Is Shapovalov Returning To The Rap Game?

Is #NextGenATP star Denis Shapovalov making a return to the rap game?

Judging by the 21-year-old’s social media activity, he is. The Canadian recently started a new Instagram account (@shapo.music), where he posted the teaser of a song called ‘Night Train’.

“Night Train 🚂… coming soon?” Shapovalov wrote in his post.

The lefty has entered the rap scene before. At last year’s BNP Paribas Open, Shapovalov beat Steve Johnson in his opening match. The #NextGenATP star agreed with the Stadium 3 emcee that if he won his next match on that court, he’d rap. After defeating Marin Cilic in the Round of 32, the Canadian kept his word.

“Definitely not ready, but I’ll give it a go,” Shapovalov said to a cheering crowd.

“I’m here in Cali with the fans gettin’ hella lit. Happy with the win today, now I gotta float a spit. Lovin’ the support, I leave it all on the court. Fightin’ like a wolf, I’ll be back for more so take care and good night. Know this the good life. Hot tubs and court time. Thursday we back, ight!?”

It was all in good fun. Even though Shapovalov was more focused on his match than being prepared to rap, he enjoys writing lyrics in his free time.

“That was cool,” Shapovalov said in his press conference that day. “It’s something I have been doing as a hobby. It’s just a fun little part of me.”

If Shapovalov does come out with produced music, perhaps he will soon have a new nickname; not ‘Shapo’, but ‘MC Shapo’.

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US Open Reveals 2020 Prize Money Distribution

The USTA today announced that the US Open will offer $53.4 million in total player compensation in 2020 – nearly 95 per cent of its total from 2019 – with $7.6 million dedicated toward player relief from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The USTA, ATP and WTA Tours worked collaboratively to build a payment structure for the 2020 US Open that would feature critical financial balance and support for players. First-round prize money for men’s and women’s singles increased by 5 per cent over 2019 ($61,000 from $58,000), while second and third-round singles prize money was unchanged. Doubles prize money for the rounds of 32, 16 and the quarter-finals also remained the same as 2019.

Both the men’s and women’s singles champion will earn $3 million.

2020 US Open Prize Money

 Round  Singles  Doubles (per team)
 Winner  $3,000,000  $400,000
 Runner-up  $1,500,000  $240,000
 Semi-finalist   $800,000  $130,000
Quarter-finalist  $425,000  $91,000
 Round of 16  $250,000  $50,000
 Round of 32  $163,000  $30,000 
 Round of 64   $100,000  xxxxx
 Round of 128  $61,000  xxxxx

The USTA will also provide $6.6 million in additional relief grants and subsidies due to the decision to not hold qualifying and the reduction of the doubles draws. These funds will be allocated equally to the ATP and WTA, which will then make the determination of how to distribute and/or utilise them to provide replacement playing and ranking-point opportunities. Previously in 2020, the USTA contributed $1 million to an international player relief fund.

“We’re proud to be able to offer a player compensation package that maintains nearly 95 per cent of the prize pool from 2019,” said Mike Dowse, USTA Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director. “The prize money distribution for the 2020 US Open is the result of close collaboration between the USTA, WTA and ATP, and represents a commitment to supporting players and their financial well-being during an unprecedented time.”

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Western & Southern Open will also be held at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center this year. The main draw of the ATP Masters 1000 begins on 22 August.

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Are You Not Entertained?! Kyrgios’ Tips & Deliveries In Washington

There’s never a dull moment when Nick Kyrgios is playing, but arguably the most event-filled week of his career took place during last year’s title run at the Citi Open.

The Aussie saved a match point in his semi-final victory against Stefanos Tsitsipas and overcame back spasms to defeat Daniil Medvedev for his second ATP 500 title of the season. With ATP Tour trainers treating his body, Tournament Manager Mark Ein orchestrating an emergency delivery of racquets and helpful fans doling out advice, it took a village to get Kyrgios to his sixth ATP Tour crown.

ATPTour.com looks back at some of his memorable moments on and off the court that week in Washington.

Suggested Serving
There’s no on-court coaching on the ATP Tour, but that didn’t stop fans from giving Kyrgios serving tips.

Upon reaching match point in his last three matches of the week, Kyrgios asked a fan where to direct his serve. In his quarter-final match against Norbert Gombos, a female spectator suggested going out wide. He obliged and cracked an ace, jogging back to her in celebration before she kissed the Aussie on the cheek and hugged him.

He did the same thing against against Tsitsipas, following a fan’s recommendation to hit his serve out wide before cracking a forehand winner and rushing back to shake the spectator’s hand. Kyrgios repeated the trend on championship point against Medvedev and was once again told to serve out wide, leading the Aussie to hit an ace before collapsing to the ground in celebration.

Racquet Emergency
Kyrgios was down to one racquet the night before his Sunday final against Medvedev. His dad had sent five more from Canberra, Australia, but they were stuck in customs at FedEx’s Washington Dulles International Airport distribution centre and not due to be delivered until Monday. Making matters worse, the centre was closed on Sunday.

After texting Ein with his dilemma, the Tournament Manager sprang into action and reached out to an executive contact he had at FedEx. By Sunday morning, Kyrgios had the racquet delivery in hand with plenty of time before taking to court.

“[Ein] was able to pull some strings for me, and that was massive honestly for FedEx to make an exception and get me some racquets for the final, which was awesome. I’m super thankful to Mark and to FedEx,” Kyrgios said. “Everything happens for a reason. I got the racquets and got the ‘W’.”

Special Delivery
Kyrgios wasn’t only receiving deliveries that week. Early in the third set of his semi-final with Tsitsipas, the Greek had difficulties with one of his shoelaces. A ballboy rushed the shoe up to Tsitsipas’ father, Apostolos, who quickly went to work in repairing it.

When the problem was fixed, Kyrgios took the sneaker from Apostolos and jogged over to his opponent’s chair, presenting it on bended knee and with his head bowed. A bemused Stefanos smiled and gave a thumbs-up.

“Some people love him. Some people hate him. I believe we need people like him in the game,” Stefanos said afterwards. “Otherwise, everything becomes too serious. He’s fun.”

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Sinner Headlines Strong Cincinnati Qualifying Field

Jannik Sinner will be among a trio of #NextGenATP stars competing in the Western & Southern Open qualifying draw later this month. The reigning Next Gen ATP Finals champion will make his second ATP Masters 1000 appearance, following his debut at the level at last year’s Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome.

Sinner will be joined in qualifying by fellow #NextGenATP stars Corentin Moutet of France and Spain’s Alejandro Davidovich Fokina. Moutet made a fast start to his 2020 ATP Tour campaign, winning six matches from qualifying to reach his maiden tour-level championship match at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open in Doha (l. to Rublev). Davidovich Fokina, who qualified for last year’s Next Gen ATP Finals, will try to reach his second Masters 1000 main draw.

[ATP APP]

Richard Gasquet, who made the 2019 Western & Southern Open semi-finals, will have to qualify this year. The World No. 50 owns a 15-13 tournament record. Two-time quarter-finalist Gilles Simon will aim to make his 12th appearance in the main draw.

Alexander Bublik and Mikael Ymer will attempt to make their main draw debuts at the Masters 1000 event. Bublik will hope to build on his strong start to the year. The 23-year-old has claimed 10 victories from 17 tour-level matches in 2020, highlighted by a run to the Open 13 Provence semi-finals in Marseille (l. to Tsitsipas). Ymer will try to extend his perfect record in qualifying events this year, after reaching main draws in Doha and Auckland in January.

In the women’s qualifying draw, former champions Victoria Azarenka and Vera Zvonareva will compete for a place in the main draw. Former World No. 1 Azarenka defeated Serena Williams to win the 2013 edition of the event, while Zvonareva overcame Katerina Srebotnik to claim the title in 2006.

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Djokovic Leads US Open Field

Three-time champion Novak Djokovic will lead this year’s US Open playing field, featuring younger ATP Tour stars Dominic Thiem, Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev, who will be eying an opportunity to make their Grand Slam breakthroughs.

Djokovic, who won the US Open in 2011, ’15 and ’18, will be attempting to win an 18th Grand Slam title. The Serb was on an unbeaten 18-match winning streak to start 2020 before the ATP Tour was suspended due to COVID-19 in March. That run included his eighth title at the Australian Open and him steering Serbia to victory in the inaugural ATP Cup.

Younger ATP Tour stars will look to snap the ‘Big Three’ stranglehold at the majors, with Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer combining to win the past 13 Grand Slam titles. Federer will not play this year’s US Open as he recovers from knee surgery. Nadal was not named on the entry list released today by the USTA.

Thiem is a three-time Grand Slam finalist, having fallen to Djokovic in this year’s Australian Open championship match and to Nadal in the 2018-19 Roland Garros finals. Medvedev reached his first and only Grand Slam final last year in New York, when he pushed Nadal to five sets.

Tsitsipas, the reigning Nitto ATP Finals champion, reached the 2019 Australian Open semi-finals after beating Federer in the fourth round. Zverev, a winner of three ATP Masters 1000 titles, achieved his best Grand Slam result earlier this year at the Australian Open, where he reached the semi-finals (l. Thiem).

Also in the US Open field is Italy’s Matteo Berrettini, who reached the semi-finals last year (l. Djokovic). World No. 10 David Goffin will also be at Flushing Meadows, as will 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic.

Former finalists Kei Nishikori and Kevin Anderson are also entered, as is 2019 semi-finalist Grigor Dimitrov.

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Djokovic, The King Of Match Point Saves

You have to finish off Novak Djokovic. Otherwise, the World No. 1 might not only win that match, but the entire tournament.

The Serbian is a 79-time tour-level titlist. On a record seven of those occasions, he saved at least one match point during the tournament. Djokovic accomplished the feat at 2007 Vienna, 2009 Basel, 2011 US Open, 2012 Shanghai, 2017 Doha, 2019 Wimbledon and 2020 Dubai.

Djokovic returned from the brink to earn a crown in his most recent tournament at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. In the semi-finals, the top seed saved three consecutive match points before defeating Gael Monfils 2-6, 7-6(8), 6-1. The Serbian rode that momentum to the title by beating Stefanos Tsitsipas.

“It’s like being on the edge of a cliff,” Djokovic said about facing match points. “You know there is no way back so you have to jump over and try to find a way to survive I guess and pray for the best and believe that you can make it.

“That’s one of the things that I feel at the moment. Okay, one point away, one shot away. There is no going back. This is it. I accept the situation and try to make the most out of it.”

[ATP HERITAGE]

Since 2015, players have won 53 tour-level titles after saving match point(s) during the tournament. Djokovic and Lucas Pouille lead the way during that period by winning three different events from match point(s) down.

Pouille has won three of his five ATP Tour titles from the brink of defeat, saving at least one match point at Budapest and Stuttgart in 2017 as well as Montpellier in 2018. Since 2015, seven different players have saved match point(s) in two different matches at the same tournament before lifting the title, led by Dominic Thiem at 2016 Buenos Aires

Players Who Saved Match Point(s) In Multiple Matches, Won Title (since 2015)

 Player  Tournament
 Rajeev Ram  2015 Newport
 Dominic Thiem  2016 Buenos Aires
 Martin Klizan  2016 Rotterdam
 Victor Estrella Burgos  2017 Quito 
 Feliciano Lopez  2017 Queen’s Club
 Bernard Tomic  2018 Chengdu
 Jiri Vesely  2020 Pune

Former World No. 1 Andy Murray has saved at least one match point en route to a title twice since 2015. In the semi-finals of the 2016 Nitto ATP Finals, Murray saved one match point before battling past Milos Raonic 5-7, 7-6(5), 7-6(9). In the championship match, with year-end No. 1 in the FedEx ATP Rankings on the line, Murray beat Djokovic for the title.

Murray also notably saved seven match points in the quarter-finals of the 2017 Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, beating Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-7(4), 7-6(18), 6-1 before lifting the trophy on the weekend. The top seed saved all seven match points in the 38-point second-set tie-break, which lasted 31 minutes.

“It’s obviously a special match to win because of how it went,” Murray said. “I’ll probably never play another tie-break like that again.”

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Resurfaced: When Tiafoe Learned Not To Turn His Back On Medvedev

Editor’s Note: ATPTour.com is resurfacing features to bring fans closer to their favourite players and tournaments during the current suspension in tournament play. This story was originally published on 2 August 2019.

One of the golden rules in sport is to never take your eyes off the ball.

But, during a remarkable rally at the 2019 Citi Open, Frances Tiafoe believed he had done enough to win the first point in a crucial game against Daniil Medvedev. He was wrong.

[ATP HERITAGE]

The exchange, which was featured as Play of the Day on ABC’s breakfast programme, Good Morning America, saw home favourite Tiafoe bring Medvedev to the net with a drop shot before flicking a backhand volley past his opponent and turning his back on the court. But, with impressive speed, Medvedev changed direction to track down the ball and chip it into the vacant space for a winner.

Despite his lapse in concentration with Medvedev serving for the match, Tiafoe did manage to eventually break serve and reach 5-5. But Medvedev responded quickly to claim the win two games later, setting a quarter-final clash against Marin Cilic. The Russian reached the final, losing against Nick Kyrgios.

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Mutua Madrid Open Cancelled Due To COVID-19

Organisers of the Mutua Madrid Open on Tuesday announced the cancellation of the tournament’s 2020 edition due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The ATP Masters 1000 event is typically held in May, but was rescheduled to September because of the virus. Unfortunately, due to ongoing COVID-19 concerns, the tournament made a decision in conjunction with local authorities to cancel the event.

“We have given our all to stage the tournament,” Tournament Director Feliciano Lopez said. “After the first cancellation in May, we got to work on the September date with the hope of being able to enjoy first-class tennis in the Caja Mágica during this year, which has been so hard for everyone. However, the continued instability is still too great to hold a tournament like this in complete safety. Once again, we would like to thank the Madrid City Council and all of our sponsors and suppliers for being by our side during every step we have taken.”

After a spike in COVID-19 cases, the Community of Madrid announced a number of new measures to control the virus’ spread, including a directive that social gatherings are to be reduced to 10 people, both in public and private meetings, further reducing the feasibility of operating the tournament.

The next edition of the Mutua Madrid Open will take place from 30 April to 9 May 2021 in the Caja Mágica. Any fans that decided to keep their tickets after the postponement in May are guaranteed tickets for the same session and seats in 2021.

ATP & WTA Statement:
The ATP and WTA regret to confirm the cancellation of the 2020 Mutua Madrid Open, a decision that has been taken in line with local authorities due to health and safety concerns. We would like to recognise the efforts of the tournament organisers who have gone to great lengths in exploring all options to run this year’s tournament, despite the many challenges presented by COVID-19. Both tours are assessing updates to the 2020 provisional calendars in regards to events following the US Open, and an update will be published in due course.

Andrea Gaudenzi, ATP Chairman, said: “We share in the disappointment that the Mutua Madrid Open will not be able to take place this year. The circumstances concerning COVID-19 are continually evolving and we continue to take guidance from local authorities in our decision-making. I would like to thank the Mutua Madrid Open tournament organisers for their efforts to run this year’s event, which included the rescheduling of their dates from May to September, and we look forward to the event’s successful return in 2021.”

Steve Simon, WTA Chairman and CEO, said: “We are disappointed the Mutua Madrid Open will not be held this year but we are proud of the dedication set forth by Feliciano and the entire tournament team, who have worked tirelessly to consider and facilitate all possible alternatives in making the tournament happen this year. We know how beloved this combined men’s and women’s event is for fans, especially with the anticipation of the Tour’s return to play, but we remain vigilant to ensure health and safety remains our top priority for all.”

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