Rafael Nadal to Play Doubles with Roger Federer at Laver Cup

Rafael Nadal is partnering with his oldest rival…

The 36-year-old Spanish tennis superstar will join forces with Roger Federer as he plays the final professional match of his career at the Laver Cup in London on Friday.

Rafael NadalAt Thursday’s draw, it was confirmed that Federer will join Nadal for Team Europe against the American pair of Frances Tiafoe and Jack Sock for Team World on Friday night.

Federer, a 20-time Grand Slam champion, will then be replaced by Italy’s Matteo Berrettini for the rest of the event.

“It’s super special playing with Rafa,” Federer said in a news conference. “… To be able to do that one more time, I’m sure it’s going to be wonderful.”

Said Nadal: “Tomorrow is going to be a special thing. Difficult. Going to be difficult to handle everything, especially for Roger, without a doubt. But for me too. At the end, one of the most important players — if not the most important player — in my tennis career is leaving.”

Federer, 41, who announced last week that he’s retiring because of an ongoing right knee issue, had said Wednesday that playing alongside 22-time Slam champion Nadal would be a unique, fitting way to go out.

“For as long as we battled together, having had always this respect for one another, our families, coaching teams, for us as well to go through a career we both have had, come out the other side and have a nice relationship, is maybe a great message to tennis and beyond,” Federer said.

The three-day team event will begin Friday afternoon at The O2 Arena with two singles matches. Norwegian Casper Ruud, the runner-up at the US Open earlier this month, will play Sock in the opener before Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece takes on Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman.

The evening session will begin with former world No. 1 Andy Murray up against Alex de Minaur before Federer takes the court for the final time.

“I’m not sure if I can handle it all, but I’ll try,” Federer said Thursday about his sure-to-be-emotional on-court farewell.

Tiafoe, who beat Nadal en route to his first Grand Slam semifinal at the US Open this month, deadpanned about the matchup, “Yeah, I’m just excited to play two up-and-comers tomorrow,” before adding, “It’s going to be iconic to be a part of that. Both guys are absolute legends.”

Federer and Nadal played each other in singles 40 times (Nadal won 26), including 14 Grand Slam matchups (Nadal won 10, going 6-3 in finals). Nadal came out on top in their classic 2008 Wimbledon final, considered by some the greatest match in history, while Federer won their last showdown, in the 2019 semifinals at the All England Club.

They also played one other doubles match together, defeating Jack Sock and Sam Querrey at the inaugural Laver Cup in 2017.

“To be part of this historic moment,” Nadal said about Friday, “is going to be something amazing, unforgettable.”

Cristian Garin Outlasts Alex de Minaur at Wimbledon to Reach First Grand Slam Quarterfinal

Cristian Garin has reached his first Grand Slam quarterfinal…

The 26-year-old Chilean professional tennis player, currently ranked No. 43 in the world, showed amazing tenacity to come from two sets and 3-0 down, including saving two match points, as he beat World No. 24 Alex de Minaur in a hugely entertaining five-set slug fest at Wimbledon on Monday to reach his first grand slam quarterfinal.

Cristian GarinGarin eventually triumphed 2-6, 5-7, 7-6 (3), 6-4 ,7-6 (6) after four hours and 34 minutes of superb tennis that brought a standing ovation from Wimbledon’s packed Number Two Court.

The two men hammered at each other, with only a handful of first-serve winners, but with a crowd-pleasing sprinkling of classy drop shots and volleys in among the relentlessly accurate groundstrokes and lung-busting chasing to reach them.

de Minaur, who does not know the meaning of a lost cause, seemed to be cruising as he took the first two sets and led 3-0 in the third. But Garin showed great spirit to fight back via a tiebreak and then set up a decider.

Garin saved two match points at 4-5 to take the match to the new “first to 10” final-set tiebreak, where he came through to set up a last-eight meeting with Nick Kyrgios.

The win makes Garin just the eighth Chilean male player to reach a Grand Slam quarter-final, and the fourth to do so at Wimbledon after Luis AyalaRicardo Acuna and Fernando Gonzalez. T

“It’s so special,” added Garin. “I’ve been working hard all my life to be in this position. It is a dream for me, Wimbledon. I always said that it is my favorite tournament, I love to be here in London. It’s amazing. It is a dream for me to be in the quarter-finals. I work hard every day to be in those occasions. I will go for it, try to rest and give my best in the next round.”

https://twitter.com/Wimbledon/status/1543973605184241665

Carlos Alcaraz Defeats Pablo Carreno Busta to Claim Third ATP Title of Year at Barcelona Open

Carlos Alcaraz continues to prove he’s the future of tennis…

In a young career full of great moments, the 18-year-old Spanish tennis phenom wrote another unforgettable chapter on Sunday in Barcelona.

Carlos AlcazarThe fifth seed defeated his compatriot, mentor and eighth seed Pablo Carreno Busta 6-3, 6-2 to win the Barcelona Open.

Alcaraz, who has now won three titles this season, is projected to climb to No. 9 in the ATP Rankings on Monday, making him the youngest player to crack the Top 10 since Rafael Nadal did it exactly 17 years ago after lifting his first Barcelona trophy.

“It means a lot. I’ve watched this tournament since I was a kid. I always wished to play in this tournament and of course to be able to win this tournament,” Alcaraz said in his on-court interview. “I’m really, really happy to be part of the [historic] Spanish list.”

Plenty of Spanish legends have won the Barcelona title, including NadalJuan Carlos Ferrero and Carlos Moya.

Alcaraz, Nadal and Sunday’s Serbia Open champion Andrey Rublev lead the ATP Tour this season with three titles each.

“I’ve always been a normal guy. I’m not scared of fame,” Alcaraz said. “I’m not going to change the person I am. I’m happy to know that at 18 years old I’m in the Top 10, and to do it [at] the same age as my idol Rafa is impressive.”

Although the scoreline of the final looks straightforward, the day was anything but.

The semifinals were pushed to Sunday because of rain, and the 18-year-old needed three hours and 40 minutes to defeat Alex de Minaur in the longest best-of-three match of the season.

In that clash, the Aussie had two match points to win in straight sets. On one of those match points, de Minaur had a short forehand with the court open, but allowed Alcaraz a look at a passing shot, which the teen delivered perfectly.

The #NextGenATP star showed no fatigue in the final, overwhelming Carreno Busta, who is like Alcaraz’s older brother, in one hour and six minutes. Both Spaniards train at the JC Ferrero Equelite Sport Academy and Carreno Busta’s coach, Samuel Lopez, used to coach Alcaraz’s coach, Juan Carlos Ferrero.

During the trophy ceremony, Alcaraz and Carreno Busta even sat on the same bench as they waited to be called up.

So although this was the pair’s first ATP Head2Head meeting, they were plenty familiar with one another. Alcaraz’s power controlled the action and he did not face a break point, while converting four of his 10 break chances to triumph.

“When my semifinal match finished, I rested, ate and I did my routine,” Carreno Busta said. “As we share team members, we do similar routines and we have coincided in some moments. We are friends first and we have to respect that.”

Earlier in the day, Carreno Busta defeated sixth seed Diego Schwartzman in straight sets. But he was unable to find the same consistency against his countryman, missing a forehand long at 2-2 to relinquish the first break of the match and a short backhand on set point to give up another service break.

It was clear Carreno Busta had to go for more to try to match Alcaraz’s weight of shot, but he was never able to find enough of a rhythm to trouble his younger opponent.

“It wasn’t the match I expected,” Carreno Busta said. “Carlos was playing a very aggressive game this afternoon and he was very effective. It was very difficult play against him today.”

One year ago in Barcelona, then-World No. 119 Alcaraz lost in the first round against Frances Tiafoe in straight sets. Now he is the tournament winner.

Alex de Minaur Reaches Australian Open Fourth Round for the First Time

It’s a sweet 16 for Alex de Minaur

The 22-year-old Uruguayan & Spanish Australian tennis player has reached the Australian Open‘s round of 16 for the first time, the local hope winning his ninth straight set at Melbourne Park as he defeated Pablo Andujar.

Alex de Minaur,de Minaur, the 32nd seed, beat the Spanish veteran and regular hitting partner Andujar 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 in another commanding display as Australian tennis great Rod Laver watched on in the stadium named in his honor on Saturday.

de Minaur will face Italian 20-year-old world No. 10 Jannik Sinner, who has beaten the Australian in both previous encounters, for a place in the quarterfinals.

de Minaur, ranked 42 in the world, lost the first set in his first round clash but has won his past nine to build his best home campaign.

Andujar, who will turn 36 on Sunday, joined the tour in 2003 and has returned from three separate surgeries on his right elbow to hit a ranking high of 32 in the world seven years ago.

He made the Australian earn it, but de Minaur obliged in trademark fashion to run down the Spaniard’s best and counter with some scintillating shot-making of his own.

de Minaur rifled a forehand down the line to secure the decisive break in the first set, while a pinpoint lob earned applause from his opponent in the second set after the Australian had somehow scrambled to stay in the point.

The cracks opened, a double fault handed de Minaur a break in the third set and he rammed home his advantage with another monster forehand in the next game.

“Pretty exciting to play here at Rod Laver Arena at 7pm in front of Rod Laver himself … it’s a pretty amazing feeling and I got the win so what more can I ask for,” de Minaur said on court.

“(I’m expecting) a lot of firepower from Jannik, he’s a hell of a player so I’m just looking forward to it.”

de Minaur is set to rise at least nine spots to No. 33 in the world thanks to his career-best performance at Melbourne Park.

Alex de Minaur to Compete at First Olympics at Tokyo Games

Alex de Minaur is headed to the Summer Olympics

The 22-year-old Uruguayan-Spanish Australian player, who won the first grass-court title of his career at the Eastbourne tournament last weekend, will contest the Tokyo Games alongside Ash Barty,  Nick Kyrgios and Sam Stosur.

Alex de Minaur

The quartet have been confirmed on Australia’s 11-strong tennis team for next month’s Olympics.

John MillmanJames DuckworthJohn Peers and Luke Saville make up the rest of the male contingent with Ellen PerezStorm Sanders and Ajla Tomljanovic joining Barty and Stosur on the women’s team.

Stosur will contest her fifth Olympics, with Millman and Peers lining up for their second Games – the remainder will make their Olympic debuts.

“It’s super special being able to represent your country in one Olympics let alone five,” Stosur said on Tuesday.

“In primary school we did a time capsule thing.

“I went to the school for the first year that it opened and I wrote in there that I wanted to win a Grand Slam, be number one in the world and go to an Olympic Games.

“To have done two out of the three, thinking that when I was nine or 10-years-old … is something incredible.”

Stosur, Tomljanovic and Barty will compete in the women’s singles, with Barty teaming up with Sanders and Stosur with Perez in the doubles.

“Making your first Olympic team … is something I’ve always dreamt of,” Barty said.

“I’m excited to play both singles and doubles. Any opportunity you get to wear the green and gold, I wanted to grab it with both hands.”

de Minaur is world No.15 – his career-best ranking – after winning his fifth career title at the Eastbourne International three days ago.

“It’s an incredibly special feeling (to be going to the Olympics),” he said.

“The anticipation brings a higher level of intensity and, of course, passion.

“Playing for your country, it’s always going to be very special.”

de Minaur, Millman, Peers and Saville have been named for both singles and doubles tournaments with Kyrgios and Duckworth to contest singles only.

The sole Australian to win an Olympic tennis medal, Alicia Molik – who took bronze at the 2004 Games – will captain the women’s team with national men’s coach Jaymon Crabb to skipper the men’s team.

Alex de Minaur Claims First Career Grass-Court Title at Eastbourne

Alex de Minaur is certainly tuned up for Wimbledon…

The 22-year-old Uruguayan-Spanish Australian player won the first grass-court title of his career at the Eastbourne tournament on Saturday.

Alex de Minaur

The No. 2-seeded de Minaur came back to edge No. 3 seed Lorenzo Sonego 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (5) over more than 2 1/2 hours in a men’s final in which each player collected the same number of total points, 107-107.

That gave de Minaur his fifth career ATP title and second of 2021. All eight previous finals he had appeared in were on hard courts, including his championship at Antalya, Turkey, in January.

The best Grand Slam showing for de Minaur also came on a hard court with a quarterfinal run at last year’s U.S. Open.

He’s been as far as the third round at Wimbledon.

de Minaur is assured of moving up from No. 18 to a career-high No. 15 in the ATP rankings next week.

Play begins at the All England Club on Monday.

He goes into Wimbledon on an 8-2 roll on grass this month, including a semifinal appearance at Queen’s Club last week.

Alex de Minaur Wins First Title of 2021 at Turkey’s Antalya Open

Alex de Minaur is celebrating his first title of 2021…

The 21-year-old Australian-born Spanish & Uruguayan tennis player was leading Alexander Bublik 2-0 at the Antalya Open in Turkey in Wednesday’s final when the Kazakh player retired injured just seven minutes into the match.

Alex de Minaur

It’s de Minaur’s fourth career ATP title.

The Australian No. 1, ranked No. 23 in the world, dropped only one set for the week in a promising build-up to next month’s rescheduled Australian Open in Melbourne.

“I mean, it’s massive. At the start of the year that’s what you need,” de Minaur said after following up his semifinal win over second-seeded world No. 16 David Goffin in a somewhat anticlimactic title decider.

“Look, you never know what was going to happen. I knew I had put in a great pre-season, I was ready to compete.

“I just think I gave myself the best possible chance to go deep into this tournament and I’m happy how it finished.

“I got four matches — and today — so very happy with my level and I had some quality wins.”

de Minaur missed his home grand slam last year in shattering fashion, an abdominal strain forcing him out of the Open following an heroic ATP Cup campaign for Australia.

“It was a bittersweet moment last year so hopefully a year later I can come back stronger and hopefully have a great Aussie summer.

“I’m really looking forward to going back home and playing in front of a home crowd, that’s for sure.”

His stomach injury aside, the COVID-19 pandemic further stalled his progression last year, following a breakout three-title season in 2019, placing the Davis Cup star in long-time lockdown at his base in Spain.

But the fleet-footed baseliner, now the youngest player in the world’s top 25, came back with a vengeance when the Tour resumed.

de Minaur made a career-best charge to the US Open quarterfinals, upstaging a succession of heavy hitters en route to the last eight, then reached the final in Antwerp to finish ahead of Nick Kyrgios as Australia’s season-ending No. 1 for the second straight year.

Alex de Minaur Outlasts David Goffin to Reach Antalya Open Final

Alex de Minaur is hoping to start the year with a bang…

The 21-year-old Spanish & Uruguayan tennis player, who was born in Australia, will face No. 8 Alexander Bublik of Kazakhstan for the first time in Wednesday’s final at the Antalya Open in Turkey.

Alex de Minaur

It’s the Australian No.1’s chance to make it a perfect start to 2021, who is currently 4-0 this year.

It’s the eighth ATP Tour final for de Minaur, who outlasted No. 2 seed David Goffin of Belgium 6-4, 3-6, 6-2 in one hour and 52 minutes on Tuesday. de Minaur won three singles titles, all in 2019.

“I knew it was going to be a tough match, and I’d be under pressure when serving,” the tournament’s fourth seed de Minaur told the ATP’s official website.

“I had to reset and go back to my game plan and my strengths after I lost the second set. I won some tough rallies in the third set and that helped me out for sure.”

Bublik also went the distance, defeating France’s Jeremy Chardy 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-3 in two hours and five minutes in the other semifinal. It’s the 23-year-old’s third ATP final and he’s seeking his first title.

It will be the first head-to-head meeting between Bublik and de Minaur.

Rafael Nadal to Lead Spanish Team at Next Month’s ATP Cup

Rafael Nadal is headed back to the court next month…

The 34-year-old Spanish tennis star is set to return for the ATP Cup, the season-opening men’s team tennis event, starting February 1, but the United States will be missing because of a change in format that has halved the field.

Rafael Nadal

Nadal, last year’s runner-up, will be joined in the tournament by last year’s ATP Cup champion Novak Djokovic. His Spanish team includes Roberto Bautista Agut, Marcel Granollers and Pablo Carreno Busta.

Diego Schwartzman, Guido Pella, Horacio Zeballos and Maximo Gonzalez will represent Argentina in this year’s tournament, while Alex de Minaur will play for Australia and Steven Diez will represent Canada.

The inaugural event last year featured 24 teams and was played in three Australian cities, with Djokovic’s Serbia team beating Nadal and Spain in the final at Sydney’s Ken Rosewall Arena.

The February 1-5 second edition will involve 12 teams and be played entirely at Melbourne Park amid COVID-19 restrictions, along with WTA and ATP tournaments, in the week leading into the Australian Open.

The draw will be held on January 20, with teams divided into four groups. The winner of each round-robin group will advance to the semifinals.

Qualification for the ATP Cup was based on the ranking of each country’s top player, with Australia included on a wild-card entry. Other competing countries include Austria, Russia, Greece, Germany, Argentina, Italy, Japan, France and Canada.

All players arriving in Melbourne for the Australian Open will be required to quarantine for 14 days before the delayed start of the season’s first major. The Australian Open is usually staged in the last two weeks of January, but it has been pushed back to February 8-21 because of travel and other restrictions in place for the COVID-19 pandemic.

Qualifying for the men’s singles draw will take place in Doha, Qatar, and for the women’s in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, both running January 10-13.

As with other sports, the international tennis calendar was disrupted in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic, including the postponement of the French Open‘s start from May to September, and the cancellation of Wimbledon for the first time since World War II.

Alex de Minaur Defeats Vasek Pospisil in US Open Fourth Round to Reach First-Ever Grand Slam Quarterfinal

It’s a US Open to remember for Alex de Minaur

The 21-year-old Uruguayan/Spanish Australian tennis player defeated Canada’s Vasek Pospisil 7-6 (6), 6-3, 6-2 at Flushing Meadows on Monday to reach into his first-ver Grand Slam quarterfinal.

Alex de Minaur

He’s also the first Australian to reach the men’s last eight at the US Open since John Millman in 2018.

de Minaur, the 21st seed, will next face Austria’s Dominic Thiem in the quarterfinals.

When the US Open started de Minaur would’ve been considered as a potential title winner.

But with Novak Djokovic disqualified on Sunday after striking a line judge in the throat with a ball, Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal not at Flushing Meadows and Andy Murray suffering an early round defeat, the chances of de Minaur winning the title have grown.

With the stakes a little higher, the opening set unfolded like the first round of a prize fight with both players probing for openings and neither managing a single break chance.

In the tiebreak it was Pospisil who had looked poised to land the first blow by going up 6-2, but De Minaur swept the next six points to grab a 1-0 lead.

“That first set was crucial,” said de Minaur. “I think it was just a couple of things going his way and then my way.

“I went down 6-2 but I don’t think I played a bad tiebreak I was just unlucky here and there.

“I just tried to stay calm, do my thing.”

After that effort the Pospisil could only muster token resistance, with de Minaur securing an early break in the second and third sets and never allowing him a chance to get back into the match.