Rafa 13.0: 'I'm Going To Need My Best Version'

Does Rafael Nadal consider himself the favourite at this year’s Roland Garros? As a 12-time tournament champion, he has dominated the event like no other player in all Grand Slam history. On the other side of the ledger, he has played just one tournament since February and suffered a surprise quarter-final loss to Diego Schwartzman last week in Rome.

His great rival, Novak Djokovic, comes in with a 31-1 record on the season, and the confidence of having won a record-breaking 36th ATP Masters 1000 title in Rome. To win the trophy, Nadal may need to beat US Open champion Dominic Thiem in the semi-finals and Djokovic in the final. And the World No. 2 feels that conditions are not in his favour.

So maybe, just maybe, there is hope for others in the field.

“I always have been beatable on clay. [Novak] beat me a lot of times,” said … Read the rest

Gomez Qualifies For First Slam Main Draw At Roland Garros: 'It Was A Roller-Coaster'

Thirty years ago, Andres Gomez lifted the Coupe des Mousquetaires at Roland Garros. On Thursday his son, Emilio Gomez, guaranteed that he will play in a Grand Slam main draw for the first time at the same venue.

The 28-year-old Gomez rallied past Kazakhstani Dmitry Popko 2-6, 6-4, 7-6(1). The Ecuadorian trailed 0-3, 30/40 in the deciding set and faced two match points while serving at 4-5, before recovering to triumph after two hours and 31 minutes.

“It was a roller-coaster of ups and downs… It was crazy,” Gomez said. “It was the first time I was in a situation like that, [with] that much nervousness during a match. It was really a big deal for me to get through it.”

This was Gomez’s eighth attempt to qualify for a Grand Slam. He had only previously reached the final round of qualifying once (2014 US Open). The 2019 Tallahassee ATP … Read the rest

#NextGenATP Korda Nearing Roland Garros Breakthrough

#NextGenATP American Sebastian Korda has never played a tour-level match on clay. But the 20-year-old American is one victory from qualifying for Roland Garros.

Korda eliminated 2019 New York Open finalist Brayden Schnur 6-4, 6-4 on Wednesday to reach the final round of qualifying in Paris. This is his first appearance in qualifying at the clay-court Grand Slam.

“I’ve had two good matches under my belt and I’m ready to keep it going here,” Korda told RolandGarros.com. “I’m progressing slowly, but my game and results are definitely going up.”

The former junior World No. 1 won 76 per cent of his second-serve points against the Canadian and he saved the only break point he faced to triumph after one hour and 20 minutes. The Western & Southern Open qualifier, who lost in four sets against Denis Shapovalov in the first round of the US Open, was 1-3 in major … Read the rest

Humbert: A Piano Man & Rising French Star

Editor’s Note: Ugo Humbert beat Daniil Medvedev on Tuesday at the Hamburg European Open for his first Top 10 win. This feature was originally published on 1 November 2019.

If you head to a tournament hotel when the ATP Tour is in town, many times players can be found in their rooms studying tapes on a future opponent, watching tennis and other sports on television, or even playing video games. But if there’s a grand piano around, don’t be surprised if Frenchman Ugo Humbert is at the keys.

“I started with my sister. At the same time, I started tennis,” said Humbert, who competed in the 2019 Next Gen ATP Finals. “I love music. I play a little bit of electric guitar, but I’m better at piano.”

Humbert began playing the piano when he was five. From the age of 12, when he trained with the French Federation in Poitiers, … Read the rest

Tsonga, Simon Lead Rich French Heritage In Metz, Where Djokovic Won As A Teen

The Moselle Open, which made its ATP Tour debut in 2003, is one of six tour-level events held in France.

The ATP 250 would have been held this week if not for the COVID-19 pandemic.

ATPTour.com looks at five things to know about the tournament.

Fantastic Frenchmen
Since its inaugural edition, the Moselle Open has proven to be a popular stop on the ATP Tour calendar for French players. Sixteen of the 17 previous editions of the event have featured a home champion in singles or doubles.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga owns a tournament record four singles trophies in Metz, followed closely by three-time champion Gilles Simon. In doubles, Frenchmen Nicolas Mahut and Edouard Roger-Vasselin have each claimed a record four trophies.

On four occasions, France has produced the singles champion and both doubles titlists in the same year (2003-’04, ’12, ’18). The only edition of the tournament that has not featured … Read the rest

Final Preview: Djokovic, Schwartzman Chase Career Milestones In Rome

When Novak Djokovic and Diego Schwartzman meet for the fifth time in their ATP Head2Head series (Djokovic leads 4-0) in Monday’s Internazionali BNL d’Italia final, both players will not only be fighting for the Rome trophy, but also a personal milestone.

Following the completion of his second Career Golden Masters at the Western & Southern Open last month, Djokovic is the joint Masters 1000 titles leader alongside fellow 35-time champion Rafael Nadal. The Rome final presents Djokovic with an opportunity to overtake his rival by lifting a 36th trophy at the level.

Most ATP Masters 1000 Titles

Rank Player Titles
1 Novak Djokovic 35
1 Rafael Nadal 35
3 Roger Federer 28
4 Andre Agassi 17
5 Andy Murray 14

On the other side of the net, Schwartzman is one win away from cracking the Top 10 in the FedEx ATP Rankings for the first time in his career. The … Read the rest

Schwartzman Stuns Nadal In Rome

Nobody beats Diego Schwartzman 10 times in a row. Not even Rafael Nadal.

Schwartzman stunned nine-time Rome champion Nadal 6-2, 7-5 after two hours and four minutes on Saturday evening to reach the semi-finals of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia. Entering the match, Nadal had won all nine of their ATP Head2Head meetings, including 22 of their 24 sets.

“For sure it’s my best match ever,” Schwartzman said. “I played a few times against the three big champions in tennis. I never beat them until today. I’m very happy.” 

Schwartzman vs. Nadal – Stats

 Stats  Diego Schwartzman  Rafael Nadal
 First-Serve Points Won  64%  48%
 Second-Serve Points Won  58%  44%
 Break Points Saved  3/5  4/9

The Argentine is into his second ATP Masters 1000 semi-final. Schwartzman reached the last four at this level for the first time last year at the same event. He lost three of his first … Read the rest

Melzer/Roger-Vasselin Charge Into Rome Semi-finals

Jurgen Melzer and Edouard Roger-Vasselin needed just 53 minutes to book their place in the Internazionali BNL d’Italia semi-finals on Friday.

The unseeded duo saved each of the three break points it faced to defeat Australian Open finalists Max Purcell and Luke Saville 6-1, 6-1. After saving three match points in their opening match against Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi and Stefanos Tsitsipas on Wednesday, Melzer and Roger-Vasselin have dropped only eight games across their past two matches.

The Dubai semi-finalists are attempting to reach their first final as a team. Melzer and Roger-Vasselin will face Jeremy Chardy and Fabrice Martin in the semi-finals. The Frenchmen recovered from a set down to beat Rohan Bopanna and Denis Shapovalov 4-6, 7-5, 10-7.

[TENNIS RADIO]

Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos saved one match point to defeat US Open champions Mate Pavic and Bruno Soares 4-6, 7-6(7), 10-6 in just under two hours. The fourth seeds … Read the rest

Which #NextGenATP Star Is On Shapovalov’s Latest Track?

They may be rivals on the ATP Tour, but that hasn’t stopped Denis Shapovalov from collaborating with fellow #NextGenATP star Corentin Moutet for his latest single.

The Canadian announced that Moutet will feature on his latest single ‘Drip’ via his second Instagram account: @shapo.music. The song, to be released this Friday, follows the release of Shapovalov’s debut single ‘Night Train’ last month. Alongside his music release, Shapovalov will also be in action on Friday when he faces Ugo Humbert for a place in the Internazionali BNL d’Italia quarter-finals.

“It’s like Night Train. I just did it at my home. During the pandemic there was so much time and I saw Corentin Moutet releasing a lot of music, so I figured, ‘Why … Read the rest

Melzer/Roger-Vasselin Save 3 M.P. In Rome Opener

Jurgen Melzer and Edouard Roger-Vasselin saved three consecutive match points on Wednesday to advance to the Internazionali BNL d’Italia second round in Rome.

Trailing 6/9 in a Match Tie-break, the Dubai semi-finalists claimed five consecutive points to complete a 6-4, 1-6, 11-9 victory against Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi and Stefanos Tsitsipas. Melzer and Roger-Vasselin started well, winning 83 per cent of first-serve points (15/18) in the opening set before their opponents charged back into contention.

The Austrian-French duo is seeking its first title this week. Prior to this year, Melzer and Roger-Vasselin had made only two appearances as a team. Their next opponents will be 2017 champion Nicolas Mahut and Benoit Paire. Mahut and Paire battled past third seeds Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo 7-6(6), 2-6, 10-6.

US Open champions Mate Pavic and Bruno Soares extended their winning streak to six matches. The unseeded pairing saved all three break points it faced … Read the rest