Djokovic, Federer, Nadal in talks to start fund for players affected by COVID-19

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Novak Djokovic says he spoke with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal about working with the ATP to set up a fund to help lower-ranked tennis players financially affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

During an IG live session he held with three-time major champion Stan Wawrinka on Saturday, Djokovic described what he called “a long conversation” with Federer and Nadal about “how we can contribute and how we can help lower-ranked guys who obviously are struggling the most.”

Djokovic talked about trying to amass somewhere around $3 million to $4.5 million to distribute, perhaps to players ranked from around 200th or 250th to around 700th.

He said the ATP and “most likely” the Grand Slam tournaments would be involved.

Djokovic also said there would be a system devised to determine which players were most in need of the cash.

The men’s and women’s professional circuits have been shut down for more than a month because of the COVID-19 outbreak and are suspended at least until mid-July.

Shapovalov beats Johnson in straight sets at Japan Open

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TOKYO — Denis Shapovalov put up a near-perfect serving performance to beat Steve Johnson 6-3, 7-6 (3) at the Japan Open.

The seventh-seeded Canadian conceded only one point on his first serve and had 11 aces. Shapovalov, who lost in the semifinals four years ago, will next take on Japanese qualifier Rio Noguchi for a place in the quarterfinals.

“(This was) definitely one of my best serving matches,” Shapovalov said. “I kind of felt like I needed to against Steve . I’m very happy with my serving performance today and hopefully I can keep it up throughout the week.”

Also, Miomir Kecmanovic came back to beat Yoshihito Nishioka 2-6, 7-6 (1), 6-2, and Kwon Soon-woo defeated Mackenzie McDonald 6-3, 6-7 (4), 6-2.

Alcaraz loses to Goffin in 1st match as No. 1

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ASTANA, Kazakhstan — Carlos Alcaraz’s first match as the No. 1-ranked player ended with a straight-set loss to David Goffin at the Astana Open.

The 19-year-old Spaniard lost 7-5, 6-3 in his first tour match since winning the U.S. Open and capturing the No. 1 ranking.

“David was playing really, really well. To come back to competition is never easy,” Alcaraz said. “It’s really tough for me, for my confidence.”

Alcaraz came from 5-2 down to level the first set at 5-5, only to be broken again by his Belgian opponent.

“When you play against the World No. 1 on a big stage, big crowd, the fire inside gives you so much power to play your best tennis because you don’t have any choice,” Goffin said. “You have to fight and give your best and that was the case today.”

Second-seeded Daniil Medvedev and No. 3-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas both avoided similar upsets. Medvedev beat Albert Ramos-Vinolas of Spain 6-3, 6-1 and Tsitsipas ousted Kazakhstan’s Mikhail Kukushkin 6-3. 6-4.