Rafael Nadal’s ATP Cup Mural Unveiled in Perth

Rafael Nadal’s face has found a special home Down Under

The 33-year-old Spanish tennis star, currently ranked No. 1 in the world, is one of the players being honored with a special mural in Perth, Australia.

Rafael Nadal Mural

The inaugural ATP Cupis set to take place between January 3-12 in Sydney, Brisbane and Perth, bringing together some of the world’s leading players in both singles and doubles from 24 countries. 

Weeks before the start of the action, Nodal got his mural in Perth together with Kei Nishikori and other stars, with the organizers welcoming the 19-time Grand Slam champion.

Nadal is among those who’ll fight for the crown together with his teammates, fresh after conquering the first edition of the Davis Cup Finalsin Madrid.

Spain is the favorite to reach the quarters from Group B, battling against Japan, Uruguay and Georgia at RAC Arena in Perth and hoping to continue the competition in Sydney where eight strongest teams continue the quest for the title in the second stage of the event.

Backed by Roberto Bautista AugtPablo Carreno BustaAlbert Ramos-Vinolas and Feliciano Lopez, Nadal is eager to lead Spain towards another team competition crown, shining in front of the home fans in Madrid with eight victories from as many rubbers and delivering the sixth Davis Cup title for Spain.

In what was a wild race towards the finish line, Nadal and Djokovic fought for the year-end no. 1 spot for almost the entire season, with the Spaniard making the deciding move in Montreal and the US Open and keeping the lead in the ATP Raceuntil the ATP Finalswhere they both lost in the round-robin stage.

Rafa and Novak will continue their rivalry at the ATP Cup, joined by Gael MonfilsKei NishikoriDavid GoffinAndy Murray, Grigor DimitrovAlexander ZverevDenis ShapovalovFelix Auger-AliassimeNick KyrgiosAlex de MinaurDaniil MedvedevKaren KhachanovJohn IsnerMatteo BerrettiniFabio FogniniDominic Thiem, Diego Schwartzmanand others.

Cristian Garin Defeats John Isner to Reach Paris Masters Third Round

Cristian Garinis celebrating a big win…

The 23-year-old Chilean , ranked No. 42 in the ATP world rankings, defeated World No. 17 John Isner in the second round of the Paris Masters.

Cristian Garin

Garin beat the American giant 7-6 (5) and 7-6 (4), qualifying for the knockout stages of the last Masters of the season.

In a first set marked by a good service performance by both players, Garin was solid in the tie break.

At the start of the second set, Garin broke in the first game. But Isner responded in the sixth game to tie up the set.

From then on, neither player showed flaws with their serve, leading to a tie breaker. Even though Isner looked in control at the beginning, Garin managed to recover and turn the tables to win 7-4.

Garin will next face France’s Jeremy Chardy (65th), who defeated the Daniil Medvedev.

Roberto Bautista Agut Defeats Novak Djokovic to Reach Miami Open Quarterfinals

Roberto Bautista Agut has pulled off a major upset…

The 30-year-old Spanish tennis player outlasted World No. 1 Novak Djokovic1-6, 7-5, 6-3 to reach the quarterfinals of the Miami Open.

Roberto Bautista Agut

“I played more aggressive. I tried to miss fewer balls, to be really concentrated on the beginning of the point with my serve, with my return. At the end, it worked well,” Bautista Agut said.

Djokovic held for 5-5 in the second set following a rain delay that lasted about 40 minutes and earned a break point in the next game, which if converted would’ve allowed him to serve for a straight-sets victory. But Bautista Aguthit a short slice that Djokovic missed into the net with his forehand. 

From there, Bautista Agut raised his level and aggression to triumph after two hours and 29 minutes.

“He’s a solid player. Congratulations to him definitely for a great comeback,” Djokovic said. “But this kind of match I should not have lost. So many opportunities. Just way too many wasted opportunities. This is what happens when you don’t capitalise on time.”

It’s Bautista Agut’s second three-sets victory against Djokovic this season, having also defeated Djokovic in Doha to start the year en route to lifting the trophy. 

“It helped me at the end of the match, no? I had confidence to play at a really high level at the end of the match, and I could close the match well with my serve,” Bautista Agut said.

He’ll next face defending champion John Isner, whom he hasn’t played since 2016, in the quarterfinals

Isner leads the ATP Head2Head series 2-1.

Juan Martin del Potro Back in the Quarterfinals at the French Open After Six Year Absence

Juan Martin del Potro is back in the final eight at Roland Garros

The 29-year-old Argentine tennis player, the tournament’s fifth seed, brushed aside John Isner 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 to reach the French Open quarterfinals for the first time since 2012 on Monday.

Juan Martin del Potro

del Potro produced an impressive display on Court Suzanne Lenglen, firing 25 winners and making just 14 unforced errors against the American ninth seed.

del Potro was knocked out in the third round at Roland Garros last year after missing the previous four tournaments in Paris through injury.

del Potro will next face third seed Marin Cilic in the last eight.

Juan Martin del Potro Defeats Robin Haase at Paris Masters in Quest to Earns Spot at the ATP Finals

Juan Martin del Potro is one step closer to earning a spot in the big show…

The 29-year-old Argentinean tennis star  moved closer to securing the last spot for the season-ending ATP Finals by beating Robin Haase 7-5, 6-4 in the third round at the Paris Masters.

Juan Martin del Potro

del Potro, who lost to Roger Federer on Sunday in the Swiss Indoors final, is in 10th place in the race to qualify for the tournament.

Only the top eight players will compete in London and there is one place left, to be taken in Paris.

“I would love to reach London once again. It could be a fantastic moment for me,” said del Potro, who was way back in 47th place in the race before the U.S. Open.

“I’m excited to keep improving for this kind of surprise. I love to surprise myself and that’s what I’m doing now.”

del Potro has a tough challenge next, against big-serving John Isner.

The ninth-seeded Isner, last year’s runner-up to Andy Murray, hit 25 aces as he beat sixth-seeded Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria 7-6 (10), 5-7, 7-6 (3).

Rafael Nadal Partners with Roger Federer in Laver Cup Doubles Win

Rafael Nadal has found an unlikely doubles partner…

The 31-year-old Spanish tennis star joined forces with longtime rival Roger Federer to win a doubles match in the new Laver Cup on Saturday.

Roger Federer & Rafael Nadal Laver Cup

Nadal and Federer teamed up for the first time to defeat Sam Querrey and Jack Sock 6-4, 1-6, 10-5 in the team event between Europe and the rest of the world.

“It was unbelievable,” Nadal said.

The inaugural Laver Cup is taking place at Prague’s O2 Arena on an unusual black hard court.

Alexander Zverev, Marin Cilic, Dominic Thiem and Tomas Berdych also form the European team.

John Isner, Nick Kyrgios, Denis Shapovalov and Frances Tiafoe play for the world.

Europe needs two more victories from Sunday’s four games to win.

Fernandez to Coach World TeamTennis’ New York Empire Team

Gigi Fernandez is leading an empire

The 53-year-old Puerto Rican former professional tennis player, a member of the International Tennis Hall of Fame, has been hired as coach of the New York Empire of World TeamTennis.

Gigi Fernandez

Fernandez, who succeeds Patrick McEnroe, is the only female coach in the six-team league, whose season runs from July 16 to Aug. 2.

Fernandez won 17 Grand Slam doubles titles from 1983 to 1997. The Puerto Rican star won two Olympic gold medals in doubles for the U.S.

The Empire will play at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center this summer. They were at the West Side Tennis Club in their debut season.

The Empire pick first in the roster draft March 14.

 John Isner, Eugenie Bouchard and Mardy Fish were acquired in the marquee draft last month.

 WTT, co-founded by King, enters its 42nd season.

Fernandez is the first female athlete from Puerto Rico to turn professional, the first Puerto Rican athlete to win a gold Medal, and the first to be inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

Estrella Burgos Wins Ecuador Open Title

Victor Estrella Burgos is a back-to-back champion…

The 35-year-old Dominican tennis player rallied from a set down to beat Thomaz Bellucci of Brazil 4-6, 7-6 (5), 6-2 on Sunday to retain his title on clay in the Ecuador Open in Quito.

Victor Estrella Burgos

It was only Estrella Burgos’ second ATP singles title, and both have come at this tournament.

Bellucci was trying to win his fifth ATP singles title, but he ran out of steam after dropping the second set in a tiebreaker.

The monthlong Latin American clay-court season moves on Monday to Buenos Aires with the Argentina Open, where former world No. 1 Rafael Nadal is the top-seeded player and fellow Spaniard David Ferrer is No. 2. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga is No. 3 and American John Isner is No. 4. All four have byes into the second round.

Ferrer Outlasts John Isner to Reach Paris Masters Semifinals

David Ferrer is still in the running for this year’s Paris Masters title.

The 33-year-old Spanish tennis player, the 2012 champion, followed up by beating 13th-seeded American John Isner 6-3, 6-7 (6), 6-2 in the quarterfinals.

David Ferrer

Ferrer, who has won five titles this year, seemed to be cruising when he broke Isner in the eighth game of the second set. That gave him a chance to serve out the match, but from 40-15 his composure deserted him.

“I was waiting for him to make mistakes,” Ferrer said.

Isner forced a tiebreaker, clinching it with a huge forehand that clipped Ferrer’s outstretched racket.

Ferrer was given a warning from the chair umpire at the start of the third set when he yelled out in frustration after missing four consecutive break points.

But he easily took Isner’s next service game, although the American was clearly struggling. At 0-40, he hunched over and then took a medical timeout at the changeover.

“My stomach was just cramping up, so was I some pain,” Isner said.

Ferrer held easily for 3-1 and then broke again when Isner hit a big forehand wide.

Ferrer next faces second-seed Andy Murray in the semifinals.

Armisen to Star in the HBO Original Comedy Film “7 Days in Hell”

Fred Armisen has landed a Hell of a role…

The 47-year-old half-Venezuelan actor and former Saturday Night Live star has landed a role in HBO’s original comedy movie 7 Days in Hell, starring Armisen’s former SNL cast mate Andy Samberg and Game of ThronesKit Harington.

Fred Armisen

Based on an original concept by Murray Miller, who wrote the screenplay, and Samberg, the sports mockumentary centers on two fierce tennis rivals in an epic, seven-day match at 2004 Wimbledon.

The location is hardly random — the longest tennis match on record was held on Court 18 at Wimbledon during the 2010 championships when John Isner and Nicolas Mahut battled it out for 11 hours over three days, with the American ultimately clinching a victory, 70-68 in the fifth set.

In addition to Samberg, Harington and Armisen, the all-star cast includes Lena Dunham, Will Forte, Karen Gillan, Howie Mandel, Michael Sheen, Mary Steenburgen and June Squibb. Additionally, broadcast journalist

Soledad O’Brien will appear in the HBO movie as herself.

Based on breakdowns reported by Deadline.com, Samberg’s character, named Aaron Williams, is tennis’ superstar bad boy, while Harington’s character, named Charles Poole, is channeling Andy Murray, a tennis prodigy and certified truck driver.

Adding to their rivalry is Gillan’s supermodel Lily, Charles’ childhood friend who made a sex tape with Aaron. Steenburgen plays Charles’ psychotic and controlling mother, while Forte plays a tennis historian.

Jake Szymanski is set to direct the film.