At 40, Andre Sa retires


Andre Sa said goodbye to the ATP Tour last week with a final appearance on home soil, at the Rio de Janeiro tournament.

Sa and countryman Thomaz Bellucci lost their first-round doubles match to Andres Molteni and Horacio Zeballos.

Now 40, Sa had been a pro more than 22 years.

He reached a career high of No. 55 in singles in 2002, but made his mark in doubles with 11 career titles, and time in the top 20. 

Five of those titles came a decade ago with countryman Marcelo Melo, 34, who currently is ranked No. 1.

Sa will now coach.

100th final, 53rd title for Mirnyi


Some of Max Mirnyi’s more-heralded contemporaries have faded some the last couple of years. But the 40-year-old from Belarus, under the radar, quietly keeps trucking along.

The doubles final at the New York Open Sunday was the 100th Tour final of Mirnyi’s career (four of them in singles).

And the 6-4, 4-6, 10-6 win with partner Philipp Oswald of Australia over Artem Sitak and Wesley Koolhoff was the 53rd doubles title of his career.

Everyone ranked higher than Mirnyi’s current No. 36 is younger than he is.

Mirnyi has reached at least one final every season since … 1997.

Young, medium and older praise Federer


“He talks about tennis like it’s his first year on Tour, like he’s still a kid and he’s still enjoying it like it’s something new,” said Canadian teenager Félix Auger-Aliassime.

The 17-year-old was the latest up-and-comer to be invited to train with Federer in Dubai during the offseason. And though he suffered a knee injury that prevented him from going Down Under last month, Auger-Aliassime learned a lot, and got to know the man he shares an Aug. 8 birthday with.

Auger-Aliassime, and others, talk about Federer getting back to No. 1. And congratulate him.

Zverev Instagrams – on a trampoline


Rising star Alexander Zverev, it turns out, is a good multitasker.

In a bit for the ATP Tour, he goes live on Instagram, giving a tour of the facilities at the Rotterdam tournament. Everyone but the stringers pretty much ignores him.

While he’s doing it, Zverev also takes a turn on a trampoline. They’ll have some fun with that in adding a few special effects.

Luckily, he didn’t drop his phone in mid-air.

Oh, and he also shows off his lookalike mom, and his doggie. 

It’s good to be Sasha.

ATP Tour 2019 schedule status quo


There has been plenty of talk that the Masters 1000s in Madrid and Rome would be super-sized for 2019.

They would expand to 10 days and 96-player draws, much like Indian Wells and Miami.

Word was that this would happen for 2019 . But the calendar for next year has been released, and the two events appear to be status quo during the second and third weeks of May, respectively.

The only change to appear – at least so far – concerns the Istanbul 250 event the week of April 29. Estoril and Munich remain that week, but Istanbul has been replaced by “TBD”.

Colombian Alejandro Falla retires


Alejandro Falla, a 34-year-old  from Colombia who’s been a pro since 2000, announced his retirement last week after a career that saw him get to No. 48, back in 2012.

Falla reached two finals – in Halle on grass in 2014, and at home in Bogotá on hard court in 2013. He also posted four career wins against top-10 players.

But the lefthander may most be known for the scare he put into Roger Federer at Wimbledon in 2010.

Falla led 7-5, 6-4, 5-4 in the first round, before Federer somehow came back to win in five sets on his way to the title.

NK foundation among ATP grant recipients


Nick Kyrgios’s new charitable foundation is among nine who have received  grants from the ATP Tour’s Aces for Charity.

The other charities receiving funding are Stop War Start Tennis (Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi) Fundatia Curtea Veche (Horia Tecau), Fundación Emilio Sánchez Vicario (Feliciano Lopez), Futuros para el Tenis (Hans Podlipnik-Castillo), The Champions Volunteer Foundation (Indian Wells), Dubai Autism Centre (Dubai ATP), Academia Dos Champs (Estoril Open) and Hand in Hand Foundation (Hungarian Open).

The foundations will receive grants of $15,000/15,000 euros.

Nestor and Bryan chasing win mark


The immortal Daniel Nestor starts what’s likely to be his final season on the ATP Tour Tuesday in Doha, where he’ll team up with big Austrian Philipp Oswald for the first time.

They face No. 2 seeds Oliver Marach and Mate Pavic.

According to the ATP, Nestor, now 45, starts the season tied with Mike Bryan for the Open era lead at 1,056 doubles wins.

The Bryan brothers are idle this week.

Nestor is entered with American Donald Young in the Auckland tournament next week, but so far, with the deadline less than a week away, isn’t signed up for the Australian Open.

ATP Tour sets attendance record


The press release from the ATP Tour Finals put the good news first.

A total of 4,573,152 attended ATP events in 2017 – a record.

On the ATP Tour Finals side, the news is good, but not necessarily amazing.

According to the release, there were six sellout sessions (out of 15), and total attendance was 253,642 last week. For the ninth straight year, the event has broken the 250,000 attendance mark.

But … attendance has been down some 10,000 the last two years compared to previous years. There were more than 260,000 fans every year from 2012-15 (10 sellouts in 2013 for example), maxing out at 263,560 in 2014.

Two awards for Denis Shapovalov


After three round-robin matches at the Next-Gen Finals in Milan, Denis Shapovalov finally got home to Canada for a few days.

And then – straight back to Europe – to London, specially – to receive two awards on Saturday at the ATP Tour Finals.

The 18-year-old received the “Star of Tomorrow” award, given to the youngest player ranked in the top 100. His countryman Milos Raonic won it in 2011, when it was called “Newcomer of the Year”

Shapovalov also received the “Most Improved” award, voted on by the players.