Wimbledon chiefs are to scrap the 'Middle Sunday' day off at the championships – and prize money for this year's tournament looks certain to be slashed.

The announcements came on the day the All England Club revealed it received £180million in insurance pay-outs after last year's tournament was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, of which around £36million went to the Lawn Tennis Association.

Chairman Ian Hewitt said that from 2022 the Sunday at the end of the first week would become "a permanent part of our tournament schedule and we will become a 14-day tournament", with the move signalling the imminent end of 'Manic Monday', when every fourth-round match was squeezed into a packed schedule.

That is regarded by many as the most exhilarating day of the tennis year, although others consider it too busy, given the number of standout matches taking place.

From next year, those matches are now set to be split across the previously fallow Sunday and the second Monday or the championships.

Hewitt said: "Yes, that second Monday of course was popular with many, but it did create significant challenges. I'm not sure it really did full justice to that day's tennis.

"To be able to spread over two days does more justice to the play at that event."

He said the tournament should "be more accessible" on that weekend, with the Sunday having previously been given over to allowing groundstaff to have time to tend the courts, which can be in need of repair after the first six days of play.

"We are now confident we will be able to look after the courts, most particularly Centre Court, without a full day of rest," Hewitt said.

He said this year's tournament "will be different from Wimbledon as we know it", and organisers are currently planning for a 25 per cent capacity attendance, albeit still hoping to get the go-ahead to admit more spectators.

When play has happened on the middle Sunday in the past, typically due to a backlog caused by several days of rain meaning the tournament has fallen behind schedule, tickets have been made available to the general public and that has led to a vibrant, often more raucous, atmosphere.

Hewitt though signalled that would not be the ticket policy going forward, saying: "It's unlikely it's going to be like Middle Sundays in the past."

The 2021 prize money for players, who must remain in a bubble during the tournament and will not be allowed to rent private houses in London, is set to hinge on how many spectators Wimbledon is allowed to accommodate. A significantly reduced attendance would hit the event hard in the pocket, meaning prize money at the level of previous years would be impractical.

It paid out £38million to players in 2019, with the men's and women's singles champions, Novak Djokovic and Simona Halep, each picking up £2.35million

The players may only learn the 2021 prize fund a matter of days before the tournament begins, with no decision expected until June. Wimbledon begins on June 28.

"It is premature to make a judgement," Hewitt said, when asked about the prize money.

Chief executive Sally Bolton said Wimbledon was "absolutely determined to be back in style" and "to bring back sport and sporting events in the way that we know them", but pandemic considerations are limiting what it can achieve.

It has not yet been decided whether spectators will need to wear face coverings while watching matches, even though restrictions on normal life in the UK are due to be lifted on June 21.

Bolton said players may feel some "frustration" given their freedom of movement will be restrained, pointing to the "single environment" for competitors being a decision reached on the basis of dialogue with the UK government and Public Health England.

John Millman outlasted Alexei Popyrin in a near three-hour marathon to progress to the second round of the BMW Open.

Eighth seed Millman was made to work exceedingly hard to avoid an early exit, eventually coming through a contest in which the two Australians faced a combined 31 break points by a 7-6 (7-3) 3-6 7-5 scoreline.

Ricardas Berankis won a 22-point tie-break in the first set to defeat Maximilian Marterer, while there were also wins for Millman's next opponent Guido Pella, Federico Coria and Ilya Ivashka.

At the Estoril Open, Kevin Anderson saved a match point at 6-5 down in the second set tie-break and turned around a 4-1 deficit in the third set to beat Frances Tiafoe 4-6 7-6 (8-6) 7-6 (7-4).

"It was obviously a very, very close match," Anderson said. "I think there were a lot of positives, a lot of really high-quality tennis, especially from midway through the second until the end of the match, I was really happy with the way I played.

"I think even if I had lost that match, obviously it's always tough losing, but I definitely felt I took a step in the right direction.

"Getting the win is a big added bonus, it gives me another opportunity to come out in a couple days' time."

Eighth seed Alejandro Davidovich Fokina beat Pablo Andujar in three sets, with Jeremy Chardy and qualifier Nuno Borges also victorious in Portugal.

Matteo Berrettini outlasted Aslan Karatsev in an entertaining Serbia Open final on Sunday to win his fourth ATP Tour title.

Karatsev stunned world number one Novak Djokovic on Saturday to reach the final, though the Russian fell just short of claiming another scalp as he slipped to a 6-1 3-6 7-6 (7-0) defeat to Berrettini.

Second seed Berrettini could not take a first championship point in a third set that went the distance, but he held his nerve to add to his previous title triumphs at the Swiss Open, Hungarian Open and Stuttgart Open.

Berrettini held serve throughout the first set and broke his opponent in the fourth and sixth games to grab an early foothold in the contest.

But Karatsev, 18 places below world number 10 Berrettini in the ATP rankings, hit back in the second set to pave the way for a tense decider in Belgrade.

The big-hitting pair, competing against each other for the first time on the tour, managed a break of serve each before Italian Berrettini had match point in a gruelling 12th game.

While Berrettini was denied by Karatsev on that occasion, the 25-year-old powered through the tie-break to complete his impressive return to form.

"This title is for my family. This is the first time that they are actually here to see me win the trophy even though it's my fourth one," Berrettini said in his on-court interview.

"This is a special one. We came a long way since I was a kid and they were bringing me everywhere, so I think they deserve to see this kind of tennis and this kind of level. I really love them.

"It's been a pleasure being here. I came here not with the best feelings. I came back from an injury and it's never easy to come back and play this kind of level, this kind of tennis."

Rafael Nadal won the Barcelona Open for the 12th time after saving a championship point in a to end Stefanos Tsitsipas' perfect record on clay this year in a thrilling final.

World number three Nadal, playing just his third tournament of the year, is gearing up for a tilt at a record-extending 14th French Open title.

By defeating the man who landed the Monte Carlo Masters title last week, Nadal showed he is moving through the gears on his favourite surface before heading to Paris.

He won 6-4 6-7 (6-8) 7-5 to maintain his 100 per cent record in finals at this tournament on home soil, but Tsitsipas was left to reflect on a missed opportunity after the 20-time grand slam champion fended off a championship point at 5-4 in the final set.

Nadal trailed 4-2 in the opening set as Tsitsipas signalled he was up for the challenge and brimming with confidence, but back came the 34-year-old to sweep up the next four games.

Tsitsipas broke first in the second set too, inching 2-1 in front, and the Greek looked every bit a warrior capable of living with the best for much of the contest.

It was a rout when these two met in the Barcelona final three years ago, Nadal dropping only three games, but here he needed to work far harder, in what was the 69th clay-court final of his stellar career.

Tsitsipas beat Nadal from two sets down in the Australian Open quarter-finals in February, so dropping the opener here was not cause for panic, but nor was gaining the early break in the second any reason to be confident he would be taking the match to a decider.

Nadal duly broke back but then let two championship points slip by in the 10th game, with Tsitsipas serving. A smash followed by a superb drop volley from Tsitsipas meant the match remained alive.

Tsitsipas could not convert 0-40 on Nadal's serve in the next game, but he won a thrilling tie-break to take the contest all the way.

There was not a solitary break point in the decider until Tsitsipas was a point away from claiming the title in the 10th game, but the King of Clay dug in to hold.

He rubbed salt in the wounds by securing the elusive break in the next game and dropped to the clay in delight after serving it out, ending a pulsating showdown that was finally settled in three hours and 38 minutes.

Sorana Cirstea claimed the Istanbul Open title without dropping a set after overcoming top seed Elise Mertens 6-1 7-6 (7-3) in the final.

Cirstea secured just her second tournament triumph on the WTA Tour – and first since Tashkent in 2008 – in a contest of two contrasting sets on Sunday.

The Romanian dominated in the opener, breaking three times as her opponent committed 16 unforced errors while failing to hold serve.

However, Mertens responded impressively to seize control of the second set, some superb groundstrokes allowing her to open up a commanding 5-2 lead.

Cirstea hit back to take the next four games in a row and while unable to serve out for the match when 6-5 up, she would not be denied a long overdue success in the tie-break.

Victory was secured with a crunching backhand winner on the first of three match-point opportunities, ending a see-saw set that had spanned 67 minutes.

Mertens had reached the final by ending a nine-match winning run for Veronika Kudermetova, who just so happened to be her doubles partner at the event in Turkey.

Ash Barty came from a set down for the third time this week as the world number one continued a superb 2021 with victory at the Stuttgart Open.

Barty overcame Aryna Sabalenka 3-6 6-0 6-3 to lift an 11th career title and her third of the season after successes at the Miami Open and the Yarra Valley Classic in Melbourne.

It proved to be another comeback triumph against a top-10 opponent for Barty, who saw off Karolina Pliskova and Elina Svitolina in the quarter and semi-finals respectively.

Sabalenka was ready to seize upon another sluggish Barty start and forced three break points at 3-2 in the opener.

The Australian was able to hang on that time, but Sabalenka fashioned two more and a botched Barty drop shot meant it was fifth time lucky.

The rapid progress of set two suggested Barty had merely been warming up, snaffling her third break point at 1-0 and dispatching a magnificent forehand cross-court winner to surge 4-0 ahead.

A bagel felt inevitable from that point and, after a 20-minute second set, Sabalenka was sinking without a trace when she slipped 3-0 behind in the decider.

The fifth seed broke back before being undermined by an untimely double fault at 3-2 – one of 39 unforced errors – and Barty faced down three break points in the following game.

A superb display, featuring 26 winners and five break points converted from 12 opportunities, concluded when Barty wrapped things up on her second match point.

World number one Novak Djokovic was full of praise for his Serbia Open semi-final conqueror Aslan Karatsev but bemoaned his own "low level" performance.

Karatsev got past Djokovic in the longest match of the 2021 ATP Tour in Belgrade, triumphing 7-5 4-6 6-4 on Saturday.

The match went for three hours and 25 minutes, with the Russian securing a spot in Sunday's final against 10th ranked Matteo Berrettini.

The Serbian had beaten Karatsev in the Australian Open semi-finals two months ago, with the 27-year-old Russian, who is now ranked 28th, returning the favour.

"From my side, I played on quite a low level, in my opinion," Djokovic said.

“[I had] some flashes of good quality tennis. I was fighting. That is a positive.

"I was really trying all the way [and] the crowd was great. They carried me and tried to lift me up, all the way to the end.

"Because of them, I think I won the second set. Unfortunately in the third, he was just the better player in the decisive moments. I had my chances, but that is sport."

Djokovic was gracious in defeat, offering a thumbs up immediately after Karatsev secured victory along with complimentary words to his opponent who saved 23 of 28 break points.

"Karatsev showed a lot of courage and that is why I gave him the thumbs up," Djokovic said.

"I felt like he deserved to win… Once the final point is done, there is never bad blood. We are rivals on the court, but I don’t hate anybody. I can’t be upset with him if he beat me.

"I have to be upset with myself and question why I lost the match. Whoever beats me deserves the credit and I gave him that.

"I lost to a better player who was just more courageous. He went for his shots at the right time and it worked for him."

Aslan Karatsev secured a stunning career-best victory over home favourite Novak Djokovic to set up a Serbia Open final against Matteo Berrettini.

Karatsev showed astonishing defiance to beat the world number one 7-5 4-6 6-4 in the longest ATP Tour match of the year on Saturday.

The third seed from Russia saved 23 of the 28 break points he faced as his aggressive approach paid off, toppling the 18-time grand slam champion in a contest that lasted three hours and 25 minutes.

It was sweet revenge for Karatsev, who was beaten by the legendary Serbian at the semi-final stage of the Australian Open two months ago.

Djokovic had won 11 matches in a row in his homeland, but bowed out despite being 2-0 up in the first two sets as a solitary break in the decider ended his run.

Karatsev, the world number 28, said: "It was a long, tough match [against a] tough opponent.

"You have to put [in] like 200 per cent to beat this guy, it's like playing against a wall. And he also made some good shots.

"He doesn't give you any free points. He always makes you play and you have to be always there because once you miss a couple of shots, he just takes it very quickly. That’s how I lost the second set."

Berrettini secured his place in the final with a 6-1 6-7 (5-7) 6-0 victory over lucky loser Taro Daniel.

Second seed Berrettini only lost six points in the last set after Daniel came from a break down in the second before winning a tie-break to take the second semi-final the distance.

Heading into Sunday's final, Karatsev and Berrettini have never previously faced each other on the ATP Tour.

 

Ash Barty will meet Aryna Sabalenka in the Stuttgart Open final after Simona Halep's quest to win the tournament for the first time fell short.

World number three Halep had claimed straight-set wins over Ekaterina Alexandrova and Marketa Vondrousova en route to the semi-finals, but met her match in the form of Belarusian Sabalenka, who triumphed 6-3 6-2.

A nine-time singles champion, Sabalenka made it into a 14th career final without conceding a single break, as she managed to keep Romanian Halep at arm's length.

Standing between Sabalenka and a 10th singles title is world number one Barty who, on her 25th birthday, came from behind to defeat Elina Svitolina 4-6 7-6 (7-5) 6-2.

Making her tournament debut in Stuttgart, Barty had overcome Laura Siegemund and Karolina Pliskova, but found herself at 5-4 down in the second set, with Svitolina serving for the match.

The fourth seed failed to take her chance, with Barty breaking and subsequently biting back in the tie-break, before carrying the momentum into the decider to claim a third straight win over Svitolina.

Top seed Elise Mertens made it to her second Istanbul Open as she saw off her doubles partner and birthday girl Veronika Kudermetova 6-1 6-4.

It means Mertens will be playing in two finals on Sunday, as she pairs up with Kudermetova again in the doubles showdown against Nao Hibino and Makoto Ninomiya.

Mertens' win ended Charleston champion Kudermetova's nine-match winning streak, and set up a final against the unseeded Sorana Cirstea, who defeated Marta Kostyuk 6-4 6-4.

Rafael Nadal.and Stefanos Tsitsipas will do battle for the Barcelona Open title on Sunday after both cruised into the final in straight sets.

Nadal beat fellow Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta 6-3 6-2 to stand on the brink of being crowned champion for a 12th time at the Real Club de Tenis Barcelona 1899.

The top seed won 77 per cent of points on his first serve and returned superbly in yet another sublime clay-court exhibition.

Nadal broke Carreno Busta in his compatriot's first service game and ominously charged into a 5-1 lead in imperious fashion on Pista Rafael Nadal.

Carreno Busta broke back to prolong the opening set, but the 20-time grand slam champion wrapped it up in 45 minutes before swiftly taking charge of the second.

The world number three breezed into a 4-0 advantage and did not face a solitary break point as he took just shy of an hour and a half to set up a showdown with Tsitsipas, who knocked him out of the Australian Open at the quarter-final stage in February.

Tsitsipas maintained his magnificent form with a 6-3 6-3 defeat of Jannik Sinner.

The in-form Greek won the Monte Carlo Masters last weekend and matched Andrey Rublev's ATP tour-leading total of 26 victories this season by steering past Sinner.

Second seed Tsitsipas has won all 17 sets he has played on clay this season, having saved all four break points that Sinner earned.

World number one Ash Barty survived a scare to reach the semi-finals of the Stuttgart Open with a 2-6 6-1 7-5 win over Karolina Pliskova.

The Australian started slowly in the quarter-final of the WTA 500 tournament on Friday as Pliskova broke her serve twice in taking the first set, before Barty hit back with three breaks of her own to force a decider.

Barty was two points away from losing on five occasions as world number nine Pliskova served for the match at 5-4 in the final set.

But she broke the Czech's resolve eventually, sealing victory when Pliskova hit the ball long after a baseline rally.

The win was Barty's eighth consecutive victory over a top-10 opponent and she said in a media conference afterwards that facing top players in the world brings the best out of her.

"When you come up against top-10 opponents, you have to go to that level above to be able to compete. They force you to bring your best," Barty said.

"With a lot of the girls in the top 10, we've had plenty of matches that have gone either way, different experiences, so each time I love that challenge of testing myself against the best."

Barty will face Elina Svitolina in the semi-finals after she saved two match points to claim a 6-7 (4-7) 7-5 6-2 victory over Petra Kvitova.

In the other half of the draw, Simona Halep breezed through to the semi-finals with a 6-1 6-4 win over Ekaterina Alexandrova.

Halep clinically closed out the first set, and although Alexandrova showed more fight in the second, the world number three did not allow her a route back into the match.

Halep will face Aryna Sabalenka following the Belarusian's 7-5 4-6 6-1 win over Anett Kontaveit.

In the Istanbul Cup, top seed Elise Mertens secured her place in the semi-finals with a 6-4 6-4 win over Katerina Siniakova.

Mertens will face Veronika Kudermetova who fought back from a set down to clinch a 2-6 6-3 6-3 win over Ana Bogdan.

The other semi-final will see Sorana Cirstea play Marta Kostyuk. Cirstea progressed after Fiona Ferro, trailing 6-4, retired through injury while Kostyuk beat Ana Konjuh 7-5 4-6 6-3.

Simona Halep started her clay-court season in style at the Stuttgart Open as she saw off Marketa Vondrousova in straight sets on Thursday.

Second seed Halep is hunting her first appearance in a Stuttgart final, and she looked in fine form as she took just 56 minutes to dismiss Vondrousova 6-1 6-3.

Vondrousova – the 2019 French Open runner up – had won both of her previous meetings with Halep, but on this occasion she was no match for the world number three, who has won every major European clay-court tournament other than Stuttgart.

"Starting the clay-court season makes me very happy and motivated, extra motivated actually," Halep said in a post-match news conference.

"I missed playing matches. I had a few weeks without an official match and it was kind of tough when I started the match, but my mind was strong enough just to give focus on what I have to play. So, I did it great and today it was a great match.

"I was a little bit nervous before the match because I played twice against her and she beat me every time.

"It is important for my mind, for my game, because the clay-court season is going to be very tough. Now this match gave me confidence that my level is high, and if I keep doing the same thing, I will be good."

Facing Halep in the quarter-finals will be Ekaterina Alexandrova, who defeated world number 12 Belinda Bencic, and joining them in the final eight is Elina Svitolina, who defeated Angelique Kerber 7-6 (7-4) 6-3.

Two-time Stuttgart champion Kerber and Svitolina had faced off 13 times before Thursday's contest, and the Ukrainian is now 9-5 up in that head-to-head tussle.

While Aryna Sabalenka also progressed, Karolina Pliskova teed up a clash with top seed Ash Barty by coming from behind to beat Jelena Ostapenko 6-7 (7-9) 6-4 6-3.

At the Istanbul Open, top seed Elise Mertens also needed three sets to forge a path into the last night.

Mertens had to show her mettle in a contest which lasted over two hours, but she eventually got the better of Viktorija Golubic 6-4 4-6 6-1.

Veronika Kudermetova also made the last eight, as did Ana Bogdan, who fended off Barbora Kreijcova, while Fiona Ferro defeated Vera Zvonareva.

Rafael Nadal fended off Kei Nishikori to reach the quarter-finals of the Barcelona Open along with the in-form Stefanos Tsitsipas on Thursday.

Top seed Nadal secured an opening-set bagel in just 30 minutes, but Nishikori hit back to force a decider before the 20-time grand slam champion prevailed 6-0 2-6 6-2.

Nishikori hit only three winners as he was blown away in the first set, but broke twice in the second to ensure Nadal was taken to three sets in back-to-back matches for the first time in this tournament – having overcome Ilya Ivashka in the second round.

The world number three saved three break points from 0-40 down in the final set and Nishikori saw another two come and go, with a more clinical Nadal breaking twice to advance.

Nadal will now face unseeded Brit Cameron Norrie, who also won the first set 6-0 and was 5-3 down to David Goffin in the second when the Belgian retired due to a leg injury.

Newly-crowned Monte Carlo Masters champion Tsitsipas defeated Alex de Minaur 7-5 6-3, stretching his straight-sets winning streak to seven matches.

Next up for the second seed is a meeting with Felix Auger-Aliassime, who beat fellow Canadian Denis Shapovalov 6-2 6-3, while Jannik Sinner beat Roberto Bautista Agut 7-6 (11-9) 6-2.

Andrey Rublev, Diego Schwartzman and Pablo Carreno Busta also made it through.

Two seeds fell in the Serbia Open, with Federico Delbonis taking out Dusan Lajovic 6-3 2-6 6-4 and Taro Daniel defeating John Millman 3-6 6-2 6-3.

Gianluca Mager moved into the quarter-finals at the expense of Alexei Popyrin and Aslan Karatsev battled past Aljaz Bedene 6-3 4-6 7-6 (7-5) in Belgrade.

Carla Suarez Navarro revealed on Thursday she has overcome Hodgkin lymphoma, and the Spaniard is set to resume her tennis career.

The former world number six revealed last September she would undergo six months of chemotherapy after being diagnosed with the rare cancer.

Suarez Navarro vowed at the time to show "positivity in the face of adversity" and the 32-year-old has now announced she is cured.

The 32-year-old posted on social media: "Another step forward. Today I finished my treatment and overcame Hodgkin lymphoma.

"Thanks to all for your warm messages. Every word of support gave me strength during the past few months.

"All my gratitude to healthcare professionals who take care of us every day. I'M CURED!"

Carla Suarez Navarro announced two years ago that the 2020 season would be her last on the WTA Tour.

However, the WTA said she decided to has abandon that plan and would return to action, confirming her entry for the French Open which begins on May 30 in Paris.

Novak Djokovic thought he was "pretty flawless" in his first match of the Serbia Open, but Rafael Nadal was given a scare in his clash with qualifier Ilya Ivashka at the Barcelona Open.

World number one Djokovic suffered a shock third-round exit to Dan Evans at the Monte Carlo Masters last week but ruthlessly dispatched Kwon Soon-woo 6-1 6-3 in his home city of Belgrade.

Djokovic broke his opponent five times to set up a meeting with eighth seed and fellow Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic, who battled past qualifier Arthur Rinderknech in three sets, in the quarter-finals.

"I thought it was a pretty flawless performance," Djokovic said. "I moved well, I was mixing up the pace quite well, making him play. I served well in the important moments, [and] overall I just felt great."

On playing in front of his family and friends, the two-time Serbia Open champion added: "It gives you an extra push, an extra motivation, energy to really give your best and leave it all out on the court.

"I think also that made me feel comfortable and confident on the court and I played really good. I'm really pleased with the quality of tennis."

Second seed Matteo Berrettini defeated fellow Italian Marco Cecchinato 6-4 6-3 and will face either Filip Krajinovic or Nikola Milojevic in the last eight of the clay-court tournament.

Over in Barcelona, Nadal – an 11-time champion at the event – was out to make a statement after a rare defeat on the dirt to Andrey Rublev in Monte Carlo.

But the 'King of Clay' needed two hours and 20 minutes to fight back against the unheralded Ivashka 3-6 6-2 6-4 to reach the round of 16, where he will face Kei Nishikori. Nadal is now 62-4 at a tournament where he once won 41 straight matches.

Second seed and Monte Carlo champion Stefanos Tsitsipas hammered Jaume Munar 6-0 6-2, while third seed Rublev - runner-up to the Greek on Sunday - joined Pablo Carreno Busta (6) and Alex De Minaur (14) in making it through.

Evans was unable to follow up his run in Monte Carlo with the 16th seed beaten by Corentin Moutet in a lengthy three-setter, while Fabio Fognini (9) was defaulted for unsportsmanlike conduct after verbally abusing a line official when trailing 6-4 4-4 to Spanish qualifier Bernabe Zapata Miralles.

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