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Greek star confident of taking world No 1 ranking in the future following stellar 2019.




Tsitsipas believes he’s destined for top of ‘super humans’ pile
AFP
-
January 2, 2020 4:46 PM

BRISBANE: With wins over the big three of world tennis already under his belt in 2019, Greek star Stefanos Tsitsipas said Thursday he believed he had the ammunition to take the world No 1 ranking.

Tsitsipas became the youngest player to beat Rafael Nadal on clay and the youngest to record wins over Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic during a stellar 2019 which saw him rise to world No 5.

The 21-year-old heads into the inaugural ATP Cup ranked sixth, but said he was confident he could go all the way to the top.

“I mean, yeah, they are still there – they are doing really well,” Tsitsipas said about Nadal, Federer and Djokovic.

“For me, it’s very challenging to go out there and compete against them.

“I feel like there’s something extra to chase after when I play against them, plus I get to learn a lot when I play against them.

“I feel more of a complete player,” he added.

“I kind of compare them to me to see what works for them and what should I work on more, and they’re just super humans in a way.

“But I’m trying to get there myself and I’m going to keep trying to do my best because I feel like I can surpass them, I can be better.

“It’s just a matter of time, patience, and dedication on what I do.”


Tsitsipas said he was in top shape heading into the new season and said he was playing pain free.

But he conceded he needed to work on his consistency across tournaments.

“I improved during my pre-season – I feel like I’ve added a few elements in my game,” he said.

“Obviously, ups and downs, you can’t be consistent all the time (but) I’m going to try to be consistent as much as possible.

“I’m going to try to be even better than I was last year, but in the back of my mind I’ve concentrated on having a consistent balanced well-planned year with not many ups and downs.”

Tsitsipas gets his tournament underway against rising Canadian star Dennis Shapovalov on Friday morning.

 
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#NSTsports Their wins ensured #Spain and #Serbia clinched their ties at the inaugural 24-nation team event, where the countries are split into six groups across #Sydney, #Brisbane and #Perth.


Nadal and Djokovic off to winning starts at ATP Cup



Rafael Nadal of Spain hits a return against Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia during their men's singles match on day two of the ATP Cup tennis tournament in Perth on January 4, 2020. (Photo by TONY ASHBY / AFP)

By AFP - January 5, 2020 @ 12:28am

SYDNEY: Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic kickstarted their build-up to the Australian Open with straight sets wins at the ATP Cup Saturday, but world number four Dominic Thiem slumped to defeat.

Top-ranked Nadal had little trouble with Georgia's Nikoloz Basilashvili, racing to a 6-3, 7-5 victory, while long-time rival Djokovic was given more of a test by South Africa's Kevin Anderson before overcoming him 7-6 (7/5), 7-6 (8/6).

Their wins ensured Spain and Serbia clinched their ties at the inaugural 24-nation team event, where the countries are split into six groups across Sydney, Brisbane and Perth.

The top eight from the round robin go onto the knockout phase in Sydney before one is eventually crowned the winner.


Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia hits a return against Rafael Nadal of Spain during their men's singles match on day two of the ATP Cup tennis tournament in Perth on January 4, 2020. (Photo by TONY ASHBY / AFP)




France, Argentina, Croatia and Japan also began their tournament in style, winning their ties to join day one victors Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Norway, Russia and Australia.

"I'm super, super happy to be here in Perth for first time in my life. It's an amazing arena and a great crowd," said Nadal.

"It was tough first match of the season, not an easy start. But I think I played a great game."

Earlier, his teammate Roberto Bautista Agut crushed a hapless Aleksandre Metreveli 6-0, 6-0.
Serbian superstar Djokovic needed to produce some of his best tennis to see off the big-serving Anderson, admitting it was a testing encounter.

"What a way to start the year," he said. "He was on fire tonight -- I think the quality of tennis was quite high. "I was very pleased with the way I kind of weathered the storm."

His teammate Dusan Lajovic outlasted Lloyd Harris 3-6, 7-6 (7/4), 6-3.

Austria's Thiem forecast this week that 2020 would be the year that the vice-like hold of Djokovic, Nadal and Roger Federer on Grand Slam titles would come to an end.


Novak Djokovic of Serbia (L) speaks with Kevin Anderson of South Africa after winning their men's singles match on day two of the ATP Cup tennis tournament in Brisbane on January 4, 2020. (Photo by Patrick HAMILTON / AFP)



He is tipped as one of those who could make the breakthrough, along with Alexander Zverev and Stefanos Tsitsipas. But all three have been beaten in their opening ATP Cup clashes.

Thiem, who won five titles last year, had six break points in the third set against Croatia's Borna Coric, but failed to convert any of them.

"It's really nice to beat him because at the end of last season I was not playing well and this will give me a lot of confidence," said Coric, ranked 28 and who suffered six losses in a row in late 2019.

Fellow Croat Marin Cilic, a finalist at the 2018 Australian Open, used his experience to down Austria's Dennis Novak 6-7 (7/4), 6-4, 6-4, and ensure Croatia won the tie in Sydney.

The most dominant win of the day came courtesy of Japan, who are without the injured Kei Nishikori but crushed Uruguay 3-0 in Perth, dropping just 15 games across their two singles and one doubles rubbers.

Yoshihito Nishioka routed higher-ranked Pablo Cuevas 6-0, 6-1 and veteran Go Soeda thrashed Martin Cuevas, Pablo's younger brother, 6-1, 6-3 before a tighter doubles encounter.

French duo Gael Monfils and Benoit Paire, both in the top 25, led their country to a 2-1 Group A win over Chile, while Argentina scraped past Poland by the same score.

But it was a struggle for the South Americans with Polish number one Hubert Hurkacz upsetting world number 14 Diego Schwartzman in three sets.


Kevin Anderson of South Africa serves against Novak Djokovic of Serbia during their men's singles match on day two of the ATP Cup tennis tournament in Brisbane on January 4, 2020. (Photo by Patrick HAMILTON / AFP)



Guido Pella won the other singles before Maximo Gonzalez and Andres Molteni teamed to down Hurkacz and two-time Grand Slam winner Lukasz Kubot in the deciding doubles.

Some US$15 million in prize money is at stake in the tournament, with up to 750 singles and 250 doubles ATP rankings points up for grabs.

Under the innovative tournament rules, on-court coaching is allowed and team zones are in the corners of the court, rather than on the sidelines by the umpire. -- AFP


 

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Former Australian Open champion Maria Sharapova has been given a wildcard place in this month's tournament

The former world number one only played 15 matches last year due to a long-term shoulder injury

#bbctennis
 

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🤩 What a line-up!

🎾 Roger Federer
🎾 Serena Williams
🎾 Rafael Nadal
🎾 Naomi Osaka
🎾 Nick Kyrgios

Top tennis stars are coming together for a fundraising match ahead of the Australian Open to raise money for bushfire relief funds. 👏

#bbctennis
 

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Your winners from Day 6 at the #ATPCup are:

🇷🇸 #TeamSerbia 3-0 🇨🇱#TeamChile
🇪🇸 #TeamSpain 3-0 🇯🇵 #TeamJapan
🇦🇹 #TeamAustria 1-2 🇵🇱 #TeamPoland
🇫🇷 #TeamFrance 1-2 🇿🇦 #TeamSouthAfrica
🇬🇪 #TeamGeorgia 2-1 🇺🇾 #TeamUruguay
🇭🇷 #TeamCroatia 0-3 🇦🇷 #TeamArgentina
 

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Rafael Nadal has qualified Spain for the quarter-finals in the ATP Cup after coming back twice against Japan's Yoshihito Nishioka
 

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Top tennis stars including Serena Williams, Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal will play an exhibition match to raise funds for Australia's bushfire relief. Nearly 18 million acres of land have been burned as the country faces its worst blazes in decades
 
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