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Novak Djokovic has played 15 editions of the ATP Finals. Only in his debut, in 2007, did the six-time champion fail to achieve at least one victory in the round of 16. Novak fell to David Ferrer, Richard Gasquet and Rafael Nadal to end his campaign earlier than expected.

Djokovic bounced back in 2008, capturing his first ATP Finals crown against Nikolay Davydenko. The Serb has won at least one match in the previous 14 ATP Finals campaigns, coming close to Roger Federer’s record. Federer notched a win in 17 ATP Finals, and Novak needs at least three more years to catch up.

Djokovic kicked off his 15th ATP Finals streak with a win over Stefanos Tsitsipas a couple of weeks ago. Novak defeated Stefanos 6-4, 7-6 in one hour and 37 minutes to add his 42nd victory in an ATP Finals. Djokovic defeated Tsitsipas for the 10th time in 12 matches and the ninth in a row.

The Serb defended the only break point and stole his opponent’s serve once early on. Stefanos served well afterwards, but it wasn’t enough to keep him safe and force a decider. The Greek stayed in contact in the shortest set up to four shots.

Djokovic broke through in the longer rallies to seal the straight-sets victory and get off to a perfect start. Novak only gave up four points after the opening blow in the opening set, facing no break points and keeping the pressure on the other side.

He had the advantage in the longer exchanges and got a lone break to make it 6-4. Tsitsipas got off to a shaky start and lost serve in the first game of the match. Novak took the second chance to break after a loose forehand from his opponent to take an early lead.

Novak Djokovic is preparing for the AO

Novak Djokovic has been recognized as the “best ambassador of Serbia in the world” by the association 321 Serbia. But having been unable to attend the ceremony, his father, Srdjan, collected the prize for him and delivered an extremely strong speech on Nole’s childhood in the former Yugoslavia.

“Novak worked during the bombings and the sanctions, the destruction of Serbia and the Serbian people. He rose from the ashes that were sprinkled on us. Novak showed that nothing is impossible when you really want it. In the worst moments, he trained under the bombs, but he did not give up.

With his work and his efforts, he showed that he came from a fantastic nation, the Serbian nation. Be proud to be Serbs and that Novak is part of the Serbian people”, proclaimed the father of the man with 21 Grand Slam titles.

World No 1 Carlos Alcaraz admits he is “so excited” to be playing against Rafael Nadal in a Las Vegas exhibition. On March 5th, Alcaraz will be taking on his idol Nadal in an exhibition match. In early March, the Las Vegas community will have a chance to watch an all-time great against a player who has been widely tipped to become the next all-time great.

“Are you ready? I’ll be playing Rafael Nadal at THE SLAM in Las Vegas! I’m so excited to be a part of this special one-night match hosted by MGM Regards. March 5th.at MGM Regards. See you there,” Alcaraz announced on Twitter.

Alcaraz has a great level of respect, appreciation for Nadal

After winning his first Grand Slam title at the US Open, 19-year-old Alcaraz became the youngest No 1 in tennis history.

Then, Alcaraz became the youngest Year-End No 1 in tennis history. Nadal, who competed at the ATP Finals, had a chance to overtake Alcaraz at the top spot and finish the season as the Year-End No 1. After Nadal failed to make it past the group stage in Turin, Alcaraz officially became the Year-End No 1.

When asked about finishing ahead of Nadal, Alcaraz insisted he would have been happy even if the 36-year-old finished ranked ahead of him. “It’s incredible that for so many years it was Federer, Nadal, Djokovic, or Murray, and then a 19-year-old ‘Chico’ comes along and succeeds in this.

It means so much to me. Being a part of tennis history alongside these legends is just an incredible feeling. All my life, I have gone with Rafa and here also, I wanted him to win. Even if he had taken the number 1 from me, I would have been happy,” Alcaraz said of finishing ahead of Nadal.

Earlier this year, Nadal was getting constantly asked about Alcaraz. Nadal then told the media the best thing they could do for Alcaraz is to stop all the comparisons.

Emma Raducanu has had a very particular career so far. The athlete became popular thanks to the victory of the Us Open 2021, a success that came in a sensational way with Emma, who, before that tournament, she had never won a match on the Tour.

An incredible surprise with all the insiders shocked and Raducanu has gradually gained power in the women tennis and has become increasingly famous. After the success, however, things didn’t go as hoped and this year Raducanu won very few matches, struggling between physical problems and an acclimatization in the Tour that is struggling to take off.

What can Emma get from 2023? Tennis is inside her, otherwise you won’t win a Grand Slam at 18. Furthermore, the criticisms that have rained down on her could have the effect of motivating her to regain her game, performance and mental strength.

Especially this last characteristic that you will have to rediscover in order to realize a career that can potentially be very important. Emma Raducanu released a curious interview to National Geographic microphones and discussed some particular curiosities.

Emma Raducanu reveals what she eats after the game

The very young tennis player released the following statements: “After a tournament my biggest weakness is chocolate. I eat pretty healthy in general, but when it comes to chocolate I need to control myself.

Another thing I’m eating often is steak. Initially I didn’t like it very much and I even went two years without eating it, then I realized that it’s good for you and therefore I eat it often because it can help you.”

The tennis player then revealed some of her food habits. Emma was raised in Great Britain even though she was born in Toronto, then her father is from Bucharest while her mother is from Shenyang, a mixture of different cultures.

Growing up, Emma learned to love the traditional dishes of her country and revealed: “My Romanian grandmother used to come to England and she would prepare delicious dishes for me. She would prepare sarmale for me, a very tasty Romanian dish.

She also prepared ciorba, a kind of soup. She always did this and I have really fond memories of spending hours in the kitchen with her.” Emma is getting ready and will participate in the Mubadala World Championship Tennis exhibition tournament.

This is everything you need to know about the PNC Championship on the PGA Tour that is headlined by Tiger Woods and his son Charlie Woods.

Tiger Woods and his son Charlie Woods will headline the 2022 PNC Championship on the PGA Tour. 
Last year the duo put on a memorable Sunday performance, combining to shoot a 59 wearing Woods’ famous red and black combo. 
It wasn’t enough as in the end they were pipped to victory by John Daly and his son John Daly II. 
In this article we will tell you everything you need to know about the 2022 PNC Championship. 

Scroll down for more information including who is in the field, the format, tee times, streaming info, odds and the prize purse breakdown…

Where is the PNC Championship being played?

Florida’s Ritz-Carlton Golf Club.

When is the PNC Championship being played? 

Over 15-18 December.

What is the format? 

The 2022 PNC Championship will be a 36-hole scramble format.

How is the field selected for the PNC Championship? 

The tournament is open to major winners and those that have won The Players at TPC Sawgrass.

The professional selects a relative as their partner. 

How many teams are there?

20.

Who is in the field this year?

Nick Faldo and Matthew Faldo
Jim Furyk and Tanner Furyk
Padraig Harrington and Patrick Harrington
Nelly Korda and Petr Korda
Matt Kuchar and Carson Kuchar
Bernhard Langer and Jason Langer
Tom Lehman and Sean Lehman
Justin Leonard and Luke Leonard
Mark O’Meara and Shaun O’Meara
Gary Player and Jordan Player
Nick Price and Greg Price
Vijay Singh and Qass Singh
Annika Sorenstam and Will McGee
Jordan Spieth and Shawn Spieth
Justin Thomas and Mike Thomas
Lee Trevino and Daniel Trevino
Tiger Woods and Charlie Woods

Is there prize money? 

Yes, the 2022 PNC Championship has a prize purse of $1,085,000

The professional will take home a cheque for $200,000 and the Willie Park Trophy. 

Are there any debutants?

Yes, Jordan Spieth will be making his first appearance alongside his father Shawn.
Storylines…

Tiger Woods’ participation was thrown into doubt when he revealed he developed plantar fasciitis in his right foot. 

It forced him to withdraw from the Hero World Challenge on the PGA Tour a few weeks before the PNC Championship. 

Tiger Woods confirmed he was still intent on playing The Match and the PNC Championship as he is able to use a golf cart. 

Elsewhere, legendary golfer Tom Watson and his son Michael Watson were in the field, but the 73-year-old was involved in a go-karting accident and is now recuperating. 
Tiger Woods charlie Woods

How can I watch? 

The 2022 PNC Championship will be broadcast on NBC, Golf Channel and Peacock. 

Sky Sports Golf is showing the 2022 PNC Championship in the UK.

With a Sky Sports subscription, you will be able to stream the 2022 PNC Championship online via SkyGo, and if you are not in the UK right now you can use ExpressVPN to get around any geo-blocks.

To watch the 2022 PNC Championship on Sky (£22 per month): 

1. Get ExpressVPN

2. Connect to a server location in the UK

3. Head to Sky Go and log in 

4. Enjoy the action! 

2022 PNC Championship odds…

Odds will be released closer to the event. 

Tee times: 

Tee times will also be confirmed closer to the tournament. Keep checking Yewti for regular updates. 

Lewis Hamilton’s winless streak will end in 2023, Red Bull’s Helmut Marko has admitted in the first sign of their wariness about his return to form.

Hamilton finished sixth in the F1 standings in 2022, a career-worst, and failed to win a single grand prix for the first time ever, but ended the season strongly and has vowed to fight Max Verstappen next year.
Asked if Hamilton’s woes would continue, Marko told Bild: “Unfortunately, I am afraid not. 

“Mercedes fought their way up to us over the year. Although they are not yet at eye level, they have more wind tunnel time for the development of the car. 

“But I’m not too worried. We are on the right track for 2023 and have the best driver in the field with Max.”
Red Bull’s development next season may be hampered by the wind tunnel penalty accrued due to the F1 cost cap break.

They must also deal with the drama between Verstappen and his teammate Sergio Perez which blew up unexpectedly in Brazil.

Perez ultimately finished third, behind Charles Leclerc, partly as a result of Verstappen not allowing him to pass.

READ MORE;
Lewis Hamilton’s major issue fixed in 2023 rules update as FIA claims solution found

Perez’s chances next season were rated by Marko: “Checo can certainly win one or two races. But I don’t see that he can challenge Max over a whole season. 

“In general, I don’t see that anyone with the same prerequisites can do that at the moment.”

Lewis Hamilton his old rival
Max Verstappen will be aiming for a hat-trick of consecutive championships in 2023.

Lewis Hamilton, his old rival, will re-emerge as the main contender, according to Marko.

“Ferrari is strong, but Mercedes will be stronger in the overall package,” he said.

“Especially with a driver like Lewis Hamilton. He is still a top driver. 

“Although Ferrari also has a very good driver in Leclerc, he still makes mistakes.

“We want to be similarly dominant in 2023. Even if this is very difficult, there is always room for improvement.

“We have room for improvement in reliability. In the first three races we retired three times due to a technical defect. And in Brazil, the set-up was not right. 

“We had an exceptional season, but not everything was perfect. And we still need a perfect day to beat Mercedes and Ferrari.”

It was an incredible season for Max Verstappen as he secured his second F1 drivers’ championship. What records did he break in 2022?

Most wins – 15
The first record Max Verstappen managed to break in 2022 was the number of wins in a season.

Verstappen claimed an astonishing 15 wins in 22 races, two more than Sebastian Vettel (2013) and Michael Schumacher (2004).

Granted, there are more races in 2022 compared to 2013 and 2004, but it was still a remarkable achievement, particularly as Ferrari had the faster car up until the Belgian Grand Prix.

Most points in a season – 454
With more races than ever before, it’s probably no surprise Verstappen was able to claim the record for the most points scored in a single season.

With 22 races alongside three sprint events, Lewis Hamilton’s record from 2019 of 413 points was always going to be threatened.
Max Verstappan

Max Verstappen broke Hamilton’s points tally with two rounds to go.
How long will it last?
In F1 2023, there are 24 races scheduled with three more sprint events added to the calendar.

Points deficit overturned – 46

It’s easy to forget that Verstappen and Red Bull endured a tricky start to the year.

READ MORE:
David Coulthard: ‘Only an idiot would say Max Verstappen’s success is only because of the car’

Two DNFs in the opening three rounds put Verstappen on the back foot – 46 points behind Charles Leclerc after the Australian Grand Prix.

He managed to turn it around in dominant fashion, claiming the title by 146 points in the end.

Wins from different grid positions – 7

Verstappen took wins from 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 7th, 10th and 14th on the grid.

His best wins of the year came at the Hungaroring, where he started down in 10th.

Similarly at the Belgian Grand Prix, slicing through the field from 14th to dominate at Spa.

Most wins from outside pole position – 9 

With Ferrari dominating Saturdays, Verstappen was only able to take seven pole positions in 2022.

It didn’t deter him as he took nine wins when not starting from pole position, one more than Hamilton managed in 2019.

Rafael Nadal built the advantage on short and medium exchanges. He kept his cool after a slow start and shifted into a higher gear to extend his remarkable streak. Both players held to 15 in the first few games of the match to put their names on the scoreboard.

Evans broke in the third game after a forehand error by Nadal and took the next game on an unreturned serve for a 3-1 lead. The Brit took the sixth game after another loose forehand from his opponent, and the Spaniard stayed in contention with his serve a few minutes later.

Rafa broke again in the eighth game and held 15 in the next with a service winner to take the lead. Daniel clinched the tenth game with a forehand winner and created break point at 5-5 for a great chance. Nadal saved it with a game-winning volley into the net and closed the game with a game-winning smash for 6-5.

Evans made a forehand error in the twelfth game to offer set points to his opponent. Nadal took advantage of the second after a double fault from Evans to make it 7-5 in 56 minutes. Rafa kept the tie at the beginning of the second set with an unreturned serve and broke Daniel in the second game after a terrible smash from the British.

Nadal forced his opponent’s error in the third game to open a 3-0 gap and faced break point at 3-1 after a forehand error. Rafa denied it with a volley winner and held on after Daniel’s wild forehand to stay in front.

The Spaniard closed out game seven at love point to carve out a 5-2 lead and move closer to the finish line. Evans extended the duel with a love point in the eighth game, and Nadal served for the 5-3 victory. Rafa claimed the opening point with a game-winning volley into the net and painted a backhand bullet down the line for three match points.

The Spaniard took advantage of the first with a forehand winner to seal the deal and advance to the round of 16.

Rafa Nadal made history
On Friday, Rafael Nadal bid an emotional farewell to Mexico City – the place where he won his first ATP 500 title way back in February 2005.

“It will most likely be the last time I play in Mexico, Acapulco 2023 is not on my calendar and the 2024 season seems far away. Now is the time to enjoy this moment to the fullest and play in an emblematic setting, with many people and in a country where I have always felt loved,” the Spaniard said.

“It is an unforgettable feeling to live in such an environament in Mexico, I can only say thank you for the unconditional support, it is a country that has treated me like another Mexican. It’s hard for me to say goodbye to you,” he added.

“For me the main thing right now is to be able to get to the important tournaments in full physical condition. I continue to enjoy day-by-day and I continue to have goals that excite me at a professional level. I’m going to try to achieve them until my body or mind says enough. At the moment, that hasn’t happened so I want to continue,” he said.

“Regardless of who is across the net, regardless of what the surface is, regardless of what season it is, what number of the professional season in my career we’re facing, I mean, it’s always the same. The ambitions are as high as possible,” says Novak Djokovic after winning winning his record-equalling sixth title at the ATP Finals.

“In my mind, I always see myself as the best player in the world, of course,” said supremely confident Novak Djokovic after winning his record-equalling sixth title at the ATP Finals. You have to love the “of course.”

That uber confidence has rarely ebbed during Djokovic’s long and storied career. Only after he’d lost five of six major finals in 2012-14 did he admit he had struggled to have his convictions overcome his doubts.

At age 35, those convictions seem stronger than ever now as he strives to earn GOAT recognition. “I have that kind of mentality and that kind of approach,” Djokovic said. “Regardless of who is across the net, regardless of what the surface is, regardless of what season it is, what number of the professional season in my career we’re facing, I mean, it’s always the same. The ambitions are as high as possible.”

Djokovic’s great ambitions got sidetracked this season, though — but not because of his opponents. His refusal to get a COVID vaccination prevented him from playing the Australian and U.S. Opens and four Masters 1000 tournaments. But when the defiant Serb did play, he often prevailed with five titles in 12 events. At the season-ending ATP Finals in Turin, Italy, No. 5-ranked Djokovic whipped five of the Elite Eight, prompting former No. 1 Andy Roddick to say, “I don’t care what he’s ranked. He’s the best player in the world.”

Let’s take a close look at his tour de force in Turin and see how Djokovic reasserted his supremacy and how the other contenders fared.

The Djokovic game — The Great Ones always strive to improve because they are perfectionists. “He’s practising even harder than when he was 22,” said Goran Ivanisevic, his coach and former world No. 2. “That’s why he’s still so good, and that’s why he’s still going to be even better.”

But how can Djokovic improve if his technique is already virtually perfect? The short answer is to hit harder, stay consistent, and play smarter.

That’s exactly what Djokovic did in his competitive yet decisive 7-5, 6-3 victory over World No. 3 Casper Ruud in the final. The Serb boasts the best serve return and backhand in tennis history, and these two shots have overshadowed two other mighty weapons: his serve and forehand.

Against Ruud, Djokovic made 71% of his first serves, won an excellent 85% of first serve points and a terrific 69% of his second serve points, belted nine aces, had no double faults, and never faced a break point. “He has one of the best serves,” said Ivanisevic. “Especially when it’s tight, it’s tough, especially this week he was hitting unbelievable serves under pressure.”

Even when Ruud managed to return Djokovic’s serve, the Serb often overpowered him during baseline exchanges. He smacked 14 of his 27 winners with his forehand. “I was really pleased with the way I was playing from the back of the court,” said Djokovic. “With my forehand, I was looking to be very aggressive, and it worked great.”

Tactically, Djokovic mostly eschewed drop shots — which sometimes had backfired in earlier matches — and came to the net often enough to keep the Norwegian off-balance.

Lastly, Novak excelled on the big points, winning four of five tiebreakers during the tournament. For the entire season, he racked up a sensational 19-5 tiebreaker record.

Ruud is runner-up again — The ATP Finals mirrored much of Casper Ruud’s highly successful yet bittersweet year. The mild-mannered, 23-year-old seized three tour titles but lost four prestigious finals at the U.S. Open, Roland Garros, the Miami Open, and the ATP Finals.

“In the end, it’s been disappointing to end up losing these big finals,” Ruud said. “Overall, if you gave me an offer to end the year at No. 3, play the finals that I’ve played, on the 1st of January this year, I would sign the contract right away. No doubt about it.”

tennis

Making an impact: Casper Ruud of Norway makes a return against Djokovic in the final. Final-round losses to No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz in Miami and the U.S. Open, to Rafael Nadal, the King of Clay at the French Open, and to Djokovic on fast indoor hard courts in Turin — all terrific players on their best surfaces — should not dishearten Ruud. | Photo Credit: Getty Images

Rudd far surpassed one of his modest pre-season goals — reaching his first Grand Slam quarterfinal. From that perspective, he said, “I’ve overachieved compared to my own mind, so I’m very happy about that.”

Final-round losses to No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz in Miami and the U.S. Open, to Rafael Nadal, the King of Clay at the French Open, and to Djokovic on fast indoor hard courts in Turin — all terrific players on their best surfaces — should not dishearten Ruud. Each setback exposed weaknesses in his game.

For example, his much-improved backhand eventually broke down in gruelling, power rallies against Djokovic, who beat him for the fourth straight time in straight sets. Ruud’s volley also erred too often. The smart, level-headed Norwegian learned from these losses, saying, “I feel like there is room for improvements, so that’s a good thing.”

Fritz breaks through — Taylor Fritz, who had incrementally improved his ranking during the previous three years, broke through in 2022 with a career-high, season-ending No. 9.

The 25-year-old American climaxed his campaign by making the semifinals in his debut at the ATP Finals. He notched round-robin victories against Nadal and Felix Auger-Aliassime (FAA) before bowing to Djokovic 7-6 (5), 7-6 (6). As Fritz served for the second set at 5-4, 30-all, a spectator yelled when he was about to hit an easy backhand. Distracted and angered, he netted the shot. Djokovic won the next point to break serve and reverse the momentum. Fritz should learn from that misstep.

“I absolutely feel like I belong,” said Fritz. “I think I’ve proved that I belong in the Top 10. I just need to keep working hard. Fortunately, for me, I think there’s a lot of positives to take out of this year. I finished where I did and I missed pretty much the whole clay-court season, didn’t have any training going into the beginning of the hard-court season. I was dealing with injuries, and I still was able to produce a really solid year.”

ALSO READ – Nadal says ‘part of his life left’ when Federer retired

That he did! He captured his first Masters 1000 title in Indian Wells, where he upset Andrey Rublev and Nadal. He also won Eastbourne on grass and Tokyo on hard courts. A huge first serve, a more aggressive forehand, and a newfound confidence bode well for Fritz next year.

Rublev got game — Andrey Rublev fired back with the force of his rocket serve when ungracious loser Stefanos Tsitsipas criticised his game. After Rublev prevailed 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 at the ATP Finals, Tsitsipas carped, “I didn’t really feel threatened…. I feel like the better player…. I felt like I could just be much more creative…. But, yeah, he prevailed with the few tools that he has.”

When asked about Tsitsipas’ uncalled-for comments, Rublev said, “If we go shot by shot, I think his backhand is better than mine. His forehand is not better than mine. His serve speed is not better than mine. But I don’t think that I beat him because of few tools. If you take our match, every match, we have tough battles. This year I lost to him twice in three sets, and now I beat him in three sets.”

The No. 8 Rublev has plenty to be proud of, having won four titles this year — in Marseille, Dubai, Belgrade, and Gijon — and making the semis at the ATP Finals for the first time.

Even so, Rublev clearly needs more tactical variety. He must capitalise more on his booming serve and forehand by coming to net more, using angles, and stroking timely drop shots. He also needs more power and spin on his weak second serve, which averaged only 91 mph against Djokovic, 90 mph against Tsitsipas, and 85 mph against Ruud.

During his 6-7 (7), 6-3, 7-6 (7) victory over fellow Russian Daniil Medvedev, he displayed an excellent tactic by returning second serves from a foot inside the baseline. Rublev also did a great job of controlling his aggression and staying patient against a great counterpuncher by winning 21 of 29 points that went nine shots or more. And on his fifth match point, he ended a brutal, 37-shot rally with a forehand volley winner.

Rublev now knows that being an aimless, one-dimensional slugger can take him only so far.

Medvedev’s slump worsens — Since losing a five-set final to Nadal at the 2022 Australian Open, the 26-year-old Russian has gone 0-8 against top 10 opponents. The last three losses came at the ATP Finals, all by 7-6 in the third set to Rublev, Tsitsipas, and Djokovic. Two weeks before, he lost 7-5 in the third set to No. 25 Alex De Minaur in the Paris Masters first round.

When Medvedev was dominating the second set of the Paris match, Tennis Channel analyst Paul Annacone averred, “Medvedev is a strategic genius when it comes to playing points. He knows just what he wants to do. He is such an anomaly. It’s tough to figure him out.”

Novak Djokovic Puts Three Win
On top: Djokovic with the trophy after the final. | Photo Credit: AP

Not anymore! First, Medvedev’s too-deep positioning prevents him from dominating baseline rallies with powerful groundstrokes or sharp angles. Poor positioning also makes it harder to hit drop shots and reach short balls. It causes him to hit short balls himself. It’s also tougher to hit passing shots, particularly crosscourt, from deep positions, and Tsitsipas capitalised by winning 30 of 37 net points.

Second, though Medvedev can run his opponents around, he lacks a knockout punch to end points quickly with one shot. That creates long rallies, especially against other counterpunchers like the tenacious, speedy De Minaur. Extended rallies aren’t necessarily good for the Russian, though, because he often gets tired before his opponents do. Oddly enough, he’s a counterpuncher who admitted he doesn’t like to run. Unless 2021 U.S. Open champion Medvedev becomes more offensive-minded and improves his backcourt positioning, develops a knockout shot, and corrects his flawed volley, he won’t win another major.

Auger-Aliassime’s dream — Thrilled at making his ATP Finals debut, Felix said, “It’s something I’ve dreamed of and recently became my goal. And now that I have achieved this goal, it makes me feel very proud and also for the people around me, including my family and team.”

Auger-Aliassime reached his dream destination as the Tour’s hottest player. He captured three consecutive titles in Florence, Antwerp, and Basel before teenager Holger Rune ended his 16-match winning streak in the Paris semifinals.

The lightning-fast courts in Turin helped power-hitting FAA upset his boyhood idol Nadal 6-3, 6-4 for the first time in three tries. “When I am playing like this, I have proven I can compete and beat some of the best players in the world,” said Felix, who hammered 15 aces.

Against Ruud, the handsome, 22-year-old Canadian boldly hit 38% of his groundstrokes from inside the baseline in the first set, but, paradoxically, came to net only 10 times, despite winning all 10 points. He lost the match 7-6 (4), 6-4 and should learn to maximise a winning tactic.

Faulty shot selection in the deciding set also hurt Auger-Aliassime in his duel against Fritz with a berth in the semis at stake. After his 7-6 (4), 6-7 (5), 6-2 setback, FAA said, “In the third set, [I made some] bad [shot] choices, bad execution. Maybe I lost focus a little bit. The fact that I’m tired, sometimes you don’t feel like you’re tired, but it’s late, you’ve played a lot. I’ve played a long year.”

Indeed, he had, but it was also his most successful year. The highly athletic Canadian need only strengthen his second serve and backhand and tweak his tactics to win a major in 2023.

Tsitsipas family dysfunction — Tennis parents have ranged from violent monsters like Damir Dokic and Marinko Lucic to role models like Karolj Seles and Jimmy Evert. Where Apostolos Tsitsipas, the father-coach of world No. 4 Stefanos, ends up on the tennis parent spectrum is anyone’s guess. But their fraught relationship is trending downward.

Let’s start though with the good news. Stefanos’ thrilling 6-3, 6-7 (11), 7-6 (1) triumph over Medvedev, climaxed by the Greek’s splendid 7-1 deciding set tiebreaker, proved the highlight of his tournament. No one expected Tsitsipas to beat Djokovic, who had won their last nine matches, so Novak’s 6-4, 7-6 win was predictable.

The Tsitsipas family has a history of illegal coaching during matches, drawing repeated warnings from umpires and complaints from opponents. Stefanos has told his parents he doesn’t want their input, but that hasn’t stopped his garrulous dad from shouting from the player’s box. In the third set of his 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 loss to Rublev, a frustrated and angry Tsitsipas whacked a ball towards his father.

Former No. 1 Jim Courier best summed up the Tsitsipas family dysfunction. “Things out of his control are impacting Stefanos,” Courier said on Tennis Channel. “His family is so invested in his success. They want to help him from the sidelines, but they’re just hurting him. And it’s hurting his chances to play good tennis. You saw how he threw his serve away with two double faults [in the third set]. He got lost in the match when his parents started jawing at each other. It seems like they need a therapy session to figure it all out. Because they want their kid to do well, but it’s just not working. The way it’s going right now, it’s hurting him more than it’s helping.”

Nadal fights valiantly — Like an old, battered warhorse who relishes competing until he drops, Nadal staggered into the ATP Finals to finish a mostly superb but injury-riddled year.

He captured the Australian Open despite a case of COVID and a chronic foot injury that left him on crutches in December 2021. He lost the Indian Wells final to Fritz while hampered by a painful fractured rib. At the French Open, tormented by severe foot pain from a congenital foot disease, Nadal needed a pre-final injection, which made his foot feel “asleep,” to win his 14th title.

At Wimbledon, his father urged Nadal, hampered by a seven-millimetre tear in his abdominal muscle, to retire against Fritz. Instead, this ultimate warrior, now 36, received treatment and came back to win in a fifth-set tiebreaker. He then defaulted his semifinal match to Nick Kyrgios to end his bid for a rare Grand Slam.

No wonder the debilitated Nadal won only three matches in the next four months before the ATP Finals. It was also no surprise he lost his first two round-robin matches, to Fritz and Auger-Aliassime. Perhaps the feel-good story in Turin was his season-ending 7-5, 7-5 victory over Ruud.

“I can’t ask for more,” said Nadal, both conqueror and survivor. “2022 has had a tough six months, two Grand Slams, and finishing the year in a high spot [No. 2] in the rankings. So, I can’t complain at all. At my age, to be able to achieve and be competitive means a lot for me.”

Who knows how much more or how well the seemingly indestructible Spaniard can play? At a minimum, he’ll likely still thrive on clay next year. A Tennis Channel analyst even quipped, “Nadal will probably win five to seven more French Opens after he retires.”

Carlos Alcaraz played well at the season’s first Masters 1000 event in Indian Wells. An 18-year-old reached his first Masters 1000 semi-final and lost to Rafael Nadal after over three hours of a grueling battle. Hungry for more, the young gun played well in Miami and advanced into the fourth round with a 6-4, 6-4 triumph over the 21st seed Marin Cilic.

Carlos beat Marin in an hour and 35 minutes, serving well and delivering one break in each set. The Spaniard dropped 14 points in ten service games and defended the only break point he faced. Marin felt the pressure and could not endure it until at least one tie break.

The Croat defended seven out of nine break points, which was not enough to keep him in contention longer. Carlos tamed his strokes nicely and hit 16 winners and 14 unforced errors. He had the advantage in the mid-range and most extended rallies to emerge at the top and remain on the title course.

Marin closed the encounter’s opening game with a powerful serve and earned a break chance in game two.
Carlos Alcaraz toppled Marin Cilic at the Miami Masters.

Carlos denied it with a forehand down the line winner and leveled the score at 1-1 to avoid an early setback.

Alcaraz took charge in the exchanges in the third game to create two break chances, missing both after Cilic’s solid hitting. The Spaniard attacked on the fourth break point and forced the rival’s mistake to grab an early break and move 2-1 in front.

A teenager cemented the lead with a hold at love in game four thanks to a service winner. Cilic cracked a backhand crosscourt winner in game five to remain within one break deficit before Alcaraz responded with a forehand crosscourt winner in game six for 4-2.

The Croat produced a fine hold in game seven, and the Spaniard grabbed the next one with a service winner to move 5-3 ahead. Marin served to stay in the set in game nine and faced a set point after Carlos’ perfect lob winner.

Cilic denied it and held with a booming serve for 4-5. Alcaraz created a set point in game ten with a service winner and delivered another for 6-4 in 48 minutes. Marin held after deuces at the start of the second set, and Carlos followed that pace in game two for 1-1.

Cilic netted a backhand in the third game and faced three break points. He denied them and claimed five straight points for a vital hold and 2-1. Both players served well in the next couple of games, and Alcaraz locked the result at 3-3 after Cilic’s wild forehand.

The Croat claimed the seventh game at love with a service winner before the Spaniard held at 30 in the next one for 4-4. Carlos stepped in on the return in game nine and fired a forehand winner for a break chance. He converted it to build the advantage and serve for the victory at 5-4. The young gun held at love in game ten after forcing the rival’s smash error that propelled him into the last 16.

Emma Raducanu will start her season at the ASB Classic in Auckland.
Emma Raducanu has learned who she could face at next month’s ASB Classic in Auckland as she prepares to play her first tournament since October. The British No 1 was forced to end her season early when she sustained a wrist injury but recently revealed that she had finally recovered as she returned to hitting on a tennis court using her playing hand for the first time.

Emma Raducanu signed up for the WTA 250 in Auckland as her first tournament of the 2023 season in the build up to the Australian Open, and has now learned who else will be starting their year in New Zealand after the entry list was confirmed earlier this week. While the draw will not be made until a few days before the tournament, the world No 75 has discovered who she could face in a stacked draw with the likes of Coco Gauff also competing as the top seed.

As well as the world No 7, former US Open champion Sloane Stephens has signed up to the tournament. Raducanu beat the world No 37 in her opening match at last year’s Australian Open, while another of her former rivals – her 2021 US Open final opponent Leylah Fernandez – will be the tournament’s third seed.

Bernarda Pera, Xiyu Wang, Danka Kovinic, Madison Brengle and Lin Zhu make up the rest of the top eight seeds. Kovinic is another player that the 20-year-old faced in her Australian Open debut last year, when Raducanu famously suffered with blistering and could barely hold her racket properly but managed to last a full three sets with the world No 57 winning 6-4 4-6 6-3.

Emma Raducanu
Emma Raducanu’s US Open finals opponent Leylah Fernandez will also play in Auckland (Image: Getty)

Other notable players in the draw include Tereza Martincova – who Raducanu beat in Madrid last year – as well as teen sensation Linda Fruhvirtova and former world No 19 Karolina Muchova who has entered using her protected ranking. Raducanu had already confirmed her participation in Auckland last month before the full entry list was released this week.

“I’m really looking forward to coming to New Zealand,” the former world No 10 previously said. “I’ve heard so many good things about the tournament. It is a great way to start off the Australian Open swing. I have heard that the tournament in New Zealand is great for players and fans. New Zealand is known for its beautiful landscape and nature, so I hope I can get to explore some of the other beautiful parts whilst in my time there.”

Ahead of her first official tournament in three months, Raducanu will be playing an exhibition match in Abu Dhabi against world No 2 Ons Jabeur next week. The 2021 US Open champion had been set to take on Olympic champion Belinda Bencic at last year’s Mubadala World Tennis Championship but tested positive for Covid days before the event, and will be returning this year to finally play.

And the top-ranked British woman has been getting some practice in ahead of her long-awaited match in Abu Dhabi as she shared her excitement to return to the tennis court on Instagram recently following a wrist injury that forced her out of the Transylvania Open and Billie Jean King Cup Finals. “Sometimes practice right handed too. Missed this big time,” she wrote alongside footage of her training session.