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Tue, Jan. 28

Howard: Exciting times in the world of professional tennis
My Point

Recently professional tennis has had an explosion of tennis news that enthusiasts want to hear and keep up with.

Roger Federer just won his 10th Basel singles title, in his own hometown in Switzerland, and his fourth title of 2019. He defeated 20 year old Alex de Minaur 6-2, 6-2, a player who had won the last three tournaments he’d played in. Roger now owns 103 tour singles championships and will be getting ready for the year-end ATP Championships.

The ATP Finals will be held at the O2 in London, England, Nov. 10-17 with the Top 8 ranked players qualifying for those elite spots, and prize money totaling $8,500,000 million for both the singles and doubles event.

Currently the top 8 are: Rafa Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Daniil Medvedev, Domonic Thiem, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Alexander Zverev and Matteo Berrettini.

The Paris Indoor Masters is being played Oct. 28 – Nov. 3, so there are still 7 players who could take over the lower two positions for the year end finals which will keep those players and their fans on needles and pins.

The Women’s WTA Finals are in progress with the Red group consisting of Ashleigh Barty, Naomi Osaka, Petra Kvitova and Belinda Bencic; the Purple group is Karolina Pliskova, Simona Halep, Bianca Andreescu and Elina Svitolina who won this prestigious event in 2018.

Even though Serena Williams was in two major finals this year, her ranking placed her one spot outside the top 8, thus no American’s are in this year’s finale.

This $14 million event is held in Shenzhen, China and sponsored by Shiseido and is the largest one tournament payday for men or women in the history of tennis.

On another note, Andy Murray from Scotland claimed his first singles title since coming back from hip resurfacing surgery over Stan Wawrinka at the European Open in Antwerp, Belgium 3-6, 6-4, 6-4.

This was his first singles title in over two years and the win brings his ranking to No. 127. He couldn’t be happier. Just months ago, he believed his professional tennis career was most likely over, and now he has been chosen by Britain to play in the finals for their Davis Cup team.

Teenage sensation “Coco Gauff” won her first professional singles title (still at the age of 15) over Jelena Ostapenko (22) 6-3, 1-6, 6-2 at the Upper Austria Ladies Tournament. She was reinstated in the draw when a player withdrew. This is known as being a “Lucky Loser.”

These tournament match wins will move her ranking within the Top 75 in the world, which is fantastic.

Is everyone looking forward to “Aussie Kim” (Kim Clijsters) returning to the tour with a few warm up tournaments before entering the Austrialian Open in 2020?

At age 36, three children later and seven years since her last professional match, it may be a tough road for the former No. 1 player from Belgium, but she says she wants to give it a try, not have any regrets in thinking she should have and didn’t give it a shot.

I believe we’ll all be pulling for her.

And on a different note, Rafa Nadal (33) and Mery “Xisca” Perello (31) got married after dating for about 14 years.

Rafa recently won the U.S. Open to put him one Grand Slam title behind all-time leader Roger Federer who has 20.

He became engaged in May and was married a couple weeks ago on the island of Mallorca, Spain where he and Mery are from.

Currently ranked No. 1 in the world and looking to play in the Paris Open, the year-end finals, and lastly Davis Cup; it seems marriage is agreeing with him so far. And in about 9 months, let’s just see if there isn’t a new little Nadal being carted around.

Chris Howard is a local USPTA Tennis Professional with over 50 years in the racquet and fitness industry. He can be reached at 928-642-6775 or choward4541@gmail.com.

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