After his elimination from the Indian Wells Masters, Nick Kyrgios fired back at a reporter who questioned him about an incident after the match where he launched his racket, almost hitting a ball-kid.

Rafael Nadal ultimately emerged victorious in the match 7-6 (7-0) 5-7 6-4, after shaking hands with Nadal and the match umpire, Kyrgios spiked his racket into the ground as he walked back to his bench.

Speaking with post-match media, Kyrgios was sarcastic and rude when questioned about it.

"That's a question you're going to say after a three-hour battle against Nadal – that's what you've come here with?" he said.

"What would you like me to say about it? 

"Obviously was that my intention? No, because did I throw the racquet anywhere near him originally? It landed a metre from my foot and skidded and nearly hit him. I'm human. 

"Things happen like that obviously, it was a very misfortunate bounce. 

"What do you want me to say? It was three metres away from the kid. 

Rafael Nadal, the 21-time grand slam winner, says the recently announced introduction of final-set tie-breaks across all grand slams will make the biggest impact at Wimbledon, rather than the French Open.

Tennis' Grand Slam Board announced this week that first-to-10 tie-breaks will be trialled across all grand slams with immediate effect, as a means of providing "greater consistency" to matches which go the distance.

Previously, each grand slam was free to adopt its own rules for deciding longer matches, with the Australian Open the only one to use first-to-10 tie-breaks at 6-6 in a deciding set.

Wimbledon, for example, used a first-to-seven tie-break to decide final sets which reached 12-12.

Speaking after dispatching Reilly Opelka in straight sets at the Indian Wells Masters, Nadal, who will look to add to his Australian Open triumph in the year's other three majors, explained he was not for or against the changes.

The 35-year-old also, however, predicted the alterations would have a bigger impact at Wimbledon than at the French Open, which he could win for a 14th time at Roland Garros in May.

"I don't care much, honestly!" said Nadal. "I am not in favour or not against, that's what they decided, and happy with it or not, I don't think I'm going to make a big difference.

"But I read that every [tournament] is going to have the same, and in some ways that's positive.

"I don't think at Roland Garros it will make a big impact. In my opinion the biggest impact is going to be at Wimbledon, [where] sometimes it's so difficult to break serve, so the matches become very long.

"I don't feel that for Roland Garros it will change a lot. Okay, [without the changes] it can be a few more games, but I don't think at Roland Garros you're normally going to go to 22-20. At Wimbledon, that can happen."

 

The longest men's singles match played at a grand slam, judged by the number of games played, came at Wimbledon in 2010, when John Isner beat Nicolas Mahut 6-4 3-6 6-7 (7-9) 7-6 (7-3) 70-68.

By contrast, the longest men's singles match in French Open history saw Fabrice Santoro beat fellow Frenchman Arnaud Clement 6-4 6-3 6-7 (5-7) 3-6 16-14, in 2004. 

After defeating Opelka in his round-of-16 tie at Indian Wells, Nadal will now face Australia's Nick Kyrgios for a place in the semi-finals.

Earlier in the week, the Spaniard became the first-ever player to reach 400 wins at Masters 1000 tournaments by beating Dan Evans in the last 32. 

Third seed Alexander Zverev has been knocked out of the Indian Wells Masters by Tommy Paul in his first game since his expulsion from last month's Mexican Open for unsportsmanlike conduct.

Unseeded American Paul triumphed over the German 6-2 4-6 7-6 (7-2) in two hours and 17 minutes, rallying back from a break down in the final set.

Paul hit less winners, 26-21 to Zverev but made less unforced errors 25-19, while his serve and volley game was a key feature.

"I played a really high level today," Paul said during his on-court post-game interview. "The last time I played him, I played well, I put pressure on him so I knew how i wanted to play so I came out and executed him well.

"I played well when it came down to the breaker, so I'm pretty happy with my performance."

Zverev had not played since being expelled in Acapulco after a stunning outburst where he struck his racquet on the umpire chair several times after a doubles defeat.

Ninth seed Felix Auger-Aliassime was a major casualty, going down to Dutchman Botic van de Zandschulp 7-6 (7-4) 6-7 (4-7) 6-3 in three hours and 15 minutes.

The Canadian had 36-27 winners but was let down by 43-26 unforced errors, along with converting only two of his 10 break points.

Van de Zandschulp had failed to take three match points in the second set but showed composure to finish the job in the third.

Wild card Andy Murray was also eliminated in the second round, blowing three set points in the first set before going down to 31st seed Alexander Bublik 7-6 (11-9) 6-3 in two hours and one minute.

Last year's Wimbledon runner-up and Italian sixth seed Matteo Berrettini needed more than two hours to get past world number 86 Holger Rune 6-3 4-6 6-4.

Seventh seed Andrey Rublev defeated Dominik Koepfer 7-5 6-4 to extend his win streak to 10 matches, while 11th seed Hubert Hurkacz beat Oscar Otte 6-3 3-6 6-3.

Other seeds to be eliminated were 22nd seed Aslan Karatsev who went down 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 to American Steve Johnson, while 24th seed Marin Cilic lost 6-7 (7-9) 6-3 7-6 (8-6) to Miomir Kecmanovic.

Stefanos Tsitsipas survived a big scare in his "crazy battle" with Jack Sock to reach the third round of the Indian Wells Masters.

The fifth seed was taken all the way to a third-set tie-break by Sock, which he trailed 5-3 before recovering to claim a 7-6 (7-5) 3-6 7-6 (7-5) victory in a gripping contest.

Sock, ranked 140 places below his opponent, put his strong forehand to good use to hold in a first set that went the distance but was undone by some unforced errors.

After responding brilliantly by taking the second set, after once again holding his serve, the American looked to be heading for defeat when 40-0 down at 5-6 in the third set.

However, he dug deep to force another tie-break and was within two points of a big victory, only for two more unforced errors to cost him a place in the last 32.

"It was a crazy battle; we both left everything out there," Tsitsipas said. "Jack played incredibly well at times but I was able to bring out the best in my game at the end. 

"I proved I could play aggressive tennis and stay calm at the same time."

Tsitsipas will now face another home hopeful in Jenson Brooksby, who saw off Karen Khachanov 6-0 6-3 earlier in the day.

Jannik Sinner battled to a 6-3 6-3 win over Laslo Djere elsewhere in Saturday's action, while Denis Shapovalov and defending champion Cameron Norrie also advanced.

Fabio Fognini withdrew from his meeting with Nikoloz Basilashvili, who now awaits Norrie in the next round.

Rafael Nadal offered his sympathy to Sebastian Korda after scraping past the 21-year-old, who considers his Indian Wells Masters opponent "my biggest idol".

Korda had trained with Nadal earlier this week before the draw paired the two together – an eagerly awaited encounter for the younger man.

Korda is such a big Nadal fan his cat is named after the Spaniard, but he caused some concern for the 21-time major champion and his other supporters on Saturday.

Having talked up the meeting, it looked as though the occasion might get the better of Korda as he quickly fell 4-0 down in the opener.

Nadal had not dropped a set since victory at the Australian Open – one of three tournaments he has entered this year and three tournaments he has won.

But that perfect 15-0 record suddenly came under threat in the second set, as Korda sought to prolong his dream match-up and stunned his hero 6-1.

Suddenly, Nadal was forced to face down one of his biggest fans in a decider and initially struggled badly, falling two breaks down, with Korda serving for the match at 5-2.

This time the nerves did get to Korda, who lost four games in a row before stopping the rot to reach a tie-break.

There, Korda did briefly hold a mini-break lead, but that was only as part of a sequence of five consecutive mini-breaks that took the match away from him, Nadal prevailing 6-2 1-6 7-6 (7-3).

"I feel very, very lucky today to be through, honestly," Nadal said afterwards.

Korda could at least enjoy his consolation prize: compliments from Nadal, who had won their only prior meeting en route to his 2020 French Open title.

"Sebastian was playing some fantastic tennis and I'm sorry for him," Nadal said. "He had chances, but that's tennis.

"He's very young, he has an amazing future. I wish him all the best."

Up next for Nadal is Dan Evans, whose compatriot Cameron Norrie – the defending Indian Wells champion – also advanced with a straight-sets win over Pedro Martinez.

Novak Djokovic is set to appear at next month's Monte Carlo Masters after his vaccination status left him unable to compete at Indian Wells.

The world number two has been forced to sit out the first Masters event of the year after not meeting the vaccination requirements to enter the United States, having been deported from Australia ahead of January's Australian Open for similar reasons.

Now, a post on the 20-time grand slam champion's official website suggests he will appear on the clay surface in Monaco, where the 34-year-old resides.

Monaco currently allows those who have recovered from COVID-19 in the previous six months to enter the city-state, with Djokovic claiming to have suffered from the virus in December.

"Novak will open his 2022 clay court season in Monte-Carlo, where he won the Masters 1000 title twice, in 2013 and 2015," the post reads.

The tournament now looks set to be the second to feature Djokovic in 2022 after he lost at the quarter-finals stage of last month's Dubai Tennis Championships.

The Monte Carlo Masters begins on April 10, lasting until April 17, and Djokovic will be looking to make amends after exiting last year's tournament to Dan Evans in the last 16.

Rafael Nadal, who overtook Djokovic for the most men's singles grand slam titles with his January triumph in Australia, holds the record for the most successes in Monaco, winning the tournament on 11 occasions.

 

Meanwhile, with France having loosened its travel restrictions for unvaccinated people this month, Djokovic will now hope to use the Monaco outing as preparation for a first grand slam appearance of the year at Roland Garros.

The Serbian now looks increasingly likely to be permitted to defend his 2021 French Open title in May after travel restrictions had originally cast doubt on his participation.

World number three Alexander Zverev claims his expulsion from last month's Mexican Open in Acapulco represented the worst moment of his life.

The German, speaking ahead of the first Masters 1000 event of the year at Indian Wells, said his assault on the umpire's chair, for which he received a fine of $40,000 and a suspended eight-week ban from tennis, was a mistake he would not repeat.

The 24-year-old, who won the 2021 ATP Finals title last November, says he is still embarrassed by his actions in Mexico, having struck the umpire's chair with his racquet several times during a stunning outburst.

"It still is embarrassing for me now," Zverev said. "Walking around the locker room, it's not a nice feeling.

"But we all do mistakes. I'm also a human being, and I can guarantee you I will never act this way again in my life. 

"It was definitely the worst moment of my life."

Zverev will begin the Indian Wells Masters as the third seed, although world number two Novak Djokovic has been forced to withdraw from the competition due to his vaccination status.

The 24-year-old, who exited at the quarter-final stage of 2021's delayed edition of the tournament, says he has been working hard to avoid a repeat of his Acapulco meltdown and knows there is no room for error given his suspended ban.

"I've been doing work, meditation-wise," he said. "I think there are stress[ful] situations in everyone's life where stuff like this happens. I'm not the first and I won't be the last for something bad to happen on the court.

"I know who I am as a person, and this doesn't reflect me. I had played until 5am the day before – the same day I went back to play doubles.

"I am somebody that gives it his all on the court. I would have never physically harmed anyone.

"If I do that again, they have every right to ban me – it's as simple as that.

"If I do that again, it means I haven't learnt. I think everybody in life deserves a second chance, but if you repeatedly do mistakes it means that you haven't learnt."

World number one Daniil Medvedev hopes that Russian and Belarusian tennis players will be allowed to continue competing but acknowledges there remains a chance of further restrictions.

The governing bodies of tennis (the International Tennis Federation, ATP, WTA, and the four Grand Slam events) recently announced that Russian and Belarusian players can no longer compete under the flags of their respective countries.

Russia launched a full-scale military assault on Ukraine last month, a move that received the backing of Belarus, leading the ITF to revoke Russian and Belarussian membership and suspend the countries' teams.

That decision followed in the footsteps of rulings relating to Russian teams or competitors in various sports, including football and athletics.

Medvedev, who recently talked of his wish to "promote peace", said he hopes to continue to play, ahead of the first Masters event of the year in Indian Wells.

"It's always tough to talk on this subject because I want to play tennis, [to] play in different countries," the 26-year-old said.

"I want to promote my sport.

"I want to promote what I'm doing in my country for sure, and right now the situation is that that is the only way I can play [without representing Russia]."

Novak Djokovic claimed his sixth Paris Masters title on Sunday, overcoming Daniil Medvedev and gaining revenge for his defeat in the US Open final in the process.

Prior to this week's Masters 1000 event, Djokovic had not played since going down 6-4 6-4 6-4 to world number two Medvedev at Flushing Meadows in September.

That defeat ended Djokovic's hopes of sealing a calendar Grand Slam, but he was in fine form this week as he regained the title he last won in 2019, having not played in the competition last year.

Defending champion Medvedev started the final brilliantly, but Djokovic rallied to win 4-6 6-3 6-3, claiming a record-setting 37th Masters title in the process.

And the world number one explained how he learned from the mistakes he made in New York to prevail this time around, taking his head-to-head record with Medvedev to 6-4 in the process.

"I went back and reviewed the final of the US Open to see what I did wrong and what I did right," Djokovic told the Tennis Channel.

"I tried to read the patterns of his serve and the ball toss, maybe. I tried to look for the small details, because it was a match of small margins."

Reflecting on the showdown in Paris, Djokovic added: "He started better, broke my serve in the first game and I came back. He served the first set out pretty comfortably, but I felt as if I was there.

"I thought it was only a matter of time when I was going to read his serve better and start to make some plays.

"You can't go through him. You have to find a way to play with controlled aggression, play the right shots at the right time and make him come in. It's variety that wins matches against him. We both suffered on the court and there was a lot of gruelling rallies."

Djokovic, who had already secured a record seventh year-end number one, has won 49 matches in 2021, losing on just six occasions.

Novak Djokovic came from a set down to defeat Daniil Medvedev 4-6 6-3 6-3 and win the Paris Masters on Sunday.

Djokovic lost to Medvedev in the US Open final in September, with that defeat ending his hopes of a calendar Grand Slam.

But the Serbian, whose semi-final win over Hubert Hurkacz ensured he will be the year-end world number one for a record seventh time, got his revenge in France.

It marks a fifth title of the year and a sixth triumph at this event for Djokovic, who did not compete in the tournament last year – Medvedev winning it in his place.

The 34-year-old had it far from his own way, with Medvedev instantly going a break up, and although Djokovic hit back to draw level at 2-2, the world number two held off a second break point before nosing himself ahead at 4-3.

Yet having served out the first set at the first time of asking, the US Open champion slipped up in the fourth game of the second as Djokovic reeled off some superb returns, and he did not look back.

With the momentum and crowd on his side, Djokovic broke Medvedev twice in quick succession in the decider, and although he was denied claiming the win on his serve, it merely delayed the inevitable.

Medvedev's powerful serve was not enough, with Djokovic keeping his composure to seal a record-setting 37th Masters 1000 title with a sublime forehand into the corner of the court following a draining rally.

Defending champion Daniil Medvedev set up a showdown with Novak Djokovic in the Paris Masters final after dismissing Alexander Zverev in straight sets.

The Russian, who downed Djokovic in the final of this year's US Open, was at his imperious best to see off Zverev 6-2 6-2 in the French capital.

He will now attempt to deny Djokovic a sixth title at the ATP 1000 event on Sunday, while seeking to etch his own name onto the trophy for a second year running.

World number two Medvedev, who overcame Zverev in the final of this event in 2020, ended the German's run of eight consecutive victories in style.

It took just 80 minutes for Medvedev to get the job done, his flat groundstrokes posing questions that Zverev had no answers to.

While Zverev did apply some pressure by forcing his rival to face three break points, Medvedev was cool under pressure as he held serve throughout the contest.

This triumph drew Medvedev level at 5-5 in the pair's head-to-head record.

He will likely face a sterner test against Djokovic, whose come-from-behind win over Hubert Hurkacz ensured he will claim the year-end number one ranking for a record seventh time.

On Sunday, he will bid to set another record by moving ahead of Rafael Nadal to reach 37 titles in Masters 1000 tournaments.

Novak Djokovic says he has room to improve despite easing past Taylor Fritz in straight sets to reach the semi-finals of the Paris Masters.

The world number one is competing in his first tournament since his dream of winning a calendar Grand Slam was ended by Daniil Medvedev in September's US Open final.

After beating Marton Fucsovics in three sets and then benefiting from a walkover against Gael Monfils in the last 16, Djokovic made light work of Fritz in Friday's quarter-final.

He sent down eight aces and was successful with 72 per cent of his first serves that landed on his way to a 6-4 6-3 victory.

However, Djokovic lost his serve on three occasions and, while happy with his overall display, the Serbian feels like there is more to come from his game in the French capital.

"I was absent from the tour for two months coming into this tournament," he said. "The last competitive match I played was in the US Open final, compared to the other guys playing one or two events prior to Paris.

"I knew that I needed to start well, with good intensity and put in a lot of hours on the practice court. But it's different when you play points in a competitive match.

"I am pleased with the way I played against Fucsovics and again today, though I did have ups and downs. I am not entirely pleased with the way I closed out the sets.

"I backed myself up with good returns and read Taylor's serve very well to get into rallies. I closed out the last couple of service games well and that's a positive."

Djokovic is aiming to win the Paris Masters for a record-extending sixth time in his bid to end the year as world number one for a record seventh occasion.

The Serbian will contest his 71st career Masters 1000 semi-final – four short of Rafael Nadal's record – against Hubert Hurkacz, who saw off James Duckworth 6-2 6-7 (4-7) 7-5.

With that victory, the world number 10 clinched the final singles spot at the ATP Finals in Turin later this month.

Hurkacz is the second Polish player to qualify for the event after Wojtek Fibak in 1976. It also means only European players will feature in the ATP and WTA Finals for the first time ever.

Saturday's other semi-final in Paris will be contested between Djokovic's US Open conqueror Medvedev and Olympic gold medallist Alexander Zverev.

Home favourite Hugo Gaston eliminated Pablo Carreno Busta earlier in the tournament but was always likely to face a tougher task against Medvedev.

So it proved, with the qualifier going down 7-6 (9-7) 6-4 in a match that saw Medvedev hit 13 aces to his opponent's one.

"When the atmosphere is against you, you need to face it," Medvedev said. "You need to try to win, no matter what.

"Even when it is against me, I think, 'I will try to beat my opponent and the crowd' because there is no other choice."

Zverev kept his momentum going with a 7-5 6-4 win over Casper Ruud in Friday's final contest, as he made it eight wins on the bounce.

The German held serve throughout, while breaking his opponent twice, to remain on course for a sixth final of 2021.

Alexander Zverev was given a thorough examination of his Paris Masters credentials by Grigor Dimitrov, but the fourth seed progressed nonetheless to reach the last eight.

Zverev, who last in last year's final, saw match points slip from his grasp in the second set as Dimitrov levelled the match, however, he eventually prevailed on Thursday.

World number one Novak Djokovic benefited from a walkover, while Daniil Medvedev also moved through to the quarter-finals of the ATP Masters 1000 event.

Zverev outlasts Dimitrov

Olympic Games gold medallist Zverev had to dig deep for his 7-6 (7-4) 6-7 (3-7) 6-3 win over former world number three Dimitrov.

It was Zverev's seventh win on the bounce, but he was well aware of just how deep he had to dig to see off a resilient Dimitrov.

"Incredible match," Zverev, who won a fifth tour title of the year last week at the Vienna Open, said afterwards. "Grigor is playing very high-level tennis and I had to leave everything out there.

"I think it was a very high-level match and it could have gone both ways, especially the third set. I am happy with how things went in the end."

Djokovic moves through without playing

There was no such ordeal for top seed Djokovic, however.

Djokovic – a 20-time grand slam champion – received a walkover after Gael Monfils was advised not to continue with the tournament due to an adductor issue sustained in his previous win over Adrian Mannarino.

Taylor Fritz awaits five-time Paris champion Djokovic after the American saw off 10th seed Norrie 6-3 7-6 (7-3), while Casper Ruud will tussle with Zverev.

Ruud's emphatic 6-2 6-1 demolition of Marcos Giron clinched a historic achievement for the 22-year-old – who became the first Norwegian to qualify for the ATP Finals at the end of a breakthrough year in which no player can better his five tour-level titles.

Hubert Hurkacz did his chances of joining Ruud in Turin no harm as the Polish seventh seed – who holds the last automatic qualifying berth – fought back to defeat Dominik Koepfer 4-6 7-5 6-2 and set up a meeting with James Duckworth, who beat Alexei Popyrin 7-6 (8-6) 6-4.

Second seed and US Open champion Medvedev was another who had to come from behind before ultimately seeing off Sebastian Korda 4-6 6-1 6-3.

He will go up against Hugo Gaston, who became the first French qualifier to reach the Paris Masters quarter-finals since 1990 with his win over Carlos Alcaraz.

Gael Monfils has withdrawn from the Paris Masters due to an adductor problem, handing world number one Novak Djokovic a walkover into the quarter-finals.

Djokovic has played only once on the ATP Tour since losing the US Open final to Daniil Medvedev on September 12.

That defeat at Flushing Meadows ended Djokovic's hopes of achieving a calendar Grand Slam, though the Serbian has returned to action for the final few weeks of the 2021 season.

With the ATP Finals coming up, Djokovic headed to Paris looking to regain the title he claimed in his last appearance in the tournament back in 2019. He needed three sets, but overcame Marton Fucsovics 6-2 4-6 6-3 in his first match.

He has won the Paris Masters on five occasions and is the top seed this time around, with defending champion Medvedev seeded second. 

Monfils, seeded 15th, beat Miomir Kecmanovic and Adrian Mannarino en route to the last 16, but confirmed to the media on Thursday that he had been advised not to continue.

Djokovic will face the winner of Cameron Norrie, who recently triumphed at Indian Wells, and Taylor Fritz in the quarter-finals.

The field has already been cleared of third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas, who retired hurt when facing Alexei Popyrin on Wednesday.

Teenage sensation Carlos Alcaraz put in an impressive display to upstage eighth seed Jannik Sinner in straights sets in the third round of the ATP Paris Masters on Wednesday.

Alcaraz was on top for most of his 7-6 (7-1) 7-5 victory, winning 80 per cent of his first-serve points and 75 per cent of net points against Sinner.

Sinner showed determination to stay in both sets, with the Italian saving nine of the 11 break points he faced, but it was ultimately in vain.

The European Open winner will be among those sweating as the race to qualify for the ATP Finals in Turin heats up.

After the win, 18-year-old Alcaraz said: "I'm so happy for this win as Jannik was fighting for a spot at the ATP Finals. It's my third Top 10 win of the year.

"I think Jannik and I will have a great rivalry in the future... I think that I played really, really aggressive, more than him. I think that was one of the keys."

Alcaraz will now face qualifier Hugo Gaston in the next round after the Frenchman impressively knocked out 12th seed Pablo Carreno Busta 6-7 (3-7) 6-4 7-5.

Interesting day for Turin hopefuls

It was a mixed day for others looking to secure a spot at the season-ending ATP Finals later this month as Felix Auger-Aliassime – ranked 12th in the ATP Race to Turin – lost in straight sets to Dominik Koepfer, who added to his impressive list of victims after beating three-time grand slam champion Andy Murray in the first round.

Koepfer will play another Turin hopeful, the 10th-ranked Hubert Hurkacz after he beat Tommy Paul in straight sets.

Cameron Norrie also impressed in his 6-3 6-4 win over Reilly Opelka, which was his 50th tour-level win of the year.

Taylor Fritz awaits after the American stunned fifth seed Andrey Rublev 7-5 7-6 (7-2).

 

Medvedev and Zverev ease through but Tsitsipas out

Second seed and US Open champion Daniil Medvedev had a routine first match of the tournament as he swept past Ilya Ivashka 7-5 6-4, while Olympic Games gold medallist and fourth seed Alexander Zverev also had few problems against Dusan Lajovic 6-3 7-6 (7-5).

However, third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas exited after retiring hurt with an apparent arm injury against Alexei Popyrin in the first set with the score at 4-2 to the Australian.

Popyrin will now face fellow countryman James Duckworth, who followed up his impressive win against 14th seed Roberto Bautista Agut with a 6-3 3-6 6-3 victory against Lorenzo Musetti.

Elsewhere, 11th seed Diego Schwartzman was shocked by qualifier Marcos Giron 7-6 (7-2) 7-6 (7-4).

There were also wins for 16th seed Grigor Dimitrov against Karen Kachanov, and Sebastian Korda over Marin Cilic.

Gael Monfils will go up against world number one Novak Djokovic in the third round after the experienced French 15th seed came from behind to beat compatriot Adrian Mannarino 2-6 7-6 (7-4) 6-2.

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