Djokovic, Tsitsipas & More Congratulate Serena On 1,000th Match

WTA legend Serena Williams is playing her 1,000th match on Wednesday at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia against Nadia Podoroska. ATP stars Novak Djokovic, Alexander Zverev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Grigor Dimitrov, Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev sent the former World No. 1 a message to congratulate her on the incredible achievement.

Novak Djokovic
Congratulations on your big milestone playing the 1,000th match in your career. Words cannot describe how much you’ve contributed to tennis in general, both the male and female sides. You’ve been an icon for this sport, thank you so much for everything you have done on and off the court and what you keep on doing. You inspire myself and many other players on both the men’s and women’s side. We are so excited to share the same era as you as well. Wishing you all the best champ, keep going and happy to still watch you on the court.”

Alexander Zverev
Congratulations on playing your 1,000th match, what an achievement! I think you’ve been on the top of the game for such a long time, you’re the greatest tennis player of all time. I have nothing but respect for you, you know that. But I actually can say we’re quite good friends, so it’s always fun hanging around you. We always have a good laugh. I hope we can still have you around for quite a long time.” 

Stefanos Tsitsipas
“Serena, this is exquisite. I would like to congratulate you on your incredible achievement in your career and hopefully you can go on and keep playing and reach 2,000 matches on the Tour. I’m your biggest supporter and I really hope you get to play with me mixed doubles one day. Why not?”

Grigor Dimitrov
“Serena, congratulations on your 1,000th match. [You are] one of my closest friends and always [are] there to support me through the tough times. But all I can say is that you’re a true inspiration to the sport and you have shown not only me, but everyone around what you are capable of. The achievements that you have reached and the achievements that you want to reach are truly amazing. Stay blessed and keep on playing this sport.”

Daniil Medvedev
“Hi Serena, congrats on your 1,000th match. That’s a huge achievement, something unbelievable. Hopefully I can see you play [another] thousand on the Tour, even if it’s not easy, but I wish you this.”

Andrey Rublev
“Hey Serena, what’s up? Congrats on your 1,000th match. This is amazing. The things you’ve achieved, it’s unreal. Good job. You know everything better than me!”

Dimitrov's Distress: Tooth Pain, Rafa Blowout

Grigor Dimitrov was in a world of pain during his 6-1, 6-1 loss to Rafael Nadal on Thursday at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters, and it wasn’t just because of the lopsided scoreline. Challenging Nadal on clay is a daunting enough task in perfect health, let alone with a nagging toothache. 

“I’ve been struggling with a massive tooth problem for the past four or five days. I have like a big infection of my tooth,” Dimitrov said. “It’s been hard. I haven’t been able to sleep well or eat well or anything like that. It’s time to put an end to it.”

Tooth pain can grind you down both mentally and physically, just like Nadal’s relentless baseline game with which he hit 17 winners. The World No. 3 said he felt sorry for Dimitrov for playing “a bad match”.

“He was playing too aggressive and little bit out of rhythm,” Nadal said. “Sorry for him. I wish him all the best.”

At least Dimitrov’s work day was mercifully short, lasting just 55 minutes.

“I was bearing it for a while this whole week,” Dimitrov said. “Straight to the doctor’s, unfortunately. Very, very unpleasant moment. It is what it is. At least I’m glad it happened on a home soil, at home, so I can go see my dentist and figure this problem as soon as possible.”

You May Also Like:

Clinical Nadal Dismisses Dimitrov In Monte-Carlo

Heading into the third-round encounter, the World No. 17-ranked Bulgarian had a lot going against him already: Nadal is an 11-time champion in Monte-Carlo and had beaten Dimitrov in 13 of 14 meetings (he’s now 14-1 in their ATP Head2Head Series). 

“I don’t [think] there was a match to be played today,” Dimitrov said. “He is who he is on the clay. If you don’t do the necessary things against him, then obviously you don’t stand a chance.”

Nadal faces the winner of Andrey Rublev and Roberto Bautista Agut next. 

More stories like this in:

Clinical Nadal Dismisses Dimitrov In Monte-Carlo

No. 14 seed Grigor Dimitrov might be a resident of Monte-Carlo, but on Thursday it was Rafael Nadal who continued to make himself right at home in the Principality. The 11-time champion was in imperious form against Dimitrov as he dropped just two games on his way to the quarter-finals. 

Nadal needed just 55 minutes to score a 6-1, 6-1 victory and extend his ATP Head2Head dominance over the Bulgarian to 14-1 (4-0 in Monte-Carlo). The Spaniard didn’t face a break point in either set and fired 17 winners to close out the victory.

You May Also Like:

Take The Nadal Monte-Carlo Challenge

“[I am] sorry for him. He played a bad match. That is the truth,” Nadal said in his post match interview. “He made a lot of mistakes. I was there. I was doing the right thing, but it is true that today was more his fault than my good tennis.”

Three double faults from Dimitrov in his opening service game set the tone for the match early on, as the Bulgarian quickly surrendered the first of four breaks to Nadal. Dimitrov found himself unable to make up the lost ground as the third seed got going.

The Spaniard targeted Dimitrov’s one-handed backhand to great success, and piled on the pressure every time his opponent stepped up to serve. As a result Nadal broke Dimitrov four times during the match, opening both sets with daunting double-break 4-0 leads.

“I think I did the right preparation. I felt ready for action again. I am excited to play here in one of my favourite tournaments, without a doubt,” Nadal said. “[I am] happy to enjoy the competition again, to enjoy the Tour. In Mallorca, I had some good practices. Let’s see. Tomorrow [will be] another tough match. I hope to be ready for it.”

Back into the last eight at the Monte-Carlo Country Club for the 16th consecutive time, Nadal will next face sixth seed Andrey Rublev, who booked his first quarter-final berth in the Principality with a hard-fought 7-6(2), 5-7, 6-3 victory over Roberto Bautista Agut. Nadal owns a 2-0 ATP Head2Head advantage over the Russian, with both victories coming on hard courts.

More stories like this in:

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.”

You May Also Like:

The Nomadic Life With… Frances Tiafoe

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.

More stories like this in: