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Tennis - Richard Gasquet and Marcus Willis impressed the most
It's one of the ATP Challenger Tour's crown jewels and next week the Arizona Tennis Classic will take on even greater importance in the tennis calendar.The prestigious Challenger 125 event always attracts some of the best fields on the circuit, with players looking for additional match play between the ATP Masters 1000 events in Indian Wells and Miami. But this year, with the cancellation of the BNP Paribas Open, the tournament in Phoenix has been thrust into the spotlight.Slated to begin Sunday, the event will feature an enhanced eight-day schedule with expanded draw sizes, increased broadcast TV coverage in the United States and a stacked field of today's ATP stars. As the only tournament on the men's calendar next week, all eyes will be on Phoenix. On Wednesday, it was announced that the singles draw size would expand from 48 to 56 players and qualifying from four to eight competitors. With the goal of accommodating those affected by the cancellation of Indian Wells, the 56 main draw players will be comprised of 41 through the original entry list, six wild cards and four qualifiers. The five remaining spots will be filled from an on-site sign-in list using the most recent FedEx ATP Ranking.The tournament will kick off on Sunday, with qualifying to be completed in addition to the start of the main draw. In the meantime, players have the opportunity to continue practising at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, while utilising the on-site facilities and services. Top 100 stars Frances Tiafoe, Jannik Sinner, Miomir Kecmanovic, Richard Gasquet, Steve Johnson, John Millman and Gilles Simon are among those confirmed to compete in Phoenix. Wild card announcements will be forthcoming.In addition, Tennis Channel has announced wall-to-wall broadcast TV coverage of the Arizona Tennis Classic. The U.S. network announced that its production truck would be making its way to Phoenix for 60 hours of live match coverage. It will provide unprecedented TV exposure for a Challenger in the United States. Starting on Monday at 2pm ET, the network will show seven days of live tennis, concluding with singles and doubles finals on March 22. You can also watch free first ball to last coverage via the ATP Challenger Tour live streaming platform on ATPChallengerTour.com.Held at the historic Phoenix Country Club, the Challenger event is making its second straight appearance on the calendar following its relocation from Irving, Texas. Last year, Matteo Berrettini lifted the trophy and went on to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals, finishing in the Top 10 of the year-end FedEx ATP Rankings. Established in 1899, the Phoenix Country Club is one of just seven Challenger venues to be founded before the turn of the century. Today, the facility also hosts a PGA Tour Champions event at its 18-hole golf course.
Gasquet, 33, has been struggling to stay healthy for the last several years.
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Milos Raonic has long paid close attention to his nutrition, first bringing a nutritionist onto his team in 2013. The former World No. 3 says the personnel has changed, but he has always had guidance in that department since, and it has proven a key part of his career.ATPTour.com caught up with the Canadian to discuss nutrition, the food that has become a major part of his diet, the dessert he wishes he could eat and more.[TENNIS AT HOME] What made you add a nutritionist to your team in 2013? Some players pay careful attention to that, others not as closely, so was there any specific reason?Every single step [of my career] I’ve always asked myself, ‘What can I do better?’ I reached that point in 2013 when just before the season, that’s where I thought I could make the most impact. I asked the people I was working with, my team, they felt that’s something I could give attention to and I could reap benefits from.How much has your diet and what you’ve avoided changed between where you started and now?It’s probably changed every two to three years because every time I change it, I use that to solve certain issues. When I started it was, ‘How can I clean stuff up? How can I be more efficient?’ Then over the past few years when I’ve had a lot of injuries, it’s been, 'What have I been lacking or what might I be missing or what do I need to do better to stay healthy?' I think each time it’s been conformed to a specific issue that I’m trying to solve or I’m trying to fix or improve. I think that’s where it’s sort of stepped from the approach we take to the solution we are looking for.Do you have a list of ‘no-no’s’ where you go into a restaurant and you know you can’t touch it?Skipping desserts. I don’t eat red meat that often. Maybe once or twice every two weeks, and now a big part of it has been regimenting the times I eat. That is how quickly I’m eating after a match, and those kind of things. That’s what has changed a lot over the past period of time. It’s a lot more structured and so forth. I’ve struggled with a lot of different types of injuries, different issues with my back, a couple muscle tears over the past few years. It was about how can we fuel you and how can we give you the right kind of food that you need to keep your tissues and your body healthy and also functioning properly. [It's about] functioning efficiently to try to find a way to minimise those problems coming up.Is there a food that you thought was gross or just didn’t eat that now you’re eating because of those things?When I started on Tour I wasn’t a big fan of fish, probably back in 2010 or 2011. That’s something that I probably eat more than anything of. It’s something I go to quite often to have the source of protein throughout my day, pretty much almost daily. That’s one that’s changed quite a bit. There are different kinds of veggies and things that I’ve added, but I’d say fish was the one, because it is such a big part of what I consume nowadays. It’s probably the most significant change.[ATP APP]You mentioned how something you’ve adapted is how quickly after a match you eat, so what is that process like for you?I think you try to get something in you right away within the first 45 minutes to an hour after a match. Before, sometimes I would stretch after a match, do my cooldown, do press and all those things. Now I’ll do my cooldown because that’s a priority right after, but then I’ll eat before I do press and all the other things that fall after it. It’s just been a shift in priorities in that sense. When I do press doesn’t really change anybody’s life, but it will make a difference for me the next day or the accumulation of match after match, and it’ll start to make a difference in how soon I’m consuming something to start replenishing my body after the load of playing a match.I know there are no desserts, but is there one you wish you could have?I have it every once in a while, but much more rarely: tiramisu. It’s by far my favourite dessert.