Roger Federer may be competing at Roland Garros for the first time since 2015, and he returned to the surface earlier this month for the first time since 2016 Rome. But don’t discount the Swiss on the Parisian clay, as the 101-time tour-level titlist is no stranger to success on the red dirt.

According to the FedEx ATP Performance Zone, Federer has been one of this era’s clay-court leaders in all key categories, despite it being his least successful surface.

Federer has won 76 per cent of his matches on clay, third-best among active players. The only men who have done better are Rafael Nadal (91.7%) and Novak Djokovic (79.5%). Federer’s results put him in 15th place in the Open Era, and only 1.3 percentage points separate him from the Top 10.

Best Clay-Court Winning Percentage (Active Players)

 Player  Record  Winning Percentage
 1. Rafael Nadal  429-39  91.7%
 2. Novak Djokovic  209-54  79.5%
 3. Roger Federer  218-69  76%
 4. Dominic Thiem  124-43  74.3%
 5. Juan Martin del Potro  81-34  70.4%

The 37-year-old has won 218 tour-level matches on clay, fourth-best among active players. He did not play on the surface for two full seasons, in 2017-18. Nadal (429), Tommy Robredo (261, 66.6%) and Fernando Verdasco (227, 61.9%) are the only players still competing who own more victories than the Swiss star.

And then there is the matter of titles. Federer, the 2009 Roland Garros champion, is one of just four active players who has lifted the Coupe des Mousquetaires. Nadal has done so 11 times, while Federer, Djokovic and former World No. 3 Stan Wawrinka have accomplished the feat once each. Federer has won 11 tour-level titles on clay overall, tied for third among active players with Robredo, trailing Nadal (58) and Djokovic (14).

Federer might not have played on clay for a substantial period of time, but he has already shown his clay-court prowess in the two tournaments he has played on the surface this year. The Swiss held two match points against clay stalwart Dominic Thiem in the Mutua Madrid Open quarter-finals before ultimately falling short, and he made the last eight at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia before withdrawing due to injury.

“I felt I actually came back fairly quickly. Especially now with having played Madrid, I think the decision-making also came back quite naturally,” Federer said before the Internazionali BNL d’Italia. “I think it always goes back to the fact that I did grow up on this surface. Sliding is something I actually enjoy doing. The problem is, the more time I spend on clay, maybe sometimes the more excited I get playing on the surface, I start sliding around too much instead of actually moving sometimes like on the hard courts and only sliding when really required.

“I must say also in practice in Switzerland I felt good right away. Very happy where I'm at, to be quite honest. I was a bit surprised that it went as easy as it did.”

Did You Know?
Federer reached at least the quarter-finals at Roland Garros in nine consecutive appearances from 2005-13. The Swiss advanced to the final four straight times (2006-09) and made a fifth championship match in Paris in 2011.

Posted: May 24, 2019, 9:09 pm

Three years ago, the questions were deafening: Would this be the year that Novak Djokovic, then a three-time finalist, wins Roland Garros and completes the career Grand Slam? Only seven men had won all four major championships at the time, and Djokovic was also trying to become only the third man to hold all four majors at once.

He accomplished both, of course, beating Andy Murray in the final to ensure Roland Garros forever remains one of his most cherished tournaments.

I love playing in Roland Garros, always throughout my career, and especially in the last four or five years. I received a lot of support from the French crowd and also the international crowd that comes here. And I think because of that support, I also managed to win this title in 2016,” Djokovic said.

Just three years later, the World No. 1 is chasing more history in Paris. The Serbian will try to become only the second man to hold all four Grand Slams at the same time twice in his career, joining Rod Laver. Djokovic would be the first to hold all four twice during the Open Era.

Players Winning Four Or More Consecutive Grand Slam Titles (All-Time)

Player

Length Of Streak

Years & Titles

Novak Djokovic

4

2015-16 (2015 Wimbledon-2016 Roland Garros)

Novak Djokovic

4?

2018-19? (2018 Wimbledon-2019 Roland Garros?)

Rod Laver

4

1962 (1962 Australian Champs-1962 US Champs)

Rod Laver

4

1969 (1969 Australian Open-1969 US Open)

Don Budge

6

1937-38 (1937 Wimbledon-1938 US Champs)

“For me, there is an extra motivation and incentive to win Roland Garros because of the opportunity to hold all four Slams, something I did three years ago in my career, and that gives me obviously enough reason to believe I can do it again,” he said.

A year ago, Djokovic was still in the midst of his comeback from elbow surgery, which sidelined him for the final four months of the 2017 season. At Roland Garros, Djokovic was No. 22, the farthest he'd fall before again returning to No. 1, where he'd finish his 2018 season. But he didn't return to glory in Paris, falling to Italy's Marco Cecchinato in the quarter-finals.

Twelve months ago, the situation was quite different. Obviously recovering from an elbow surgery, dropping out of the Top 20, and everything that I had to face on the court only 12 months ago,” Djokovic said. “Twelve months later, I hold three Slams and being No. 1 of the world, obviously it's quite a different feeling approaching the tournament, with more confidence, and hopefully I can have a good two weeks.”

The Serbian, despite being No. 1 and having won the title, anointed 11-time champion Rafael Nadal as the “main favourite”. Nadal beat Djokovic on Sunday in the final of the ATP Masters 1000 event in Rome.

I think it wouldn't be fair to pick anybody else but him as the main favourite, because he has won this tournament so many times. He has lost, what, two times in his career on Parisian clay?” Djokovic said, referring to Nadal's 86-2 record at Roland Garros.

So lots of respect for him, obviously, as always. We had a good match in Rome. He was a better player. Was just too strong. I felt like I had a fantastic couple weeks in Madrid and Rome, and I probably ran out of gas a little bit in the finals with a couple of long matches and late-night finishes in the quarter-finals and semi-finals.”

Djokovic won the Mutua Madrid Open title the prior week, beating Greece's #NextGenATP star Stefanos Tsitsipas in the Masters 1000 final.

Overall, very positive weeks, and it's a great lead-up to what's coming up here,” Djokovic said.

Posted: May 24, 2019, 8:58 pm

Players spend their lives dreaming of that big win, the victory that makes the world stop, recognise their names – maybe learn how to pronounce them – and hear their stories.

Japan's Taro Daniel beat current World No. 1 Novak Djokovic last year at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells for the biggest win of his nine-year career. And for a while, the upset felt exactly like he thought it would – life-changing, validating, satisfying.

At that moment I won, it did feel like something big, and that's how I thought it was going to feel like,” Daniel told ATPTour.com. “But then 40 minutes later, everything's the same.”

He had another match to prepare for, then another tournament to travel to, and then another match to prepare for...

“In the end, it's just a match, and then the Tour goes on, life goes on. You still have to grind some [ATP Challenger Tour] matches, you still have weeks where you can't win matches,” Daniel said. “It did help me in terms of getting more recognition perhaps, but yeah, life still goes on.”

Daniel

The “What have you done for me lately?” world can be cruel: Beat the best player in the world, and you have to back it up again, and again and again. But for Daniel, the daily tennis grind did improve after his headline win against Djokovic.

Two months later, a more confident Daniel won his maiden ATP Tour title at the TEB BNP Paribas Istanbul Open. The Japanese reached a new career-high of No. 64 in the ATP Rankings in August. “Last year was a pretty big step up,” he said.

This year, Daniel has his eyes solely on the future as he looks to construct a more complete game for himself and secure more wins over Djokovic and his peers at the top of the ATP Rankings. The 26-year-old Japanese, who was born in New York but moved to Japan as a baby, spent ages 13-23 training in Valencia, Spain, where the focus was on his groundstrokes and rallies.

“Very endurance based, a lot of crosscourt rallies... trying to not go for aces, trying to build up the point with a kick serve and get your forehand,” Daniel said.

Read Flashback: Daniel Stuns Djokovic In Indian Wells

The strategies provided a consistent tennis base for him, but lately he's been trying to build a more complete game, including taking advantage of his 6'3”, 190-pound frame.

“I'm not going to be better than, for example, a Nishioka or a Schwartzman from the baseline, because no matter how hard I work they're always going to move better than me,” Daniel said.

“I have to have that offensive side of my game... My serve, I have to improve my volleys, which I basically never trained until a couple years ago. Those things are adding up nicely, but it still has to really naturally come. I think it will still take a little bit more time.”

Adding new tactics and trying to change years' worth of patterns can produce up-and-down results. Daniel made the quarter-finals at this week's Banque Eric Sturdza Geneva Open and at the Grand Prix Hassan II in April in Marrakech. But before April, he hadn't made a quarter-final in eight months, since last August at the Winston-Salem Open.

We're focusing now on getting more aggressive overall without losing his DNA of consistency,” said Gustavo Marcaccio, Daniel's coach since July 2018. “He has already improved his serve significantly, but he could improve it even more... Little by little, he will become a big server in the game.

As far as returns, it's the same thing... He could easily attack the second serve a little more.”

Daniel heads to Roland Garros in a good – but precarious – spot. He didn't have to play qualifying before the season's second Grand Slam – good news. But his ATP Ranking has slipped to No. 107, at least eight spots away from where he'd like to be to help him secure main-draw entry into future Grand Slams.

But Daniel, a 10-year veteran on the ATP Tour, knows better than most that the tennis life can be like this: highs, lows and everything in between.

It goes away really quick – all the good weeks. Before you know it you have to defend the points... It's a constant struggle... You try to keep the load the light as possible, try to concentrate on improvement instead of the material side of it,” Daniel said. “It's a long process.”

Posted: May 24, 2019, 8:12 pm

The Roland Garros main draw is complete after the final eight qualifiers booked their spots on Friday, led by two #NextGenATP competitors who will be making their Grand Slam debuts in Paris. 

Two 20-year-olds, Swede Mikael Ymer and Frenchman Elliot Benchetrit, battled through three-setters on the final day of qualifying to reach the main draw of the year's second major. Ymer, the 32nd qualifying seed, beat fourth-seeded Swiss Henri Laaksonen 6-1, 2-6, 6-2 in one hour and 46 minutes to move through, and he will face another qualifier, Slovenian Blaz Rola, in the first round. Rola ousted Colombian Daniel Elahi Galan 6-3, 6-2 in 76 minutes.

“I feel very emotional right now," Ymer told RolandGarros.com. "It’s what we all work for since we were kids, a big milestone in my career.”

Although Ymer is 0-2 at tour-level this year, he has enjoyed success on the ATP Challenger Tour, claiming his first title at that level in Noumea, New Caledonia in January and reaching two additional finals.The World No. 149 won an ATP Masters 1000 match last year in Miami against Jan-Lennard Struff.

Read More #RG19 Stories
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The Five Players Who Can Challenge Nadal Mano A Mano In Paris

Benchetrit, currently No. 273 in the ATP Rankings, overcame countryman Enzo Couacaud 4-6, 7-6(4), 6-2 after one hour and 55 minutes. Benchetrit will face Brit Cameron Norrie in his first tour-level match.

Top seed Tennys Sandgren will compete in the Roland Garros main draw for the third straight year after beating home favourite Mathias Bourgue 7-6(1), 7-5 in one hour and 46 minutes. It will be the 2018 Australian Open quarter-finalist's seventh consecutive major main draw, and he will open against Moldovan Radu Albot. 

Italian Simone Bolelli, who reached the third round at Roland Garros in 2008 and 2015, will play the main draw in Paris for the 13th straight year after dismissing Japan's Go Soeda 6-1, 7-6(5). Bolelli will try to upset home favourite and Australian Open semi-finalist Lucas Pouille.

The other three players who moved through are Frenchman Alexandre Muller, who beat Viktor Troicki 6-3, 6-4, Spaniard Pedro Martinex, who ousted Geoffrey Blancaneaux 6-3, 6-1, and Brazilian Thiago Monteiro, who eased past Lucas Miedler 6-2, 6-4.

Posted: May 24, 2019, 7:29 pm

Did World No. 1 Novak Djokovic turn into The Hulk at Roland Garros?

On Friday, the top seed posted a video of himself on social media placing cones around a depression in the gym floor so other players and their teams would avoid the area. That's because, not realising the surface underneath the cushioning is wood, Djokovic threw a medicine ball down as part of his warmup routine before practice, breaking the wood.

"Today warming up in the gym before my practice I used a medicine ball by slamming it on the floor pretty hard. As a result, I wrecked a wooden floor. @RolandGarros please forgive me!" Djokovic wrote, before replying with a second tweet. "Just FYI I left Paris for several days until the investigation is completed... my participation at RG is maybe under review? 😆🤔🚧" 

Just fyi I left Paris for several days until the investigation is completed.. my participation at RG is maybe under review? 😆🤔🚧

— Novak Djokovic (@DjokerNole) May 24, 2019

Djokovic, who noted on Instagram that he will 'pay his dues', was joking about leaving Paris. Instead, he will try to win his fourth consecutive Grand Slam title. The Serbian begins his tournament against 2018 Next Gen ATP Finals qualifier Hubert Hurkacz.

Read More #RG19 Stories
Golf & Family Time For Rafa Ahead Of Paris Showdown
Roger On Paris Title Hopes: 'I'm Not Sure If It's In My Racquet'
The Five Players Who Can Challenge Nadal Mano A Mano In Paris

Posted: May 24, 2019, 6:32 pm

Roger Federer will make his return to Roland Garros for the first time in four years on opening Sunday at the clay-court Grand Slam, playing the third match on Court Philippe-Chatrier against Italy’s Lorenzo Sonego. Stefanos Tsitsipas, a recent finalist at the Mutua Madrid Open, will kick off men’s action on the court against Germany’s Maximilian Marterer.

Marin Cilic and Kei Nishikori play back-to-back matches from 11:00am on Court Suzanne Lenglen, respectively facing Italian Thomas Fabbiano and French wild card Quentin Halys. Meanwhile, a pair of former Top 10 players, Janko Tipsarevic and Grigor Dimitrov, go head-to-head for a second straight major on Court 1. Tipsarevic leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head 4-2, though Dimitrov won their first-round clash in January at the Australian Open.

Full preview to come Saturday…

More On #RG19
Read Draw Preview  |  View Draw 
Nadal Rested & Confident Ahead Of Campaign
The 5 Players Who Can Challenge Nadal Mano A Mano

ORDER OF PLAY – SUNDAY, 26 MAY 2019

Court Philippe-Chatrier start 11:00
WTA match
[6] Stefanos Tsitsipas vs Maximilian Marterer
Lorenzo Sonego vs [3] Roger Federer
WTA match

Court Suzanne Lenglen start 11:00
Thomas Fabbiano vs [11] Marin Cilic
[7] Kei Nishikori vs [WC] Quentin Halys
2 WTA matches

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Court Simonne-Mathieu start 11:00
WTA match
[16] Marco Cecchinato vs [WC] Nicolas Mahut
WTA match
[27] David Goffin vs Ricardas Berankis

Court No. 1 start 11:00
WTA match
Janko Tipsarevic vs Grigor Dimitrov
WTA match
Robin Haase vs Philipp Kohlschreiber

Court No. 14 start 11:00
[WC} Alexei Popyrin vs Ugo Humbert
WTA match
Marton Fucsovics vs [17] Diego Schwartzman
WTA match

Court No. 7 start 11:00
[29] Matteo Berrettini vs Pablo Andujar
WTA match
Albert Ramos-Vinolas vs [31] Laslo Djere
WTA match

Court No. 6 start 11:00
WTA match
Malek Jaziri vs [LL] Oscar Otte
WTA match
Jiri Vesely vs Leonardo Mayer

Court No. 13 start 11:00
Casper Ruud vs Ernests Gulbis
WTA match
Prajnesh Gunneswaran vs Hugo Dellien
WTA match

Posted: May 24, 2019, 6:14 pm

Alexander Zverev advanced to his second ATP Tour final of the season on Friday, beating Federico Delbonis 7-5, 6-7(6), 6-3 at the Banque Eric Sturdza Geneva Open.

"I am very happy with the win. I am very happy to be in the final and give myself an opportunity to win a tournament here," said Zverev.

The 10-time tour-level champion reached his 17th ATP Tour final after two hours and 38 minutes, firing 15 aces and winning 81 per cent of his first-serve points (51/63). Zverev is searching for his first trophy since triumphing at the Nitto ATP Finals in London last November (d. Djokovic). He finished runner-up to Nick Kyrgios earlier this season at Acapulco.

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"I made 15 aces so my serve was doing alright... [Delbonis] beat great players on this surface already, he has done well on this surface and I think winning against him is a good win," said Zverev.

Zverev is through to his first clay-court final on the ATP Tour since last year's Internazionali BNL d'Italia. The German No. 1 owns a 4-2 record in tour-level finals on clay, which includes ATP Masters 1000 titles in Rome (2017) and Madrid (2018).

The World No. 5, who also defeated Hugo Dellien in three sets to reach the semi-finals, will meet Nicolas Jarry in the championship match. In their only previous FedEx ATP Head2Head encounter, at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell last month, the Chilean saved one match point to stun Zverev 3-6, 7-5, 7-6(5) in the second round.

"In Barcelona, I wasn't playing well there," said Zverev. "I don't think it was a very high level match, to be honest... I think we are both playing better now and it is going to be completely different, I think."

Jarry saved four of five break points en route to his second ATP Tour final, beating Delray Beach Open by VITACOST.com champion Radu Albot 6-3, 6-4. The 23-year-old is aiming to lift his first tour-level trophy after falling to Fabio Fognini in his maiden championship match at the 2018 Brasil Open.

"I am very happy to be, once again, in a final, competing for a tournament [win]," said Jarry. "It is what we play for every week. It is an opportunity to give your best and to do better than the last week and to try to win the tournament.

"Normally you go away losing, because there is only one champion and I am happy to be playing for an opportunity to be the winner and be competing for a win."

Jarry has not dropped a set en route to the final in Geneva. Earlier this week, the 6'6" right-hander defeated seventh seed Matthew Ebden, Denis Kudla and Taro Daniel to reach the last four.

Marach/Pavic Save 1 MP To Reach Geneva Final
Oliver Marach and Mate Pavic were forced to save one match point en route to their second straight final in Geneva. The defending champions recovered from 2/6 and 9/10 down in the Match Tie-break to outlast Fabrice Martin and Andreas Mies 6-3, 3-6, 13-11.

The top seeds, aiming to lift their first trophy since triumphing at this event last year, will meet Ebden and Robert Lindstedt in the final. Marach and Pavic are aiming to become the first team to win back-to-back titles in Geneva since the tournament began in 1980.

Posted: May 24, 2019, 5:37 pm

You can’t accuse Roger Federer of overstating his chances at Roland Garros this year. Ten years on from his 2009 triumph in Paris, the third seed is tempering expectations that he could produce a fairytale run to a 21st Grand Slam title.

“I’m not sure if it’s in my racquet,” the 37-year-old said when asked if he could go all the way. “But I hope I can get myself in that position deep down in the tournament against the top guys.”

Federer, who treated himself to a day off from practice Friday, plays Italian World No. 73 Lorenzo Sonego in the first round. Seeded to meet Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals, if Federer goes on a run in Paris he could confront 29th seed Matteo Berrettini in the third round, Marco Cecchinato or Diego Schwartzman in the fourth round and Stefanos Tsitsipas, Marin Cilic or Stan Wawrinka in the quarters.

More On Federer In Paris
* View Schedule: Federer, Tsitsipas Feature On Opening Sunday
* Federer's 10 Memorable Moments On Clay
* Read Draw Preview
* 2009 Flashback: Federer Completes Career Grand Slam

Federer last played Roland Garros in 2015. After skipping the entire European clay swing the past two years, Federer this year reached the quarter-finals in Madrid (where he held two match points against Dominic Thiem before losing) and in Rome (where he withdrew after playing back-to-back matches the previous day). After getting his clay legs, the five-time ATP year-end No. 1 says that he feels ready for his 18th Roland Garros campaign.

“I think I have been able to train hard enough and also got the necessary tough matches in Madrid and Rome… I really feel like playing under the pressure and playing with the nerves was important for me so I feel totally ready,” he said.

“I feel like before every Grand Slam of course if you can avoid tough, long matches in the beginning, it's going to increase your chances for the tournament later on. But in some ways I'm happy to be here and I just want to get through that first round to get the campaign going. That's my focus right now, not think too far ahead.”

Unburdened by expectations, Federer can swing freely and let the results take care of themselves.

“I played here for many years. I started here at 20. I won here 10 years ago. It has been one of the greatest moments in my life, so I don't know what to expect as far as the results are concerned. It's a bit like in Australia in 2017. I had no expectations. I'm just happy to be back in good health. Up 'till now I would say my preparation has gone well. In Madrid, my body reacted well to a surface I haven't played for many years. So today I took a day off, because my team felt I didn't have anything more to prove in training.

“I will play 45 minutes tomorrow, and it seems I'm playing on Sunday, so I'm ready to start.”

In addition to his 2009 triumph at Roland Garros, which saw him complete the career Grand Slam, Federer also reached the final in Paris from 2006-08 and in 2011.

Did You Know?
Federer has a 65-16 record at Roland Garros. He has reached the second week in his past 11 appearances.

Posted: May 24, 2019, 5:08 pm

Felix Auger-Aliassime booked his place in a second ATP Tour final of 2019 on Friday evening after coming through a hard-fought 2-6, 7-6(3), 6-4 victory against top-seeded Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvili in two hours and 16 minutes at the Open Parc Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes Lyon. The teenager won the ATP Challenger Tour event in Lyon in 2017-18, and he will look to claim his maiden tour-level title in the French city, too.

"It feels great. I came here because I thought maybe something good could happen," Auger-Aliassime said. "I felt good two years in a row in this city and here I am in the final, still haven't lost in this city, so it feels pretty good."

The 18-year-old Auger-Aliassime, who also beat Basilashvili at the Miami Open presented by Itau in March, will now play Benoit Paire of France in Saturday’s final at the ATP 250 tournament. It will be a first-time FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting. Auger-Aliassime lost to Laslo Djere on 24 February in his first ATP Tour final at the Rio Open presented by Claro.

More On Felix
* Why Felix & Federer Can Gain In The ATP Rankings On Clay
* Felix's Dad Is Sending Him Back To School
* Felix Advances To First ATP Tour Final In Rio

The #NextGenATP Canadian is the youngest player to reach at least two finals since former World No. 1 Andy Murray, who was 18 when he accomplished the feat in 2005-06. Auger-Aliassime can become the youngest ATP Tour champion since Kei Nishikori was 18 at Delray Beach in 2008.

"I can't ask for anything better. It was tough matches throughout the week, but I think I've been able to get through every time against tough opponents," Auger-Aliassime said. "I'm glad with the work I did and hopefully I can push one more time."

Basilashvili took control immediately, storming through the first set with two service breaks in 27 minutes, but the World No. 18 was unable to convert three break points on Auger-Aliassime’s serve at 4-4 in the second set. The Canadian later broke clear from 3/3 in the tie-break.

Auger-Aliassime saved two break points at 2-3 in the decider and grew in confidence when Basilashvili struck consecutive backhand errors in the seventh game. Auger-Aliassime finished his 20th match win of the year with his 12th ace. Basilashvili, who is left to rue converting only two of nine break point chances, is now 14-12 on the season.

Earlier in the day, Paire blasted his way into his seventh ATP Tour final. The 30-year-old struck 10 aces and won 33 of 34 first-service points to overcome American Taylor Fritz 6-4, 6-2 in 65 minutes.

Paire, who is 2-4 in ATP Tour finals, lifted trophies at the 2015 Swedish Open (d. Robredo) and the Grand Prix Hassan II at Marrakech (d. Andujar) in March this year.

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Dodig/Roger-Vasselin Advance To Lyon Doubles Final
Ivan Dodig and Edouard Roger-Vasselin will attempt to capture their second team trophy of the season after the second seeds swept past fourth seeds Luke Bambridge and Jonny O’Mara 6-1, 6-2 in 52 minutes.

This year’s Open Sud de France titlists will next challenge another all-British team, third-seeded brothers Ken Skupski and Neal Skupski, in Saturday’s final. The Skupskis are 3-5 in team finals, including victory last month at the Hungarian Open.

Posted: May 24, 2019, 3:11 pm

Nick Kyrgios has been forced to withdraw from Roland Garros, citing illness in the build up to the second Grand Slam tournament of the season.

The five-time ATP Tour titlist, who was due to face Brit Cameron Norrie in the first round, was aiming to advance beyond the third round in Paris for the first time this year. The Australian has reached the third round at the clay-court Grand Slam championship on two occasions, falling to Andy Murray in 2015 and Richard Gasquet in 2016.

The 24-year-old owns a 10-7 tour-level record this season, highlighted by his title run at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel presentado por HSBC in March. Kyrgios defeated Rafael Nadal, Stan Wawrinka, John Isner and Alexander Zverev in consecutive matches to lift the trophy in Acapulco.

Posted: May 24, 2019, 2:21 pm

With Parisian sun on his back, Rafael Nadal has been training hard at the newly refurbished Stade Roland Garros ahead of his quest for an incredible 12th trophy.

And the Spanish superstar, who has compiled the majority of his 86-2 record at the clay-court major on show courts, insists the new Court Philippe Chatrier stadium, razed to the ground shortly after his 2018 triumph, is no different to the old version.

“I don’t see a difference in terms of game experience,” said Nadal on Friday. “I think the wind is going the same way, and the feeling on the court is exactly the same. It’s looks a little bit different, from behind the royal box. For me, that’s the main difference.”

Nadal has completed two practice sessions at Roland Garros since arriving from Mallorca, where he enjoyed time off following his victory at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia - for his ninth trophy in Rome and a record 34th ATP Masters 1000 title. Read Report & Watch Rome Final Highlights

“I have been at home, one day of golf, one day of family, and came back here,” said Nadal. “I have already had two good practices here. [I’m] just trying to continue the preparation and just hold the level.”

Nadal has gone 14-3 on the spring European clay-court swing, lifting his first ATP Tour title of 2019 in Rome with victory over World No. 1 Novak Djokovic on 19 May.

When asked how he prepares for a Grand Slam championship, Nadal admitted, “It depends on the moment. It depends if you are playing well, if you're playing normal or you're playing terrible.

“I feel myself playing well, being honest, and my goal is just to keep playing at that level, because there are always things that I can improve, small things. But in general terms, is just about being healthy, main thing, and then just compete well and be fresh mentally and physically.”

The World No. 2, who will celebrate his 33rd birthday on 3 June, begins his campaign against a qualifier at Roland Garros, where he attempts to win his 18th Grand Slam championship crown.

Posted: May 24, 2019, 1:41 pm

The ATP and the Laver Cup announced today an agreement that will make the annual men's team event, in which Europe takes on the rest of the world, an official part of the annual ATP Tour calendar.

The agreement gives the event, now approaching its third competition in Geneva, Switzerland this September, access to ATP services, including marketing and social media, along with operational personnel such as officials and physios.

"The Laver Cup team is incredibly excited about this partnership with the ATP. It has always been our hope to build the Laver Cup in partnership with the tennis world, and certification by the ATP after only two editions is an overwhelming validation of our vision,” said Tony Godsick, President and CEO of TEAM8, and Chairman of the Laver Cup.

"We created the Laver Cup to celebrate the greats of the game - past, present and future - and grow interest in our great sport of tennis," Godsick added. "Partnering with the ATP positions us to continue to achieve that mission and reach even greater audiences."

Chris Kermode, ATP Executive Chairman and President, said that the reception by tennis fans globally was a major factor in the ATP's wish to form a partnership.

"The Laver Cup has struck a chord with fans worldwide in a very short time," said Kermode. "It's been great to see the passionate participation of the players and the response from the fans at the sold-out events in Prague and Chicago. This event has great potential to reach new fans around the world, and all of us at the ATP are excited to include the Laver Cup as an official part of the ATP Tour calendar and have it featured alongside other tournaments on all our platforms."

Roger Federer, a partner in TEAM8 who tasked his team with creating the Laver Cup to honour not just the great Rod Laver, but the coterie of tennis legends who paved the way for the success of the current game, said he was delighted with the news.

"As I come closer to the end of my playing career, it's wonderful to know that the Laver Cup will be part of the tour that I've dedicated more than 20 years of my life to. This partnership is a wonderful example of how the tennis family can unite to promote and grow the sport we all love."

Currently celebrating the 50th anniversary of winning the 'Grand Slam' for the second time in 1969, Rod Laver praised the ATP's official endorsement of his namesake event which has further cemented his legacy.

"I am grateful to the ATP for recognising that the Laver Cup plays an important role in raising awareness of the amateur era of tennis and my fellow 'barnstormers”. I am honoured and thankful for what has been achieved and to Roger for doing this for us,” said Laver.

The values of the Laver Cup - commitment to excellence, focus on the team, respect for the opponent, and love for the game - has been embodied by the two inaugural captains, Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe.

"Anyone who has seen the Laver Cup knows this is an event that everyone had to get behind. I am proud to have been a part of its genesis, and thankful to the ATP for choosing to endorse it,” said McEnroe.

"The Laver Cup is my favourite week of the year," said Borg. "I have enjoyed working with all the generations of players and being in front of the fans once again."

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic, who played the second Laver Cup last year in Chicago, said, "The Laver Cup is a true celebration of tennis that is loved by the fans and embraced by the players. I experienced it first hand as a player, and as President of the ATP Player Council I'm proud to support this collaboration.”

ATP Tournament Board Representative Charles Humphrey Smith said, "The Laver Cup showcases the world's greatest male tennis players in a whole new way. It grows interest in the game which benefits all of us in the industry."

The third edition of the Laver Cup will be held in Geneva, Switzerland from 20-22 September 2019. Register at LaverCup.com for more information and to receive regular updates.

Posted: May 24, 2019, 7:24 am

#NextGenATP German Rudolf Molleker is two-for-two.

The 18-year-old qualified for his second Grand Slam main draw on his second attempt Thursday, defeating Colombian veteran Santiago Giraldo 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 at Roland Garros.

“It is super-tough to qualify. These are the best players in the world playing from World No.100 to the Top 250," Molleker told RolandGarros.com. "The standard is so high, so to win three matches in a row is super-hard.”

Molleker, who also qualified at the Australian Open before falling to Argentine Diego Schwartzman in the main draw. Against Giraldo, who competed in the main draw at the year's second Grand Slam every season from 2007-18, Molleker hit 35 winners and broke serve five times.

Spaniard Guillermo Garcia-Lopez will contest the main draw in Paris for the 16th consecutive year after coming back to defeat German Oscar Otte 3-6, 6-4, 6-0 in one hour and 45 minutes. Garcia-Lopez reached the fourth round here in 2014, upsetting Stan Wawrinka in the first round. 

Two Italians will make their Roland Garros main draw debuts, as Stefano Travaglia and Salvator Caruso moved through. Travaglia defeated Belgian Steve Darcis 7-6(3), 6-3, while Caruso battled past German Dustin Brown 4-6, 6-4, 6-3. 

Also moving into the main draw were Germans Yannick Maden and Yannick Hanfmann, Belgian Kimmer Coppejans and Russian Alexey Vatutin. Eight more players will qualify on Friday.

Posted: May 23, 2019, 9:24 pm

Rafael Nadal has long dominated the Parisian terre battue at Roland Garros, lifting the Coupe des Mousquetaires 11 times and tallying an 86-2 record. Fresh off a triumph at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome, Nadal arrives at the year’s second Grand Slam with plenty of momentum.

But the second seed is not as overwhelming of a favourite as usual, having taken until last week to capture his first title of the year, his longest trophy drought to start a season since 2004, when he earned his maiden tour-level crown. Nadal was beaten in the semi-finals at Monte-Carlo (l. to Fognini), Barcelona (l. to Thiem) and Madrid (l. to Tsitsipas).

So Nadal's chase for a 12th title will not be easy, even if a big part of the battle some of Nadal's biggest potential challengers will face is setting a clash against the Spaniard. ATPTour.com examines those who could pose the biggest threat to the lefty mano a mano if they do play in the coming fortnight: 

Novak Djokovic
Djokovic has all the motivation he needs entering Roland Garros, as the Serbian could win his fourth consecutive Grand Slam, becoming just the second player to accomplish that feat twice (also Rod Laver, who completed two calendar-year Grand Slams). While Nadal defeated Djokovic in three sets in the Rome final, the World No. 1 has plenty of reason to feel confident if they meet in the Roland Garros final for the third time (Nadal won on both occasions).

Despite losing at the Foro Italico, Djokovic has won nine of their previous 12 meetings, and he leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head series 28-26. Djokovic also spent two hours and 12 minutes more than Nadal on the court to reach the final in the Italian capital, with no day of rest before battling for the trophy, and he still pushed Nadal to three sets. That could give him confidence leading into the year’s second major.

Dominic Thiem
Thiem has earned a clay-court win against Nadal in three consecutive years. During that span, Nadal has lost just two additional clay-court matches, both of which came this year: against Fabio Fognini in Monte-Carlo and Stefanos Tsitsipas in Barcelona. So Thiem has proven he is capable of challenging Nadal if they meet for the trophy.

The Austrian’s overwhelming weight of shot could push Nadal back and keep the lefty from playing aggressively. Although Thiem could not mount much of a challenge in last year’s Roland Garros final against Nadal, he showed his ability to do so in a best-of-five set format at the US Open, battling the Spaniard for four hours and 49 minutes, forcing Nadal to find his very best tennis in a final-set tie-break.

Stefanos Tsitsipas
Tsitsipas is one of just three players who has defeated Nadal on clay in the past three years, and the pair could potentially meet in the semi-finals. A year ago, Tsitsipas lost in the second round in Paris as the World No. 39. But now, the reigning Next Gen ATP Finals champion is on the verge of cracking the Top 5, and he carries an ATP Tour-leading 29 wins in 2019 into the clay-court major.

The 20-year-old Greek star was unafraid of taking the ball early against Nadal, frequently venturing to the net in their semi-final at Madrid. Even though he lost to the nine-time champion in Rome, Tsitsipas did not feel out of his element.

“I just felt comfortable playing. I didn't feel much annoyed playing him on clay these two matches, which I guess is good,” Tsitsipas said. “Today I felt very close, despite the two-set loss.”

Roger Federer
This may be Federer’s first Roland Garros in four years, but you can never count out a 20-time Grand Slam champion, especially since the 37-year-old Swiss showed good form in his return to clay. Federer reached the quarter-finals in both Madrid and Rome, but his only loss came after holding match points against Thiem in Madrid. In Rome, Federer withdrew before facing Tsitsipas.

While they have not played one another since 2017, Federer has won five straight against Nadal in their FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry (Nadal leads 23-15), including seven sets in a row. Federer, a 101-time tour-level champion, has not beaten Nadal on clay since 2009 Madrid, but Nadal being the favourite may free the World No. 3 up to go for broke and spring an upset. This will also be their first clay-court match since Federer switched to a racquet with a bigger head, reducing his number of shanks.

Juan Martin del Potro
This may be only Del Potro’s fourth tournament of the season as he continues to come back from a knee injury, but the ‘Tower of Tandil’ has shown that he is not too rusty. In Rome, Del Potro held two match points against World No. 1 Djokovic before ultimately succumbing in a hard-fought three-hour, one-minute battle.

More important than winning or losing that match was the Argentine’s level. Del Potro’s massive forehand will always be a tremendous weapon regardless of his opponent. And he showed no apprehension in hitting through his two-handed backhand against Djokovic, which would be key against Nadal, who would attack crosscourt with his heavy forehand. The biggest challenge would be for Del Potro to reach the final, first, but when he is on his game, he can test anyone on any day, even Nadal in Paris.

Posted: May 23, 2019, 8:43 pm

Alexander Zverev entered the Banque Eric Sturdza Geneva Open seeking more matches, and he'll have at least one more as the top-seeded Germany overcame a mid-match slump to beat Bolivian Hugo Dellien 7-5, 3-6, 6-3 to make the semi-finals in Switzerland.

"He's a great player... He started the year lower ranked, now he's already Top 100. I think he's going to finish the year much, much higher than he is now," Zverev said. "I struggled a little bit but still ended up finding a way to win, and that's most important for me right now."

Zverev fought well to avoid the fate of second seed Stan Wawrinka, who was upset on Wednesday evening by Bosnian Damir Dzumhur. The 21-year-old German trailed 0-3 in the first set and saved one set point at 3-5, with Dellien serving at 40/30.

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Zverev grabbed control of the deciding set by winning a seven-deuce game that included three break points to go up 2-1. The next game, Zverev broke the Bolivian.

"I played very aggressive in the important moments, very, very aggressive, also in break points down, I played very aggressive. This is finally something I was looking for in the last few weeks, months, and today I think I showed it," Zverev said.

The 2018 Nitto ATP Finals champion is seeking his first title of the season. He will next meet Argentine Federico Delbonis, who beat Spain's Albert Ramos-Vinolas 7-6(5), 7-5 to make his second tour-level semi-final this season (Cordoba).

Fifth-seeded Moldovan Radu Albot recovered from 2-4 down in the second set to overcome qualifier Damir Dzumhur of Bosnia and Herzegovina 6-3, 7-5 on Thursday for a place in the Banque Eric Sturdza Geneva Open semi-finals. In a career-best season, Albot has recorded 19 match wins and won his first ATP Tour title in February at the Delray Beach Open by VITACOST.com (d. Evans).

Albot now plays Chile’s Nicolas Jarry, who advanced to his first ATP Tour semi-final since August 2018 at the Generali Open in Kitzbuhel (l. to Istomin). Jarry lost just four of his first-service points — and 10 in total — to beat Taro Daniel of Japan 6-1, 7-5 in 79 minutes.

Posted: May 23, 2019, 6:46 pm

Rafael Nadal will begin his quest for a 12th Roland Garros title against a qualifier, but may need to beat 2009 winner Roger Federer or Stefanos Tsitsipas if he is to advance to his 26th Grand Slam championship final. World No. 1 Novak Djokovic, the 2016 champion, features in the top half of the draw with Alexander Zverev, last year’s finalist Dominic Thiem and two-time former semi-finalist Juan Martin del Potro.

View Singles Draw

Nadal, who has an incredible 86-2 match record at the clay-court major, arrives in the French capital on the back of lifting a record 34th ATP Masters 1000 crown and ninth Internazionali BNL d'Italia title. The Spanish superstar is projected to face former World No. 8 David Goffin in the third round, and No. 15 seed Nikoloz Basilashvili – who competes this week in the Open Parc Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes Lyon semi-finals – in the Last 16. Seventh seed Kei Nishikori, who opens against French wild card Quentin Halys, or Russian No. 12 seed Daniil Medvedev – with 25 match wins in 2019 – may then lie in wait in the quarter-finals. Nadal, a 17-time major champion, has suffered just two losses in 88 matches at the clay-court Grand Slam championship – to Sweden’s Robin Soderling in the 2009 fourth round and to Djokovic in the 2015 quarter-finals.

More On Nadal's 11th Title
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* How Rafa Triumphed In The Final
* Social Media Reacts To Nadal's 11th Title

Djokovic came into last year’s tournament at No. 22 in the ATP Rankings. Now, riding high in his 252nd week at No. 1, the 32-year-old Serbian faces Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz in the first round, with Croatian No. 13 seed Borna Coric or No. 20 seed Denis Shapovalov of Canada potential Last 16 foes. Djokovic, who also reached the 2012, 2014 and 2015 finals before lifting the 2016 title, may come up against fifth seed Alexander Zverev, in action this week at the Banque Eric Sturdza Geneva Open, in the quarter-finals. Zverev, who reached his first major championships quarter-final at Roland Garros in 2018, faces Australia’s John Millman in the first round, while Fabio Fognini, who faces fellow Italian Andreas Seppi first up, is a possible fourth-round opponent for the German.

Third seed and 20-time major winner Federer, who became the sixth of eight men in tennis history to complete the career Grand Slam in 2009 with the Roland Garros trophy, competes at the major for the first time since 2015. He plays Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters quarter-finalist Lorenzo Sonego in the first round, but sixth-seeded Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas, the recent Mutua Madrid Open finalist, 2015 champion and No. 24 seed Stan Wawrinka and Croatian No. 11 Marin Cilic all feature in the Swiss superstar’s quarter. Tsitsipas, with a 29-11 match record in 2019, opens against Germany’s Maximilian Marterer; Wawrinka faces Jozef Kovalik of Slovakia and 2017-18 quarter-finalist Cilic challenges Italy’s Thomas Fabbiano.

Fourth seed Thiem, who reached last year’s final after back-to-back semi-final exits (2016-17), competes in the second quarter with eighth-seeded Del Potro a possible quarter-final opponent. Thiem, who has captured ATP Tour titles this year at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells and the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell, challenges American Tommy Paul in the first round, with France’s Gael Monfils, the 2008 semi-finalist, a potential fourth-round clash. Del Potro, 2009 and 2018 Roland Garros semi-finalist, takes on Chile’s Nicolas Jarry in his opener, with Canadian No. 25 Felix Auger-Aliassime – starting against Jordan Thompson of Australia – maybe a third-round tie.

The 2019 Roland Garros draw ceremony was held at L'Orangerie, located in the botanical gardens of the site, with Nadal and the women's defending champion, Simona Halep, attending.

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Posted: May 23, 2019, 4:49 pm

The ITF (International Tennis Federation) has today announced an agreement with the ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals) and the WTA (Women’s Tennis Association) to optimise the structure of men’s and women’s professional tennis. This will provide additional competitive opportunities and a clear and fair pathway for talented players.

The agreement includes the allocation of ATP and WTA ranking points at $15,000 ITF World Tennis Tour tournaments, additional ranking points at men’s $25,000 tournaments, as well as increased playing opportunities with 48-player qualifying singles draws. Players’ rankings will be updated with the new points allocations on 5 August 2019. These points will be applied retroactively to all tournaments played since August 2018.

Updated men’s and women’s ATP/WTA rankings will be used for acceptances into ITF World Tennis Tour events plus ATP Challengers and WTA 125K tournaments beginning the week of 26 August 2019.

ATP ranking points are to be awarded according to the following points table (singles and doubles):

  Winner Finalist Semi-finalist Quarter-finalist Round of 16
M25 - Singles 20 12 6 3 1
M25 - Doubles 20 12 6 3  
M15 - Singles 10 6 4 2 1
M15 - Doubles 10 6 4 2  

WTA ranking points are to be awarded at $15,000 (W15) ITF World Tennis Tour events according to the following points table:

  Winner Finalist Semi-finalist Quarter-finalist Round of 16
Singles 10 6 4 2 1
Doubles 10 6 4 1  

For tournaments to increase from 32-player to 48-player Qualifying Singles Draw sizes, the integrity implications of moving from seven to eight-day events were fully discussed with the Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU). The TIU recognise the benefits of a balanced calendar that provides additional playing opportunities, which along with other measures, will contribute to an improved integrity environment for players.

To provide continuity to players, ITF ranking points will be awarded in $15,000 and $25,000 qualifying rounds and a player’s ITF ranking will continue to be valid for acceptance purposes after ATP or WTA ranked players. Three reserved places in $15,000 tournaments for ITF top 100-ranked juniors will continue to facilitate entry into professional tennis for the best-performing players at junior level.

The ITF’s agreement with the ATP and WTA has been reached to achieve the key objectives of a clearly defined group of professional players and a structure that allows for smooth mobility.

Steve Simon, WTA CEO and Chairman said, “The WTA is pleased to work with the ITF in the shared goal of developing a clear structure and pathway to provide for the competitive opportunities and rewards needed for a Player to transition through the ITF World Tennis Tour in their quest to compete on the WTA Tour.”

David Haggerty, ITF President said, “Collaborating further with the ATP and WTA, our goal is to ensure the professional pathway from juniors to professional tennis is fit for purpose. It is vital that players have the opportunity to play and progress and nations can afford to host events in their countries at both professional and transitional levels. These additional reforms to the pathway will further strengthen the new structure introduced in 2019, that in turn will create a true professional group of players, increase playing opportunities at all levels of the game, and help widen the number of nations hosting professional tournaments so that tennis can remain a truly global sport.”

Chris Kermode, ATP Executive Chairman and President, said: “We are pleased to have reached this agreement with the ITF which we believe will lead to significant enhancements to the player pathway and the way in which the ITF World Tennis Tour links to the ATP Challenger Tour. Structural reform has been necessary as we look to increase opportunities and achieve a balanced calendar for the sport. We will continue to closely monitor the latest changes to ensure that they are working as designed for the players, and for the benefit of the sport as a whole.”

In summary:

  • Allocation of ATP and WTA ranking points across the ITF World Tennis Tour will provide one ranking system for men’s and women’s professional tennis and a smoother transition for players who will move up the system due to their achievements on court
  • There will be three reserved places in ITF $15,000 tournaments for ITF top 100-ranked juniors; no reserved places will be offered at any other level
  • Doubles acceptance at $15,000 tournaments is amended, to be based on a player’s singles or doubles ranking, whichever is higher, with no requirement to have been accepted into the Singles competition, and therefore opening up opportunities to more players

Subject to consultation with National Associations and key stakeholders, a new more affordable level of development tournament is currently under review for introduction below the ITF World Tennis Tour, between $15,000 tournaments and the ITF Junior Circuit, to ensure players from as many countries as possible have the opportunity to join the player pathway. These tournaments will offer ITF ranking points and enable all players, including those from college tennis and other pathways, to progress to professional tournaments based on results.

The ITF World Tennis Tour is a long-term project to secure the future of professional tennis. The ITF, ATP and the WTA have worked closely to deliver a comparable model for both men and women and will continue to monitor and adjust to ensure the optimal structure is provided. The ITF Board has approved these measures following consultation with the ATP and WTA, Player Representatives, and acknowledging feedback from ITF National Associations, tournaments, coaches and players.

Posted: May 23, 2019, 4:15 pm

Nikoloz Basilashvili remained on course to reach his fifth ATP Tour final (2-2) on Thursday at the Open Parc Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes Lyon.

The top-seeded Georgian avenged his 2017 semi-final loss to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga with a 6-4, 6-4 win in 82 minutes at the ATP 250 clay-court tournament. Former champion Tsonga took a 2-0 lead, but the momentum soon swung in the favour of Basilashvili, who is through to a semi-final for the first time since winning the China Open in October 2018.

Basilashvili will face fourth-seeded Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime, who beat Steve Johnson of the United States 6-4, 2-6, 6-4. Auger-Aliassime hit 11 aces and broke Johnson twice in the third set to reach his third semi-final of the season. Auger-Aliassime beat Basilashvili in March 2019 at the Miami Open presented by Itau.

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 American Taylor Fritz recorded his fourth Top 30 win of the season. The 21-year-old broke a two-match losing streak against second-seeded Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut, this year’s Qatar ExxonMobil Open champion (d. Berdych), in a 6-7(6), 6-3, 6-4 victory over two hours and five minutes. Fritz struck 16 aces and lost just 10 of his first-service points (44/54).

Bautista Agut saved one set point at 5/6 in the first set tie-break, before Fritz bounced back to take a 3-0 lead in the second set. The World No. 46 broke in the ninth game of the decider en route to a place in his first ATP Tour semi-final since October 2018 at the Chengdu Open (l. to Fognini).

Fritz now plays France’s Benoit Paire, the Grand Prix Hassan II titlist (d. Andujar), who held his nerve to overcome third-seeded Canadian Denis Shapovalov 6-3, 4-6, 7-6(4) in one hour and 55 minutes.

Posted: May 23, 2019, 12:31 pm

Spain's Albert Ramos-Vinolas isn't ready to stand on a podium and shout, “I'm back!” But his play on Wednesday at the Banque Eric Sturdza Geneva Open has the 31-year-old encouraged that he can again find the level that took him to his biggest final to date, the 2017 Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters, where he fell to Rafael Nadal.

Ramos-Vinolas, No. 91 in the ATP Rankings, routed Portugal's Joao Sousa 6-0, 6-3 to make the quarter-finals of the ATP 250 event.

“I played really good today. I'm really happy. I was really concentrating during all the match, and I think I played a great level, maybe I played the same level as two years ago, when I was playing really good,” Ramos-Vinolas told ATPTour.com. “Every match is different so [Thursday] is another chance to play good and I will try for sure.”

Ramos-Vinolas will meet Japan's Taro Daniel for a place in the semi-finals. The Spaniard last reached a semi-final in February 2018 in Quito.

Before his semi-final, Ramos-Vinolas remembered the “First Time” he felt like he belonged on the ATP Tour, why he was glad he splurged for first class for the first time, and why he didn't buy a new Peugeot with his first big prize money check.

First pinch-me moment on the ATP Tour
The first time I won an ATP match in Barcelona in 2010. It's my home tournament... I passed the qualies and I won my first match and then I beat Fernando Gonzalez, who was No. 12 in the world.

I was No. 161. It was maybe one of the best moments of my career. It was on Court 1, which is not the centre court, but it's quite big.

Everybody there was supporting me, and obviously my level was worse than Fernando Gonzalez, but I fought like crazy and I won... I still remember the feeling: I was really happy. Everybody was thinking that it was not possible.

So they were supporting me like crazy, like when a big football team is playing against maybe one from the second division, and the second division team wins. Everyone was supporting me like crazy. It was a great atmosphere.

First thing I bought with prize money
Ha, ha. I try to save as much as I can because after tennis, I don't know what I'm going to do.

First autograph/photo I got
I don't remember because I don't like photos or autographs. I didn't ask. When I went to the tournament in Barcelona, when I was really young, I was more trying to watch how they played more than wanting an autograph or a photo... I watched Bruguera, Corretja, Moya, Albert Costa.

First time I flew first class
In 2011, I was in Houston... I lost on Thursday night and I had to play qualies in Monte-Carlo on Saturday, and I had my flight Friday afternoon... I took business and I arrived the same day and I played really good, no pressure... I lost the last qualifying but the first match I played really good.

Posted: May 23, 2019, 10:31 am

In southwest Switzerland, Chilean Nicolas Jarry feels almost as if he's playing at home. The conditions – dry, with a bit of altitude – and the clay courts at the Banque Eric Sturdza Geneva Open remind the 23-year-old of growing up on the red dirt in his hometown of Santiago, Chile.

On sunny days, like Wednesday, the 6'6” Jarry especially enjoys the homey feeling as his forehand flies through the air even faster than usual and his serve kicks up a few inches more.

Jarry used the conditions to his favour against American Denis Kudla, winning 82 per cent of his service points and never facing a break point while advancing to quarter-finals of the ATP 250 event 6-3, 6-3. The Chilean also made the quarter-finals at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell last month.

Watch Uncovered: The Inspiration Behind Jarry's Climb

The best thing was my serve. It was a hot day, so the bounce was really high and the court is not so big, so my serve was really effective,” Jarry told ATPTour.com “If he hit a medium return, I was very quick to take my forehand and keep being aggressive and keep having the point on my side.”

Jarry, who faces Japan's Taro Daniel next, also spoke with ATPTour.com about his life off the court, including why he's lukcy his girlfriend isn't mad at him, why he no longer strings his racquets and which Barcelona football player he got a selfie with in this latest edition of “The Last Time”.

I missed a flight?
This year, coming from... Munich-Madrid, Madrid-Santiago. It was snowing all night in Munich, so we got a delayed departure of two hours, and we arrived about 30 minutes before the departure of the [Madrid-Santiago] flight. We ran all over the Madrid airport. It's gigantic. I arrived sweating, and they closed the door. We could still see the airplane. It had the [passenger arm] still in the airplane.

But they didn't let us in. It was really bad. We were like seven, eight guys who missed that flight... I ended up changing that flight and buying a new one straight to Cordoba.

I lost something important?
I lost my girlfriend's phone and wallet, all in one, this week. I left it in the hotel reception.

How's she feeling about that?
Thank God, not so bad. She's not a phone necessity person. So it was OK, she's using my phone now... [About her wallet] I have to pay for everything, but that's OK. The thing is that she has to do everything [with her wallet] when she returns home.

More 'Last Time' With... Federer | Tsitsipas | Kyrgios

Being famous helped me?
On flights, I can try to see the pilots' seats, I can get extra meals... That happened this year coming from Australia... The flight attendants recognised me on a Chilean flight, Australia to Santiago... I asked for two meals, and they let me. They're small portions, and I eat a lot.

I strung a tennis racquet?
I used to string all my tennis racquets throughout my childhood until last year. Last year, I started the year saying, 'OK, now I'm going to start paying.'... I'm paying for it now, but I have more free time.

I asked someone famous for an autograph or selfie?
Carles Puyol, the Barcelona football player. I took a picture with him in Miami this year... I usually never ask for pictures and stuff, but the guy is an idol, he's a great player and I saw him. I was in the gym, and I left my bike and went to straight to him and asked for a picture.

Posted: May 23, 2019, 9:49 am