30.11.2019 - 16:49 Uhr
Continuing our Season In Review series, ATPTour.com looks at the headlines that shaped 2019 on the doubles circuit.Cabal/Farah Reach The MountaintopIn 2018, Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah made their big breakthrough as a duo. The Colombians, who first partnered one another at the Futures level in 2004, earned 39 tour-level wins and qualified for their first Nitto ATP Finals.But this season proved even better for the longtime friends and partners, becoming just the second all-South American duo to finish year-end No. 1 in the ATP Doubles Team Rankings (since 1984). In 1986, Chilean Hans Gildemeister and Ecuadorian Andres Gomez accomplished the feat.“It’s an honour to receive this trophy, being alongside the names engraved on it,” Farah said during an on-court presentation at the Nitto ATP Finals, where the Colombians were the top seeds and reached the semi-finals. “Starting the year, it was difficult to predict we’d end it as the No. 1 team. It’s a dream come true and I’d like to thank everyone who is here for supporting us.”Read: Cabal/Farah Presented Year-End No. 1 TrophyCabal and Farah captured five of their 17 tour-level titles in 2019, and they own a 3,655-point lead in the ATP Doubles Team Rankings ahead of No. 2 Lukasz Kubot and Marcelo Melo. Last year, Cabal and Farah won their first ATP Masters 1000 title in Rome, and they retained that trophy this season at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia, and it only got better from there. The Colombians captured their first two Grand Slam titles at Wimbledon and the US Open, respectively.Herbert/Mahut Show Their ClassPierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut only competed together eight times in 2019, but they began and finished their season with a bang.The Frenchmen completed their Career Grand Slam at the Australian Open, winning the season’s first major without losing a set from the quarter-finals on. Herbert and Mahut became the eighth men’s doubles team to lift all four Grand Slam trophies.After losing two of their next three matches, the Frenchmen did not play together until Cincinnati, with Herbert choosing to focus on singles. He only played doubles three times between the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters and the Western & Southern Open — including Wimbledon with Andy Murray.It appeared that lay-off may have been detrimental to this team, with Herbert and Mahut losing in the second round in Cincinnati and the first round of the US Open. But after making the semi-finals in Vienna they found their best form, winning the Rolex Paris Masters and then the Nitto ATP Finals without dropping a set at either event.The season finale was a special victory for the Frenchmen after letting slip a championship point against Mike Bryan and Jack Sock last year. It was the perfect ending to their 2019 campaign.“It is pretty special [to win this trophy]. Maybe, for doubles, it is one of the toughest tournaments to win,” said Herbert. “After our story in London — we had three really tough years and last year we had a match point in the final — being able to win here is an amazing feeling.”New Teams Break ThroughThree teams broke through to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals for the first time together this year.One year ago, Kevin Krawietz and Andreas Mies finished in 87th place in the ATP Doubles Race To London. But the Germans got off to a fast start in 2019, and they never looked back. Krawietz and Mies, who had competed mainly on the ATP Challenger Tour before 2019, won the New York Open for their first ATP Tour title, claimed their maiden Grand Slam trophy at Roland Garros and triumphed in Antwerp.Rajeev Ram had previously qualified for the Nitto ATP Finals twice, in 2016 and 2017, but he did so then with Raven Klaasen. The American teamed with Brit Joe Salisbury for the first time this year, and the result was a 39-win season that included two ATP 500 titles and a trip to The O2. Ram and Salisbury were victorious in Dubai and Vienna, using those results to propel them into a spot at The O2. The last of the team’s is Filip Polasek and Ivan Dodig. The Slovak-Croat team first got together in Antalya, which took place in the last week of June. Yet they clicked immediately, and pulled off a stunning run that saw them qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals. Dodig and Polasek made at least the semi-finals in eight of the 11 tournaments they played before London, triumphing in Cincinnati and Beijing while also finishing runner-up in Antalya and making the last four at Wimbledon.Polasek’s ComebackPolasek cracked the Top 10 of the ATP Doubles Rankings in November ahead of the Nitto ATP Finals. But less than 17 months earlier, the Slovak had no points at all.That’s because when Polasek was 28, he was forced to retire due to injury, and he did not play professional tennis again for more than four years after that. Polasek had won 11 ATP Tour doubles titles and reached 13 additional finals. But a nerve issue in his back — he had loose discs in his spine — did not allow him to continue.Read My Point: Re-Making Polasek After Five-Year RetirementEven after retirement, Polasek still suffered from pain, so much so that coaching lower-level pros and even older juniors proved too tough of a task physically. He couldn’t even consistently play floorball recreationally. But last May, a chance meeting with Mike Bryan in Slovakia started the ball rolling on his comeback, and Polasek has not looked back since.“If you told me that 15 months later I’d be sitting here as an ATP Masters 1000 champion, I would have told you that you’re crazy. I would never ever bet even a dollar on it. It’s been an incredible journey. But after everything I’ve been through, this is just the beginning,” Polasek wrote in a first-person essay for ATPTour.com in August.Bob Bryan Returns From Hip Surgery, Bros Announce 2020 RetirementMike Bryan finished 2018 on a high, winning Wimbledon, the US Open and the Nitto ATP Finals with Jack Sock. His brother, Bob Bryan, underwent hip surgery last August, leaving an uncertain future for the twins.But the Bryan brothers made their return in Brisbane this year and quickly clicked into form. The Americans made the quarter-finals of the Australian Open and triumphed in Delray Beach before hitting their highest note of the season in Miami, where they captured their 39th Masters 1000 trophy together, putting them in second place in the ATP Doubles Race To London.Read About The Bryans' Upcoming RetirementThe Bryan brothers won 35 tour-level matches together in 2019, earning their 1,100th team win in Cincinnati and qualifying for the Nitto ATP Finals, but electing not to participate. They announced that 2020 will be their final season, planning to bring their historic careers to an end at the US Open. The Bryan brothers own 118 tour-level doubles titles together.



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Murray, Andy

07.08.2020 - 19:03 Uhr

If there’s one match that shows how much tennis means to Andy Murray, it might be his third-round battle against Marius Copil at the 2018 Citi Open. After the match, which ended at 3:02 a.m., the former World No. 1 sat in his chair and broke into tears.That January, Murray had undergone hip surgery, but he was nowhere near full health. The three-time Grand Slam champion mustered all the energy he could to defeat the big-serving Copil 6-7(5), 6-3, 7-6(4) after three hours and two minutes.“I told him I’m happy that he’s back and it’s great to play against him again,” Copil told ATPTour.com. “I really enjoy playing against him. He always brings the best out of me. I was happy that he came back to the Tour. When we went back to the locker room we spoke again and he was still crying, maybe because he had the pain in his hip.”A couple hours later, Murray laid in his hotel bed and recorded a video message on his phone at 5:09 a.m., as seen in the documentary ‘Andy Murray: Resurfacing’, which came out last year.“I feel like this is the end for me,” Murray said. “I really want to keep going, but my body is telling me no.”Murray told reporters that evening that his tears simply came from the emotions of a long match finishing late in the evening, but the former World No. 1 had more on his mind. His Romanian opponent didn’t realise it at the time.“When I watched the documentary, I felt something in my stomach, it was weird. It was a weird feeling, because I know it was tough for him,” Copil said. “I respect Andy so much because he’s a really great fighter and warrior and this is something to admire and for a lot of sportsmen to look up to. The way he fights is just unbelievable.”Many people will remember the moment because of Murray’s emotions, but the match itself was memorable, too. Copil crushed 20 aces and won three more points than Murray in their clash, which was suspended by rain, leading to the late finish.“It was a crazy match. We both played well and when we finished, we just had 200 to 300 people watching us, maybe less,” said Copil, who has lost each of his three ATP Head2Head matches against Murray, with two of those going to a deciding set. “Normally when you play against Andy it’s a full stadium, and that time when we played there were not many people left.“I saw by the way he was walking that I thought he had something, but during the match I thought he moved well. I cannot say his level was lower. I think he played well against me, but I didn’t think about his injury and that his level could be lower because he is one of the top four guys who will remain in history [from this era]. His level, even if he’s not 100 per cent, is still very, very high.”Copil sliced a backhand into the net on match point to give Murray the victory. While the Brit was recording his video in the early hours of the morning, the Romanian was still awake trying to find a flight to Toronto, where he had to play Rogers Cup qualifying about 31 hours later. Copil couldn’t find any direct flights, so he was forced to fly to a city in the United States — he can’t remember where — and then ride in a car for more than five hours, arriving in Toronto at around 6 a.m. the morning of his 12 p.m. qualifying match against Yoshihito Nishioka. After winning the first set easily, he was too tired to maintain his level, falling in another final-set tie-break, just like he did against Murray. That completed a wild two-day stretch for Copil.“I was sad because I finished [against Murray] with a backhand slice into the net. I was just disappointed at that particular shot. The rest of the match I played really well. I liked the way I was playing and the attitude I had. It was a great match,” Copil said. “One guy has to lose and I was the guy who lost.”

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