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Get Ready for the ATP Finals 2023 in Turin

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Carlos Alcaraz ATP Finals

2023 has been an epic year in the world of tennis. We saw Novak Djokovic reclaim his throne earlier in the year at the Australian Open. Last year, the Serbian sensation wasn’t allowed to compete due to a visa discrepancy allowing rival Rafael Nadal to claim the title for just the second time in his career.

This time around, Nole was out to prove he was the King of the Land Down Under, and he did exactly that. While Nadal was exciting in the second round courtesy of a stunning upset defeat at the hands of unheralded American Michael McDonald, Djokovic went all the way once more, defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas in the Melbourne showpiece to win a record-extending tenth crown on the famed hard courts and a fourth straight victory in Australian Opens he has entered.

 But it wasn’t just down under where he shone brightly. Djokovic further staked his claim for the GOAT tag as he secured the trophies at both the French Open and the US Open. But at Wimbledon, he met his match in the form of 20-year-old Spanish starlet Carlos Alcaraz.

The young powerhouse managed to defeat his more experienced rival after a five-set thriller on Centre Court, stopping Djokovic from matching Roger Federer’s record of eight titles at the All-England club.

 Both those two will be in action at the upcoming ATP Finals. But who else will be? Here is all you need to know about the end-of-year showdown.

When will the ATP Finals 2023 Take Place? 

The dates of the 2023 ATP Finals are November 12–19, 2023.

Where is the ATP Finals 2023 Being Held? 

For the third consecutive year, the competition will take place at the Pala Alpitour in Turin, Italy. It will serve as the event’s host city until 2025, making it the fifteenth city to host the ATP season finale.

How Do the ATP Finals Work? 

The ATP Finals, which features the top eight qualified singles players, is the season-ending event for the ATP Tour. To be eligible for the event, players must accumulate points during the season.

The competition follows a round-robin style and consists of two groups of four players each. The top two finishers from each group move on to the knockout semifinals, where the winners of those semifinals compete for the championship.

Who is the Defending Champion? 

Surprise, Surprise, Novak Djokovic is the reigning champion. Last year he knocked off talented young Norwegian star Casper Ruud in straight sets to lift the trophy for a record equalling sixth time.

What may come as a surprise however is that Nole’s success was his first ATP Finals victory in some seven years. The likes of Andy Murray, Grigor Dimitrov, Alexander Zverev (twice), Stefanos Tsitsipas, and Daniil Medvedev have all won the tournament during that time frame, which may give hope to some of this year’s less illustrious competitors.

Who Will Be in Action at the ATP Finals 2023? 

Daniil Medvedev, Jannik Sinner, Carlos Alcaraz, and Novak Djokovic have all qualified for the tournament thus far, and this year’s Wimbledon champion will certainly fancy his chances.

He has topped the ATP rankings all year long, despite Djokovic’s heroics in three of the four Grand Slams contested. The Spaniard recently stated that he thinks of his Serbian rival in “every training session” and the two may well be on a collision course to round out what has been a scintillating year in the tennis world.

The push for qualification is intensifying as the 2023 ATP Finals approach in less than seven weeks. There are four spaces left to fill. The players now in position to qualify are Andrey Rublev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Alexander Zverev, and Holger Rune; but, a lot can change in the coming weeks, as there will be two Masters 1000 events and four ATP 500 tournaments.

Going far in one or both of those tournaments could very well be the difference between qualifying and missing out.

The Perfect Set-Up for 2024

While the ATP Finals may well bring the curtain down on the 2023 season, it also represented the perfect opportunity to lay down a marker ahead of the coming 2024 campaign.

Just 56 days separate the Turin showpiece and the opening round of January’s Australian Open, and winning here will certainly be a statement of intent, especially for Alcaraz. If he is able to knock off Djokovic on the Serbian’s favored hard courts, then he will plant a grain of doubt into the GOAT’s mind ahead of the trip down under in the new year.

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Will We See Another Showdown Between the Two Legends at Roland-Garros?

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Novak Djokovic tennis practicing

With the French Open fast approaching, the clock is ticking on Rafael Nadal’s decision to play or sit out. The Spanish legend is likely in his final year of professional tennis but has been struggling with numerous injuries and is well below his best. 

Nadal showed glimpses of his former glory after defeating Australian Alex de Minaur in the round of 64 at the Madrid Open. However, he looked slow, and his forehand was lacking its typical power in his fourth-round defeat to Czech Jiri Lehecka. The Spaniard struggled with the 22-year-old’s booming groundstrokes. It was an emotional moment as Nadal bowed out of the Madrid Open, as that’s probably the last time he’ll play at the event.

Nadal Still Undecided About French Open

Nadal hasn’t confirmed his participation in the 2024 French Open. He said he’ll only play if he thinks he can compete and has a decent chance of winning the Grand Slam. Nadal doesn’t just want to show up and make up the numbers. 

Ivan Ljubicic, Roger Federer’s former coach, said the 14-time French Open winner will only make an appearance at Roland-Garros if he’s fit enough to make it all the way to the final. 

Nadal is strategically planning his final year on tour. Despite the French Open being his favorite tournament, the 37-year-old has his eyes on the Olympics, which will be held in Paris and also be played on clay. Despite clinching a gold medal in 2008 in Beijing, the Mallorcan would love to add another glimmering medal to his trophy cabinet. 

Nadal is reportedly healthy following his loss to Jiri Lehecka at the Madrid Open. However, age is catching up to the legend, who’s been dealing with a string of injuries throughout his career. His movement is nowhere near what it once was, especially laterally.

The Spaniard underwent hip surgery in 2023 which has taken months to recover from. Despite the surgery being a success, he doesn’t look like the same player from 2022, when he clinched his 14th French Open.

Nadal is also lacking match fitness coming into the French Open, which is considered one of the most grueling tournaments. Due to the slow-playing surface, points are much longer, and players are on the court for extended periods of time. It remains to be seen if the 37-year-old’s body can handle multiple five-setters. It’d take a minor miracle for Nadal to match fit in time.

Novak Djokovic Hopes Nadal Chooses to Play at Roland-Garros

One might assume that Nadal’s biggest rival, Novak Djokovic, might be secretly praying the clay king doesn’t play at the 2024 French Open. However, that’s not the case. The Serbian master, with 24 Grand Slams and three French Open titles, wants to take on Nadal.

Djokovic and Nadal have met 10 times at Roland-Garros, and Nadal holds a commanding 8-2 record. While the Belgrade native won’t even equal the score, he’d love to end their rivalry with a win. 

Incredibly, Nadal has 112 wins at the French Open and only three defeats. The only other player to send the Spaniard packing in Paris is Robin Soderling, who pulled off an incredible upset in the fourth round at the 2009 French Open.

It’d be amazing to see Djokovic and Nadal in the 2024 French Open final. However, even if the Spaniard decides to play, he isn’t in his best form, and there are a whole host of young guns, including Carlos Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner, who would be incredibly difficult to beat.

Let’s hope Djokovic gets his wish and Nadal does play in the 2024 French Open. It’d be amazing to see the 37-year-old win another Roland-Garros title and then follow up with a gold medal at the Paris Olympics. 

Unfortunately for Nadal fans, we’re picking Jannik Sinner to win the 2024 French Open. The 22-year-old Italian keeps getting better and has already downed Djokovic in the semi-final en route to his first Grand Slam. 2024 is Sinner’s year, expect his ridiculous forehand to give opponents serious headaches at Roland-Garros. If Sinner doesn’t get the job done, Andrey Rublev is a great sleeper pick. The Russian is coming off an impressive win against Carlos Alcaraz in Madrid.

Read More: Garbiñe Muguruza Retires

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Garbiñe Muguruza Hangs up the Racket for Good

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Garbine. Muguruza playing tennis at Madison Square Garden

After taking an extended break from the tournament circuit, Garbiñe Muguruza has officially announced her retirement from professional tennis at just 30 years old. 

In an age where athletes continue to dominate deep into their thirties, the decision to call it quits was somewhat surprising. However, the Spanish-Venezuelan former world No. 1 has struggled to get anywhere close to her 2016 and 2017 which saw her emerge victorious at the French Open and Wimbledon.

Muguruza said during a press conference in Madrid, “I feel that it’s time to retire and open up a new chapter in my life.” She ends her career with 10 titles and $24.8 million in prize money. 

She First Picked up a Racket at Three Years Old

Muguruza was born in Caracas, Venezuela, on 8 October 1993. Her tennis-obsessed Spanish father, José Antonio Muguruza, had already decided she’d become a professional. She started training at a local academy in Guarenas from the time she could walk. Muguruza was in constant competition with her older brothers, who also went on to become pros.

Muguruza’s father immediately spotted precocious talent in the young Garbiñe and decided to relocate the family to Spain. Garbiñe began playing full-time at the Bruguera Tennis Academy in Barcelona, and her level continued to accelerate.

She turned pro in 2012 and immediately found success. At the Miami Open, she left world No. 2, Vera Zvonareva, embarrassed, handing her a loss. Then, just two years later, she added her first WTA title to her trophy collection, triumphing at the Hobart International in Australia.

Muguruza Leaves the Williams Sisters in Shock

Coming into the 2016 French Open, Muguruza wasn’t in the best form after making a few quarterfinals but struggling to win a title. In the opening round, she played a jittery first set against Anna Karolina Schmiedlová. However, then a switch went off in the Spanish-Venezuelan as she came roaring back, winning the match in three sets.

From that point on, she was in terminator mode, refusing to drop a set. In the final, she lined up against defending champion Serena Williams. No one seemed to have told Muguruza she was a huge underdog. She took the first set 7-5 and held her composure in the second, winning 6-4 and her first Major.

Despite failing to defend her title, 2017 was set to be another amazing year for the young pro. She entered Wimbledon as the 14th seed and was involved in some absolute wars, including a three-set match against the previous year’s runner-up and world No. 1, Angelique Kerber. 

In the final, she again faced a Williams, but this time, it was Venus’ turn to have a crack at Muguruza. Despite Venus being a grass court specialist with five Wimbledon titles, Muguruza didn’t give an inch, winning the match and title in straight sets. With the win, she became the only player to defeat both Williams sisters in the Grand Slam finals.

Gifted Athlete With Punishing Groundstrokes

Muguruza was famed for her incredible explosive power. She hit the ball so flat and hard that her opponents were often caught unprepared. Due to the speed of Muguruza’s groundstrokes, she rarely had to aim for the lines. Instead, the Spanish-Venezuelan former world No. 1 would play high-percentage shots up the middle of the court while her opponents would make unforced error after unforced error. No matter how quickly her opponents would prepare, they struggled to return the ball cleanly.

Muguruza was also known for her huge serve, which clocked in 113 mph (182 km/h). She was one of the few female players who could consistently serve aces, which made it easy to hold serve. 

What’s Next for Garbiñe Muguruza?

Muguruza hasn’t revealed her plans for the future just yet. However, at the moment, she’s spending time off the court with her friends and family. The two-time Grand Slam winner still loves tennis and will most likely play a coaching and mentoring role to the next generation of Spanish players. 

After spending a decade on tour and winning 10 titles, including the French Open and Wimbledon, Muguruza has earned her retirement. It’s just a shame she battled so many injuries over the years and never got back to her peak form.

Read More: Lady Byng Trophy Finalists Revealed

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Sinner Takes the 2024 Miami Open by Storm: Can He Dethrone Djokovic?

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Jannik Sinner Winner Australian Open 2024

Jannik Sinner is the world number two, and boy, did he show it at the Miami Open. The red-headed Italian sensation didn’t lose a set at the tournament as he crushed big name after big name on the road to the title. The 22-year-old already has over $21 million in prize money and has taken his game to another level after winning his first Grand Slam at the 2024 Australian Open against Novak Djokovic.

Standing at 6 ft 2 and weighing just 76 kg, Sinner doesn’t look very imposing, especially with his boyish face and orange mop of hair. However, looks can be deceiving because the Italian is a fierce competitor with some of the strongest groundstrokes on tour. The amount of power he can generate is incredible, particularly his short slap forehand, which is a thing of beauty and often leaves his opponents helpless as it goes flying past them.

Sinner also puts an immense spin on the ball, which allows his deep shots to just drop inside the baseline, putting his opponents on the back foot. He’s also incredibly agile, consistently returning balls he has no right getting close to. The only weak part of his game is his serve, but that has improved significantly over the last year as the 22-year-old hit the gym and boosted his strength.

It appears we’re in a changing of the guard moment as, finally, in Jannik Sinner tennis has found a worthy successor to Novak Djokovic. Don’t be surprised if these two meet in another Grand Slam final this year. The Italian may be the player to send Djokovic off into retirement.

Medvedev Was No Match for Sinner

In the semi-final, Sinner came up against the formidable Daniil Medvedev. The Russian may look awkward at times on the court, but he’s one of the cleanest ball strikers on the planet and one of the top few players who can hit a very flat ball without making unforced errors. 

Medvedev is an absolute menace on hard courts, winning the US Open in 2021 and making the final of the Australian Open three times. However, nobody informed Sinner as the Italian completely dismantled the Russian. Medvedev looked hopeless out there as even his best shots were sent flying right back at him. Throughout the match, he was moaning to his box, and before you could blink, the match was over, with Sinner winning in straight sets 6-1, 6-2.

Sinner won 60 points in the match, while Medvedev won just 37. The Italian converted four of nine breakpoints. The Russian had his moments but failed to win any of his three break points. The most glaring statistic was the percentage of points won on first serve. Sinner won 80% of first serve points while Medvedev managed just 53%. Shockingly, on second serve, the Russian won only 44% of points.

Dimitrov Couldn’t Put a Dent in Sinner

Even though Sinner was in fine form coming into the final, his opponent, Grigor Dimitrov, was also playing out of this world. In the quarter-final, he downed Carlos Alcaraz, who many thought would win the tournament in straight sets. 

Dimitrov looked unbeatable in that match as he bullied the Spaniard around the court with heavy groundstrokes. He created eight break points and managed to convert four. 

Then, in the semi-final, he came up against Alexander Zverev. The two had a grueling three-set battle before Dimitrov eventually came out on top. In the whole match, the Bulgarian only had two break points and capitalized on both.

Everyone in the crowd for the final was expecting a hard-fought affair, but it was a bloodbath. Sinner sliced through the Bulgarian with ease. Dimitrov never stood a chance, going down 6-3, 6-1. Towards the end of the match, Dimitrov resigned himself to defeat as he struggled to stay in rallies with the Italian, who had the ball on a string.

Sinner was rock solid on serve. He won 88% of first-serve points and, throughout the entire battle, only faced one break point, which Dimitrov failed to win. Ultimately, the Italian showed that he was in a class of his own. We can’t wait for the next time Sinner faces Djokovic. Wouldn’t it be great to see a French Open final between Sinner and Djokovic? We’ve got our money on the Italian!

Also Read: Novak Djokovic’s Next Coach

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