Andy Murray Withdraws From The Australian Open

Three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray has confirmed that he won’t be competing in the 2021 Australian Open. Murray, now ranked No. 123 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, had been granted a wildcard to play in the tournament’s main draw but he tested positive for Covid-19 last week shortly before he was due to fly to Melbourne.

The 33-year-old Scot was asymptomatic and still hoped to compete in the event, but was unable to agree upon a “workable quarantine” after extensive talks with Tennis Australia. Murray had already been quarantining in the U.K. but would have faced an additional 14-day quarantine upon arrival in Melbourne.

“Gutted to share that I won’t be flying out to Australia to compete at the Australian Open,” Murray said in a statement. “We’ve been in constant dialogue with Tennis Australia to try and find a solution which would allow some form of workable quarantine, but we couldn’t make it work. I want to thank everyone there for their efforts, I’m devastated not to be playing out in Australia. It’s a country and tournament that I love.”

So sorry we won’t see you this year @andy_murray. We look forward to welcoming you back in 2022.

— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 23, 2021

It would have been Murray’s first appearance at the Australian Open since 2019, when he lost in the first round to Roberto Bautista Agut and was given an emotional farewell tribute that proved to be premature. After returning from hip surgery in 2019, Murray won the European Open in Antwerp in October 2019 but has struggled to remain fit in recent months. He ended the 2020 season in October to address a pelvic injury but is now apparently ready to return to action.

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Ten To Watch In 2021: ATP Challenger Tour

As crazy, unpredictable and unprecedented as the 2020 season was, one thing left us captivated on the ATP Challenger Tour. A bevy of fresh faces entered the fray, challenging the established stars and introducing themselves with aplomb.

The #NextGenATP contingent was bolstered by the arrival of Carlos Alcaraz, Lorenzo Musetti and Sebastian Korda, with each lifting their maiden Challenger trophies while gaining global attention on the Grand Slam stage and the ATP Tour. And with the likes of Aslan Karatsev and Jurij Rodionov also soaring up the FedEx ATP Rankings, the season provided many unexpected and intriguing breakthroughs on the Challenger circuit.

So, which budding stars should you keep an eye on in 2021? We look ahead to the players that are eager to follow in their footsteps on the ATP Challenger Tour in the coming year.

Francisco Cerundolo [No. 139]
The man they call Fran was one of the breakout performers of the 2020 season and there is little to suggest that he won't carry the momentum into the new year. If you blinked, you may have missed the 22-year-old's rapid rise in October and November. But be assured, he's just getting started.

Inconspicuous yet ruthless, Cerundolo is poised to become a household name across the tennis world. He put the rest of the tour on notice in the final months of 2020, reeling off 20 of 23 matches and lifting three trophies - tied for the most on the ATP Challenger Tour. His dominant run saw him soar more than 100 spots to a career-high No. 139 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, becoming the youngest Argentine in the Top 200.

And if that wasn't an impressive feat in itself, his success on the court is coming while he's dominating in the classroom. Cerundolo is pursuing a bachelor's degree in management, taking online classes in economics and finance while competing on the road.

Marc-Andrea Huesler [No. 148]
Another of 2020's unheralded breakout stars, Huesler quietly built an impressive portfolio of titles and statement wins. The only player to lift Challenger trophies on multiple surfaces a year ago, he was one of the more dominant players on the planet following the tour's restart in August.

Not only did Huesler triumph on the clay of Sibiu and speedy carpet courts of Ismaning, in back-to-back tournaments no less, he also stepped up to the ATP Tour in grand fashion. The 24-year-old Swiss streaked to the semi-finals at t

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Hard-Court Hero: Rublev's Foundation For Success

Andrey Rublev soared from No. 23 to No. 8 in the FedEx ATP Rankings on the back of five ATP Tour titles in 2020, when he was named by his peers as the ATP Most Improved Player of the Year.

His breakthrough was centred on his hard-court performances last year, with an ATP Tour-leading 31 match wins on the surface — better than World No. 1 Novak Djokovic (30), Nitto ATP Finals champion Daniil Medvedev (28) and US Open finalist Alexander Zverev (25).

According to the Infosys ATP Performance Zone, Rublev had the third-best winning percentage on hard-courts (79.5%) over the past 52 weeks, behind only Djokovic (88.2%) and Gael Monfils (80%).

Best Winning % On Hard Courts In 2020

 Player  Win-Loss Record  Winning %  1) Novak Djokovic  30-4  88.2%  2) Gael Monfils  16-4  80%  3) Andrey Rublev  31-8  79.5%  4) Daniil Medvedev  28-8  77.8% 5) Rafael Nadal  18-6  75%

Rublev opened the 2020 season with an 11-match winning streak on hard courts, including back-to-back ATP Tour titles in Doha (d. Moutet) and in Adelaide (d. Harris), making him the first player to win consecutive titles in the first two weeks of the season since Dominik Hrbaty in 2004. He compiled another 11-match winning streak on the surface in October with titles in St. Petersburg (d. Coric) and Vienna (d. Sonego).

It was quite the turnaround for Rublev, who saw his career winning percentage on hard courts skyrocket from the start of 2020 thanks to his 31-8 record (79.5%). Remarkably, the Russian compiled a 72-60 career record (54.5%) on the surface between 2014 and 2019.

Visit Infosys ATP Performance Zone

With growing confidence, Rublev has captured five of his seven ATP Tour titles on hard courts, and since 2014 he has won four times as many matches on hard courts (103) than he has on clay courts (25). Last year, the 23-year-old went 10-2 on clay —

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The Last Time... With Roberto Bautista Agut

“The Last Time” that Roberto Bautista Agut lost an ATP Cup match? Never happened.

The World No. 13 earned a reputation for being Spain’s reliable closer at last year’s inaugural event, winning all six of his singles matches without dropping a set to put his country into the final. Bautista Agut will hope to reprise that role as he teams up with Rafael Nadal, Pablo Carreno Busta and Marcel Granollers to try to bring home Spain’s first ATP Cup crown.

Speaking to from quarantine, Bautista Agut revealed "The Last Time"...

I forgot an important birthday or anniversary?
Actually last year. It was my anniversary with my wife! Somehow I managed to survive...

Being famous helped me?
It was one time I was going out to dinner. There was a restaurant in America during the summer that always seems to be overbooked. And so I called… and I let them know it was me. And they were able to get me a table and I got to have dinner there.

I went to a music concert?
It must have been over a year ago by now, more or less. I went to see a concert at the Plaza de Toros in Valencia. [Spanish pop singer] Manuel Carrasco was performing.

I watched a new TV series?
I’m actually watching a new one now, it’s a Spanish series called La Valla (“The Barrier”). I recommend it.

I missed a flight?
Actually I’ve never missed a flight. The only time I missed one was when the flight was cancelled, but never because I was running late. 

I paid money to rent a tennis court?
I don’t remember at all… I have no idea, but it definitely couldn’t have happened in Spain. If it happened it must have been abroad, but I honestly don’t remember.


I strung a tennis racquet? 
I have never strung a tennis racquet in my life. I know nothing about stringing.

I met a person that I really admired?
Recently I met a violinist that did me the favour of performing at my son’s baptism. I was really excited to meet him. He put together a beautiful concert for the family and the baby. 

I shared a hotel room with another player?
That’s got to be so long ago. Juniors? No, actually back when I played Chal

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Quarantine Chronicles: Catching Up With Milos Raonic

Milos Raonic has been doing anything but sleeping in during his 14-day quarantine period ahead of the Australian swing. The World No. 15 in the FedEx ATP Rankings is gearing up to represent Canada in the ATP Cup alongside Denis Shapovalov, Peter Polansky and Steven Diez, and he’s determined to maximise precious time on the tennis court.

But what is Raonic up to when he’s not on court? And what is his go-to delivery dish? The Canadian sat down for a chat with to reveal seven things he’s been up to during quarantine…

1. Getting creative with his in-room workouts.
"I hope the hotel doesn’t see that’s the use of the minibar fridge... But you can get creative in a hotel room. Our creativity has been using a fridge as a step-up, but there’s other ways. Towels can be used for different workouts. There’s many ways you can get creative, but for us our big thing was coming prepared and trying to have as much with us as possible… I was aware of how the conditions would be, so we came here and we brought a lot of things that we could use."

2. Organising his day to make the most of practice court time.
"So you hear the night before what time your slot is [to go outside for five hours] and what time you’ll get picked up. And then you adjust your day to that. You get ready and wait by your door for them to come around again once they’ve also corralled your team and the player you’re practising with. And then you’ll all come out to the elevator, go down in the same elevator. By the way, getting your hands sanitised and always wearing masks throughout this whole process. Then get in the car and head to the courts. You step straight out on court and you practice for your allotted time – that’s what we’re all trying to make the most of, the time on court. 

"After that you get to go to the gym, one of many across the whole venue that was built for the players. Your gym is actually correlated with your court. So anybody that day that practised on that court uses the exact same gym after, so that way they have time to clean it, to sanitise it… So you go to your gym, after that you have one hour to eat. And again... so if you practised on Court 3, you go to the gym for Court 3, then you go for the table in the area outside that’s for Court 3 for your time to eat.


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Groups Announced For 2021 ATP Cup

The 12 countries set to compete in the second edition of the ATP Cup, taking place in Melbourne the week prior to the Australian Open, were assigned to four groups at the official tournament draw on Friday.

Top seed Serbia, headlined by World No. 1 Novak Djokovic, will lead Group A, which will also consist of Germany and Canada. One year ago, Serbia battled through the field to lift the inaugural ATP Cup trophy in Sydney.

Group A

Second seed Spain, which finished runner-up in 2020, will aim to move through Group B, which includes Greece and Australia. World No. 2 Rafael Nadal leads the way for his country for the second consecutive year.

Group B

Austria, headed by World No. 3 Dominic Thiem, will look to advance through Group C against Italy and France. Fourth seed Russia, headlined by reigning Nitto ATP Finals champion Daniil Medvedev, will try to do the same in Group D, which includes Argentina and Japan.

Group C

Group D

Watch The ATP Cup Draw

The draw was hosted by Todd Woodbridge, with participation from Mark Philippoussis, John Fitzgerald, Jim Courier and Mark Petchey. 

This year’s five-day event will be played at Melbourne Park alongside two ATP 250 events, the Murray River Open and Great Ocean Road Open. Following the group stage, the four group winners will advance to the knock-out semi-finals to continue battling for the prestigious title.

The 2021 ATP Cup will feature 12 of the Top 13 players in the FedEx ATP Rankings. Each country will consist of four players, with each tie comprised of two singles and one doubles match.

Follow the latest ATP Cup news and live updates at and on Twitter and Instagram.

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