Kafelnikov casts down the gauntlet

After defeating Sweden's Thomas Enqvist yesterday, 7-5, 3-6, 6-4, in the round-robin segment of the ATP Tour Championship here, Yevgeny Kafelnikov was reminded that the new world rankings system, due to start in January, has arrived a year too late to spare his blushes as the player who rose without trace.

After defeating Sweden's Thomas Enqvist yesterday, 7-5, 3-6, 6-4, in the round-robin segment of the ATP Tour Championship here, Yevgeny Kafelnikov was reminded that the new world rankings system, due to start in January, has arrived a year too late to spare his blushes as the player who rose without trace.

The Russian, it may be remembered, was elevated to world No 1 last May under the current revolving, 52-week calculations, in spite of losing six consecutive opening-round matches. In future, the men's rankings will be finalised at the end of each calendar year, so whoever wins the Australian Open will lead the race after the first major hurdle.

Given that situation in January this year, Kafelnikov's victory against Enqvist in the singles final at Melbourne Park would have saved confusion as to why the Russian's name was at the head of the list of runners in the ATP Tour rankings.

"I appreciate the new system," Kafelnikov said. "Whoever wins the Australian Open will be No 1 in the race. I think it's quite fair to everybody. Whoever is going to play best at the moment definitely deserves to be in the spotlight."

Kafelnikov, the world No 2, also made the point that it is not easy for six of the eight competitors in Hanover to find room in the spotlight, with Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras hogging the stage. "You guys have to realise it's not only a show between Pete and Andre anymore," he told reporters.

"There are some other guys who also have big names," Kafelnikov went on. "I don't only include myself, but players like Thomas Enqvist, Gustavo Kuerten, the guys who did well this year. You have to pay respect for what they're doing so far. I was pretty embarrassed to watch CNN this morning. As soon as the show started, they had Agassi and Sampras, and then, 20 minutes later, they had a small piece on the rest of the tournament. I care, not only about myself, I care about my fellow players who are making this Tour very successful."

Just as it is obvious why Agassi and Sampras attract the cameras, so it is clear how the other players can change the picture. "I have a desire to prove that I can sneak in between those guys here," Kafelnikov said. "It definitely would be the ideal thing for me to finish the year on such a positive note."

Kafelnikov's third consecutive win of the season against Enqvist provided the spectators with a close finish after sporadic bouts of exciting rallying interspersed with unforced errors by both players.

Although Kafelnikov produced the more impressive shots during the opening set, Enqvist managed to save two break points in the third game and did not waver again until the 11th game, when he was broken to love, missing with a backhand aimed down the line.

Enqvist missed another backhand in the opening game of the second set to lose his serve after leading 40-15. The Swede's response was to break back to love in the next game, and crack Kafelnikov's serve again for 4-2.

Early in the set, Enqvist's concentration was disturbed by a shout from the crowd, and he asked the German umpire, Rudi Berger, to appeal for silence. At the end of the match, the Swede tossed his racket to his chair and had a lengthy conversation with the umpire, unhappy that his request for quiet had gone unheeded.

Kafelnikov, frustrated by not being given a let call in the sixth game, belted the net with his racket. His action seemed to distract Enqvist, who was broken back for 4-3. Kafelnikov was upset again in the next game, but this time with his poor serving, and he hammered a ball to the court after Enqvist broke for 5-3. The Swede then held to level the match after 76 minutes.

Enqvist recovered from 1-4 to 4-4 in the final set, only for Kafelnikov to hold serve in the next game and then make the decisive break after two hours and six minutes.

After that, the spectators raised their voices in support of the local boy, Nicolas Kiefer, who further enhanced his prospects of advancing to the semi-finals by defeating the American Todd Martin, 6-3, 6-2.

News
news

Emergency call 'started off dumb, but got pretty serious'

News
people

Britain First criticised for using actress's memory to draw attention to their 'hate-filled home page'

News
Russell Brand was in typically combative form during his promotional interview with Newsnight's Evan Davis
people

Thought you'd seen it all after the Jeremy Paxman interview?

Arts and Entertainment
On The Apprentice, “serious” left the room many moons ago and yet still we watch
tv

Greatest mystery about the hit BBC1 show is how it continues to be made at all, writes Grace Dent

PROMOTED VIDEO
Voices
Funds raised from the sale of poppies help the members of the armed forces with financial difficulties
voicesLindsey German: The best way of protecting soldiers is to stop sending them into conflicts
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from David Ayer's 'Fury'
film

"History is violent," says the US Army tank commander Don "Wardaddy" Collier

Arts and Entertainment
Liam and Zayn of One Direction play with a chimpanzee on the set of their new video for 'Steal My Girl'
music

Animal welfare charities have urged the boy band to cut the scenes

News
The Edge and his wife, Morleigh Steinberg, at the Academy Awards in 2014
peopleGuitarist faces protests over plan to build mansions in Malibu
News
peopleFox presenter gives her less than favourable view of women in politics
Property
One bedroom terraced house for sale, Richmond Avenue, Islington, London N1. On with Winkworths for £275,000.
property
Sport
Erik Lamela celebrates his goal
football

Argentinian scored 'rabona' wonder goal for Tottenham in Europa League – see it here

Voices
Nigel Farage has backed DJ Mike Read's new Ukip song
voicesNigel Farage: Where is the Left’s outrage over the sexual abuse of girls in the North of England?
News
i100
News
Mario Balotelli has been accused of 'threateningly' telling a woman to stop photographing his Ferrari
peoplePolice investigate claim Balotelli acted 'threateningly' towards a woman photographing his Ferrari
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Anderson plays Arthur Shelby in Peaky Blinders series two
tvReview: Arthur Shelby Jr seems to be losing his mind as his younger brother lets him run riot in London
Voices
Don’t try this at home: DIY has now fallen out of favour
voicesNick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of it
Arts and Entertainment
Miranda Hart has called time on her award-winning BBC sitcom, Miranda
tv
Sport
Phil Jones (left) attempts to stop the progress of West Bromwich Albion’s James Morrison on Monday
Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo, writes Paul Scholes
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker