Rafael Nadal Plans to Compete at This Year’s Laver Cup As Retirement Looms

Rafael Nadal is hoping to Laver the game on a special note…

The 37-year-old Spanish professional tennis player is planning to play at the Laver Cup in Berlin this September in what may be one of the 22-time Grand Slam champion’s last tournaments.

Rafael NadalNadal has signaled 2024 may be his last year on tour and said last week that his second-round loss to Alex de Minaur at the Barcelona Open, which he has won 12 times, was “probably my last match here.”

“At this stage in my career I really want to go out there and make the most of every opportunity I am given,” Nadal said in a statement.

Nadal has long struggled with injuries and has played just five competitive matches this year, three in Brisbane in January and two in Barcelona last week.

The Laver Cup, to be held from September 20-22, is an indoor hard-court men’s competition pitting Team Europe against Team World in a format similar to that of golf’s Ryder Cup.

Nadal and Roger Federer teamed up in the doubles at the 2022 Laver Cup in London for the Swiss great’s last match before retirement.

“I am very happy to be playing Laver Cup in Berlin for Team Europe,” Nadal said. “I have some really special memories from my Laver Cup experiences, including all the emotions from London two years ago playing alongside Roger for the last time.”

Alex de Minaur Defeats Casper Ruud to Win Second Straight Mexican Open Title

Make that back-to-back titles for Alex de Minaur. 

The 25-year-old Spanish & Uruguayan Australian tennis player defeated Casper Ruud 6-4, 6-4 on Saturday to become the first player to win back-to back titles in the Mexican Open since 2012.

Alex de MinaurThe third-seeded de Minaur won his eighth ATP title to become the fourth player to repeat as champion in Mexico and the first since David Ferrer in 2010-12.

de Minaur won his 10th consecutive match in Acapulco to break a four-match losing streak in ATP finals, including in Rotterdam earlier this year.

“Acapulco is becoming like a second home,” De Minaur said. “I thought that it was impossible to get feel better after what happened last year, but I came back a year later to defend the title and it has been true pleasure.”

Alex de Minaur The sixth-seeded Ruud missed the chance to win his 11th title in the ATP and his first ATP 500 title.

de Minaur took an early break to take a 3-1 lead in the first set before both hold their serve for the 6-4 score.

In the second set, both players exchanged breaks in the first four games and de Minaur got a break in the seventh game to take the lead.

The Mexican Open was nearly canceled because a Category 5 hurricane hit the city four months ago, leaving 52 people dead. The Diamond Zone, an oceanfront area replete with hotels and where the tennis arena is located, was devastated.

“We wanted to bring some joy to this wonderful city,” de Minaur said, “and I’m sure that Acapulco will shine stronger than ever.”

Defending Champion Alex de Minaur Advances to Mexican Open Final

Alex de Minaur is heading back to the Mexican Open final…

The 25-year-old Spanish & Uruguayan Australian tennis player, the tournament’s defending champion, advanced to the final when Jack Draper retired in the third set on Friday.

Alex de MinaurThe third-seeded de Minaur won the first set 6-3, dropped the second 6-2 and was leading 4-0 in the third when Draper, who was visibly diminished physically, called it quits.

de Minaur will face Casper Ruud, who pulled off an upset by beating second-seeded Holger Rune 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 in the late match.

“I’m happy to be in the final, but I´m hoping that Jack is doing fine. He has a tremendous talent, and hopefully he can recover for the upcoming tournaments,” de Minaur said. “It’s hard to play when your opponent is not OK physically, but you need to remain focused.”

de Minaur won his ninth straight match in Mexico and became the first defending champion to reach the Acapulco final since David Ferrer in 2013.

de Minaur has seven career ATP titles, with last year at Acapulco his most recent.

Draper, from England, was playing in his first semifinal of an ATP 500 tournament.

In the other semifinal, Ruud lost the first set and then was down 3-1 in the third with Rune serving, but he managed a couple of breaks and held his serve to take the win.

“I did not get the best start, and the third set looked really bad. I just tried to stay in there and it seemed like Holger was struggling, and at the end it worked for me,” Ruud said.

Ruud will try to win his 10th career title, the first one in an ATP 500.

Rune, who is No. 7 in the ATP rankings, lost in the Acapulco semifinals for the second year in a row.

Alex de Minaur Outlasts Stefanos Tsitsipas to Advance to Mexican Open Semifinals

Alex de Minaur is celebrating a hard-fought win at the Mexican Open.

The 25-year-old Spanish & Uruguayan Australian tennis player, the defending champion, rallied past Stefanos Tsitsipas 1-6, 6-3, 6-3 on Thursday to book a second straight spot in the semifinals of the Mexican Open.

Alex de Minaurde Minaur, the ATP’s ninth-ranked player, struggled in the first set and lost it in 28 minutes but rallied in the next two to get the win in 2 hours, 6 minutes.

“It was a tough match. It was not very spectacular because the wind made it hard for both of us,” said de Minaur, who broke a 10-match losing streak to the No. 12 Tsitsipas. “My first win against Tsitsipas was meant to be in Acapulco, a place of great memories.”

In the semifinals, the third-seeded De Minaur will meet Jack Draper, who ousted Miomir Kecmanovic 6-2, 6-2.

de Minaur has won eight matches in a row in Mexico and became the first defending champion in Acapulco to reach the semifinals the following year since David Ferrer in 2013.

Tsitsipas was aiming for his third semifinal in Acapulco.

Alex de Minaur Defeats Grigor Dimitrov to Advance to Rotterdam Open Final

Alex de Minaur is headed to the Rotterdam Open final.

The 25-year-old Uruguayan & Spanish Australian tennis player notched an emphatic revenge win over Grigor Dimitrov to earn the perfect 25th birthday present.

Alex de MinaurAt the same event on de Minaur’s birthday in 2023, Dimitrov proved a veritable party pooper by knocking out the Australian No 1 in the quarterfinals.

But the ‘Demon’ avenged that narrow defeat emphatically in the Rotterdam Ahoy arena in Saturday’s (Sunday AEDT) semifinal with a 6-4 6-3 win that has set up a final showdown against Australian Open champion Jannik Sinner.

Back in tournament action for the first time since his Melbourne Park triumph, top seed and world No.4 Sinner downed home favorite Tallon Griekspoor 6-2 6-4 in the later semifinal.

de Minaur’s win has ensured he will rise to a career-high No 9 in the world rankings next week from his current position of 11.

He had already avenged his painful Australian Open last-16 defeat by downing Andrey Rublev 7-6 (7-5) 4-6 6-3 in the quarterfinals on Friday.

“I’m extremely happy with the level throughout the whole match,” a delighted de Minaur said after beating Dimitrov.

“It was probably one of the better matches I’ve played from start to finish. Even saying that, I always know that Grigor is going to lift his level and compete until the end, and I had to fight off some pretty tough break points, when I came up with some of my best tennis.”

de Minaur crashed 14 winners and made just four unforced errors in his impressive 84-minute march.

“From the word go here in Rotterdam, I’ve felt a very calm presence. I’ve felt positive, I’ve been calm and collected throughout whole matches, and I think that’s been a big key for me,” added de Minaur, who is also competing in his first tournament since the Australian Open.

The Sydneysider puts his improved form down to a stronger mentality that’s beginning to harden him in matches against the very best players, a steely streak that the last Aussie to win in Rotterdam 20 years ago, Lleyton Hewitt, also had.

It’s no coincidence that de Minaur has been working so closely of late with his Davis Cup captain Hewitt, and he explained after the Dimitrov win: “This is my standard now, this is what I’ve got to bring every single time I walk on the court.

“I think I made a big step in the right direction, showing the type of tennis I can play, week in, week out. I think I’ve raised the bar a little bit and hopefully there’s plenty more to go.”

But Sinner is the acid test for him. If any player could give the Australian an inferiority complex, it’s his 22-year-old Italian foe, who’s won all six of their matches and lost just one set since they first dueled in the ATP NextGen finals in 2019.

Alex de Minaur to Face Alexander Zverev in United Cup Semifinals

Alex de Minaur is preparing for another battle at this year’s United Cup.

The 24-year-old Uruguayan & Spanish Australian tennis player, who pulled off a major upset by beating ailing World No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the quarterfinals of the mixed-gender tournament, will face Alexander Zverev in the semifinals as hosts Australia battle Germany.

Alex de Minaurde Minaur is looking to break Zverev’s dominance against him, with the Aussie holding a single win against the German Grand Slam finalist in their head-to-head record (6-1).

But de Minaur and the Aussies will enter the semis with supreme confidence, having beaten the defending champions, the United States, to win their group before knocking out Serbia in the quarterfinals, with de Minaur picking up his first win against Djokovic.

“I think he’s playing one of the best tennis of his life. Beating Novak in straight sets, that kind of always shows that you’re playing really well.” Zverev said of his upcoming opponent. “The last time we played was Rome 2022, so that’s a while back. Things have changed a little bit. I think he’s gotten a lot better, closing in on the Top 10 as well.

“Of course it’s better to have that kind of head-to-head record than the opposite, but I’m expecting a tough match. Especially here, I think he’s going to be very motivated and the whole team, Australia, is going to be very motivated — and the crowd definitely plays a factor in that. But I’m looking forward to another tough match.”

While both de Minaur and Zverev are in red-hot form, their singles counterparts have not matched their success so far at the United Cup. Australia’s Ajla Tomljanovic brings a 1-2 singles record into the semis, while Germany’s Angelique Kerber is still seeking her first singles win of the event.

“Perth treated us pretty nicely,” de Minaur said. “We had a great time over there, we played some great tennis and obviously the goal was to make it to Sydney and I think we’re all very happy to be here.”

France will play Poland in the other semifinal match on Saturday.

The final is set for Sunday, at Sydney’s Ken Rosewall Arena.

Alex de Minaur Stuns Novak Djokovic to Help Australia Advance to Semifinals at United Cup

Alex de Minaur has pulled off a major upset…

The 24-year-old Uruguayan & Spanish Australian tennis player used a superb defense and a dominant serve to beat Novak Djokovic 6-4, 6-4 in the quarterfinals of the United Cup on Wednesday.

Alex de Minaur Djokovic continued to struggle with his wrist injury as Australia stunned Serbia with a 3-0 win.

Djokovic, who has had a problem with his right wrist during the tournament, found a way past Jiri Lehecka in Serbia’s previous Group E match against the Czech Republic.

But Djokovic, ranked No. 1 in the world, was clearly in discomfort against world No. 12 de Minaur and was twice treated by the physio during the first set.

It was Djokovic’s first defeat in Australia since he lost his quarterfinal at the Australian Open in 2018.

Ajla Tomljanovic followed up by giving Australia an unassailable 2-0 lead when she won 6-1, 6-1 against Natalija Stevanovic, who had stepped in for Olga DanilovicMatthew Ebden and Storm Hunter then completed the rout by combining for a 6-3, 6-3 triumph over Serbian mixed doubles duo Dejana Radanovic and Nikola Ćaćić.

“It’s extra special,” de Minaur said as Australia sealed its maiden appearance in the semifinals. “Novak is an unbelievable competitor and what he’s done for the sport is pretty special. It feels surreal, amazing, and I’m very happy to do it here in Perth.

“When you go up against Novak you have to go out and enjoy it and back yourself, and no matter what keep fighting until the end. Today was my day and I’m happy that I was able to get the win.”

Alex de Minaur Wins Australia’s Newcombe Medal

Alex de Minaur has earned Australia’s highest individual honor in tennis…

The 24-year-old Uruguayan & Spanish Australian professional tennis player has been awarded the Newcombe Medal once again after his most consistent season yet.

Alex de Minaur,de Minaur claimed the award outright for the first time on Monday, after previously sharing the 2018 award with Ash Barty and he joins some of the greats of Australian tennis as a multiple winner.

He won the award, named after tennis great John Newcombe, ahead of Storm Hunter, Rinky HijikataAlexei Popyrin, Matt Ebden and Max Purcell.

The world No. 12 joins five-time Newcombe Medalist Barty, three-time recipient Samantha Stosur and wheelchair wizard Dylan Alcott among those who’ve won the award at least twice.

“I’m very sad that I wasn’t able to attend the Newcombe Medal this year and I’m extremely grateful for this amazing award,” de Minaur said in a video message from his training base in Spain.

“It’s been a great year, not only for myself, but for all of Australian tennis and I think we should (all be) very proud indeed.

“(I) would also like to thank Newk. Wish I could shake your hand right now and be there, but I appreciate everything you do for Australian tennis.”

de Minaur’s recognition comes off the back of soaring to the cusp of the world’s top 10 in 2023.

He reached a career-high No. 11 in October, collected his seventh ATP Tour title in Acapulco, made four finals and helped Australia to a second straight Davis Cup decider in Spain.

That included a brilliant fightback in the quarterfinal win over the Czech Republic.

In his most consistent season, de Minaur also became the first Australian since his idol and Davis Cup captain Lleyton Hewitt in 2004 to progress to 11 tournament quarterfinals.

He made the second week at two of the four grand slams, in Melbourne and New York. de Minaur is Australia’s biggest hope at Melbourne Park in January, when he will attempt to better his fourth-round appearances in 2022 and 2023.

Earlier in the evening, Alicia Molik was awarded the Spirit of Tennis award. During her career, Molik rose to world No.8 in singles and No.6 in doubles and she was also a Fed Cup representative from 1999.

After her playing career, Molik, 42, went on to lead Australia to the Billie Jean King Cup final as captain in 2019 at Perth and in 2022 at Glasgow.

Alex de Miñaur Helps Lead Australia to Davis Cup Finals

Alex de Miñaur has helped lead Australia back to the Davis Cup final…

The 24-year-old Uruguayan & Spanish Australian professional tennis player and Alexei Popyrin put Australia back into the Davis Cup final for a second straight year after winning their singles matches in a 2-0 victory over Finland on Friday.

Alex de MinaurPopyrin gave Australia a 1-0 lead in the semifinal match after beating Otto Virtanen 7-6 (5), 6-2. de Miñaur then finished off Finland by beating Emil Ruusuvuori 6-4, 6-3.

Novak Djokovic‘s Serbia will face Jannik Sinner‘s Italy on Saturday in the other semifinal match on the indoor hard court at Martin Carpena Arena in Malaga, Spain.

Popyrin edged Virtanen in the first set, saving a set point when trailing 6-5 and forcing a tiebreaker that he clinched when his opponent slapped a forehand long.

Virtanen was Finland’s hero in its upset of defending champion Canada on Tuesday, winning both his singles and doubles matches. But his serve let him down against Popyrin in the second set when his fifth double-fault cost him a break.

“(That was) probably the biggest win of my career so far,” Popyrin said. “To win a match that means so much for us is an honor and something I will never forget.”

de Miñaur converted five of 18 break chances against Ruusuvuori. He ended the match by landing a backhand winner on the sideline.

Australia has the second-most Davis Cup titles, with 28 to 32 for the United States, but its last success came in 2003.

Carlos Alcaraz to Face Novak Djokovic in Group Stage of the Davis Cup Finals

The budding rivalry between Carlos Alcaraz and Novak Djokovic will be renewed in the group stage of the Davis Cup finals next month.

The 20-year-old Spanish tennis player and Djokovic were included in the teams announced this week by Spain and Serbia, respectively, for the competition that will be played on September 12-17 in Valencia, Spain.

Carlos AlcarazAlcaraz defeated Djokovic in the Wimbledon final in July. The Spaniard is No. 1 in the world, with Djokovic sitting at No. 2.

Spain and Serbia have been drawn in the same group along with the Czech Republic and South Korea. Group stage matches will also be played in Bologna, Italy; Manchester, England; and Split, Croatia.

The top two teams in each of the four groups will advance to the finals in Malaga, Spain, in November.

Alcaraz will lead a Spain team that will include Alejandro Davidovich FokinaRoberto Bautista Agut and Marcel Granollers.

Djokovic’s Serbia will also have Laslo DjereMiomir KecmanovicDusan Lajovic and Hamad Medjedovic.

Nine of the current top 20 players in the world have been called up for their national teams — Jannik Sinner and Lorenzo Musetti for Italy, Frances Tiafoe and Tommy Paul for the United States, Alex de Minaur for Australia, Cameron Norrie for Britain and Borna Coric for Croatia.

Andy Murray will also play for Britain, which faces Australia, France and Switzerland in Manchester. The Swiss will count on Stan Wawrinka, while France will have Adrian Mannarino and Nicolas Mahut.

Leo Borg, son of 11-time Grand Slam champion Bjorn Borg, was included in Sweden’s team that will face Canada, Italy and Chile in Bologna.

Mackenzie McDonaldAustin Krajicek and Rajeev Ram were also included in the American team that will play against the Netherlands, Finland and host Croatia in Split.