Tag Archive | "ATP Champions Tour"

Fish to Make ATP Champions Tour Debut at Delray Beach Open

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Fish to Make ATP Champions Tour Debut at Delray Beach Open

IMG_9290_Fish Marty Fish, the 2009 Delray Beach Open champion, will make his debut on the ATP Champions Tour when the tournament kicks off on February 12, 2016. Fish will be joined by former ATP Tour players that will include James Blake, Mark Philippoussis, Sebastien Grosjean, Greg Rusedski and Aaron Krickstein.

The ATP Champions tour is held the first weekend of the Delray Beach Open which serves as the ATP World Tour’s first North American hard court event.

Here is the official press release from the tournament :

DELRAY BEACH: Former world No. 7 Mardy Fish will make his ATP Champions Tour debut at the 2016 Delray Beach Open, returning to the event where he continues to be the only ATP World Tour champion in tournament history to win as the top-seed – a feat he accomplished in 2009.

Additionally, former Davis Cup teammate and world No. 4 James Blake will join Fish in the ATP Champions Tour field that was announced today by the tournament. Four of the six players who will play in the event have ties to the area, including Fish, a former Vero Beach resident.

The three-day, six-player round-robin tournament is played the first weekend of the 10-day Delray Beach Open and includes an American team competing against an International trio. The action begins Friday, Feb. 12 with a pair of night matches, followed by four matches over Saturday day and night, and three Sunday afternoon matches that could decide the team title.

Joining Blake and Fish on Team USA is current Boca resident Aaron Krickstein while Team International includes former Delray Beach resident Mark Philippoussis (AUS), longtime Boca Raton resident Sebastien Grosjean (FRA), and Greg Rusedski (GBR).

The tournament is also announcing its annual Holiday Promotion, which discounts individual box and reserved tickets for all ATP Champions Tour matches (Sessions 1-4, 50% off) and ATP World Tour matches (Sessions 5-17, 20% off). The promotion begins Nov. 26 and runs through Dec. 31.

Fish, who last played in Delray Beach in 2011, missed most of the 2012, 2013 and 2014 ATP World Tour seasons as he battled a heart ailment and anxiety issues that he has since openly discussed in efforts to help others who battle the disorder. He played in several ATP World Tour events in 2015 before announcing his retirement prior to the US Open, where his career ended in a stirring five-set defeat in the second round. Over his career, Fish won six ATP titles and reached the quarterfinals of three Grand Slam tournaments.

Fish went 19-7 in eight Delray Beach appearances, and in addition to his ’09 title, reached the final in 2003 and semifinals in 2009 and 2001. Blake, a two-time ATP World Tour Delray Beach finalist (2007 & 2008), made his debut on the ATP Champions Tour in Delray Beach a year ago. Like Fish, he reached three Grand Slam quarterfinals during his ATP World Tour career and was runner-up to Roger Federer in the season-ending 2006 ATP World Tour Championships.

Two-time Grand Slam runner-up Philippoussis will be playing in his third ATP Champions Tour event in Delray Beach – he won the 2011 title when the tournament crowned an individual champion. A 1997 US Open finalist, Rusedski was 6-2 in Delray Beach as an ATP pro and reached the event’s 1995 final while four-time Grand Slam semifinalist Grosjean was 5-3 in Delray Beach and played in a 1999 semifinal. Rusedski and Grosjean are making their first Delray Beach ATP Champions Tour appearances.

The Delray Beach Open also announced a new ‘no-ad’ format for all ATP Champions Tour matches – at deuce, the player returning serve picks the side he wants to return from; the winner of that point wins the game. A traditional 7-point tiebreaker will continue to be played at six games apiece and a match tiebreak (10-point) will continue to decide a match when players split the first two sets.

Sunday’s 12:30 pm match on Court 1 will be of local interest because it creates a “country club rivalry” between Krickstein and Grosjean, who never played each other on the ATP World Tour. Krickstein is the longtime head pro at St. Andrews Country Club in Boca Raton while Grosjean is a resident of Woodfield Country Club, also in Boca. Grosjean currently coaches Top 10 Richard Gasquet.

In addition to their ATP Champions Tour play, Blake and Philippoussis have been given a wild card to partner in doubles in the ATP World Tour event.

Discounted ticket are available at http://www.yellowtennisball.com/tickets/ with prices starting at $14.50. Fans can also visit the on-site box office at 30 NW 1st Avenue in Delray Beach, or call 561-330-6000.

For more information: Go to YellowTennisBall.com.

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A Recap of the 2010 AEGON Masters Tennis

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A Recap of the 2010 AEGON Masters Tennis

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Henman – Ivanisevic: The Wimbledon Rematch

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Henman – Ivanisevic: The Wimbledon Rematch

Tim Henman and Goran Ivanisevic faced each other at the Royal Albert Hall in London last night for the first time since their epic semi-final at Wimbledon in 2001. Ivanisevic broke the hearts of the British public by beating Henman in a thrilling five set match spread across three days due to the unpredictable British weather.

I clearly remember listening to the commentary secretly during lessons at my school in North London on my vintage Sony Walkman, nerves on edge.  Arguably, this was Henman’s most promising opportunity to be the first British man since Fred Perry to lift the Wimbledon crown.   With a certain American, Pete Sampras, knocked out in the fourth round by none other than recent ATP Tour Finals champion, Roger Federer, the path seemed clear or so we thought.

However, the stars were shining favourably on the charismatic Croat, who famously ate at the same table at the same restaurant every night during the Wimbledon fortnight.   En route to his well deserved Wimbledon title, the pinnacle of any professional tennis player’s career, Ivanisevic won back the heart of the British crowd in his fairytale win against Aussie, Pat Rafter.  Ranked world number 125 due to a recurring shoulder injury, Ivanisevic reached the final as a wild card entry and previously had three tough Wimbledon final losses to Andre Agassi in 1992 and Pete Sampras in 1994 and 1998.

He famously said to reporters: “If some angel comes tonight in my dreams and says: ‘OK Goran, you’re going to win Wimbledon tomorrow, but you’re not able to touch the racket ever again,’ I will say: ‘OK, I’d rather take that and then never play tennis again in my life.’”

Yet, the changeable Croat with dual personalities is back.  And what a comeback it has been for the 39-year-old.   A regular on the seniors tour, Ivanisevic has won two titles in Barcelona and Knokke this season and recorded his fastest ever serve this year. He was one of the many players who encouraged Henman out of retirement to join legends such as Stefen Edberg, John McEnroe and Britain’s own, Greg Rusedski on the ATP Champions Tour in a more jovial yet competitive atmosphere.

“I saw him at the World Tour Finals in London last year and I told him he should come back and play with us,” Ivanisevic said of Henman. “He’s a great tennis player and we miss players like him.”

The players certainly didn’t disappoint the animated crowd last night. In fact, with the pressure off, they produced an outstanding level of tennis, with Ivanisevic serving as well as I’d ever witnessed, winning the first set 6-4. Indeed, Henman said in the post match press conference that no one had ever served as well against him in his entire career in that first set.  Heady praise for the Croat who revealed he is serving faster than ever before with the “new technology” of rackets these days.

With “good” Goran serving on all cylinders, this could have been a baptism of fire on the fast indoor court for Henman, only in his second match out of retirement. But, the Brit held his nerve well and showed many glimpses of his former glory, with great net play and feel around the court, winning the second set 7-5 and bringing the match to an exciting deciding Championship tiebreak.

Despite the hecklings of the old Tim faithful, Goran served his way to the match with an 11-9 victory in the Champions’ Tie-Break, looking impressively sharp on his backhand returns too.

Both looked exhilarated and liberated by the atmosphere of the ATP Champions Tour, particularly in the historic setting of London’s Royal Albert Hall. In the post match press conference Henman revealed his “body felt good” and was pleased with the “good quality of tennis out there.”  Similarly, Goran was beaming as he said “today I felt great” and emphasized how much he is enjoying his tennis without the mental pressure of the tour.  To my question of whether he still enjoyed playing up to his loveable villain reputation, he laughed and said:  “People have always called me so many things. I don’t mind.”

Well, last night Goran, you were quite simply brilliant.

Follow Melina Harris’ coverage for MiamiTennisNews on twitter under the username @thetenniswriter

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Rafter Captures Champions Title Over McEnroe

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Rafter Captures Champions Title Over McEnroe

img_9844The finals of the ATP Champions Tour were contested Tuesday night at the Delray Beach Stadium & Tennis Center between Australian Patrick Rafter and American tennis legend John McEnroe. The meeting between the two former majors winners was expected to be a display of serve and volley, both delivered. Rafter prevailed over McEnroe 7-6 (7-4), 7-6 (7-1) in two highly competitive sets.

Although the ATP Champions Tour has been in existence since 1997, the four day event in Delray marked the Champions Tour’s inaugural stop on U.S. soil. McEnroe qualified for the finals by going undefeated in Group A (3-0) highlighted by wins over Mats Wilander and Andres Gomez. Despite losing to Ronald Agenor, in Group B, Rafter advanced by beating Aaron Krickstein and Pat Cash.

Rafter was favored in the final in light of his age. However, McEnroe held his own in the match. The difference was Rafter’s ability to raise his game level in the tiebreakers. McEnroe would later concede during the trophy ceremony that Rafter was “too good.” Also, McEnroe jokingly said that Rafter is “younger, faster, and better-looking than me.” The win places Rafter at the top of the rankings of The Champions Tour. The Champions tour moves next to Zurich on March 9.

Turning to the ATP Tour’s main draw, top seed Tommy Haas was upset on Monday night by Teimuraz Gabashvilli in straight sets. Despite dropping a set to Nicolas Lapentti, Evgeny Korolev, last year’s finalist, advanced. Mardy Fish, the 2009 champion, moved on when Christophe Rochus retired at 3 all in the third set. Second seed Ivo Karlovic ousted Philipp Petzschner while Kie Nishikori, 2008 champion, fell to third seed Benjamin Becker .

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