The singles entry list for the 2020 edition of the Rio Open presented by Claro has two top 10 players, Dominic Thiem and Matteo Berrettini, alongside Borna Coric, Fernando Verdasco and former champions Diego Schwartzman, Pablo Cuevas and Laslo Djere.
Ukranian Alexandr Dolgopolov entered with protected ranking, attempting a return after two years recovering from injury. Guido Pella, runner-up in 2016, is one of the main players of the entry list as well. There are other clay-court specialists, such as Casper Ruud, Nicolas Jarry, Cristian Garin, Alejandro Davidovich Fokina and Corentin Moutet.
Two wildcards have already been given, to Brazilian Felipe Meligeni Alves and Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz. The third WC will be announced soon.
Fernando Verdasco is back to the Rio Open presented by Claro. After finishing runner-up in 2018, the Spaniard joins the tournament line-up alongside Dominic Thiem, Matteo Berrettini, Diego Schwartzman and Borna Coric.
Davis Cup champion and ATP Finals champion in doubles, Verdasco is a fan favorite in Brazil. He owns 23 titles in singles and doubles, including the Rio Open in 2018 with David Marrero.
At 36-years-old, Verdasco is one of the most experienced players in the top 100. He ranks fifth among active players with most wins (546) and will play his 20th season in 2020.
“I have great memories of the Rio Open. I had a very special week in 2018, with many wins and great support from the Brazilian crowd. Brazil is a place I connect with and I cannot wait to come back and hopefully have another magical week”, said Verdasco.
“We are deeply satisfied of having Verdasco once again in the tournament. An experienced player with a lot of success and a fan favorite. Our line-up continues to grow, with players from every generation, with different game styles for all tastes”, said Luiz Carvalho, Tournament Director.
Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz, one of the most exciting NextGen players of the tour, has received a wild card for the Rio Open presented by Claro. At 16 years of age, he is the youngest player in the top 500 and he is coached by former World No.1 Juan Carlos Ferrero. The tournament takes place between 15th and the 23rd of February 2020. Dominic Thiem, Matteo Berrettini, Diego Schwartzman and Borna Coric have committed to the event. Alcaraz won his first ATP point at 14-years-old and won a Future title. He beat top 200 players at the Challenger level as well.
“I want to thank IMG and the Rio Open for this incredible opportunity. I am excited to play my first ATP title. Spaniards have a great history in Rio, with titles from Nadal and Ferrer. I hope someday to have my name of the trophy too”, said Alcaraz. IMG decided on the wild card following the tradition of encouraging young players. Alcaraz also joins Brazilian Felipe Meligeni, who won the first wild card with the title at Maria Esther Bueno Cup, the Brazilian NextGen tournament organized by the Rio Open. The complete line-up of the ATP 500 will be revealed in January.
“Last year we brought a NextGen player (Felix Auger-Aliassime) who started his breakthrough at the Rio Open. Alcaraz is very young but he has been surprising everyone with his maturity on the court. It will be a great opportunity to see him in a big arena for the first time”, said Luiz Carvalho, Tournament Director.
The Rio Open presented by Claro will have once again two top 10 players in its line-up. In 2020, in addition to World No.4 Dominic Thiem, the Brazilian tournament will welcome for the first time World No.8 Matteo Berrettini, from Italy. One of the breakthrough players of the year, Berretttini joins Diego Schwartzman and Borna Coric in the seventh edition of the biggest tennis tournament in South America, in February 15-23 at the Jockey Club Brasileiro. Tickets go on sale on December 2nd on tudus.com.br.
The 23 year-old Berrettini started the year at World No.54. He won the Budapest and Stuttgart tournaments and then made the US Open semifinals. He became the first Italian in 40 years to reach this stage in the tournament, beating Gael Monfils and Andrey Rublev on the way. Berrettini also qualified for the ATP Finals for the first time and finished the year among the elite of the ATP.
Grandson of a Brazilian woman, Berrettini will play for the first time in Brazil as a professional. With a powerful game in his favorite surface, the Italian expects a good campaign in Rio. “I am incredibly happy to play in Brazil for the first time. I have heard so many great things about Rio and I cannot wait to experience how it is like to play there. I have grandmother who was born in Brazil and that makes me a little Brazilian as well. I hope I can get the support of the crowd and go far in the tournament”, said Berrettini.
“We fought a lot to get another top 10 player for 2020. Matteo is one of the new guys who has been challenging the Big 3. I saw him play live for the first time in London at the ATP Finals and I was so impressed with his power. He had such a consistent year, starting the year as 54th in the rankings and finishing 8th. I hope the fans will enjoy another great news”, said Luiz Carvalho, Tournament Director.
The complete line-up of the Rio Open will be revealed in January.
The Rio Open presented by Claro has confirmed another top 20 player for the 2020 edition. Argentine Diego Schwartzman, World No.14 and champion of the tournament in 2018 will return to Rio alongside Dominic Thiem, the fourth best player in the world, and Croat Borna Coric. The event will take place between the 15th and the 23rd of February at the Jockey Club Brasileiro. Tickets go on sale on December 2nd.
The Argentine had a great season in 2019. Some of the highlights were the US Open quarterfinals after defeating Alexander Zverev, his third career title in Los Cabos, Mexico, and his first Masters 1000 semifinal in Rome. Schwartzman also was a runner-up in Buenos Aires and Vienna, ending the season as the best South American of the tour and in the top 15.
Schwartzman has played in all editions of the Rio Open. He won the tournament in 2018, beating Gael Monfils and Fernando Verdasco on the way to the title. A few months later, he reached his best career ranking, World No.11. “I am very happy to comeback to Rio. Rio Open is a very special tournament for me, where I always feel good and play my best. The 2018 title gave the confidence to make a leap in my career. I’ve had two great seasons ever since. I hope to repeat this success and give back the love of the Brazilian audience”, he said.
The complete line-up of the Rio Open will be revealed in January, after all players are able to commit. “It’s a privilege for the Rio Open to be able to have another great name for 2020. Schwartzman has played a great season, he was one of the big names of the US Open and it’s consolidated in the top 15. Besides all of this, he is one of the favorite players of the carioca crowd”, said Luiz Carvalho, Tournament Director.
The Rio Open presented by Claro has its second commitment for the 2020 edition: Croatian Borna Coric, one of the best names of ATP’s new generation. The biggest tennis tournament in South America takes place at the Jockey Club Brasileiro in February 15-23. Besides Coric, World No.5 Dominic Thiem is set to return to the Rio Open.
World No.25, Coric was recently the 12th best player of the ATP, in August 2019. The Croat has won two ATP titles, in the clay of Marrakech (2017) and in the grass of Halle (2018), where he beat Roger Federer in the finals. He has won a Davis Cup title as well.
In addition to his two wins against Federer, Coric has also beaten Rafael Nadal twice. A great player since juniors, when he led the rankings and won the US Open (2013), Coric faced serious injuries on his knee and back in the moments he was close to breaking the top 10.
“It is going to be really special to play at the Rio Open for the first time. I have played a Davis Cup tie and the Olympics in Brazil and I wanted to return. It’s going to be a good test on the clay for me, against players who are used to the South American swing. I’m looking forward to facing that challenge”, said Coric.
The complete line-up of the Rio Open will be revealed in January, when the entry list is closed. “It’s always really nice to have a new player in the tournament and this year we’ll have Coric, a player who has been earning his space on the tour and who is a warrior on the court. It’s another great opportunity for the fans to be able to see another promising player”, said Luiz Carvalho, Tournament Director.
The seventh edition of the Rio Open presented by Claro, taking place in February 15-23 at the Jockey Club Brasileiro, has its first commitment: Austrian Dominic Thiem. World No.5 and runner-up at the French Open for the last two years, the 26-year-old will play in Rio for the fifth time in a row.
Since the beginning of the event, in 2014, Rio Open has brought players from the top 10 of the ATP rankings to Brazilian courts. In 2019, the champion was Serbian Laslo Djere, in a final against Canadian NextGen Felix Auger-Aliassime. The tournament welcomed 50,000 spectators this year.
Thiem won at the Rio Open in 2017, one of his 10 titles on clay and 14 in total. The Austrian is considered to be the best clay court specialist after Rafael Nadal, also a former champion in Rio, in 2014.
During this season, Thiem has achieved outstanding results, such as the French Open final. In the semifinals, he beat Novak Djokovic in one of the best matches of the year. The Austrian also won his first Masters 1000 title on the hard courts on Indian Wells, with a win against Roger Federer in the final.
Other trophies came this year in Beijing, Barcelona and Kitzbuhel. These results guaranteed his spot for the fourth time in a row in the ATP Finals, the tournament that closes the season with the eight best players of the world.
“I am going through a very important year in my career, but I am already thinking about 2020 and I am glad to confirm my return to the Rio Open. It is a tournament that can help me prepare for my goal, which is to win in Roland Garros, besides being in a place where I feel very comfortable. The energy of the Brazilian audience is always really special”, said Thiem, coached by Chilean Nicolás Massú.
The complete entry list of the Rio Open will be revealed in January. “It is always really nice to be able to guarantee a top 5 player in our tournament, specially someone who is a reference on clay like Thiem. Brazilians have been following closely his evolution and 2020 will surely be a season with even more great wins for him”, said Luiz Carvalho, Tournament Director.
Laslo Djere, the 23-year-old Serbian, surprised the sensation of the tournament, Canadian Félix Auger-Aliassime, and won the first title of his career at the Rio Open presented by Claro this Sunday at the Jockey Club Brasileiro, 6/3 7/5, in 2 hours. Very emotional, Djere dedicated the title to his parents, who already passed away.
“I lost my mother seven years ago and I want to dedicated this to her, and also to my dad, I lost him two months ago. My parents have been the reason I’m here today and I hope they are watching me now”, said during his speech.
With the campaign in Rio de Janeiro, Djere adds 500 points and US$ 1.402.200 in prize money. He will make a Top 40 on Mondays ranking with the title, his best career position. He arrived in Rio as World No.91. Runner-up Auger-Aliassime is projected to move inside the Top 60 and will be the youngest player in ATP Top 100. He arrived in Rio as World No.104. He received US$ 704.235 in prize money and 300 points.
The new champion Djere started his week in Rio defeating number 1 seed and 2017 champion Dominic Thiem. Then he defeated Taro Daniel and #NextGenATP Casper Ruud and earned a spot at his first ever ATP Tour final after his opponent, Aljaz Bedene, withdrew from the semifinals with an injured right leg. He received the trophy, created by the jewelry designer Antônio Bernardo, from the hands of the 3-time French Open champion Gustavo Kuerten.
“When I got here, I did not think I would win the tournament, especially after the draw came out and I knew I would face Thiem in the first match, but I did a good training and I thought I could do well. I hope this title is the beginning of a tennis story for me”, said the player, who spoke during the week about compatriot Novak Djokovic, world number 1. “It’s a great inspiration for me. I grew up seeing him play and wondering if he could ever be playing big tournaments either.”
In the final match, Djere breaking Auger-Aliassime service, but lost his serve right after that. But then he broke back again and raised the level of his game to close the first set in 6/3. In the second set, the Canadian tried to fight back , supported by the fans who ‘adopted’ him since the first round, and had a 3-1 lead. But Djere raised his game again, pressed the nervous Felix, and close the second set in 7/5 after five match points, to claim his first title without dropping a set during the whole tournament. “It was a difficult game, emotionally and physically. Felix is talented and I’m sure he will win many trophies in the future.”
Auger-Aliassime was disappointed with the loss and how he played, especially in the serving game, but give all the credits to Djere for the win. “Obviously today was tougher, especially my second serve fell apart for some reason and had been serving well for the whole tournament. It’s a little bit disappointing because obviously I was playing for the title and it was big for me. But at the same time I’m not gonna lose to much sleep for this loss. I done good things this week and I’m gonna stick with the positives.”
The 18-years-old Canadian had the best week of his young career. He received a wild card for the main draw and defeated in the first round the number 2 seed, Italian Fábio Fognini. Then he got past by Christian Garin (7/5 e 6/4), Jaume Munar (6/4 e 6/3) and in the semifinals the experienced Uruguayan and 2016 champion, Pablo Cuevas (6/3, 3/6 e 6/3). “It was one of the most special tournaments that I played. And having Guga in the audience in the final, a great inspiration, it was special. I will continue working and hope to return next year” said Auger-Aliassime.
The final was the first match between the two players. Laslo Djere is now the sixth champion of Rio Open history, joining Diego Schwartzman (2018), Dominic Thiem (2017), Pablo Cuevas (2016), David Ferrer (2015) and Rafael Nadal (2014). The Rio Open is part of the ATP World Tour, which brings together 13 tournaments of this size and only three on clay, alongside Barcelona and Hamburg.
DJERE CAMPAIGN EN ROUTE TO THE TITLE: 1st Round: Fabio Fognini – 6/2, 6/3 2nd Round: Christian Garin – 7/5, 6/4 Quarterfinal: Jaume Munar – 6/4, 6/3 Semifinal: Pablo Cuevas – 6/3, 3/6, 6/3 Final: Felix Auger-Aliassime – 6/3, 7/5
RIO OPEN SINGLE CHAMPIONS: 2019 – Laslo Djere (SRB) 2018 – Diego Schwartzman (ARG) 2017 – Dominic Thiem (AUT) 2016 – Pablo Cuevas (URU) 2015 – David Ferrer (ESP) 2014 – Rafael Nadal (ESP)
It was not this time a Brazilian player was crowned champion of the Rio Open presented by Claro.
Wild cards Thomaz Bellucci and Rogério Dutra Silva were defeated by Chilean Nicolas Jarry and Argentinian Maximo Gonzales by 7/6 (7/3), 3/6 and 10/7 in one hour and 45 minutes at Jockey Club Brasileiro.
Last time a Brazilian had played the decision of the tournament before was in 2014, when Marcelo Melo played alongside Spaniard David Marrero and lost to Colombians Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah.
Playing together on and off for about one year, this was Gonzales and Jarry’s first title together.
But they both were champions in other doubles’ events. Argentinian Gonzalez has now six titles, all on clay: Valencia in 2008, Umag in 2015, Marrakech in 2016, São Paulo in 2018 and Buenos Aires, last week, but playing alongside fellow Argentinian Horacio Zeballos.
As for Jarry, this was his second doubles’ title. The first one was in Quito, last year, playing alongside country mate Hans Podlipnik-Castillo. But he was no stranger to the Rio Open’s late stages. Last year he made it to the semis last year but playing at the singles’ draw.
“It’s been almost one year that we’ve been playing together and we had great results, including in Grand Slams, but we never managed to win a title. Winning here is very special and Nico is a great friend. We are very happy and that’s really important to us. Hopefully we can play more events together. We already won an ATP 500, maybe next is a 1000 and one day a Grand Slam”, said Gonzales.
Even tough they played against a Brazilian duo at Court Guga Kuerten, Jarry said the audience was really respectful.
“It was not easy to play with a full house cheering against us, something that usually happens only at the Davis Cup, but we were getting used to that little by little and we tried to remain focused. It’s good to have a partner next to you so you can share the pressure with. And I want to thank the audience because they were loud but super respectful all the time”, said Jarry.
The Brazilian duo said that even though they did not win, the week was positive.
“It was a good week for us after all. There were lots of positives and the atmosphere was great. It’s a shame that we didn’t win but maybe next time”, said Dutra Silva.
“I think we felt the pressure of playing at home but we can’t and should not erase the great week we had here. Of course we are a bit frustrated we didn’t win, but we were super close”, added Bellucci.
Rio Open Doubles’ Champions
2019 – Maximo Gonzalez (ARG)/Nicolas Jarry (CHI)
2018 – David Marrero and Fernando Verdasco (ESP/ESP)
2017 – Pablo Cuevas and Pablo Carreño Busta (URU/ESP)
2016 – Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah (COL/COL)
2015 – Martin Klizan and Philipp Oswald (ESV/AUT)
2014 – Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah (COL/COL)
Canadian rising star Felix Auger-Aliassime upset 2016 Rio Open champion Pablo Cuevas and paved his way to became, at 18 years 6 months and 16 days, the youngest player to reach an ATP 500 final.
This Sunday in Rio, at 5pm, at Court Guga Kuerten, the Canadian will take on another finalist first-timer: Serbian Laslo Djere, 23.
One of the most celebrated players of the ATP NexGen, Auger-Aliassime needed two hours to score 6/3, 3/6 and 6/3 and defeat the experienced Uruguayan, who saved three match points.
“It feels great, the match was pretty tough, pretty complete today, I felt good from the start and thought I could have a shot to win. I was feeling my shots well and serving well too. But then he came back strong at the second set and I felt a lot of pressure from him. And then in the third set I came back strong again, I was able to break him early and then hold my serve. It was tough to finish when you’re so close to the line but I managed to stay calm and got the job done”, said the Canadian.
This Saturday’s win crowned an excellent week for Auger-Aliassime in Rio. The Canadian started by beating a Top 20 for the second time in his career: Fabio Fognini in the first round (previously he had already defeated Lucas Pouille). Then he took on Chilean Christian Garin and NextGen and Rafael Nadal’s pupil Jaume Munar before stunning Cuevas.
“I felt the effect’s of yesterday’s long match [against Albert Ramos-Vinola], I was a bit slower and with low energy. Felix is an aggressive player who took advantage of that. He served really well, he played well and deserved the win. He is very talented and I’m sure he’s got a bright future ahead”, said Cuevas, 33.
Auger-Aliassime received a wild card to play in Rio this year because of his impressive performance recently. He already has four Challenger tour titles and had a fantastic performance in the Canadian victory against Slovakia at the Davis Cup, guaranteeing the qualification of his country to the finals.
With the win over Cuevas he became the youngest ATP 500 finalist since the level was established, in 2009 _previous record holder was Alexander Zverev, who made it to the final in Halle in 2016 at 19 years and 2 months.
And since the Canadian started playing in Rio he became a crowd favorite.
“It’s been great. Every time you have a breakthrough as a young guy it’s a special moment and all the environment is important and from the first day I felt good in Rio, from the hotel I’m staying at, the places I’ve seen and the energy from the people. That’s really strong and I strongly believe that it has pushed me to where I am today, this week, and maybe I can give one last push with the support of the crowd tomorrow.”
As for the match this Sunday, Auger-Aliassime expects nothing less than a battle.
“Laslo had a great week also. I wouldn’t say I’m a heavy favorite, maybe to the crowd I’ll have their support, but it’s going to be a tough match. I haven’t played him yet, but I’ve seen what he’s doing and it’s going to be a battle. At the end for me, title or no title it’s not the most important thing. At the end I want to have a successful career every year and I don’t want to be remembered for a final or a title that I won when I was 18. I’m on the right track.”
Djere also plays his maiden final this Sunday
Laslo Djere earned a spot at his first ever ATP Tour final earlier this Saturday after his opponent, Aljaz Bedene, withdrew from the semifinals with an injured right leg.
Despite not having to play this Saturday, 23-year old Djere had an impressive week at the Rio Open. The Serbian got his first-ever Top 10 win over number one seed and 2017 champion Dominic Thiem in the first round, his first ever match in Rio.
After that he beat Taro Daniel from Japan and NexGen Casper Ruud in his way to his fourth career ATP Tour semi-final.
“Of course I din’t dream of reaching my first final this way and I feel really sorry for Aljaz and wish him the best”, said Djere. “But I had a great week here in Rio, I’m playing well and I’m looking forward to playing my first final. I feel prepared and look for a huge result tomorrow.”
As for his rival this Sunday, it will be the first time they play each other. “Felix is a young and very talented player. I watched him a few times, he’s been playing really well, has a big serve, big forehead. But I think I’m ready and prepared and I’ll do my best. Hopefully I can win my first final here in Rio”, said the Serbian, who began playing tennis at 5 to follow his now late dad.
“It wasn’t easy getting here. It’s really tough to became a professional tennis player, it doesn’t matter if you’re from Serbia or any other place. Conditions where I practiced were not ideal and I struggled a lot to get where I am today. When I was 15 mom was diagnosed with cancer, which was really tough for me, and she passed away two years later. And I lost my dad last December also to cancer. It’s not easy to be here at 23 not having parents, but I’m thankful for my younger sister and my girlfriend. I just want to make them proud.”