Carlos Alcaraz Nominated for ATP’s Sportsmanship Award

Carlos Alcaraz is a good sport…

The 20-year-old Spanish tennis player has been nominated for the Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award for the first time in his career as part of the 2023 ATP Awards.

Carlos AlcarazAlcaraz will face off against fellow first-time nominees in the category: Jannik Sinner, Grigor Dimitrov and Hubert Hurkacz.

Alcaraz was the ATP Newcomer of the Year in 2020. He was also the ATP Player of the Year and ATP Most Improved Player of 2022.

Alcarez’s coach Juan Carlos Ferrero, meanwhile, has been nominated for Coach of the Year.

The 43-year-old Spanish former world No. 1 tennis player and current tennis coach is nominated for helping coach Alcaraz to a 65-12 record. Alcaraz defeated four-time defending champion Novak Djokovic in the final, 1–6, 7–6(8–6), 6–1, 3–6, 6–4 to win the gentlemen’s singles tennis title at the 2023 Wimbledon Championships. It was his first Wimbledon title.

ATP Awards winners, including Fans’ Favorite, will be revealed during Awards week, starting December 11.

Here’s the complete list of 2023 ATP Awards nominees:

Comeback Player of the Year: The player who has overcome serious injury in re-establishing himself as one of the top players on the ATP Tour.

Dominik Koepfer
Gael Monfils
Jan-Lennard Struff
Alexander Zverev

Most Improved Player of the Year: The player who reached a significantly higher ATP Ranking by year’s end and who demonstrated an increasingly improved level of performance through the year.

Matteo Arnaldi
Christopher Eubanks
Ben Shelton
Jannik Sinner

Newcomer of the Year: The #NextGenATP player who broke into the Top 100 of the ATP Rankings for the first time in 2023 and made the biggest impact on the ATP Tour this season.

Flavio Cobolli
Arthur Fils
Alex Michelsen
Dominic Stricker
Luca Van Assche

Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award: The player who, throughout the year, conducted himself at the highest level of professionalism and integrity, who competed with his fellow players with the utmost spirit of fairness and who promoted the game through his off-court activities.

Carlos Alcaraz
Grigor Dimitrov
Hubert Hurkacz
Jannik Sinner

VOTED BY COACHES

Coach of the Year: Nominated and voted on by fellow ATP coach members, this award goes to the ATP coach who helped guide his players to a higher level of performance during the year.

Craig Boynton (Hubert Hurkacz)
Darren Cahill and Simone Vagnozzi (Jannik Sinner)
Juan Carlos Ferrero (Carlos Alcaraz)
Goran Ivanisevic (Novak Djokovic)
Bryan Shelton (Ben Shelton)

Juan Carlos Ferrero Among This Year’s International Tennis Hall of Fame Nominees

Juan Carlos Ferrero has another chance at a place in the hall

The International Tennis Hall of Fame has announced the nominees for the Class of 2023, with the 42-year-old Spanish former world No. 1 tennis player among the half-dozen holdovers from the vote last year, the first time in history no one on the ballot was selected.

Juan Carlos FerreroFerrero makes his return to the ballot in the Player Category alongside Cara BlackAna IvanovicFlavia PennettaCarlos Moya and Lisa Raymond.

None of those six reached the required 75% of the vote for the Class of 2022 in combined results from the official voting group — which includes media, historians, Hall of Famers and industry experts — and bonus percentage points awarded based on a fan vote. Nominees can remain in contention for three years.

Dutch wheelchair star Esther Vergeer is among three new nominees for the Class of 2023. Vergeer, nominated in the Wheelchair Tennis Category, won 44 Grand Slam titles between singles and doubles and was unbeaten for more than 10 years.

Rick Draney, who helped pioneer the Quad Division in addition to being an accomplished athlete, is also nominated in the Wheelchair Tennis Category.

Daniel Nestor, owner of eight Grand Slam doubles trophies, makes his debut in the Player Category.

Inductees will be announced next year. The Hall ceremony is scheduled for July 22 at the Rhode Island-based Hall, which has been around since 1955.

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.

Carlos Alcaraz Makes History While Reaching the Semifinals at the Next Gen ATP Finals

Carlos Alcaraz is two wins away…

The 18-year-old Spanish tennis player will head into the semifinals at the Next Gen ATP Finals in fine form after he captured his third consecutive round-robin win Thursday to top Group A with a 3-0 record.

Carlos Alcaraz

Alcaraz, who secured his qualification for the last four on Wednesday when he downed Brandon Nakashima, overcame Argentine Juan Manuel Cerundolo 4-0, 4-1, 2-4, 4-3(3) after 84 minutes in Milan.

In their first head to head meeting, Alcaraz overpowered the World No. 91 from the baseline with his deep, heavy-hitting and saved nine of the 10 break points he faced to secure victory. With his triumph, Alcaraz is the youngest player to earn 30 tour-level wins in a season since Rafael Nadal, 18, went 30-17 in 2004.

“I am very happy to get to the semi-finals,” Alcaraz said in his on-court interview. “It is so important and to be able to play in the semi-finals here is amazing. To play these kinds of matches and this level, I am really glad. I am playing really, really well and feel very comfortable in Milan. I want to end the year with a title.”

Under the watchful eye of coach Juan Carlos Ferrero, Alcaraz has dropped just one set at the 21-and-under event as he continues to live up to his top seed status in Italy. The former World No. 1 has been instructing his protégé to great effect courtside throughout the event, with on-court coaching allowed at the Next Gen ATP Finals.

“I had to be really focused on my serve, make first serves and play aggressive on big points,” Alcaraz added. “Making first serves helped me. It is something I am trying to add to my game. The most important points is when you want the first serves.”

Earlier this year, Alcaraz lifted his maiden tour-level trophy in Umag and made headlines when he upset World No. 3 Stefanos Tsitsipas en route to the quarterfinals at the US Open.

Cordoba champion Cerundolo was already out of the tournament before his match against Alcaraz after losing his first two round-robin matches. But the World No. 91 demonstrated what he was capable off by taking a set off the Spaniard at the Allianz Cloud.

Carlos Moya Nominated for International Tennis Hall of Fame’s Class of 2022

Carlos Moya is one step closer to reaching tennis elite status…

The 45-year-old Spanish former world No. 1 tennis player is one of the new nominees on the International Tennis Hall of Fame ballot for the class of 2022.

Carlos Moya

Moya, the French Open singles champion in 1998, is joined by fellow Grand Slam title winners Ana IvanovicFlavia Pennetta and Cara Black, who join holdovers Lisa Raymond and Juan Carlos Ferrero.

The Hall announced the candidates on Thursday. The half-dozen nominees all are in the player category; there is no one in the contributor or wheelchair categories, which only come every four years.

In addition to his Grand Slam title and former No. 1 ranking, Moya was part of his country’s successful Davis Cup team in 2004. He has been Rafael Nadal‘s primary coach since 2016,

Ivanovic won the 2008 French Open singles championship and reached No. 1 in the rankings. Pennetta was the 2015 US Open singles champion and made it to No. 1 in doubles. Black collected 10 major trophies in doubles or mixed doubles and was ranked No. 1 in doubles.

Raymond and Ferrero were first nominated for the class of 2021; players are eligible for three years before being dropped from the ballot. She won 11 Grand Slam trophies in doubles or mixed doubles and reached No. 1; he was the 2003 French Open singles champ and got to No. 1.

Fan voting begins Friday at vote.tennisfame.com and ends on Oct. 31. The top three finishers will receive bonus percentage points for their total count. Balloting by journalists, historians and members of the Hall of Fame will happen in the coming months.

The inductees will be announced early next year. The Hall ceremony is scheduled for July 16.

Carlos Alcaraz Claims First Career ATP Tour Title in First Attempt at Croatia Open

Carlos Alcaraz  didn’t have to wait long to claim his first ATP Tour title…

The 18-year-old Spanish tennis player and #NextGenATP star, competing in his first-ever ATP Tour final, defeated former World No. 7 Richard Gasquet emphatically 6-2, 6-2 to triumph at the Plava Laguna Croatia Open Umag.

Carlos Alcaraz

In winning the title on Sunday evening in Umag, Alcaraz becomes the youngest champion in more than a decade.

Alcaraz is the youngest tour-level champion since 18-year-old Kei Nishikori emerged victorious in Delray Beach in 2008.

”It’s amazing. I have a lot of emotions. I’m really, really happy with this victory, this win, my first ATP [title],” Alcaraz said. “I’m going to enjoy this moment a lot.”

Alcaraz crushed a final forehand winner to close out his victory before launching a ball high into the Croatian night. Alcaraz’s coach and mentor, former World No. 1 Juan Carlos Ferrero, rose from his seat and pumped his fist while sporting a wide smile across his face to celebrate his charge’s breakthrough. Shortly thereafter, the pair shared a warm embrace.

Carlos Alcaraz

This was an ironic matchup in Alcaraz’s first championship clash. Gasquet was also a highly regarded teenager, who claimed his first tour-level match win as a 15-year-old in 2002, more than a year before Alcaraz was born. The Frenchman remains the youngest match winner in ATP Tour history (since 1990).

Alcaraz has had plenty of eyes on him since bursting onto the ATP Tour in Rio de Janeiro in 2020, when he also won three ATP Challenger Tour titles. It was a matter of when, not if he would position himself for tour-level glory. And on his first opportunity, the teen showed no nerves. The seventh seed overwhelmed the 15-time ATP Tour titlist with impressive power and poise over one hour and 17 minutes.

“I had a lot of good moments in this tournament. I beat five great tennis players,” Alcaraz said. “I think that I grew up a lot in this tournament and I keep a lot of experience from this tournament. It’s going to be useful for the future.”

Gasquet has one of the most picturesque one-handed backhands of his generation and a great ability to mix up spins and speeds to trouble his opponents. But Alcaraz was never flustered against the veteran, unleashing one lethal strike after another. He broke the Frenchman’s serve four times without losing serve himself.

The 18-year-old set the tone early in the first set, cracking a rocket-like inside-in forehand for a winner to break for a 2-1 advantage, and he never looked back. Gasquet double faulted to give his younger opponent a break advantage in the second set, and he was never able to work his way back into the match.

The Frenchman earned three break points at 1-4 in the second set, but he was never able to control the rally on big points. Gasquet, who needed three hours and 11 minutes to win his semi-final against Daniel Altmaier on Saturday, was trying to win his first ATP Tour title since ’s-Hertogenbosch in 2018.

“It was tough for me to play [with] full intensity. I had a tough match yesterday. It was tough, and especially with a guy like Carlos, who is playing really fast with a lot of energy and spin,” Gasquet said. “He’s playing unbelievable. He’s only 18 and of course he has a great future and I just couldn’t play at his level and his intensity. That was the key of the match and he didn’t lose a point. He played well, very solid. He’s a great player.”

Alcaraz is the youngest Spaniard to win an ATP Tour title since countryman Rafael Nadal claimed his first trophy in Sopot in 2004. Nadal was just eight days younger that day than Alcaraz is today.

Garcia-Lopez Defeats Marcel Granollers to Win This Year’s Grand Prix Hassan II Title

Guillermo Garcia-Lopez is back to his old winning ways…

The 30-year-old Spanish tennis player claimed his first title in nearly four years after rallying to defeat his compatriot Marcel Granollers  at the Grand Prix Hassan II on Sunday.

Guillermo Garcia-Lopez

After losing the first set, Garcia-Lopez stormed back to take the next two sets in the all-Spanish final on the clay court in Casablanca, Morocco. The final score: 5-7, 6-4, 6-3.

Garcia-Lopez’s previous title was on indoor hard courts in Bangkok in 2010, and he’d lost his matched in the previous two finals in which he competed — last year on clay at Bucharest, Romania and on indoor hard courts at St. Petersburg, Russia.

Granollers, who was hoping to win his fifth career title, dropped his serve five times and was less consistent. He won only 60 percent of his first-serve points compared to 76 percent for Garcia-Lopez, who won their only previous meeting in the second round of the same tournament in 2010.

Garcia-Lopez continued the recent dominance of his countrymen at the tournament, becoming the fourth different Spaniard to win in the past six years after Tommy Robredo (2013), Pablo Andujar (2011 and 2012) and former French Open champion Juan Carlos Ferrero (2009).

This is the third singles title of Garcia-Lopez’s career.

Delbonis Defeats Paolo Lorenzi at the Brazil Open to Claim His First ATP Title

The second time’s the charm for Federico Delbonis

Playing in only his second ATP final, the 23-year-old Argentine tennis player defeated Italy’s Paolo Lorenzi 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 in the Brazil Open final on Sunday to earn his first ATP title.

Federico Delbonis

Delbonis broke Lorenzi’s serve to start the decisive set and held on to close the match in 2 hours, 6 minutes after converting on his second match point.

He jumped and punched the air after sending a winner down the line past Lorenzi’s outstretched arms.

Delbonis celebrated a nearly perfect week in which he also reached the semifinals in the doubles tournament.

“To tell you the truth, I have no words,” Delbonis said. “I played well match after match. It was a great result in the end.”

In his first ATP final, Delbonis lost to Italy’s Fabio Fognini last July after upsetting Roger Federer in the semifinals in Hamburg.

With the victory at the ATP 250 tournament in Sao Paulo, Delbonis will move to 45th in the ATP rankings, a career best.

Lorenzi won the first set on Sunday after breaking Delbonis’ serve at 3-3, but the hard-hitting Argentine started serving well and was never broken again, finishing with 12 aces and no double faults.

Delbonis beat home-crowd favorite Thomaz Bellucci in the semifinals. He had defeated second-seeded Nicolas Almagro in the second round, a three-time winner at the Brazil Open.

It was the first time since 2007 that the Brazil Open wasn’t won by a Spanish player. Argentine Guillermo Canas lifted the trophy that year, and after that the tournament was won by Spaniards Almagro, Tommy Robredo, Juan Carlos Ferrero and Rafael Nadal.

Nadal decided not to defend the clay-court title this week. He chose to play in the first Rio Open, which he won last week.

Delbonis Earns a Spot in the Semis at the German Tennis Championships

Federico Delbonis is preparing for one of the biggest matches of his professional career….

The 22-year-old Argentine tennis player, a qualifier at the German Tennis Championships in Hamburg, defeated Spain’s Fernando Verdasco 6-7 (5), 7-6 (8), 6-4 to earn a spot in the semifinals of a tournament for only the second time in his career.

Federico Delbonis

Delbonis, currently ranked No. 114 in the world, will next play the tournament’s top seed Roger Federer, who is ranked No. 5 in the world.

But reaching the semi-finals wasn’t exactly a breeze…

Delbonis had to stave off a pair of match points in the second set. He failed to serve out the match at 5-3; and then wasted two match points on Verdasco’s serve before the Spaniard double-faulted on the third.

Delbonis had previously reached his first ATP World semifinal at Stuttgart in 2011, losing to Juan Carlos Ferrero 3-6, 6-4, 6-4.

Ferrer Reaches His First Grand Slam Final

It’s a career first for David Ferrer

The 31-year-old Spanish tennis player defeated France’s Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-1, 7-6 (7-3), 6-3 in the semifinals at the French Open to reach his first Grand Slam final.

David Ferrer

Ferrer showed great focus from the get-go to completely silence the crowd of roughly 15,000 at Court Philippe Chatrier, winning the first five games of the match by hitting aggressive forehand and backhand shots and chasing down every ball.

He even out-served Tsonga in the first set, hitting two aces and winning 67 percent of his first-serve points, compared to one ace and a 50 percent winning percentage for his French opponent.

Tsonga briefly got some momentum in the second set by breaking Ferrer en route to a 3-0 lead, but the Spaniard managed to get back on serve and then force a pivotal tiebreaker, which he dominated from start to finish.

Tsonga seemed deflated in the third set, losing his serve two more times as his bid to become the French man to win Roland Garros since 1983 ended on a disappointing note.

“I’m very, very happy,” Ferrer, the world No. 5, said after the match. “This tournament is very special for me and to be the first final of a Grand Slam in Roland Garros is amazing.”

“Now I want to enjoy this moment, to rest tomorrow, and to try my best in the final.”

Next up in the championship match will be fellow Spaniard Rafael Nadal, who advanced to his eighth French Open final earlier Friday with an epic 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 6-7 (3-7), 9-7 victory over Novak Djokovic.

Nadal owns a 19-4 lead in their head-to-head matchup,a s well as a more lopsided advantage over Ferrer on clay, having won 16 of their 17 contests on that surface.

Sunday’s match will be the fourth all-Spanish men’s singles final at Roland Garros and the first since Albert Costa upset Juan Carlos Ferrero in 2002.