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Hop On, Jerry! McDonald Gives Hobbling Shang Piggy-Back In Zhuhai

A first-round match on Thursday at the Huafa Properties Zhuhai Championships featured one of the most interesting endings to a match in recent memory.

After Mackenzie McDonald polished off a 6-4, 6-7(3), 6-3 victory over #NextGenATP Chinese star Shang Juncheng, who was struggling physically with cramp, the American jogged to Shang’s side of the court. McDonald put Shang on his back and carried him to his chair.

“I knew he was struggling so I ran to him to shake his hand,” McDonald told ATPTour.com. “He said, ‘Good match’, and he said, ‘Can you help me to the bench?’ I said, ‘Hop on’. So he jumped on my back and I carried him over to the bench and he said, ‘Good match, man.’”

Still friends ?@mackiemacster passes a tough test against Shang 6-4, 6-7(3), 6-3!@ZhuhaiChampions | #ZhuhaiChampionships pic.twitter.com/kOznQVQJd9

— ATP Tour (@atptour) September 21, 2023

The clip of the competitors enjoying a light-hearted moment after a tough battle quickly went viral on social media. McDonald needed two hours and 36 minutes to win the match, but just seconds to earn plenty of fans around the world.

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Top Seeds Doumbia/Reboul Sneak Through In Chengdu

Sadio Doumbia and Fabien Reboul booked a quarter-final spot Thursday at the Chengdu Open, but the top seeds were made to battle to the final point by Robin Haase and Bart Stevens in a tense doubles encounter at the ATP 250.

Doumbia and Reboul were two points from defeat at 7/8 in the Match Tie-break but did not face match point as they held firm for a 6-4, 4-6, 12-10 victory in China’s Sichuan province. The French duo’s 89-minute victory was based a solid serving performance, as it won 88 per cent (35/40) of points behind first serves.

Currently 17th in the Pepperstone ATP Live Doubles Teams Rankings after reaching one championship match and four other semi-finals at ATP Tour events this year, Doumbia and Reboul will hope a deep run in Zhuhai can kick-start a late charge towards qualification for the season-ending Nitto ATP Finals.

Their next test in Zhuhai is a last-eight clash against John Peers and Roman Safiullin, who also enjoyed Match Tie-break success as they downed home wild cards Cui Jie and Wang Aoran 6-0, 4-6, 10-7.


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Rock-Solid Giron Blunts Bublik In Chengdu

Marcos Giron bounced back from a tough run of results in style Thursday at the Chengdu Open. The American downed fifth seed and 2019 finalist Alexander Bublik 7-6(6), 6-3 to reach the second round at the Chinese ATP 250.

Faced with fast conditions ideally suited to Bublik’s big-serving, free-hitting game, Giron rallied from 0-2 and then crucially held firm to claim a see-saw first-set tie-break that featured seven mini-breaks. The World No. 64 carried that momentum to an ultimately unassailable 5-0 lead in the second set as he snapped a four-match losing streak at all levels in 101 minutes.

Solid performance ?@marcos_giron93 gets the better of Bublik 7-6(6), 6-3 and advances to the second round!@ChengduOpen | #ChengduOpen pic.twitter.com/h6d1rOUsAR

— ATP Tour (@atptour) September 21, 2023

“Bublik obviously is an incredible player,” said Giron, who now leads Bublik 3-1 in the pair’s Lexus ATP Head2Head series. “He has so much potential, so much weaponry, and you never know really what’s going to come.

“The first set really was a battle. It was so important. He had a lot of break points, but I played well when I needed to. He served well and that’s what he is [always] going to do, so I knew in the breaker he was not going to give it to me, and I’m really happy with that."

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Murray Makes Fast Start In Zhuhai

Former World No. 1 Andy Murray moved through the gears on his return to China on Thursday when he defeated Chinese wild card Mo Ye Cong 7-5, 6-3 to reach the second round at the Huafa Properties Zhuhai Championships.

The 36-year-old Scot has performed impressively in China throughout his career. He has won the Rolex Shanghai Masters three times (2010, ’11, ’16), triumphed at the ATP 500 in Beijing in 2016 and lifted the trophy at the ATP 250 in Shenzhen in 2014.

Competing in the country for the first time since 2019, Murray had too much for the World No. 668 Mo, saving all five break points he faced to maintain his record of never losing to a player outside the Top 200 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings.

Murray is aiming to rediscover his form at the hard-court event this week, having suffered a second-round exit at the US Open. The 46-time tour-level titlist is 15-12 on the year, highlighted by a final run in Doha.

Following his one-hour, 42-minute win, the Scot will next play Aslan Karatsev. The World No. 63 snapped a four-match losing streak against Italians when he downed Matteo Arnaldi, who reached the fourth round at the US Open.

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Borg & McEnroe: Meet The Laver Cup Captains

Legends Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe know each other all too well. The pair enjoyed a fierce rivalry between 1978 to 1981, facing off 14 times on some of the biggest stages on Tour.

There was little to separate them on court, with the Swede and American locked at 7-7 in their Lexus ATP Head2Head series. They met four times in major finals, with McEnroe triumphing at the US Open in 1980 and 1981 and at Wimbledon in 1981. Borg defeated the American in five sets in the Wimbledon final in 1980, a match widely considered one of the most compelling in the sport’s history.

Fast forward 42 years from their last meeting and both will battle for bragging rights again this weekend at the Laver Cup in Vancouver, Canada, where Borg captains Team Europe and McEnroe leads Team World.

Borg and McEnroe have helped spearhead the Laver Cup since its formation in 2017, captaining the teams at all five of the previous editions. Team Europe captain Borg has overseen four victories in the past, while McEnroe was at the helm for Team World in 2022 when they triumphed.

The pair were in a relaxed mood on Wednesday ahead of the latest event, sharing jokes with Australian great Rod Laver.

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On The Comeback Trail In Zhuhai, Khachanov ‘Burning Inside To Compete’

As Karen Khachanov assessed the timing of a debilitating injury that left him struggling to walk after Roland Garros, the resurgent star weighed how best to approach the problem.

The 27-year-old was arguably in the best form of his career, having reached three consecutive Grand Slam semi-finals, and felt close to claiming “the cherry on the pie” in a major tournament. But a fracture in the sacrum bone in his back, along with significant pain in his pelvis, derailed him shortly after he lost to eventual champion Novak Djokovic in the last four in Paris in June.

“The tendons, all the attachments, the bone itself, it was also kind of a stress fracture. Both things were connected,” Khachanov said. “It all started from Australia. I had been playing well. I kept pushing. But then it got to the moment where I literally could not walk after the Roland Garros match with Novak.

“It was time. I could push to a certain moment, but it was a clear sign when I had pain to walk. That is when I had to stop.”

Khachanov, who will play his second tournament on the comeback trail this week at the Huafa Properties Zhuhai Championships, was mindful the enforced break could be beneficial. The No. 15 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, who had returned to the Top 10 after his semi-final run at Roland Garros, was absent from the Tour until the US Open.

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China Open 2023: Draws, Dates, History & All You Need To Know

The China Open in Beijing, played at the site of the 2008 Olympic Games, has seen previous champions such as Rafael Nadal, Andy Roddick, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray.

Here's what you need to know ahead of the tournament in the Chinese capital:

When is the China Open?

The ATP 500 event will be held from 28 September to 4 October. The hard-court tournament will take place at the Beijing Olympic Green Tennis Centre, a site built for the 2008 Olympics. The tournament directors are Alfred Zhang and Lars Graff.

Who is playing at the China Open?

Carlos Alcaraz will make his Beijing debut. Daniil Medvedev, Holger Rune, Casper Ruud, Jannik Sinner and Stefanos Tsitsipas are also among the field.

When is the draw for the China Open?

The China Open singles draw will be made on Tuesday 26 September at 2:30 p.m. local time.

What is the schedule for the China Open?

* Qualifying: Tuesday, 26 September – Wednesday, 27 September at 11 a.m.
* Main Draw: Thursday, 28 September – Wednesday, 4 October, starting at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, 3 October play begins not before 3 p.m.
* Doubles Final: Wednesday, 4 October at 5 p.m.
* Singles Final: Wednesday, 4 October not before 7:30 p.m.


What is the prize money and points for the China Open?

The prize money for the China Open is US $3,633,875 and the Total Financial Commitment is US $3,798,915.

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Novak Djokovic, The Ageless Wonder

Is Novak Djokovic better than ever at age 36? With his recent statistics at the Grand Slam tournaments, there is a case to be made that the Serbian is a stronger player in his 30s than he was in his 20s. No matter your opinion on that particular debate, Djokovic is certainly not slowing down despite his advancing age.

Following his latest triumph at the US Open, Djokovic has now won 12 major singles titles in both his 20s and 30s. His 12-3 record in Slam finals in his current decade trumps his 12-9 mark in his 20s. While he has won three majors in a calendar year four times—twice in his 20s and twice more in his 30s—he has twice in the past three years come within one match of winning all four majors in the same season.

Djokovic won three Slams in 2011 and 2015, with Roland Garros the only missing trophy both years. He was beaten in the Paris semis in 2011 (l. to Federer) and in the final in 2015 (l. to Wawrinka). More recently, Djokovic's final losses at the 2021 US Open (l. to Medvedev) and at Wimbledon in 2023 (l. to Alcaraz) kept him from a clean major sweep.

The 2021 season is the only one in which Djokovic won the first three Slams in succession. In the 2021 US Open final, the Grand Slam was on the line.


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Skupski Meets Liverpool Stars Salah, Van Dijk: ‘I’ll Cherish It For The Rest Of My Life’

Neal Skupski is enjoying a memorable year on and off the court. The Briton partnered Wesley Koolhof to win the Wimbledon title in July and on Tuesday, Skupski was a special guest at Liverpool Football Club’s AXA Training Centre.

A Liverpool native, Skupski enjoyed watching the team practise alongside his brother, Ken Skupski, who retired from pro tennis last year. They met the players including Mohamed Salah, Virgil van Dijk and manager Jürgen Klopp.

“It was an amazing experience for me and Ken, obviously being lifelong Liverpool fans and coming from Liverpool,” Skupski told ATPTour.com. “The opportunity came about and it was a bucket-list moment to tour the training [centre], meet the whole team, especially the manager, Jürgen Klopp, who we’ve idolised since he arrived at Liverpool some years ago.”

Video courtesy of Liverpool FC
Despite constantly being on the road competing on the ATP Tour, the 33-year-old Skupski carves out time to watch Liverpool. On Tuesday, the football stars were not just on TV — they were shaking hands with the 15-time tour-level titlist.

“It was very special. It was great to meet the people I watch all hours of the day travelling the world. To watch them train, pick their brain, it was a very special thing to do,” Skupski said. “It’s not often someone gets to go behind the scenes and see how other sportsmen work, especially the team that I’ve dreamed of watching for many years now.

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Great Britain vs. Serbia Headlines Davis Cup Final 8 Draw

Great Britain will clash against Serbia in a blockbuster Davis Cup Final 8 meeting, it was announced Tuesday.

Following their dramatic victory against France on Sunday, when Daniel Evans and Neal Skupski saved four match points to survive a deciding doubles match, Great Britain became the last team to seal their Final 8 spot by winning Group B. The winner of Great Britain and Serbia will meet Italy or The Netherlands.

In the top half of the draw, defending champion Canada will battle against first-time quarter-finalist Finland in the Final 8. The winner will face the Czech Republic or last year’s runner-up Australia.

The Davis Cup Final 8 Knockout Stage, which will be held in Malaga, Spain, runs from 21-26 November.

Davis Cup Final 8 Draw:
Winner Group A vs. Runner-up Group D
Canada vs. Finland

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‘It Is Crazy To See’: Kovacevic Among ATP Stars Wowed By Whale Sharks In Zhuhai

Earlier this season at Roland Garros, Aleksandar Kovacevic thrived when tasked with the opportunity of tackling Novak Djokovic, the now-24-time major champion, on his Grand Slam debut. The American showed impressive firepower against the record-breaking legend, taking the eventual champion in Paris to a third set tie-break when beaten 6-3, 6-2, 7-6(1).

Ahead of his ATP Tour debut in China on Thursday at the Huafa Properties Zhuhai Championships, Kovacevic took some time to marvel at a giant of a different kind as he watched whale sharks during a day of thrills at a nearby theme park. Along with fellow main-draw competitors including Sebastian Korda, he visited the world’s biggest ocean-themed resort, the Chimelong Ocean Kingdom.

The 25-year-old Kovacevic is a nature-lover who integrated outdoors activities, including hiking and sky diving, into his training routines at the behest of his former University of Illinois college coach Brad Dancer.

“I used to go hiking a lot when I was training in California. I was in Sacramento, and there was not much to do around there, so I had to find ways to have fun,” he said. “We used to drive to some of the coasts and find some random places to hike, and it was always nice, but seeing things like this is almost a step above that.”

Sebastian Korda was among the group who spent the day at the Chimelong Ocean Kingdom. Photo Credit: ATP Zhuhai Championships.

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Ohio State Buckeye Cannon Kingsley Making Challenger Strides

When J.J. Wolf turned pro in 2019 following a standout career at Ohio State University, American Cannon Kingsley was just settling into college life in Columbus.

Fast forward to this season, Kingsley is now a three-time ITA All-American entering his fifth year at OSU, where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in sport industry this spring. The 22-year-old is hoping to follow in the footsteps of World No. 51 Wolf.

“I've known J.J. for about four or five years now. He's still based out of Columbus so he trains with some of the guys when he's home playing. I've trained with him a decent amount,” Kingsley told ATPTour.com at this year’s NCAA Championships.

“It's great having a guy like that who came out of the programme. It's an inspiration for guys like me who are trying to transition into pro tennis after school, so getting to see him and how he works and how he trains is a pretty cool thing. The fact that he was a Buckeye is awesome.”


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Nadal: ‘My Hope Is To Play Again And To Be Competitive’

Editor's note: This story was translated from ATPTour.com/es

More than eight months have passed since Rafael Nadal played his last match on the ATP Tour. The Spaniard, who has not competed since January’s Australian Open and underwent an operation on the iliopsoas muscle in his left leg in June, is still in the midst of the recovery process. Yet he is hopeful about a return to action.

The 22-time Grand Slam champion gave an in-depth interview this week to Movistar+, in which he discussed his current fitness, how a daily routine including golf helps him satisfy his hunger for competition, his thoughts on the future of tennis, and how he wants to get back to being one of the players to beat. He also answered questions on a range of topics, from personal projects to sporting decisions, while remaining aware that only time will bring all the answers.

“My hope is to play again, to be competitive again,” explained Nadal. “The hope is not returning and winning at Roland Garros again, or in Australia, let’s get that straight. I’m aware that at this point of my life, that is very far off. I’m not saying it’s impossible, I’ve said it thousands of times, because things in sport change very quickly.”

For Nadal, the fast pace of sport is in stark contrast to his current reality. It is a question of patience, perseverance, and acceptance.

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Safiullin Breezes Past Nakashima In Chengdu Opener

Roman Safiullin made a confident start to his first ATP Tour event on Chinese soil Wednesday at the Chengdu Open, where the 26-year-old eased past Brandon Nakashima 6-4, 6-4.

The World No. 55 Safiullin delivered a scintillating display of clean hitting to overwhelm Nakashima in 88 minutes at the ATP 250. He struck 22 winners to his opponent’s 17 while remaining rock solid behind his serve. Safiullin did not face a break point as he improved to 23-2 against American opponents across all levels.

“I think the most important thing was to hold my serve and then just try to get some break points and try to use them.,” said Safiullin after winning his maiden Lexus ATP Head2Head clash with Nakashima. “That was the main goal for the match.”

Safiullin has enjoyed the best season of his career in 2023. He reached his maiden Grand Slam quarter-final at Wimbledon in July, a run which propelled him to a career-high No. 43 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings. Now 12-14 in tour-level matches for the year, his next assignment in Chengdu is a second-round clash with fourth seed Daniel Evans.

Corentin Moutet also wasted little time notching a first-round victory in Sichuan province. The Frenchman prevailed 6-2, 6-2 against home wild card Mu Tao, who was making his ATP Tour debut. Moutet will play seventh seed Miomir Kecmanovic or qualifier Benjamin Lock in the second round.

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#NextGenATP Star Svrcina Advances In Zhuhai

#NextGenATP Czech Dalibor Svrcina captured his second tour-level win on Wednesday when he moved past Chinese wild card Li Zhe 6-4, 6-3 at the Huafa Properties Zhuhai Championships.

The 20-year-old, who earned his only previous tour-level victory at the Australian Open in January, limited mistakes throughout the one-hour, 31-minute clash. Svrcina committed just five unforced errors, while he struck 18 winners to reach the second round at the ATP 250.

The Czech star is 14th in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Jeddah and knows a deep run in Zhuhai will further boost his chances of qualifying for the Next Gen ATP Finals. He will next face Australian qualifier Luke Saville or fifth seed Tomas Martin Etcheverry.

Earlier this year, Svrcina clinched an ATP Challenger Tour trophy on home soil.

In other action, South African Lloyd Harris downed Czech Jiri Vesely 6-4, 6-2 to improve to 13-4 against left-handers at tour-level hard-court events.

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Stars Arrive In Canada Ahead Of Laver Cup


The stars have arrived in Vancouver ahead of the fifth edition of the Laver Cup, where Team World will look to retain the trophy against Team Europe.

Before the serious action starts on Friday, players took time to fine-tune their games on court, while others relaxed away from Vancouver’s Rogers Arena. Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz and Team Europe Vice Captain Thomas Enqvist swapped their racquets for golf clubs on Tuesday when they put their putting skills to the test.

Hubert Hurkacz and Thomas Enqvist spend time together at golf.

Hubert Hurkacz hits an iron.
Americans Ben Shelton and Frances Tiafoe have starred on home soil in recent years. The 20-year-old Shelton advanced to the semi-finals at the US Open this month, while Tiafoe reached the same stage in 2022.

Ahead of the Laver Cup, both spent time with another sporting star who is making waves in North America, Elias Pettersson. The Swede plays for NHL side Vancouver Canucks.

Ben Shelton and John McEnroe spend time with Elias Pettersson.
Players and captains have also been hitting the court ahead of the Laver Cup, to be held from Friday to Sunday in Canada.

Hubert Hurkacz
Ben Shelton
Milos Raonic
Team World
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Federer Offers Laver Cup Advice, Touts ‘Superstar’ Doubles Combos

Each match may come down to individual or doubles-tandem brilliance, but Roger Federer believes team integration remains the key for Laver Cup success.

The Swiss great helped Team Europe to victory against Team World in 2017, 2018 and 2019 before bringing his career to a close in emotional scenes at the 2022 edition of the annual team event. What advice does the former World No. 1 have for the seven Laver Cup debutants set to compete inside Vancouver’s Rogers Arena this weekend?

“I think it’s [all about] thriving in the team environment, being well prepared and embracing a big crowd,” said the Swiss great in Vancouver ahead of this weekend’s action. “It always depends on when you play, obviously, whether it’s opening day or the second day, but listen to the ones who have already been at Laver Cups before, and they can give you some sound advice.

“I’m sure they’ll be fine. They’re all excellent players here, we’re talking about world-class players.”

POV: You bump into Roger at the Rogers Arena ?@lavercup | #lavercup pic.twitter.com/nI3QsFX3rH

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Tsitsipas Withdraws From Laver Cup

Stefanos Tsitsipas has withdrawn from the Laver Cup due to injury, event organisers announced Tuesday. #NextGenATP Frenchman Arthur Fils will replace the Greek on Team Europe in Vancouver.

Fils is poised to make his Laver Cup debut, joining teammates Andrey Rublev, Casper Ruud, Hubert Hurkacz, Alejandro Davidovich Fokina and Gael Monfils. Their captain is Bjorn Borg and their vice captain is Thomas Enqvist.

Alternate Arthur Fils will replace Stefanos Tsitsipas on Team Europe for Laver Cup Vancouver 2023. Tsitsipas has withdrawn due to injury. pic.twitter.com/VJ6QyeXED2

— Laver Cup (@LaverCup) September 19, 2023

The 19-year-old Fils has enjoyed a breakthrough season on the ATP Tour and is at his career-high Pepperstone ATP Ranking of No. 44. He claimed his first tour-level crown in May in Lyon.

Fils and Team Europe will try to take back the Laver Cup trophy from Team World, which will feature Taylor Fritz, Frances Tiafoe, Tommy Paul, Felix Auger-Aliassime, Ben Shelton and Francisco Cerundolo. John McEnroe is the captain and Patrick McEnroe the vice captain.


Laver Cup: Lineups, Dates, History & All You Need To Know

The Laver Cup is a unique annual team competition that sees a host of the ATP Tour's finest players line up for either Team Europe or Team World. Among those in action this year in Vancouver will be Casper Ruud, Andrey Rublev, Taylor Fritz and Felix Auger-Aliassime.

Here's what you need to know ahead of the three-day event:

When is the Laver Cup?

The sixth edition of the team event will be held from 22-24 September. The indoor hard-court contest, established in 2017, will take place at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, Canada. The Laver Cup CEO is Steve Zacks.

Who is playing at the Laver Cup?

Ruud, Rublev, Hubert Hurkacz, Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, Arthur Fils and Gael Monfils will represent Team Europe, to be captained by Bjorn Borg. Fritz, Auger-Aliassime, Frances Tiafoe, Tommy Paul, Ben Shelton and Francisco Cerundolo will be at the disposal of Team World captain John McEnroe.

When are the matches at the Laver Cup announced?

Friday's matches at the Laver Cup will be announced on Thursday afternoon.Saturday's matches at the Laver Cup will be announced an hour after play ends on Friday night.Sunday's matches at the Laver Cup will be announced an hour after play ends on Saturday night.

What is the schedule for the Laver Cup?

* Day 1 & Day 2: Friday, 22 September & Saturday, 23 September: four matches starting from 1 p.m.* Day 3: Sunday, 24 September: four matches starting from 12 p.m. *View On Official Website

What is the format of the Laver Cup?

The Laver Cup will be played over three days, from 22-24 September, across five sessions. Each match win is worth one point on Friday, two points on Saturday and three points on a high-stakes Sunday. The first team to reach 13 points (out of a possible 24) wins the Laver Cup.

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Kung Fu In Chengdu: Were Dimitrov & Kecmanovic Up For The Challenge?

Ahead of the Chinese hard-court swing, Grigor Dimitrov and Miomir Kecmanovic soaked in the country’s rich martial arts culture by trying kung fu.

Dimitrov and Kecmanovic, who are in action this week at the Chengdu Open, watched demonstrations from kung fu masters depicting the various styles of the Chinese art, before learning some of the most iconic stances and testing their wrist strength in a training exercise.

“I’m a big fan of kung fu, but I don’t think I did very well today,” Dimitrov joked. “I think it’s an amazing art and I’m such a huge Jackie Chan fan, so it was nice to experience that a little and hopefully one day I will have the chance to explore more of it. Doing the standing poses was really fun.”


The cultural activity took place at Feng Qing Lake, which is located near the Sichuan International Tennis Centre, where the ATP 250 event is held. Seventh seed Kecmanovic, who is making his Chengdu debut, enjoyed the challenge.

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