Tennis

Tennis is a racquet sport that can be played individually against a single opponent (singles) or between two teams of two players each (doubles). Each player uses a racquet that is strung with cord to strike a hollow rubber ball covered with felt over or around a net and into the opponent's court.

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Norway's Casper Ruud, who beat Spanish legend David Ferrer on Thursday to reach the SkiStar Swedish Open quarter-finals, has learned a lot in the past 17 months, since he made his first ATP World Tour semi-final at the Rio Open presented by Claro in February 2017.
He's learned how to train like Rafael Nadal, how to better take care of his body and how to push himself every week. But more than anything, Ruud has learned that he needs to bring a different mindset to his tennis. He needs to be more greedy.
Last year, Ruud, in just his third tour-level event, sprinted to the Rio semi-finals, winning his first three ATP World Tour matches at the 500-level event. He became the youngest semi-finalist on the ATP World Tour since Borna Coric in Basel 2014 and the lowest-ranked player to make a 500-level semi-final since Alexander Zverev (No. 285) in Hamburg in 2014.
But then Ruud relaxed. Instead of building on the best week of his young career, for the rest of 2017, he won only four more tour-level matches.
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“I was really proud of myself, which you should be, but I was maybe a bit too happy with playing good that week... I wasn't maybe greedy enough to go for many good weeks in a row,” Ruud told ATPWorldTour.com.
“Of course you can be happy and proud over some good wins, but there's always another match, and usually the day after, if you win. You always have to be ready and greedy to get that win.”
Ruud will try to practise that approach on Friday when he looks to return to an ATP World Tour semi-final for the first time since his deep run in Brazil. The 19-year-old Ruud will face fourth seed Richard Gasquet, who beat Austrian Gerald Melzer 1-6, 6-3, 6-1.
Ruud's win on Thursday, besides placing him into his second ATP World Tour quarter-final, was also extra special because of who it came against. Ferrer, a three-time Bastad champion (2007, 2012, 2017), is one of a handful of players Ruud tries to emulate on court. Ruud's former coach Pedro Rico suggested that Ruud try to model Ferrer and Rafael Nadal's effort.
“I really look up to his attitude and enjoy watching him play,” Ruud said of Ferrer. “He's always serious... He's one of the greatest fighters who's ever played.”
Ruud hasn't faced Nadal yet, but he's trained with the No. 1 player in the ATP Rankings. In April 2017, Ruud worked with Rafa in Mallorca for a week.
“The first two days were really tough, I was really tired,” Ruud admitted.
He also realised what the rest of the ATP World Tour has known for the past 15 years. “It was not easy to keep up with Rafa on clay and not get so tired,” he said.
Ruud and his former coach Rico have stopped working together, and Ruud now works with and travels with his father, Christian Ruud, a former Top 40 player in the ATP Rankings who retired in 2001.Read More: First of Many? #NextGenATP Rublev Battles Past Felix In Umag
In Bastad, Casper Ruud will try to emulate Ferrer and his father. Dad reached the 1995 Bastad final, and if Casper Ruud can win two more matches and match Dad's achievement, he'll play for his first ATP World Tour title and climb further up the ATP Race To Milan.
The top seven players in the Race will qualify automatically for the Next Gen ATP Finals, to be held 6-10 November in Milan, while the eighth spot will be reserved for the winner of an all-Italian qualifier tournament to be held just prior to the prestigious 21-and-under event.
Ruud had to watch the inaugural Next Gen ATP Finals on TV last year. He's currently in 10th place in the Race, three spots away from making his debut at the Fiera Milano.
“[The Race] is something that I think all the under-21 guys are following,” Ruud said. “It would be a huge thing and a huge achievement to get there this year because there are so many good players under 21 these days.”

Years from now, we could all be looking back at it as the start of a great FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry.
Twenty-year-old Andrey Rublev of Russia fought off 17-year-old Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-4, 6-7(4), 6-3 on Thursday at the Plava Laguna Croatia Open Umag, denying the Canadian teenager his biggest win to date.
Rublev, the fourth seed and defending champion, was playing in his first match in three months because of a stress fracture in his lower back, and how much the return victory meant to him was evident after Auger-Aliassime's final backhand landed wide. Rublev bent over and buried his face in his hands.
“I was super happy because it's my first match since three months, and I was really happy to win it. It was a little bit emotional moment for me,” Rublev told ATPWorldTour.com.
He wasn't sure what to expect in his return, but Rublev was pleased with his fight and the outcome. “In the end, everything was better than I expected,” he said.
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Auger-Aliassime, who's the youngest player (17) in the Top 150 of the ATP Rankings (No. 144), was aggressive and confident throughout the two-hour, 30-minute second-round match, pushing Rublev behind the baseline and frustrating the Russian, who finished runner-up at last year's inaugural Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan.
Rublev, however, employed his experience and composed himself well in the third set after Auger-Aliassime led by a break 3-1. Rublev won the final five games, breaking twice before serving it out.
The No. 35 player in the ATP Rankings is looking to go back-to-back in Umag. Last year at the ATP World Tour 250-level event, Rublev was the first lucky loser in eight years to win an ATP World Tour title. He will next meet sixth seed Robin Haase, who beat Slovakian qualifier Martin Klizan 3-6, 6-4, 6-3.
Argentine qualifier Marco Trungelliti, who famously drove from Buenos Aires to Paris to play in Roland Garros as a lucky loser, beat Hungary's Marton Fucsovics 5-7, 6-4, 6-2 to advance to his first tour-level quarter-final. Trungelliti will next play second seed Damir Dzumhur or Russian Evgeny Donskoy.

Take a 50-50 battle, shift it ever so slightly to a 53.5 per cent advantage, and you are perfectly positioned to be competing in the Nitto ATP Finals at The O2 in London this November.
The eight best performers from the 2018 season will play in the prestigious season finale from 11-18 November, and the field has become more settled with around 60 per cent of the season now completed.
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An Infosys ATP Beyond The Numbers analysis of the current eight players who lead the ATP Race To London after Wimbledon shows that their competitive advantage with points won so far in 2018 is a much smaller margin than you might think.Top Eight In ATP Race To London: Percentage Points Won, Serving, Returning & Total
#
Player
Serve Points Won
Return Points Won
Total Points Won
1
Rafael Nadal
68%
45.3%
56.5%
2
Roger Federer
74.4%
38.9%
55.3%
3
Alexander Zverev
66%
40.1%
52.7%
4
Juan Martin del Potro
68.1%
38.7%
52.9%
5
Novak Djokovic
67.2%
42.8%
54.4%
6
Dominic Thiem
66.1%
39.6%
52.4%
7
Marin Cilic
70.2%
37.8%
53.2%
8
Kevin Anderson
71%
34.2%
52.1%
-
AVERAGE
68.7%
39.4%
53.5%
What’s interesting is when you compare each player in the serve and return categories to the top eight average, no player is above the average in both of them.Average Percentage Points Won Serving = 68.7%
Players above the average:
Roger Federer = 74.4%
Kevin Anderson = 71.0%
Marin Cilic = 70.2%Average Percentage Points Won Returning = 39.4%
Players above the average:
Rafael Nadal = 45.3%
Novak Djokovic = 42.8%
Alexander Zverev = 40.1%
Dominic Thiem = 39.6%
The combined total of percentage of points won from serving and retuning has three very familiar faces above the top eight average.Average Total Percentage Points Won = 53.5%
Players above that average:
Rafael Nadal = 56.5%
Roger Federer = 55.3%
Novak Djokovic = 54.4%
The only player in the top eight in the ATP Race To London who does not feature above the average in any of the three categories is Juan Martin del Potro. But he is less than one percentage point away in all three.
The ATP Race To London is starting to take shape, but there is still time for other players to make a late season surge. The next four knocking on the door are John Isner, Kei Nishikori, Kyle Edmund and Borna Coric.
All they need do is win about three and a half points out of every hundred more than their opponents and London may well be within reach.

As Wimbledon comes to a close, we're counting down the 10 most memorable matches at the All England Club over the last 50 years.
We know that Icarus flew too close to the sun and was burned, but did Tarzan ever swing too high and lose sight of the trees? That’s one explanation—metaphorically speaking, of course—for what happened in the 1975 Wimbledon men’s final, which would go down as one of the most epochal, and popular, upsets in tennis history.
Coming into the event, 22-year-old Jimmy Connors was the overwhelming favorite. He had won the tournament the previous year, was No. 1 in the world, and was playing with unprecedented viciousness. In 1974, Jimbo had gone 99-4, and there was talk in the locker room about how he would “go on winning everything for years.”
Few people watching Connors’ Wimbledon semifinal against Roscoe Tanner would have  dared to disagree. “Pumped and rolling like never before, Jimbo only just stopped short of beating his breast like some miniature tennis Tarzan,” Richard Evans wrote. “But in fact this extravagant show of power-packed tennis was only contributing to his downfall.”
You see, there was one person watching who had to believe that Connors could be beaten. Arthur Ashe, who had just finished a five-set win over Tony Roche in his own semifinal, sat toweling off in the Wimbledon locker room as Jimmy strutted across the TV screen above him. Ashe saw the bullet-serving Tanner hit the ball hard at Connors, only to have it come back harder; now he knew what not to try in the final. There was only one problem: Like Tanner, Ashe had always played with slashing power and caution-to-the-wind aggression. Could he change, just this once?
The consensus was that, whatever Ashe tried, it wasn’t going to work. His friends in the press were almost frightened for him. Bud Collins said he was “scared to death that Arthur was going to be terribly embarrassed.” Frank DeFord of Sports Illustrated skipped the match entirely rather than see Ashe be humiliated.
WATCH—Stories of the Open Era - International Tennis Hall of Fame:
Between the semis and final, Ashe huddled with his agent, and U.S. Davis Cup captain, Donald Dell, and his friend and fellow player Dennis Ralston. They mapped out a plan based around the one that Muhammad Ali had used to take back the heavyweight championship from George Foreman the year before: Rope-a-dope. Rather than go toe-to-toe with a bigger-hitting, younger man, Ali had laid back and absorbed Foreman’s haymakers; when Foreman grew tired, Ali went in for the kill. Ashe would implement the tennis version of this strategy. Instead of feeding Jimbo, a born counterpuncher, the pace he craved, Ashe would dink and dunk, slice and dice. Instead of cracking the flat serve he loved so much, and which Connors loved to crack back with his two-handed backhand, Ashe would bend it out wide.
“I had the strangest feeling that I couldn’t lose,” the underdog would say later.
Ashe was confident enough to tweak his younger opponent before the match began. He walked onto Centre Court wearing red, white, and blue sweatbands and his Davis Cup team jacket, with USA emblazoned across the back. This was a not-so-subtle reference to Connors’ recent boycott of Davis Cup, and to the controversy that swirled around the two at the time.
Two years earlier, Ashe had helped lead the ATP’s Wimbledon boycott, a labor uprising that left the players largely in control of the game for the first time. Connors, a decade younger than Ashe, had been a prime beneficiary of the risk that his fellow players had taken. Rather than join the boycott at Wimbledon, though, 20-year-old Jimbo had happily leaped into the void and bashed his way to his first Grand Slam quarterfinal. A year later, Connors ascended to No. 1 and became the first champion of the Open era who had no connections to the bad old amateur days, the first who hadn’t been forced to trek across the country in the back of a station wagon on a barnstorming tour. Yet Connors, ever the solo artist, appeared to be anything but grateful to his colleagues. Instead, before Wimbledon, he and his maverick manager, Bill Riordan, sued Ashe for comments Ashe had made about Connors’ recent Davis Cup boycott.
“He ain’t one of the boys,” Ashe told Time in ’75. “Right now he’s sorely misguided. We hardly say hello.”
Is this what the ATP had fought for? Many people, and virtually all of his fellow players, yearned for Ashe, the sentimental favorite at 32 years old, to give the Belleville basher his comeuppance at Wimbledon.
“The political background had obviously added spice to the occasion,” Evans wrote, “but even without that the match would have attracted an unusual amount of interest, because Ashe had already established himself as one of the most articulate and popular athletes in the world, while Connors was the perfect anti-hero—brash, vulgar, and threatening.”
The world, for once, got what it wanted. Ashe’s brave tactic worked perfectly. He chipped the ball, he rolled it softly, he kept it low, he swung Connors from side to side, he hit his often-wonky forehand volley with precision. He gave Jimbo nothing to work with, no punches to counter. Ashe won the first two sets by the astounding scores of 6-1, 6-1. Most impressive of all, when Connors snuck out the third set and went up a break in the fourth, Ashe, closing his eyes in meditation during each changeover, stuck with the plan. In the end, much like Ali had done against Foreman, he finally let rip with two knockout backhands to break in the fourth set. A few minutes later, Ashe finished this most masterly of upsets with one more swinging serve, and one more volley winner.
With that, Ashe had given tennis’s old, gentlemanly guard one final hurrah; his Grand Slam title would be the last for his generation. At the same time, he became the first and so far only black man to win Wimbledon. When the match was over, Ashe turned to his player’s box and raised his fist, briefly, in celebration. Many people watching believed Ashe was making a black power salute, like the ones Tommy Smith and John Carlos had made on the medal stand at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City. Ashe—as author Eric Allen Hall noted in his 2014 biography of the player—said his clenched fist was a gesture of triumph toward Dell, one of the architects of this victory. But Ashe also said he was happy, later, to hear that, “Among blacks, I’ve had quite a few say [the win] was up there with Joe Louis in his prime and Jackie Robinson breaking in with the Dodgers in 1947.”
Connors would later reveal that he had suffered hairline fractures in his shin during his first-round match at Wimbledon that year. Yet nothing could spoil this moment. Ashe had walked in wearing a USA jacket, and gone out with a clenched fist. He was the last old-fashioned tennis gentleman to win Wimbledon, and the first black male to do it. He was a calm man who played with reckless abandon. And he would never play the way he did that day against Connors again. As Evans said, “It was all biff and bang and glorious technicolor winners for the rest of his career.”
Ashe was the rare athlete who transcended all boundaries, and he inspired whites and blacks alike. With his win over Jimbo, that seemingly invincible miniature Tarzan, he offered hope to his fellow players in particular. Ashe showed that thought and courage do matter in tennis, and with enough of both, anyone can be beaten.

Strokes of Genius is a world-class documentary capturing the historic 13-year rivalry between tennis icons Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. It is timed for release as the anticipation crests with Roger as returning champion, 10 years after their famed 2008 Wimbledon championship – an epic match so close and so reflective of their competitive balance that, in the end, the true winner was the sport itself.
WATCH: NOW AVAILABLE AT THE ITUNES STORE

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On Wednesday, Canadian Vasek Pospisil advanced to just his second tour-level quarter-final since October 2015, defeating recent Nature Valley International champion Mischa Zverev to move into the last eight at the Dell Technologies Hall of Fame Open in Newport, Rhode Island.
In the newest edition of ATPWorldTour.com's 'On The Line' series, Pospisil discusses his favourite music and the interesting career he wants to pursue when he stops playing tennis.What's your biggest passion outside of sport and why?Music. Just because it soothes my soul. I love it.What’s your favourite musical group?The Beatles.Favourite song?In My Life by The Beatles.What’s the last book you read?The Sale of A Lifetime.What’s your favourite book ever and why?The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. It’s probably the one I’ve tried to apply to my life the most and it’s a really good read.Person whom you admire the most?My father for the sacrifices he’s made in his life and because he’s taught me everything that I know. He’s taught me how to handle myself as a man and he taught me how to play tennis.My tennis career will be a success ________________.If I could finish my career and say that I left everything out there and didn’t feel like I have any regrets in terms of trying to get better every day. I don’t know what the results are going to bring, but I want to hold ATP World Tour titles, which I haven’t done yet, and finish inside the Top 20 [of the ATP Rankings] at some stage in my career.After my tennis career, I want to _____________.Start a family and become a real estate investor.What makes you want to go into real estate?I don’t know, I just have a real passion for it. I like the idea of being in real estate and making passive income, being able to spend time with my family and trying to grow real estate wealth.Have you done any of that yet while on the ATP World Tour?I’ve just started. I’ve just kind of planted the seeds just to kind of get into it. I’m not going to focus on that until after my career. As soon as I finish my tennis career, then I’m really going to educate myself and dive into it and make that my priority No. 1 in my career. [But] not before I’m done with tennis, because there’s too much risk to go into something that I’m not fully educated in.

Entering this week, Jason Jung had never won a match on the ATP World Tour. But on Wednesday, when he turned to the crowd at the Dell Technologies Hall of Fame Open in Newport and put his hands in the air, the 29-year-old had broken new ground.
Jung defeated 2013 Newport champion Nicolas Mahut 6-4, 6-4 to reach his first tour-level quarter-final.
“It’s pretty unbelievable,” Jung told ATPWorldTour.com. “I’ve worked hard to get here. I think I’ve always believed I’ve had a game to be here, so it’s just cool to see the success playing out.”
It’s not a bad result for a player who did not start his professional career immediately after playing collegiate tennis, despite making the All-Big Ten Conference team twice at the University of Michigan. Instead, Jung began a job as a business analyst. But shortly thereafter, things changed when he was laid off.
“A lot of people said it was a good opportunity to go out and play,” Jung said. “I didn’t really know what to expect and at the beginning, it was really tough. I must have lost five first-round Futures [matches] and was traveling by myself. There were a couple of times when I wanted to quit. It was just so hard. It’s pretty amazing to me that I kept going and now I’m here.”
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It's been a difficult path for Jung. At first he gave himself two years to see how he'd fare on the ATP World Tour. Ever since, he has reevaluated the situation at the end of each season and decided to continue pushing forward, despite never finishing one of his eight pro seasons inside the Top 150 of the ATP Rankings. What has motivated him to do so?
“Just the family behind me. I have a lot of friends and my coach. They’ve always believed in me and told me to keep going,” said Jung.
He started his 2018 campaign battling illness in January before reaching the semi-finals of an ATP Challenger Tour event in Dallas and triumphing for the third time at that level the next week in San Francisco.
“Since then, there have been a couple of ups and downs, but I think for the most part it’s my coach and friends and family, they’re just telling me to keep going.”
At Wimbledon, Jung made his Grand Slam main draw debut, advancing through qualifying, before losing to Frenchman Benoit Paire. Then Jung, who represents Chinese Taipei, received a wild card into this week’s grass-court ATP World Tour 250-level event.
“When you get a wild card for an event like this, it’s like playing with house money and just trying to enjoy it, and I think I’ve done a good job of that so far,” said Jung, who will play American Tim Smyczek for a spot in his first tour-level semi-final. “It’s a great opportunity for both of us.”Challenger Chronicles: Jason Jung, Part II
Regardless of the future outcome, Jung is pleased to have made it this far in Newport and to post one of the best weeks of his professional tennis career. And while on the surface, people will see that this is his maiden quarter-final, he knows that it is more than just a result.
“I guess you could say it’s an overnight success, but this is many years in the making. There was a lot of struggle through this process,” Jung said. “I’ve worked hard to be in this position.”

Adrian Mannarino's best tennis has been played on grass, so there stands reason to believe the Frenchman's first title will also be won on the turf. The top seed moved a step closer to his maiden ATP World Tour crown on Wednesday, beating Aussie Jordan Thompson 6-2, 7-6(4) to move into the quarter-finals at the Dell Technologies Hall of Fame Open in Newport.
Mannarino reached his third Newport quarter-final (2015, 2016) and improved to 6-6 at the ATP World Tour 250 event. The 30-year-old left-hander has won 59 per cent of his grass-court matches in his career (43-30), compared to 46 per cent of his overall matches (155-181), according to his FedEx ATP Win/Loss Record.
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“I think the last four or five years I've had good results on grass. So it's just [a surface] that I feel comfortable on. It's always good to come here with some confidence,” Mannarino said.
The left-hander has reached the fourth round at Wimbledon the past two years, and he made his third and fifth ATP World Tour final, respectively, at the 2016 and 2017 Turkish Airlines Open Antalya.
He will next meet Spain's Marcel Granollers, who reached his first ATP World Tour quarter-final on grass by beating 2016 finalist and sixth seed Gilles Muller 7-5, 7-6(4).
“I think it's one of my biggest wins on grass. Gilles is a really good player here,” Granollers said. “I think I served very good for the match, and I went for my chances.”
Third seed Steve Johnson won 80 per cent of his service points (33/41) to beat compatriot Christian Harrison 6-3, 6-1. Johnson will next play Israel's Dudi Sela.
“[Sela] is a fantastic tennis player, He's played Newport a lot so he knows how to play here,” Johnson said.Read More: Ask The Pro: Playing Experience Helps Martin As Newport Tournament Director
Sela, for the first time in his seven-match FedEx ATP Head2Head series with Ivo Karlovic, beat the 2016 champion 7-6(6), 6-7(4), 6-2. Karlovic hit 18 aces but also 15 double faults.
“I'm very happy,” said Sela, who's making his fifth appearance at Newport. “I have a lot of friends coming from New York and from all over. It's nice to play here.”
Fourth seed Matthew Ebden, last year's finalist (l. to Isner), was upset by American Tim Smyczek 6-3, 6-3. Smyczek will next face Jason Jung of Chinese Taipei, who beat France's Nicolas Mahut 6-4, 6-4.
Indian Ramkumar Ramanathan pulled away from eighth seed Denis Kudla of the U.S. 4-6, 6-3, 6-4. Ramanathan will next play Canadian Vasek Pospisil, who upset second seed Mischa Zverev 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 for his fourth tour-level victory of the season.

Marco Cecchinato continued his strong run of recent form on clay, beating Jiri Vesely 2-6, 7-5, 7-5 at the Plava Laguna Croatia Open Umag on Wednesday.
The Gazprom Hungarian Open titlist recorded his 16th tour-level win in 28 matches this season, after converting his seventh match point, to overcome the 25-year-old after two hours and 19 minutes. Roland Garros semi-finalist Cecchinato, who became the first Italian man to reach a Grand Slam semi-final since Corrado Barazzutti in 1978, saved eight of 10 break points and fired nine aces en route to victory.
Vesely entered the tournament in fine form after winning six of eight matches during the grass-court season. The Czech reached the Round of 16 at Wimbledon (l. to Nadal) after falling to eventual champion Damir Dzumhur in the Turkish Airlines Open Antalya semi-finals.
Cecchinato will meet Laslo Djere for a spot in the semi-finals. Djere upset ninth-seeded Maximilian Marterer 7-6(4), 6-3.
After defeating 2014 champion Pablo Cuevas in the first round, Djere dropped just five first-serve points (29/34) to reach his second tour-level quarter-final this season. In May, the World No. 100 enjoyed a run to the TEB BNP Paribas Istanbul Open semi-finals.
Mutua Madrid Open quarter-finalist Dusan Lajovic also overcame seeded opposition, eliminating fifth seed Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6-3, 1-6, 6-0.
Lajovic levelled his FedEx ATP Head2Head series against the Spaniard at 2-2 after one hour and 39 minutes, converting four of 14 break-point opportunities to reach the quarter-finals. Lajovic will meet Aljaz Bedene or Guido Pella for a place in the final four.Did You Know?Andrey Rublev is bidding to become the third man to win back-to-back Plava Laguna Croatia Open Umag titles. Thomas Muster (1992-1993) and Carlos Moya (2001- 2003) are the only men to ever successfully retain their title at the event.

Todd Martin knew he didn't have the street clout of a Pete Sampras or an Andre Agassi. But back in the winter of 1991, Martin also knew he deserved better treatment than what he was receiving at the prominent indoor ATP World Tour tournament held in the midwest of the United States.
Martin, then 21, approached the tournament desk and inquired about a practice court. The young American was preparing for the qualifying section of the tournament.
But the person at the desk was dumbfounded. The official stopped everything, glanced at Martin and then yelled back at the manager, “What do we do with these guys, these qualifier guys?”
The words stuck with Martin, who, almost 30 years later, as the tournament director of this week's Dell Technologies Hall of Fame Open in Newport, knows exactly what to do with “these guys”: Treat them like you would any other player.
“They were equipped to give me a practice court. They just didn't how to handle somebody that wasn't John McEnroe or Pete Sampras or the like,” Martin told ATPWorldTour.com.
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Martin is among a small group of former ATP World Tour players who have found successful second careers in tennis as tournament directors, including recent additions Tommy Haas (Indian Wells) and James Blake (Miami).
Some of the former players turned bosses tried coaching after their playing days, or even still stay involved with guiding up-and-comers. But ultimately, the former greats decided to focus their unique expertise on helping improve the tournament experience for fans, sponsors, coaches and especially players.
“I'm trying to be a tournament director and see things through the player's eyes, and make sure that we're trying to provide for their needs while still delivering an amazing product to the consumer,” Martin said.
The eight-time ATP World Tour titlist wasn't set on leading a tournament when he finished playing in 2004, after reaching No. 4 in the ATP Rankings and playing in two Grand Slam finals (1999 US Open, l. to Andre Agassi; 1994 Australian Open, l. to Pete Sampras). Martin wanted to coach.
He worked with Mardy Fish and Novak Djokovic in the following years, but coaching ATP World Tour stars meant travelling, and Martin, who had a young family at the time, wasn't interested in any more globetrotting.
Todd Martin, left, and Pete Sampras hug after competing in the 1994 Australian Open final. (Ian Kenins/AFP/Getty Images)
So he started his own business, Todd Martin Tennis, and invited players of all ages and their coaches to come to Florida, where they could train and learn together from Martin.
“I knew I wanted to be a leader of a business, not a participant in a business, so I felt like as much as anything, diving in head first was going to be the best way for me to be educated,” Martin said.
But in running the business, he quickly became more of an accountant, marketer and sales executive than a tennis coach. When the Newport opportunity became open, he was intrigued.
“I always have felt that tennis history has an incredible inspirational and dynamic capability to it,” said Martin, who started as CEO-designate in April 2014.Read More: Hall of Fame Announces Germany's Stich As 2018 Inductee
“So I really felt like when I took this job there was an opportunity to better leverage that inspirational quality, and the fact that the responsibility was great, being international and being the International Tennis Hall of Fame. For me, personally, I felt like if I'm going to work really hard at something, I've been conditioned over the years to having it mean something. And I really feel like the work here, no matter how hard it is at times, it means something when it's being done and when it's done. And that really satisfies me.”
The tournament director part of the job wasn't a must have for Martin. But he thought his past experience, including eight years as president of the ATP World Tour Player Council, prepared him well for that particular role. Martin has also relied on his tournament experiences as a player, including his time as a qualifier.
For instance, on the Sunday before main draw play begins, when only qualifying matches are taking place at Newport, Martin makes sure players have food from the tournament's caterers, even if it means extra costs.
“There's a lot of activity getting set up for the tournament so providing that service a day earlier is not easy. But if it were the day before Roger Federer was playing, guess what? Roger Federer would have food on property. And that's what we have to do, is try to imagine Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in every person that we service,” Martin said.
Simon Aspelin, right, has transitioned from an ATP World Tour doubles champion to an ATP World Tour Tournament Director. (Michael Steele/Getty Images)
Simon Aspelin, like Martin, didn't plan on becoming a tournament director after he retired in 2011. The 2007 US Open doubles titlist (with Julian Knowle) studied economics at Pepperdine University, where he played collegiate tennis, and thought he'd spend his post-playing days working in finance.
“I wanted to try to try something different after my career,” Aspelin told ATPWorldTour.com. “[But] after a long tennis career, it wasn't really my passion, I didn't enjoy it as much.”
So after a year in finance, he returned to tennis, coaching at the Good to Great Tennis Academy, which was founded by Magnus Norman, Nicklas Kulti and Mikael Tillstrom. The travel, however, deterred Aspelin as well, and after a year at the Stockholm academy, he joined Lagardere, which runs both the SkiStar Swedish Open in Bastad, which started Monday, and the Intrum Stockholm Open.
“I know what the players appreciate, and I enjoy working with the sport that I love and working with an organization that delivers two really nice tournaments,” said Aspelin, who will direct his third edition of the Stockholm tournament in October.Read More: Stockholm Tournament Honoured
When Aspelin was playing, he always remembered the feel of the tournament, the hospitality of the event. That's why in Stockholm, he and his staff go out of their way to accommodate player requests.
“We want the players to feel like they can pretty much ask for anything and we will solve it for them,” he said. “We always try to be accommodating with any special hotel requests. We make sure that transportation is working, and that players can be picked up whenever they arrive.”
Aspelin, his staff and his team of 400-plus volunteers also make sure to satisfy one other special ask they always receive. It goes against one of their dining meal goals, which is to have variety.
But the players at this Swedish tournament request this food over and over again, for nearly every meal, so the tournament provides it. The players love the tournament's Swedish meatballs.
“Every day, every meal – pretty much – they want to have that as an option,” Aspelin said. “We try to have a good variety but then we get the feedback that the meatballs should be on the menu every day. I guess they never have anything close to meatballs during the year.”

As Wimbledon comes to a close, we're counting down the 10 most memorable matches at the All England Club over the last 50 years.
When a 25-year-old Venus Williams and a 29-year-old Lindsay Davenport met in this all-Californian 2005 Wimbledon final, many believed it could be the last chance that either woman would have to win a Grand Slam title. Despite being ranked No. 1 for the previous 10 months, Davenport hadn’t won a major for five years. At the same time, the oft-injured and 14th-seeded Williams was in the midst of a four-year Slam drought of her own. It shouldn’t have been a surprise that the two countrywomen would fight tooth and nail for this elusive title, and that the result would be the longest—and one of the best—women’s finals in Wimbledon history.
For the first set and a half, it didn’t appear to be a match that would set any records or leave us with many memories. With her flat, powerful ground strokes, the top-seeded Davenport forced Williams to scramble, often futilely, across the baseline. Davenport had beaten Williams in their last four meetings, and as the second set progressed, she looked to be moving methodically toward a fifth straight win, and a career-capping second Wimbledon. At 6-5, she served for the title.
It was there that Venus’s long-delayed rally began. She opened the game with an unexpected net attack, which produced a forehand volley winner. Finally wresting control of the rallies from Davenport, she broke at love, and jumped out to a 5-1 lead in the tiebreaker before winning it 7-4.
“Every time the chips were down for Venus, she played unbelievably,” Davenport said.
WATCH—International Tennis Hall of Fame:
That set the stage for a classic, overtime third set. Earlier that year in the Australian Open final, Davenport had led Venus’s sister Serena by a set, before running out of energy. This time physical trouble struck when she was serving for a 5-2 lead in the third. In that game, Davenport felt her back stiffen; walking gingerly, she was broken for 3-4, and was taken to the locker room for treatment. When she came back, she managed to reach championship point with Williams serving at 4-5.
All the chips were on the table for Venus now. No woman since Helen Wills Moody in 1935 had saved a match point and gone on to win a Wimbledon final, but Venus did it by firing off a down-the-line backhand winner. From there, with the title never more than two games away, and with the crowd holding it collective breath, the two women fought for every ball, and for every inch of grass on Centre Court. Williams served to stay in the match three times, before finally breaking through at 7-7, and closing out her third Wimbledon title in the set’s 16th game.
“I knew my destiny was to be in the winner’s circle,” Williams said. It had been two years since she had made it past the quarterfinals at a major, but her customary blithe confidence was still intact. “There were times along the way when I didn’t make it there. But I felt my destiny was to win big titles, win lots of titles.”
Venus celebrated her victory that day by leaping into the air, and then leaping some more. Has she ever come down? Thirteen years and two more Wimbledon titles later, we can say that she knew her destiny better than anyone, and that she has fulfilled it. If there’s one win among the hundreds she has recorded in her two-decade career that we’ll remember, and that sums up Venus’s never-say-die, never-stop-believing philosophy, it’s this one.

Strokes of Genius is a world-class documentary capturing the historic 13-year rivalry between tennis icons Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. It is timed for release as the anticipation crests with Roger as returning champion, 10 years after their famed 2008 Wimbledon championship – an epic match so close and so reflective of their competitive balance that, in the end, the true winner was the sport itself.
WATCH: NOW AVAILABLE AT THE ITUNES STORE

Ivo Karlovic is up to his old tricks again at the Dell Technologies Hall of Fame Open in Newport. The 39-year-old Croatian saved a match point against 19-year-old Aussie Alex de Minaur on Tuesday to advance to the second round of the season's final grass-court tournament 6-7(2), 7-6(3), 7-5.
Karlovic was serving at 4-5, 30/40 in the third set when De Minaur saw a second serve but netted it. The three-time grass-court titlist took advantage, breaking the #NextGenATP right-hander the next game and later serving it out to 15.
“He was playing well. I didn't really feel the ball [well]. I was missing a lot but I was hanging in there,” Karlovic said. “[The match point] was a second serve. I hit it well, and he was not able to return it so I was happy about it.”
The 6'11” Croatian saved three championship points during the 2016 Newport final to claim his first Dell Technologies Hall of Fame Open title (d. Muller).
Karlovic will next face Israel's Dudi Sela, who upset Aussie Bernard Tomic, a 2011 Wimbledon quarter-finalist, 6-3, 1-6, 6-2. Sela dropped only five first-serve points (29/34) in the 65-minute first-round contest.
It will be a match of contrasting heights: Karlovic is 6'11”; Sela 5'9”. The taller of the two has won all six of their FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings, but there' are no hard feelings from Sela. The last time they played, in 2014 Bogota, they hugged it out.
Sixth seed and 2016 finalist Gilles Muller landed less than half of his first serves but found a way to beat Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis 7-6(5), 6-3.Read More: The Two People Who Push Muller To Success
“Tough match, like always against Marcos... It was a little bit up and down but the most important thing was to get through,” said Muller, who improved to 2-3 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series.
Muller will next meet Spain's Marcel Granollers, who beat American qualifier JC Aragone 7-6(6), 6-0.
American wild card Christian Harrison edged Aussie qualifier Alex Bolt 6-3, 4-6, 7-5 to set a second-round meeting with third seed Steve Johnson of the U.S.
Harrison's older brother, fifth seed Ryan Harrison, retired down 2-6, 0-2 to France's Nicolas Mahut, a four-time grass-court champion, including Newport in 2013.
“Many good memories from here,” Mahut said. “I really enjoy the tournament.”

#NextGenATP Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime earned his second tour-level win on Tuesday, beating Andrej Martin 6-3, 6-3 at the Plava Laguna Croatia Open Umag.
The 17-year-old Montreal native, who recorded his first tour-level victory against Vasek Pospisil at the BNP Paribas Open, converted four of six break-point chances and won 60 per cent of second-serve return points to set a meeting with defending champion and 2017 Next Gen ATP Finals runner-up Andrey Rublev. Fourth-seeded Rublev is making his first return to action after a three-month injury absence, dating back to the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters.
Marton Fucsovics snapped a three-match losing streak to upset eighth seed Benoit Paire 6-1, 6-3 in 74 minutes. The Banque Eric Sturdza Geneva Open titlist created 10 break-point opportunities, converting seven, en route to victory. Fucsovics, now 15-14 this season, will next face qualifier Marco Trungelliti or wild card Franko Skugor for a quarter-final spot.
Robin Haase made a successful return to Umag, coming from a set down to beat Brazilian Rogerio Dutra Silva 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 in two hours and seven minutes.
Haase, who last appeared at the Croatian event in 2011, landed 10 aces and won 68 per cent of service points to set a second-round meeting against Martin Klizan or Nicolas Jarry. The 31-year-old is bidding to reach the quarter-finals for the first time, having lost at the second-round stage on both his previous visits.
Maximilian Marterer rallied from a set down to beat Croatian wild card Nino Serdarusic 3-6, 7-5, 6-3. The BMW Open by FWU semi-finalist fired nine aces and did not face a break point after dropping the first set. The German, seeded ninth, will meet Laslo Djere in the second round. Djere overcame 2014 champion Pablo Cuevas 6-4, 1-6, 6-3 on Monday.Did You Know?Carlos Moya is the most successful player in Plava Laguna Croatia Open Umag history. The Spaniard won five titles at the event between 1996 and 2007, including three consecutive triumphs from 2001 to 2003.

Fernando Verdasco notched his 20th victory at the SkiStar Swedish Open on Tuesday, defeating Italian Lorenzo Sonego 6-4, 3-6, 6-1.
Both men entered the first-round contest with as many wins as losses at tour-level in 2018, but it was two-time finalist Verdasco who improved to 18-17 for the year after two hours and three minutes. The fifth seed won 85 per cent of first-serve points and converted three of seven break point chances to hand Sonego a fifth defeat in nine tour-level clashes this year.
Verdasco will face Pedro Sousa for a quarter-final spot. The Lisbon native overcame Radu Albot 6-4, 6-3 in one hour and 37 minutes.
Defending champion David Ferrer also booked his place in the second round, beating ATP World Tour debutant Zdenek Kolar 6-2, 7-5.
The seventh seed, who has lifted the trophy in Bastad on three occasions, saved six of seven break points to advance after one hour and 31 minutes. Ferrer eased to a one-set lead, but was made to work hard in the second set by Kolar, who qualified for his first tour-level event without dropping a set.
The 36-year-old will need to overcome #NextGenATP Norwegian Casper Ruud in the second round. Ruud defeated fellow #NextGenATP star Jaume Munar 6-7(7), 6-4, 6-0 on Monday.
No. 8 seed John Millman needed just 51 minutes to join Verdasco and Ferrer in the second round, cruising past Guido Andreozzi 6-0, 6-2. Millman won 28 of 33 service points and converted five of six break opportunities to progress.
Millman will meet Federico Delbonis in the second round. The Argentine came from a set down to beat countryman Horacio Zeballos 6-7(2), 6-2, 6-2.
Swedish wild card Mikael Ymer saved all five break points he faced in an 80-minute 6-3, 6-3 triumph over 2015 quarter-finalist Denis Istomin. But brother Elias Ymer could not join him in the second round, as Brazilian Thiago Monteiro scored a 6-4, 6-2 win over the 22-year-old after 73 minutes.
"I played very solid," said Mikael Ymer. "Thinking about the circumstances, playing at home and really wanting the win, I played pretty well. It is never easy. You want to win more than anything... For a first round, it is a very positive win."Did You Know?In the past 16 editions of the SkiStar Swedish Open, the title has been captured by a Spaniard on nine occasions. Defending champion David Ferrer (3) and Tommy Robredo (2) have won multiple titles, while Carlos Moya, Rafael Nadal, Nicolas Almagro and Albert Ramos-Vinolas have also lifted the trophy in recent years.

As Wimbledon comes to a close, we're counting down the 10 most memorable matches at the All England Club over the last 50 years.
On the afternoon of June 23, 2010, something odd happened in offices, bars, and homes all around the United States: People began watching a tennis match. It wasn’t, when it started, an important tennis match: John Isner, the 23rd seed, was facing Frenchman Nicolas Mahut in the first round at Wimbledon, on court No. 18. Few people in the U.S. believed Isner was a threat to win the tournament; fewer still could pronounce his opponent’s last name.
There were long stretches when the match wasn’t especially interesting to watch, either; it offered little drama from one point to the next. By the time the world began tuning in, Isner and Mahut were deep into a fifth set, and had been trading service holds for hours. Play had been suspended once for darkness, the previous day. Now, as the sun set over the All England Club again, and the score reached 20-all, 30-all (!), 40-all (!!), 50-all (!!!), 60-all (!!!!), it looked as if this match would be suspended for a second day, for the same reason. Had that ever happened before? Had anything that was going on out on Court 18 ever happened before? Even the scoreboard found itself in uncharted waters. Designed to go only to 47-47, it malfunctioned and had to be fixed that evening.
WATCH—International Tennis Hall of Fame:
People had tuned in at their offices, bars, and homes for one reason: Isner and Mahut were in the process of playing the longest match in tennis history. The last decade in men’s tennis has been about outsized, record-breaking achievements: Roger Federer’s 20 Slams, Rafael Nadal’s La Décima at the French Open, Novak Djokovic’s four straight Slams in 2005 and 2006. You can add Isner-Mahut to that Olympian list. While it was brutal for the two men to play, and a chore at times to watch, the statistics from Isner-Mahut are still mind-blowing to recite.
Score: 6-3, 3-6, 6-7 (7), 7-6 (3), 70-68
11 hours, 5 minutes: Total match time. That’s four hours and three minutes more than the second-longest match, a Davis Cup doubles rubber between the Czech Republic and Switzerland in 2013.
8 hours, 11 minutes: Time taken to play the fifth set. The longest baseball game ever played was eight hours and six minutes.
138: Games in the fifth set. That’s 26 more than have been played in any other match
215: Aces. Isner hit 112, Mahut 103. The previous record was 78 by Ivo Karlovic
183: Total games played. That’s 71 more than the second-highest total at Wimbledon, in Pancho Gonzalez’s five set win over Charlie Pasarell in 1969
63: Times that Mahut served to stay in the match
3: Service breaks
At 68-68, Mahut went up 0-30 on Isner’s serve, but the American came back to hold. Maybe Mahut was still thinking about that opportunity when he walked out to serve the next game, because he missed an easy volley that would have won him a point. Isner, who had been on his last legs for the better part of 24 hours, finally took advantage, first with a forehand pass and then, on his fourth match point, with a down-the-line backhand pass winner. All 6’10” of Isner dropped to the grass, before his legs caromed back up nearly as high in celebration.
Isner and Mahut were suddenly famous, and they struck up what might have been an otherwise unlikely friendship. Some thought their epic had been a bore, as well as a good argument for a fifth-set tiebreaker at Wimbledon (you’ll get no disagreement on the latter point from Isner), yet this match was about more than just its surreal length and statistics.
There was something more fundamental that made people around the world tune in. It was Mahut, at 50-games-all in the fifth set, leaping, diving, flinging his racquet at the ball, and landing face down at full stretch. It was Isner whiffing on a backhand, standing with his hands on his knees and his hat askew, utterly gassed, yet still laboring on for 40 more games. It was Mahut enduring a heart-breaking defeat, but still winning more points and hitting more aces in a single match than any other player in history—except John Isner. It was all the times that each of them could have dropped their guard—it would only have taken a bad point or two—but didn’t.
The fact that this was a first-round match, played on an obscure court between two players who weren’t stars only added to the appeal. What mattered was that, whatever the stakes, neither man gave in. Isner-Mahut wasn’t the most thrilling tennis match ever. But it’s one of the greatest ever because, for a longer period of time than any other, it represented what’s at the heart of every tennis match, and every sport: The fight.

Strokes of Genius is a world-class documentary capturing the historic 13-year rivalry between tennis icons Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. It is timed for release as the anticipation crests with Roger as returning champion, 10 years after their famed 2008 Wimbledon championship – an epic match so close and so reflective of their competitive balance that, in the end, the true winner was the sport itself.
WATCH: NOW AVAILABLE AT THE ITUNES STORE