Week #20: What to watch for on ATP World Tour as delivered to Tennis Channel by ATP's PR & Marketing Department.
10 THINGS TO WATCH IN ROME
1) Rome’s Title Trio: Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal return to Rome, where they have combined for the last 12 Internazionali BNL d’Italia titles. Including Roger Federer, the Big Four has won 24 of 25 ATP Masters 1000 titles since 2014 Toronto (96%), 37 of 40 since the start of the 2013 season (93%), 75 of 85 since 2008 (88%) and 96 of 112 since 2005 (86%).
2) Murray to Defend Title: World No. 1 Murray won his first of nine titles in 2016 at Rome, finishing the season on a 61-4 run after arriving at Foro Italico with a 17-5 record. Murray, who turns 30 on Monday, has played the same number of matches entering Rome this year (16-6, 1 title at Dubai).
3) Same Half Again: Djokovic, a four-time Rome champion, is on the same half of the draw as Nadal for the fourth time in as many ATP Masters 1000 appearances this year. The Serbian’s seven-match and 15-set win streaks against the Spaniard ended in the Madrid semi-finals on Saturday.
4) Remarkable Rafa: Nadal, a seven-time Rome champion, tied Djokovic for the all-time record with his 30th ATP Masters 1000 title at Madrid. The 30-year-old lefty is 15-0 in matches and 30-2 in sets on clay this season. After winning titles at Monte-Carlo, Barcelona and Madrid, Nadal is a Romeand Roland Garros title away from becoming the first player to sweep those five clay-court titles.
5) Former Finalists: Three other former finalists are in the Rome main draw. Tommy Haas, the 2002 runner-up, makes his final appearance in Rome before retiring later this season. World No. 3 Stan Wawrinka, the 2008 runner-up, and former No. 3 David Ferrer, the 2010 runner-up, are also back.
6) Major Milestones: Ferrer and No. 12 seed Tomas Berdych are on the verge of major milestones. The Spaniard is one win from becoming the 13th player to reach 700 victories, while the Czech is two wins from becoming the 25th man with 600. Berdych’s coach, Goran Ivanisevic, had 599 wins.
7) #NextGenATP Watch: No. 16 seed Alexander Zverev leads the Emirates ATP Race to Milan. Zverev is joined this week by fellow Next Gen ATP Finals contenders Jared Donaldson and Matteo Berrettini. In an All-Italian showdown, Berrettini lost his ATP debut to Fabio Fognini on Sunday. Donaldson is a lucky loser at his second ATP Masters 1000 event in as many weeks.
8) Wild Cards: Berrettini is one of four Italian wild cards along with 32-year-old Andreas Seppi and 22-year-olds Gianluca Mager and Stefano Napolitano. Seppi is playing in Rome for the 12th time.
9) Doubles Field: Four-time champions Bob Bryan, Mike Bryan and Daniel Nestor headline the doubles draw. The Bryans have not won a final since 2016 Rome (18 events), the longest drought of their 112-title run that began at 2001 Memphis. Nestor won his first Rome title 20 years ago.
10) First-Round Showdowns: Haas, 39, faces Ivo Karlovic, 38, in the oldest ATP match since Luis Ayala, 49, met Ricardo Cano, 30, at 1982 Vina del Mar. Ferrer seeks his 700th win against fellow 35-year-old Spaniard Feliciano Lopez, Juan Martin del Potro meets World No. 11 Grigor Dimitrov, and No. 18 Nick Kyrgios goes head to head with No. 20 Roberto Bautista Agut.
For more about ATP World Tour, go to www.atpworldtour.com
By Greg Sharko, Director, Media Information, PR & Marketing, ATP World Tour
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