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Shapovalov-Federer Miami Open Match Was One Of Most Anticipated Matches So Far This Year

by Bob Stockton

The men’s semifinal at the Miami Open featured one of the most anticipated matches of the Miami Open. Sports betting sites saw a high betting rate considering how competitive this match was. This is the match between Canadian teen, Denis Shapovalov and 37 year-old Roger Federer. Shapovalov who was looking forward to competing against Federer giving the three-time champion an upper hand when he, Shapovalov appeared nervous at the start of the match.

This gave Federer a good start leaving Shapovalov struggling at the first set. That did not last long as the Canadian player picked up quickly but Federer beat him to a 6-2 , 6-4 score. The Canadian teen was not entirely at a disadvantage throughout the game. He put up an impressive performance towards the end of the second but it was too late to dislodge his idol.

Before the match, Shapovalov was enthusiastic about playing with his idol for the first time. He described it as a dream come true but that easily turned a sour experience after he was unable to secure a win.

He revealed after the match that it was unbelievable that his competitor was the man he had admired all his life. However, he tried not to focus on the fact that the other person on the other side was Federer. He also commended Federer for putting up a good performance. Shapovalov also admitted that Federer was a little above his level. He concluded by saying that he will learn for the experience.

Shapovalov recorded twenty unforced errors while Federer recorded only four by the end of the game. It was evident that Federer’s experience helped him a lot in the game. He used varied shotmaking to forge ahead in the first two breaks.

Federer went on to win the title against defending champion John Isner, marketing his 101st career singles title. Isner reached the final after he beat Felix Auger-Aliassime, Shapovalov’s friend in straight sets.

Federer’s win against Denis Shapovalov makes put him into his 50th career ATP Masters 1000 final. The win also put him ahead of Rafael Nadal who has been to the Masters Final 49 times.

In Federer’s post-match interview, he revealed that Shapovalov was a great contender. He, Federer needed to put in more effort because Shapovalov has serious rhythm and power. His words revealed that he did have an easy match as many of audience assumed.

This match saw a wide age gap between the players. In fact, throughout Federer’s career, Shapovalov is the youngest he had to contend with.

Now that all is set for the finals between Federer and Isner, you may want to make a bet. You can claim a free bet from online bookmakers and see how it goes.

The Nick Kyrgios-Popularized Underhand Serve Is Trail Blazing

by Rajagopalan Rohinee

It is said that rules are meant to be broken. In sports, however, there are a few rules that can seem like they have been broken, especially when followed to a T. Like employing an underarm serve and receiving flak for it even though it is permissible under the sport’s regulations.

Nick Kyrgios’ irreverent usage of the underarm serve in his matches – against Rafael Nadal at the Mexican Open in Acapulco, and against Dusan Lajovic at the Miami Open – raised a furore even to the extent of fingers being pointed at him for not respecting his opponent. This, despite Nadal pointedly clarifying that he was not referring to Kyrgios hitting an underarm serve against him.

Borrowing from an oft-used cricketing adage, Kyrgios’ actions, then, seem to be contravening the so-called ‘spirit of the game.’

To elaborate, in the cricketing parlance, nothing brings out the utilisation of this term more than the action of ‘Mankading.’ The term refers to a method of run-out by the bowler of the batter at the non-striker’s end while the batter is positioned out of the crease at the time of the ball being bowled. Former Indian allrounder Vinoo Mankad, who was the first to employ this tactic in a Test series against Australia back in 1947, went on to give it its name which has since come to be used in a denigrating manner in contemporary times.

Like the underarm serve, Mankading, too, is permissible within cricket’s laws and bye-laws except for provisions underlining its prescribed usage. But invariably, like in tennis, in the heat of the moment, using it as a means to score an advantage for the bowling team is construed as an attempt to subvert the ethics of sportsmanship or the aforementioned ‘spirit of the game’, creating an ironic redundancy.

Addressing the subject by dwelling on it, instead of casting it aside, is necessary to curb this existence of irony, especially in tennis.

While in cricket, the code of the sport being a ‘gentleman’s game’ curbs the need to use Mankading time and again, in matches, tennis for its own reasons, too, does not see much of its players take the underarm-serve route (at least in the highest rungs of the professional Tour). Excluding Kyrgios’ ingenuity in his timing of using an underarm serve, it has been seen as a ‘Hail Mary’ with its immediate purpose to help the server recover lost ground – mentally just as much as physically – in a match. Case in point: Michael Chang’s now-famous win over Ivan Lendl in the 1989 French Open final.

That the game is struck on whether the methodology should be applied after nearly three decades of it being the pivot in an all-important match, then, lays emphasis about the sport’s evolution. That regardless of the possibility of an underarm serve coming into play mid-match, it continues to be relegated to mental outposts when it comes to determining tactical unique selling propositions (USPs) merits introspection from the game’s stakeholders. Rather than it being an aspersion on a player choosing to exercise it as a viable option.

In this context, the potentiality of a player serving underarm closely resembles the SABR – the much-lauded and the equally-disparaged Sneak Attack By Roger – pioneered by Roger Federer back in 2015. The Swiss’ manoeuvre of coming to the net even as his opponent was preparing to serve with the ball toss meant that he put the other player on the backfoot even before the ball had been directed from his racquet. Federer’s inventiveness fell in line with the game’s rules but ruffled many feathers, including that of Boris Becker who was then coaching Novak Djokovic.
In these following years, Federer has made use of the strategy frugally partly thanks to his rivals have also become conscious that it could be greeting them in a literal, sneaky manner. This has also led to a lessening of the frenzy surrounding the shot such as it was back when it first came to be a part of tennis’ lexicon. In other words, people got used to it.

So, if tennis’ widespread audiences could adapt to seeing a style of play that was admittedly trail-blazing, rightfully the underarm serve by virtue of being around longer should have seen a similar flexibility. Perhaps, the only way to get it done now is by making it more common, more visible thereby normalising a facet that ought to have always been thus deemed.

David Ferrer’s Incredible Career Mostly Went Under The Radar

by Rajagopalan Rohinee

In 2016, when I had gone to cover the Davis Cup World Group Play-off between India and Spain in the Indian capital New Delhi, I got a chance to briefly speak one-on-one with David Ferrer. It was quite a fortuitous occurrence if I could say so, brought about by virtue of him leaving the press room all alone after a joint press conference addressed by the Spanish team. For me, it was a tick against a long-compiled bucket list of players with whom I wanted to professionally interact.

And while I cannot recollect the questions – though the article is still archived – which were largely dated, the memory of mustering the courage to walk up to Ferrer and ask him if he would talk to me still lingers on. As does the fact that barring true-blue followers of the game who had come to attend the matches, not many knew about Ferrer, or were keen to more about the player.

From the global standpoint, one could never be so crass as to attribute the same lack of knowledge about the Spaniard. However, in a way, those three days in India – despite him winning both his singles rubbers to help Spain claim a 5-0 whitewash over the hosts – encapsulated the minutiae of how a swathe of Ferrer’s career went under the radar. As they emphasised the constant underestimation of his on-court capabilities. This underestimation, then, still holds true. Even as lately as his match against Alexander Zverev in his last hard-court tournament, at the 2019 Miami Open.

The win over Alexander Zverev in Miami, ending the German’s run of four successive wins against him, too, summarised the other side of the coin that has been the 36-year-old’s career. Of thriving when least expected, and putting on avowing performance such that not only his game would speak for him but the focus would also remain centred on it.

This dichotomy, then, defines Ferrer’s near-20-year-old career. To be a player who is grounded in his strengths as though raising self-awareness about his susceptibilities and yet someone who never stopped striving to get better. Like reaching his first Major final after having played 42 Majors without making it to the second Sunday.

Many would rue that this opportunity came in a little too late as it has often been said about him missing out on a lot because of the competitiveness of the era of which he was a part. Such introspection would be doing the man a disservice in solely using numbers and statistics as a convenient measure of accomplishment.

It rarely happens in sports that less comes to denote more. But this is quite true if one were to describe Ferrer’s career. It may not have the prescribed standards of title hauls but it was no less enriching and satisfying the way it has been, arching into a peak of its own making, mindless and unheeding of the doubts and scepticisms, especially those that came about camouflaged as plaudits.

Beyond this, on a personal note, being inspired by Ferrer and his career is also the completion of an unlikely circle. One that began after a misunderstanding involving his name and that of Federer’s, back when I had just started following the game over a decade ago.

Who Will Win Wimbledon 2019?

The Grand Slam tournaments are always eagerly anticipated by tennis fans and there is none quite like Wimbledon. It is considered by many to be the most prestigious of the Grand Slams and is the only one left played on grass. People always speculate as to who will win each of the tournaments and the eyes of the world will no doubt turn once more to London in June to see who can take home the Wimbledon Cup.

Who to Pick?
If you are thinking of getting involved with a little sports betting then you will need to know a little more about each of the players. Let’s take a look at some of the names swirling around in the mix so you have a clearer idea about who will come out on top in the Men’s Final at Wimbledon in 2019.

Andy Murray
The Scot has done well at Wimbledon over the years, having won the cup twice, but he has been plagued with injuries recently. He announced that he would soon be retiring after the Australian Open. It is thought that one last tournament at Wimbledon is likely to be his final game and the British public will be very mournful to see it come to pass.

Novak Djokovic
The current reigning champ of Wimbledon and the winner of the Australian Open for 2019, it seems likely that we will at least see him in the final. However, Djokovic has a tendency to become slightly complacent when he is on a winning streak as he currently is. If he is to take home his fifth Wimbledon win, he will need to make sure he concentrates.

Rafael Nadal
Nadal plays much better on clay than he does on grass which is why he has won distinctly more French Open titles than others. Though he has won at Wimbledon before, this was last in 2010. We can expect him to do exceptionally well at Wimbledon but it is doubtful that he will manage to secure a win.

Roger Federer
The last member of the Big Four is feeling confident after his 100th overall win and Wimbledon might be the place for him to secure it. Grass is one of Federer’s best terrains, having netted him an incredible 8 wins at Wimbledon before. Federer and Djokovic have met previously 47 times with 15 of those matches being at Grand Slams. While Djokovic is tipped to win, it cannot be denied that Federer is the better player on grass, meaning that a final with these two powerhouses is likely to be a very interesting match indeed.

Alexander Zverev
If anyone is likely to beat Federer or Djokovic to a place in the final, it is likely to be Zverev. The German player is already tipped to be a future World No.1 and he is eager for his first Grand Slam win. While he is yet to take a title on grass, he has got the drive to succeed and this season will certainly show that.

Kevin Anderson
One half of the historic 2018 Men’s semi-final match that lasted an astonishing 6 hours and 36 minutes (the second-longest men’s singles match ever played at Wimbledon), Anderson has proved himself to be a strong player. The South African has seen several Gran Slam tournaments over the years and, while we do not expect him to reach the finals again, we can certainly see him performing well once more.

John Isner
The other player in the 2018 Men’s semi-final and also one half of the longest professional tennis match in history, clocking in at 11 hours and 5 minutes of play over three days, has been consistently favourable in his past years in tournaments. He has managed to win against some of the top players before. Like Anderson, it is unlikely that we will see him win big at Wimbledon but we can expect him to have a great performance once again.

Kyle Edmund
The current British No.1 has been growing in strength over the past few years and it is likely that we are soon going to see him succeed at a high Grand Slam level. Despite a somewhat poor appearance at the Australian Open in 2019, we can expect him to improve as the season continues. It has been noted on multiple occasions that Edmund’s forehand is one of the best in play today. If he can work on other areas of his play then he is likely to be a force to be reckoned with in the future.

Dominic Thiem
Having appeared in the French Open Final and US Open quarterfinal, we can expect some great things from this Austrian player and current world No. 4. On clay, he has already proven himself to be a formidable opponent; including Nadal and Federer. He is likely to dominate in the Clay Opens in the future but we can expect him to deliver a solid performance at Wimbledon this year.

Borna Ćorić
The Croatian player managed to reach World No.2 in November 2018 but is currently residing at No.13. Nevertheless, he has a consistently positive performance. The fact that he has already reached the heights of No.2 without a Grand Slam win to his name shows his capabilities as a player. He has never broken out of the rounds at Wimbledon thus far, but 2019 will be a good year to watch his career go from strength to strength.

Who Will Win?

It is fair to say that we will see the Wimbledon Cup lifted by either Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer or Alexander Zverev. These three players are definitely the ones to watch as we move towards Wimbledon. The last time someone other than the Big Four won Wimbledon was in 2002. In the sixteen tournaments since then, these top tennis players have passed the cup back and forth between them. Despite it being more likely that Djokovic or Federer will win, it will be extremely interesting whether or not Zverev will be the one to finally break this epic winning streak.

Schedule Announced For Davis Cup Finals In Madrid

The ITF and Kosmos Tennis have today announced the schedule for the Davis Cup Finals, taking place in Madrid from 18 to 24 November.

The group stage ties will take place Monday to Thursday. One quarter-final will be played on Thursday evening while the other three will be played on Friday, followed by the semi-finals on Saturday and the final on Sunday 24 November. All matches are best of three sets, with two singles and doubles match.

The Group B match between Croatia and Russia will begin proceedings on Centre Court, and will be followed closely by the Spanish fans, with Spain also in Group B.

Spain will first play on the afternoon of Tuesday 19 on Centre Court against Russia, following an exciting meeting between Argentina and Chile.

Number 1 seeds France will also play on Tuesday, in the morning session against Japan. This second day of competition will also see Canada take on USA.

A total of 18 teams are competing in six groups in the group stage. The six group winners plus the two best second placed teams, based on percentage of sets won, will progress to the quarter-finals.

The two lowest placed teams after the group stage will play in the Zone Group competition the following year. The 12 teams that finish in 5th to 16th position will compete in the Davis Cup Qualifiers in 2020. All four semi-finalists will automatically qualify for the 2020 Davis Cup Madrid Finals.

Davis Cup Madrid Finals Schedule:

Monday 18 November
Evening session:
Centre Court – Croatia v Russia
Stadium 2 – Canada v Italy
Stadium 3 – Belgium v Colombia

Tuesday 19 November
Morning session:
Centre Court – Argentina v Chile
Stadium 2 – France v Japan
Stadium 3 – Kazakhstan v Netherlands

Evening session:
Centre Court – Spain v Russia
Stadium 2 – USA v Canada
Stadium 3 – Australia v Colombia

Wednesday 20 November
Morning session:
Centre Court – Argentina v Germany
Stadium 2 – Serbia v Japan
Stadium 3 – Great Britain v Netherlands

Evening session:
Centre Court – Croatia v Spain
Stadium 2 – USA v Italy
Stadium 3 – Belgium v Australia

Thursday 21 November
Morning session:
Centre Court – France v Serbia
Stadium 2 – Germany v Chile
Stadium 3 – Great Britain v Kazakhstan

Evening session:
Centre Court – Quarter-final: Winner Group D v Winner Group F

Friday 22 November
Morning session:
Centre Court – Quarter-final: Winner Group A v Runner Up (*)

Evening session:
Centre Court – Quarter-final: Winner Group B v Runner Up (*)
Stadium 2 – Quarter-final: Winner Group E v Winner Group C

Saturday 23 November
Morning session:
Centre Court – Semi-final (top half)

Evening sessions:
Centre Court – Semi-final (bottom half)

Sunday 24 November
Time TBC
Centre Court – Final

(*) to be determined by draw

David Cup Finals Groups:
Group A: France (1), Serbia, Japan
Group B: Croatia (2), Spain, Russia
Group C: Argentina (3), Germany, Chile
Group D: Belgium (4), Australia, Colombia
Group E: Great Britain (5), Kazakhstan, Netherlands
Group F: USA (6), Italy, Canada

Sponsorships, Tickets, Tournament Kickoff Party Opportunities For Sale For Mardy Fish Tennis

Sponsorships, advance tournament tickets, and “Tournament Kickoff Party” opportunities for the 2019 Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships are available and selling fast as the annual USTA Pro Circuit event approaches April 29-May 5 at The Boulevard Tennis Club in Vero Beach, Florida.

All opportunities are available for sale at www.MardyFishChildrensFoundation.org Proceeds for the event benefit the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation, the non-profit tennis foundation benefiting children, named for Vero Beach native son Mardy Fish, a former top 10 tennis star, silver medalist at the 2004 Olympic Games and the newly named U.S. Davis Cup captain.

The popular Vero Beach band “Riptide” will perform for patrons at the official Tournament Kickoff Party Sunday, April 28 from 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm. A special “shoot-out” mini tennis event, featuring world-ranked tournament players, also will highlight the party. Tickets, which includes two cocktails and food, are available for $60.

Sponsorships are available for as low as $250 and include signage and reserved seating, depending on the level of sponsorship. All sponsorship level details are available at www.MardyFishChildrensFoundation.org or by emailing co-tournament directors Tom Fish at [email protected] or Randy Walker at [email protected] Sponsorships that include on-court signage are due by April 8.

Tournament tickets for all sessions of the event are on sale for $100 with daily tickets costing $20 and tickets purchased after 5 pm on Monday, April 29 through Saturday, May 4 for sale for $10. Admission for children 18 and under is free. Matches will start each day at Noon, except for the singles final at 1 pm on Sunday, May 5. The full tournament schedule is found below.

Wednesday April 24 – Saturday, April 27
Pre-Qualifying singles event
Main draw doubles “wild card” event
Times TBD, (Free to public)

Monday, April 29
Qualifying singles
Noon start with at least one match starting at 5 pm and one at 6:45 pm

Tuesday, April 30
Qualifying singles finals
Main draw doubles
Main draw singles
Noon start at least one match starting at 5 pm and one at 6:45 pm

Wednesday, May 1
Main draw singles
Main draw doubles
Noon start at least one match starting at 5 pm and one at 6:45 pm

Thursday, May 2
Main draw singles
Main draw doubles
Noon start at least one match starting at 5 pm and one at 6:45 pm

Friday, May 3
Main draw singles – quarterfinals
Main draw doubles
Noon start at least one match starting at 5 pm and one at 6:45 pm

Saturday, May 4
Main draw singles – semifinals
Main draw doubles – final
Noon start with first singles semifinal followed by second singles semifinal, followed by the doubles final

Sunday, May 5
Main draw singles – final
1 pm start

The Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships is the USTA’s $25,000 ITF World Tennis Tour tournament played in Vero Beach since 1995 and is regarded as one of the best entry-level professional tennis tournaments in the world. Fans can follow news and developments on the tournament on Facebook and on Twitter at @VeroFutures. Approximately 3,000 fans annually attend the event, which is seen as one of the best-attended entry-level professional events in the world.

Some of the past competitors at the USTA Vero Beach Futures have gone on to succeed at the highest levels of professional tennis, winning major singles and doubles titles, Olympic medals and Davis Cup championships and earning No. 1 world rankings. Andy Roddick, the 2003 U.S. Open champion who attained the world No. 1 ranking and helped the United States win the Davis Cup in 2007, competed in Vero Beach in 1999. Thomas Johansson of Sweden, who reached the second round of the Vero Beach Futures in 1995, won the Australian Open seven years later in 2002. Nicolas Massu, the 1998 singles runner-up in Vero Beach, won the singles and doubles gold medals at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece, beating Fish in the gold medal singles match. Kyle Edmund, the 2013 champion in Vero Beach, helped Great Britain to the Davis Cup title in 2015. Other notable former competitors in Vero Beach include former world No. 2 Magnus Norman, former world No. 4 Tim Henman, 2016 Wimbledon finalist Milos Raonic and most recently world No. 50 player and teen sensation Denis Shapovalov, who played in Vero Beach in 2016. Former Vero Beach competitors have combined to win 19 titles in singles, doubles and mixed doubles at Grand Slam tournaments. Seven former Vero Beach players have gone on to play Davis Cup for the United States – Roddick, Fish, Taylor Dent, Jared Palmer, Donald Young, Ryan Harrison and Frances Tiafoe.

Founded in 2007, the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation (www.MardyFishFoundation.com and @MardyFishFound on Twitter) currently supports over 2,200 children in 15 elementary schools, six middle schools and two after school centers in Indian River County, Florida by funding after-school exercise, nutritional and enrichment programs in a safe environment to prepare them for healthy, productive and successful lives. The Foundation introduced the “Six Healthy Habits” in 2012 which are Get Sleep; Drink Water; Exercise Daily, Eat Healthy; Brush and Floss; Make Friends.

In His Latter Years, Roger Federer Can Accept Losing Just As Much As Winning

by Rajagopalan Rohinee

Since his comeback in 2017, after sitting out for the latter six months of the 2016 season with a knee injury, Roger Federer has been riding on the wave of unpredictability to the fullest. Not that it was not the case before the ill-fated 2016 season, but his professional timeline has come to be cleanly divided along the ever-in-vogue theme of before and after.

That Federer turned back time and continued to do that for much of 2017, and for extended portions in 2018, which included him adding a couple of more weeks to his already existing record as the world No. 1, then, extinguished the idea of the Swiss player being done for good on the ATP Tour. Alongside, it also left many wanting more from him in terms of his results – as if seeking a reassurance that the Federer of old, harking back to his peak in the early 2000s, had finally returned.

Reality, however, has been quite different from such labeling. For while, Federer did seem to control time at the start of 2017, it caught up with him as the months sped by. And across these months, the two have been engaged in the tussle that marked Federer’s career right up to the time his knee gave away.

What we now see when he takes to the courts is a tangible demonstration of him trying to wrestle time trying to reassert his say over an entity that answers to none. Ergo, the display of good days and bad days of play in matches.

Euphoria of him holding aloft his 100th title at the Dubai Open left behind any naysaying the Australian Open fourth-round loss to Stefanos Tsitsipas – who, incidentally was the same player who had ended his two-year run of dominance at Melbourne Park – but it only briefly covered the weaknesses in his game, which once again made themselves known at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, especially in the final.

The title in Dubai conveniently camouflaged the fact that it took Federer a couple of matches to settle in, in the tournament. It also tamped down on the certainty that the 37-year-old had started to miss a step or two, even though he more than made up for it with experience-filled subtlety and shrewdness. And while, Federer did well to make it to the Indian Wells final, this dissonance proved to be one time too much.

The aftermath of the result in Indian Wells has heightened the murmuration of dismay around the 20-time Slam champion. And though it has not yet risen to the level as seen before-2016, it is no less vehement than how it used to be then. This cacophony of scepticism growing louder, then, forms the crux of the matter at hand. As to Federer being held to such high standards which essentially omit the basic fact that he is human like others – prone to getting beaten and sidestepped by time – which include facing losses, as an athlete.

One aspect where Federer has made his peace with time can then be seen in how he puts his defeats in perspective. Where before, the champion in him scoffed at losses as if he were unable to bear that stain clotting his otherwise pristine scroll of wins, he now understands that defeats are the other side of victories and there is nothing wrong in accepting them as such. ‘

Federer’s statements in his post-final press conference in Indian Wells reiterated as much. “Maybe that’s why I’m okay with it…, because I felt like I’m actually playing, you know, good tennis. Like, in Australia, I wasn’t too down on myself because I feel like my game is there, my body is there.” He added, “I think when you feel that way, you know, you take it more, how do you say, positively? I don’t know how to explain, but it’s just not as dramatic. Whereas, when you’re hurt and things are difficult and, you know, that maybe those hurt more. I’m not sure.”

When seen from this context, Federer’s career has come to epitomise If’s verse that is well-known among the sport’s followers. And if, Roger Federer can meet with triumph and disaster and treat those two imposters just the same, why cannot the world, too?

Indian Wells Kicks Off 30th Year of ATP Masters 1000 Tennis

The 2019 BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California ushers in the 30th year of the ATP Tour branding these elite events as “Masters 1000” events. Remember when they were called “The Super Nine?”
Indian Wells is one of seven of these such events that have been part of this elite status since the start of the modern-day ATP Tour in 1990, along with Miami, Monte Carlo, Rome, Canada, Cincinnati and Paris.

Both Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer are vying for a record-breaking sixth Indian Wells title and Djokovic will also be looking to equal Rafael Nadal’s record of 33 ATP Masters 1000 titles. Nadal also seeks a sixth trophy overall in the desert, but he has only won three singles at Indian Wells to go with two doubles titles.

Last March in Indian Wells, Novak Djokovic lost his opener to 109th-ranked qualifier Taro Daniel of Japan. Djokovic returns in 2019 as the world No. 1 and champion of the last three major tournaments and two of the last three ATP Masters 1000 events. Djokovic has not played since winning his seventh Australian Open title on January 27.

Federer held three championship points to make it six titles in Indian Wells before losing to Juan Martin del Potro in 2018. Federer enters the event on a hot streak after winning the 100th title of his career in Dubai on March 2 defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final. Federer has defeated 50 different opponents for his 100 titles — 25 of whom are now retired. A fascinating stat regarding Federer and his chief rival Nadal – this marks the first time these two are playing at the same ATP Tour event (non Grand Slam event) for the first time since the 2017 Nitto ATP Finals. Federer is on a five-match win streak against Nadal, including a 6-2, 6-3 victory at 2017 Indian Wells. The two rivals could meet in the semi-finals on 16 March.

Chris Kermode ATP Exit Is The Latest Chaotic Move In Men’s Pro Tennis

by Rajagopalan Rohinee

At this point, men’s tennis seems to be a cacophony of chaos. To add to it, the hard-pressing matters are not only being played out both prominently but look to be raging just as intensely within the sport’s inner recesses. The problem is, however, that neither there is a way to pinpoint the origins of this problem nor there is an effective solution in sight.

The ousting of Chris Kermode as Association of Tennis Professionals’ Chief Executive Officer therefore has several connotations as it has various implications. But the one question it raises, first and foremost, is why now when the sport is said to be ostentatiously flourishing? In that respect, the whole “he said-he said-they said” turn of events that is being played out in the aftermath of the ATP Board Meeting in Indian Wells does not enumerate much beyond the offering of reasons as to why things happened the way they did.

So what purpose does the currently ongoing clamouring – of trying to pin the blame on Novak Djokovic and other members of the Player Council and/or on the Player Representatives – serve? For, despite the earnestness of everyone involved – both first-hand and as onlookers into the matter – there are no answers available even as pertinent scepticisms – read, vis-à-vis Justin Gimelstob’s controversial presence in the decision-making – have abounded.

The one aspect that needs to be peered into and pored over deeply, but which has been quieted down, is where does men’s tennis go from here? At the same time, the stakeholders – be it players or those responsible for its managerial side – need to introspect on what can only be considered as a failing of the sport despite its much-bandied-about successes. In isolation, this is bad news. But it worsens when juxtaposed with the mess the International Tennis Federation has inflicted upon itself.

The open rebellion dotting the ITF’s periphery by several national tennis boards, its members and (deprived) players following its Transition Tour muddle should have cautioned the ATP in a timely manner. Yet, even as the ITF finds it difficult to justify its recent actions, which have seen an unequal bartering of the Davis Cup to a soccer player, the returns from which – when filtered to its core – are non-existent to the tournament’s growth and continuity, the ATP did as it felt right.

But in trying to do what was right, the ATP came across as short-sighted, imposing restrictions on the entirety of the men’s game.

Beyond 2019, following the end of Kermode’s term, men’s tennis will have to start over from scratch. The Briton’s business acumen – giving men’s tennis widespread marketability and in turn, leading to enhanced profitability – would be a thing of the past. In the sport’s annals, it would not be a pause but a definite stopping point.
Then, whoever takes over from Kermode, will not only have the onus of living up to the standards set by his predecessor (while attempting to better it) but will also need to live up to the expectations of these stakeholders of the domain who had insisted on making the change, in the first place. Just as along those of whom – including Djokovic – who spoke about administrative changes being necessary will also be at the receiving end of scrutiny, with enquiries flowing about whether the so-called alterations netted positive results.

Djokovic is well-within his rights now to decline commenting on what his personal choice was in the voting to truncate Kermode’s role. But at that unspecified point in the future – if it does come to pass – if the changes were not to work, him and the others who were a part of the present-day decision-making would need to justify themselves as to whether their good intentions came through for the lowest-ranked player as much as for those in the top-tier. It may also be the questions that popped up in the Chris Kermode’s non-continuing-as-the-CEO melee are answered, one way or another.

Pancho Segura’s Great Nephew Matthew Segura Once Again Wins Mardy Fish Wild Card Tournament

Matthew Segura of Apopka, Florida, the great nephew of Tennis Hall of Fame tennis legend Pancho Segura, defeated fellow 18-year-old American Perry Gregg of Chicago 7-6 (0), 6-4 in the final of the “Wild Card” tournament for the 2019 Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships ITF World Tennis Tour event on Friday, March 1 at the Sea Oaks tennis club.

It marked the second straight year that Segura won this specially-created tournament where the winner is awarded a main draw wild card entry into the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships, Vero Beach’s $25,000 ITF World Tennis Tour professional tennis tournament that has been held since 1995. Segura will be among 32 players from around the world who will compete in the main draw of the event April 29 – May 5 at The Boulevard tennis club. Last year, Segura defeated Jack Vance of Henderson, Nevada 6-3, 6-4 in the championship match at Sea Oaks to earn a wild card into the 2018 event, where he lost in the first round to Nico Mejia of Colombia. One of the top junior players in the nation, Segura plays ambidextrously, hitting right-handed and left-handed and also using two-handed forehands and backhands just as his great uncle Pancho did during his Hall of Fame career.

En route to the title at Sea Oaks, Segura beat 39-year-old Brian Battistone in the round of 16 in what is believed to be the first ever pro tennis match played between two ambidextrous players. In the semifinals, he beat Jack Vance by the exact 6-3, 6-4 scoreline from their 2018 Sea Oaks final. In his two tournament appearances at Sea Oaks, Segura has won all nine matches in straight sets.

The full completed draw and schedule can be seen on TennisLink here:
https://tennislink.usta.com/Tournaments/TournamentHome/Tournament.aspx?T=235635#&&s=7Draws3 Thirty-two players from 11 states and three different countries were represented in the event. The event featured daily crowds of several hundred fans.

The Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation will also host a qualifying wild card tournament – or a pre-qualifying event – and a main draw doubles wild card event at The Boulevard Tennis Club April 24-27. To enter and for more information, go here on the UTR website: https://www.myutr.com/events/3744 Entries for these events are open to anyone, but players must have an ITF Ipin number in order to play in the official qualifying or main draw events, if they win these two tournaments.

Proceeds from these events benefit the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation, the non-profit tennis foundation benefiting children, named for Vero Beach native son Mardy Fish, the former top 10 tennis star and the newly-named U.S. Davis Cup captain.

Tournament tickets and sponsorships for the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation Tennis Championships are now on sale and can be purchased at www.MardyFishChildrensFoundation.org Daily tickets cost $20 with daily “night” tickets purchased after 5 pm cost $10. Season tickets for all sessions cost $100. Admission for children 18 and under is free. Fans can follow news and developments on the tournament on Facebook and on Twitter at @VeroFutures. Detailed sponsorship information can be obtained by emailing Tom Fish at [email protected] or Randy Walker at [email protected]

Founded in 2007, the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation (www.MardyFishFoundation.com and @MardyFishFound on Twitter) currently supports over 2,100 children in 15 elementary schools and six middle schools in Indian River County, Florida by providing after-school exercise, nutritional and enrichment programs in a safe environment to prepare them for healthy, productive and successful lives. The Foundation introduced the “Six Healthy Habits” in 2012 which are Get Sleep; Drink Water; Exercise Daily, Eat Healthy; Brush and Floss; Make Friends.