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  • Murray: 'Winning Is All That Matters To Me'

    The competitive fire still burns bright in Andy Murray. In the aftermath of a vintage performance at the Moselle Open on Tuesday, full of grit and determination, the former World No. 1 insisted, “Winning is all that matters to me.”

    The 34-year-old, who has undergone two right hip surgeries in the past three years, explained, “There are two things that matter — your effort and your attitude, which is probably No. 1 as that’s what you can control. For me sport is about that. You either win or lose.

    “Winning is what sport is all about, and if you can play great whilst doing that even better. But if you can’t, and you don’t play your best, then winning is a great feeling. That’s why I am still playing. I have little goals — to get to 700 wins on tour. I’m not particularly interested in losing and playing well.”

    Speaking after his 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 victory over sixth-seeded Frenchman Ugo Humbert in Metz, Murray admitted, “I don’t think I’ve played that well recently, but my body has been good and even not playing my best, I’ve created opportunities to win sets against a number of top players. There is no question that I can play better.

    “The thing that has been frustrating for me in some of the matches is that I had opportunities — against [Andrey] Rublev I had 4-4, 15/30 in the first set [at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam], [Hubert] Hurkacz I had set points at 5-4, 15/40 [at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati] and the same thing against [Frances] Tiafoe at 5-4, 15/40 [at the Winston-Salem Open]. Countless opportunities against [Stefanos] Tsitsipas [at the US Open] as well. If I take those chances, those matches are very different.”

    Murray, who has now won 683 tour-level matches, believes that adjustments made to his service technique after Wimbledon in July are helping him earn more free points and be more competitive.

    “The serve has been a big positive since Wimbledon, the changes that I have made there have really helped get me some free points. It got me out of some tricky situations today… At the US Open, I felt that I played a good match [against Tsitsipas] and lost. These are the matches that are really important to build confidence. Winning a match against a player around the Top 25 [today], and not playing your best tennis, is a real positive.

    “The serve was the shot that was most affected by my hip problem. I kind of lost my technique on my serve and I couldn’t drive up to the serve. So I had to change my serve through necessity and lost a lot of power. I didn’t really get that back.

    “There has been moments in the past couple of years when I have served well, but I had to look at it after Wimbledon and make a few adjustments. In the matches in the [United] States, I was getting a lot more free points. It changes the way you play.”

    Murray will play Canada's Vasek Pospisil in the Metz second round on Wednesday.



  • Murray Battles Past Humbert In Metz

    Andy Murray turned back the clock on Tuesday night with a battling performance at the Moselle Open in Metz. Having come under pressure at 3-3 in the second set, the former World No. 1 won seven straight games en route to a 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 comeback victory over sixth-seeded Frenchman Ugo Humbert in two hours and 24 minutes.

    “I had some chances early in the first set and didn’t take them, then he had his break point at the end of the first set and hit a really good return,” said Murray in an on-court interview. “He then had a good hold at 5-4. He played a little bit better and in the second and third sets, it was the other way around. He didn’t play well when he had his opportunities and I took mine.

    “I’ve found it tough in the past few years that I don’t know some players that well and it’s difficult to play against them and win. Today, I felt I had a good game plan and executed it pretty well.”

    The 34-year-old Murray, who is making his first appearance in Metz since losing to Tommy Robredo in the 2007 final, will next challenge Canada’s Vasek Pospisil.

    Watch Tuesday Highlights From Metz

    Humbert, who saved three break points at 1-1 in the first set, clinched the decisive break at 4-4. Murray saved two set points with volley winners when Humbert served for the set in the next game, but the World No. 26 secured the 54-minute opener with a smash winner, much to the delight of the crowd at Les Arenes de Metz.

    Wild card Murray came under pressure once more at 3-3 in the second set, when he fell to 0/30 on serve, but the 34-year-old recovered with big first serves and turned the tables in the next game. Humbert saved three break points, but on Murray’s fourth opportunity, the Frenchman over-hit a forehand approach. Murray completed the second set, which lasted 41 minutes, with a backhand crosscourt winner.

    A flurry of errors from Humbert gifted Murray a service break at the start of the decider and the Scot went on to win his seventh game in a row for a 4-0 lead in the third set. The pair’s second ATP Head2Head meeting (2019 Antwerp) ended with Murray striking an ace.

    The 23-year-old Humbert had been attempting to record his 20th match win of the season. He upset Alexander Zverev and Andrey Rublev en route to the biggest ATP Tour title of his career in June at the NOVENTI OPEN in Halle.

    Elsewhere, seventh seed Karen Khachanov lost just four of his first-service points (39/43) and hit 11 aces to beat French qualifier Alexandre Muller 4-6, 6-1, 6-3 in just under two hours. He awaits the winner between German qualifier Peter Gojowczyk and French lucky loser Antoine Hoang.

    The Russian, who lost to Alexander Zverev in the Tokyo Olympics gold medal match, is bidding to finish inside the Top 30 in the FedEx ATP Rankings for the fourth straight year.

    American Marcos Giron set up a second-round encounter against fourth-seeded Australian Alex de Minaur after he recorded a 3-6, 7-6(3), 6-4 win over Arthur Rinderknech of France. Meanwhile, Spain’s Alejandro Davidovich Fokina knocked out three-time former champion Gilles Simon 6-7(4), 7-6(2), 6-2 in three hours and now plays eight-seeded Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvili.



  • Musetti Rediscovers Spark & Smile, Eyes Push For Milan

    With an expansive game, Lorenzo Musetti’s flamboyant brand of tennis brings a smile to his legion of fans across the world. However, the #NextGenATP Italian hasn’t been smiling too much lately. “I had lost the spirit of tennis, the passion that I had,” he admitted at the Astana Open on Tuesday.

    The 19-year-old, who opened his Nur-Sultan campaign with a 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 victory over Australian qualifier Marc Polmans, said, “I had a lot in my head inside the court and outside the court. I broke up with my girlfriend, things like this.

    “After the French Open [Roland Garros], I was really under the spotlight. Media and things outside, maybe I gave too much time to that and didn’t focus enough on my tennis. It’s been a hard period for me.”

    Musetti believes that he turned a corner earlier this month at the US Open.

    “I made sure I enjoyed the tennis a bit more,” Musetti said at this week’s ATP 250 tournament. “It came back in New York. It was a really nice atmosphere there. It was the first tournament we could go out in the city. I saw a lot of players and friends. I started to train better, more consistency and finally I’m smiling. I am not the sad person I was recently.”

    Having reached ATP Tour semi-finals this year in Acapulco and Lyon (l. to Tsitsipas both times), Musetti has risen from No. 129 in the FedEx ATP Rankings to a career-high No. 57.

    “It’s a lot of pressure on a 19-year-old, to be expected to win most of the time,” said Musetti. “I didn’t know how to manage it. I was exploding inside, and I couldn’t give 100 per cent on the court. I started to work with a mental trainer and it’s working. It’s not easy to change these things, I think it’s a long way to go, but I’ve improved mentally.

    “Even in this match [against Polmans], I fought for every point. That’s what makes me the happiest. Look at Marc, Top 150, it’s so hard. There is such a tiny difference from the Challengers to here on the ATP Tour. Everyone has to be at 100 per cent the whole time and that’s tough.”

    Musetti beat David Goffin, Yoshihito Nishioka and his close friend Marco Cecchinato at Roland Garros this year. “It was unexpected on debut, [but] I learned so much about myself,” said Musetti, who led Novak Djokovic by two sets to love only to lose their fourth round in Paris. “I hope to have a lot of second weeks in my career.”

    Having grown up on the junior circuit with the likes of Leylah Fernandez and Carlos Alcaraz, the Italian is buoyed by the progress of his peers.

    “Emma Raducanu who won, Carlos is also 18-years-old,” said Musetti. “I’m good friends with Leylah, it was unexpected, also for her. We are 18, 19 [year]s in age, [and] it motivates me a lot… They played really well, they’ve trained really hard, everyone is sacrificing, but when you have talent and sacrifice, that’s a good combination. They did it and they deserve what they achieved. I hope to join them.”

    But first, Musetti is aiming for a deep run in Nur-Sultan to boost his chances of qualifying for the Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals, to be held in Milan from 9-13 November.

    “I’m really looking forward to this [and] I hope to qualify,” said Musetti, who is currently in sixth position in the ATP Race To Milan.

    “I think it would be really special for me to play in Milan, in front of a home crowd. It’s not so far from my hometown [Carrara]. I think if I qualify, I’ll make sure it’s a good event for me. I’m trying to go forward as far as possible here to take points to qualify.”



  • Schwartzman Arrives For Build-Up To 2021 Laver Cup

    Diego Schwartzman has arrived in Boston to prepare to represent Team World for the second time at the Laver Cup, which begins on Friday.

    The fourth edition of the Laver Cup is being held at the TD Garden, home to the Boston Bruins ice hockey team and Boston Celtics basketball team.

    The Laver Cup field includes six Top 10 players, Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Alexander Zverev, Andrey Rublev, Matteo Berrettini and Casper Ruud on Team Europe. Denis Shapovalov, Felix Auger-Aliassime and Nick Kyrgios join Schwartzman for Team World.

    FIVE THINGS TO WATCH AT THE LAVER CUP

    1) Medvedev Makes Debut: Medvedev will return to action less than two weeks after winning his maiden major title at the US Open earlier this month as he makes his debut at the Laver Cup. The Russian, who defeated Novak Djokovic in the final at Flushing Meadows, has compiled an 18-2 record since Wimbledon.

    2) Tsitsipas and Zverev Return: In 2019, Tsitsipas and Zverev both competed for Team Europe as they defeated Team World to win the title for the third time. The pair will reunite this week in Boston as they aim to extend their dominance over Team World. Zverev arrives in form, having captured his fifth ATP Masters 1000 crown in Cincinnati, before enjoying a run to the semi-finals at the US Open.

    3) Canadians Competing For Team World: Canada’s Shapovalov and Auger-Aliassime will look to lead Team World to a first victory at the Laver Cup, with the latter full of confidence after he reached his first major semi-final at Flushing Meadows. It will be the third time Shapovalov has competed at the event, after starring in 2017 and 2019.

    Team World aims to flip the script. #LaverCup 2021 pic.twitter.com/TrEI5WPdgi

    — Laver Cup (@LaverCup) September 13, 2021

    4) Others To Watch: Fresh off his rise into the Top 5 of the FedEx ATP Rankings, Rublev is part of Team Europe’s squad, with Berrettini and Ruud in action, too. Big-serving Americans Reilly Opelka and John Isner will compete for Team World alongside Schwartzman and Kyrgios.

    5) Borg & McEnroe Lead The Teams: Former World No. 1 Bjorn Borg and seven-time major champion John McEnroe will captain the teams again for a fourth time. Borg will hope Team Europe can replicate their dominant form this week, after Zverev secured its third-straight victory in the final match of the 2019 event.



  • #NextGenATP Musetti, Millman Win In Nur-Sultan

    #NextGenATP Italian Lorenzo Musetti recorded his first ATP Tour indoor match win on Tuesday at the Astana Open in Nur-Sultan.

    Musetti knocked out Australian qualifier Marc Polmans 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 in two hours and 19 minutes as he continues his push for a spot at the 2021 Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals, to be held in Milan from 9-13 November.

    "“It was a really tough match, but I played well," said Musetti. "He was really solid and he was not missing a ball, so it was not easy to [win] the point. In the third set, I broke him in the third game, a really tough game, and that game was a turning point of the match. So I am really happy with the win."

    The 19-year-old, who sits in sixth position in the ATP Race To Milan, has reached two ATP Tour semi-finals this year in Acapulco and Lyon (l. to Tsitsipas both times). He’ll next look to improve upon his 0-2 ATP Head2Head record against seventh-seeded Serbian Laslo Djere in the second round.

    Watch Tuesday Highlights From Nur-Sultan

    Fifth-seeded Australian John Millman bounced back from a 0-2 deficit in the deciding set to overcome Kazakhstani qualifier Dmitry Popko 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 in two hours and nine minutes and next challenges Jaume Munar of Spain. Millman beat Adrian Mannarino in last year’s Nur-Sultan final for his first tour-level crown.

    "“I am hoping I can build on that match,” said Millman. "It was a little bit scrappy from my end. Credit to my opponent, he came out having played a couple of matches in those conditions and was probably a little bit better from the start. Once I found my feet, I felt a little bit more comfortable.”

    Eighth seed Ilya Ivashka will face Kazakhstani wild card Timofey Skatov following a 6-2, 6-4 victory over Swedish qualifier Elias Ymer in one hour and 36 minutes. Belarusian Ivashka beat Mikael Ymer for his first ATP Tour trophy last month at the Winston-Salem Open, and is now 26-13 on the season.

    Elsewhere, another Belarusian, Egor Gerasimov upset sixth-seeded French Benoit Paire 7-5, 6-4 in 83 minutes.

    Kazakhstani Pair Reach Quarter-finals

    Second seeds Andrey Golubev and ALeksandr Nedovyesov needed five set points in the first set tie-break en route to a 7-6(7), 6-2 first-round victory over Australians James Duckworth and Matthew Ebden. The Kazahstanis now face Czechs Roman Jebavy and Jiri Vesely.



  • The Endurance Of Feliciano

    It’s 12:30 pm on Monday 20 September 2021 and Feliciano López is waiting at Madrid’s Barajas Adolfo Suárez airport for a flight to Boston to play in the Laver Cup on Friday. The interesting thing about the journey is that the Spaniard is making it on the day of his 40th birthday, and he is still competing with the ATP Tour elite.

    “I didn’t imagine myself competing at this point of my career, and I’m not talking about at 40, I mean a few years ago, that’s why I’m enjoying myself so much. I didn’t expect it at all,” admits the Toledo native before jetting off to the USA to form part of Team Europe.

    Feliciano is one of the few players of his generation that are still active on the ATP Tour, joining Roger Federer and Ivo Karlovic (42) in their forties. “Federer was the torchbearer for this generation and then, of the players who have been able to compete at a good level at this age, perhaps I come after him. There’s nobody that was born in 1981 or 1982 still playing at this level.”

    There is no doubt that his extra years on Tour have been fruitful. The best seasons of his career have come in the latter stages. He reached his peak FedEx ATP Ranking (No. 12) at 33, while five of his seven titles came this side of thirty.

    At the age of both 35 and 37 he won Queen’s. “It’s true that once I turned thirty, I said to myself ‘I feel great’ and it was a surprise, but then I realised it was a reality and that I might even be able to play more years," Lopez said. "When I was 35, I won Queen’s for the first time, it was a surprise to win at that age. Then I realised that it was no flash in the pan, that I was feeling physically very fit and I could keep going for a few more years.”

    Such has been his tenure on the ATP Tour that he is one of only eleven active players to have surpassed the 500-match barrier, while he alone holds the record for consecutive appearances in majors with 78.

    “In the beginning, when I started to play tennis, we all had the idea that after 30 professionals started to think about retiring,” remembers Feliciano. “You always have that in mind and it generates a lot of uncertainty. But when I turned 30, I was also uncertain, but those were good years. They were the best of my career, so it stopped being a surprise.”

    The passing of the years on the ATP Tour has meant that nowadays he plays opponents who are half his age or that were not even born when he won his first professional match in 1998.

    “It’s tremendous,” he says of this stat. “Some of the people I play against weren’t even born when I started as a professional, like Carlos Alcaraz, for example. I also played with De Minaur, who is half my age. It’s logical when you’re 40 and you play with young players, because the best 18 or 19-year-olds are already at this level. Apart from the numbers, I’m happy to have had so much enjoyment from such a long career.”

    It is this enjoyment that dominates Feliciano’s memories on his 40th birthday as he looks back: “Apart from the fact that I’m still competing, which is really amazing, good things have happened to me in recent years: I’ve won Queen’s twice, I’ve won the Davis Cup in Madrid, in my city, now I’m going to play the Laver Cup, who knows, maybe I’ll be able to play the Davis Cup at home again... So many good things have happened to me in recent years, that’s why I’m enjoying it so much.”

  • Murray Aiming For 'Robust' Finish To Season

    Andy Murray feels he is ready to finish the season strongly as he looks to continue to improve his game and fitness, starting at the Moselle Open in Metz this week.

    The Brit found his best level against World No. 3 Stefanos Tsitsipas in the first round at the US Open last month, pushing the Greek to five sets. The 34-year-old is now keen to maintain his form for the rest of the season.

    “I played a good match there [at the US Open] in terms of the level,” Murray said in his pre-tournament press conference. “I didn’t get the outcome I wanted, but I played well so it is good to know that level of tennis is still there against the best players.

    “You need to try to maintain that. I need to be playing matches and want to compete as much as I can between now and the end of the year. I won’t have a few weeks to prepare for each tournament, but it will be more like a few days. But that is the challenge. I have to do my best in these next couple of months.”

    [FOLLOW ACTION]

    Murray has competed in seven tour-level events this season, but has played in four tournaments in the past month at all levels, including an ATP Challenger Tour event in Rennes last week as he tries to build up his consistency.

    “I want to be winning matches but just build up some robustness and get my body used to competing again on a regular basis,” Murray said. “If I win four or five matches in a week, then I might have to take a break the following week, but that hasn’t been the case the last few tournaments, so while I am feeling good physically, I just want to try and play.”

    The former World No. 1, who is making his second appearance in Metz, having reached the final in 2007 (l. to Robredo), will begin his campaign in northern France against home favourite Ugo Humbert.

    Murray is impressed with the sixth-seeded Frenchman’s game and expects a difficult test tomorrow as he continues to adjust to the conditions following the North American hard-court swing.

    “We played once a couple of years ago in Antwerp and I thought back then he was a very good player and would go onto compete at the top of the game,” Murray said. “He is serving well, he strikes the ball very cleanly and is a very good player.

    “It is different going back to playing indoors again, different conditions in comparison to playing three or four weeks in a row on the outdoor hard courts. That is the challenge I guess.”

  • Medvedev, Tsitsipas Unite On Team Europe At Laver Cup; All You Need To Know

    Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas headline the fourth edition of the Laver Cup, to be held 24-26 September in Boston, Massachusetts.

    The Laver Cup field includes four other Top 10 players, Alexander Zverev, Andrey Rublev, Matteo Berrettini and Casper Ruud, who will join Medvedev and Tsitsipas on Team Europe. Denis Shapovalov, Felix Auger-Aliassime and Diego Schwartzman lead the charge for Team World.

    Team Europe has won all three previous editions of the tournament, with Zverev overcoming Milos Raonic to seal their victory in 2019. Team World captain John McEnroe will be hoping to end Team Europe's run of dominance in America.

    Here’s what you need to know about the Laver Cup: what is the schedule, where to watch, who is playing and more.

    When and where is the Laver Cup?

    The 2021 Laver Cup will be held from Friday, 24 September, to Sunday, 26 September, in Boston. The indoor hard-court tournament, first established in 2017, rotates between Europe and the rest of the world. The fourth edition will take place at TD Garden, home of the NBA's Boston Celtics and the NHL's Boston Bruins. 

    Who is playing at the 2021 Laver Cup?

    The Laver Cup features two teams of six players, led by a team captain. Three players qualify based on their FedEx ATP Ranking following Roland Garros, while three are picked by the team captains.

    Team Europe: Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Alexander Zverev, Andrey Rublev, Matteo Berrettini, Casper Ruud, Bjorn Borg (captain)
    Team World: Diego Schwartzman, Denis Shapovalov, Felix Auger-Aliassime, Reilly Opelka, John Isner, Nick Kyrgios, John McEnroe (captain)

    Are You In? Subscribe To Get ATP Updates In Your Inbox

    How does Laver Cup work?

    Scoring: Both singles and doubles are best-of-three sets with ad scoring. The third set is a 10-point Match Tie-break.

    Points: Each match win will be worth one point on Friday, two points on Saturday and three points on Sunday. If points are tied at 12-all on Day 3, a doubles set with ad-scoring and a tie-break will decide the Laver Cup champion. The winning team must reach 13 points.

    Players: Each player will play at least one singles match during the first two days. No player will play singles more than twice during the three days. At least four of the six players must play doubles. No doubles combination can be played more than once, unless for the Decider on Day 3, if points are 12-all. Match-ups will be determined prior to the first match each day through the exchange of lineup cards by the captains.

    12 of the world’s best tennis players competing in Boston this week in the name of one special man, @rodlaver #LaverCup #Legend pic.twitter.com/WIw4GyIAYi

    — Laver Cup (@LaverCup) September 21, 2021

    Who won Laver Cup 2019?

    Team Europe d Team World 13-11
    Clinching result: Alexander Zverev defeated Milos Raonic 6-4, 3-6, 10-4 in the final match for Team Europe in 2019 to complete a successful title defence for the home team. Read More

    What is the match schedule? How can I watch?

    Order Of Play | TV Schedule
    Friday, September 24: 1pm Match 1 (singles) followed by Match 2 (singles)
    Friday, September 24: 7pm, Match 3 (singles) followed by Match 4 (doubles)
    Saturday, September 25: 1pm, Match 5 (singles) followed by Match 6 (singles)
    Saturday, September 25: 7pm, Match 7 (singles) followed by Match 8 (doubles)
    Sunday, September 26: 12pm, Match 9 (doubles) followed by Match 10 (singles), Match 11 (singles), Match 12 (singles). If points are even, then there will be a one-set doubles decider.

    How can I follow Laver Cup?

    Hashtag: #LaverCup
    Facebook: @LaverCup
    Twitter: @LaverCup
    Instagram: @lavercup

  • Djere Moves Through In Nur-Sultan

    Laslo Djere snapped a four-match losing streak Monday at the Astana Open as he moved past Colombian Daniel Elahi Galan 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 to reach the second round in Nur-Sultan.

    The seventh seed was making his debut at the ATP 250 event and had to battle against Galan, recovering from a dip in the second set, before regaining momentum in the decider to advance after two hours and 17 minutes.

    “I am very happy I won here,” Djere said. “I am really tired and I was really really nervous, especially at the end. I just wanted to win. I was playing a bit stiff. I had a huge desire to win the match and it was a huge fight until the last point.”

    The World No. 49 will next play #NextGenATP Italian Lorenzo Musetti or Australian qualifier Marc Polmans. Earlier this year, Djere enjoyed a run to the final on clay in Cagliari, before reaching semi-finals in Hamburg and Gstaad.

    [FOLLOW 1000]

    In other action, Kazakhstan wild card Timofey Skatov upset Italian Andreas Seppi 7-6(3), 4-6, 6-1 after two hours and 59 minutes to record his first tour-level win. The World No. 280 will face qualifier Elias Ymer or Winston-Salem champion Ilya Ivashka in the second round.

    Miomir Kecmanovic defeated Fernando Verdasco 6-4, 6-2 victory to claim his first win since the Tokyo Olympics in July. The World No. 60 broke four times to advance after 83 minutes and will next play second seed Alexander Bublik.

    “It feels great, especially since I haven’t really won anything recently, so it feels great to get a win against such a dangerous player,” Kecmanovic said. “It is not fun when you have a losing streak so I am definitely happy that I was able to come out on top. I played solid the whole match. I didn’t make many mistakes.”

    Spaniard Jaume Munar also advanced, overcoming Jiri Vesely 6-3, 7-6(6) to level their ATP Head2Head Series at 1-1. The 24-year-old will next meet fifth-seeded Australian John Millman or Dmitry Popko.

  • ATP Stars Support Homeless Pets In Nur-Sultan

    After spending the past six months abroad chasing success on the court, reigning Astana Open champion John Millman was happy to spend some time relaxing with man’s best friend on Sunday.

    The Australian joined Spaniard Jaume Munar, Kazakh legend Andrey Golubev and local hopeful Timofey Skatov to donate food for shelters that look after homeless pets in Kazakhstan. They are hopeful the pets they met on Sunday will soon be able to find new homes.

    Millman, who has been unable to return to Australia due to Covid-19 border restrictions, grew up in a household of pets and loved the opportunity to promote a worthy cause.

    “I grew up around pets and I have always had some cats and dogs at home, so I think it is really important that we look after our animals and we look after our pets,” Millman said.

    Munar, who will play Jiri Vesely in the opening round of the 2021 Astana Open, is another who enjoyed the company of pets when growing up in Spain. The 24-year-old, who won an ATP Challenger Tour title in Turkey in February and reached the final of an ATP 250 in Spain in April, said they provided great comfort. Joining the trio of tennis players on the court were dogs Belka and Knopka, along with feline friends Ryzhik, Bagira and Gracey.

    “I think it is very important to do this kind of event,” Munar said. “I have pets at home. I love them so much. I have an emotional (connection) with them. I spend a lot of time at home with my dog, also my cat. It is important to let everyone know how they feel and they are almost human beings. This kind of thing, I feel really grateful to have the chance to help out and to spend some time with them.”

    Jaume Munar
    Photo Credit: KTF

    Kazakhstan President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev developed a draft law in 2020 aimed at ensuring the public was aware domesticated animals are dependent on humans.

    Munar’s compatriot Alejandro Davidovich Fokina has launched a program in Spain in a bid to protect animals from mistreatment, stating he was motivated by his despair at pets being abandoned.

    “I think he is doing a great job and, of course, I would like to let everyone know here and also in Spain the importance of being respectful to the pets and to give a hand if you can,” Munar said.

    Kazakhstan Tennis Federation vice-president Yuriy Polskiy said the willingness of players to engage in activities that helped promote local charities and also the Astana Open was welcome.

    He cited the example of Millman during the inaugural Astana Open last October when stating it helped to engage crowds and also inspire the nation’s younger players

    [FOLLOW ACTION]

    Millman, who is No. 43 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, said engaging in activities such as the homeless pets project during the tournament was a way to stay relaxed and reflect tennis in a positive way.

    “For me, this tennis caper, a big part of it is having new experiences and building good relationships with people from all over the world,” Millman said. “That is the most rewarding thing.”