After day one of the ATP Finals’ first staging in Turin, here’s a look at some of the highs and lows of an eventful Sunday at the Pala Alpitour.

Heartbreak for Matteo

Opting to draw a sad face on the camera lens instead of signing his name, Alexander Zverev succinctly conveyed what every Italian fan in the arena was feeling as they watched home favourite Matteo Berrettini walk off court in tears, having been forced to retire with an abdominal injury early in the second set of his opening clash in Turin.
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It is the first mid-match retirement in singles at the ATP Finals since 1998 when Andre Agassi was forced to pull out against Alex Corretja in Hanover and it was so difficult to watch that Zverev said he himself felt like tearing up.
“To be honest I feel like crying right now. I don’t know what to say,” said Zverev, who saved two set points before clinching a 79-minute first set in the tiebreak.
“It was a fantastic first set, the level was great, but at the end of the day that’s not important, because at the end of the day what you want is both players to shake hands at the end of the match and go off the court healthy and prepare for the next one.
“Matteo, this is the worse feeling he can have because he’s been playing all year long to qualify for this event, it’s so special because it is at home for him, we have 15,000 people here all cheering him on, and after one set the tournament is over for him. Right now I don’t really want to talk about my match. I know Matteo personally so well and I just feel bad for him to be honest.
“I think he really looked forward to playing here, it was probably the highlight of his year, maybe the highlight of his career. But I said to him he’s going to qualify next year, he just needs to get healthy and he’s one of the best players in the world so I’m sure it’s not the last time we’re going to see him on this court.”
We couldn’t have said it better ourselves!

Medvedev wants to put on a show

Daniil Medvedev made a solid start to his ATP Finals title defence on Sunday, rallying from a set down to defeat first-time qualifier Hubert Hurkacz 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-4 and extend his winning streak at the tournament to six victories in a row.
From the outside it looked like there wasn’t much for Medvedev to complain about. The Russian No.2 seed faced zero break points, fired 32 winners and committed a measly eight unforced errors across three sets. He was 13/15 at the net, and was highly effective on serve.
Yet speaking on court to Tennis TV shortly after the win, the reigning US Open champion admitted he wished the conditions were a bit slower for the sake of everyone’s enjoyment, including himself.
Medvedev deemed the conditions are probably the fastest he’s ever experienced on the ATP Tour and explained that it wasn’t necessarily just about the speed of the surface, but that it was likely a combination of the dry air in Turin, and the quickness of the balls, along with the hard court itself.
“To be honest I think the crowd would have enjoyed it better if it was a little bit slower conditions because I had zero break points to save, so in a way I was never under pressure. I had only two games on Hubert’s serve where I had break points,” Medvedev said in his post-match interview.
“I’m super happy to make this work and managed to get those two breaks, the only games where I had break points.
It’s really tough to play here, as soon as you make one good shot the point is probably almost over so that’s what we tried to do both of us, to hit this one good shot and I managed to do it just a little bit better.

Daniil Medvedev

Image credit: Getty Images

Medvedev said the conditions were so fast that tactics will play a very small role in matches this week. His description of how it felt on return sounded like what football goalkeepers do when trying to save penalty kicks – they guess a side and leap towards it.
“The guy serves on the line, if you choose a good side, maybe you have a small chance to put it back, but if he hits one more good shot, the point is over,” added the 25-year-old.
The stats back up what Medvedev was saying. It was a three-set match with 32 games but it ended in a swift two hours. The Russian won 83 percent of his first-serve points while Hurkacz won 79 percent.
Hurkacz agreed that conditions were quick but was not as concerned, noting that Medvedev is the kind of player who prefers to engage in lengthy rallies to wear down his opponents.
“I think it's about getting used to the surface and plus we both have decent serves, so maybe we both didn't return as well as we maybe hoped, for sure me,” said Hurkacz.
“But, yeah, it's quite quick, but when there's a rally I think we can play some longer rallies, that's what Daniil enjoys to do,” the Polish No.7 seed added with a smile.

Best sprinter on tour?

In the fourth game of the third set, Medvedev ended a long exchange with Hurkacz by running down a short volley and responding with a sharply-angled backhand passing winner. Impressed by his speed, the crowd at the Pala Alpitour exploded as the No.2 seed gestured with his hands, urging them to get louder.
“I remember this point because that’s the only point in the match where I could actually interact with the crowd a little bit because other than that it was ace, winners and unforced errors,” said Medvedev.
So at least there was one point where I could enjoy myself.
Asked in his on-court interview if he ever timed himself over a 100m sprint, Medvedev said: “To be honest I think I’m quite good at going right and left and whatever but in 100 metres I think I’m going to lose to a bunch of tennis players, I’m not going to be in the top 30, even maybe not top 50. [I am] not so good in 100 metres.”
Medvedev says he isn’t coordinated enough to properly do a 100m sprint. Pressed to choose an ATP player who would prevail in a sprint over that distance, Medvedev picked Gael Monfils – “it's impossible to hit winners against him, he's so explosive” – and Alex de Minaur, “he’s super-fast”.

Silverware for Pavic and Mektic

You don’t expect to be handed a trophy on the first day of a week-long tennis tournament, unless you’re Mate Pavic and Nikola Mektic of course.
The Croatian duo kicked off their ATP Finals journey with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Horia Tecau and Kevin Krawietz then stuck around on court to receive the year-end No.1 doubles team trophy from ATP chairman Andrea Gaudenzi.
Pavic and Mektic had an astonishing 2021 where they made history for Croatia multiple times.

Nikola Mektic (R) and Mate Pavic of Croatia celebrate after winning during their first round doubles tennis match against Kevin Krawietz of Germany and Horia Tecau of Romania at the ATP Finals at the Pala Alpitour venue in Turin on November 14, 2021

Image credit: Getty Images

Midway through an 18-match winning streak they put together during the summer, they became the first Croatians to win the Wimbledon doubles title and the first all-Croatian team to lift a Grand Slam men’s doubles trophy.
In total, they grabbed nine titles from 12 finals reached this year, including Olympic gold in Tokyo.
They started 2021 by winning 56 of their first 61 matches together and are the first all-Croatian team to end the year at the summit of the doubles rankings. It’s a year the pair will never forget!
“Buongiorno a tutti,” Pavic told the Italian crowd during the trophy ceremony.
Obviously we’re extremely happy with this. It’s the first time for Nikola, third time for me and the first time as two Croatians lifting this at the end of the year.
“I just want to say thank you to all the team over there, the coaches, girlfriends, everybody. Thanks a lot and I hope you can enjoy some tennis this week.”

Stat of the day

Medvedev’s victory over Hurkacz earned him a tour-leading 43rd hard-court match-win of the season. Zverev is the closest to Medvedev in that category with his Sunday win over Berrettini marking his 38th hard-court victory in 2021.

Clutch moment of the day

Horacio Zeballos and Marcel Granollers saved four match points against Ivan Dodig and Filip Polasek to get off to a winning start in Turin, triumphing 4-6, 7-6(10), [10-6].
This match point save from Zeballos was particularly special.
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