ATP Statement On Novak Djokovic Entry Into Australia

The ATP fully respects the sacrifices the people of Australia have made since the onset of COVID-19 and the stringent immigration policies that have been put in place. Complications in recent days related to player entry into Australia have however highlighted the need for clearer understanding, communication and application of the rules.

In travelling to Melbourne, it’s clear Novak Djokovic believed he had been granted a necessary medical exemption in order to comply with entry regulations. The series of events leading to Monday’s court hearing have been damaging on all fronts, including for Novak’s well-being and preparation for the Australian Open. Player medical exemption requests are made independently of ATP, however we have been in constant contact with Tennis Australia to seek clarity throughout this process. We welcome the outcome of Monday’s hearing and look forward to an exciting few weeks of tennis ahead.

More broadly, ATP continues to strongly recommend vaccination for all players on the ATP Tour, which we believe is essential for our sport to navigate the pandemic. This is based on scientific evidence supporting the health benefits provided and to comply with global travel regulations, which we anticipate will become stricter over time. We are encouraged that 97 per cent of the Top 100 players are vaccinated leading into this year’s Australian Open.

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Shapovalov Withdraws From Opening Singles At ATP Cup

© Andrew Eichenholz/ATP Tour

Denis Shapovalov withdrew from his No. 2 singles match against John Isner on Sunday.

Schnur steps in to play Isner

Canadian Denis Shapovalov has withdrawn from his opening singles match of the season on Sunday at the ATP Cup due to fatigue. Brayden Schnur stepped in to face John Isner of the United States.

Shapovalov is still getting up to speed after testing positive for Covid-19 upon his arrival in Sydney. The 22-year-old followed all protocols including isolating in his hotel room before being released upon completion of those protocols.

“I’m disappointed not to be able to play the first match, but I just didn’t feel ready physically yet, so we did what is best for the team,” Shapovalov said. 

The lefty is joined on Team Canada by Felix Auger-Aliassime, Brayden Schnur and Steven Diez. It is Shapovalov’s third appearance in the ATP Cup.

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Rafa Is Back! Watch Nadal Practise Ahead Of Melbourne Summer Set

Rafael Nadal is back! The Spanish superstar has been training ahead of the Melbourne Summer Set, which begins on 4 January. The 35-year-old will be the top seed at the ATP 250 event, held at Melbourne Park, venue of the Australian Open.

Nadal hasn’t competed at an ATP Tour event since the Citi Open in Washington, DC, in August 2021, due to a chronic left foot injury. Last month, he also recovered from COVID-19.

The former World No. 1 will be bidding to capture the 89th tour-level title of his career in Melbourne. Reilly Opelka, Grigor Dimitrov, David Goffin and Nick Kyrgios will also be competing at the tournament.

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Felix, Stefanos Sharpen Games As ATP Cup Draws Near

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Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime will make his second ATP Cup appearance.

Event’s third edition begins 1 January

With just three days to go before ATP Cup kicks off the 2022 ATP Tour season, Top 10 stars Felix Auger-Aliassime and Stefanos Tsitsipas honed their games on the practice courts at Sydney Olympic Park Wednesday.

Auger-Aliassime leads Canada in Group C, where the 21-year-old will face No. 1 singles clashes with Alexander Zverev, Cameron Norrie and Taylor Fritz.

In his first practise at this year’s event, Tsitsipas worked out under the watchful eye of his father and team captain Apostolos. The World No. 4 spearheads Greece in Group C and is scheduled to meet Hubert Hurkacz, Diego Schwartzman and Nikoloz Basilashvili in group play.

Top 10 Italians Matteo Berrettini and Jannik Sinner practised together in cool to mild conditions in Sydney as they work on claiming revenge for their defeat in the 2021 final to Russia. The teams will meet in a blockbuster Group B showdown on the final day of group play on 6 January.

Running 1-9 January, ATP Cup will be staged in the first week of the 2022 ATP Tour season alongside ATP 250 events in Adelaide and Melbourne. The 2022 tournament will feature a 16-team field in four groups and be hosted across two venues in Sydney – Ken Rosewall Arena and the Qudos Bank Arena – both at Sydney Olympic Park. The four group winners will contest the knockout stage – to be played exclusively at Ken Rosewall Arena – from 7 January.

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Kyrgios Receives Sydney Wild Card

© Peter Staples/ATP Tour

Nick Kyrgios is currently No. 93 in the FedEx ATP Rankings.

The 26-year-old has won one of his six ATP Tour titles in Australia

Nick Kyrgios has received a wild card into the Sydney Tennis Classic, which will be played at Sydney Olympic Park from 10-15 January.

The Australian, who is beginning his season at the Melbourne Summer Set, has not competed since the Laver Cup in September.

“I’ve been training at home in Canberra and here in Sydney and I feel good after an extended break from the game,” Kyrgios said. “I’m looking forward to the final hit-out before the AO, thanks to Tennis Australia for the opportunity to play.”

Kyrgios went 7-8 in 2021, reaching the third round at the Australian Open and Wimbledon. The World No. 93 has captured one of his six ATP Tour titles on home soil, having triumphed in Brisbane in 2018.

Other players in the field at the Sydney ATP 250 include Alex de Minaur, Kei Nishikori, Cristian Garin, Taylor Fritz, Reilly Opelka and Roberto Bautista Agut.

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Thiem Withdraws From Australian Open

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Dominic Thiem reached the Australian Open final in 2020.

Austrian pulled out of ATP Cup earlier this month

Dominic Thiem announced Tuesday that he has withdrawn from next month’s Australian Open.

The former World No. 3, who also pulled out of the ATP Cup earlier this month due to a non-Covid-19-related illness, has not played a tour-level match since June when he suffered a right wrist injury at the Mallorca Championships.

“After the short holidays, my team and I have assessed all matters and we have decided to make some changes to my initial tournament schedule: I will start the season in South America at the Cordoba Open in Argentina, end of January, and therefore I will not play this year at the Australian Open in Melbourne,” Thiem wrote on Twitter.

The Austrian reached the Australian Open final in 2020, losing to Novak Djokovic in a five-set championship match. Last season, the 17-time tour-level titlist went 9-9, with his best coming at the Mutua Madrid Open, where he advanced to the semi-finals.

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Medvedev Among Stars To Hit The Practice Court At The ATP Cup

World No. 2 Daniil Medvedev doubled up on the practice court in Sydney Tuesday as the countdown began to Russia’s defense of the ATP Cup, which begins on New Year’s Day.

Spearheading Russia’s title defense, Medvedev had a morning practice session on Ken Rosewall Arena with Aussie Alex de Minaur, whom he will meet next week in group play. The 2020 Nitto ATP Finals champion returned to KRA mid afternoon for another session with 20-year-old Australian Rinky Hijikata, who is No. 375 in the FedEx ATP Rankings.

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ATP Cup Schedule Announced; Aussies Face Tough Opener

Medvedev, who led the ATP Tour with 63 match wins last season, is expected to challenge Novak Djokovic’s stranglehold on World No. 1 in the FedEx ATP Rankings during the 2022 season and will be keen to start the year strong in Sydney. The 25-year-old boasts an 8-1 record at ATP Cup and last year dropped just one set in his four victories, which included three Top 10 wins over Alexander Zverev, Diego Schwartzman and Matteo Berrettini.

Other Top 10 players to hit the practice court yesterday included Italian Top 10 stars Berrettini and Jannik Sinner and World No. 8 Casper Ruud.

<img src="https://sportblogg.net/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/sinnera1.jpg" alt="Jannik Sinner“>
Photo Credit: ATP Tour

Running 1-9 January, ATP Cup will be staged in the first week of the 2022 ATP Tour season alongside ATP 250 events in Adelaide and Melbourne. The 2022 tournament will feature a 16-team field in four groups and be hosted across two venues in Sydney – Ken Rosewall Arena and the Qudos Bank Arena – both at Sydney Olympic Park. The four group winners will contest the knockout stage – to be played exclusively at Ken Rosewall Arena – from 7 January.

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Murray Awarded Australian Open Wild Card

Australian Open tournament organisers announced Thursday that they have awarded former World No. 1 Andy Murray a main draw wild card. The Scot will compete at the event for the 14th time.

“I’m really excited to be back playing at the Australian Open and grateful to Craig and the team for the opportunity,” Murray said in a statement. “I’ve had some great times in Australia playing in front of the amazing crowds and I can’t wait to step back out on court at Melbourne Park.”

The 34-year-old owns a 48-13 record at the season’s first major, where he has reached the final five times. The Scot last competed at Melbourne Park in 2019, when he lost against Roberto Bautista Agut in a five-set first-round thriller.

Murray, who was a finalist for Comeback Player of the Year in the 2021 ATP Awards, underwent hip surgery following his 2019 Australian Open appearance. The 46-time tour-level titlist is currently No. 134 in the FedEx ATP Rankings

“Andy is renowned for his fighting spirit, passion and love of the game,” Australian Open Tournament Director Craig Tiley said. “I’m delighted to welcome him back to Melbourne in January.”

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Djokovic Family Matching Donations In Season Of Giving Campaign

The Novak Djokovic Foundation is running a Season of Giving campaign for the fourth straight year to raise money for the opening of a new preschool in Nis, Serbia. The foundation is continuing to strive toward its goal of making sure all Serbian children have access to preschool in the next 10 years.

Novak Djokovic and his wife, Jelena Djokovic, will once again be matching donations. Last year, fans donated €108,000, which the Djokovic Family also matched.

“This and the previous year have further demonstrated how important it is for children to attend preschool, particularly in a situation when parents are forced to work from home, and are not able to adequately dedicate their time to children,” Novak and Jelena said in a statement. “However, it should not be forgotten that there are still those who are not able to go to preschool, even in normal circumstances.

“Nis is a lovely city with unique culture whose citizens have been recognized both domestically and abroad. We have great memories from this city and we are happy that, this Season of Giving, we are raising funds for a new preschool there, thus enabling children and their families to dream big.”

Learn More About Djokovic’s Charity Work

This year’s Season of Giving campaign will last until 8 January. The funds will be put towards reconstructing a community centre, which will allow for the education of 100 children.

“Reconstructing the old building of the local community and turning it into a beautiful, modern preschool will give 100 children an opportunity to get the best possible start in life and it will also help their parents to have more time for themselves and their careers,” Novak and Jelena said. “With love and light, we thank you for your support. Let’s go together for another victory, like always!””

More than 47,000 Serbian children have benefitted from the work done by the Novak Djokovic Foundation. Djokovic received the Arthur Ashe Humanitarian Award in 2012 in recognition of his philanthropic work.

To learn more about the Novak Djokovic Foundation’s Season of Giving and to donate, click here.

Zverev Named German Sportsman Of The Year

Alexander Zverev capped the best season of his career by being named Germany’s Sportsman of the Year.

Zverev earned a 59-15 record this season, with his biggest victories coming at the Tokyo Olympics, where he captured the singles gold medal, and at the Nitto ATP Finals.

The German became only the fourth player in event history to defeat the world’s top two players in the FedEx ATP Rankings in the semi-finals and the championship match at the Nitto ATP Finals. The 24-year-old eliminated World No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals and then defeated World No. 2 Daniil Medvedev for the trophy, his second at the season finale.

Zverev led all players on the ATP Tour in 2021 with six titles, including his fourth and fifth ATP Masters 1000 triumphs in Madrid and Cincinnati. He also lifted the trophy in Acapulco and Vienna.

Did You Know?
The World No. 3 earned at least one victory against every other player inside the Top 10 of the year-end FedEx ATP Rankings. 

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