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First-Time Winner Spotlight: Alexander Zverev

ATP news - 0 sec ago
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How does it feel to be standing here with the trophy, your first ATP World Tour title?
It's great at such a young age as well. It's something that I could only dream of and I'm really proud of myself right now.

Did you ever imagine that at the age of 19 you'd be an ATP World Tour winner?
I got to a few finals where I was really close but before when I was a kid, no I could have not imagined that. It's something really special to be here and getting this trophy for the first time.

Was it your dream growing up to win a title?
Of course. I think for anybody who plays tennis, it's a dream to win a tour title.

Did you go into this final with a different mindset compared to your past two in Nice and Halle?
In Nice, I was quite tired. I think I spent 12 hours on court before that final. I played three-set matches every single match I played. But Halle was a chance that I could have taken and won the final. But the mindset has to be the same. How I handle the situation is different now because I had those two finals before.


How does it feel to be the first teenage winner on the tour since Marin Cilic in 2008?
Really? I'm the first one. Wow. No, it's great. As I said winning a tour title was always a dream and now it came true and being the first since '08, it's great.

Does it make it special to have beaten two Top 10 players along the way, back-to-back?
Oh yeah it's definitely something special, beating Tomas Berdych in the semis and beating Stan Wawrinka, who's the US Open champion, in the final. It's something even more that I'm proud of.

You didn't lose a set en route to the final. Talk about your exceptional play and what you did well this week.
I played OK. I played pretty well. I was serving pretty good the whole week, which helps on a fast court, indoors. And I was pretty good, pretty solid from the baseline. Obviously I had a few tough opponents but yeah, I was happy with the way I played.

Read More: ATP Launches "Next Generation" Campaign

Now that you've won your first title, have you thought about what's next, your next goals?
Winning another one hopefully.

You and Nick Kyrgios are the first #NextGen players to win an ATP World Tour title this season. Talk about this young group of future stars.
As I said before there's a strong group of guys coming up who all play pretty good tennis. You mention Nick, who's Top 20 now. He's been playing exceptional this year. Other teenagers like Taylor Fritz or Borna Coric, they've been playing pretty good. Some Russian guys are coming through quite well as well, like Karen Khachanov, Daniil Medvedev, Andrey Rublev. They've all been playing quite good tennis this year.

Lastly, when you were growing up, who were the players you followed most closely?
Roger. Quite simple.

First-Time Winner Spotlight: Lucas Pouille

ATP news - 1 hour 14 min ago

How does it feel to win your first ATP World Tour title in Metz?

“I’m very happy. It’s a big honour to win my first ATP World Tour title in France, in front of family and friends. It’s even more special to win when they are here, since I can share the happiness with all of them. Winning a title is something I’ve dreamed about since I was a kid watching tennis on television. I’ve played to win since I was young so this one means a lot.”

What did you do differently this time, compared to your first final in Bucharest?

“This time I knew what time the match was starting, since in Bucharest it was raining quite a bit and the match had to be postponed. Today I did all I could to play my game and to go for that first title.”

What did you do well during the week to win the title?

“I had some difficult moments, down break points or set points. But I never let up and that helped me win the title.”

You beat the top two seeds, No. 1 Dominic Thiem in the final and No. 2 David Goffin in the semi-finals. How were you able to put together those big wins?

“I’ve had wins in the past against those two players. I was feeling well physically and mentally so I knew that if I gave 100 per cent, I had a chance to win.”

Which players did you admire and pattern your game after?

“Growing up I admired Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. I didn’t copy the way they played, but I tried to emulate their attitude on the court and their mental strength.”

Did you have a goal for the end of the season?

“I would love to end the year in the Top 16 [of the Emirates ATP Rankings], so that I can have a good seeding at the Australian Open.”

What have you improved this season to break into the Top 20?

“I’ve changed the way I worked off the court to be better prepared physically. All the little changes clicked for me in Miami, and since then I’ve been a different player.”

Who would you like to acknowledge for helping you to your first title?

“I wouldn’t be here today without the help of my coach Emmanuel Planque. He’s the person I would most like to thank for my career to date.”


A look at some of sport's longest active title droughts

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This year's AFL and NRL grand finals could play host to two drought-breaking victories, as the Western Bulldogs and Cronulla Sharks try to get off the list of sport's longest losing streaks.

Sturt beats the Eagles by 27 points to win this year's flag

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The celebrations continue as Sturt wins its first premiership in 14 years after a tight contest with Woodville West Torrens at Adelaide Oval.

Southern Stars whitewash Sri Lanka in ODIs

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Australia has completed an emphatic 4-0 clean sweep of its women's one-day international series against Sri Lanka with a crushing 137-run win in Colombo.

Baghdatis Excited About New Chengdu Event

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Marcos Baghdatis shares his excitement at the inaugural Chengdu Open. Photo: Chengdu Open

Southampton coasts to victory at spluttering Hammers

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West Ham crashes to another big defeat as Southampton stretches winning streak to four in 3-0 romp.

#NextGen Zverev Beats Wawrinka For First ATP World Tour Title

ATP news - 3 hours 13 min ago
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#NextGen star Alexander Zverev claimed his first ATP World Tour title on Sunday, knocking off US Open champion Stan Wawrinka and ending the teenage title drought on the ATP World Tour.

The 19 year old Zverev withstood a late charge from Wawrinka to win the St. Petersburg Open final 6-2, 3-6, 7-5 in two hours and 23 minutes. The Hamburg native had been 0-2 in his previous finals this season and in his career (l. to Mayer at Halle; l. to Thiem at Nice).

“This victory is something special,” Zverev said. “I played all the finals well. I lost to Dominic Thiem on clay and I could have won against Florian Mayer on the grass... Now I'm very happy with the win, especially over such a great player like Stan.”

The upset ends two winning streaks for Wawrinka: His finals streak, which ends at 11 and started in January 2014 with a victory against Edouard Roger-Vasselin in Chennai. The win also snaps Wawrinka's overall win streak at 10, dating back to his first-round match at the US Open.

“We showed high-quality tennis,” Wawrinka said. “I was struggling in the third set. I had chances but I didn't manage to convert them. He deserved the win.”


Zverev had lost his previous finals in three sets, and he looked out of it in the early goings of Sunday's third set as well. Wawrinka was up a break at 3-0 and had grabbed control of the match by forcing the 6'6" Zverev to chase balls all over the court – up, back and from side to side – by using a variety of slice and topspin.

But Zverev, the 2015 ATP Star Of Tomorrow presented by Emirates, crawled back into the final. The two were tied at 5-all and in the midst of a 21-shot baseline rally when Wawrinka blasted a forehand wide to give the German his fourth and final break. Heading into Sunday, Wawrinka had won 28 consecutive service games and erased all eight break points faced in St. Petersburg.

"In the third set, I had the initiative and played slice to his left more. I tried to neutralize his massive backhand," Zverev said.

Serving for the match, Zverev stepped up to the line with confidence and sealed the title with a forehand winner. He's the first teenage titlist on the ATP World Tour since 19 year old Marin Cilic won New Haven in 2008.

In beating World No. 3 Wawrinka in the final and World No. 9 Tomas Berdych in the semi-final, Zverev also becomes the first player to win his maiden ATP World Tour title by defeating back-to-back Top 10 opponents since Albert Portas won the 2001 Hamburg crown (d. No. 7 Hewitt in semi-final; d. No. 6 Ferrero in final).

Zverev will receive 250 Emirates ATP Rankings points and $163,485. He'll also match a career high of No. 24 in the new Emirates ATP Rankings. Wawrinka will receive 150 Emirates ATP Rankings points and $86,100.

Bekele claims Berlin win in near record time

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Kenenisa Bekele wins Berlin Marathon, missing out on Dennis Kimetto's world record by just six seconds.

Scouting Report: ATP World Tour Stars Experience China

ATP news - 4 hours 5 min ago

Asian Circuit Kicks Off: The three-week, five-tournament Asian circuit on the ATP World Tour begins with two tournaments in China, including the first-year Chengdu Open and the third edition of the Shenzhen Open. This is the third year in a row that China will host tournaments across all three ATP World Tour tournament categories (250, 500, Masters 1000). The swing continues with a pair of 500 tournaments, the China Open in Beijing and Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships 2016 in Tokyo, before culminating with the eighth ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament of the season at the Shanghai Rolex Masters on 9 October.

Emirates ATP Race To London: There are four players among the Top 16 in the Emirates ATP Race To London standings competing this week. There are five remaining spots to the season-ending Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London, 13-20 November. Here is a look at the Race standings and players in action in the first two Asian tournaments of the three-week circuit:





Novak Djokovic (Qualified)



Andy Murray (Qualified)



Stan Wawrinka (Qualified)



Milos Raonic



Kei Nishikori



Gael Monfils



Dominic Thiem +



Rafael Nadal



Tomas Berdych #



Marin Cilic



David Goffin #



Roger Federer



Lucas Pouille



Nick Kyrgios +



Jo-Wilfried Tsonga



Roberto Bautista Agut


                                                  + Chengdu      # Shenzhen      

Chengdu Open (Chengdu): The Chengdu Open is a new tournament and one of four events in China on the ATP World Tour. Leading the way is Dominic Thiem, who is No. 7 in the Emirates ATP Race To London. Other seeds with first-round byes are: No. 2 Nick Kyrgios, No. 3 Grigor Dimitrov and No. 4 Feliciano Lopez. The other remaining seeds are: No. 5 Albert Ramos-Vinolas, No. 6 Viktor Troicki, No. 7 Joao Sousa and No. 8 Paolo Lorenzi. Thiem (four), Kyrgios (two), Lopez, Ramos-Vinolas, Troicki and Lorenzi have all won ATP World Tour titles this season.

Thiem Top Seed: This is the second week in a row and fourth time this season that Thiem is the top seed. The wild card entry lost in the Metz final on Sunday (l. to Pouille). The 23-year-old Austrian is looking to qualify for his first Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London. He is No. 7 in the Emirates ATP Race To London standings with four titles in six finals. His four titles is the second most on the ATP World Tour this season (along with Murray and Wawrinka), trailing only Djokovic (seven). He is also one of four players with at least 50 match wins.

Kyrgios Looks to Finish Strong: Top Aussie and No. 2 seed Kyrgios, who is No. 13 in the Emirates Race To London, enters with a 34-13 match record on the season (21-7 on hard). The 21-year-old #NextGen star is trying to finish in the Top 20 for the first time after a year-end best No. 30 last year. Kyrgios is the youngest two-time ATP World Tour winner this season, capturing titles in Marseille (d. Cilic) and Atlanta (d. Isner). He has five Top 10 wins this season (had four from 2013-15).

Grigor Eyes Top 20: No. 3 seed Dimitrov is playing his first tournament since reaching the fourth round at the US Open (l. to Murray). The 25-year-old Bulgarian enters with a 30-20 match record on the season and No. 18 in the Emirates ATP Race To London. Over the North American summer hard court circuit, he reached the quarter-finals at the Rogers Cup (l. to Nishikori), the semi-finals at ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Cincinnati (d. No. 4 Wawrinka in 3R, l. to eventual champion Cilic) along with the fourth round at the US Open. His best results this season are runner-up efforts in Sydney (l. to Troicki) and Istanbul (l. to Schwartzman).

Anderson on the Rebound: Kevin Anderson, who has struggled with injuries this season, retiring from two matches and pulling out from eight tournaments due to left knee and right shoulder injuries, has slipped to No. 45. After a 5-11 start, he has compiled a 7-5 record, highlighted by a quarter-final at the Rogers Cup (l. to Wawrinka) and a third-round showing at ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Cincinnati (l. to Murray) and US Open (l. to Tsonga). If he beats Jordan Thompson in the first round, he will play Kyrgios.

Ruud Makes Debut: Future #NextGen star Casper Ruud of Norway is making his ATP World Tour main draw debut. The 17-year-old wild card has climbed to a career-high No. 260 in the Emirates ATP Rankings after finishing No. 1,126 last year. Ruud won his ATP Challenger Tour debut tournament in Seville, Spain two weeks ago. His father, Christian, played on the ATP World Tour and reached a career-high ranking of No. 39 on 9 October 1995. The younger Ruud plays on the Norwegian Davis Cup team.

Chinese Wild Card: China’s No. 2 player Di Wu is No. 195 in the Emirates ATP Rankings after reaching a career-high No. 140 in April. The 25-year-old is 19-17 in ATP Challengers this season with one title.

Doubles Draw: The top seeds are Raven Klaasen and Rajeev Ram, who are trying to secure a spot in the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London. They are No. 7 in the Emirates ATP Doubles Team Rankings. No. 2 seeds Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah are No. 12 in the team rankings.

Shenzhen Open (Shenzhen): The third edition of the Shenzhen Open is led by World No. 9 and defending champion Tomas Berdych, who is the top seed for the second year in a row. Berdych is looking to qualify for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals for the seventh consecutive year. Other seeds are: No. 2 David Goffin, No. 3 Richard Gasquet. No. 4 Bernard Tomic,  No. 5 Alexander Zverev, No. 6 Benoit Paire, No. 7 Fabio Fognini and No. 8 Jiri Vesely. In the inaugural tournament two years ago, Andy Murray saved five match points in a 57 76(9) 61 win over Robredo.

Berdych Top Seed/Reigning Champ: Last year Berdych defeated No. 4 seed Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 63 76(4) in the final. The 31-year-old Czech Republic native is playing in his second straight tournament after returning last week in St. Petersburg, where he lost to Zverev in the semi-finals. Berdych’s streak of 52 consecutive Grand Slam tournament appearances ended with his withdrawal from the US Open due to appendicitis. Berdych’s best results this season are the semi-finals in Doha, Marseille, Wimbledon and St. Petersburg. He is No. 9 in the Emirates ATP Race To London standings.

#NextGen Stars Meet: No. 5 seed Zverev and Japanese No. 3 Yoshihito Nishioka meet for the second time on the ATP World Tour in the first round. The 19-year-old Zverev won his first ATP World Tour title on Sunday in St. Petersburg (d. No. 3 Wawrinka). Zverev became the first teenager to capture an ATP title since Marin Cilic (19) in 2008 New Haven. Nishioka, who celebrates his 21st birthday on Monday, reached a career-high No. 85 on 8 August in the Emirates ATP Rankings and also advanced to his first ATP World Tour semi-final in Atlanta (l. to Kyrgios in three).

Goffin Eyes Top 10: No. 2 seed Goffin, who is No. 11 in the Emirates ATP Race To London, comes into Shenzhen after reaching the semi-finals in Metz (l. to Pouille). The 25-year-old Belgian, making his Shenzhen debut, has a 38-18 match record on the season.  He also advanced to the semi-finals at ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Indian Wells and Miami.

Local Wild Cards: Two of China’s top three players in the Emirates ATP Rankings are wild cards in the singles draw. China’s No. 1 player Ze Zhang is No. 176 in the Emirates ATP Rankings and he has compiled a 25-19 match record on the ATP Challenger Tour this season. His best ATP World Tour result is a quarter-final in 2012 Beijing (d. No. 14 Gasquet in 2R, l. to F. Mayer). Chinese No. 3 Zhe Li is ranked No. 234. The 30-year-old is looking for his first career match win in an ATP World Tour tournament (0-3). The other wild card is 19-year-old Japanese native Akira Santillan, who is ranked a career-high No. 233. He made his ATP World Tour debut as a wild card in Kitzbuhel in July (l. to Struff in 1R).

Doubles Draw: The top seeds are Treat Huey and Max Mirnyi, who are trying to secure a spot in the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London. They are No. 6 in the Emirates ATP Doubles Team Rankings. No. 2 seeds Oliver Marach and Fabrice Martin are No. 15 in the team rankings. No. 3 seeds Mate Pavic and Michael Venus, who have captured four ATP World Tour titles this season, are No. 17 in the team rankings.  

In Case You Missed It

#NextGen star Alexander Zverev captures his first ATP World Tour title in St. Petersburg. Read

Rising Frenchman Lucas Pouille breaks through by winning his maiden title in Metz. Read

Pouille also discussed what made winning in his home country so special. Read

Dominic Inglot and Henri Kontinen rally to win in St. Petersburg. Read

Julio Peralta and Horacio Zeballos improved to 3-0 in ATP World Tour doubles finals this year, taking the title at the Moselle Open. Read

Marcos Baghdatis gets set for a challenging first round matchup at the inaugural Chengdu Open. Read


28 September – Marin Cilic (28)

Escape Artist Pouille Claims Maiden Title In Metz

ATP news - 4 hours 14 min ago
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Lucas Pouille has thrived under pressure all year and the Frenchman's steely focus and determination paid dividends in Sunday's Moselle Open final.

Pouille rallied from 0-4 down in the first set tie-break and cruised in the second to defeat top seed Dominic Thiem 7-6(5), 6-2 for his maiden ATP World Tour title in Metz. The 22 year old notched his fifth victory over a Top 10 opponent this year and a milestone 30th match win overall in 2016.

Pouille continues the recent trend of French champions in Metz, becoming the seventh homegrown winner in the past eight years. Gael Monfils won in 2009, followed by Gilles Simon in 2010 and '13 and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in 2011-12 and '15.

Read More: Pouille 5th on ATP Stats LEADERBOARDS Under Pressure list

"I'm very happy with my week," said Pouille. "Winning a title is a big step, it's an objective I wanted to achieve this year. It was a well-played final. We both played at a high level."

Neither player flinched on serve in the early proceedings, with Pouille dropping just two points in his first five service games. After denying a trio of set points at 5-4, Thiem surged ahead in the ensuing tie-break, taking the first four points behind two mini-breaks. But Pouille held his nerve, reeling off seven of the next eight points to snatch the opener. A Thiem double fault at 5-5 handed him the decisive mini-break, which he would not relinquish.

The Frenchman continued to apply pressure in the second set, breaking immediately as Thiem sent a forehand long, and he would not look back. Pouille secured a second break for 5-2 and would convert his first match point after one hour and 19 minutes. He fired 27 winners in total and turned aside the lone break point faced. Pouille continued his strong play when coming forward, claiming 14 of 17 net points.

Both Pouille and St. Petersburg Open champion Alexander Zverev represent the seventh and eighth first-time winners on the ATP World Tour this year. He is 1-1 in finals, following a defeat on the clay of Bucharest in April (l. to Verdasco).

Thiem, meanwhile, was bidding for his fifth title of the year. He falls to 0-2 in the FedEx ATP Head2Head against Pouille, having also been defeated in straight sets at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters in 2015. Making his debut appearance in Metz, the Austrian maintains his strong footing in the Emirates ATP Race To London despite the loss. He is currently in seventh place, fewer than 200 points behind Gael Monfils.

"I think the first set was a pretty high level from both of us," said Thiem. "I should have won the tie-break, but had an easy volley mistake. All in all, he was the better player and had more chances in my service games. He deserved to win today. I think he put pressure on me all the time and was serving really well.

"He's had an amazing year, reaching the quarter-finals in the last two Grand Slam and semis in the Masters 1000 in Rome. I think we will see him in the Top 10 soon."

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Multiple Olympic champion and Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins comes under fire for TUE approval for powerful asthma drug.

Peralta/Zeballos Claim Third Title Of Season In Metz

ATP news - 5 hours 2 min ago

Julio Peralta and Horacio Zeballos improved to 3-0 in ATP World Tour doubles finals this year, taking the title at the Moselle Open on Sunday.

The Chilean-Argentine duo fired seven aces and saved all five break points faced to down third seeds Mate Pavic and Michael Venus 6-3, 7-6(4) in the Metz final. A rematch of the final on the clay of Gstaad in July, Peralta and Zeballos defeated their third straight seeded team to prevail. They had stormed back from a set down to upset both fourth seeds Robert Lindstedt and Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi and second seeds Oliver Marach and Fabrice Martin earlier in the week.

"We really felt great with our game today," said Zeballos. "It was a tough match like the others this week. The level was high and demanding and it gives us a lot of confidence to win. It's our third title of the year as a team and we're improving our ranking."

Chin chin "champiiiiiionnnssss"

— horacio zeballos (@HoracioZeballos) September 25, 2016

Also champions on the clay of Sao Paulo in February, Peralta and Zeballos improved to a dominant 13-3 this season. They earn 250 Emirates ATP Doubles Rankings points and split €25,070 in prize money with the victory. For Zeballos, it was the Argentine's sixth ATP World Tour title in total and fourth this season, having also triumphed with countryman Andres Molteni in Atlanta.

"I'm very happy to win our third title together and especially on indoor hard," added Peralta. "It's very good for our confidence going forward."

Pavic and Venus, meanwhile, were seeking their fifth ATP World Tour doubles title as a team this year, having previously lifted trophies in Auckland, Montpellier, Marseille and 's-Hertogenbosch. It was their seventh final together in 2016, falling to 4-3. They take home €13,170 in prize money and 150 Emirates ATP Doubles Rankings points for their efforts.

Inglot/Kontinen Save Match Point To Take St. Petersburg Title

ATP news - 6 hours 45 min ago

Dominic Inglot and Henri Kontinen saved a match point and captured their first ATP World Tour title together on Sunday at the St. Petersburg Open. The Brit and Fin improved to a perfect 4-0 together by prevailing against German Andre Begemann and Indian Leander Paes 4-6, 6-3, 12-10 to win the ATP World Tour 250 doubles crown.

The comeback in the final marked the third match of the tournament in which Inglot/Kontinen fought back from a set down. They cut their margins especially close against Begemann/Paes, who had not dropped a set before Sunday and were playing in their second ATP World Tour final of the season after falling at the Winston-Salem Open in August to Kontinen and Guillermo Garcia-Lopez.

Begemann/Paes held a match point at 9-8 in the match tie-break and appeared to have won the final before Inglot/Kontinen challenged an out call. The call was overturned and the point was replayed. Defending a match point for a second time, Inglot/Kontinen took no chances as Kontinen smashed a forehand overhead that landed well inside the lines. A few minutes later, he delivered a service winner to give them their first team title.

“We have had a couple of close matches and that helped us today when we found ourselves in very close situations. That gave us some confidence,” Inglot said. “Also, we're having lots of fun on court. I think we felt really relaxed and never felt too much pressure.”


Kontinen, who won the St. Petersburg Open title last season with Treat Huey, becomes the first player to win back-to-back doubles titles in St. Petersburg since Andrei Olhovskiy, who won titles in 1996 with Yevgeny Kafelnikov and in 1997 with Brett Steven. The 26-year-old Kontinen has now won five ATP World Tour doubles titles this season and 11 for his career.

“It's a great tournament and very close to Finland. It's easy to get here. Obviously I'm pretty sure it'll be in my calendar next year as well. I enjoyed playing there. The city is very beautiful,” Kontinen said.

Inglot claims his second ATP World Tour title of the season after winning in Nottingham with Canadian Daniel Nestor. The 30-year-old Brit now has six for his career. He and Kontinen will receive 250 Emirates ATP Doubles Rankings points and split $49,660.

Begemann/Paes were going for their first ATP World Tour title together. Begemann falls to 4-5 in ATP World Tour doubles finals. Paes was trying to win an ATP World Tour doubles title for the 20th consecutive year. The 43 year old, who is now 55-41 in doubles finals, has won at least one ATP World Tour doubles title since 1997. He and Begemann will receive 150 Emirates ATP Doubles Rankings points and split $26,110.

Ratiwatana Brothers Claim 40th Challenger Title

ATP news - 7 hours 33 min ago

While Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan have spent the last two decades racking up titles on the ATP World Tour, another pair of twin brothers has been doing the same thing on the ATP Challenger Tour.

Sonchat Ratiwatana and Sanchai Ratiwatana have become the first doubles team to win 40 Challenger doubles titles with their victory at the ATP Challenger Tour event in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. They already broke the record for most Challenger doubles titles last year by winning No. 38 in Yokohama, Japan, surpassing the record held by Rik De Voest. They further padded their record by winning in Gwangju, Korea, in April, before prevailing again in Kaohsiung.

The 34-year-olds from Thailand have been a reliable staple in the winner’s circle, winning at least one title each year since 2003. The Ratiwatanas have been especially dominant in Asia, with 29 of their ATP Challenger Tour titles and both of their ATP World Tour titles (in Chennai and Bangkok) coming on the continent.

“It’s always good to break records. We’re happy to create something new,” said Sonchat, the older of the two brothers by four minutes. “We feel good every time we play in Asia and have won many titles here. I prefer to play here because it’s not far from home in Bangkok, but we’re also lucky that there are more Challengers here now.”

Sanchai admitted that it’s difficult for casual tennis fans to tell the two apart when they’re playing, but said it’s easier once people get to know them because he’s the more soft-spoken and laid-back of the two. On the court, though, the twins have become so ingrained as a team that they’ve found it difficult to play with anyone else. They’ve competed in 241 Challenger events as a team, but have only paired with other partners on three different occasions.

“There was one tournament where we didn’t play together and we faced each other in the first round,” said Sonchat. “It didn’t work out for us.”

The brothers admitted that they’d like to have more success on the bigger stages this year, but also said that they weren’t bothered with being labeled the “Challenger Bryans” since it means they’re a winning combination.

“The Bryan Brothers are one of the best doubles team ever and we’ve always looked up to them,” said Sonchat. “If we can’t be like them on the biggest stage, we can be like them on the second stage. Even if we may not win most of the ATP World Tour titles, we’re happy about everything we’ve done in our careers. It might take another team 10 or 20 years to break the record we have now.”

Having moved their rankings back inside the Top 100 of the Emirates ATP Doubles Rankings this year, the Ratiwatana brothers are hoping to pad their ranking with a few more Challenger titles this season. Sanchai said their ultimate goal is to make it back onto the main stages of the biggest tournaments in the world.

“We obviously want to make it back on to the ATP World Tour, but we’re also trying our best to have good results in Challengers,” he said. “We want to get back into the Top 75 and play the Grand Slams. That’s why we’re still playing despite our age. We still love to do this.”

Haase To Face Giustino In Sibiu Challenger 2016 Final

ATP news - 7 hours 42 min ago
Watch semi-final highlights from the ATP Challenger Tour event in Sibiu, Romania, where top seed Robin Haase will face Italian Lorenzo Giustino for the title. Video courtesy Sibiu Open.

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