Tsitsipas Takes Lead Of Razor-Thin Race

Stefanos Tsitsipas has taken the lead in the FedEx ATP Race To Turin after claiming his first ATP Masters 1000 trophy at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters. The 22-year-old strengthened his claim to one of eight spots to the Nitto ATP Finals, to be held at the Pala Alpitour in Turin from 14-21 November 2021.

The first four players — Tsitsipas, Andrey Rublev, Novak Djokovic and Daniil Medvedev — are separated by only 410 points in the closest Race after three-and-a-half months of a season since 2010.

View Latest FedEx ATP Race To Turin Standings

The Greek star (2,540 points), who clinched the 2019 Nitto ATP Finals crown, leads second-placed Russian Rublev (2,400), the player he beat in Sunday’s final at the Monte-Carlo Country Club, by 140 points. Five-time former season finale champion Djokovic is in third place on 2,230 points, just 100 points ahead of Russia’s Daniil Medvedev (2,130).

“That is great,” said Tsitsipas, when told he leads the 2021 FedEx ATP Race To Turin. “It’s just the beginning. We still have plenty of tennis to be played this year. [It’s] great to be in the lead. I’m not trying to think of it too much because [there are] many tournaments ahead of me. I’m going to try to recalibrate, refocus. My body is feeling good, which is a good sign. I’m really pumped to go for some more points in the next couple of weeks.”

Eleven years ago, on 19 April 2010, American Andy Roddick (2,450) held a 220-point advantage over Rafael Nadal (2,230), who had just captured the sixth of his 11 Monte-Carlo crowns, with Roger Federer (2,225) in third position. Djokovic, then aged 22, was in fourth place with 1,580 points in the quest for a 2010 Nitto ATP Finals spot, when the event was played at The O2 in London.

Tsitsipas, who beat Rublev 6-3, 6-3 in the Monte-Carlo final, has risen three spots after capturing his sixth ATP Tour crown and his biggest title since lifting the 2019 Nitto ATP Finals trophy. Rublev, who has won more matches this season (24) than any other player, has jumped above Djokovic into second place after his performance in the Principality, which included a quarter-final victory over Nadal.

Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz (1,440), this month’s Miami Open titlist, Russian Aslan Karatsev (1,355), Italian Jannik Sinner (1,040), who won the 2019 Next Gen ATP Finals title in Milan, Alexander Zverev of Germany (1025) and Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut (855) remain in spots five to nine, but they will all be keeping track of fast-rising contenders after the second Masters 1000 tournament of the year.

Norway’s Casper Ruud (675) jumped 28 places to 10th place in the FedEx ATP Race To Turin after he reached the Monte-Carlo semi-finals, while Briton Daniel Evans (650), who beat Djokovic en route to the last four, is up 29 places to 11th position.

Draw Preview: Djokovic, Karatsev On Belgrade Collision Course

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic will play on home soil for the first time in a decade when he hits the court at his eponymous tennis centre to begin his 2021 Serbia Open campaign.

Djokovic leads the pack as seven other Serbians contest the main draw in Belgrade. Most of them, including fourth seed Dusan Lajovic and fifth seed Filip Krajinovic, landed on the opposite side of the draw. But Djokovic could get a first-time meeting with eighth-seeded countryman Miomir Kecmanovic in the quarter-finals.

View Belgrade Singles Draw

The top seed will start against Soonwoo Kwon or a qualifier at the Novak Tennis Centre as he seeks his third title at the ATP 250 event in Belgrade, and his 83th career trophy. Djokovic lifted two trophies during the tournament’s previous four-year run, triumphing in 2009 and 2011. 

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Also in Djokovic’s half of the draw is third seed Aslan Karatsev, and the pair could meet for the second time this season should they reach the semi-finals. Karatsev was the breakthrough story at the start of the year after his dream run from qualifying to his first Grand Slam semi-final at the Australian Open. Djokovic sent him crashing back to earth in the last four, cruising to a 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 victory on his way to his record-extending ninth Melbourne crown.

But Karatsev will have to get through a tricky opening match first. He awaits the winner between Aljaz Bedene and #NextGenATP American Sebastian Korda, who reached the quarter-finals in Miami and final in Delray Beach before the clay season.

How To Watch

Italian Matteo Berrettini anchors the bottom half of the Belgrade draw as the second seed. He will start against either Serbian wild card Viktor Troicki, a former World No. 12, or countryman Marco Cecchinato. Berrettini is contesting his second tournament back from a rib injury, which caused him to withdraw from the Australian Open at the start of the season.

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Draw Preview: Nadal Faces Test For 12th Title In Loaded Barcelona Draw

Rafael Nadal faces a tricky path at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell if he is to lift a record-extending 12th trophy. Nine players in the Top 20 of the FedEx ATP Rankings feature at the ATP 500 clay-court tournament.

Nadal has avoided his Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters conqueror, Russia’s Andrey Rublev, who features in the bottom half of the 48-player draw alongside Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas. But the Spanish superstar may need to overcome the likes of David Goffin, Karen Khachanov, Diego Schwartzman, Daniel Evans, Fabio Fognini or Pablo Carreno Busta to reach the final.

The 34-year-old Nadal, who has a 61-4 match record in Barcelona since making his tournament debut in 2003, will begin his quest against France’s Adrian Mannarino or a qualifier. Nadal lifted the Barcelona trophy in 2005-09, 2011-13 and 2016-18.

View Barcelona Singles Draw | Watch Uncovered: Behind The Scenes At Barcelona 2019

Second seed Tsitsipas, who beat Evans in Monte-Carlo on Saturday for a place in his third ATP Masters 1000 final, may meet Rublev in the Barcelona semi-finals. The pair will meet for the seventh time in their ATP Head2Head series on Saturday in the Monte-Carlo final.

Tsitsipas, who lost to Nadal in Barcelona in his first ATP Tour final three years ago, will begin his quest against Brazil’s Thiago Monteiro or Jaume Munar of Spain. Rublev, who knocked out Nadal 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 in the Monte-Carlo semi-finals on Friday, and has an ATP Tour-best 24-4 match record in 2021, is set to face France’s Benoit Paire or a qualifier in his first match. Rublev could meet No. 15 seed Casper Ruud, the player he beat in the Monte-Carlo semi-finals in the third round.

How To Watch

Italian wild Lorenzo Musetti, the youngest player in the Top 100, faces veteran Spaniard Feliciano Lopez in the first round. The winner will advance to a second-round clash against No. 10 seed Felix Auger-Aliassime, who is being coached by Toni Nadal. The loaded section also features seventh seed Denis Shapovalov, who will first meeting France’s Jeremy Chardy or this season’s Qatar ExxonMobil Open titlist Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia.

Jannik Sinner, who is close to breaking into the Top 20 of the FedEx ATP Rankings after a strong start to the year that includes capturing the Great Ocean Road Open title (d. Travaglia), also features in the bottom half of the draw and may meet fifth-seeded Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut in the third round.

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The 17-year-old Carlos Alcaraz, who recently reached the AnyTech365 Andalucia Open semi-finals (l. to Munar), plays American Frances Tiafoe in the top half of the draw with fourth seed Schwartzman a second-round opponent.

Elsewhere, Kei Nishikori, the 2014 and 2015 Barcelona champion, who is continuing his comeback from injuries, faces Guido Pella in the first round. He could be a potential third-round opponent for Nadal.

ATP Issues Updated Calendar Following Roland-Garros Rescheduling

The ATP has issued an update to the ATP Tour calendar with the addition of ATP 250 clay-court tournaments in Belgrade, Serbia and Parma, Italy, in the week prior to Roland-Garros.

The additions to the calendar follow the one-week postponement of the second Grand Slam of the season, with a number of tournament applications received in order to fill week 21 (24 May) of the schedule.

The additional Belgrade event will be held at the same location as next week’s Serbia Open, the Novak Tennis Centre, while the Emilia-Romagna Open will be held at the President Tennis Club of Montechiarugolo.

The MercedesCup, the ATP 250 in Stuttgart, plans to remain in its original week, commencing 7 June.

Meanwhile, the Libema Open, the ATP 250 grass-court tournament in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands, will not take place in 2021.

All other events remain as originally scheduled on the 2021 ATP Tour calendar.

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Nadal Ready For More Brilliance In Barcelona; All You Need To Know

Rafael Nadal leads the field at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell as he seeks to add another victory at the ATP 500 event to his legendary clay-court haul. The top-seeded Spaniard has already lifted the Trofeo de Godo 11 times, more than anyone else in tournament history.

The City of Counts has been adding up the home-grown victories in recent years: Fourteen of the past 17 editions have been won by Spaniards, led by Nadal (2005-09, 2011-13, 2016-18),  Fernando Verdasco (2010), Tommy Robredo (2004) and Carlos Moya (2003). Japan’s Kei Nishikori won back-to-back titles in 2014-15, and he’ll be back in action looking to once again break up the Spanish supremacy in Barcelona.

They will be joined by Top 10 stars Diego Schwartzman and Stefanos Tsitsipas, who reached the final here in 2018. #NextGenATP players including Jannik Sinner, Felix Auger-Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov are also eager to make their mark.

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Ferrer To Become Barcelona Tournament Director

Retired Spanish great David Ferrer has taken the reigns as tournament director of the historic ATP 500 event, which has been held at the Real Club de Tenis Barcelona 1899, the oldest tennis club in Spain, since 1953.

Here’s all you need to know about Barcelona tennis tournament: when is the draw, what is the schedule, where to watch, who won and more. 

Established:1953

Tournament Dates: 19-25 April 2021

Tournament Director: David Ferrer

Draw Ceremony: Saturday, 17 April at 12 noon, on-site

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Schedule (View On Official Website)
* Qualifying: Saturday 17 – Sunday 18 April at 10:00am
* Main draw: Monday 19 April – Thursday 22 at 11:00am, Friday 23 at 12:30pm and Saturday 24 at 1:30pm
* Doubles final: Sunday, 25 April at 1:00pm
* Singles final: Sunday, 25 April at 4:00pm

How To Watch
Watch Live On Tennis TV  

How To Watch

Venue: Real Club de Tenis Barcelona 1899
Main Court Seating: 8,000

Prize Money: €1,565,480 (Total Financial Commitment: € 1,702,800) 

Tickets On SaleBuy Now
Note: Due to COVID-19 health guidelines, the 2021 Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell is welcoming guests at a reduced capacity.

View Who Is Playing, Past Champions, Seeds, Points & Prize Money Breakdown

Honour Roll (Open Era)
Most Titles, Singles: Rafael Nadal (11)
Most Titles, Doubles: Daniel Nestor (4)
Oldest Champion: Manuel Santana, 32, in 1970
Youngest Champion: Mats Wilander, 18, in 1982
Highest-Ranked Champion (since 1979): No. 1Ilie Nastase in 1973, No. 1 Rafael Nadal in 2009, 2011, 2018
Lowest-Ranked Champion (since 1979): No. 65 Todd Martin in 1998
Most Match Wins: Rafael Nadal (61) 
Last Home Champion: Rafael Nadal (2018)

2019 Finals
Singles: [3] Dominic Thiem (AUT) d [7] Daniil Medvedev (RUS) 64 60   Read & Watch
Doubles: [3] Juan Sebastian Cabal (COL) / Robert Farah (COL) d Jamie Murray (GBR) / Bruno Soares (BRA) 64 76(4)  Read More 

Social
Hashtag: #bcnopenbs

Facebook: @barcelonaopenbancsabadell
Twitter: @bcnopenbs
Instagram: @bcnopenbs

Did You Know… It’s a tradition for the singles and doubles champions to take a dive in the pool at the Real Club de Tenis Barcelona-1899.

ATP 250 To Be Held In Parma From 22-29 May

ATP has added an 250 clay-court tournament in late May following the one-week delay to the start of Roland Garros.

For the first time, Parma, in Italy’s North, will host an ATP Tour event. The Emilia-Romagna Open will be held from Saturday 22 May to Saturday 29 May, leading into the second Grand Slam tournament of the year in Paris.

The event, to be held in the heart of Emilia at the President Tennis Club of Montechiarugolo, is strongly supported by the Emilia-Romagna Region.

Parma
Photo Credit: iStock by Getty Images
Italy is experiencing a tennis boom, with 10 players inside the Top 100 of the FedEx ATP Rankings. For the first time this November, the country will host the Nitto ATP Finals in Turin in the week following the Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan.

MEF Tennis Events , which already runs ATP Challenger Tour events in Italy and abroad, will organise the event. It has already worked on events in the municipalities of Parma, Montechiarugolo and Forlì, which in the past two years have seen the triumphs of former World No. 5 Tommy Robredo, American Frances Tiafoe and #NextGenATP Italian Lorenzo Musetti.

Any further updates to the ATP Tour calendar will be communicated in due course.

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Nadal, Djokovic Headline At Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters: What You Need To Know

The Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters is the first of three ATP Masters 1000 tournaments played on clay. Held at the picturesque Monte-Carlo Country Club, the event has a long tradition of great champions, led by Spain’s Rafael Nadal, who has won 11 titles at the event, including an Open Era record eight straight between 2005-2012.

Nadal will open his 2021 clay-court campaign in Monte-Carlo, and is joined in the field by past champions Novak Djokovic (2013 & 2015) and Fabio Fognini (2019), and the likes of Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Alexander Zverev and Andrey Rublev.

Here’s all you need to know about Monte-Carlo tennis tournament: when is the draw, what is the schedule, where to watch, who won and more. 

Established: 1897

Tournament Dates: 11-18 April 2021

Tournament Director: Zeljko Franulovic

Draw Ceremony: Friday, 9 April, 6:30pm at Monte Carlo Bay

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Schedule (View On Official Website)
* Qualifying: 10-11 April from 11am
* Main draw: Sunday, 11 April – Saturday, 17 April from 11am, Sunday, 18 April at 12 noon
* Doubles final: Sunday, 18 April at 12 noon
* Singles final: Sunday, 18 April at 2:30pm 

How To Watch
Watch Live On Tennis TV 
View TV Schedule

Venue: Monte-Carlo Country Club
Surface: Clay

Prize Money: € 2,082,960 (Total Financial Commitment: € 2,460,585)  

Tickets On SaleBuy Now

View Who Is Playing, Past Champions, Seeds, Points & Prize Money Breakdown

Honour Roll (Open Era)
Most Titles, Singles: Rafael Nadal (11)
Most Titles, Doubles:
Bob Bryan & Mike Bryan (6)
Oldest Champion: Nicola Pietrangeli, 34, in 1968
Youngest Champion: Mats Wilander, 18, in 1983
Highest-Ranked Champion (since 1979): No. 1 Bjorn Borg in 1979-80, Ivan Lendl in 1988, Rafael Nadal in 2009, ’11 & ‘18, Novak Djokovic in 2013 & ‘15
Lowest-Ranked Champion (since 1979)
: No. 49 Andrew Pattison in 1974
Most Match Wins: Rafael Nadal (71)

2019 Finals
Singles: [13] Fabio Fognini (ITA) d Dusan Lajovic (SRB) 63 64   Read & Watch
Doubles: [7] Nikola Mektic (CRO) / Franko Skugor (CRO) d Robin Haase (NED) / Wesley Koolhof (NED) 67(3) 76(3) 11-9  Read & Watch 

Social
Hashtag: #rolexmcmasters
Facebook: @rolexmcmasters
Twitter: @ROLEXMCMASTERS
Instagram: @rolexmontecarlomasters

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Relive A Much-Loved Tradition: The ATP Player Revue In Monte-Carlo

Did You Know…  The annual Player Revue takes place during the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters. Stars of the ATP Tour set aside their inhibitions to entertain their friends, family and fellow players in a series of sketches, poking good-humoured fun at life on tour and showing off their singing and dancing talents. Unfortunately, in 2021, due to COVID-19, the Player Revue will not take place. Take a look back at past Player Revues: 2018 | 2017 | 2016

Turin Update: Rublev Narrows Gap On Djokovic, Medvedev

Russian Andrey Rublev continues to stake a strong claim to a second consecutive appearance at the Nitto ATP Finals after an impressive performance in the first quarter of the 2021 ATP Tour season. Boasting a tour-leading 20 wins on the year, Rublev consolidated his hold on third place in the FedEx ATP Race To Turin with a semi-final showing at the Miami Open presented by Itau, closing the gap on leader Novak Djokovic and countryman and second-placed Daniil Medvedev.

The season’s first ATP Masters 1000 tournament has greatly shaped the early battle for places in Turin, with Miami champion Hubert Hurkacz leaping to fifth spot and 19-year-old Miami finalist Jannik Sinner surging to sixth, to be the highest-positioned Italian.

Rublev (1,800 points) now sits just 330 points away from leader Djokovic and defending champion Medvedev’s second place spot (2,130) in the FedEx ATP Race To Turin. Rublev won his eighth ATP Tour title at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam, and has reached the quarter-finals or better at all six of his tournaments in 2021.

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Pole Position: Hurkacz Claims First Masters 1000 Title In Miami

Five-time former Nitto ATP Finals titlist Djokovic (2,140) holds the top spot for a place at the Pala Alpitour in Turin from 14-21 November 2021. The Top 4 positions have held for the second week in a row, with Stefanos Tsitsipas (1,540) occupying the fourth spot after a run to the quarter-finals in Miami.

Hurkacz’s victory in Miami did more than just propel him inside the Top 20 in the FedEx ATP Rankings. The 24-year-old won the biggest title of his career, and wrote a new chapter in Polish tennis history, by becoming his country’s first ATP Masters 1000 singles champion. As a result, Hurkacz (1,395) rose 13 places in the leaderboard to sit in fifth place, and soared into contention for his first Nitto ATP Finals berth.

#NextGenATP Italian Sinner (995) is also vying to qualify for the first time to the Nitto ATP Finals after a breakthrough week in Miami. The 19-year-old has leaped 10 spots after reaching his first Masters 1000 final, entering Turin contention in seventh place.

Hurkacz also captured his second ATP Tour title in January at the Delray Beach Open by VITACOST.com (d. Korda), while Sinner started the season winning his own second trophy at the Great Ocean Road Open in Melbourne (d. Travaglia).

Also on the rise, Miami semi-finalist Roberto Bautista Agut (765) is working on closing the gap as he surged to the ninth position. The Spaniard sits just 170 points behind 2018 winner Alexander Zverev (935) in eighth place.

Did You Know?
The top seven players in the FedEx ATP Race To Turin after the Rolex Paris Masters on 8 November 2021 qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals. If there is one current-year Grand Slam champion positioned between No. 8 and No. 20 in the Race, he qualifies in eighth place. If there are two current-year Grand Slam champions positioned between No. 8 and No. 20 in the Race, the highest-placed of those players becomes the eighth and final qualifier; the lower-placed Grand Slam champion will serve as the alternate. If there are no current-year Grand Slam champions positioned between No. 8 and No. 20, then the player at No. 8 in the Race will claim the eighth and final berth.

Fashion Photographer Captures Miami Moments With Tsitsipas, Rublev & More

Los Angeles-based Czech fashion photographer Radka Leitmeritz turned her lens to the tennis courts throughout the Miami Open presented by Itau for a series of behind-the-scenes portraits featuring ATP Tour and WTA Tour players. 

Leitmeritz’s evocative work has previously featured in the pages and covers of international fashion magazines including Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, L’Officiel and Elle. Now, ATP Tour stars like Stefanos Tsitsipas, Grigor Dimitrov, Andrey Rublev and Diego Schwartzman (pictured above) have been her muses in South Florida.

“I think the misconception coming from the fashion world is that everyone I photograph is going to look like a top model,” Leitmeritz said of working with tennis players. “Everyone is beautiful and I like to capture something really personal about them in a different environment.

“I’m free from the history or knowing too much about them. This is a privileged situation. Shooting a person who is very famous that you don’t know is the best. I just see them, I feel a certain energy.”

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Her keen lens caught players like Felix Auger-Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov on their way to the practice court, and also captured quiet moments with Daniil Medvedev, Tommy Paul, Aslan Karatsev and more around the Hard Rock Stadium grounds.

Leitmeritz also photographed WTA Tour stars including Simona Halep, Naomi Osaka, Bianca Andreescu and Coco Gauff. See more images at WTATennis.com.

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17-Year-Old Leo Borg To Make ATP Qualifying Debut In Marbella

© Antonio Milesi

Leo Borg will play ATP Tour qualifying for the first time in Marbella.

The Swedish teen is the son of former World No. 1 Bjorn Borg

Leo Borg, the son of former World No. 1 Bjorn Borg, has received a wild card into qualifying at next month’s AnyTech365 Andalucia Open, with the main draw scheduled for 5-11 April in Marbella.

The 17-year-old Swede has also been awarded a main draw wild card into an ATP Challenger Tour event at the same venue the week before. The tournaments will be played at Club de Tennis Puente Romano, which opened in 1979 under the management of Bjorn Borg as part of Hotel Puente Romano.

Leo made his professional debut last February at an ATP Challenger Tour event in Bergamo, Italy, where he lost against former junior World No. 1 Chun-hsin Tseng. The Swede is now the No. 12 junior in the world after winning a Grade 1 tournament in Porto Alegre, Brazil.

Borg posted on social media last year that he spent three weeks training at the Rafa Nadal Academy by Movistar. 

<img src="https://sportblogg.net/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/leo-borg-marbella-2021-qualifying-qc-smile.jpg" alt="Leo Borg“>
Photo Credit: Antonio Milesi

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