Serena Williams is going after her 22nd career major, which would tie her with Steffi Graf on the all-time list, the most in the Open Era. She’s coming off her first tournament win in nine months, winning the Italian Open trophy last weekend on the clay courts of Rome.

A hurdle for the American could come in the quarterfinals, where she is projected to meet No. 5 seed and two-time Australian Open winner Victoria Azarenka. Williams may also have play 2008 French Open champion Ana Ivanovic in the fourth round and reigning Australian Open champion Angelique Kerber in the final four. Williams lost to the German in the Melbourne final.

Williams will open against No. 76 Magdalena Rybarikova.

Williams is the defending champion and is going after her fourth Roland Garros trophy.

In the bottom half of the women’s draw, No. 2 Agnieszka Radwanska could play fourth seed Garbine Muguruza in the semifinals.

Play begins on Sunday, May 22.

Men’s draw

Women’s draw

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