Roger Federer will play in the Madrid Open in May as part of his clay-court comeback.

Federer has not played in the clay-court season since 2016, but the 20-time grand slam champion revealed after his Australian Open exit that he plans to grace the red surface this year.

The former world number one has confirmed he will return to the Caja Magica as he steps up his preparation for what is set to be his first French Open appearance since 2015.

"Federer is one of the best players of all time, it's no secret," said Madrid Open director Feliciano Lopez, who is relishing a stellar line-up featuring Federer's great rivals Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal.

"We are happy because his return to Madrid is a gift to the tournament, but above all the fans will be able to see a unique player in the Caja Magica. Having the Swiss player back on clay with Djokovic and Nadal is going to be unmissable."

Honorary Madrid Open president Manolo Santana, said: "Roger's presence in the Caja Magica will make this year's Madrid Open special.

"It doesn't matter that he's 37 because he still has that unmistakable class; the innate talent that has made him one of the best of all time. Being able to enjoy his tennis is something that no fan of the sport should miss."

Federer has won the Madrid Open three times, his most recent success in the Spanish capital coming in 2012.

Dominic Thiem suffered a shock loss in the Rio Open first round, while Juan Martin del Potro marked his return with a win on Tuesday.

Thiem, the top seed and 2017 champion in Rio de Janeiro, was stunned 6-3 6-3 by Serbian Laslo Djere at the ATP 500 event.

Djere, the 23-year-old world number 90, broke serve five times in an impressive performance.

Thiem was one of six seeds to fall at the rain-hit tournament.

Fabio Fognini, the Italian second seed, was comfortably beaten by Canadian wildcard Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-2 6-3.

Marco Cecchinato was edged by Aljaz Bedene 7-5 7-6 (7-1) and Dusan Lajovic was thrashed by Cameron Norrie 6-2 6-1.

The seventh-seeded Malek Jaziri went down to Federico Delbonis 6-3 7-5, while Nicolas Jarry lost to Roberto Carballes Baena 6-3 6-7 (5-7) 7-6 (8-6) in a three-hour marathon at the clay-court event.

Joao Sousa was the only seed to progress, while there were also wins for the likes of Albert Ramos-Vinolas and Christian Garin.

At the Delray Beach Open, Del Potro made his return from a knee injury with a 6-3 7-5 win over Yoshihito Nishioka.

Playing for the first time since October, the 2011 champion sent down 12 aces to win in one hour, 51 minutes.

Unlike in Rio, it was a decent day for the seeds on the hard-courts in Florida.

John Isner got past Peter Polansky 6-3 7-6 (7-4), Steve Johnson overcame Jason Jung 7-6 (7-3) 6-4 and Andreas Seppi beat Bernard Tomic 6-4 7-5.

Adrian Mannarino was a comfortable 6-2 6-2 winner over Brayden Schnur, who was coming off a run to the New York Open final.

Reilly Opelka, who won his maiden ATP Tour title in New York, advanced with a 6-4 6-0 victory over Tennys Sandgren.

However, defending champion Frances Tiafoe went down to qualifier Dan Evans 3-6 7-6 (7-1) 7-5 and Taylor Fritz was beaten by Mackenzie McDonald 3-6 6-4 6-3.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga's improved start to 2019 hit a stumbling block on Tuesday as the three-time champion bowed out of the Open 13 Marseille.

No player has won the ATP Tour event more times than Tsonga, who was triumphant in 2009, 2013 and 2017, matching the tallies of Marc Rosset and Thomas Enqvist.

But despite having ended a long wait for a triumph on the Tour at the Open Sud de France earlier this month, Tsonga could not extend a bid for a fourth Marseille victory beyond his opening match.

The Frenchman won the opening set against Andrey Rublev but then went down 2-6 6-4 6-2.

Tsonga was not the only home hopeful to see his challenge cut short, with Jeremy Chardy losing a pair of tie-breaks in vastly contrasting fashion as Matteo Berrettini emerged a 7-6 (14-12) 7-6 (7-0) winner.

Meanwhile, a bizarre development saw Constant Lestienne beaten by a man he had eliminated in qualifying.

Lestienne defeated Sergiy Stakhovsky on Monday, but the Ukrainian returned to the competition as a lucky loser and knocked the Frenchman out in three sets 24 hours later.

Benoit Paire came through in straight sets against Simone Bolelli, though, while fifth seed Fernando Verdasco and Peter Gojowczyk also won.

Nick Kyrgios held on to beat fellow Australian John Millman in three sets at the Delray Beach Open, while the Rio Open was halted by rain.

Kyrgios outlasted fifth seed Millman 6-4 6-7 (1-7) 7-6 (7-3) in the opening round of the ATP 250 tournament on Monday.

Former world number 13 Kyrgios hit 19 aces and won 85 per cent of his first serves against last year's US Open quarter-finalist, while he converted the only break point he earned.

"My serve keeps bailing me out of these types of matches, which is pretty fortunate for me," said Kyrgios. "I knew it wasn't going to be easy. John is one of the toughest competitors on tour and he's a good mate of mine, so I'm just happy to get through with the win."

Next up for Kyrgios is either 2015 champion Ivo Karlovic or Radu Albot.

Lukas Lacko defeated qualifier Yosuke Watanuki 6-4 6-4, wildcard Lloyd Harris saw off Darian King 7-6 (7-1) 6-3 and Denis Istomin beat Feliciano Lopez 7-6 (7-5) 6-2.

Meanwhile, Monday's matches were washed out at the ATP 500 Rio Open in Brazil, where all seven scheduled singles fixtures were cancelled due to rain.

Only two matches made it on court – Federico Delbonis was leading seventh seed Malek Jaziri 5-3 and eighth seed Nicolas Jarry was trailing Roberto Carballes Baena 4-3.

Gilles Simon had to come from a set down to avoid seeing his bid for a third Open 13 title come unstuck in the first around against fellow Frenchman Antoine Hoang.

Sixth seed Simon lost five games in a row to surrender the opening set, but he broke at the right time in the second and third to seal a 5-7 6-3 6-3 victory over the wildcard on Monday.

"I expected a tough match and I'm very happy that I won. I've won a couple of matches after being a set and a break down, so I didn't feel like I was close to losing," said Simon, winner of the tournament in 2007 and 2015.

Australian Open semi-finalist Stefanos Tsitsipas is seeded first and will begin his tilt in Marseille against Hubert Hurkacz. The Pole sent down 13 aces as he defeated Filip Krajinovic 6-3 6-2.

Mikhail Kukushkin overcame Denis Kudla 6-3 6-3, meaning he will face fourth seed Denis Shapovalov in round two.

Novak Djokovic and Simone Biles have been named Laureus World Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year respectively.

ATP world number one Djokovic beat fellow nominees Lewis Hamilton, LeBron James, Kylian Mbappe, Luka Modric and Eliud Kipchoge to claim the award for the fourth time – only Roger Federer has won it more.

The rejuvenated Serbian recovered from a loss of form and persistent elbow injury to win Wimbledon and the US Open in 2018, earning a return to the top of the rankings.

Djokovic said: "A Laureus Award is what every athlete wants to win, and this one is a huge honour for me. Being among so many sporting greats here tonight, and hearing about the inspirational work Laureus is doing around the world, gives this Award a special meaning for me.

"Last year was an incredible season for me, returning from injury to win Wimbledon and the US Open is something I'll remember forever. I am delighted and I would like to thank the Laureus Academy for their support."

Biles became the first woman to win a fourth all-around title at the 2018 World Artistic Gymnastic Championships.

The American claimed a record-breaking four golds – she has now amassed an unprecedented 14 at the worlds – in Doha and added one silver and a bronze.

Naomi Osaka received the World Breakthrough of the Year award after claiming her first grand slam title at the US Open, while Didier Deschamps accepted the prize for World Team of the Year on behalf of FIFA World Cup winners France.

Former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger was given the Lifetime Achievement award and Cesc Fabregas, Alessandro Del Piero, Luis Figo and Fabio Capello were among those to give him a guard of honour at the ceremony in Monaco.

Skiing great Lindsey Vonn received recognition for her illustrious career in the shape of the Spirit of Sport Award.

Novak Djokovic can win as many grand slams as Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, according to his former coach Boris Becker.

After over two years without a major victory amid a slump in form and persistent elbow injury, a rejuvenated Djokovic returned to the peak of his powers to win Wimbledon in 2018.

The Serbian has since triumphed at the US Open and Australian Open to take his grand slam haul to 15, two shy of Nadal and five behind Federer.

Djokovic will hold all four majors simultaneously for the second time in his career if he wins the French Open in June, though Becker considers Nadal favourite to triumph at Roland Garros for the 12th time in his career.

However, the German believes his former pupil can still amass a record-breaking number of grand slam titles.

"A lot can happen in a year either way. I mean, you've seen it. Yes, on paper, he's 31, he's won 15 majors, yes, there's a possibility he can reach 20," Becker told Omnisport at the Laureus World Sports Awards 2019.

"But who says that Roger isn't going to win another one. I always liked his chances at Wimbledon on the grass. Who says that Nadal isn't competing for it? He was in the final in Melbourne. He's certainly the favourite in my book for the French Open, and then he has 18, there's only two more for the French.

"So, it's a good problem to have because ultimately, you want to be the most successful of all time and what a challenge. What a moment in all three players' lives."

Expanding on whether Djokovic can depose Nadal at the French Open, Becker said: "First of all, it's amazing that he's in a position to do so. Very few players in the history of tennis can say that.

"Now, playing Nadal at the French is the most difficult tennis match you're ever going to face. Novak has done it a few times, he's beaten him one time on the year when he won the Grand Slam, and that's going to be the match.

"The way the rankings are, I think it's one and two, the earliest it can be is in the semi-final - I mean, what a match! Who wouldn't want to watch that match? History will be re-written, but there's a lot of tennis to be played until then.

"Players are going to the hard courts in America and on the clay in Europe so hopefully nobody gets injured, they keep the momentum, they play enough, but not too much. So the French Open should be an amazing high."

Reilly Opelka broke through for his first ATP Tour trophy after ending the dream run of Brayden Schnur in the New York Open final.

Schnur had never won a main-draw match prior to the ATP 250 tournament in New York, where the 23-year-old Canadian qualifier stunned sixth seed Sam Querrey in the semi-finals.

Despite saving two match points in the second set and five in total, Schnur was unable to cap a fairytale week with victory as big-serving 21-year-old American Opelka prevailed 6-1 6-7 (7-9) 7-6 (9-7) on Sunday.

After combining with John Isner to set an ATP record for aces in a three-set match (81) following Saturday's semi, first-time finalist Opelka - who fended off six match points against the top seed - fired down another 43 aces against Schnur.


Marco Cecchinato made short work of Diego Schwartzman in a 6-1 6-2 hammering in the final of the Argentina Open.

Home favourite Schwartzman, seeded fourth, had saved match point to beat to Dominic Thiem on Saturday.

But Cecchinato was a cut above on the Argentine clay, taking a little over an hour to clinch a third career ATP title – all of which have come on the dirt.

Schwartzman held serve for 1-1 in the opening set before losing five games on the spin against the Italian.

And it was a similarly dominant story in the second as third seed Cecchinato broke Schwartzman's serve twice en route to a classy victory.

Gael Monfils survived a Stan Wawrinka fightback to win his first ATP Tour title in over a year at the Rotterdam Open on Sunday, prevailing 6-3 1-6 6-2.

Monfils - beaten in the final of this event in 2016 - made a strong start against the 2015 champion, putting the Swiss under persistent pressure on his own serve and forcing two breaks as a backhand volley into the net sent the Frenchman a set up.

The second followed a starkly different path, as Wawrinka opened up a 4-0 lead to storm back into contention for the title.

Monfils could not make the most of any of his three opportunities to break back before Wawrinka wrapped up the set on his opponent's serve.

It was Monfils who struck the first blow in the decider and Wawrinka never looked likely to cancel out the early break.

Another dropped service game followed for the Swiss and a misjudged drop shot sealed his fate, leaving him without a Tour crown since May 2017.

For Monfils, this is his first tournament win since the Qatar Open in January 2018.

Big-serving American pair Reilly Opelka and John Isner broke an ATP Tour record during their New York Open semi-final clash.

Opelka and top seed Isner combined for 81 aces – a record in a three-set match – as the former prevailed 6-7 (8-10) 7-6 (16-14) 7-6 (7-4).

On Saturday, Opelka fired down 43 and Isner posted 38 of his own to surpass the previous record of 71 set by Nick Kyrgios and Ryan Harrison in January.

Opelka upset Isner in three sets – all tie-breaks – at the Australian Open last month and the 21-year-old was at it again in the Big Apple on Saturday.

After saving six match points in a marathon second set, Opelka moved a step closer to his maiden ATP title following the two hour, 31-minute contest.

Standing in Opelka's way is high-flying Canadian qualifier Brayden Schnur, who stunned sixth seed Sam Querrey 7-6 (9-7) 4-6 6-3.

Schnur had never won an ATP Tour main draw match prior to the New York Open this week but the 23-year-old is enjoying a dream run.

"It's an extremely big moment for me. These last few days have been unbelievable," said Schnur, who fended off five set points in the opening set. "I was one of the last guys to get into qualifying and my coach said to just see what happens. I think I've turned a lot of heads this week and am on the come-up."


Diego Schwartzman saved match point en route to defeating Dominic Thiem 2-6 6-4 7-6 (7-5) and setting up an Argentina Open final against Marco Cecchinato. 

Home favourite Schwartzman was staring down the barrel of defeat against top seed Thiem, who had an 11-0 record in Buenos Aires, after slipping 4-1 down in the decider.

In a match that swung this way and that, Schwartzman embarked on a four-game winning streak and had the opportunity to serve out for the match, only to lose his nerve and see Thiem level at 5-5.

Austrian Thiem then had match point on Schwartzman's next service game, but the Argentine fought off the threat and clinched the breaker with the first match point of his own to punch his ticket to the final.

Third seed Cecchinato had a decidedly easier route to the final as he overcame Guido Pella 6-4 6-2.

Stan Wawrinka ended a 20-month wait for an ATP final after defeating Kei Nishikori in three sets to reach the Rotterdam Open showpiece, while Gael Monfils earned a measure of revenge in ending Daniil Medvedev's fine run.

Swiss Wawrinka outlasted top seed Nishikori 6-2 4-6 6-4 to set up a Sunday showdown with Monfils.

Wawrinka had not reached a final since the 2017 French Open, where he lost to Rafael Nadal, after a rotten run with injuries but will now bid for a 17th career title.

After dominating the first set, Wawrinka was 4-0 down in the second before mounting a comeback that fell short and saw the match enter a decider.

There was little to separate the two until Nishikori had to serve to stay in the contest and a thumping forehand winner on his first match point left Wawrinka celebrating a big win. 

A week after losing to Medvedev in the Sofia Open semi-finals, where the Russian went on to become champion, Monfils earned a 4-6 6-3 6-4 triumph in their rematch.

Monfils, a runner-up in Rotterdam in 2016, landed 29 winners in a match lasting two hours and eight minutes.

Medvedev had won 15 consecutive sets before dropping the second to Monfils.

Dominic Thiem was tested before reaching the Argentina Open semi-finals, while John Isner cruised through in New York.

A two-time champion in Buenos Aires, Thiem overcame Pablo Cuevas 4-6 6-4 6-3 in their quarter-final on Friday.

The top seed improved to 11-0 at the ATP 250 event, where Diego Schwartzman awaits in the last four.

The fourth-seeded Schwartzman was too good for Albert Ramos-Vinolas in a 6-1 7-5 victory.

The other semi-final will see Italian third seed Marco Cecchinato meet Guido Pella.

Cecchinato got past Roberto Carballes Baena 7-6 (7-3) 6-4, while Pella saved four match points in a 6-7 (3-7) 7-6 (11-9) 6-1 win over Jaume Munar.

At the New York Open, Isner served 16 aces in a 6-4 6-1 win over Australian seventh seed Jordan Thompson.

He will face fellow big-serving American Reilly Opelka in the semi-finals after the 21-year-old beat Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 6-3 6-4.

Last year's runner-up Sam Querrey overcame Jason Jung 6-3 3-6 6-3 and next meets Canadian qualifier Brayden Schnur, who edged Paolo Lorenzi 6-7 (7-9) 7-6 (7-5) 7-5.

Stan Wawrinka will face Kei Nishikori in what promises to be an entertaining Rotterdam Open semi-final after beating Denis Shapovalov in straight sets on Friday.

Wawrinka followed up his victory over Milos Raonic by moving into the last four with a 6-4 7-6 (7-4) win over 10th seed Shapovalov.

Three-time grand slam champion Wawrinka, winner of the title in Rotterdam four years ago, claimed the only break of the first set with a sublime backhand winner.

Teenager Shapovalov was 4-1 down in the second, but came storming back to take it to a tie-break, only for the Swiss wildcard to edge it and move two wins away from a first title since 2017.

Nishikori continued his excellent start to the season by dispatching the unseeded Marton Fucsovics 6-3 6-2.

The top seed from Japan broke twice in the first set and won six games in a row in the second to ease through.

Daniil Medvedev overcame Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-4 6-2 in the battle of the two champions from last weekend and will now face Gael Monfils, who hammered Damir Dzumhur 6-1 6-2.

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