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Del Potro Begins Comeback at Delray Beach Open

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Del Potro Begins Comeback at Delray Beach Open


IMG_4201_DelPotro After an extended hiatus due to wrist surgery in 2011, Juan Martin Del Potro rejoined the ATP tour by making his maiden appearance in Delray. He went on to capture the title. However, a niggling wrist injury has prevented Del Potro from returning to the form which resulted in his triumph at the 2009 US Open.

After another round of surgery Del Potro is ready for a second comeback. The Argentine has again chosen Delray as he reincorporates himself on tour and is hoping to duplicate his past success.

Del Potro will be joining a stacked field at the Delray Open that includes Milos Raonic, Kevin Anderson, Bernard Tomic, Ivo Karlovic and Grigor Dimitrov. The Delray Beach Open will take place February 12 – 21, 2016.

Here is the official press release from the tournament :

FORMER WORLD NO.4 JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO WILL PLAY IN DELRAY BEACH
The 2009 US Open Champion Will Begin His Comeback From Wrist Injury

DELRAY BEACH: 2011 Delray Beach champion Juan Martin del Potro is taking a wild card into the Delray Beach Open, making his second appearance in the ATP World Tour event. The 10-day event is coming up February 12 – 21, with ATP World Tour play scheduled to begin Monday, February 15 at the Delray Beach Stadium & Tennis Center.

Del Potro will be making a long-awaited comeback from a bothersome wrist injury that has dogged the former world No. 4 and 2009 US Open champion for much of his career.

In 2011, del Potro made his initial appearance in Delray Beach ranked No. 166 with just four tournaments under his belt following his first wrist surgery. He won the title without dropping a set, defeating Janko Tipsarevic for his then-8th career ATP World title.

“We’ve been expecting this call,” said Delray Beach Open tournament director Mark Baron. “Juan Martin has always had Delray Beach in his comeback plans, and we’re happy to know that it’s come to fruition. We are rooting for him to be able to overcome his injury and hope he will have a successful comeback.”

The 27-year-old Argentine has amassed 18 career ATP titles plus his Grand Slam US Open win, and has four Top 10 year-end finishes: 2008 (No. 9), 2009 (No 5), 2012 (No. 7) and 2013 (No. 5). He reached his career-high No 4 on January 11, 2010.

“I’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time,” said del Potro via a U-Tube video. “As I had promised that I would make a comeback around January or February, now I can confirm it will happen at Delray Beach. I wanted to share the news and also the happiness that I feel knowing that I will play a tennis tournament after such a long time.”

Del Potro’s appearance in Delray Beach’s 32-player singles draw gives the tournament four former champions, including defending champion Ivo Karlovic, Kevin Anderson (2012) and Tommy Haas (2006). Additionally, the Bryan Brothers are defending doubles champions and will be chasing their third consecutive title.

The 2016 Delray Beach field already features three Top 20 players including 2016 Australian Open semifinalist Milos Raonic (No. 11), Anderson (No. 14) and Bernard Tomic (No. 20). Karlovic (No. 24) and Grigor Dimitrov (No. 28) also figure into the strong draw.

In addition to the ATP World Tour tournament, the first weekend of the Delray Beach Open includes an ATP Champions Tour event featuring six former stars playing in a Team USA vs Team International format.

Tickets are available at yellowtennisball.com/tickets or can be secured from the on-site box office (30 NW 1st Avenue in Delray Beach) or over the phone (561-330-6000 ext.1).

UPDATED 2016 DELRAY BEACH OPEN SINGLES ENTRY LIST: Kevin Anderson (RSA), Benjamin Becker (GER), Ricardas Berankis (LTU), Jeremy Chardy (FRA),Thiemo de Bakker (NED), Juan Martin del Potro (ARG), Grigor Dimitrov (BUL), Damir Dzumhur (BIH), Kyle Edmund (GBR), Marcel Granollers (ESP), Sam Groth (AUS), Tommy Haas (GER/USA), Steve Johnson (USA), Ivo Karlovic (CRO), Denis Kudla (USA), Mikhail Kukushkin (KAZ), Adrian Mannarino (FRA), Illya Marchenko (UKR), John Millman (AUS), Sam Querrey (USA), Rajeev Ram (USA),Milos Raonic (CAN), Dudi Sela (ISR), Bernard Tomic (AUS), Donald Young (USA)

For more information: Go to YellowTennisBall.com.

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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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Grigor Dimitrov to Play 2016 Delray Beach Open

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Grigor Dimitrov to Play 2016 Delray Beach Open


Tennis - 2015 ATP World Tour 1000 - Miami Open - Key Biscayne, USA - Day 6 - Saturday 28 March 2015Former ATP World Tour No. 8 Grigor Dimitrov has been added to the Delray Beach Open that will be played February 12 – 21, 2016. Dimitrov joins fellow ATP players Milos Raonic and Tommy Haas as the ATP kicks off the first North American hard court event of 2016.

Below is the official tournament press release.

DELRAY BEACH: ATP World Tour star Grigor Dimitrov has joined the 32-player field for the 2016 Delray Beach Open, while 2006 champion Tommy Haas has added Delray Beach to his 2016 return tour.

The tournament previously announced that world No. 9 Milos Raonic of Canada and the longtime world top-ranked American doubles duo, the Bryan Brothers, have committed to play in Delray Beach’s ATP World tour event next February.

In its 18th year in the city and 24th overall, the Delray Beach Open will be played February 12-21, 2016 at the Delray Beach Stadium & Tennis Center.

Dimitrov, 24, reached a No. 8 world ranking in 2014 thanks to a pair of semifinal finishes in Rome and Toronto, and a win over world No. 4 Andy Murray that propelled him to the Wimbledon semifinal. The Bulgarian, who famously dated Maria Sharapova for two years, has already won four ATP titles and has 10 career wins over Top 10 players.

The 37-year-old Haas has returned to the Top 20 from major surgery three times in his career, and is embarking on a fourth run after shoulder surgery last year. Twice Haas has been named the ATP’s “Comeback Player of the Year” and his 15 ATP World Tour titles and more than 550 career wins have him surpassing the $13 million earnings mark for his 20-year career.

Haas reached a career-high No. 2 ranking in 2002 shortly after reaching the Australian Open semifinal, and he won the Delray Beach tournament in his first appearance in 2006. He owns an 11-7 record in eight Delray appearances.

“We are thrilled to continue adding top talent to our 2016 field,” said tournament director Mark Baron. “Grigor is an exciting young player who we have wanted to have in Delray Beach for some time. And having a healthy Tommy competing again will be a treat for our fans. We continue to be amazed at the level of play he has brought to the courts for the last two decades.”

The Delray Beach Open also announced that its ATP World Tour qualifying event will consist of a 16-player field instead of the 32-player draw that has been customary since the event’s inception. All ATP 250-level tournaments are making the adjustment.

The 10-day Delray Beach Open also includes an ATP Champions Tour event, which brings legends of the game into town to play during the opening weekend.

A number of tournament seating packages are on sale, including the Reserved Diamond Series that includes tickets to all 17 sessions of the ATP Champions Tour and ATP World Tour events (Friday, Feb. 12 – Sunday, Feb. 21, 2016) for $500. Reserved seats (sections A – O) are located just behind the box seats and have back support and arm rests. The popular Weekender Series that includes a reserved seat for the quarterfinals, semifinals and finals (sessions 13-17) is $200.

Other 17-session ticket packages include the courtside box series packages ($1,500 for two seats or $2,500 for four), the on-court Best Seats in the House package priced at $3,000 for two seats, or $4,500 for four and the covered Veranda seats. The Veranda seats are also available for individual sessions.

The event’s new Sky Suites and Sky Boxes start at $7,000 for all 17 sessions. They accommodate 8 to 24 people and include food and beverage options.

Fans can order tickets online at http://www.yellowtennisball.com/tickets/, 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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Djokovic Withstands Murray for A Fifth Miami Open Trophy

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Djokovic Withstands Murray for A Fifth Miami Open Trophy


IMG_8889_DjokovicThe 30th edition of the men’s final at the Miami Open was contested between Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray. Yet again, Djokovic outlasted Murray 7-6, 4-6, 6-0 to bank his fifth title in South Florida.

In January at the Australian Open final, Djokovic manhandled his counterpart 6-0 in the fourth set to claim the trophy. The second Masters 1000 of the year was a chance for Murray to apply the brakes on a seven match skid against Djokovic against, he had an 8-17 record. Moreover, since his triumph in the 2013 Wimbledon final, Murray is 0-11 versus the combination of Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.

With a forehand crosscourt winner, Murray manufactured a break point in the opening game. Although Djokovic held, for the Brit, this was a positive development. The next time Murray had break point, he struck an overhead winner for a 2-1 lead.

But, Murray’s advantage was short-lived. The Brit failed to consolidate ahead 40-30. As Djokovic misfired on three backhands in the seventh game, Murray broke at love for 4-3. Swiftly, it was Djokovic’s turn at triple break point and he leveled the set. With no further break points on offer, the opening set was decided by a tiebreaker.

Murray‘s caution at this juncture resulted in miscues. Courtesy of that generosity, Djokovic stormed to a 4-0 edge and ultimately with ease secured the first set.

In the third game of the second set, Djokovic had opportunities to tighten the rope around Murray’s neck with four break points. However, by serving well, the Brit recovered and kept the score in his favor for 2-1.

With the score 4 all and 40-30, Murray was given a time violation warning. This could have derailed him. Yet, the two time Miami Open champion overcame that distraction to hold for 5-4.

Soon, Murray blazed a forehand crosscourt winner off an overhead from Djokovic for 0-40. Then, with the Brit crushing a second serve backhand return crosscourt for a winner, a decisive set was needed to determine the victor.

The bipartisan crowd could hardly contain its glee as cries of “come on Nole or come on Murray” reverberated throughout the stadium. The public was salivating at the prospect of these two warriors dueling to the death.

The last couple of years, Djokovic has mastered the art of wrestling momentum away from his rivals. Once again, Murray learned there was no mercy for miscues.

In an opening game where Murray had game point, Djokovic capitalized on his opponent‘s sleuth of errors to come away with the break. After the Serb consolidated for 2-0, Murray double faulted to stare at 0-40. Despite getting to deuce, Murray could not overcome three more break points. Hard to phantom, but in a 48 minute set, Murray failed to post a single game.

Although the forecast was 75 and partly cloudy, it felt closer to 90 on the court. According to Murray, “I struggled physically, I played well for a couple of sets. I wasn’t getting in the right positions to hit the ball in the last set”.

Djokovic agreed “brutal conditions for both of us. First set was really up and down. We tried to stay mentally tough, hang in there, battle and wear down the other player physically. There were lots of long rallies. I was expecting that coming into the match. It wasn’t really great tennis, a lot of unforced errors. But in these conditions you just want to extend the punching exchange and wait for the opportunities.”

Despite residing and training part of the year in South Florida , Murray could not find his legs to make that last push “here more than most places, it’s draining because of the humidity. . .Part of being a professional athlete is dealing with those different conditions and making adjustments.”

Murray doesn’t attribute his flaming out to his past medical issues “I’ve trained as hard as I can. Maybe I could have hydrated a little bit better. He was stronger than me at the end.”

At one end of the court, in the opening set, the sun was a factor which perhaps killed Murray‘s chances “I would say until the end of the first set, it wasn’t an advantage serving… It’s one thing hitting the first serve significantly slower, but looking at bright light, the first shot of the rally when it comes back, your site is a bit off.”

Despite the outcome, Murray believes there are encouraging lessons to take away compared to Indian Wells “I made the match harder for him, I did many things better. I was going for my shots a bit more. I played a good match tactically.”

Djokovic has dominated his rival of late. Still, he expressed “I’m aware of his qualities and the tennis he can play, the shots, the talent he possesses. He’s also a multiple Grand Slam winner and knows how to perform on the big stage. He deserves respect and to be in the finals of big events. We play similar styles of game so we push each other. It’s like playing cat and mouse trying to outplay and outsmart him in certain types of point.”

Consequently, Djokovic is a tough puzzle for Murray to crack because he is an enhanced prototype. As Murray put it “he serves well, he moves exceptionally well. He’s in great shape and he hits the ball well off both sides. That’s why he’s the number one player in the world. In a couple of matches we’ve played this year, I felt like I’ve been able to hang with him, but not quite for long enough unfortunately.”

As far as his recent successes, the world number one expressed “I could not ask for a better start to the season winning three big titles. I’m probably playing the tennis of my life, feeling confident and physically fit. Hopefully, I’m able to use this for the clay court coming up. I’m aware that this cannot go on forever. I’m going to try to stay as long as I can on top and fight for the biggest titles”

At 27, both players have had triumphant careers. But, with his win at the Australian Open, Djokovic became the first player since 1968 to collect five prizes Down Under. Today, with his 22nd masters shield, he accomplished for a third time the Indian Wells-Miami Open double, something that had never been done. Moreover, Djokovic is one Masters 1000 title away from tying Federer in the number two spot.

On the historical perspective, Djokovic commented “it’s nice and flattering to hear that I have achieved another record. Any achievement that goes into the history books I’m hugely proud of and appreciate because I work hard for it and I do cherish it. It allows me to motivate myself even more.” Next year, at the Miami Open, the bar for Djokovic will be equalizing Andre Agassi’s record with a sixth title.

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Murray Tops Berdych to Advance to Miami Open Final

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Murray Tops Berdych to Advance to Miami Open Final


Tennis - 2015 ATP World Tour 1000 - Miami Open - Key Biscayne, USA - Day 7 - Sunday 29 March 2015Two-time Miami Open champion Andy Murray has advanced to his fourth Miami Open final.

The third seed took out Tomas Berdych 6-4, 6-4 to book a spot in Sunday’s finals. Murray will face the winner of the second semifinal match between 2014 Miami Open defending champion Novak Djokovic and John Isner. Murray last claimed the Miami title in 2013.

“I felt like I served well,” Murray said after the match. “It was tricky from one end of the court. We’re basically serving right into the sun at that time of day, so I had to take a little bit off the serve. On the second serve it was very tough to see.”

With regard to his previous matches against Berdych, Murray commented “I’ve played him on the clay obviously I found it tricky against him. We played a couple times when the conditions have been extremely heavy. He’s a big, big guy. When the conditions are like that, he can still generate a lot of force, a lot of power. But, you know, when I’ve played him on some of the quicker surfaces, I feel like I’ve been able to hit through the court and make him move a lot.”

Early in the tournament Murray claimed his 500 career match win when he bounced Kevin Anderson in the fourth round.

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Djokovic and Nishikori March on to the Round of 16 at the Miami Open

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Djokovic and Nishikori March on to the Round of 16 at the Miami Open


Djokoivc_MO_RFIn search of his third double-double, the combination of Indian Wells and Miami Open trophies, Novak Djokovic took another step forward today in beating Steve Darcis 6-0, 7-5 to move into the round of 16.

There is not much to discuss about an opening set, where the world number one posted a bagel against his peer. After Djokovic seized seven successive games, Darcis at last made his presence felt in the second set.

The 31 year old qualifier, in his maiden third round at the Miami Open, overcame three break points before holding serve for 2 all. As Djokovic continued to push, Darcis again was made to work to level the score in the sixth game.

The possibility of a third set became imminent as the Belge broke for 5-4 and had the opportunity to steal a set. However, the four time champion was in no mood for a decisive set. Djokovic took the next three games to dash any of his rival’s hopes.

Djokovic acknowledged that the second set was a tad hairy “the drop of the intensity and the fact that I didn’t use the opportunities early [on] resulted in a close second set. He’s got a lot of variety, especially from the backhand side, he slices pretty well. I was handling it really good, then started to make some unforced errors, complicated my own life. But at the end of the day, it’s a win.”

All players go through periods of self doubt as Rafael Nadal confessed when he loss to Fernando Verdasco. Djokovic admits that he is not the exception “more or less every single match you go through these moments. We are all humans and go through emotional ups and downs depending on the quality and intensity of the match. I understand what [Nadal] is talking about because I’m playing for many years at this high level and I know [the] pressure and expectations [that go along]. It’s normal to have periods of crisis, feel more doubt than confidence in important moments and you lose a couple of matches. I’m sure Nadal is somebody who knows exactly how to deal with this particular situation and how to get better.”

Next, Djokovic takes on Alexandr Dolgopolov. A quarterfinalist in 2014, the Ukranian defeated Thomaz Bellucci in straight sets.

Looking ahead, Djokovic cited “he’s feeling good. He likes this surface, a bit slower court with higher bounce. He has a very quick dynamic motion on the serve and can serve very big for somebody of his height. I know what to expect. Hopefully, I’ll be able to start as well as I did in the first two matches, but end it in a bit different way.”

In the opening match of the grandstand, Kei Nishikori needed only 63 minutes to send off Viktor Troicki 6-2, 6-2. Also in action was Spaniard David Ferrer. The 2013 finalist took care of Lukas Rosol 6-4, 7-5 and will duke it out with Gilles Simon for a berth in the quarterfinals. Milos Raonic outlasted Jeremy Chardy 6-1, 5-7, 7-6. Raonic will find John Isner across the net. The American ousted Grigor Dimitrov the ninth seed with a 7-6, 6-2 triumph.

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Dimitrov Destroys Pospisil to Advance at the Miami Open, Tsonga and Isner Advance

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Dimitrov Destroys Pospisil to Advance at the Miami Open, Tsonga and Isner Advance


Tennis - 2015 ATP World Tour 1000 - Miami Open - Key Biscayne, USA - Day 6 - Saturday 28 March 2015One of the star matches on Stadium Court at the Miami Open featured 2014 Wimbledon semifinalist Grigor Dimitrov against promising prospect, Vasek Pospisil. For the Canadian who ousted Juan Martin Del Potro in the first round, it was a miserable day at the office. Dimitrov required only 59 minutes to dismantle his opponent 6-2, 6-2.

The ninth seed came out of the block blazing converting on double break point in the opening game. Dimitrov went on to cash in on another break point in the fifth game to take a 4-1 lead. The Bulgarian closed out the first set with ease with a love hold.

Unfortunately for Popisil, the second set offered more of the same. Leveled at 2 all, the Canadian surrendered his serve by double faulting. After Dimitrov consolidated, Pospisil dropped serve his next game. Without fanfare, Dimitrov sealed the match on his first match point.

In the third round, Dimitrov will battle John Isner. The American had a comfortable 6-3,6-4 victory against reigning junior world number one, 17 year old Andrey Rublev.

Earlier in the afternoon, in a hold over from last evening rained out session, the affable Frenchman Jo-Wilfreid Tsonga tussled with American Tim Smyczek for a spot in the third round. The 2008 Australian Open finalist who was on forced sabbatical due to an arm injury held off Smyczek 6-4,3-6,6-3.

Tsonga was satisfied with his performance considering this was his first match in few months “I didn’t expect to play my best tennis today ever. I’m happy the way I managed. . .I played pretty solid. I just had a little hole in the second set, it’s normal when you haven’t played since couple of months”.

Regarding the injury itself, Tsonga reflected “my arm is feeling better today. I hope it’s going to be better and better, but for first match was already something good for me.”

Next for the world number eleven is compatriot Gael Monfils who skipped Indian Wells this year due to a knee issue. Monfils dug deep against Filip Krajinovic in the tiebreaker after wasting a few match points to win 3-6,6-2,7-6.

On Grandstand court, 2014 U.S. Open finalist Kei Nishikori routed Mikail Youzhny 6-2, 6-1. Fifth seed Milos Raonic and 2013 Miami finalist David Ferrer also crushed their opponents to book their safe passage into the third round. Other winners today include young American Jack Sock, Juan Monaco, Belge David Goffin who schooled 18 year old talent Borna Coric and Fernando Verdasco.

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Nadal Axes Almagro at the Miami Open, Murray Also Moves on

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Nadal Axes Almagro at the Miami Open, Murray Also Moves on


IMG_3458_NadalThe twelfth contest between fellow Spaniards Rafael Nadal and Nicolas Almagro went the way many of the others have gone. Nadal posted a 6-4, 6-2 victory to advance to the third round at the Miami Open.

Almagro came in with a ray of hope after banking his maiden victory over the world number 3 last year in Barcelona. Today was the competitors’ third meeting on hardcourt and Almagro’s triumph materialized on clay a surface he excels at. Moreover, the latter’s 2014 season was marred by a foot injury requiring surgery. Almagro began 2015 on the right foot with a successful South American swing which culminated with a semifinal appearance in Buenos Aires.

Nadal hasn’t been sizzling on any surface of late. His 46th clay court prize in Buenos Aires a few weeks ago was his first since the 2014 French Open. The world number three’s best on hardcourt in 2015 has been quarterfinals at Indian Wells and Australian Open. Consequently, Almagro came in with a ray of hope.

With a flubbed forehand volley by Almagro, Nadal converted on break point in the initial set for 2-1. The 14 time major winner stared down three break points on his serve before securing the set.

In the second set, Almagro dumped a forehand into the net on double break point to place his opponent in the lead at 2-1. Shortly thereafter, Nadal bolstered his edge with a love hold. Later on, with a forehand winner, Nadal cushioned his position with an additional break for 4-1. At that stage, it was clear that Almagro would have to wait another day for the hope of a second victory over his compatriot.

In analyzing his performance, Nadal believes “I played a solid match. . .I had to put the balls in and play with no mistakes today with very tough conditions. . .my forehand worked well. . .I’m happy, Almagro was not an easy opponent for the first round”.

Nadal was disappointed with some aspects of his game with his loss at Indian Wells. Today, he was determined to “play with no mistakes on the important points. . .last week, I had a lot of opportunities in the quarterfinals. . . I didn’t have a lot of mistakes, he played well. But I lost the opportunities to convert. It’s important to change the dynamic of these things quick. Doing it in this match is important for me”

Commenting on the deluge which followed a few minutes after he was done, “sure important to finish the match before the storm arrived. . .But that can happen here in Miami. It’s nothing new”.

Four times the groomsman, never the groom, the Miami Open has been less kind to Nadal than Indian Wells, he possesses three of those trophies “it is true that Indian Wells has been a tournament that has worked better historically for my game. . .the bounces are higher. . .I like playing in [Miami]. . .some days can be very humid and hard for the body. But in general, they are the conditions I like to play tennis. . .Sea level, hot, no problem, I like to play tennis”.

With the weather delay, Nadal’s third round counterpart has yet to be established. It will be either countryman Fernando Verdasco against whom he has 13-1 mark or 23 year old Australian James Duckworth ranked 97th in a first meeting

Earlier in the day, two time Miami Open champion Andy Murray disposed of Donald Young in two sets 6-4, 6-2. Murray improves his record against the American to 5-1. After surrendering the opening set in a tiebreaker, world number eight, Stanislas Wawrinka knocked out Carlos Berlocq.

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Novak Djokovic Holds Press Conference at Miami Open

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Novak Djokovic Holds Press Conference at Miami Open


Four time Miami Open champion Novak Djokovic met with the press in Miami after his doubles match with fellow Serbian Janko Tipsarevic.

Djokovic responded to questions regarding his past wins on the ATP tour, social media, and his support for Tipsarevic while he has recovered from injuries.

Here is the complete interview :

Q. You have won Miami back to back twice already. What’s the key for this quick turnaround?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I started the season very well with winning Grand Slam, and that definitely helps my confidence level. I finished the 2014 season in a great form winning Paris and London back to back and then winning Australia and playing finals Dubai, Davis Cup, and then Indian Wells. Of course I’m at a great place now. I try to enjoy and take the best out of the feeling that I have on the court right now. Hopefully I can have another great week in Miami. The record that I had in last, you know, eight, nine years I have been coming back to Miami and playing the tournament is really good. Some of my best tennis I have played here in these courts. That can hopefully help me to get far in the tournament. We are here in United States for, you know, some of the biggest events we have in sport, Indian Wells and Miami for four weeks, playing best of three, and it’s well spread. It does help you to recover and get ready for the next matches. You don’t get too exhausted physically because the schedule is such that it allows you to have fun to recover and have time for the next one.

Q. You know, Wimbledon has famous Kipling line of if you can meet with triumph and disaster, and treat those two imposters the same. Do you follow something the same? Is that how you keep your mindset, coming off a big win, as well?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes. Well, you mentioned one very wise saying that you see just before you walk out on Centre Court. There is a lot of wisdom in that. Of course that’s easier said than done sometimes, but I guess you become wiser as you grow and as you become older, as well.
Playing more matches and spending more time in the highest level in tennis allows you to understand, you know, how you need to approach and have the healthy approach to every tournament. Back in 2011 when I had the best season so far in my career and became No. 1 of the world, I was so much blown away and so happy by those terrific achievements that, you know, it was difficult for me the year after to kind of face all those challenges, to defend points, and was a little bit carried away by a lot of distractions, I would say, you know, off the court. But it allowed me  those kind of experiences allowed me to grow and to become stronger mentally, you know, as a tennis player and as a person, and to find the right balance between the private and professional life, to enjoy the life that I have, to really embrace everything that life is presenting to me. But yet again, stay professional discipline, committed to the sport that I love. So I think right now I found the right balance, and I’m at the peak of my career and my abilities. Hopefully I can maintain that for the time to come.

Q. (Indiscernible.)

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, let’s say I prefer the medium speed of the court. I think that it all depends if you’re playing during the day or the night. The conditions change. Of course the night, during the night, the ball travels through the air a bit slower and the balls get a bit bigger. Also, as you mentioned, because of the humidity it’s tough to physically stay out there and, you know, fight for every point.
So you kind of have to be prepared that you have to face a certain kind of challenges. Swirly conditions today; wind, for example, that changes directions all the time. But it’s the same for you and your opponent. It’s just that, you know, you need to be tough and approach it in a right way. The experience of playing this tournament so many times helps me to approach it in that way and not get distracted by these conditions. Of course it is frustrating when you’re on the court, but more importantly is to stay concentrated.

Q. (Question regarding social media.)

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, I think the best thing about the social media and social platforms is the fact that you can interact with the people that follow and you support you. You know, there are many people around the world that actually, you know, watch tennis. It’s a very global sport. They support you and really express their love and appreciation for what you do. So this is one of the ways to give them back, not just on the court by playing good tennis, but also you interact with them and feed them with some video or picture content that would give them a different look at your personality. Not just what they see on the TV when you’re playing tennis, but something else, to present yourself as a person.
Everything has its borders, obviously, but I try to, you know, kind of post  most of the content I post is something that is fun, something that is different. You know, sometimes I have to show them that I’m working in the gym or on the tennis court, that I am preparing myself.
But mostly some other fun stuff for people that I get to meet along the way.

Q. And the bad side? Do you get mean messages?

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, I do. Of course, in the ideal world everybody with love you, but it’s not like that. I respect everybody’s opinion and freedom to say whatever they think. Actually, it’s good to read criticism in some ways, because you can have a different angle of observing yourself, as well, different perspectives. That’s how I see it.

Q. (Indiscernible.)

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, it’s difficult to compare any of those seasons with this season, as well. Every season brings something new, new challenges. Right now I’m a complete person and really fulfilled in every aspect of my life. Became a husband and a father in last 10 months, and that’s a very important milestone for me that has definitely contributed in a positive way to my tennis, as well. I’m not taking things for granted. I am very grateful for the opportunity to play the sport that I love, and still kind of fulfill my parental duties and, you know, be, I would say, accomplished as a husband and a father. I cannot complain. It’s a great place in my life where I am at the moment, and trying to take the best out of it.

Q. After so many years you stay on the top of tennis, how can you handle the fame, but on the same time, to be a humble person that you are? Can you send some words for the people who follow your career? And in Miami, people love you.

NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Thank you. I love them, too. I do feel that it’s multicultural, very international city, Miami. There is a lot of Latin people. I feel over the years I have had a very nice relationship with the people from Latin America. Hopefully they will keep on supporting me. It’s very much necessary here. And referring to your first part of the question, as I said before, I really appreciate the fact that I’m playing tennis. Probably the childhood that I had, the circumstances in life that I had to face and overcome to be where I am at this moment allowed me to observe things in life in a different way, in a more humble way, I would say. The fact that I come from a very small country, the fact that I overcame some challenges that seemed impossible at the time with the war and sanctions and all these things and arrived to where I am, that has shaped me as a person and my character, and helps me now to have this kind of approach that I believe is the right one.

Q. Can you just talk about the emotions you’re going through in supporting Janko over these years.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah. It’s incredibly sad story with him in last 17 months. I know him for such a long time. We are great friends. His last official match that he played was in October 2013, and ever since then he was suffering from injuries. Mostly from the heel that he had to operate I think two or three times. Along the way he also hurt some other muscles and joints. Just a very dreadful time for him. I tried to, as a friend and as a colleague, be close to him, to give him support, to let him know that I’m there and I wish him to have a speedy recovery and to come back as quick as possible. So the opportunity to play today with him was very special for me, really, as a friend, and I cared very much to win this match today. I got very tight in the supertiebreaker, I have to say, because it was a very tough match. We lost to two of the great, very good doubles players. But we talked after the match, and he appreciated the fact that he can actually play. Just feel that match play, you know, have that sensation of how it feels and what takes to be on the court. 17 months is a long time for injuries, and he’s also not young. You know, he’s now 31 this year. But he’s eager to play. He’s motivated. He right now has been practicing for a couple of weeks 100%, and he decided actually it’s better to skip this tournament in singles because he needed a little bit more time to get into it. Hopefully this doubles match today can help him. When he plays now in Houston after Miami he can perform his best. He can relax. He has the quality to go back to where he was. You know, that’s top 10. I really wish him that.

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Del Potro Sent Packing by Pospisil in the First Round at the Miami Open

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Del Potro Sent Packing by Pospisil in the First Round at the Miami Open


IMG_0946_Del_PotroArgentine Juan Martin Del Potro choose the Miami Open to make his return to the ATP tour after nursing a wrist problem. However, the 2009 U.S. Open did not get the desired result. Undaunted by the swarm of Argentinian fans buzzing the stadium and cheering for their man, Canadian Vasek Pospisil defeated Del Potro 6-4. 7-6.

After salvaging a break point in his opening service game, Del Potro was gifted 0-40 when Pospisil double faulted. Yet, with superb serving, the Canadian managed to extricate himself from that jam. In the ninth service game, Pospisil again kept his composure down 15-40 and ultimately build a 5-4 lead. Next, it was the Canadian’s turn to be at triple break point and he took full advantage. On his second try he went on to bank the first set.

Del Potro turned things around by obtaining a break to start the second set. The Argentine went on to consolidate for a 2-0 edge. However, Pospisil continued to place pressure on the 2009 Miami Open semifinalist by maintaining the difference at one break. Serving for the set at 5-4, Pospisil blazed a forehand down the line to have his initial opportunity to break back. He converted as Del Potro’s lob sailed long.

Eventually, the second set went to a tiebreaker. Again, Del Potro carved out a 3-1 lead. Later, the Argentine found himself ahead 5-2. In front 6-4 Del Potro double faulted to give his opponent back the mini-break. Down the road, another Del Potro double fault handed Pospisil match point. As the Argentine’s forehand landed long, Pospisil was declared the winner.

Del Potro missed the remainder of 2014 because of his wrist surgery in March. He returned January of this year, reaching the quarterfinals in Sydney. Subsequently, plagued again by the wrist problem, Del Potro was forced to take time off. Following his defeat, Del Potro had this to say “I don’t feel frustrated. . . I have to take the positive things on my comeback. Another official match after one year, it’s a good signal for the future. . .I wanted to win, I had a few chances. . .but I couldn’t close the set because I had easy mistakes. . .I didn’t serve well in the special moments.”

In addressing the wrist, Del Potro cited “it’s not 100%, but I feel even better than Sydney tournament. It’s only two months after the second surgery on my left wrist. I feel better week by week”.

One stroke which has suffered post surgery is Del Potro’s backhand, “I’m not confident 100% to hit my best backhands yet. I need time to improve my backhand again. I’m working hard, it’s the only way to get pass through all the things and get well for the future. Mentally, you must be strong enough to deal with the problem.”

Currently, ranked 616, Del Potro is cognizant that his second comeback to the upper echelon will be fraught with obstacles. “I’m in no hurry to be in the top 10 very soon. . .It doesn’t matter how long it takes. . .it’s most important to be patient and stay calm. I got depressed for a while. . .in the end, I want to play tennis. . If I have to learn a different backhand. . . I will”.

The Argentine was moved by the warm reception from the fans “it’s an amazing tournament. . .the atmosphere is great as always. Argentinian fans, South American people come to watch me play. . .I have a lot of fans in the United States after winning the U.S. Open”. Although Del Potro was not victorious this time around, he is looking forward to his next encounter to bring joy to his fanatics.

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