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Updated: 42 min 18 sec ago

Fans Can Have Their Say In Deciding The Hall Of Fame's Class of 2019

3 hours 37 min ago

The stars of the ATP World Tour thrill fans around the world. And now, those fans have an opportunity to pay back the players. For the first time, the International Tennis Hall of Fame is utilising fan voting as part of its process to decide who gains entry in the Class of 2019.

This year, five former ATP World Tour standouts were nominated: former World No. 1s in the ATP Rankings, Yevgeny Kafelnikov and Thomas Muster, former No. 1 in the ATP Doubles Rankings Jonas Bjorkman, 22-time tour-level champion Goran Ivanisevic and 1993-94 Roland Garros titlist Sergi Bruguera. Conchita Martinez, Li Na and Mary Pierce are also on the ballot. Fans can have their say until voting closes on 7 October at 11:59 pm ET.

“There is a real opportunity for fans to actually get someone over the hump and get someone in. And it’s something that should happen. Our memories are only as great as we remember them because of fan participation, whether it’s in a match or at practices or watching us on TV, so there’s no reason that should stop when it comes to the Hall of Fame,” former World No. 1 and Class of 2017 inductee Andy Roddick said in an interview with Tennis.com. “I think it’s a great idea, I think it’s a progressive idea, and I applaud the Hall of Fame for taking this step and I think it’s absolutely the right thing to do.”

Entry into the Hall of Fame requires a 75 per cent affirmative vote. In the past, only Hall of Famers, historians and journalists were allowed to vote. But now, the fans can make an impact. The Top 3 recipients in the Fan Vote will receive bonus points. The top vote-getter will add three percentage points to their total, the second-placed player will be awarded two extra points and the third-placed athlete will get one point.

As an example, if a player receives affirmative votes from 72 per cent of the Voting Group, but they win the fan vote, the three bonus percentage points they earn will bring them to 75 per cent, earning them entry into the Hall of Fame.

“We’re thrilled to add this new Fan Voting component to the Hall of Fame voting process,” said International Tennis Hall of Fame CEO Todd Martin. “Creating an authentic connection between tennis fans and the greatest champions of our sport will be an engaging execution of our mission to promote and celebrate tennis history. Tennis is such a global sport and the fans of our inductees come from every corner of the globe. We know they might not all be able to get to Newport to see an induction, but hopefully this voting program will offer an opportunity for them to enjoy being part of the process.”

More than 25,000 fans from more than 120 countries have voted thus far. As of 20 September, Ivanisevic leads the field, followed by Li Na and Mary Pierce. 

Click here to vote

Farewell, 'Colonel': Youzhny's Memorable Salute

4 hours 35 min ago
ATPWorldTour.com pays tribute to Mikhail Youzhny, whose career ended Thursday at the St. Petersburg Open, with a compilation of some of his memorable post-match salutes. Photo Credit: St. Petersburg Open.

Hot Shot: Youzhny Stuns Bautista Agut With Drop Shot In St. Petersburg

6 hours 57 min ago
Watch Mikhail Youzhny hit a nearly perfect drop shot for a winner against Roberto Bautista Agut at the St. Petersburg Open on Thursday. Watch live tennis at tennistv.com.

Nadal, Djokovic Would Be Hall of Fame Baseball Players

6 hours 57 min ago

If you can get on base three times out of 10 in baseball, which is referred to as batting .300, then you are one of the elite in the sport.

Statistics in tennis usually focus on much higher winning percentages, but an equivalent stat does exist with an almost identical win percentage – points won returning first serves.

In baseball, you must stare down a 100 mph fastball, and in tennis the speed of a first serve can regularly reach 130-mph plus. Both very difficult propositions to begin the contest.

An Infosys ATP Beyond The Numbers analysis of the current Top 20 from the 2015 season to present identifies that, on average, they win 29.5 per cent against first serves, or .295 in baseball vernacular.

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The batter and the returner both face serious heat to begin the point, and both are defined as “successful” if they conquer the pitcher or server just one out of every three times.

Since 2015, Rafael Nadal leads the current Top 20 with points won returning first serves at 34.5 per cent. The other seven players that successfully batted above .300 are Novak Djokovic (34.2%), Diego Schwartzman (33%), Roger Federer (32.3%), Fabio Fognini (31.5%), David Goffin (31.4%), Kei Nishikori (30.6%) and Dominic Thiem (30.4%).

Current Top 20: Points Won Returning First Serves 2015 to present

ATP Ranking

Player

First-Serve Return Points Won

Total First-Serve Return Points

Win Percentage

1

R. Nadal

4209

12207

34.5%

3

N. Djokovic

4215

12309

34.2%

14

D. Schwartzman

2788

8446

33%

2

R. Federer

3346

10359

32.3%

13

F. Fognini

3077

9781

31.5%

11

D. Goffin

3763

11971

31.4%

12

K. Nishikori

3416

11172

30.6%

8

D. Thiem

4191

13774

30.4%

7

G. Dimitrov

3470

11655

29.8%

5

A. Zverev

3344

11296

29.6%

6

M. Cilic

3601

12179

29.6%

4

J.M. Del Potro

2092

7197

29.1%

17

J. Sock

2575

9292

27.7%

16

K. Edmund

1944

7114

27.3%

18

B. Coric

2319

8519

27.2%

19

L. Pouille

2320

8611

26.9%

20

M. Raonic

2762

10299

26.8%

15

S. Tsitsipas

871

3282

26.5%

9

K. Anderson

2924

11274

25.9%

10

J. Isner

2651

12158

21.8%

-

AVERAGE

59878

202895

29.5%

What’s interesting is how much the court surface factors into points won against first serves.

Of the seven ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournaments completed so far in 2018, Nadal has the largest total of first-serve return points won by a champion, and also the least. At the clay-court Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters, he won a staggering 43.6 per cent of first-serve return points, but won just 29.1 per cent while winning the Rogers Cup, the hard-court Masters 1000 tournament in Toronto.

2018 Completed Masters 1000 Events: First-Serve Return Points Won By Champion

#

Masters 1000

Winner

First-Serve Return Points Won / Total

Win %

1

Monte-Carlo

R. Nadal

58/133

43.6%

2

Rome

R. Nadal

91/217

41.9%

3

Madrid

A. Zverev

80/219

36.5%

4

Cincinnati

N. Djokovic

107/327

32.7%

5

Indian Wells

J. M. Del Potro

97/299

32.4%

6

Miami

J. Isner

83/271

30.6%

7

Toronto

R. Nadal

60/206

29.1%

 

AVERAGE

-

576/1672

34.4%

The clay-court tournament winners at Monte-Carlo, Rome and Madrid averaged winning 40.2 per cent of first-serve return points, while the hard-court champions at Cincinnati, Indian Wells, Miami and Toronto were way off that pace, winning 31.5 per cent of first-serve return points.

Baseball has a pitcher and a hitter. Tennis has a server and a receiver. The similarities, particularly defined by the winning percentages, are striking.

Hot Shot: Monfils 'Fake & Bake' In Kaohsiung

7 hours 15 min ago
Gael Monfils doing Gael Monfils things at the ATP Challenger Tour event in Kaohsiung. The Frenchman fakes out Akira Santillan en route to a first-round victory.

Highlights: Youzhny Extends Career With Opening Win In St. Petersburg

8 hours 18 min ago
Watch highlights as Mikhail Youzhny earns his 499th tour-level win with a victory against Mirza Basic in the first round of the St. Petersburg Open, the Russian's final tournament, on Wednesday. Watch live tennis at tennistv.com. Photo: St. Petersburg Open.

Kid Reporter Talks Hair & Lovik With Zverev

Thu, 20/09/2018 - 11:59pm
Alexander Zverev discusses his hair routine, how to deal with siblings and his dog, Lovik, with kid reporter Brenna Sherman.

Thiem Tames Struff; Shapo Shines In Decider

Thu, 20/09/2018 - 10:47pm

Dominic Thiem arrived in Russia fresh off his first hard-court quarter-final appearance at a Grand Slam, having reached the last eight at the US Open. And the Austrian maintained that form at the St. Petersburg Open on Thursday, defeating Jan-Lennard Struff 7-6(4), 6-4 to advance to the quarter-finals.

The top seed has now made it to this stage or further at 12 of 18 tour-level events this year. Thiem owns 45 wins in 2018 (45-14), tying World No. 1 Rafael Nadal (45-4) and No. 5 Alexander Zverev (45-14) for the most victories on the ATP World Tour. It is the third straight year that the Austrian has reached the 45-win plateau. 

The 25-year-old did well to protect his first serve against the German, winning 80 per cent of those points. He saved all three break points he faced in the second set en route to closing out the match after one hour, 35 minutes. Thiem will next face eighth seed Daniil Medvedev, who saved four of five break points to beat Kazakh Mikhail Kukushkin 6-3, 6-4 in one hour, 23 minutes. The home favourite captured his first two titles earlier this year in Sydney and Winston-Salem.

It wasn't easy, but #NextGenATP Canadian Denis Shapovalov continued his pursuit of a maiden ATP World Tour title with a 7-6(6), 4-6, 6-0 victory against Italian Matteo Berrettini. Shapovalov now owns 30 wins on the season, as he continues his ascent up the ATP Rankings. This June, the 19-year-old left-hander peaked at World No. 23, becoming the youngest player to crack the Top 25 since 2005.

While the Bahamas resident did not quite back up his fourth-round US Open run from 2017, he showed good form in Flushing Meadows by pushing last year’s finalist, Kevin Anderson, to five sets in the third round. And he has carried that level to Russia, where he will face 2012 titlist Martin Klizan for a spot in the last four. It will be the pair’s first FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting.

Against Berrettini, Shapovalov had to find some of his best tennis after facing a set point at 5/6 in the first-set tie-break and then dropping the second set. The seventh seed won all 12 of his service points in the decider and captured an impressive 83 per cent of second-serve return points in the third set to finish strong, earning the victory after one hour, 58 minutes.

Fifth seed Roberto Bautista Agut defeated home favourite Mikhail Youzhny 7-6(6), 3-6, 6-3 in the final match of the Russian's career, leaving 'The Colonel' with 499 tour-level match wins. Youzhny completes a career that spanned nearly two decades with 10 ATP World Tour titles and more than $14 million in prize money.

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"I don’t have so much emotions, because now nothing changes for me. Yeah I understand, from one part of my mind, I finished my tennis career and now it’s going to be a new life for me. But if you say right now after the match, nothing changed," Youzhny said. "From the beginning until the end, I was professional. The level of my game in last match shows that I’m retiring actually at a very good level."

As you'd expect from one of the ATP World Tour's toughest competitors, Youzhny did not go down without a fight against the World No. 26. Despite faliing to convert on two set points in the first set, he forced a decider and took a 15/40 advantage on the Spaniard's serve at 3-3. But the 36-year-old missed backhands in the net on the next four points, and then double faulted on break point in the next game.

We salute YOU, Mikhail Youzhny!

Hot Shot: Agile Youzhny Remains Young At Heart

Thu, 20/09/2018 - 7:35pm
Watch Hot as Mikhail Youzhny shows he is young at heart and agile aged 36 against Mirza Basic at the St. Petersburg Open on Wednesday. Photo: St. Petersburg Open.

Youzhny's Victory Salute In St Petersburg Win No 499

Thu, 20/09/2018 - 7:34pm
Mikhail Youzhny, who is set to retire this week at the St. Petersburg Open, rounds off win number 499 with his traditional victory salute on Wednesday. Video and photo courtesy: St. Petersburg Open.

Hot Shot: Wawrinka's Pinpoint Backhand Winner

Thu, 20/09/2018 - 7:34pm
Watch Hot Shot as Stan Wawrinka fires a pinpoint accurate backhand down the line against Karen Khachanov on Wednesday at the St. Petersburg Open. Video and photo courtesy: St. Petersburg Open.

Hot Shot: Khachanov Opens Up The Court In St Petersburg

Thu, 20/09/2018 - 7:34pm
Watch Hot Shot as a deep return from Karen Khachanov sets up the point against Stan Wawrinka on Wednesday at the St. Petersburg Open. Video and photo courtesy: St. Petersburg Open.

Hot Shot: Khachanov Strikes Winner Past Wawrinka

Thu, 20/09/2018 - 7:34pm
Watch Hot Shot as Karen Khachanov draws Stan Wawrinka to the net before striking a backhand pass on Wednesday at the St. Petersburg Open. Video and photo courtesy: St. Petersburg Open.

Highlights: Wawrinka Hangs Tough Versus Khachanov

Thu, 20/09/2018 - 7:34pm
Watch highlights as Stan Wawrinka holds firm in two tie-break sets to beat fourth seed Karen Khachanov at the St Petersburg Open on Wednesday. Video and photo courtesy: St. Petersburg Open.

Hot Shot: Bautista Agut Has Final Say In St Petersburg

Thu, 20/09/2018 - 7:33pm
Watch Hot Shot as Roberto Bautista Agut comes up with a crosscourt backhand winner against Luca Vanni on Wednesday at the St. Petersburg Open. Video and photo courtesy: St. Petersburg Open.

Highlights: Bautista Agut Cruises Past Vanni In St Petersburg

Thu, 20/09/2018 - 7:33pm
Watch highlights as fifth seed Roberto Bautista Agut cruises past qualifier Luca Vanni on Wednesday at the St Petersburg Open. Video and photo courtesy: St. Petersburg Open.

Hot Shot: Shapovalov Rips Backhand Winner

Thu, 20/09/2018 - 7:33pm
Watch Hot Shot as Denis Shapovalov rips a backhand winner past Adrian Menendez-Maceiras on Wednesday at the St. Petersburg Open. Video and photo courtesy: St. Petersburg Open.

Highlights: Shapovalov Wins On St Petersburg 2018 Debut

Thu, 20/09/2018 - 7:33pm
Watch highlights as seventh seed Denis Shapovalov beats Adrian Menendez-Maceiras on his St Petersburg Open debut on Wednesday. Watch live tennis at tennistv.com. Photo: St. Petersburg Open.

Monfils Hits 'Fake & Bake' Hot Shot In Challenger Return

Thu, 20/09/2018 - 4:06pm
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This week, Gael Monfils is back on the ATP Challenger Tour for the first time since 2013, competing at the $150,000 event in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. It looks like he's brought his trademark flair for the dramatic with him.

Nearly 2,000 fans were on their feet at the Kaohsiung OEC Open as Monfils faked out Akira Santillan en route to a first-round victory. The Frenchman put on a show deep in the second set. With a set point to force a decider, he turned his back to Santillan and covered his face with his left hand, before prompty firing a forehand pass on the dead run.

Monfils is kicking off his Asian swing early in his return from a wrist injury suffered at the US Open. The World No. 42, who is scheduled to compete at ATP World Tour stops in Chengdu, Beijing and Shanghai in the coming weeks, leads a strong field in Kaohsiung.  

"I'm happy to be here," said Monfils. "The wrist injury from the US Open is fine, but I just have to get on the court and try my best to win more matches. I'm in the right position right now to finish the year strong.

"There were many people watching today and the atmosphere is quite good. It’s also a great venue. I need a little time to adapt, but overall it’s been great. It's just great to be in Taiwan. I also love the food here. We don't have good Asian food in France, so it is nice to try some authentic food here."

In search of match play and confidence after struggling for consistency thus far in 2018, Monfils will face 2012 champ Go Soeda in the second round. Fellow former Top 10 player Ernests Gulbis and #NextGenATP stars Duckhee Lee, Jurij Rodionov and Soon-woo Kwon are other top contenders.

Monfils is bidding to become the fifth player to win ATP World Tour and ATP Challenger Tour crowns this year, having opened his campaign with a title at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open in Doha. The 32-year-old is making his first Challenger appearance since 2013, when he prevailed on home soil in Bordeaux.

 

Highlights: NextGenATP Shapovalov Wins St. Petersburg Open Debut 2018

Thu, 20/09/2018 - 7:19am
Watch highlights as NextGenATP Canadian Denis Shapovalov beats Spanish qualifier Adrian Menendez-Maceiras at the St. Petersburg Open on Wednesday. Watch live tennis at tennistv.com. Photo: St. Petersburg Open.