Sinner, Kyrgios Seek Further Indoor Success In Montpellier

Jannik Sinner and Nick Kyrgios will make their first indoor appearances of the 2021 ATP Tour season at the Open Sud de France in Montpellier.

Sinner will attempt to capture his second ATP Tour crown in his second appearance at the ATP 250. In his most recent indoor hard-court event, the #NextGenATP Italian defeated Alex de Minaur, Adrian Mannarino and Vasek Pospisil in consecutive matches to capture his maiden ATP Tour crown at the Sofia Open.

Kyrgios has already experienced success at a French indoor event. The 25-year-old, who claimed his maiden tour-level trophy in Marseille in 2016, will attempt to capture his seventh ATP Tour title on his tournament debut in Montpellier.

The ATP 250, which will be held from 22-28 February, will also feature three Top 20 players. Roberto Bautista Agut, two-time semi-finalist David Goffin and Pablo Carreno Busta will all return to the French south coast.

Three-time champion Richard Gasquet and 2019 titlist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga will look to add to their Montpellier trophy collections. Ugo Humbert, who won two ATP Tour crowns in 2020, will also bid to extend the tradition of French champions at the event. Since the tournament made its ATP Tour debut in 2010, the event has crowned eight French champions from 10 editions.

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Fila Unveils AO Collections

Defending Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin will wear Fila's Back Court collection in Melbourne.
Sofia Kenin will launch her Australian Open title defense clothed in a classic.

Fila unveiled its 2021 Australian Open collection, including the Back Court collection Kenin, world No. 1 Ash Barty, former world No. 1 Karolina Pliskova and AO doubles champion Timea Babos will wear in Melbourne.

More: Monfils Hires Bresnik as Coach

The Back Court collection pops with color—purple, blue and lime are accents.

 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 

 
 

 
 
 

 
 

A post shared by @filatennis

Staples of the Back Court collection include the intricately-detailed Full Coverage Tank, which provides a contemporary spin on a FILA classic with peek-a-boo back detailing; the Halter Tank, featuring a curved bottom side seam and unexpected pops of citrus; the Racerback Tank, offered in white, navy or lime; and the star-crossed back Cami Tank which gives an edgy contrast to its collection counterparts with wild lime trim.

 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 

 
 

 
 
 

 
 

A post shared by Ash Barty (@ashbarty)

Fila men's players will sport the crisp, clean Legends collection.

Opelka

Reilly Opelka, Diego Schwartzman, Guido Pella, Sam Querrey and Andreas Seppi will take their shot at Australian Open glory wearing the Legends collection in a color palette of white and navy.

The Ombre Crew provides a unique combination of white and ombre fade, finished with a contrasting navy tape overlay on the sleeve, while the new Rally Crew offers lightweight, rally mesh performance fabric.

 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 

 
 

 
 
 

 
 

A post shared by @filatennis

 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 

 
 

 
 
 

 
 

A post shared by @filatennis

The Legends polo provides serious hard court style with two contrasting styles: the Ombre Stripe Polo, featuring a three button placket and contrasting neck tape; and the Rally Polo, a yarn-dyed, performance mesh polo printed in undulating ocean-hued bands.

Photo credit: Fila

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Nadal: Some Need To Make Public Everything They Do

World No. 2 offers his view on differences between Adelaide and Melbourne bubbles.
Rafael Nadal suggests stars other than Novak Djokovic have reached out to Tennis Australia on behalf of pros confined to hard quarantine in Melbourne.

The world No. 2 says the difference is they don't always publicize their efforts.

More: Djokovic Answers Critics

In an interview with ESPN Argentina conducted from the Adelaide bubble Nadal seemed to refer to Djokovic, who contacted Tennis Australia on behalf of the 72 players in hard quarantine.

"Some need to make public everything they do to help others," Nadal told ESPN. "Others do it in a more private way without having to publish or advertise everything we're doing.

"The calls we make to help the most disadvantaged players, some of us don't need to want to advertise on it."

Eight-time AO champion Djokovic, who is quarantining in the Adelaide bubble with fellow superstars, published an Open Letter last week in response to criticism he received after speaking out in behalf of those players in Melbourne quarantine.

"My good intentions for my fellow competitors in Melbourne have been misconstrued as being selfish, difficult and ungrateful," Djokovic said in a statement. "This couldn't be farther from the truth.

"I genuinely care about my fellow players and I also understand very well how the world is run and who gets bigger and better and why…Not every act is taken at its face value and at times when I see the aftermath of things, I do tend to ask myself if I should just sit back and enjoy my benefits instead of paying attention to other people's struggles."

The 20-time Grand Slam champion's come after Argentinean veteran Guido Pella publicly called out Nadal and Dominic Thiem for staying quiet while they train in the more forgiving Adelaide bubble along with Djokovic, Naomi Osaka, Serena Williams and Simona Halep. The stars are scheduled to play in A Day at the Drive charity exhibition on Friday in Adelaide.

"I am very surprised with Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem's silence,” Pella told the 3igales podcast. “They are in Adelaide, and us in Melbourne, regarding what is happening here, I wouldn’t put my life on the line for anyone, but Djokovic, at least, shows intentions. Later, I don't know what happens.

"It's not that it hurt me, because nobody has to say anything, but how much Thiem and Nadal didn't say anything about Adelaide's quarantine, I didn't like it. But hey, there are clearly people who think differently and, but that's the way it is.”

In his ESPN interview, Nadal acknowledged conditions in the Adelaide bubble "have been better than most players in Melbourne."

"Complaints are understandable and totally respectable. Where is the privilege line or not privileges if it is already a little different," Nadal told ESPN. "And I have a different vision than other tennis players. In Adelaide, conditions have been better than most players in Melbourne. But there are players in Melbourne who have larger rooms where they can develop physical activities, others have smaller rooms and can't have contact with their coach and their physical trainer.

"Where's the line? It's an ethical issue. Everyone has their own opinion and they are all respectable."

Tennis Express

The 2009 Australian Open champion said ultimately all players must make the best of a challenging quarantine.

"There has been talk that Adelaide people have better conditions, but I have not heard of any Melbourne player that some have much better rooms than others," Nadal told ESPN. "I have not seen some of those who have complained so much about the conditions in Adelaide complaining about the conditions of the more than 20 untrained tennis players. Complaints always come from a disadvantaged position.

"At the time of talking about fair play or equal conditions, people don't tend to complain about the position of those who are worse off than them. In the end we all try to get the most out of our possibilities and help each other."

Photo credit: Mark Peterson/Corleve

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The Bryan Brothers: ‘We’re Enjoying The Afterlife’

Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan, the most accomplished doubles team in history, retired last August. Five months later, the legendary twins are at ease with their decision.

“Now we’re enjoying the afterlife. We’ve both got families. A lot of time with our kids. We understand how important it is to put that energy into raising good human beings,” Mike said. “Maybe they can carry on the legacy, the Bryan Brothers. You [Bob] have the Bryan Brothers, I have one. We’ll see, we’ll have fun doing something else. We’ll figure it out.”

Bob has three children — two sons and a daughter — and Mike has one son. Even before their retirement, family was important to the Americans. When the Bryan Brothers lifted some of their biggest trophies in recent years, Bob’s kids tended to be nearby (Mike’s son was born last April). In what ended up being the team’s final tournament, the 2020 Delray Beach Open by VITACOST.com, Bob’s children were their to celebrate another trophy.

“We had a great 23 years, it’s almost too much time to do one thing,” Bob said. “I don’t miss it too much right now, but I do miss waking up having something to shoot for. The goals, the tournaments, just improving the game, having something to shoot for and doing it with you [Mike].”

Bob and Mike enjoyed unparalleled success, lifting 119 tour-level doubles trophies together. Some fans will remember them for their trademark chest bumps and all the time they spent signing autographs and taking pictures with fans. But the Bryan Brothers were also ferocious competitors, and that’s not something that will go away.

“The competition is fun,” Bob said. “I’m getting now into chess, parcheesi, other games.”

It wasn’t always as easy as the brothers made it look, especially in recent years. Bob underwent surgery on his right hip in August 2018, for example. But the pursuit of goals — in many cases, lofty for the Americans — kept them pushing forward into their 40s.

“You have one singular focus: that’s to win matches, to win tournaments, to try to finish No. 1. You have that drive and that vision that gets you out of bed,” Mike said. “We’re both competitors, we like getting the adrenaline rush. The highs and the lows of winning, losses, knowing where you stand against the rest of the teams on a weekly basis.”

As well-liked as they were — the twins won the Doubles Fans Favourite Award 14 times — and as tough as they still might have been on the court, Bob and Mike were ready to hang up their racquets aged 42. This was living proof that nothing lasts forever.

“We had a blast, but it was our time to step aside,” Bob said.

“I’m just going to miss the Tour,” Mike added. “This is what we’ve done for so long, it’s so comfortable. It’s really a simple life.”

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World’s Top 4 Players In Action On Day 1 Of ATP Cup

The match schedule for the 2021 ATP Cup, the 12-country event being played at Melbourne Park from 2-6 February, was released Monday. The tournament dates have been pushed back 24 hours to allow quarantined players the best possible preparation and training opportunities.

See Tournament Daily Schedule

Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Dominic Thiem and Daniil Medvedev will all begin their 2021 campaigns on Day 1 of the event. In the day session, defending champion Serbia will open its bid for a second straight title against Canada on Rod Laver Arena and Austria will face Italy on John Cain Arena.

At last year’s event, Serbia overcame Canada 3-0 in the knockout stages. The tie produced one of the most memorable matches of the event, when Djokovic outlasted Denis Shapovalov in a final-set tie-break. They are set for a rematch as their country’s No. 1 singles players.

In the evening session, 2020 finalist Spain will face hosts Australia on Rod Laver Arena. Rafael Nadal and Alex de Minaur will meet again in singles after last year’s semi-finals, when Spain prevailed 3-0. Russia, which reached the semi-finals at the inaugural ATP Cup, will begin its title bid against Argentina. The two countries met in the knockout stages last year, with Russia earning a 3-0 victory.

An individual match to watch includes World No. 2 Nadal against 2019 Nitto ATP Finals champion Stefanos Tsitsipas, which will take place when Spain faces Greece in the evening session on Thursday 4 February.

Germany, Greece, France and Japan will play their first ties of the tournament on Day 2. Each tie will consist of three matches with No. 2 singles players competing before the No. 1 singles, followed by a doubles match.

View 2021 Match Schedule

ATP Cup 2021 schedule

The opening three days of the tournament will feature 12 group stage ties, with the four group winners advancing to the semi-finals. The semi-finals will be held simultaneously on Friday, before the two finalists meet in Saturday’s championship match.

To ensure the safety of all patrons on site, the Melbourne Park precinct will be split into different zones.

Spectators wanting to watch ATP Cup Group A and Group B matches will need to purchase a Rod Laver Arena Zone ticket while a John Cain Arena Zone ticket is required for Group C and Group D matches.

Group stage ticket prices are $20 for adults and $5 for kids and go on sale Thursday 28 January at 12.00pm AEDT via Ticketmaster.

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Korda, Pouille Lead Quimper Challenger Draw; Munar Headlines In Antalya

This week, the ATP Challenger Tour rolls into France and Turkey for a pair of star-studded tournaments. All eyes will be on the indoor hard courts of Quimper, France and the outdoor clay of Antalya, Turkey, with former Top 10 stalwarts and #NextGenATP stars in action.

In Quimper, the 11th edition of the Open Quimper Bretagne Occidentale features former World No. 10 Lucas Pouille as its top seed and 20-year-old Sebastian Korda seeded second. Fellow #NextGenATP stars Brandon Nakashima and Hugo Gaston are also in the loaded field, along with Sunday’s Istanbul champion Arthur Rinderknech.

It will be a long-awaited return to the tour for Pouille, as the five-time ATP Tour champion and 2019 Australian Open semi-finalist competes in his first tournament since undergoing right elbow surgery last year. To add another layer of emotions to his comeback, the Frenchman is also playing in his first tournament since becoming a father. Last week, his wife Clemence gave birth to their first child, Rose.

View Quimper Draw

Having played just one match in the last 15 months, Pouille returns to the ATP Challenger Tour in search of matches and much-needed rhythm between the lines. He opens against Slovakia’s Filip Horansky, with Rinderknech a potential quarter-final opponent. Fellow former Top 10 star Ernests Gulbis and in-form Americans Nakashima and Denis Kudla are also in his half of the draw.

Meanwhile, the bottom half of the Quimper draw is headlined by World No. 103 Korda, as the Florida native continues his quest for a Top 100 breakthrough. The runner-up at the ATP 250 event in Delray Beach earlier this month, he has won 17 of his last 20 matches, also including a maiden Challenger title in Eckental, Germany.

Korda will open against a qualifier, with sixth seed Jurij Rodionov a potential quarter-final opponent. Elsewhere, fellow 20-year-old Gaston battles 2019 champion Gregoire Barrere in a first-round clash, while a red-hot Marc-Andrea Huesler faces last week’s Istanbul finalist Benjamin Bonzi.

Antalya
Centre court in Antalya

At the inaugural Club Megasaray Open I, players hit the clay of Antalya for the first of two straight tournaments in the Turkish resort town. World No. 110 Jaume Munar leads the field, alongside second seed Daniel Elahi Galan and #NextGenATP stars Thiago Seyboth Wild and Lorenzo Musetti.

Munar concluded his 2020 campaign as one of the hottest players on the Challenger circuit, posting a 12-3 record to finish the season. He lifted the trophy in Lisbon, Portugal, in early October and reached another final in Marbella, Spain, later that month. The Spaniard opens against countryman Carlos Taberner this week.

View Antalya Draw

Munar is joined by fourth seed Facundo Bagnis and Germany’s Daniel Altmaier in the top half of the draw. Altmaier is also looking to carry the momentum from a strong 2020 campaign, having streaked to the Round of 16 at Roland Garros as a qualifier. There, he secured his first Top 10 victory over Matteo Berrettini.

Second seed Galan, meanwhile, opens against a qualifier on Tuesday. The Colombian is joined by Seyboth Wild and Musetti in the bottom half of the draw, as well as former World No. 21 Leonardo Mayer.

ATP Challenger Tour 


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Dennis Novak & Thiem: Who’s Baby Bowser During Quarantine?

Dennis Novak broke into the Top 100 of the FedEx ATP Rankings for the first time last season, and his surge started at the ATP Cup.

Novak played three tough three-setters for Austria as the country’s No. 2 singles player, and he earned a win against World No. 25 Guido Pella. The 6’ righty climbed as high as World No. 85 in March. Now, he is ready to begin another season by representing Austria in the ATP Cup.

Before the start of the 12-country event, Novak sat down with ATPTour.com to reveal how he has been passing the time during quarantine.

What is a day in the life of quarantine like for you?
We wake up, we get tested, we have breakfast. We get ready for practice… We have time to be outside. We come back, do some stretching, eat, shower and then watch some movies and try to kill the time.

Who is your most frequently contacted person during this quarantine period?
Dominic [Thiem]. [We keep in touch by] texting, playing games online against each other.

What games do you play against each other online?
We play a lot of Mario Kart on Nintendo Switch. That’s at the moment the only thing we play [on Nintendo Switch]. I play with Baby Bowser and he takes Toad. I also have a PlayStation with me. I play with his brother [Moritz Thiem]. We play Formula 1 and we have a few more games.

Have you been watching any shows in quarantine?
I just started a new show on Netflix, Shooter. I’m just really into it. I cannot stop. Also a French one, Lupin. But there is only one season out, so it’s only five or six episodes. For Shooter there are a lot more.

Are you reading any books or doing anything else?
I [recently] read two books about Covid, which were really interesting. I like to read biographies of sportsmen. For me, the best sports biography I’ve read was about Niki Lauda.

What are some of the best in-room workout tips that you have found?
You can do a lot just with your body weight and with the band, maybe. I think those are the two things I do the most.

What’s your go-to pick-up order that you have?
A lot of pasta and fish.

You’ve been watching some shows, playing some games. What else do you do to pass the time?
Just watching some news from home in Austria on the Internet, just being on the Internet, playing games, maybe sleeping. But that’s it.

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Arthur’s Ascent: Rinderknech Kicks Off 2021 With Istanbul Title

New season, same story for Arthur Rinderknech.

One year ago, the Frenchman opened his 2020 campaign with a piece of silverware wrapped in his arms. This week, Rinderknech kicked off his 2021 ATP Challenger Tour season in similar fashion.

The 25-year-old wasted no time in finding the winning formula in Istanbul, reeling off seven wins in eight days as a qualifier to lift the trophy. With the Turkish metropolis blanketed in snow, Rinderknech turned up the heat on the indoor hard courts of the TED Sports Club. He rallied past countryman Benjamin Bonzi in Sunday’s championship, taking the title 4-6, 7-6(1), 7-6(3) in two hours and 17 minutes.

“It feels great to win the first Challenger of the year and even more when it’s a 125-level tournament,” said Rinderknech. “I’m happy about the way I handled things this week and went through seven matches in eight days.”

Rinderknech’s triumph moves him 43 spots to a career-high No. 135 in the FedEx ATP Rankings. A former college standout at Texas A&M University, he outlasted #NextGenATP star Brandon Nakashima, before overcoming an in-form Marc-Andrea Huesler in the quarter-finals and defeating seventh seed Jozef Kovalik for a spot in the title match.

“I think the key was to go day-by-day and take it match-by-match, as it was a long week,” Rinderknech added. “Taking care of my body and making sure I was staying fresh, mentally too. I wanted to play doubles with my partner Manuel Guinard, but we didn’t get in and that would have been too much. We will play together in Quimper.”

The Parisian is carrying some serious momentum from a breakout 2020 campaign. One of the revelations on the Challenger circuit last year, Rinderknech soared nearly 200 spots to a year-end position inside the Top 200. Not only did he open his season with a title on home soil in Rennes, but he followed that with a second crown in Calgary, Canada, just weeks later. And in September, he was rewarded for his efforts with a main draw wild card at Roland Garros, making his Grand Slam debut in his hometown.

Rinderknech, who finished 2020 in fourth place on the Challenger wins list with a 22-12 record, is the first qualifier to lift a trophy since Carlos Alcaraz achieved the feat in August. In addition, the 25-year-old is the youngest French champion in nearly two years.

Next week, Rinderknech will return home for the Open Quimper Bretagne Occidentale. He opens against a qualifier, with top seed and former World No. 10 Lucas Pouille also in his quarter at the Challenger 100 event. Rinderknech is one of nine players in the Top 150 to feature in Quimper.

ATP Challenger Tour 

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Lucas Pouille and Wife Clémence Welcome First Child

Baby Rose was born on January 20. Lucas Pouille and his wife Clémence have welcomed baby Rose into the world.

Rose was born on January 20.

Both Pouille and his wife posted the news to Instagram today.

The happy loving couple was married in October of 2019.

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New Australian Schedule To Help Players In Lockdown

The Australian Open lead-in week has been revamped to help give the 72 players in the 14-day quarantine lockdown the best possible preparation and training opportunities.

Following extensive consultation between the players and the Tours, Tennis Australia has designed a new schedule, taking into account the limited time many players have had to prepare.

The Murray River Open, the Great Ocean Road Open and the ATP Cup will be pushed back by 24 hours. The two ATP 250 events will commence on Monday 1 February, each featuring an increased singles main draw size of 56, while the ATP Cup will start on Tuesday 2 February.

“This has been a particularly challenging time for the athletes in hard lockdown and we, along with the WTA and ATP, aim to do everything we can to help,” Australian Open Tournament Director Craig Tiley said.

“These changes to the lead-in events have been made to give the 72 players a little bit of extra time to help them prepare. We also will prioritise them for things like practice sessions, gym and ice baths.”

ATP Chairman Andrea Gaudenzi also added, “Our number one goal with Tennis Australia and the WTA was to be as fair as possible to the players coming out of a hard quarantine.

“The extra 24 hours before the first ATP Tour events together with priority over practice and preparation will help. We are eager to start what I am sure will be a fantastic summer of tennis in Melbourne in front of our great Australian fans.”

2021 Australian Summer Tennis Calendar

There will now be three WTA 500 events – the two originally planned from Sunday 31 January to Saturday 6 February, with slightly reduced draw sizes. A third event, for those players who have been unable to train, will commence on Wednesday 3 and finish on Sunday 7 February.

“This revised schedule comprised of three WTA 500 events in the week leading into the upcoming Australian Open will allow for our athletes coming out of the respected quarantine period to properly focus on their preparation in a return to competition,” WTA CEO Steve Simon said.

“We appreciate the positive spirit of collaboration demonstrated by our friends at Tennis Australia and the ATP as these solutions were worked through in recent days. All of our players appreciate the opportunity to be here in Melbourne and look forward to getting on the court to compete and entertain the terrific fans that are here with some great tennis over the weeks ahead in what will be a very a safe and healthy environment.”

Tickets start from $20 for adults and just $5 for kids and will go on sale this week.

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