Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Andre Agassi great matches - Part 1 (1990-1995)

He confessed his long blond hairs were a wig, to have used crystal meth and to have assumed, as a junior, performance-enhancing drugs given to him by his father. His revelations launched new shadows on the ATP directors: have they hided the dark secret under the carpet to avoid the toy broke itself?

Anyway, Andre invented a new way of playing, gifted tennis fans the greatest rivalry ever and one of the best matches in the history of this sport. This tribute is to the player and to his most unbelievable and remarkable matches.

Roland Garros 1990, final
(l.toAndrés Gomez 6-3 2-6 6-4 6-4).
His first Grand Slam final. His first great complaint, wig or not wig. Gomez, after 27 majors played, secured the goal he has worked a lifetime to achieve. The Ecuadorean planned not to go to Paris, but he changed his mind when Lendl announced his intention to withdraw from the Roland Garros (and Gomez was thrice eliminated by Lendl in Paris). Agassi wore the same black and hot lava ensemble that prodded the authorities into announcing the possibility of a Wimbkledon-like dress code.
Although Agassi was a decade fitter and younger than his opponent, Gomez gained a critical break to 5-3 in the first set thanks to a combination of a backhand volley followed by an overhead spike. Then he slammed two aces, one on a second serve at set point. Gomez waffled in the second, was broken to love to 4 all in the third, but then he re-took control of the match with big serves and a patchwork game.

US Open 1990, final
(l.to Pete Sampras 6-4 6-3 6-2).
The first Sampras, with a perfect flat backhand and lethal volleys, overwhelmed Andre making him realize he coulod hit even harder. Agassi, who was the favourite, never accepted this defeat.

Wimbledon 1992, final
(w.to Goran Ivanisevic 6-7(8) 6-4 6-4 1-6 6-4).
The first, and last, success against Mister Ace at the Championships. Agassi, who in the past refused to play in London for the dress-code, reversed his misfortune refusing, after losing the first set, to be intimidated by Ivanisevic's 37 aces.

The final marked the first time dince 1985 two dark horses fought in the title match at Wimbledon, and the eight seeded Croat, the the tour's most high-powered server seemed to have the momentum when, after 2 hours and 50 minutes, the battle against the best power returner entered the final set. A second serve ace had guaranteed him the first set tiebreaker and, in the fifth, Ivanisevic served the 200th ace of his tournament in the fourth game adding two more to keep the set on serve to 3 all.

But Agassi remained focused and patient, waiting for one two loose points that could have opened him some chance to clinch the title in the tournament he once shunned.
And the patience paid. In the final game of the match, Ivanisevic double faulted to 0-30, recovered thanks to a pair of winners and then could only watched the whistling forehand passing shot from Agassi producing a match point. The second serve came on the next point, and Ivanisevic ruined all with excessive downsizing on an easy backhand volley.

So Agassi became the first American since John McEnroe in 1984 to win Wimbledon and the first 12th seeded player to appear in the Hall of Fame of the Championships.

Masters 1994, semifinal
(l.to Sampras 4-6 7-6(5) 6-3).
In a match of incredibly high technical level, everybody realized that their rivalry would have become the greatest of all time. Pete served at his best, Agassi returned with astonishing attention. A rally was replied for months by televisions all around the world as a spot for tennis.

Australian Open 1995, final
(w.to Sampras 4-6 6-1 7-6(6) 6-4).
Agassi's only success over Pistol Pete in a Grand Slam final (a coincidence who, years after, led Sampras say: “He lose against me even when he plays better because he knows I'm the best”).

Agassi completed his first Australian Open run with his second, back-to-back, major title and dethroning the top-ranked Sampras, arrived to the final with 14 gruelling sets played in the last three rounds, while Agassi had to drop a set yet.
Sampras earned further respect for the unashamed despair he displayed after his coach, Tim Gullikson, was hospitalized and then sent home to Chicago after the third round. And more, Sampras, the introvert, made personal history by coming back twice from two-sets-to-none deficits, and displayed his unique ability to show his vulnerability, cry and play perfect tennis in the fifth set of his quarterfinal against Jim Courier.

The opening set went to Sampras after Agassi, who had never gifted easy points in the key moments in the tournaments, fired off two unusual and bleeding doubles, the second of which came at set point, at 4-5 15-40. But Sampras let down the guard, and immediately went 0-4 down in the second.

In the third set, they traded breaks in the third and fourth games, and then arrived to the most umpredictable tiebreaks. Agassi dashed 3-0, but Sampras immediately captured 4 points in a row and gained a set point at 6-4 with a brilliant reflex volley. Agassi fought and found a winning forehand return down the line and benefitted from an overhit forehand from Sampras. Then was the round of Andre to have a set point, and he converted it by ending a long rally with a deft backhand volley. Sampras restarted to serve aces in the fourth set (three both in the third and seventh game), but the 28 final aces weren't enough. Agassi, who served his 10th ace on match point, registered a return twice as reliable as that of his opponent's and committed half the number of unforced errors.

Agassi, who with this title completed three quarters of career Slam, said after the match: “"He wasn't the best player in the world today," said Agassi, "but the reality is he's clearly ahead of everybody”.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

For a Few Copies More

Andre Agassi confessed, in his autobiography that he tested positive to anti-doping tests but lied to the ATP to escape ban. The first player to complete the career Grand Slam in the Open era assumed an higjly addictive drug, the crystal methamphetamine: it’s not an enhancing-performance substance, but it’s meant for personal use, considered as a recreational drug like the cocaine.

He took the meth (possession of which carries a maximum five-year jail sentence in the US) in 1997, a period signed by doubts, falling form, and the ending of his turbulent marriage with the actress Brooke Shields. In his book, he so recalls the episode:

“Slim [his assistant coach at the time] is stressed too ... He says, You want to get high with me? On what? Gack. What the hell’s gack? Crystal meth. Why do they call it gack? Because that’s the sound you make when you’re high ... Make you feel like Superman, dude.

“As if they’re coming out of someone else’s mouth, I hear these words: You know what? F*** it. Yeah. Let’s get high.

“Slim dumps a small pile of powder on the coffee table. He cuts it, snorts it. He cuts it again. I snort some. I ease back on the couch and consider the Rubicon I’ve just crossed.

“There is a moment of regret, followed by vast sadness. Then comes a tidal wave of euphoria that sweeps away every negative thought in my head. I’ve never felt so alive, so hopeful — and I’ve never felt such energy”.

But this isn’t the most shocking part of his confession. Andre would have lied to the ATP, and the tennis authorities would have accepted his lies interwoven with true parts; the American avoided a three months suspension after an autumn when he pulled out of the Roland Garros and didn’t bother to practise for Wimbledon. “I say Slim, whom I’ve since fired, is a known drug user, and that he often spikes his sodas with meth — which is true. Then I come to the central lie of the letter. I say that recently I drank accidentally from one of Slim’s spiked sodas, unwittingly ingesting his drugs. I ask for understanding and leniency and hastily sign it: Sincerely. I feel ashamed, of course. I promise myself that this lie is the end of it.”

This story generates two reflexions. On the one side, about the role and the behaviour of the ATP, now attacked by player for the new stricter rules, although they have never accomplished a top-player suspension, except for Gasquet (excused anyway for his cocaine-filled kiss during a party). This result is the product of a substantial correctness in player’s mood, or this could imply that even nowadays ATP could cover some misconduct with the purpose of avoiding a collapse in the reputation of the sport? Probably we’ll know the truth in a decade or so, when the autobiographies of actual champs will be sold.

Agassi also said he has inside hated tennis, also if he invented a new way of playing, “the baseliner counter-attacker”, with the mood of Bjorn Borg and the feet on the baseline, with half-volley groundstokes and an extraordinary sense of advance. He felt tennis more than simply playing it.

“I was actually excited about telling the world the whole story”, he concluded. Also Boris Becker, in 2003, in his autobiography, confessed to have played for most of 1990 and 1991 under the effect of sleeping drugs, so implicitly diminishing Stefan Edberg’s triumph at 1990 Wimbledon. Perhaps has Andre’s happiness something to do with the certainty that such a scoop would make the sales grow?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Unbearable Lightness of Being Novak

Heading towards the Masters Cup, we review the season of the "Big Four". Let's start with the big entertainer Novak Djokovic.

Like many players, Novak Djokovic claims he doesn't pay much attention to the rankings. Probably he has some reasons. He's in the Big Four since 27 months, and considering the difficulty in breaking the duopoly of the “RR couple”, Novak has the chance of be n.3 or 4. And the implications in gaining or losing a position (respect to Andy Murray) are substantially non existent.

Anyway, although he has overhauled Andy Murray, who had surpassed him earlier this season, Novak Djokovic's year leaves around him an impression of unfinished, like he was caught in the middle of a growing process only half completed. It could be hard to understand how a season registering 17 quarters played out of 19 tournaments, with 13 semis and seven finals can be defined “disappointing”. But, for the third best player in the world, be the owner, in every sense, of the Belgrade Open (owned by his family) he won beating Kubot, and winning Beijing (over Marin Cilic) and Dubai (over David Ferrer) cannot compensate his lacks in the most important stages, where victory counted the most. For different reasons, he failed in the majors.

In Australia he confessed to have suffered the extra pressure he posed on himself, being the defending champion, combined with a growing unease with his new racket. The tournament ended with the heat exhaustion in the quarter against Andy Roddick, the same who defeated him at Wimbledon and went a backhand volley far from reigning on British lawns. Novak's season on the clay wasn't happier, and perfectly testified the hybrid condition of the Serb, great with lower-ranked opponents, but small with the best players: he's 4-9 with Federer, 5-14 with Nadal. His bleeding defeat against Nadal in the Madrid Masters semifinal, and the second surrendering in the title match in Rome, where the Serb was again defending champion, were the premises to a forgettable Roland Garros, where he failed to go through the quarterfinals (for the second and last time in the season: he lost in the first round in the first tournament he played this year, in Dubai).

Hard-court season in the United States went somewhere further, although he crashed before against the brightest Andy Murray admired in the last 12 months, then in the perfect match by Roger Federer.

The see-saw results, evaluation depending on what is potential is and what part of his potential remained unexpressed, were specular to his technical, tactical and characterial limbic progress. He has more virtues as imitator, as mimesis of someone else's style than capable of developing a really personal interpretation of the game.

He has a knack for upsetting many opponents with mid-match retirements and continuous, sometimes used as an excuse, calls to the trainer. The entertainer who hilariously joked and jousted with John McEnroe can also turn the public against him. He's definitely on the subtle red line between self-confidence and arrogance. But he's also a baseliner who dreams to become someone else, something else.

For this reason, in April he hired Gebhard Phil-Gritsch, who helped Muster become one of the fittest players in tennis, showing a determination in improving in an area where he used to appear weak, testifying his desire not to continue failing at the distance, as he did in four Grand Slam matches concluded with a retire in his young career. Before Us Open his coach, Marian Vajda, started to be joined by Todd Martin: one who certainly isn't a factor in the fitness matter (considered the amount of plasters and bandages he showed oncourt) but has a growing influence in the tactical evolution of Novak's game.

“We've put a lot of work into the legs, into my movement, because this is where I have a good feeling about my game. My advantage is my running ability. I like to be dynamic and show a lot of energy on the court” said to Paul Newman in an interview for “The Independent. “Before the US Open we had lots of time on the tennis court. We put a lot of work into it. I'm a temperamental player. I show my emotions, even in practice. When I get frustrated I throw my racket. Then I look at Todd and I'm kind of scared about what his reaction might be, what he's going to say. But he always says: 'The shot you made before the mistake was good. So keep it going.' He always tries to find the positive in everything. I think that's a great thing about him. He's going to bring a lot of freshness to the team.”

Martin is working to add variety to his game, to improve slice and volleys. Djoker, who played more than everyone else this year, 82 matches until now, usually arrived to the last part of the season without many points to defend, while this year he has to confirm the victory at the Tennis Masters Cup in London. On the grass he could need more easy points, more impact from his serve, he has to significantly the amount of direct points. Until now, in fact, he has an average of 5 aces per match, although he wins 73% of points on his first serve. Dynamism is probably the key to explain the 34% of 1st serve return points (42% of total return points won). Mentally he's positive, but not so cold: he saved 2 break points out of three and converted 4 out of 10.

On the grass of the O2 Center in London he needs to perfect these details to defend his title, and not to watch the dvd of the historical Wimbledon semifinal between his new “part time coach” and Malivay Washington.

Monday, October 26, 2009

New lights on Marcos Baghdatis

Marcos Baghdatis is back. The Cypriot won the Stockholm Atp 250 over Olivier Rochus 61 75. Baghdatis, who hadn’t such a joy since February 2007 (in Zagreb, w. over Ivan Ljubicic) is the tenth unseeded player to clinch a title this season. Is this enough to talk about a Renaissance of the ex Australian Open finalist? Is this a sufficiently bright signal to turn off the critics of who considers Marcos nothing more than a meteor who lived only a summer of unexpected glory?

Probably not, although a victory is always a victory and should mollify attacks and oppositions. Marcos won a decent tournament, but surely not an astonishing tournament. The only top-10 in the main draw, Robin Soderling, withdrawn in the semifinal for an elbow injury, and gave up the hope of improving his ranking points replacing the 115 points of the success at the Sunrise Challenger. The quality of the event is testified by the semifinal between Olivier Rochus (who was the 21th best player in the world, has two career titles and, although his one-handed backhand and smart strategies would deserve more, hasn’t reached the fourth round in a Grand Slam event since 2005) and the Gstaad champions, the 21 y.o. Brasilian Thonas Bellucci.

Apart from the level of his opponent, anyway, Baghdatis seemed regenerated. Certainly he doesn’t play “on the cloud” like in the glorious 2006, but he displayed a consistent performance, above all with serve. In the final he broke for the first time, after wasting two opportunities, and again in the sixth game. On his serve he registered two points out of three on his serve and 8 aces after 40 minutes, at the end of the first set. In the second Baghdatis, who had already beaten the Belgian 75 64 at the Italian Masters, clinched his fifth and decisive break to serve for the match at 65, sealing the success in 99 minutes thanks to the 15 aces, the 62% of points transformed on his serve and to the four break points saved out of six.

Phisycally Marcos appeared wirier, more zippy, showing precise strokes with perhaps less power than before. Touch is always the same: it can’t be lost, probably like the slight paunch. Generally, it seems coach Infantino is doing a good work.

In the end, this good victory is a small step towards the highest possible aim for Marcos, a stable stay in the top-30 with some raid in the top-20. The odds are against a possible come back of the Cypriot in the top-10 (he was n.8 at his best ranking). To reach his goals Marcos has to practice with a persistence he has never showed, because of his spirit and a series of injuries. And it would be difficult to understand if the injuries forced him to stuttering trainings, or his slightly lazy spirit, showing itself in his way of practicing, caused the injuries. He is definitely a nice guy, a natural entertainer that could only add positive effects for tennis. But he isn’t the champion capable of being a systematic danger for the Big Four as many had thought after the 2006 Australian Open.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Beauty will save the world

“Who's intelligent is meant to remain a nobody, only stupid people become someone. Men in 19th century must, is morally forced to be a creature without character”. This is an excerpt from the most intense molologue by Fedor Dostojevski, part of “Notes from the Underground”, the most intense novel by the Russian. This is the favourite novel of Janko Tipsarevic, the manifold Serbian player who reached at the Kremlin Cup the first semifinal in two years defeating Robbie Ginepri with a double 6-3. Tipso clinched the victory with an amazing 93 percent of his first-serve points and winning all 14 of his first-serve points during his last five service games.

The really interesting part of his history isn't in his career, in his results. But in what lays behind the court, in the relation between a curious and cultivated player with an as much cultivated coach, Alberto Castellani.

“The greatness of Notes From The Underground is that Dostojevski spoke about the unconscious and subconscious many years before Freud” once said to his coach. Castellani so described Tipso. He wants to know everything and dreams to explain you everything he knows. Other players calls him “the Small Professor”.

He loves Dostojevski. Last year, during the Kremlin Cup, Tipso defeated Mathieu and was meant to play against Marat Safin. But that night he went to the museum dedicated to him. A devotion he brings tattoed on his skin: “Beauty will save the world”, from The Idiot.

I remember him in Rome, in 2008, when he played against Fernando Gonzalez with sunglasses and a racquet with red strings. He's extremely talented, but has the rare value of being man before than athlete, of putting Janko ahead of Tipsarevic, life ahead of career.

Castellani started working with the Serb at the end 2005: Janko has fallen down to n.138 in the World Ranking and hasn't won since Wimbledon. He projected, and projects yet, a personalized practice from the technical, physical and mental point of view. Tipso works hard on his serve, works to play a metre or two more in front, to hit balls rising. His ranking improves, but the man remains ahead of the athlete, his absent-mindedness hasn't ceased to affect him and his results. Janko is an all surfaces player, but is above all a man with an umprecedented “literary hunger” so peculiar on a tennis court.

Castellani reveals endless conversations about the fundamentals of philosophy, about the roots of being a man: Does God exists? (Janko doesn't believe in it), Is truth possible?, Who created the universe?

They talks about Saint Augustine, Heidegger, the Italian Emanuele Severino, Nietzche (the philosopher preferred by Tipso). He knew Nietzche, the ideal of necessity of nichilism, but he thought it was not enough. So he read “Beyond Good and Evil”, “On the genealogy of Morality”, “Human, too human”, “The Gay science”. His mother was extremely satisfied of his son's progress.

The two often go to Belgrade: the pool where Janko and other Serbs practiced themselves during the war and the bombings from the anti-Milosevic force stays there yet. In Belgrade bombs couldn't target places guarded by crowds of civilians who massively reunited to save the pool and the city bridges. When evening empires vanished into sands, Janko remained the tambourine of a “melting pot” music, made of forehands and kalashnikov.

His meditations involves logic and the theory of the “everything flows” by Heraclitus, the deepness of “Achilles and the tortue” and the basis of the Western culture. Janko is fascinated by the extreme consequences of the “everything flows”: because if becoming means transforming itself in something different, this imply the destruction of the architraves of Parmenides: “It is necessary to speak and to think what is; for being is, but nothing is not”. Travelling through tournaments, in his bags there were racquets, shirts and everything necessary for the athlete, but also not less than six books about philosophy: Kant, Nietzche, ancient Greeks, but even Avicenna and Averroes.

The most striking aspect of his personality is his strong, radicated hate for mediocrity and “the right medium”. Horatian motto “est modus in rebus” doesn't fit to Janko, who wants everyone go beyond the limits. Castellani is half coach half teacher: latin, phisics, Einstein, black holes, art, Caravaggio. Even if Janko continues asking his coach to be stricter, he defeated Lleyton Hewitt in Australia. “I'm Serbian, we grow with rigid rules”. “Ok”, answered Castellani who doesn't believe in authoritarian methods. “If you need more strictness, you can give yourself a stricter discipline”. It's like to say, put your good and your evil ahead of you like a law and be so courageous to live respecting your law: a perfect nietzchean suggestion.

Castellani wasn't at Wimbledon; Janko went to the Championships with his trainer and manager and played the best tournament of his life. As Tim Roth wrote closing his American Pastoral, “could something be more perfect?”.

Personally, I don't think.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Something is rotten in Denmark

Once upon a time, tennis was a sport for gentlemen. Then John McEnroe, Jeff Tarango arrived and a certain level of bad behaviour started to diffuse and be tolerated. Now that more and more people tend to associate "personality", "character" with sudden eruption of fury, the mood of Ilja Bozoljac or the Austrian Daniel Koellerer, whose motto is "If you respect your opponent, you have already lost", are becoming common.

And proliferate where the luxury and artificiosity of top-class events leave his place to the not-glamorous tournaments belonging to the second or third tier circuit, like Challengers or Futures. The last episode is only another confirmation of this stigmatizable evolution. If we should give a title to this story, the only suitable would be: "Something is rotten in Denmark".

We are in Kolding, for the final of the local Challenger event. Ivan Dodig, n.195 in the world ranking, 24-years-old from Bosnia, is facing the British n.2, no more that Alex Bogdanovic, ranked just ten places above his opponent. Dodig was already lucky to escape a disqualification in the first round match: not yet satisfied to have staged a replica of the wordly famous monologue by Serena Williams during the Us Open semifinal, Dodig tried to do better and reserved the same "attentions" to one of Hamlet's compatriots on the stands. The supervisor "forgave" him, and Dodig, as every big actor does, preserved the greatest performance for the principal occasion.

Dodig won the first set in the final, while the second has to be decided in a tiebreaker. At 6-6, on Bogdanovic's serve, a first ball is seemingly out but the lineswoman doesn't call and the chair umpire confirmed: 7-6 Bogdanovic who, predictably, clinched the set at the very next point.

The furious Dodig shouted for a toilet break and, heading towards the locker room, bawled out against the lineswoman with clearly readable, but not referrable, words. The news arrived to the chair umpire who informed the supervisor. Clearly Dodig was disqualified and, to complete his performance, coming back to the court he threw the trophy reserved to the losing finalist against a wall and completely destroyed it.

In the end, he lost not only the match, great part of his reputation, but also the 75 points he would have gained as the tournament finalist.

This is his version, from his official website.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Bet on...Davydenko

Nikolay Davydenko outclashed Rafa Nadal 7-6 6-3 to win the Shanghai Masters final and clinch his 18th title, in a manner of style even more impressing than the score would suggest. The Russian, renewed after the bet enquiry, the scandal and the suspects followed the sadly famous Sopot first round match against Vassallo Arguello in 2007, is now the most testing opponent to verify a player’s fitness. And Nadal, playing his first final for five months, showed to have some way to go to find his best form: he managed only nine winners to the 28-years-old Rusian’s 35. Davydenko is certain to finish the year outside the top-5 for the first time since 2004. And is now the player with the best result not to have played a Grand Slam final yet.

Now the Russian is seventh in the Year-to-Date and improves his odds to go to London for the World Tour Finals. All players can add points from the Atp 500 in either Basel or Valencia in the week of 2 Novembrer and again at the Paris Masters. But Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Nikolay Davydenko, Marin Cilic, Tommy Robredo and Radek Stepanek have all won two Atp 250 titles. And this could give some more chances for Robin Soderling, now n.9 in the YTD, now in Stockholm; because he won Bastad but has only 90 points from his second best performance in the ATP 250. So winning in Sweden, he could add 160 points to his ranking.

Now see more in detail the Year-to-Date situation this week limited to players yet uncertain of their qualification for the Finals.

Andy Roddick 4,330
Nikolay Davydenko 3,450
Fernando Verdasco 3,030
Robin Soderling 2,820
Fernando Gonzalez 2,780
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 2,640
Marin Cilic 2,205
Gilles Simon 2,105
Radek Stepanek 2,095
Tommy Robredo 2,040
Gael Monfils 1,975

Andy Roddick: The American, who has qualified six consecutive years for the Finals, is the highest-ranked player yet to clinch his 2009 berth. After the knee injury sustained at the Shanghai Masters, he is not scheduled to play until the Valencia Open 500 from 2 November.

Nikolay Davydenko: Like Tsonga, the Russian cannot count any more points earned at the 250s because he already counts titles in Kuala Lumpur and Umag. In Atp 500s he has now earned 815 points: he will add something improving the Beijing quarters (90 points)
Fernando Verdasco: Attempting to qualify for the first time, super-fit Spanish left-hander will come back oncourt during the week of 2 November in Valencia. He has 180 points from ATP 500s and can add 100 points in 250s but he should won a tournament to discard the Kuala Lumpur final.

Robin Soderling: Players immediately behind him have all won two ATP World Tour 250 tournaments, so cannot add to their totals outside the 500s and 1000s. But Soderling can add points at the 250 in Stockholm.

Fernando Gonzalez
: Hard-hitting is next playing Basel, where he will attempt to add 500 points to his total. He played three 500s (with 405 points) but he has an available slot yet, having not played Monte Carlo.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
: The powerful Frenchman added 500 points last week by winning in Tokyo. But he cannot add to his points tally at his next event in Lyon as he is already counting the maximum two 250-pointers from title wins in Marseille and Johannesburg. So his performances at the 500 in Valencia and Paris will be crucial.

Marin Cilic: Having maxed out his 250s with tournament victories in Chennai and Zagreb, he has low chances to go to London. He shouldn’t play until Paris, almost surely too late to maintain some hope, but he may obtain a wild card into Valencia or Basel
Gilles Simon: As a winner of just one 250 title this year in Bangkok, the French counter-puncher can ad at the 250 event in Lyon next week.

Radek Stepanek: The Czech, who last year appeared at the Finals as an alternate, cannot add points in Vienna due to his titles in San Jose and Brisbane. So he will look to Basel and Paris to make his move.

Tommy Robredo: Unable to count further points earned at the 250s due to his titles in Buenos Aires and Costa do Sauipe, Robredo is not scheduled to play again until the ATP World Tour 500 in Valencia.

Gael Monfils: A winner of just one 250 title in Metz, Monfils can make ground at the 250 tournament in Vienna. He will also play in Valencia and Paris.