Sania Mirza and partner crashes out in 1st round of Indian's last Wimbledon
Wimbledon, Jun 30 (Tennis News) Indian ace Sania Mirza's final Wimbledon appearance ended in disappointment as she and her Czech partner Lucie Hradecka were eliminated in the opening round with the Polish-Brazilian combination of Magdalena Frech and Beatroz Haddad Maia beating them 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 in a hard-fought three-setter.
Mirza would have ideally preferred to last a bit longer in her swansong at the SW-19 but she will undoubtedly remember hallowed lawns where she won her maiden doubles title alongside Martina Hingis, back in 2015.
The 35-year-old Indian veteran failed to get past the third round of the mixed doubles at Wimbledon last year and will still have a shot at glory, partnering Mate Pavic of Croatia in the mixed doubles event. The duo will meet Natela Dzalamidze and David Vega Hernandez in the opening round of mixed doubles.
Also Read : Emma Raducanu knocked out of Wimbledon while Harriet Dart wins
News Source : PTI
Emma Raducanu knocked out of Wimbledon while Harriet Dart wins
(Tennis news) Emma Raducanu succumbed to a 6-3 6-3 second round defeat to Caroline Garcia at Wimbledon’s centre-court. The 19 year old clearly lacked match fitness after being sidelined for three weeks due to a side strain and could not match Garcia’s intensity during the 86 minute encounter. Raducanu will participate in the US Open next, where she famously won the title as a qualifier and insisted that she doesn’t feel the pressure from the expectations placed on her.
Speaking after the match, Raducanu said “There's no pressure. Like, why is there any pressure? I'm still 19. Like, it's a joke. I literally won a Slam. Going back to New York, it's going to be cool because I have got a lot of experience playing on big courts, playing with people in the stadium, playing with the spotlight on you. I don't mind that. For me, everything is learning. I'm embracing every single moment that is thrown at me."
Making her first appearance on Centre Court, Caroline Garcia said “I was preparing for this match really well. Emma is a huge player and in her home tournament she proved she can do very well on the big stage. It's fair that they support Emma and of course is a great memory for me." Meanwhile, Ukraine’s Lesia Tsurenko defeated Anhelina Kalinina 3-6 6-4 6-3 in two hours and 30 minutes. Showing solidarity with her country, Tsurenko wore a yellow and blue ribbon and both the players were well supported by the crowd on Court 12.
In other results, Harriet Dart progressed to the second round with a 6-1 6-4 win over Rebeka Masarova. The result meant that she became the 10th British player to progress into round two and will now face eighth seed Jessica Pegula. Second seed Anett Kontaveit was also knocked out of Wimbledon by Jule Niemeier 6-4 6-0. After the victory, 22 year old Niemeier said “It's amazing. It's one of the greatest wins of my career so far. I love to play on grass... it suits my game."
Wimbledon: Andy Murray gets knocked out while Djokovic secures win
(Tennis news) Scottish tennis player Andy Murray got knocked out of Wimbledon after succumbing to a four set defeat at the hands of John Isner with the score of 6-4 7-6 (7-4) 6-7 (3-7) 6-4. Murray could only manage to get 15 points against Isner’s first serve and took time to get into the rhythm, with Isner breaking Murray’s serve for only the second time in 25 sets over 12 years.
Speaking after the match, Murray reiterated his belief that he can produce his best tennis at Grand Slams and does not intend to step away from the game. He said “I think most of the players on the tour would tell you that a match like that was won or lost based on a few points here and there. I didn't play well enough on those points tonight. Like I said, I certainly didn't serve well enough at the beginning of the match, which I think is understandable. Look, he's a difficult opponent to play against. Like you say, I obviously played well against him in the past.
"Tonight's match, I don't see why it should change that, change that view really. Physically I feel good, then we'll try to keep playing. But it's extremely difficult with the problems I've had with my body in the last few years to make long-term predictions about how I'm going to be even in a few weeks' time, never mind in a year's time. If physically I'm in a good place, yeah, I will continue to play. But it's not easy to keep my body in optimal condition to compete at the highest level."
In the on-court interview after the match, John Isner said “I am most definitely not a better tennis player than Andy Murray, I might have just been a little better than him today. It was an incredible honour to play him on this court in front of this crowd. At the age I'm at now, I need to relish these moments. This was one of the biggest wins of my career. To play as well as I did against one of our greatest players ever was a huge accomplishment for me. He's a massive inspiration to each one of us in the locker room and we are so lucky to still have him around."
In other results, defending champion Novak Djokovic remained on course for his fourth consecutive title after defeating Thanasi Kokkinakis 6-1 6-4 6-2 in two hours. The Serbian may have been unconvincing in his win against Kwon Soon-woo, but was back to his dominant best. Speaking after the match, Djokovic said “I'm happy with my performance today. A really high-quality performance. I must say I'm quite pleased with the way I've raised the level of tennis in two days. Hopefully I can keep that trajectory, just thinking about the next challenge and hope things will get better as the tournament goes on." The Serbian will now face either Chile's Alejandro Tabilo or Serb compatriot Miomir Kecmanovic in the next round.
Meanwhile, British number 1 Cameron Norrie survived a 6-4 3-6 5-7 6-0 6-2 scare to defeat Juame Munar. Ugo Humbert, who forgot his rackets in the locker room despite the match being delayed by more than an hour and a half, overcame Casper Ruud 3-6 6-2 7-5 6-4. Ranked 112, Humbert has never won a match at the All England Club before this week and will now face David Goffin in the next round for a place in the Round of 16.
Rafael Nadal defeats Francisco Cerundolo to reach Wimbledon second round
(Tennis news) Rafael Nadal continued his quest for a calendar Grand Slam after progressing into the second round of Wimbledon with a 6-4 6-3 3-6 6-4 win over Francisco Cerundolo. The Spaniard won the first two sets but his Argentinian opponent took the third. With momentum on his side, Cerundolo broke early in the fourth set but Nadal fought back to secure the victory on Centre Court.
Speaking after the match, Nadal said “All the credit to Fran, he started to play great, he was a very tough opponent. For me it was obvious I hadn't been here for three years on this amazing surface and it is amazing to be back. It is not a surface we play very often and I had not put a foot on a grass court in the past three years." The Spaniard’s involvement at Wimbledon was doubtful after being forced to use anaesthetic injections at Roland Garros. The 36 year old has since undergone radiofrequency ablation treatment in order to be match ready for Wimbledon.
In other news, Italy's Matteo Berrettini was forced to withdraw from Wimbledon after contracting COVID-19 while Canadian sixth seed Felix Auger-Aliassime was defeated 7-6 (7-5) 4-6 7-6 (11-9) 7-6 (7-5) to American world number 45 Maxime Cressy. Stefanos Tsitsipas secured a -6 (7-1) 6-3 5-7 6-4 over Swiss qualifier Alexander Ritschard while Denis Shapovalov fought back to defeat Frenchman Arthur Rinderknech 6-1 6-7 (6-8) 6-7 (4-7) 6-4 6-1.
Serena Williams knocked out of Wimbledon’s first round
(Football news) Seven time Wimbledon champion Serena Williams was knocked out of the first round by Harmony Tan 7-5 1-6 7-6 (10-7) on Centre Court. Having been sidelined for 12 months due to a hamstring injury, Williams couldn’t recreate her old magic, looking rusty and error prone throughout the encounter, suffering her third first-round loss at a Grand Slam event.
At the age of 40, Serena Williams’ time is running out on her illustrious career but the American remained coy about her future in the post-match interview. She said “Like I said coming into this, I'm just planning for right now, seeing how I feel, just to go from there.” When asked if this might be her final Wimbledon appearance, Williams said “That's a question I can't answer. I don't know. Who knows? Who knows where I'll pop up."
Despite a disappointing start to the match, Williams took a shaky 4-2 in the opening set but committed 21 unforced errors, resulting in her losing 7-5. However, the American bounced back in the second set to win comfortably (1-6) and looked to have edged out Harmony Tan in the deciding set after leading 3-1, only to falter at the end. Williams said “I think physically I did pretty good. I think the last couple of points, I was really suffering there. But I feel like in just those key points, winning some of those points, is always something mentally that you kind of need. I did pretty well on maybe one or two of them, but obviously not enough."
When asked if she was satisfied with the first round defeat being her final Wimbledon appearance, Williams said “Obviously not. You know me. Definitely not. But today I gave all I could do. Maybe tomorrow I could have given more. Maybe a week ago I could have given more. But today was what I could do. At some point, you have to be able to be OK with that."
In other results, World Number 1 Iga Swiatek defeated Jana Fett 6-0, 6-3 to win her 36th consecutive match. The Polish tennis player remains unbeaten since February, winning six tournaments and overcoming Venus Williams’ record set in 2020. She defeated her Croatian opponent on Centre Court, usually reserved for the defending champion, and is undoubtedly the favourite to win the Wimbledon title, especially in the absence of defending champion Ashleigh Barty.
Swiatek was playing in her first professional match since the Roland Garros and only took 33 minutes to win the opening set 6-0. However, Jana Fett threatened to make a comeback after being 3-1 up in the second set, only for Swiatek to win five games in a row to maintain her 36 game unbeaten run. Speaking after the match, Swiatek said “I'm just figuring out how to play. "I knew it was going to be tricky. I am pretty happy I came back and did it in two sets. I feel I have only played 12 weeks of my life on grass but the whole atmosphere and tradition is pumping me up and just looking forward to the next matches."
Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray secure wins at Wimbledon
(Tennis news) Defending champion Novak Djokovic made a winning start at Wimbledon after defeating Kwon Soon-woo in four sets 6-3 3-6 6-3 6-4. The Serbian will hope to become only the fourth player to win the prestigious grass court event for the fourth consecutive time along with Roger Federer (2003-2006), Pete Sampras (1997-2000) and Bjorn Borg (1976-80). Djokovic has won the Wimbledon title six times in his career so far and will face either Thanasi Kokkinakis or Kamil Majchrzak in the second round.
The 35 year old secured his 80th Wimbledon match in under two and a half hours and despite dropping the second set, Djokovic looked firmly in control of the proceedings. The win makes him the first tennis player to have won at least that many singles matches in each of the four Grand Slams. Speaking after the match from the Centre Court, the Serbian said “I've said this a few times before, but this court is truly special for me. It's always been the court I dreamed of playing and winning on. All of my childhood dreams came true here on this court at this tournament, so of course, it's an absolute honour and pleasure to come back."
Djokovic hadn’t played on grass since winning the Wimbledon final in 2021 against Matteo Berrettini and gave credit to his opponent Kwon Soon-woo. Djokovic said “Credit to Kwon for playing some really high-quality tennis. I didn't have any lead-up, preparation tournaments or matches prior so you're always going to feel a little bit less comfortable than you would like to, particularly playing against someone as talented as him who stays close to the line and hits very cleanly on both sides. It was really difficult to hit through him, so I had to figure out a way tactically to get in control of the point. It wasn't easy."
Meanwhile, Andy Murray fought back to defeat James Duckworth 4-6 6-3 6-2 6-4 in two hours and 43 minutes to progress into the second round of Wimbledon. The Scottish player was playing for the first time since he suffered an abdominal injury at the Stuttgart Open finals and will now face John Isner, who defeated Enzo Couacaud in five sets. Murray would be fairly confident heading into his next match, having an 8-0 record against the former semi-finalist. In the on-court interview, Murray said “It's amazing to be back out here with a full crowd. I am getting on a bit now so I don't know how many more opportunities I will get to play on this court so I want to make the most of every time. Glad I managed to get through and hopefully get another match on here in a couple of days.
"I did well to rebound after the first set, he likes playing on grass, he was playing very well, once I started playing my returns a bit more as the match went on I felt a bit more comfortable and did well to get through it.” Speaking about his fitness, Murray said “The last few days when I've been serving was fine. I went to get a scan, an ultrasound scan on it on Saturday after my practice just to see how it was progressing. It was all clear for the first time on the scans, which is really positive. I wanted that kind of peace of mind to know that the injury has healed. Obviously I still need to take precautions and still do some rehab and protect it when I can. In the match today it was absolutely fine."
Also read: Wimbledon: Ramanathan, Bhambri knocked out in first round qualifying matches
Williams out of Eastbourne after partner Ons Jabeur suffers injury
(Tennis news) Serena Williams has withdrawn from the semifinals of Eastbourne after her doubles partner Ons Jabeur suffered a right knee injury. This means that the duo are automatically knocked out of the tournament and Williams will now shift her attention to Wimbledon, where she has received a wildcard entry. Despite the numerous reports about her retirement, the 40 year old has made an impressive comeback in professional tennis and will look to secure her 24th Grand Slam title.
Speaking after Wednesday's match, Williams said: "I feel good, as good as one can feel after having such a long time off. I was telling Ons, this was a really good match and the second set in particular, they played really well, but we were able to just play under different circumstances. It was actually good match play and match practice, which is exactly what I needed and what I wanted to do coming here, so I couldn't have asked for more."
The pair made it to the semifinals after a narrow win over Maria Bouzkova and Sara Sorribes Tormo and a convincing victory over Shuko Aoyama and Chan Hao-ching. Jabeur, who is ranked third in the Women’s Singles category is doubtful about her participation at Wimbledon while Williams, who is unseeded, will find out her first opponent after the draw is made on Friday morning (today). There has also been speculation amongst the finals that the withdrawal was intentional due to Wimbledon beginning on Monday, 27th July and that the ‘injury’ is just an excuse to recover in time for the Grand Slam event. Irrespective, it remains to be seen how the pair will perform at the prestigious grass court event after an impressive run in Eastbourne.
Serena Williams and Ons Jabeur reach Eastbourne semi-finals
(Tennis news) Serena Williams and Ons Jabeur made it two out of two at Eastbourne after defeating Shuko Aoyama and Chan Hao-ching 6-2 6-4 on Wednesday. Despite looking a bit rusty during her first match of the event, Williams was back to her dominant best this time around, getting winners and aces as she prepared for Wimbledon with the hopes of securing her 24th Grand Slam trophy.
Williams took just two minutes to get an ace and several volleys as the pair wrapped the opening set in just 25 minutes. Their opponents Aoyama and Chan put up a more valiant effort in the second set, forcing Williams to defend a number of breakpoints on serve. However, the 40 year old showed great character by setting up the break point in the ninth game of the second set, giving her team the chance to close in on the victory.
In the on-court interview after the match, Williams said “I think we played together much better today, although I felt we played really well together yesterday. Ons really helped me out playing so well. Oh yeah, I don't know if you know the team name? It's Onserena. I have had some really good training leading up to Wimbledon and up to this tournament, really hitting the ball well and just working out. It's been working and it's just been connecting.
“I feel like I have been serving well so that's been really good. Working really hard on that. I have been returning well. I missed a lot today, but the young ladies were serving really well, the ball was staying lower, but yes, those two shots have really come together for me." When asked how she celebrated, Williams jokingly said “I went to the beach and for a swim like everyone here in the cold water... no, no way. I didn't do much. I just played with my baby (Olympia). She is so fun.”
Serena Williams makes her tennis comeback with doubles win at Eastbourne
(Tennis news) Serena Williams made her long awaited comeback in professional tennis by partnering up with Ons Jabeur and defeating Marie Bouzkova and Sara Sorribes Tormo 2-6 6-3 13-11 in the Rothesay International Eastbourne. It had been a year since the 23 time Grand Slam winner made her previous appearance, retiring in the first round of Wimbledon due to a right leg injury. Despite being somewhat rusty, Williams showed glimpses of her old self as the new doubles duo reached the last 16 at Eastbourne.
Speaking to the BBC, Serena Williams said “It was so fun to play with Ons. We had fun. Our opponents played amazing and we were just trying to stay in there.” When asked if she will partner with Ons Jabeur at Wimbledon, Williams replied “We're taking this show on the road! No, we're just taking it one day at a time.”
In other results, British No 4 Katie Boulter made a stunning comeback to defeat last year’s Wimbledon finalist Karolina Pliskova 1-6 6-4 6-4 in the second round of the Rothesay International Eastbourne. Having trailed 5-0 in the first half an hour to the World Number 7, Boulter made a brilliant recovery in what was a dramatic second and third set. The 25 year old managed to take 19 break-point opportunities to secure this memorable win and maintained her fantastic form, having already defeated Alison Riske in Birmingham last week.
Wimbledon: Ramanathan, Bhambri knocked out in first round qualifying matches
London, Jun 21 (Tennis News) India's singles players yet again failed to cross the qualifying hurdle at the Grand Slam stage as both Ramkumar Ramanathan and Yuki Bhambri exited the Wimbledon championships with first round defeats.
Bhambri lost to top seed from Spain Bernabe Zapata Miralles 5-7 1-6 while Ramkumar fell 5-7 4-6 to Czech Republic's Vit Kopriva on Monday night.
The 29-year-old Bhambri got off a flying start as he got an early break in the opening set and, at one point, was leading 5-3.
However, despite Bhambri being in an advantageous position, squandered two set points and it was Miralles who took the lead.
The second set, however, was a drab affair and Bhambri was eliminated from the grass court event.
Ramanathan, on the other hand, India's no.1 ranked tennis player, took on the 19th seed Kopriva, and the script turned out to be something similar.
The 27-year-old Ramanathan, thanks to his aces and winners, looked comfortable but lost steam soon after to lose the opening set.
He made a desperate attempt to bring things at level and even led 3-1 lead in the second but Kopriva bagged four games on the trot to regain control over the proceedings.
With both Bhambri and Ramanathan bowing out, Sania Mirza, who is in her last year on tour, remains the only Indian confirmed to play at SW19 this year.
The 35-year-old former double's world number one will is all set to feature in the women's doube draw alongside her partner Lucie Hradecka of Czech Republic.
Rohan Bopanna has decided not to play this event since ATP is not offering points this year as Russian and Belarusian players have been banned from competing by the organisers in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
Also Read : Prominent player Karman Kaur Thandi to train at RoundGlass Tennis Academy
News Source : PTI
Prominent player Karman Kaur Thandi to train at RoundGlass Tennis Academy
(Tennis news) RoundGlass Tennis Academy is delighted to announce that noted tennis star Karman Kaur Thandi will officially be training at the Academy in Chandigarh under its Technical Director, Aditya Sachdeva. Karman, 23, was most recently featured at the ITF Women’s tournament in Thailand.
Sharing her thoughts on this collaboration, Karman said, “I am delighted to train at the RoundGlass Tennis Academy. Aditya sir has over the years played a key role in shaping me as a player and I hope to continue developing my game under his guidance with the help of the world-class facilities at the Academy.”
Sachdeva added, “Everyone at the RoundGlass Tennis Academy is excited to have Karman on board with us. She is one of the brightest talents in Indian tennis and we are looking forward to helping her reach the next level. Her presence will be a huge source of inspiration for the young athletes training with us.”
About RoundGlass Sports
RoundGlass Sports is creating opportunities for children and youth to take up and excel in sports such as football, hockey, and tennis in India, underpinned by the principles of Holistic Wellbeing. Our aim is to channelize their energy and help develop and unlock their full potential. To this end, we’re transforming sports in Punjab and the rest of India by building infrastructure, providing high-quality coaching and training, and cultivating a culture of sports participation through its Academy and Grassroots programs.
Naomi Osaka withdraws from Wimbledon due to achilles injury
(Tennis news) Former world number 1 Naomi Osaka has announced her withdrawal from Wimbledon due to an achilles injury. The four time Grand Slam winner picked up the injury at the Madrid Open and will miss out on the prestigious grass court even for the third consecutive year, having chosen not to participate last year due to mental health reasons while the tournament was cancelled in 2020 due to COVID-19.
The 24 year old last played in the first round of the French Open and had already announced that her participation at Wimbledon was doubtful since the tournament was stripped off its ranking points in 2022. In a statement released on Twitter, Osaka said “My Achilles still isn't right so I'll see you next time. After the storm comes the calm. This is a saying that I'm actively trying to master.
"I feel like life keeps dealing cards and you're never gonna be used to them but it's how you adapt to uncomfortable situations that really says stuff about your character. I've been repeating mantras in my head a lot recently. I don't know if it's to subconsciously help myself through stressful times or to ease my mind into realising that everything will work out fine as long as I put the work in. Cause what more can you do?"
In other news, Eugenie Bouchard has also opted to not participate at Wimbledon due to the tournament having no ranking points. The 28 year old’s ranking dropped due to a shoulder injury but was still allowed to participate at the grass court event. The 2014 runner-up said in a statement: "As much as I love Wimbledon, and skipping it makes me sad, using a PR [priority ranking] entry at a tournament with no ranking points doesn't make sense. I must choose wisely and use my PR entries at tournaments that will help me get back to where I want to be. I will now use my two Grand Slam PR entries for the US Open and Australian Open."
Nadal set to compete at Wimbledon after recovering from foot injury
(Tennis news) Rafael Nadal has confirmed that he will be competing at Wimbledon after the pain in his injured foot has eased. The Spaniard suffers from a rare degenerative condition called Muller-Weiss syndrome which affects the bones in his feet and will travel to London to the The Hurlingham Club in order to prepare for the prestigious grass court event which will begin on Monday, June 27.
In an interview, Nadal said “I'm happy, I haven't been limping for a week. I have noticed changes with the treatment, I still have strange sensations, sometimes I can't feel my foot, but the pain that did not allow me to support my weight on my foot has subsided. My intention is to play Wimbledon, but it will all depend on what happens with my body next week. I'm without pain for a week and have been practising, so it tells me there may be a chance to play in the tournament."
Nadal was forced to take pain-killers in every match at the Roland Garros but won his 14th French Open and 22nd Grand Slam title in Paris. The Spaniard has not played at Wimbledon since 2019, having missed the 2021 edition due to injury while it was cancelled the year before that due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 36 year old appears to be in the form of his life and will look to go all the way at Wimbledon, having failed to reach the finals since 11 years where he finished runner-up to Novak Djokovic.
Nadal said “I haven't played on grass for three years and I have to adapt, every day I have been recovering sensations and feeling better. I have a week left before playing and I have to test myself little by little. Advancing in the first rounds is crucial. If you advance, you pick up the pace to reach the end. You have to survive no matter what."
The Spaniard also confirmed that his wife Mery Perello is pregnant with their first child. "If everything goes well, I'm going to be a father. I'm not used to talking about my private life. We live more peacefully with a lower profile. I don't expect that my life will change much with it," he said. "At the moment all has worked well for me and I am not a friend of changing what works well. My intention is to play Wimbledon, rest, then Canada and then be ready for the US Open."
US Open to allow Russian and Belarusian players to compete
(Tennis news) The United States Tennis Association (USTA) announced on Tuesday that the US Open will permit Russian and Belarusian players to compete at the event under a neutral flag. This means that World Number 1 Daniil Medvedev will have the chance to defend his title and consolidate his lead at the top of his rankings. It can be said that the USTA’s decision to not follow Wimbledon may have something to do with the fact that the ATP and WTA removed the ranking points from the prestigious grass court event, an outcome that the US Open has chosen to avoid.
A statement from the United States Tennis Association read: "The USTA will allow individual athletes from Russia and Belarus to compete in the 2022 US Open, but only under a neutral flag. Alongside the other Grand Slams, the ITF, the ATP and the WTA, the USTA, which owns and operates the US Open, has previously condemned, and continues to condemn, the unprovoked and unjust invasion of Ukraine by Russia. The USTA, standing with these other tennis entities, supported the banning of the Russian and Belarusian Tennis Federations from the ITF, and therefore all international team competitions, and the directive for players from those countries to play under a neutral flag when competing outside of international team competitions.
"We recognise that each organisation has had to deal with unique circumstances that affect their decisions. Based on our own circumstances, the USTA will allow all eligible players, regardless of nationality, to compete at the 2022 US Open. The USTA will work with the players and both Tours to use the US Open as a platform to further the humanitarian effort of the 'Tennis Plays for Peace' program. In addition, the USTA will introduce a broad, comprehensive set of initiatives to amplify existing Ukrainian humanitarian efforts, including committing to significant financial support, for which details will be announced soon."
Mike McNulty, USTA Chairman of the Board and President, said: "Tennis has done much through Tennis Plays for Peace for humanitarian support of Ukraine. Unfortunately, the need for help only continues to grow. The USTA will be responding very soon with a broad set of initiatives that will include significant financial assistance and other programs to further support humanitarian relief and the people of Ukraine."
Andy Murray forced to withdraw from cinch Championships due to injury
(Tennis news) Former World Number 1 Andy Murray was forced to withdraw from the cinch Championships at Queen's Club after sustaining an abdominal injury in Stuttgart. Murray has won the tournament five times in the past but was forced to pull out after a scan on Monday revealed a strain on his left abdomen. However, Murray is expected to be fit for Wimbledon preparations next week.
The Scot suffered the injury during the Stuttgart Open final where he lost by three sets to Matteo Berrettini. He said “After having a scan this afternoon, an abdominal injury means I won't be fit to compete at Queen's this year. The tournament means a lot to me and it's disappointing not to compete, especially after playing some good matches on the grass already." This means that Murray is expected to play an exhibition event at Hurlingham in an attempt to prepare himself for Wimbledon.
British number 2 Dan Evans has said that Murray’s absence from Queen's could not have a detrimental effect on his Wimbledon hopes. Evans said “It's never easy for people to be injured, especially this time of year. It's not ideal. In Andy's case, if anybody knows how to prepare himself for Wimbledon, it's him. "I don't think if he plays this week or next week, in my opinion it wouldn't matter for his preparations as long as he can prepare. If he can still play tennis in a week or so, I think he'll be OK. So in that sense, it's not ideal, but it's not the end of the world for him."
Tournament Director Luiz Carvalho said: "Obviously it's extremely sad that Andy won't be able to play here this year. Everyone at the cinch Championships wishes him a speedy recovery. We look forward to welcoming him back next year." The 35 year old last won a title on grass at Wimbledon in 2016 while his last ATP title was in Antwerp in 2019. Murray will now look to recover in time before the start of Wimbledon on June 27th.
Matteo Berrettini defeats Andy Murray at the Stuttgart Open final
(Tennis news) Former World Number 1 Andy Murray was defeated in the final of the Stuttgart Open to Italian tennis player Matteo Berrettini 4-6 7-5 3-6. It was Murray’s second loss in a grass court final and the 2016 Wimbledon winner had an injury scare during the match, requiring treatment from his trainer twice in the third set. As for Berrettini, the Italian was playing his first tournament since March after recovering from a hand injury that forced him to be sidelined during the clay court season.
Murray’s journey to the finals has been impressive to say the least. The Scotsman defeated Stefanos Tsitsipas in the quarter-fials and Nick Kyrgios to reach his 70th career final and 10th on grass. Despite losing to Berrettini, Murray has now entered the top 50 in World Rankings for the first time since 2018. Speaking after the match, Murray said “I got some pain in my ab when I was serving. Not something I've had before. I'll need to get it checked when I get home. Obviously I've played a lot of matches. This is the most matches I've played in two weeks since probably 2016. That's a really long time. It's probably normal that I would feel some stuff in my body but I don't really know the severity of it. Hopefully it's all right.
Obviously some good wins, it was a good week, but not the way I wanted to finish the week. I felt like I was playing well enough to win and I got myself in a really good position going into the third set, so a frustrating end to what was a good week. I really enjoyed it. I'd like to congratulate Matteo and his team on a fantastic week. He's just come back from a surgery and it's never easy. He played extremely well today and deserved the win. Finally, thank you to my team here and my team back home."
Murray failed to capitalise on four break points in the first set while trailing 2-1, resulting in Berrettini winning the set 6-4. Despite rescuing three break points, the Scot was unable to make the deficit. Both the players matched each other well in the second set but were also responsible for making sloppy errors. Murray saved three break points while at 4-4 to hold for the lead but Berrettini managed to strike back with a comfortable service game. Eventually, Murray was forced to take a medical timeout with the physiotherapist looking at his left leg and despite being able to continue, he was trailing by two as Berrettini took control and secured the victory in the finals.
Andy Murray defeats Stefanos Tsitsipas to reach BOSS Open semi-finals
(Tennis news) Former World Number 1 Andy Murray was at his vintage best as he defeated Greek top seed Stefanos Tsitsipas 7-6 (7-4) 6-3 in one hour and 40 minutes. It was a sublime performance by the Scot who won 82% of his first serve points and 65% of his second serve points. Murray will now face Nick Kyrgios for a place in the BOSS Open final, the Australian defeating Marton Fucsovics who was forced to withdraw during the second set when the score was 7-6 (7-3) 3-0.
Speaking in the on-court interview after the match, Murray said “I thought I did well. He served unbelievably well in the first set and I had very few chances when I was returning. But when he was creating opportunities on my serve I stayed strong. I played a really solid tiebreak and in the second set, I served well while he dropped a little bit. Once I was in the rallies I felt like I was dictating a lot of the points so it was a good performance. I don't want to say I was the smarter player, but maybe this surface suits my style. Stefanos plays well on all surfaces but this works really nicely for my game and I'm able to use my strengths better.
Murray’s next opponent Nick Kyrgios said “I know what to expect but he also is a veteran on the grass and I don't want to take him lightly at all. I'm just going to go out there, serve big, look after my serve and see what I can do on his return games.” In other results, 2021 Wimbledon runner-up Matteo Berrettini booked his place in the semi-finals after defeating fellow Italian Lorenzo Sonego 3-6 6-3 6-4. He will now face Oscar Otte, who progressed to the final four after getting a walkover by Frenchman Benjamin Bonzi.
In other tennis news, French Open champion Iga Swiatek will miss next week’s Berlin Open WTA 500 due to a shoulder issue. The World Number 1 won the Roland Garros after defeating Coco Gauff 6-1 6-3 and is expected to recover in time for Wimbledon. In a statement released on Twitter, Swiatek said “Due to a recurrent discomfort I am feeling in my shoulder, unfortunately, I need to withdraw from the bett1open in Berlin. I'm sorry I will not be able to play there. I will focus on recovery and rest in order to be ready for Wimbledon.”
BOSS Open: Andy Murray to face Stefanos Tsitsipas in Stuttgart
(Tennis news) Andy Murray defeated Alexander Bublik 6-3 7-6 (7-4) to reach the quarter-finals of the BOSS Open in Stuttgart and will take on Greek top seed Stefanos Tsitsipas who defeated qualifier Dominic Stricker 6-3 6-4. The 35 year old Scot dropped serve twice in succession but managed to save two set points at 5-2 down as well as two games later, only to eventually recover by winning five of the last six points in the tie-break.
In the post match interview, Murray said “[Bublik] is predictable in his unpredictability. You're prepared for some amazing shots and then maybe some loose games. He played some amazing stuff for five or six games in the second set and everything was coming off. I was getting a bit frustrated but I kept fighting, held a tough game at 5-2 and then I thought I played well through to the finish."
The result meant that Murray extended his record to 3-1 against Bublik, having faced him thrice already this season. He previously defeated Bublik in Rotterdam before losing to the Russian-Kazakhstani player at the Indian Wells. Murray will be competing at Queen's Club next week, a tournament that he has previously won five times (2009, 2011, 2013, 2015, 2016) before taking part in Wimbledon from June 27.
Bengaluru Football Club appoints Simon Grayson as head coach
Bengaluru, Jun 8 (Football News) Bengaluru FC on Wednesday announced the appointment of Englishman Simon Grayson as the club’s head coach on a two-year contract ahead of the 2022-23 Indian Super League season.
Grayson, who has over 500 appearances as a player in England’s top division sides, moved into coaching in 2004. He has managed seven clubs so far.
“When I spoke to the owner, his mind-set was the same as mine. I want this club to be winning trophies again. I am aware that BFC has been very successful in the past but the last few years haven't worked out like everybody would have liked it to," Grayson was quoted as saying in a media release.
“That happens in football - you learn from it and strive to do better - to get players to work harder on the pitch and off the pitch; that's the exciting part for me,” he added.
As a player, Grayson came through the youth ranks at Leeds United, moving on to Leicester City in 1992, where he made over 220 appearances across five seasons. With Leicester, he secured promotion to the Premier League as captain and also won the English League Cup in 1997, scoring in the semifinal against Wimbledon.
Also Read : Chhetri brace sinks Cambodia as Indian team begins Asian Cup qualifiers campaign with a win
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Alexander Zverev ruled out of Wimbledon due to ligament damage
(Tennis news) German world number 3 Alexander Zverev has undergone surgery on torn ligaments in his right ankle after being forced to retire in the French Open semi-final against Rafael Nadal last week. The 25 year old twisted his ankle at the end of the second set and began yelling in pain with Nadal and the Roland Garros staff rushing to his aid. He emerged on court 25 minutes later on crutches to inform the umpire that he would not be able to continue.
Since then, Zverev has undergone surgery and there is no potential timeframe for his return. Writing on Instagram, Zverev said: "We all have our own journey in life. This is part of mine. Next week I'll reach a career high ranking of number 2 in the world, but this morning I had to undergo surgery. After further examination in Germany, we received confirmation that all three of the lateral ligaments in my right ankle were torn.
"To return to competition as quickly as possible, to ensure all the ligaments heal properly, and to reclaim full stability in my ankle, surgery was the best choice. My rehab starts now and I'll do everything to come back stronger than ever! I am continuing to receive so many messages and would like to thank everyone once again for supporting me during such a difficult time." Speaking to German newspaper Bild, Zverev’s brother Mischa said that the 25 year old’s involvement at Wimbledon was “out of question” with the tournament beginning on June 27th.
Rafael Nadal sent his best wishes to Zverev on Friday by saying “Only thing that I can say is I hope he's not too bad. Hopefully it's just the normal thing when you turn your ankle, and hopefully [nothing is broken]. That's what everybody hopes, and I was with Sascha, [it] looks that they need to keep checking. I think he started the match amazingly. I know how much [this] means to him, to fight to win his first Grand Slam. We are colleagues, we have been practicing together a lot of times. And see a colleague on the tour like this, even if for me it's a dream to be in the final of Roland Garros, of course that way is not the way that we want it to be. Feels very sorry for, if you are human, you should feel very sorry for a colleague."
Rafael Nadal doubtful to play at Wimbledon due to injury concerns
(Tennis news) Rafael Nadal is defying his age at the moment, having already won two Grand Slams in the season so far. The 36 year old won his 14th French Open title last weekend after defeating Norway’s Casper Ruud 6-3 6-3 6-0. However, the Spaniard has remained coy about his participation at Wimbledon after struggling with a chronic foot injury. He said “I am going to be in Wimbledon if my body is ready to be in Wimbledon. Wimbledon is not a tournament that I want to miss."
In an interview after winning the French Open, Nadal explained that he played Sunday’s final with a numb foot after taking injections for his chronic foot injury. The Spaniard has said that he will not go through the ordeal again in order to compete at Wimbledon and also shed light on the severity of the issue, which almost prompted him to retire after missing a significant portion of the 2021 season including Wimbledon, US Open and the Olympics.
Nadal said “Wimbledon is a priority, always has been a priority. If I'm able to play with anti-inflammatories, yes. To play with anaesthetic injections, I do not want to put myself in that position again. It can happen once but no, it's not the philosophy of life I want to follow. Let's see. I am always a positive guy and always expect things to go the right way. Let's be confident, let's be positive and let's see what's going on."
Speaking about the path ahead, the Spaniard said “It's going to be a radio frequency injection on the nerve and trying to burn a little bit the nerve and create the impact that I have now on the nerve for a long period of time. That's what we are going to try. If that works, I'm going to keep going. If that does not work, then it's going to be another story. And then I am going to ask myself if I am ready to do a major thing without being sure that things are going the proper way, for example. A major surgery that doesn't guarantee me to be able to be competitive again and take a long time to be back [is a risk]. So let's do it step by step, as I did all my tennis career."
Sania Mirza-Hradecka pair knocked out from French Open
Paris, May 31 (Tennis News) Sania Mirza and her Czech partner Lucie Hradecka displayed fearless brand of tennis but much younger and superior American singles players Coco Gauff and Jessica Pegula prevailed in the women's doubles third round of the French Open, here on Tuesday.
Despite a combined age of 72 years, Mirza and Hradecka produced some high quality tennis but lost 4-6 3-6 to Pegula, ranked 11th in the singles and world number 23 Gauff.
Mirza was impressive with her lower and angled forehands while Hradecka's power-packed backhand hitting from the baseline was a treat to watch but the Americans got those crucial points that dictated the outcome of the match.
Mirza and Hradecka were down 3-5 in the opening set but Gauff, while serving for the set, committed a double fault to hand a break chance.
Mirza easily dispatched a volley to grab the breakpoint for the team. Hradecka served next and at 30-all, Sania fluffed an overhead smash to hand the Americans set point, which got converted when the Czech made a return error. Mirza and Hradecka had got a measure of their rivals by now and the fearless and confident hitting had begun. The Indo-Czech pair nosed ahead in the second set by breaking the serve of Pegula in the very first game and Mirza made it 2-0 with an easy hold. Gauff's serve was put under pressure. At 30-all, Mirza went for a deep return but that sailed over the baseline. Hradecka too went for big shots but her unforced error put the Americans on board. Pegula found a stunning angled winner that sped off from the corner of the court when Hradecka served at 15-40, making it 2-2. They were in danger of dropping serve again but Mirza saved three breakpoints in the sixth game. The Americans too saved three break chances.
However Americans found a way to get one more break and Pegula served out the match and the pair moved to the quarterfinals.
Also Read : Bopanna makes first Grand Slam semifinal since 2015 Wimbledon
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Bopanna makes first Grand Slam semifinal since 2015 Wimbledon
Paris, May 31 (Tennis News) India's Rohan Bopanna reached his first Grand Slam semifinal in seven years after he and his Dutch partner Matwe Middelkoop rallied to beat Lloyd Glasspool and Henri Heliovaara in the men's doubles quarterfinals of the French Open, here.
The Indo-Dutch pair eked out a 4-6 6-4 7-6 (3) win over the British-Finnish combination in a hard-fought contest on Monday night.
Bopanna last reached the semifinals of a tennis Major at the 2015 Wimbledon Championships when he had teamed up with Romania's Florin Mergea and lost in a gruelling five-setter to Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau.
Bopanna, 42, and Middelkoop, 38, will face 12th seeds Marcelo Arevalo and Jean-Julien Roger on Thursday in the last four.
The Bopanna and Middelkoop squandered the opening set but dished out a superb fightback to win the next two as emerge victories.
In the decider, the Indo-Dutch pair showed tremendous mental fortitude to fightback from 3-5 down to take the match to a super tiebreak.
They were again 0-3 behind but won 10 straight points to come up trumps.
Bopanna and Middelkoop had saved five match points to knock out Mate Pavic and Nikola Mektic, the reigning Wimbledon champions, from the Roland Garros, on Saturday.
Also Read : Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas knocked out of the French Open
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Bopanna, Middelkoop save 5 match points to knock out Wimbledon champions from Roland Garros
Paris, May 28 (Tennis News) The never-say-die spirit was at work as Rohan Bopanna and Matwe Middelkoop saved five match points to knock out Mate Pavic and Nikol Mektic, the reigning Wimbledon champions, from the Roland Garros, here on Saturday.
Bopanna's serve was as venomous as it has been throughout his career and his volleys too were as sharp as ever while his Dutch partner showed exemplary calm under pressure in an edge-of-the-seat action in the men's doubles third round. A break of serve early in the third set put them at a disadvantageous position but there was no dearth of spirit or class from Bopanna and Middelkoop, who eventually prevailed 6-7 (5) 7-6(3) 7-6 (10) in two hours and 32 minutes.
Bopana, thus, matched his best performance at the clay court major by reaching the quarterfinals, having done it four times in the past.
After annexing a set each, the pair of Mektic and Pavic got a break chance straight away in the opening game of the decisive third set when Middlekoop fired a forehand long at 30-all.
Middelkoop put a terrific first serve in but Mektic found a solid return which the Dutch could not put across the net, his backhand kissing the net.
Mektic had no trouble whatsoever in making it 2-0 with a comfortable hold. Bopanna held his own and left-hander Pavic too stayed solid on his serve as the second seeds were now leading 3-1.
Bopanna made a backhand error, close to the net when Middelkoop served at 30-30 to be down by another breakpoint but they saved that and the next one too.
They eventually held with Bopanna finishing the game by dispatching a backhand volley.
Pavic was put under pressure when Bopanna fired in a stunning service return winner and Middelkoop too sent in a fierce return to make it deuce but the tall southpaw pulled off two big serves to set his partner up for easy volley winners on returns.
Mektic was serving for the match in the 10th game but was clearly feeling the pressure.
Down by a match point, Middelkoop found a winner to make it deuce while Bopanna pulled off a stunning forehand service return winner, his shot just kissing the line, to earn a break chance which they converted to make it 5-5.
The momentum had shifted.
Bopanna came out firing on all cylinders, holding at love. Pavic too served big, forcing a Super tie-break.
The second seeds got to 9-6 to have a number of match points but the Indo-Dutch combine kept fighting in a stunning fashion and eventually saved four more match points in the Super Tie-break.
They earned their first match point when the rivals fluffed a return at 10-10. Pavic served decent while facing a match point but Middelkoop made an angled return, which the left-hander put out.
Middelkoop fell on the ground in disbelief as Bopanna let out a roar.
Also Read : French Open: Djokovic and Nadal secure wins while Norrie is knocked out
News Source : PTI
Tsitsipas and Medvedev progress in the French Open while Tsonga retires
(Tennis news) Stefanos Tsitsipas, who reached the finals of the French Open last year, overcame a two set deficit to defeat Lorenzo Musetti 5-7 4-6 6-2 6-3 6-2 and progress into the second round. The Greek player hit 64 winners and fired 10 aces on his way to victory against the Italian and will now face world No 134 Zdenek Kolar. Speaking after the match, Tsitsipas said “I refuse to give up. That's simply how it works with me. You never really think about getting back after being two sets to love. You just play it point after point. You just wish that your efforts will pay off. It's a mountain that you have to climb. It was a great first round. I'm going to keep working hard to improve and build a relationship with the crowd here."
Meanwhile, Daniil Medvedev progressed to the second time of the French Open by defeating Facundo Bagnis 6-2 6-2 6-2. It was clear that despite Medvedev’s obvious quality, the match was an easy victory because Bagnis’ movements were restricted with his calf heavily strapped. As for Medvedev, the Russian lost in the opening round at the Geneva Open last week to Richard Gasquet and will look to do better than his quarter-final finish at the Roland Garros last year.
After the match, Medvedev spoke about being banned from Wimbledon and becoming World Number 1 by saying “Very strange. I need to be honest, but yeah, as I said last time, I'd be really happy to play Wimbledon. I love Wimbledon. I love playing on grass. I will play on grass after Roland Garros. But if I cannot, I mean, [I'm] just going to prepare for next tournaments, and, you know, just follow what's happening there. [If] there are no points, I become No 1, well, great for me. If there are points, I cannot become No 1, I'm going to be gutted. It is what it is. I cannot change some decisions, both about ATP and Wimbledon."
In other results, an emotional Jo-Wilfred Tsonga waved goodbye to the crowd at the French Open after losing to Norway’s Casper Ruud 6-7 (6) 7-6 (4) 6-2 7-6 (0), thereby ending his 18 year long professional career. The 37 year old received a standing ovation from the crowd as the curtains closed on his illustrious career where he won 18 ATP titles. Speaking after the match, Tsonga said “It's a great day for me. The day when I say goodbye to my long-time companion. I've never looked back but now is the time to do it. I want to thank all the people who helped me achieve my dream of becoming a professional tennis player. Thanks to the French tennis federation and all my coaches who supported me even when I was extremely silly. I managed to be good amid the best generation of players and I'm happy about it."
Nadal and Djokovic win at the French Open while Osaka crashes out
(Tennis news) Rafael Nadal comfortably defeated Jordan Thompson 6-2 6-2 6-2 in the opening round of the French Open. The Spaniard has suffered from a chronic foot injury in the season so far but will hope to secure the Roland Garros title at a venue he has traditionally excelled in throughout his career. The victory against Thompson was his 106th at the French Open, the most wins at a single Grand Slam (Roger Federer is in 2nd place with 105 wins at Wimbledon).
Speaking after the match, Nadal said “Of course the confidence is higher when you win in Monte Carlo, Barcelona, Madrid, or Rome. Without a doubt, things are easy in this world to understand, no? When you are winning more matches and more tournaments you have better confidence. When this is not the case, things are different. But I never expected to be winning 15 Monte Carlos and Romes, so that's the situation today.
“I got injured, and that's it. What happened is past and here we are. We are in Roland Garros. I am here to try my best. And how is my level of confidence? How the things would be or if I didn't get injured, I don't know. We never know. So I'm not a big fan of thinking about the things that could happen if... 'if' is a dangerous word. And then it's the moment to accept the situation and to have the confidence to put all my effort into every single day, to get better and better. Let's see how far I can keep going."
Speaking about Wimbledon, Nadal said “In the end, I understand both sides. I respect and I understand Wimbledon's position, without a doubt, but on the other hand, I understand and I respect too that the ATP is protecting its members. That's it. Is not that one is doing a negative thing and the other one is doing the good thing. Everyone is half. In my personal opinion, (they) have good reasons to make the decisions that they make today. Hopefully ATP and Wimbledon can be together and sit together and negotiate a better future for both sides."
In other results, World Number 1 Novak Djokovic defeated Japan's Yoshihito Nishioka 6-3 6-1 6-0. The in-form Serbian, who recently won in Rome, dropped just four games against Nishioka to seal his passage into the second round by wrapping up the match in just under two hours. Speaking after the match, Djokovic shared his thoughts about Wimbledon as the Grand Slam will not be a ranked event due to the actions taken by the ATP, WTA and ITF. He said “I think collectively I'm glad that players got together with ATP, the governing body of the men's tennis, and showed to the Grand Slam that when there is a mistake happening, and there was from the Wimbledon side, then we have to show that there is going to be some consequences."
Meanwhile, Naomi Osaka crashed out of the first round of the French Open after losing to Amanda Anisimova 7-5 6-4. The Japanese tennis player had withdrawn from the 2021 French Open due to her mental health and raised her doubts about playing in Wimbledon next month. She said “I would say like the decision is kind of affecting, like, my mentality going into grass, like I'm not 100 percent sure if I'm going to go there. I would love to go just to get some experience on the grass court, but at the same time, for me, it's kind of like - I don't want to say pointless, no pun intended, but I'm the type of player that gets motivated by... seeing my ranking go up.”
In other results, defending champion Barbora Krejcikova lost to French teenager Diane Parry 1-6 6-2 6-3 while Iga Swiatek extended her unbeaten run to 29 with a win against Ukrainian qualifier Lesia Tsurenko 6-2 6-0. Britain's Harriet Dart narrowly lost to Italy's Martina Trevisan 6-0 6-2 while Emma Raducanu overcame Czech qualifier Linda Noskova 6-7 (4-7) 7-5 6-1. The British number 1 said after the match “I mean it was an absolute battle. I have to say Linda is playing some amazing tennis and she really came out there firing.
“As soon as I dropped my ball speed, she was all over me and killing me from the end of the first set. So, it was definitely really challenging in the second set to hold on and keep holding my serve and break back a couple of times. I am really proud of the way I fought but all props to Linda as she played an amazing match. Honestly, I have no expectations of myself. You know I am really happy to be able to compete here after Rome. I really fought hard to be here in this second round and I am looking forward to trying to stay as long as possible."
Dominic Thiem crashes out of Roland Garros while Alcaraz secures win
(Tennis news) Two time French Open finalist Dominic Thiem crashed out of the first round after losing to Hugo Dellien 6-3 6-2 6-4. The Austrian has struggled tremendously since making his comeback from a wrist injury and is yet to win a match at any tournament since his comeback. Thiem made 42 unforced errors against Dellien, struggling with his forehand throughout the match and looked like a shadow of his former self on a surface he was once a force to be reckoned with. Hugo Dellien wasted no time asserting his dominance, earning his first break-point in Thiem's opening service game and breaking him on his second to win the first set while the Austrian struggled for consistency.
Speaking after the match, Thiem said “It was not a good match at all but it is what it is. I knew it would take time and the level is extremely high. It is going to take a few more months until I say now I am ready to beat those guys again. The problem is in practice it is really decent but a match situation is something different, Grand Slam especially. I am definitely thinking of going back to Challenger level for one or two tournaments. I am more tight, more nervous and the whole body gets tighter. This is toxic to my forehand because I am still missing the fine feeling there.”
In other results, Spanish tennis player Carlos Alcaraz defeated Argentina’s Juan Ignacio Londero 6-4 6-2 6-0 in the opening round. The 19 year old has already won the Madrid and Barcelona Open and will now take on fellow Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas. Speaking after the match, Alcaraz said “I always say that you have to improve every day if you are the best player in the world. Not in my case. But for example, Rafa (Nadal) says every day that he always improves every day. I would say I have to improve everything a little bit. You can improve everything every day, you know. And I would say everything. I have to improve everything."
Meanwhile, Alexander Zverev defeated Austrian qualifier Sebastian Ofner 6-2 6-4 6-4 while Canadian ninth seed Felix Auger-Aliassime made a stunning comeback to defeat Peru's Juan Pablo Varillas 2-6 2-6 6-1 6-3 6-3.
Wimbledon stripped of ranking points by the ATP and WTA
(Tennis news) The ATP and WTA have stripped Wimbledon of its ranking points after the prestigious event banned Russian and Belarusian players from competing in the tournament. The decision was taken following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with the verdict being criticised by the ATP, WTA and a number of players such as Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray. According to Wimbledon chairman Ian Hewitt, they were left with no “viable alternative” but to ban the players from the two countries due to the UK Government. Hewitt has said that there were only two options, one being to make players sign declarations condemning the invasion of Ukraine or an outright ban.
A statement released by the ATP said “The ability for players of any nationality to enter tournaments based on merit, and without discrimination, is fundamental to our Tour. The decision by Wimbledon to ban Russian and Belarusian players from competing in the UK this summer undermines this principle and the integrity of the ATP Ranking system. It is also inconsistent with our Rankings agreement. Absent a change in circumstances, it is with great regret and reluctance that we see no option but to remove ATP Ranking points from Wimbledon for 2022."
The statement continued “Our rules and agreements exist in order to protect the rights of players as a whole. Unilateral decisions of this nature, if unaddressed, set a damaging precedent for the rest of the Tour. Discrimination by individual tournaments is simply not viable on a Tour that operates in more than 30 countries. We greatly value our long-standing relationships with Wimbledon and the LTA and do not underestimate the difficult decisions faced in responding to recent UK Government guidance.
"However, we note that this was informal guidance, not a mandate, which offered an alternative option that would have left the decision in the hands of individual players competing as neutral athletes through a signed declaration. Our internal discussions with affected players in fact led us to conclude this would have been a more agreeable option for the Tour. We remain hopeful of further discussions with Wimbledon leading to an acceptable outcome for all concerned. More broadly, we believe this matter again highlights the need for a united governance structure across professional tennis so that decisions of this nature can be made in a joint manner."
Following ATP’s statement, Steve Simon, WTA Chairman, said in a statement: "As a result of the AELTC's position that it will not honour its obligation to use the WTA Rankings for entry into Wimbledon and proceed with a partial field not based on merit, the WTA has made the difficult decision to not award WTA ranking points for this year's Wimbledon Championships. The stance we are taking is about protecting the equal opportunities that WTA players should have to compete as individuals. If we do not take this stance, then we abandon our fundamental principle and allow the WTA to become an example to support discrimination based on nationality at other events and in other regions around the world. The WTA will continue to apply its rules to reject such discrimination."
Meanwhile, the International Tennis Federation has also confirmed that junior and wheelchair events at Wimbledon will also be unranked. "The ITF has determined that Wimbledon's entry criteria banning Russians and Belarusians compromises the integrity of its international competition, in particular its ranking system, as there is a lack of alternative equivalent opportunities for players to compete for ranking points and prize money," it said in a statement.
In response, Wimbledon released their own statement in which they stood by their decision by saying “We appreciate that opinions differ in relation to our decision to decline entries from Russian and Belarusian players to the championships this year, and we deeply regret the impact of this decision on the individuals affected. However, given the position taken by the UK Government to limit Russia's global influence, which removed automatic entry by ranking, and the widespread response of Government, industry, sport and creative institutions, we remain of the view that we have made the only viable decision for Wimbledon as a globally renowned sporting event and British institution, and we stand by the decision we have made.
"We therefore wish to state our deep disappointment at the decisions taken by the ATP, WTA and ITF in removing ranking points for the championships. We believe these decisions to be disproportionate in the context of the exceptional and extreme circumstances of this situation and the position we found ourselves in, and damaging to all players who compete on tour. We are considering our options, and we are reserving our position at this stage. We are also in discussion with our Grand Slam colleagues."
WTA to keep ranking points for UK’s grass court events next month
(Tennis news) Following the ATP’s decision to award ranking points for United Kingdom’s grass court events next month, the WTA has followed suit with the same decision. However, Wimbledon could still be stripped of points after the All England Club and the LTA decided to ban Russian and Belarusian players from competing in the prestigious event due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The verdict regarding the outcome of the Grand Slam event is expected to be announced in the coming days.
Speaking for the first time since the ban was announced, LTA chief executive Scott Lloyd said “I acknowledge the fact that it is a very complex matter and there's a range of opinions, but given the circumstance that we are operating under in this country and public sentiment about Ukraine, I feel we have made the right decision. I don't believe discriminatory is the right description here. We are necessarily needing to work within the framework of government guidance here in the UK. We, alongside a number of other sports, have come to the same conclusion - the likes of boxing, motor sport, athletics and the IOC."
According to the ATP, the decision to ban Russian and Belarusian players “undermines the ability for players of any nationality to enter tournaments based on merit.” The Lawn Tennis Association and the All England Club have reiterated that their decision is based on "directional guidance" from the United Kingdom government, with the LTA recently receiving a £10.2m support package from Sport England.
Lloyd spoke about the importance of government funding by saying “Our partnership with Sport England and indeed the government is very important to tennis in this country. The government is going to invest some £22m in helping the LTA to restore park tennis facilities, which is very important for grassroots tennis. And of course we've got to remember that last summer tennis tournaments, and Wimbledon in particular, were one of the first sporting events to get back to some sense of normality post the Covid pandemic. That couldn't have been done without the support and partnership of the government."
While the decision to ban Russian and Belarusian players has attracted a lot of criticism, the decision to strip an event like Wimbledon would be unfair to the players participating in the tournament and it is not beyond the realm of possibility that the ATP and WTA may reach different conclusions. The idea of stripping Wimbledon off points could also have bigger repercussions on certain players, such as Novak Djokovic, who will not be able to defend the 2000 points he secured last year, which would mean he will lose his number one ranking.
Andy Murray to play at Queen's Club and Surbiton grass court events
(Tennis news) Former men’s World Number 1 and three time major champion Andy Murray will be featuring at the Queen’s Club, thanks to a wildcard entry on June 13th, having previously won six ATP Tour titles at the event and will also be competing for the Surbiton trophy on May 29th, in hopes of preparing for Wimbledon next month. The Scottish player will feature alongside fellow Brits Cameron Norrie, Dan Evans, Jack Draper, Joe Salisbury, Neal Skupski, Jamie Murray, Alfie Hewett and Gordon Reid.
Murray said “I'm really looking forward to playing at Surbiton and Queen's this year - two great events. It's always special playing on the grass in front of a home crowd." Cameron Norrie, who won the Indian Wells Masters in October 2021 will be hoping to go one step further than last time, having lost in the finals of the Queen’s Club in the last iteration. Dan Evans reached the quarter-finals of the Queen’s Club the last time while Jack Draper was a wildcard entry in 2021 and reached the last eight of the competition.
Wheelchair tennis player Alfie Hewett, who won the Australian Open singles and doubles earlier this year will be partnering with Gordon Reid at the Queen’s Cup. Leon Smith, Head of Men's Tennis at the LTA and Davis Cup captain said “To see so many of our British players thriving at the top of the game highlights the progress our sport has made in recent years, and it will be fantastic to see so many of them taking to the grass courts for the LTA's summer events.
"In a year that has seen Cam Norrie break into the top ten of the ATP rankings, Dan Evans and Andy Murray serve up some great performances, Joe Salisbury rise to No.1 spot in the doubles rankings, Neal Skupski win his first ATP 1000 event and Jack Draper continues to make such great progress, there is so much to look forward to this summer in our grass courts events leading into Wimbledon."
On the doubles court, Joe Salisbury, who is a two-time majors champion along with Miami Masters winner Neal Skupski and seven-time major champion Jamie Murray will also be representing Great Britain on the doubles court.
Andy Murray withdraws from French Open to focus on Wimbledon
(Tennis news) British tennis player Andy Murray has withdrawn from next week’s French Open in order to prepare for Wimbledon. The soon to be 35 year old had initially planned to skip the clay court season but changed his mind after receiving a wildcard entry for the Madrid Open. He reached the third round in the Spanish capital, defeating the likes of Dominic Thiem and Denis Shapovalov but was forced to withdraw ahead of a clash against Novak Djokovic due to illness.
Murray has only played in one French Open since 2017, suffering elimination in the first round in 2020. The Scottish player hasn’t progressed beyond the third round of a Grand Slam event since he reached the quarter-finals at Wimbledon five years ago. Murray will now prepare for the grass court season which will begin in early June with Wimbledon scheduled for June 27th. The Scot could play in the Surbiton Trophy, a second-tier Challenger event in London beginning on May 30 before going to Stuttgart for the ATP tournament.
One of the biggest talking points from this year’s iteration of Wimbledon is the ban on Russian and Belarusian players from competing. The ATP and WTA are yet to announce the repercussions of that ban with the removal of all ranking points a realistic possibility. The two organisations have been holding meetings in Rome and Madrid to discuss the consequences of the ban, which means that Murray could be choosing to not participate in the French Open for an event in which he might not receive any ranking points.
Anhelina Kalinina knocks out Emma Raducanu from the Madrid Open
(Tennis news) Despite a spirited comeback, Emma Raducanu was knocked out of the Madrid Open’s third round by Ukraine’s Anhelina Kalinina. The first set lasted just 35 minutes as Raducanu couldn’t keep up with the demands and was forced to leave the court for a medical timeout, clutching her back on multiple occasions.
Raducanu put up a valiant fight and took the third round match to a decider but Kalinina displayed nerves of steel to win 6-2 2-6 6-4. Speaking after the match, Kalinina said “I want to give credit to Emma because I think we both played very good quality tennis, the match was great in my opinion. I appreciate in this moment I was maybe luckier and I did better in the decisive points. I am happy I won this match."
The match lasted for a total of two hours and 19 minutes with the last set going on for a mammoth 63 minutes. It was a one sided first set for Kalinina who has only lost three games when she defeated former French Open and Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza earlier this week. Raducanu had no answer to Kalinina’s groundstrokes despite putting up a much improved performance in the second set. As the match progressed, Kalinina couldn’t maintain her intensity which allowed Raducanu to mount a spirited comeback.
When Kalinina found her range again, Raducanu refused to concede and the pair competed hard for the points with the Ukrainian fighting back from 3-1 to win three games in a row. Fatigue ended up creeping in for both the players, Kalinina managed to get a decisive break with a magnificent backhand and eventually won the match when Raducanu volleyed wide. It will be the Ukrainian’s first WTA 1000 quarter-final of her career and she will face Switzerland’s Jil Teichmann.
Iga Swiatek ruled out of Madrid Open due to shoulder injury
(Tennis news) World Number 1 Iga Swiatek has withdrawn from the Madrid Open due to a shoulder injury. The 20 year old won her fourth consecutive title at the Stuttgart Open on Saturday and was due to start her Madrid campaign today but said: “My body needs rest”. The Polish tennis player has confirmed that she hopes to take part in the Italian Open in May followed by the French Open.
In a statement released on Twitter, Swiatek said “After an intense few weeks and winning four titles in a row, it's time to take care of my arm that has been fatigued since the Miami Open and I haven't had the chance to handle it properly. I need a break from playing so intensively in order to treat my arm well.”
She later spoke to reporters in Madrid and said “It's not like we have some drama because everything is OK. We just thought that this is the best decision for me to recover properly because I didn't really have time to recover after all these tournaments. Right now I feel like this is the best decision for us to get ready for Rome and have the peak of my form in Roland Garros."
Swiatek will aim for her second Grand Slam title in Paris and will enter the tournament as one of the favourites, having previously won the Roland Garros in 2020. She was crowned World Number 1 last month after Ashleigh Barty unexpectedly retired from professional tennis and the 20 year old Polish player is currently in red-hot form, winning 23 consecutive matches.
Djokovic and other unvaccinated players to feature at Wimbledon
(Tennis news) Wimbledon organisers have confirmed that players unvaccinated against COVID-19 will be permitted to participate in this year’s tournament. This means that World Number 1 Novak Djokovic will be competing in the tournament and attempt to defend his title, after defeating Italy's Matteo Berrettini in last year's final to win the Wimbledon title for the sixth time.
Chief executive of the All England Club, Sally Bolton, said: "The requirements set out by the government to enter the UK do not include mandatory vaccination, therefore whilst of course it is encouraged, it will not be a condition of entry to compete at the Championships this year." Earlier this year, the Serbian was deported from Australia due to his vaccination status and couldn’t compete at the Australian Open as well as enter the United States for any tournament.
"We are planning to return to a normal Championship this year. And so we don't intend to implement any of the Covid-19 measures that we saw last year in any substantial fashion. But we are, of course, keeping it on our radar in case we need to take further action when we continue to engage with DCMS, public health officials and with other sports. But this means that players will be able to return to their own choice of accommodation. We will see full capacity crowds for the whole event. And we're absolutely thrilled to welcome back the wider tennis family to Wimbledon this year."
Despite the lack of competitive action so far, Djokovic will undoubtedly be one of the favourites to win his seventh Wimbledon title. With most countries relaxing their COVID-19 regulations, the Serbian can now expect an almost full calendar in the clay and grass events. The Wimbledon Championship will begin from 27 June to 10 July.
Emma Raducanu splits with coach Torben Beltz after just five months
(Tennis news) After only five months together, British tennis star Emma Raducanu has parted ways with her coach Torben Beltz. In a statement released by Raducanu, she said “I want to thank Torben for his coaching, professionalism and dedication over the last half a year. He has a huge heart and I have enjoyed our strong chemistry during the time together. "I feel the best direction for my development is to transition to a new training model with the LTA supporting in the interim."
This means that Raducanu is now once again on a hunt for a new coach, her fourth in a year. The US Open champion appointed Beltz after splitting with Andrew Richardson, who guided her at New York and worked alongside the 19 year old at Bromley Tennis Centre. Before that, Raducanu was coached by Nigel Sears who helped her reach the fourth round of Wimbledon last summer.
Raducanu had previously mentioned that she was looking for a more experienced coach after her US Open win and subsequently announced her partnership with Beltz in November 2021. The German had parted ways with Angelique Kerber in a partnership that had lasted a decade and had helped her reach the top 10 for the first time before their first split in 2013. The pair reunited in 2016 when Kerber won the Australian and US Open, reached the Wimbledon final, received a silver medal at the Olympics and was crowned World Number 1.
Raducanu’s announcement comes after her best week since hiring Torben Beltz, winning consecutive matches on clay at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart. The 19 year old has a history of switching coaches frequently, right from her junior days when she was ranked 11 and will now depend on the Lawn Tennis Association for the time being until a new coach is hired.
Iga Swiatek wins fourth WTA title after defeating Aryna Sabalenka
(Tennis news) World Number 1 Iga Swiatek extended her winning streak to 23 matches after defeating Aryna Sabalenka 6-2 6-2 in the finals. The 2020 French Open champion defeated Emma Raducanu in the quarter finals and overcame Ludmilla Samsonova from a set down in the semi finals on Saturday.
The 20 year old Polish international showed little signs of fatigue as she saved an early break point and got a 3-0 lead while third seeded Sabalenka had a double fault. Despite the 23 year old Belarusian player attempting a comeback after getting a hold of the serve at the start of the second set, Swiatek managed to go 4-2 ahead and secured her win when Sabalenka’s effort went long.
The result means that Swiatek is the first player to get 30 match wins this season, with an impressive overall record of 30-3. By winning the Stuttgart Open, she will take home a Porsche as well as the prize money of the tournament as well as get a monumental 2,000 points lead in the rankings.
Meanwhile, Novak Djokovic lost to Russia’s Andrey Rublev in the final of the Serbia Open. The 34 year old fought back from a set down but couldn’t mount a comeback as Rublev ended up winning the match 6-2 6-7 (4-7) 6-0 in two hours and 29 minutes. It was the Russian’s first win over Djokovic who broke the World Number 1’s serve twice in the opening set and saved five set points to force a tie-break in the second. Rublev then saved two break points in the opening game of the third set and proceeded to break Djokovic’s serve three times to win the game.
Spanish teenager Carlos Alcaraz defeated compatriot Pablo Carreno Busta 6-3 6-2 in the final of the Barcelona Open to secure his third title of the season. The result meant that the 18 year old is the youngest player to break into the top 10 in the World Rankings since Rafael Nadal 17 years ago. Speaking after the match, Alcaraz said “It means a lot. I've watched this tournament since I was a kid. I always wished to play in and of course to be able to win this tournament."
Emma Raducanu to face Iga Swiatek in Porsche Tennis Grand Prix
(Tennis news) Emma Raducanu won back-to-back matches for the first time in 6 months when the 19 year old defeated Tamara Korpatsch 6-0 2-6 6-1 on clay. Having won against American tennis player Storm Sanders in round 1, the US Open champion only dropped seven points against Korpatsch in the first set but the German stepped up in the second, finding her range and applying pressure on Raducanu. The British tennis player held her ground in the deciding third set, throwing Korpatsch from her rhythm with high balls and eventually going past the finish line.
In the post match interview, Raducanu said “Overall I feel like Tamara came out in the second set and played some unbelievable tennis. I didn't even think that I was making too many mistakes but I dropped the ball slightly short and she was all over it. For me it was just about regrouping for the third set and trying to stay aggressive." Speaking about Iga Swiatek, Raducanu said “Of course she's in great form and it will be an interesting match but she's No 1 in the world. I feel like I've got no pressure going out there, playing on clay against her, so I'm looking forward to the match."
Raducanu will face World Number 1 Iga Swiatek in the quarter-finals of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix. The Polish tennis player is on a 20 game winning streak and has only lost three games in her last six sets. The last time the pair met was at the quarter-finals of the girls' singles in Wimbledon 2018 when Swiatek won 6-0 6-1. After this tournament, Raducanu will shift her attention to tournaments in Madrid and Rome followed by the French Open where she will be making her senior debut.
Russian and Belarusian players banned from participating at Wimbledon
(Tennis news) US Open champion Daniil Medvedev, world number 8 Andrey Rublev and women’s fourth ranked Aryna Sabalenka will be ineligible to participate in this year's Wimbledon as per a ruling by The All England Club. Medvedev reached the fourth round of Wimbledon last year while Sabalenka was knocked out in the semi-finals. Russian world number 15 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Belarus' Victoria Azarenka will also not be participating.
The All England Club said in a statement: "We share in the universal condemnation of Russia's illegal actions and have carefully considered the situation in the context of our duties to the players, to our community and to the broader UK public as a British sporting institution. If circumstances change materially between now and June, we will consider and respond accordingly."
Ian Hewitt, chairman of the All England Club, said: "We recognise that this is hard on the individuals affected, and it is with sadness that they will suffer for the actions of the leaders of the Russian regime. We have very carefully considered the alternative measures that might be taken within the UK Government guidance but, given the high profile environment of The Championships, the importance of not allowing sport to be used to promote the Russian regime and our broader concerns for public and player (including family) safety, we do not believe it is viable to proceed on any other basis at The Championships."
Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston said “The UK has taken a leading role internationally to make clear that President Putin must not be able to use sport to legitimise Russia's barbaric invasion of Ukraine. "Whilst the withdrawal of individual athletes is a complex issue that will divide opinion, there is a bigger cause at stake. We have set out our position with sport governing bodies and event organisers and will continue to encourage them to take appropriate action for their sport."
An ATP statement read: "We strongly condemn Russia's reprehensible invasion of Ukraine and stand in solidarity with the millions of innocent people affected by the ongoing war. Our sport is proud to operate on the fundamental principles of merit and fairness, where players compete as individuals to earn their place in tournaments based on the ATP Rankings. We believe that today's unilateral decision by Wimbledon and the LTA to exclude players from Russia and Belarus from this year's British grass-court swing is unfair and has the potential to set a damaging precedent for the game.
"Discrimination based on nationality also constitutes a violation of our agreement with Wimbledon that states that player entry is based solely on ATP Rankings. Any course of action in response to this decision will now be assessed in consultation with our Board and Member councils. It is important to stress that players from Russia and Belarus will continue to be allowed to compete at ATP events under a neutral flag, a position that has until now been shared across professional tennis. In parallel, we will continue our joint humanitarian support for Ukraine under Tennis Plays for Peace."
A WTA statement read: "The WTA strongly condemns the actions that have been taken by Russia and its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. We continue our humanitarian relief efforts to support Ukraine through Tennis Plays for Peace. We are, however, very disappointed in today's announcement by the AELTC and the LTA to ban individual athletes who are from Russia and Belarus from competing in the upcoming UK grass court events. A fundamental principal of the WTA is that individual athletes may participate in professional tennis events based on merit and without any form of discrimination.
"That principle is expressly set forth in our rules and has been agreed to by both AELTC and LTA. Prohibitions against discrimination are also clearly expressed in their own rules and the Grand Slam rules. As the WTA has consistently stated, individual athletes should not be penalised or prevented from competing due to where they are from, or the decisions made by the governments of their countries.
"Discrimination, and the decision to focus such discrimination against athletes competing on their own as individuals, is neither fair nor justified. The WTA will continue to apply its rules to reject discrimination and ensure that all athletes are able to compete at our Tour events should they qualify to do so, a position that until today's announcement has been shared across professional tennis. The WTA will be evaluating its next steps and what actions may be taken regarding these decisions."
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said “Given that Russia is a strong tennis country the competitions [which take this decision] will suffer from this. To make sports people hostages of political intrigue is unacceptable. I hope the players won't lose their fitness."
Berrettini undergoes surgery, to miss three ATP Masters 1000 events
(Tennis news) Italian tennis player Matteo Berrettini is set to miss three ATP Masters 1000 events after recovering from a minor surgery on his right hand. The 25 year old reached the final at Wimbledon last year, losing to Novak Djokovic and was eliminated from the semi finals of the Australian Open earlier this year. He also reached the first Masters 1000 final last year, losing to Alexander Zverev in the Madrid Open.
In a statement released by Berrettini on Instagram, he said “Following advice from the medical experts, my team and I have decided that it is crucial I do not put time pressure on my recovery process. We have therefore decided I should withdraw from the Monte-Carlo, Madrid and Rome tournaments to ensure I give myself the proper amount of time to return at my highest level.
“Withdrawing from these events, particularly Rome, was an extremely tough decision, however it is the right one to ensure many more years of competing at the highest level for the biggest trophies. Thanks very much for all the support. My recovery process is on track and I look forward to seeing you on-court soon."
The Italian World Number 6 has won three of his last five ATP Tour titles on clay but has played only one event on the surface this year, losing to Carlos Alcaraz in the Rio De Janeiro quarter-finals.
Serena Williams hints at Wimbledon return while Tsonga to retire soon
(Tennis news) 23 time Grand Slam winner Serena Williams has hinted that she could make her long awaited comeback at Wimbledon, exactly a year after playing her last tournament. The 40 year old suffered an ankle injury in the first round and was forced to retire in tears against Aliaksandra Sasnovich. As a result, she missed the Tokyo Olympics, US Open and the Australian Open this year.
Speaking at an Instagram story with NFL quarterback Aaron Rodgers at a Bitcoin conference in Miami, Williams said: "We've been talking about my comeback and he's been hyping me up and getting me ready for Wimbledon. Can't wait! Wimbledon's before the US Open, I've got to play Wimbledon first. Exciting!"
The tournament is set to take place from June 27 to July 10 this year and Williams has already won the prestigious event seven times, but hasn’t won the title since 2016. She last won a Grand Slam at the 2017 Australian Open and has been on a hunt for the 24th title of her career but has been hampered due to injuries, dropping to 246th in the WTA rankings.
Meanwhile, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga has announced his intention to retire from professional tennis after the French Open this year. The 36 year old has suffered from injuries in recent years and only managed to get his second win in February since 2019, missing the entire 2020 season due to a back injury.
In a video shared on social media, Tsonga said “My head tells me, 'But you can play all your life,' and at the same time your body reminds you that your abilities to surpass yourself are no longer there. I hope that I will stay in shape before (the Roland Garros) and be able to be who I always have been at this tournament. The goal is to be myself, to be Jo-Wilfried Tsonga the tennis player.I have always set myself high goals to try to get what I can. For me, this will be the opportunity to do it one last time."
The Frenchman has won 18 ATP titles which include two Masters 1000 tournaments since he turned professional in 2004. He also won an Olympics silver medal at the London Games in 2012.
UK Government in talks with Wimbledon about featuring Russian players
(Tennis news) Wimbledon officials are taking part in ongoing talks with the government of the United Kingdom regarding the participation of Russian and Belarusian players in this year’s championship. One of the favourites to win the tournament is World Number 2 Daniil Medvedev and the Russian could be banned as there are fears that his victory could boost Vladimir Putin’s regime while the ongoing invasion in Ukraine is taking place.
As things stand, Russian and Belarusian players have been allowed to compete at ATP, WTA and ITF competitions as long as they participate under a neutral flag and no anthem. However, Wimbledon is hosted by the All England Club which could ban players from these countries without any legal repercussions as it’s an independent body. Wimbledon organisers are working alongside the government and the Lawn Tennis Association before next month’s deadline.
A statement released by the All England Club said “We have noted the UK Government's guidance regarding the attendance of Russian and Belarusian individuals in a neutral capacity at sporting events in the UK. This remains a complex and challenging issue, and we are continuing to engage in discussion with the UK Government, the LTA, and the international governing bodies of tennis. We plan to announce a decision in relation to Wimbledon ahead of our entry deadline in mid-May."
Earlier, UK Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston had asked for the Russian and Belarusian players to prove that they are “genuinely neutral” and give assurances that they don’t give or receive money from Putin’s regime. When asked in a recent interview if players from these countries would be allowed to play, Huddleston said “Absolutely nobody flying the flag for Russia should be allowed or enabled. We need some potential assurance that they are not supporters of Vladimir Putin. We're considering what requirements we may need.
"Would I be comfortable with a Russian athlete flying the Russian flag? No. When it comes to individuals, that gets a bit more complex so we are looking at and talking to various sports in terms of what the response and requirements should be there." If permitted, some of the players who could play at Wimbledon include Daniil Medvedev, Andrey Rublev, Karen Khachanov, Aslan Karatsev, Aryna Sabalenka, Victoria Azarenka, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Veronika Kudermetova, Daria Kasatkina and Ludmilla Samsonova. The last Russian player to have won the Wimbledon title was Maria Sharapova in 2004 after defeating Serena Williams.
World No 1 Ashleigh Barty announces her shock retirement from tennis
(Tennis news) Current World No 1 Ashleigh Barty shocked the world when the 25 year old announced her retirement. The news sent shockwaves, not just in the tennis world but throughout the sporting industry because less than two months ago, she won the Australian Open for her third Grand Slam singles title and became the first Australian player in 44 years to triumph at the nation's Grand Slam tournament.
This is not the first time Barty has walked away from tennis. She was the Wimbledon junior champion at age 15 in 2011 and looked like she would choose tennis as her professional sport but left the tour entirely for nearly two years in 2014 because of burnout, as she was overwhelmed by the pressure and travel required during the tours. She came back home and started playing professional cricket in Australia, then eventually picked up a racket once again and returned to tennis.
Barty went on to win her first singles major championships on three different surfaces, first on clay at the 2019 French Open, then on grass at Wimbledon last year and recently won on the hard courts at Melbourne Park in January. Barty has gone on to win 15 tour level titles in singles and another 12 in doubles since first turning pro in 2010. She has spent 121 weeks at No. 1 in the rankings, including the past 114 in a row, which is quite an achievement since the women’s draw is quite competitive and open.
Her announcement was all the more shocking from an on-court perspective given that her recent run of success was quite extraordinary: Barty had won 25 of her past 26 matches and three of her past four events she participated in. Only one other woman who has walked away from the sport while being at the top of the WTA rankings was Justine Henin who was the former No. 1 when she retired in May 2008, after she spent around 61 weeks ranked at the top. Henin was also 25 at the time of her retirement, but she came back two years after her announcement, reaching the final of the 2010 Australian Open before stepping away for good in 2011.
"I'm so happy and I'm so ready. I just know at the moment, in my heart, for me as a person, this is right," Barty said. “It's the first time I've actually said it out loud and, yeah, it's hard to say.'' Barty said of her decision to retire, which she announced during an informal interview with her former doubles partner, Casey Dellacqua, "I don't have the physical drive, the emotional want and everything it takes to challenge yourself at the very top of the level any more. I am spent.''
"I know I've done this before,'' Barty said with a laugh in the retirement video, "but with a very different feeling. I'm so grateful to everything that tennis has given me. It's given me all of my dreams, plus more, but I know that the time is right now for me to step away and chase other dreams and to, yeah, put the rackets down.'
"I'll never, ever, ever stop loving tennis,'' she said. "It will always be a massive part of my life, but now I think it's important I get to enjoy the next phase of my life as Ash Barty the person, not Ash Barty the athlete.'
"I am so supportive of Ash that she does what makes her happy,'' Goolagong Cawley told The Associated Press on Wednesday. "I can't wait to see what happens in the next chapter of Ash's life, and what helps her achieve her dreams.''
Novak Djokovic set to play French Open after change in vaccine rules
(Tennis news) Novak Djokovic is most likely to play at Roland Garros this season after the new vaccine rules were imposed. France will be announcing new rules later this month which can provide a safe passage to the Serbian after a controversial Australian affair. Djokovic has only played 3 matches this year all at Dubai, he reached the quarterfinals and lost to Jiri Vesely.
With the decline in cases, Djokovic is expected to have a smooth run to the rest of the season after a tough opening month. By missing the Australian Open and losing his no 1 status, the 20 time Grand Slam winner will have positive results as places around the globe will go easy on the current restrictions. Djokovic had earlier said in an interview with BBC that he is willing to miss Wimbledon or Roland Garros because of his stance because of his principles but his rankings will be affected as he continues to miss events.
The 34 year old has now won 991 matches in his career, he needs 9 more matches to become the 5th player in history to have won 1000 or more matches. Rafael Nadal is in 4th place with 1043 wins, Roger Federer is in 2nd place with 1251 wins but the Spaniard has the highest win percentage of 83.31 and Djokovic comes in second with 83.21 percent.
Djokovic is also into his 19th year as a professional and hasn’t missed the French Open since making his debut at the event in 2005. He missed the Australian Open for the first time in 17 years as he had been playing at the event from 2005. This year’s clay major will witness Nadal coming back for revenge and Djokovic aiming for a 21st Slam to tie with Nadal. The 13 time French Open winner was beaten for the 2nd time by Djokovic in the semi final last year and this time, Nadal has the edge since he started the year with a 15 match win streak.
The world number 2 has been inviting criticisms about his stance on vaccination but has also received praises from former players for his bold and courageous decision. Roland Garros will be held in May and from March 14, spectators will not have to show their vaccination certificates to get access to stadiums in France. If there won’t be any change of rules by May then it is guaranteed that Djokovic will be able to defend his title.
Daniil Medvedev ends Novak Djokovic’s reign in ATP rankings
(Tennis news) Daniil Medvedev will create history on 28th February when he captures the no 1 ranking on the ATP tour. Medvedev will become the first player outside the big four to take the top spot, the last time it happened was in 2004 when Andy Roddick was the world number one. Since then Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray have never surrendered the top position in almost 18 years.
The 26 year old will become the third Russian after Yevgeny Kafelnikov in 1999 and Marat Safin 2000-01 to ascend to the top of the rankings. Medvedev will also become the 27th player in history to achieve the number 1 ranking on the ATP the tour, Djokovic had been holding the spot for over a year and Medvedev had his chances last year during Wimbledon but could not capture it back then.
Djokovic was trying to win the title in Dubai as he had to do well in order to delay the takeover. Djokovic's loss to Jiri Vesely in the quarterfinals confirmed the news for Medvedev who will take on Nadal in the semi final at Acapulco. An early loss for Medvedev and a deep run for Djokovic would have meant more time for the 20 time Grand Slam winner; while the current number 2 had to reach the final at Acapulco to confirm the ranking no matter what happened in Dubai.
The 2021 US Open winner first became number 2 in March 2021 but was floating around no 2 and 3 for a month, he has been sticking to number 2 since May. On Monday when the rankings will be released it will be a major change as the Serbian’s run will finally come to an end, the next gen has finally completed a key part of the mission.
Dominic Thiem’s US Open victory two years later opened the gates for the younger players as Medvedev made it bigger while beating Djokovic in a historic US Open final a few months ago. The last 2 years has seen the emergence of the next gen as they have won Grand Slams and now taken the rankings. Rafael Nadal won the Australian Open a month back, the next mission of the youngsters would be to win as many major titles as that will take care of the rankings and with time in their hands it will be a start of a new era.While there are still a lot of tournaments left in this season, it will be a positive change to the tennis community next week.
Novak Djokovic’s return to 2022 season remains unclear
(Tennis news) Novak Djokovic stood by his words in an exclusive interview with the BBC. Djokovic is yet to play a match on tour this year as he last played a match in December at the semifinals of the Davis Cup. This was the first time the Serbian has given his side of story after his controversial exit a day before the Australian Open.
The 20 time Grand Slam winner was the highlight last year as he reached the finals at the four Grand Slams and lost in the final at the US Open to Danill Medvedev. Djokovic is still firm on his stance about vaccination as he said it's a personal choice to take or not take the vaccine, he insisted that he is not an anti-vaxxer. If the pandemic protected his rankings last season, there are chances it will take a dark turn this year as his no 1 spot is in danger.
When asked whether he is willing to miss the French Open and Wimbledon because of his vaccination status, the 9 time Australian Open champion did not hesitate to say yes. Although both the majors will be played at the end of May and June respectively and the guidelines can change accordingly. It will be a question as to who will step up the no 1 ranking if Djokovic is absent.
The 34 year old has confirmed his stance on the topic, but the amount of time he has on tour is very limited. The next gen players are only getting better at every event and as months pass by it might be tough to get back on top. Medvedev can become the world number one if he wins at Acapulco which will start in 4 days while Djokovic will hope to play at Dubai and has to go for the title. If Medvedev wins the title or reaches the final then the position is confirmed, Djokovic will hope the Russian falls early while he can reach the semis or the finals at Dubai. The scenario can be confirmed by the end of next week as Medvedev prepares the third Russian to take top honours.
Roland Garros will be a stepping platform for Rafael Nadal to create another record at the Grand Slams. While he can aim for his 22nd title, the top three position will also be a possibility for the clay king. Nadal’s archnemesis has been Djokovic, although the absence of the 2 time Roland Garros winner won’t be a huge relief as the next gen has its way of rising to the occasion. There are still three Grand Slams to go this year as the tour will go on like usual, but Djokovic’s comeback to the season remains in doubt.
Murray beats Bublik at Rotterdam, Musetti overcomes Hurkacz
(Tennis news) Andy Murray announced his comeback into the top 100 with a victory over Alexander Bublik at Rotterdam. Bublik could only win 10 points out of 31 in his second serve although the average speed was more than 180 km/ hour. Murray was down a break at 6-5 in the opening set but broke back for a tie break, the former world number 1 was in the lead but the Kazakh had the drop shots to make it close enough. The world number 35 even fended off a breakpoint in the opening game of the first with a surprise under arm serve mixed up with a forehand dropshot.
The three time Grand Slam winner was forced to come to the net but did chase down most of them. A backhand cross court pass gave him the break in the second set as it was all over for the first time tour winner. Murray defeated Bublik 7-6(8-6), 6-4.
“There were some tough moments in the first set for both of us,” said wildcard Murray after the match. “I just managed to come through at the end of it. Some great returns off some big second serves from him at the end and I did a good job. It’s not easy playing against someone like that, huge serves, a lot of drop shots and you’ve got to keep your focus and I did that well tonight.”
Lorenzo Musetti learned his lessons after a straight loss to Hurbert Hurkacz at Wimbledon last year. Musetti gained the momentum at the crucial points as Hurkacz was broken in the opening game which was enough in the first set. In the second set, both players were holding serve until the Polish number one won 8 of the last points of the set to break serve and win the set. Four unforced errors by the world number 11 in the eighth game gave the teenager a chance to serve for the match which he finished with an ace clocked at 212 km/hour. 6-3, 5-7, 6-3.
Cameron Norrie and Karen Khachanov had played against each other four times last year, the Russian was 2-0 in hardcourts including at Rotterdam while the Brit was 2-0 in clay. This time it was the left hander who secured his first hard court victory over the 25 year old, the 6th seed got his first victory of the season in the 5th match after a first round loss at Australia. If Khachanov was moving up ahead of the serve it was also bringing him down with 8 aces and 3 double faults. The world number 28 took a 4-1 lead in the second set but could not convert any further chances as Norrie came back to level it to 4-4. In the tie break, two double faults by the 25 year old gave the world number 13 his 104th career victory. Norrie defeated Khachanov 6-4, 7-6(7-5).
Felix Auger-Aliassime came back from a set down against Egor Gerasimov in the opening round. The qualifier got the first break in the 5th game which helped him to get a headstart to the match, in the second set the 21 year old took 4 games to take the set under 40 minutes. In the deciding set, Gerasimov lost 7 of his 11 second serves and could not make a change at the net as he lost his 5th match in 7 matches. Felix defeated Gerasimov 3-6, 6-2, 6-2.
Roger Federer to decide on tour return during April - May
(Tennis news) There are still doubts about Roger Federer returning on tour with many seeing this as a sign of possible retirement. The 20 time Grand Slam winner last played 8 months ago at Wimbledon, he lost in the quarterfinals to Hubert Hurkacz and was even bageled in the third set. Federer will turn 41 this year in August and will complete 24 years on tour if he is able to make a comeback this season.
Federer has been struggling with knee injuries and has only played 19 matches over the past two years. The Swiss legend has had multiple surgeries which still has not brought him to full shape, he was expected to make a comeback in the second half of the season and now has said that it will be decided in April or May about the time of his comeback.
"I want to come back strong and give it everything that I have, the drive is there, I'm really motivated to do my work when I'm allowed to do.. it's still good times even though it's a little bit slow,” said Roger.
The former world number one also might return at the Laver Cup to pair with Rafael Nadal. The pair had been in the same team twice and also played doubles five years back for team Europe. The event will be held from September 23-25 at London, it will be the fifth edition of the event as team Europe has won all the titles so far.
There are records that he can break if makes a comeback as winning a Grand Slam title looks a little beyond achievable but maybe Rafael Nadal’s 21st trophy might inspire him to try harder but Federer making a comeback is more important than seeing him in a major final and can make up for the chances which were missed earlier as he has a proven track record of returning the favour.
While the next gen are moving onto winning majors, climbing up in the rankings but at the same time the big three is trying hard to maintain their winning streak. When Nadal alongside Federer were not at the US Open, Djokovic came close to winning the title and this year when Djokovic was not there; it was Nadal who took the trophy. The winning streak of the big three has not been broken completely but has weakened as the injuries have taken over trophies.
Kaia Kanepi re-enters top 100 in WTA rankings
(Tennis news) Kaia Kanepi has climbed up in the latest rankings issued by the WTA. Kanepi was ranked 115 a few weeks back and after her performance in Australia she is ranked 63. The 36 year old made it past the fourth round of a Grand Slam after a 5 year gap, she had reached the last eight at the 2017 US Open.
Kanepi beat 2016 Australian Open winner Angelique Kerber, Czech player Marie Bouzková and local player Maddison Inglis to reach the fourth round. The biggest upset was beating world number two Aryna Sabalenka to reach the quarter finals. It was one of the most inspiring performances at the women’s draw along with Alize Cornet as both players had shown that patience goes a long way in achieving one’s goals. Although both the players lost at the same stage, they had done well compared to the younger competitors.
The quarter final performance at the 2022 Australian Open saw her complete the feat in all the majors. The former world number 15 had reached the quarterfinals of the three slams by 2010 but had not reached the stage at Melbourne. She had first played at Melbourne in 2007 and had made her debut in Grand Slams at Roland Garros in 2006. After 15 years she finally got past the third round this year and the result has done justice to her rankings. Kanepi could not have had a better start to the season as she has always had mid-year winning streaks and maybe this time things can end differently.
The veteran player made the biggest leap of any major player in the newly-unveiled rankings, while Estonia's number one player, Anett Kontaveit, fell two places to ninth after a disappointing showing in Melbourne where she was knocked out in round two. Kanepi ultimately lost to Iga Swiatek and will now try to continue her performance at Roland Garros. Experience helped her get back at the younger opponents over the past few weeks, it has been almost 10 years since she reached the quarterfinals at Roland Garros and Wimbledon.
The right hander was ranked 15 in 2012 but it was in 2010 where she reached the quarterfinals in 2 consecutive Slams. She performed well at grass then went on to do the same at the US Open and after 2017 it was early exits which saw her rankings decline. This year she can aim to make her first semifinal at a major as after 16 years on tour there can still be hope for many.
Matteo Berrettini moves to career best number 6 in ATP rankings
(Tennis news) The 2022 Australian Open has given the boost in rankings in the WTA and the ATP tour. Matteo Berrettini moved closer to the top 5 as he is now one place below Rafael Nadal in the rankings. Berrettini has 5,278 points as of now and was number before the semi final run at Australia.
Berrettini had cracked the top 100 for the first time in 2018 and entered the top 50 next year since then it has been a steady rise. The 25 year old then cracked the top 10 in a gap of eight months after the top 50 climb, the only route he has taken for the past 4 years is upwards. The Italian has his country mate in the top 10 as Jannik Sinner is ranked at 10. While Berrettini has made his move in the Grand Slams, Sinner has been going through the Masters and also progressing in the majors.
Berrettini has reached quarter finals or more in the last four Grand Slams and lost to Novak Djokovic in three of them while it was Rafael Nadal at Australia. The 2021 season was the best for Berrettini as he finished the year with 41 wins and 12 losses of which 8 was by a player in the top ten.
There has not been major changes at the top in the men’s ranking as Novak Djokovic held his top spot even after missing the Australian Open. Daniil Medvedev will again try to get on top of the rankings which has been at the control of the big four for a long time. Medvedev had his chances last year at Wimbledon and at Roland Garros but Djokovic winning the titles in both the places did not help the Russian’s cause.
Gael Monfils will have a crack at the top ten after a 2 year gap as he rose four places to be in the 16th position now. Monfils was ranked as high as 6 in 2016 after which there was not much consistency from the player. Denis Shapovalov also jumped two places to be ranked 12 as he lost the top ten status in August after a string of losses, the Canadian was close to recording an upset over Nadal at Australia. Canada has Felix Auger-Aliassime who has been in number 9 for over 3 weeks now, the 21 year old was number 10 for a week in December last year and now has been maintaining the position. Roger Federer is ranked at 30, he is out of the top 25 after 20 years as he was last ranked 30 in 2001.
Osaka ousted as Kyrgios and Kokkinakis deliver double delight at Australia
(Tennis news) Day 5 of the 2022 Australian Open saw the upsets continue in the women’s draw and a rocky start to the men’s doubles and mixed doubles. Naomi Osaka was only a point away from proceeding to the next round but was not able to taste victory as Amanda Anisimova came back from the dungeons.
It was the perfect gift for the home crowd when the pair of Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis pulled off an incredible win in the men’s doubles. In the mixed doubles, Giuliana Olmos and Marcelo Arévalo showed the exit door for the top seeds.
In women’s singles, two time champion and also the defending one; Osaka had a good start by breaking Anisimova’s serve in the first game as she kept the lead till the end of the first set. In the second set it was again a single break which decided the outcome of the set but this time it was the 20 year old’s turn as she took the set. In the decider, a 5 minute 10th game saw the four time Grand Slam champion lose two match points as it was 5-5 now. In the tiebreak, Osaka fell behind in the start and did not move from there as she lost in the third round for the second time in 2 years. Anisimova defeated Osaka 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (10-5).
Victoria Azarenka recorded her 5th victory over Elina Svitolina as the pair met for the first time at a Grand Slam. Azarenka only conceded 10 points in the first set as she bageled the world number 17 in 25 minutes. Svitolina had 13 unforced errors in both the sets as she lost 8 consecutive games in the match, there was resistance only in the final game of the match which went on for 13 minutes but it was over for the Ukrainian. Azarenka defeated Svitolina 6-0, 6-2.
In men’s doubles, Nikola Mektić and Mate Pavić were the best doubles pair in the 2021 season with 9 titles in 12 finals including the Wimbledon and Tokyo Olympics, but all the records did not matter one bit as Kyrgios and Kokkinakis hit 17 aces as compared to 4 by the number one ranked pair in the world. The Australian pair went from surviving the tiebreak to winning it in the first set and seemed to be enjoying their time in the doubles draw. Kyrgios and Kokkinakis defeated 7-6(10-8), 6-3.
In mixed doubles, the top seed of Desire Krawczyk and Joe Salisbury saved multiple set points in the first set tie break and were on their way to victory in the second with a 4-1 lead but Olmos and Arévalo took 6 continuous games to take the set. From there on the pair took the lead in the third set and won it comfortably. Olmos and Arévalo defeated Krawczyk and Salisbury 6-7(7-9), 6-4, 10-5.
In women’s doubles, last year’s US Open finalists Samantha Stosur and Zhang Shuai had to leave early as they were beaten by the younger pair of Bernarda Pera and Magda Linette in the second round. Stosur and Zhang took the first 4 games of the match until they lost the next four but somehow managed to take the lead in the tiebreak. Pera and Linette took the next set in 28 minutes as they took 5 games in a row. The final set saw the last two games stretch for 24 minutes as Pera and Linette defeated Stosur and Zhang 6-7(6-8), 6-1, 7-5.
In men’s singles, there was very little to separate between Carlos Alcaraz and Matteo Berrettini in a four hour third round match. Berrettini was up and away in the first set and it all looked cool in the second as he had a 4-2 lead over the teenager. Alcaraz then picked up a hat trick of games as suddenly he looked on top but could not keep it going as the Italian again raced ahead and in the tie break there was no chance for the Spaniard. In the next two sets, Alcaraz had mid set inspiration which somehow Berrettini could not conquer and it was down the deciding set. Both players were holding serve till the tie break and again it was Berrettini who edged the junior ahead with a 5 point lead to enter the fourth round. 6-2, 7-6(7-3), 4-6, 2-6, 7-6(10-5).
Serbia finally had good news as Miomir Kecmanovic continued his best run at a major by beating Lorenzo Sonego in 4 sets to advance to the round of 16. Kecmanovic had tons of opportunities for a 2-0 set lead but gave it away as Sonego put pressure on the Serbian. The pressure made the 22 year old play even better as he took the third set 6-2. In the fourth set Kecmanovic came back from a 2-4 deficit to climb up and beat the Italian. Kecmanovic defeated Sonego 6-4, 6-7(8-10), 6-2, 7-5.
Is Serve and Volley losing its significance in the current era of Tennis?
(Tennis news) Serve and Volley was as common as the now seen tweener on the ATP tour many years ago. Over the years, the court has become slower and the rallies have become longer. Now it's about who can hold the longest not finish the quickest, serve and volley has failed to survive in today’s game. The technique is indeed tough to learn and is even harder to execute in present conditions.
The Serve and Volley is one of the toughest plays in the sport. It requires the player to immediately advance towards the net after the serve and the rallies would be shorter. Now due to the slower courts, there are more rallies as the players are at the back of the court and there is time to get to the ball. At the net, there is little time and it is more difficult to get some angles as without ball control it would make an unforced error. For a Serve and Volley, the player has to have a good serve whether it is fast or has a great angle and then has to finish it on the volley by a drop shot or sending the ball to the other side of the court.
A dying strategy which was used by every player 20 years ago is now almost extinct. Now players finish points from the baseline as the netplay has come down to a great extent, players like Feliciano Lopez and Ivo Karlovic are still heavily relying on the serve and volley. Roger Federer also used to employ the tactic in his earlier days against Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras, Goran Ivanišević and many others but he too did not use it much. Boris Becker’s diving volley in Wimbledon and Pete’s slam dunk smash at the net has been one of the end products of the serve and volley.
The racket change from the 1970’s saw it becoming lighter and the wooden ones became out of fashion. The strings have also kept changing and with the polyester strings coming into the market in the 90’s replacing the synthetic gut it has not changed ever since. The lighter rackets and better string control can give a chance to players for more control and faster movements but so far no player has been able to prove it.
The longer the player is at the net the more vulnerable he is to losing the point. The reflexes cannot work for long as it is bound to get missed or hit out. That is why the doubles game has fewer rallies as compared to the singles. The next gen players rarely use the technique as now it's more about power and the match duration has also increased. Although it has given many Grand Slams to the past players now it will be tough to come out on top.
Novak Djokovic has long divided opinion. Now, his legacy will be complicated even further
Melbourne, Jan 15 (Tennis News) After a convoluted and shambolic visa approval process, followed by questions about his movements over the past month and the information provided to Australian border officials, Immigration Minister Alex Hawke has cancelled Novak Djokovic’s visa.
The decision is a major blow to Djokovic, who is tied with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal at 20 Grand Slam singles titles, the most ever by a male player. While his lawyers will attempt to challenge the latest visa cancellation, Djokovic is unlikely to chase history at his most successful Grand Slam tournament.
The decision is also a blow to the Australian Open. With Federer out with injury, Djokovic and Nadal were the prime draw cards in this year’s men’s tournament. If the top-ranked Serbian player and nine-time Australian Open champion is deported, some have feared serious repercussions for the longevity of the event.
Critics have gone so far as to theorise global tennis powerbrokers might look elsewhere to host the “grand slam of the Asia-Pacific”, so as: […] to be confident the tournament can proceed smoothly with strong levels of public and government support.
In that sense, the conservative MP and former professional tennis player John Alexander had urged allowing Djokovic to stay in the country, arguing: Retaining the Australian Open as a grand slam event […] is in our national interest.
While the Australian Open’s reputation certainly has taken a hit, its status as one of the four Grand Slam tournaments has plenty of support. The longer-term damage might be to Djokovic’s legacy.
Given the extraordinary backstory to his medical exemption from COVID vaccination to enter Australia – along with the many questions that have arisen about his COVID infection in December – public opinion about him has swayed back and forth on a daily basis.
Djokovic has long been a polarising figure in tennis. Despite his athleticism, endurance and mental toughness, he has sometimes been accused of gamesmanship, “exaggerating” injuries to allow for medical pauses when an opponent has the momentum.
Like other players, Djokovic has also exhibited unruly behaviour on court, with occasional racket smashes, as well as disqualification from the 2020 US Open after recklessly – albeit accidentally – smashing a ball into a line judge.
Compared with the much-loved Federer and Nadal, Djokovic has a narrower fan base. At the Australian Open, he’s always had the effervescent support of Melbourne’s large Serbian diaspora, with their patriotic singing and flag-waving. But the mood of the rest of the crowd this year would likely have been mixed, with some undoubtedly voicing their hostility.
Indeed, local tennis fans would have good reason to chafe at Djokovic’s medical exemption from immunisation given the stringent COVID protocols they must follow to attend the Australian Open.
The tournament requires fans to be double-vaccinated or provide evidence of a medical exemption. However, unlike Djokovic’s peculiar defence, prior COVID status does not absolve local residents from the need to be double-vaccinated, with “previous infection” no basis for an exemption.
Grand slammed? Further complicating Djokovic’s legacy is the question of whether he’ll now face visa difficulties at the other tennis majors. The rapid spread of the Omicron variant may alter the rules for unvaccinated players in different countries and tournaments.
As things stand, Djokovic appears to face no vaccine-related impediment to competing at the French Open in a few months. The French sports minister has said Djokovic “would be able to take part”, although unlike vaccinated players he would need to follow “health bubble” protocols.
French President Emmanuel Macron, however, has made headlines by declaring he wants to “piss off” the unvaccinated – in part by mandating a “health pass” for public venues, a requirement for which is to be vaccinated. Whether Macron insists on changes for competitors at Roland-Garros remains to be seen.
As far as Wimbledon is concerned, unvaccinated international arrivals to the United Kingdom are currently required to take repeat COVID tests over several days, plus quarantine for ten days at a residence of their choice.
Djokovic would, presumably, look to a rent a house with a lawn tennis court attached.
The US Open seems less certain. The unvaccinated are not permitted in specific indoor venues in New York without a medical exemption.
So, if one of Djokovic’s matches on the showcourts at the US Open was affected by rain and the roof needed to be closed, it is not clear what organisers would do. He might be forced to forfeit the match.
Given Djokovic has been less prone to injury than Federer or Nadal and is coming off one of his best years on tour, he is still likely to retire with the most men’s grand slam titles. If so, he can rightfully be feted as the greatest male tennis star of all time.
But how he will be remembered is a more complicated question. In one sense, Djokovic appears to revel in being depicted as the “arch-nemesis” of Federer and Nadal – it has fuelled his desire to surpass their grand slam title hauls.
Yet, for all his tennis greatness, Djokovic often attracts eye-rolling outside the court – not simply in relation to his views on vaccines, but the wider pseudo-scientific ruminations that underpin his public pronouncements.
As the Australian tennis player Nick Kyrgios has put it, Djokovic seems “a very strange cat”.
The drama from the past week will have an effect on the way others view him, too. It will inflame his supporters, infuriate his detractors, and prompt even neutral observers to take a stand in respect to his entry to Australia. When it comes to Novak Djokovic, everyone will now surely have an opinion. (The Conversation) MRJ
Also Read : Krejcikova wins epic semi final against Kontaveit at Sydney.
News Sources : PTI
World no 105 Misaki Doi enters last four at Adelaide International 1
(Tennis news) The quarter final clash between Misaki Doi and Kaja Juvan was different from the other three quarter final matches at Adelaide International 1. It was a battle of two players with triple digits in their rankings unlike the rest of the players who reached this stage. Doi was not the favourite against Juvan as she had beaten world number 2 Aryna Sabalenka in the previous match. Juvan had her chances to beat Doi in the third set as she had two match points and was leading by 4-2 but Doi reached her first WTA 500 semifinal in an uplifting fashion. Doi defeated Juvan 6-3, 4-6, 7-6(7-5).
"If I had lost today, still, I gave everything, 100 percent on the court," Doi said, after her win. "I think this mentality was good, I just stayed focused on what I needed to do."
In a high voltage clash, Iga Swiatek overcame Victoria Azarenka in a match where each set was one sided. The first saw the defending champion take the lead as Azarenka did it even better in the second set to take the match into the final set. In the third set, Swiatek annihilated Azarenka’s serve as the former world number 1 only won 3 points out of 12 in her second serve to bow out of the event. Swiatek defeated Azarenka 6-3, 2-6, 6-1.
Ashleigh Barty looked incredibly comfortable playing at home as it was raining aces in her quarterfinal match against Sofia Kenin. Barty only lost one point on her first serve in the whole match as Kenin could not get her racquet near the ball. Kenin also did not secure a single breakpoint in the match as Barty had nine breakpoints and won 7 of them. Barty defeated Kenin 6-3, 6-4.
We practice quite a bit together," Barty said of her next match against Swiatek . "I enjoy her company. I enjoy her team's company. Playing her for the first time last year in Madrid was exciting for both of us.
Elena Rybakina came back from a set down to beat Shelby Rogers for her third consecutive victory over the American. Rogers had defeated Rybakina two years ago in the fourth round of the US Open after which Rybakina had defeated Rogers twice including a straight victory at Wimbledon. Unlike the first two sets, Rybakina got absolute control of the first serve in the final set as she won 9 points out of 10 to set up a semifinal clash against Doi. Rybakina defeated Rogers 3-6, 6-3, 6-2.
Azarenka and Rogers record huge wins at Adelaide International 1
(Tennis news) Day 3 and 4 of Adelaide International 1 saw three top 10 players exit early as Ashleigh Barty and Iga Swiatek are the only players left from the top 10. Barty is also playing the doubles event alongside Stormy Sanders.
Victoria Azarenka beat Paula Badosa as the Spaniard became the highest ranked player to exit the event. Azarenka played a well controlled game as she had more winners and less unforced errors than Badosa who had defeated her in the final of the Indian Wells last year. The former world number 1 did not face a break point in the second set and she took the last three games to win the match. Azarenka defeated Baodosa 6-3, 6-2.
"Honestly, it's been the most chaotic pre-season I've ever had. I was actually really nervous before the tournament, I felt really unprepared. For me to come out here and produce this type of tennis really makes me proud of the competitor I am" said Azarenka.
Barty had to toil in the court for two hours as she was up against Cori Gauff. The first set saw Gauff serving well and only gave away one breakpoint while winning 4 of them. In the second set, Barty was defending points under pressure as Gauff lost 5 of the 6 breaks which gave the lead to Barty. The world number 1 only needed to break Gauff twice as she took the second set and the last set drained the teenager’s energy. Barty defeated Gauff 4-6, 7-5, 6-1.
World number 100 Kaja Juvan recorded the biggest win of her career when she defeated world number 2 Aryna Sabalenka. Juvan was 0-2 behind in the first set and was a point away from losing the set but won 2 consecutive points to take the set. Sabalenka served 7 double faults in the first set and it became worse as she went on to serve 11 more in the next set which resulted in Juvan taking 5 games on the roll for a first top 10 win in her career. Juvan defeated 7-6(8-6), 6-1.
"I really enjoyed the first set. I love when matches get tight, when it's competitive and when it's a really tight fight. I was feeling a little bit sorry at some points because I knew she's not doing the best with the serve and we all know how that feels at one point," Juvan said.
Shelby Rogers repeated her Wimbledon win against Maria Sakkari as Sakkari became the third top 10 player to exit the event. Rogers and Sakkari were having a go at each other in the first set but in the second set there was not much left as Sakkari dominated to level the score. In the final set, two breaks for Rogers made sure she was ahead of Sakkari in the final lap to reach the quarterfinals. Rogers defeated Sakkari 7-6(8-6), 2-6, 6-4.
Venus Williams joins Serena over withdrawal from 2022 Australian Open
(Tennis news) Venus Williams has joined her sister Serena Williams in skipping the 2022 Australian Open. Venus had skipped the US Open last year due to a leg injury and has not confirmed the status of her comeback. It is the first time in 25 years that the Williams sisters won't be seen playing at Melbourne.
The 41 year old first played at Melbourne in 1998 and since then has only missed it thrice. She has reached the final twice in 2003, 2017 and lost both the times to Serena. Venus reached the finals at Melbourne, Wimbledon in 2017 and also reached the semifinals of the US Open that year which was the last time she went beyond the third round of a Grand Slam. She has played 75 matches at Melbourne while winning 54 of them and has not progressed beyond the third round in four years.
The former world number 1 is currently ranked 318 as she has not played many events in the past twelve months and also did not play much in the 2020 season. She is one of the oldest active players on tour and has battled life threatening conditions to come back on court. Venus played her first professional match 28 years ago and is the senior most player who is currently playing. She entered the rankings chart in 1996 and was in the top ten for more than a decade although now she has to work her way up. One of the most resilient players on tour, the 6 foot one inch athlete has suffered multiple serious injuries in her career but has been able to bounce back every time.
The 8 time singles Grand Slam winner only played 12 matches last season and ended her season in August at the Chicago Open. She last won a title 5 years ago defeating Misaki Doi to take the Taiwan Open and last reached a final four years ago at the WTA Finals losing to Caroline Wozniacki. In the 2021 season, she played 9 events and did not enter the fourth round in any of them.
Venus will be joining Jennifier Brady, Karolina Pliskova and Karolina Muchova in skipping the Australian Open. The last two majors have seen many seniors players being absent due to recurring injuries as the toll is rising at each event. The Australian Open will start from 17th January as the players get pumped up for the first major of the year.
Samantha Stosur to play last singles match at Melbourne
(Tennis news) Samantha Stosur has announced she will retire from singles after the Australian Open. The 37 year old has over 600 career wins and has played 1000 matches on tour in singles. Stosur turned professional in 1999 then four years later won her first match on the WTA tour, she reached the semifinal for the first time in a Grand Slam at Roland Garros. She went on to reach the final next year but lost to Francesca Schiavone.
The former world number 4 won her biggest singles title in 2011 at US Open, defeating Serena Williams in the final. In 2012, she reached semis in Roland Garros and quarters at US Open after which her form dipped. Stosur’s last success in singles was in Roland Garros where she reached the semifinals in 2016 where she lost to eventual champion Garbine Muguruza. Stosur has won 40 matches at Roland Garros dating from 2004 to 2019.
"I’m so excited and very grateful to play in my 20th [Australian Open] in a couple of weeks time. A huge thank you to Tennis Australia for giving me this opportunity to finish my singles career at my home Grand Slam," Stosur wrote in an Instagram post.
"It really means a lot to me to be able to finish in front of my family, friends and Aussie fans who have stuck by me through thick and thin. I’m sure it’s going to be a mix of emotions but I wouldn’t want it any other way as I always thought I’d finish playing in Australia."
Stosur is currently ranked No. 382 in the world and received a wild card to play in her 20th career main draw in Melbourne. She made her debut here 2 decades ago when she was a 17-year-old. Although she has not been very active in singles , Stosur is 16th in the doubles ranking. She has reached the finals of all the four majors in doubles and is yet to win at Wimbledon.
Stosur won the US Open with Zhang Shuai last year which was her fourth Grand Slam title in women's doubles. The previous season also saw her finish as runner up at Melbourne with Matthew Ebden in mixed doubles. In the mixed doubles, Stosur has reached the last eight in all four majors, she has won at Australia and twice in Wimbledon.
Ashleigh Barty looking for a title at home in 2022 Australian Open
(Tennis news) Ashleigh Barty will step into the 2022 season as world number one for the third consecutive time, she will be looking for a maiden title here and her third overall when she plays the 2022 Australian Open.
Barty had started this season with a title win at home in Yarra Valley Classic where she defeated Garbine Muguruza in the final. At the Australian Open, the world number one had a surprise exit at the quarterfinal as she was knocked out by Karolina Muchova. She faced another early exit at Adelaide International losing to Danielle Collins in the opening match.
The Australian won the first WTA of the year at Miami, defeating three top ten on her way to the title. Barty then lost to Paula Badosa at the Credit One Charleston Open in the quarterfinal stage but came back to win the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix by defeating Aryna Sabalenka in the final.
The two time Grand Slam winner was looking in control on clay as she reached the final in Madrid taking revenge on Badosa for a place in the final, Sabalenka then avenged her loss in the previous event by beating Barty for the title. Barty then had to retire midway in her event match against Cori Gauff due to an arm injury and again retired hurt at Roland Garros because of a recurring hip injury. She only had two weeks to recover before Wimbledon and it was all she needed as Barty won her second major defeating newly crowned Roland Garros champion Barbora Krejcikova in the fourth round.
The 25 year old came into the Tokyo Olympics with full confidence but the hopes were torn to dust in the first match by Spaniard Sara Sorribes Tormo who knocked out the top seed in straight sets. It did not break her hopes completely and proved it by winning in Cincinnati which was her second WTA 1000 of the season. In the final Grand Slam of the year, Barty faced an early exit when Shelby Rogers scripted one of the most inspiring comebacks of the year. Rogers was down 2-5 in the final set but rallied as the crowds were in full support each time she won a game and then secured the win in the tie break. Barty had won all her previous five matches against Shelby and four of them had come this year.
Barty had withdrawn from the WTA finals Guadalajara saying that she needs rest and needs time to get ready for the 2022 Australian Open. The hip injury had hampered her chances at Roland Garros, though she ended the season in November; the former Big Bash cricketer played 50 matches and won 42 of them. Her best performance at home has been the semifinal finish in 2020, whereas two years later she reached the quarterfinals and next year will be off the blocks to become the first Australian women in three decades to take the singles title.
Spaniard Garbine Muguruza back on top three in WTA tour
(Tennis news) Garbine Muguruza has had a great season on the WTA Tour, climbing back into the top three of the rankings. Muguruza played 59 matches this year in which she won 42 of them. She started the year ranked 15 and had a gradual rise to the top three.
The 28 year old reached the final in the second event of the season at Yarra Valley Classic, even beating Sofia Kenin on the way to the final where she lost to Ashleigh Barty. At the Australian Open, she reached the fourth round before losing to champion Naomi Osaka. In the next event at Qatar, Muguruza reached her second final in two months but lost to Petra Kvitova in the final. She came back to reach another final in Dubai, beating Aryna Sabalenka for the second consecutive time and then defeated Barbora Krejcikova in the final.
The Spaniard then did not reach the last four in the next 10 events after three finals in the first 5 events of the season. She also could not secure a medal at the Tokyo Olympics, losing out to Elena Rybakina in straight sets. After a gap of almost 6 months, Muguruza won the title in Chicago after beating Ons Jabeur in the final. At the WTA Finals, Muguruza was the second most experienced player after Karolina Pliskova and the senior most player handed her a defeat in the second match. Muguruza lost only one match on the way to win the biggest title of the season.
"It's been a crazy season with the Olympics involved as well. It has been a year with many challenges, but at the same time, very successful for me.” Muguruza didn't enjoy success at the Grand Slam level in 2021 but still she felt it was the best season of her career.
"I truly believe this has been my best career season, even though I haven't won slam tournaments," Muguruza claimed. "It was a season in which I managed to find continuity in the game, albeit with ups and downs in the result.”
The two time Grand Slam winner was ranked number 1 four years ago and this year she has given herself a second chance to reclaim the top spot. Muguruza struggled at the Grand Slams as she reached the fourth round in Australia and at the US Open meanwhile at Roland Garros she was knocked out in the opening match. At Wimbledon where she last won a Grand Slam, she reached the third round, Muguruza winning the finals title was a stern reminder that next year she can pick up her usual speed at the majors. At the 2022 Australian Open, she will try to avenge her 2020 final loss and lift a crown that can boost her chances of becoming the world number again.
Angelique Kerber looking to repeat glorious past in 2022 season
(Tennis news) Angelique Kerber is one the few active players with multiple Grand Slam titles in singles. Kerber was last ranked world number 1 in July 2017 and four years later she is ranked 16th but has been in the top 50 since 2010. It will be her 19th year on tour when she enters the 2022 season and is one of the senior most players on tour.
The 33 year old won a title after 3 years at Homburg beating her old rival at Petra Kvitova in the semifinal for the seventh time. The two had faced for the first time in 2012 at Stuttgart Open after which they have played 15 times including thrice this year. Kerber played 46 matches and only lost 16 of them as most of them came at the first half of the season.
Kerber had lost 8 of the first fourteen matches at the start of the year including first round losses at Roland Garros and Australian Open. In the first 10 events of the season she reached the quarterfinals once, she had reached the last eight at her first event of the season at Grampians trophy defeating Ons Jabeur in the fourth round.
The left hander reached the final at Homburg which was the first she went beyond the quarterfinals in the 2021 season. After winning the title, she went on to reach the semifinals at Wimbledon by beating Cori Gauff, Karolina Muchova on the way before losing to eventual champion Ashleigh Barty. Kerber then went on a vintage run by reaching the semifinals at Cincinnati by defeating Kvitova, Maria Sakkari, Elina Svitolina, Jelena Ostapenko and then again lost to Barty in straight sets.
The three time Grand Slam winner then reached the fourth round until she was beaten by runner up Leylah Fernandez in a battle of attacking left handers. Kerber had beaten 2017 US Open winner Sloane Stephens in the previous round but could not defend against the rising star. She then reached the quarterfinals at Indian Wells losing to Spaniard Paula Badosa. Kerber last played in November at Billie Jean Cup Finals losing to Belina Bencic in the opening match.
The former world number 1 last won a Grand Slam title in 2018 at Wimbledon. This year she reached the semifinal at the prestigious grass event showing that there is still a lot of fuel left in the tank. The German is known for her speed in the court, even though she has to compete against younger players; Kerber is still an attacking left hander who can use her forehand to give the opponents a tough time. The 2022 Australian Open will be her 15th appearance at the event and will be raring to go.
Also read: The rise of Paula Badosa in the 2021 season
The rise of Paula Badosa in the 2021 season
(Tennis news) Paula Badosa had a poor start to the 2021 season as she suffered a fourth round exit at Abu Dhabi and then lost in the first round at the Australian Open. Badosa was ranked 70 twelve months ago and made her top ten debut a month ago. Her rise on the WTA tour has been remarkable and is projected to go higher next year.
The Spaniard reached the semifinals at Lyon where she lost to qualifier Calra Tauson. Her first big jump came at Credit one Charleston Open, she reached the semifinals by beating Belina Bencic in the third round and upsetting Ashleigh Barty in the quarterfinals. Badosa then reached the last four again at the Madrid Open, she defeated Barbora Krejcikova and Bencic on the way before losing to Barty. Her clay dominance continued at the Serbia Open as she won her career first title, the 24 year old then backed it with a quarterfinal appearance at Roland Garros as her rankings shot up.
Badosa climbed up 40 places in three months with four consecutive quarter final or better performances. The Roland Garros quarterfinalist then reached the fourth round at Wimbledon while picking up her first victory at the event, she went on to lose to Karolina Muchova in straight sets. At the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, in-form Badosa had to retire in the quarterfinal match against Marketa Vondrousova due to a heatstroke.
A shoulder injury during the Western and Southern Open forced Badosa to retire in the quarterfinal against Karolina Pliskova. An early exit at the US Open and Ostrava Open made her slip one place below in the rankings. The Indian Wells event was next as Badosa was playing in the main draw for the first time, she beat Cori Gauff, Barbora Krejcikova, Angelique Kerber, Ons Jabeur and set up a final with experienced player Victoria Azarenka. The final went on for three hours and it took two tie breaks as it gave Badosa her biggest title so far, the win pushed her into the top ten.
The 5 feet 11 inch player then reached the semifinals at Akron WTA Finals Guadalajara which took her to 8th place in the rankings. Badosa defeated Aryna Sabalenka, Maria Sakkari before losing the final group stage match to Iga Swatiek. In the semifinal clash of the two Spaniards, Garbine Muguruza came out on top to reach the final and eventually win the title.
Badosa has been one of the top performers on clay this season. She will be one of the players to watch out for at Roland Garros and has not taken much time to enter the top ten rankings. The two time title winner has a powerful serve and groundstrokes which came into use at harcourts. Badosa is not afraid to take up chances, she will look to start the 2022 Australian Open with a thumping win and get warmed up for the clay season.
Jurgen Melzer, Viktor Troicki bid farewell to the sport this year
(Tennis news) The 2021 season saw many players saying goodbye to the sport and they won’t be seen once the 2022 season begins. Although only few players are left who have been playing since the early 2000’s, most of them have been affected with injuries and exited the top 100 while some of them are still in the top 50. Let's look at some players who have retired this year.
Melzer has been playing on the tour since 1999 and turned 40 this year. The left hander had 350 wins in his singles and doubles career although he last played a singles match in 2018 at Vienna. His last Grand Slam match was in the 2017 Australian Open against Roger Federer in the first round, Melzer will be remembered for his two set comeback win against Novak Djokovic in the quarterfinals of the 2010 Roland Garros. That was the only instance a player beat the Serbian from two sets down, Melzer had also beaten Rafael Nadal at the Shanghai Masters 1000 that year. Melzer reached the fourth round in all the slams and the 2010 Roland Garros Semifinal was his best result.
In the doubles event, Melzer won the Wimbledon and US Open title with Philipp Petzschner. The former world number 8 also has five singles titles and retired from the singles tour in 2018.
Dolgopolov last played a match in 2018 at Rome when he suffered a wrist injury. The Ukrainian last won a title in 2017 at Buenos Aires defeating the then world number 5 Kei Nishikori in the final. Dolgopolov was known for his unconventional strokes as his forehand and backhand were unorthodox but quite effective as it was not predictable. The 6 time tour finalist had a rock solid backhand drop shot which had a huge amount of spin that made even players like Rafael Nadal and Grigor Dimitrov give up the chase.
Dolgopolov’s biggest moment came at the 2011 Australian Open where he reached the quarterfinals defeating Robin Soderling in the fourth round in a five setter match. 3 years later at Indian Wells he took out World number one Nadal in the opening round and went on to reach the semifinals where he lost to Roger Federer. In 2015, the former world number 13 reached the semifinals at Cincinnati as a qualifier.
Troicki was last seen playing a few months in the grass courts at the Cinch Championships where he reached the fourth round. The 35 year old had won three titles in the singles tour and last won a title at Sydney five years back. Troicki, Janko Tipsarevic and Djokovic were Serbia’s leasing singles players on tour until Tipsarevic retired two years back and now Troicki joined his fellow countryman. The 2020 ATP Cup saw Serbia winning the title as Troicki teamed up with Djokovic in the final doubles rubber against Spain and in the doubles he only lost one match against Chile. Troicki was the world number 11 a decade ago and is hanging up the racquets after being on the tour for 15 years.
Paolo has been on tour since 2003 although his first and only title came in 2016 making him the oldest first time singles champion since 1990. The Italian played two main tour matches this year and was one of the most hard working professionals on tour. The 40 year old cracked the top 35 in 2017 after two runner up finishes and a fourth round appearance at the US Open.
“I would like them to remember me as a player who was trying his best every time on court and was fighting until the end,” Lorenzi said. “This was the best journey of my life. I really enjoyed every moment. Every time I was on court, it was a dream that came true.”
Karolina Muchova announces withdrawal from 2022 Australian Open
(Tennis news) Karolina Muchova has become the latest player to announce her non participation in the 2022 Australian Open. The 25 year old last played at the US Open where she was knocked out on the first round by Sara Sorribes Tormo, Muchova had announced on September 30 that her season is over. Muchova then declared yesterday that she won’t be playing in Australia.
"I'm sad to announce that my 2022 season will not start in Australia. I'm doing all I can to get back on the court as soon as I'm able," Muchova wrote on Twitter.
The world number 32 had played 28 matches this year and won 19 of them, she reached the semifinals for the first time at this year’s Australian Open. Muchova defeated Karolina Pliskova in the third round and then went on to defeat Elise Mertens in the next match as both her victories were in straight sets. In the quarterfinals, she upset world number one Ashleigh Barty after losing the first set 1-6 to reach the last four where she lost to Jennifer Brady in three sets.
Muchova entered Roland Garros with a career high ranking of 19 but lost in the third round to Sloane Stephens after which her ranking dropped. The Czech player then reached the Quarter Final stage at Wimbledon beating Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Paula Badosa on the way. Muchova lost to Angelique Kerber as she could only manage to win five games in the match. She had reached the quarterfinals at Wimbledon two years ago where she defeated Anett Kontaveit and Pliskova but lost to Elina Svitolina.
Muchova had suffered from an abdominal injury in August while playing at Cincinnati WTA 1000, she had beaten Johanna Konta in the first match and then beat 2019 US Open champion Bianca Andreescu in the third round. She faced Belinda Bencic who won the singles Gold and doubles Silver at Tokyo Olympics, Muchova was trailing 3-5 in the first set when she dug through to make it 5 all. Bencic although won the set and in the second set the pain was too much to handle as Muchova retired midway to end the match.
Muchova has an attacking type of play and comes to the net to finish the points. She does not stay in the baseline as her powerful serve and groundstrokes enable her to take control over rallies against her opponent. Although she has not said when she will be back on tour, Muchova will aim to enter the top ten of the rankings in the 2022 season.
Stefanos Tsitsipas to comeback strong for 2022 season after injury recovery
(Tennis news) Stefanos Tsitsipas is amongst the next big four in tennis along with Daniil Medvedev, Alexander Zverev and Dominic Thiem. Tsitsipas enjoyed a career best of 55 wins in a season which was one more than his 2019 season although he won 3 titles that year compared to 2 this year.
Tsitsipas started with the year with two victories at the ATP Cup and had one of the best starts to the season by reaching the last four in 7 of the next 11 events. He reached the semifinals of the Australian Open after a 4 hour quarter final battle against Rafael Nadal in one of the best matches at the tournament and had lost to him two years ago in the semifinal. Tsitsipas was a two time defending champion at Marseille but this time made a quarterfinal exit as he was beaten by Pierre-Hugues Herbert. Tsitsipas won his first title of the season at Monte Carlo which was his second biggest title after the Nitto ATP Finals win in 2019.
Tsitsipas reached the final at Barcelona to make it two consecutive finals after his win at Monte Carlo, this time he was beaten by Nadal in three sets as the final went on for 3 and half hours. At Roland Garros, Tsitsipas reached the final for the first after beating Zverev and Medvedev on the way to set up a summit clash with Novak Djokovic. After an hour, Tsitsipas took the first set even saving a set point and went on to win the second set as he inched closer to the title but Djokovic’s mental game was too good to break. The Serbian conceded five games in the next two sets and took the final set 6-4 to win his second title of the year.
Tsitsipas then lost in the first round at Wimbledon to Frances Tiafoe in straight sets but took revenge by beating him in the third round at Tokyo Olympics and lost the next match to Ugo Humbert. Tsitsipas then beat Humbert at Toronto and went on to reach the semifinals where he lost to server Reily Opelka. At Cincinnati, he again reached the semifinals but lost to Zverev after having a 4-1 lead in the third set. In the next 6 events he failed to reach the semifinals as his season came to an end at the Nitto ATP finals where he played one match and withdrew due to an elbow injury.
Tsitsipas reached his third consecutive Grand Slam semi final at Roland Garros this year. The Greek god has a classic one handed backhand like Thiem and is one of the few players to still have it. Tsitsipas showed fearlessness against Djokovic in his debut final but could not hold onto the momentum in the final stages which happens at the big stages. Tsitsipas is currently recovering from the injury and is set to make a comeback at the start of the 2022 season.
Tsitsipas will try to get a good start at the 2022 Australian Open and maybe beat Djokovic at his favorite Slam. Tsitsipas had defeated Roger Federer in the 2019 edition and this year took out Nadal so he can target big this time. Amongst the next gen, Tsitsipas is not the best in terms of court temperament as he had some issues at the US Open where had taken too much time for toilet breaks and it did not go well with Andy Murray. Tsitsipas is only 23 and winning big titles at the expense of a few racquets has been occurring for decades now.
Emma Raducanu crowned Sports Personality of the Year 2021
(Football news) British tennis star Emma Raducanu has been named BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year 2021 after becoming the first qualifier to win the Grand Slam at the US Open. Having started the year ranked 343, Raducanu ends 2021 with a 19th rank in what has undoubtedly been a meteoric rise for the 19 year old. She beat diver Tom Daley who finished second and Adam Peaty, who came third for the coveted prize.
Speaking to the BBC, Raducanu said “It's such an honour just to be among these nominees - to win it is pretty amazing. I watched Sports Personality of the Year growing up, so I'm really humbled to join the amazing past winners - I'm also really happy for British tennis that we managed to get this award again. All the support I've received this past year has been absolutely insane, and the energy I felt at Wimbledon this year playing in front of my home crowd is something I've never felt before."
The other three individuals shortlisted for the award were Tyson Fury, Raheem Sterling and Dame Sarah Storey while Sir Lewis Hamilton, who was knighted by Prince Charles last week was omitted from the award. The Team of the Year award was given to England for reaching the Euro 2020 finals while manager Gareth Southgate received the Coach of the Year award. Speaking to the BBC, Southgate said “Managing in football now is a very complex business. I'm fortunate to work with good people that make it easier for me."
The Lifetime Achievement Award was given to four-time Olympic gymnast champion Simone Biles. The 24 year old was forced to withdraw from five finals at the Tokyo Olympics due to mental health issues but secured a bronze on the balance beam and silver in the women’s team event. Jennifer Beattie, footballer for Scotland and Arsenal Women, won the Helen Rollason Award for raising awareness of breast cancer, having been diagnosed with the illness at the age of 29 in October 2020.
The Young Sports Personality of the Year Award was given to skateboarder Sky Brown, the 13 year old became Britain’s youngest Olympic medallist in Tokyo this year, winning the bronze at the women’s park event. She was given the award ahead of the likes of England and Borussia Dortmund footballer Judge Bellingham and 17-year-old Ellie Challis who became England’s youngest ever Paralympian medal winner after winning silver at the S3 women's 50 metres backstroke event in August.
The World’s Sports Star of the Year award went to Irish jockey Rachael Blackmore who became the first woman to win the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham followed by a victory at the Grand National, thereby becoming not just the first woman to finish in the top four but also winning it. The Unsung Hero Award went to Sam Barlow who created a support group following the death of her husband in 2020 for people who were grieving and experiencing isolation. She has been offering sport and athletic sessions to children from deprived areas.
Daniil Medvedev targets no 1 spot in season 2022
(Tennis news) Daniil Medvedev has been part of the next gen for the past 3 years. He got his first tour win in 2016 in Grass at Libema Open, since then he has embarked on a record breaking run on tour. Medvedev finished this year with most wins on the ATP tour as he had 63 wins. He was the only player with 60 plus wins and reached 8 finals while winning 4 of them.
Medvedev first reached the no 2 spot in rankings in March as he became the first player other than big four to take the position since Lleyton Hewitt in 2005. Medvedev had his chances at Roland Garros and Wimbledon to ascend to the world no 1 ranking but could not as Djokovic ended up winning the titles. Medvedev can become the first world number one other than the big four who have held the top spot since 2003, Andy Roddick was the last person other than the big four to become world number one 18 years ago.
Medvedev’s top moment came this year at the US Open which will forever be one of the top moments in tennis history. Medvedev was facing Novak Djokovic who was aiming to be the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to win the calendar slam. Medvedev had lost to Djokovic in the Australian Open final earlier this year in straight sets, Djokovic was the favorite given his experience and his form this year. Medvedev had 3 wins against the Serb while losing 5 in the previous 8 matches, Medvedev produced one of the most dominant performances to beat Djokovic in straight sets. It was heartbreak for Djokovic as he lost the final hurdle and it will be unsure when a chance similar to this will come next.
Medvedev also got his first victory at Roland Garros in his fifth attempt and went on to reach the quarterfinals. He also reached the Wimbledon fourth round for the first time, thus bettering his record at every Grand Slam this year. Medvedev’s breakthrough in the Grand Slam came two years ago at US Open two years where he reached the final and fought Rafael Nadal for almost five hours to take the runner up trophy.
Medvedev’s US Open victory made him the second player born in the 90’s after Dominic Thiem to win a Grand Slam title. Medvedev has now won a Grand Slam and has reached the no 2 in rankings. His next step will be to be the world number one and follow the footsteps of Roger Federer, Nadal as they are currently recovering from injuries but will be back next year. Medvedev will spearhead the next gen’s attack on the big three along with Alexander Zverev and Dominic Thiem.
Medvedev will have strong chances of becoming the world number one as he has come the closest to it than any other player in the past 15 years other than the big four. As of now, Medvedev is not plagued by injuries unlike many players even though his schedule has also been packed. Medvedev’s court coverage and baseline attack has made him one of the toughest players to beat on tour. He is 6 feet 6 inches tall but can still run and pick up tough drop shots as the 25 year old Russian is peaking at the right time. Medvedev has one clear goal for season 2022 and that is to be at the peak of the rankings.
World No 4 Karolina Pliskova to miss 2022 Australian Open
(Tennis news) Karolina Pliskova became the third player after Serena Williams and Bianca Andreescu to miss the 2022 Australian Open. The Czech player had injured her hand during practice and said she would miss the events in January, Pliskova had announced in social media about her injury.
"Some days are worse than others," Pliskova said. "Unfortunately I will be out for a while and will not compete at my favorite tournaments in Australia. But time and belief can heal everything."
The 29 year old played 56 matches this year and won 37 of them. She had defeated Serena Williams in the quarterfinals of the 2019 Australian Open before losing to Naomi Osaka in the semifinals. This year she lost in the third round where she lost to another Czech player Karolina Muchova. She had reached the finals in Wimbledon where she lost to Ashleigh Barty in three sets, at the US Open she reached the quarterfinals and lost to Maria Sakkari in straight sets.
Pliskova has been the ace leader of the WTA tour from 2014- 2017, 2019 and also this year. She has served 400 aces per season six times and served 500 plus in 2015 and 2016. This year she had 410 aces as her height allows her to reach the power for the killer serve and it plays a key role on hardcourts. Pliskova hit a record 24 aces in her second round match against Amanda Anisimova at the US Open, it was the highest in a match at the event and 6th highest overall on the WTA tour. Pliskova is also 22 wins away from reaching 600 career wins and will be a milestone she is most likely to achieve on her comeback.
Pliskova will be missing a Grand Slam event for the first time since 2012 where she failed to qualify for the US Open. She had been playing in 35 consecutive Grand Slams which is the fourth highest, a record she shares with Caroline Garcia. Pliskova has reached the final once in Wimbledon and US Open, at Roland Garros and the Australian Open she has reached the last four.
In the 2017 season, she reached the quarterfinals at the Australian Open, US Open and reached the semifinals at Wimbledon. She became the world number one in July that year and held onto the position for 4 weeks till August. Pliskova has been in the top ten since 2017 until this year in June she was ranked 13 but came back into the top ten in a few weeks and now is ranked no 4.
Jenson Brooksby wins Newcomer of the year award as Federer is fan favorite
(Tennis news) Jenson Brooksby won the ATP Newcomer of the year award for his outstanding performance in 2021. Roger Federer won the fans favorite award for the 19th straight year as the 40 year old is recovering from a knee injury.
Brooksby started the year with a ranking of 314 and after 11 months he is currently ranked career best 56. The 21 year old won 15 matches this year and only had one victory on the tour prior to this year. He reached the finals at Newport and reached the semifinals in Antwerp where he defeated Reily Opelka in the opening match. Brooksby’s best came at Washington where he reached the semifinals without dropping a set and defeated Felix Auger-Aliassime, Frances Tiafoe on the way.
At the Grand Slams, Brooksby made his debut at Roland Garros and lost in the first round to Aslan Karatsev. He took revenge at the US Open by beating Karatsev in the third round and beat Taylor Fritz in round two but lost to Novak Djokovic in the fourth round. Brooksby had made his debut at the Grand Slams three years ago at the US Open. He had qualified for the Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals but had to withdraw due to an abdominal injury but he beat fellow Gen stars to win the award.
“First, after the adversity I’d faced in 2020, not being able to play any matches and just knowing what it takes to win… fighting through that adversity to win the title in my second week in South Africa. Secondly I was proud of how well I adjusted to big moments and how well I consistently did in the Challengers after winning that first title, especially in Tallahassee and Orlando during that time of the season,” Brooksby said. “I’m proud of how I’ve been committed to my process and doing the things I need to do. I know there’s still work to do in that, but I’ve made good strides this year. Third, I’m proud of how well I translated my game and my belief into the ATP Tour tournaments. I translated my game really well and I had good results starting with my first ATP tournaments.”
There was no surprise in the ATP fans favorite award as Roger Federer took home the title for the 19th straight year. Federer had only played 13 matches this year as a knee injury kept him out of the tour since July, he lost to Hubert Hurkacz at Wimbledon this year in the quarterfinals which was his last match of the season. Federer is expected to come back next season after Wimbledon.
Alexander Zverev 6 titles this season paves way for big targets in 2022
(Tennis news) Alexander Zverev has been a regular in the top ten rankings of the ATP for the past four years. The 24 year old has been winning at least one title since 2016, his breakthrough year was 2017 where he won 5 titles including two Masters 1000 events. In 2018, he kept on winning as he picked up 4 titles and his biggest title which was the Nitto ATP Finals.
Zverev won 6 titles this year, the most by a player on ATP this season. He won two Masters 1000 titles, gold at Tokyo Olympics and also finished with a second title at the year end championships. Zverev also picked up 300th career win this season at Vienna in October and finished with 59 victories, one less than his personal best of 60 wins in 2018.
The right hander is one of the most promising next gen players. He stopped Novak Djokovic in the semifinals at the Tokyo Olympics which denied the Serbian the elusive gold and also defeated Djokovic again at the semifinals of the year end championship. Zverev is a baseliner who has a steady backhand and a powerful serve which is a hard to combat mixture in hard courts. Zverev has won titles in clay and hard courts with only grass remaining in his bucket list.
Zverev reached the semifinals of a Grand Slam for the first time last year at the Australian Open and reached the finals of the US Open. This year he reached the semifinals at Roland Garros and the US Open. He has been struggling in grass courts since beginning, at Wimbledon he has not progressed beyond the fourth round.
Zverev can target the grass courts next year as he has accomplished himself as a top player to beat in clay and hard courts. With his defense and control on court, he can land titles at grass too. Zverev has two runner up finishes at Halle and beat Roger Federer in the semifinals five years back. He will also look to win his first Grand Slam title in the 2022 season as he has been reaching the last four stages continuously over the past two years, the last German to win a Grand Slam in the ATP tour was Michael Stich at WImbledon in 1991.
Zverev will begin his quest at the 2022 Australian Open, he will look to follow Boris Becker as he has won the most Grand Slams for a German player on the ATP tour. Steffi Graff had won 22 Grand Slams which is the most by a German player and Angelique Kerber was the last German to win a Grand Slam in 2018 again at Wimbledon. History has been kind to Germany in grass and it might change Zverev’s fortune next season.
Four milestones which can be covered by the big three in 2022 season
(Tennis news) The 2022 season will begin in 16 days as players get ready for new records and challenges. The big three will also have their own targets set as Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic are expected to start on time, Roger Federer said he is expecting rest till the mid season. The three players have been on tour for a very long time especially Federer as it is going to be his 24th year on tour and Djokovic is the favorite to lead the attack after his performance this year
Roger Federer career wins record
Roger Federer currently has 1251 victories on tour and needs 23 more to eclipse Jimmy Connors record and will become the all time leader on most career wins. Over the past two years he has not played many matches as he only has 14 wins from 2020 but in 2019 he had 53 so he still has the chances of beating the record next season.
Novak Djokovic 1000th career victory
Djokovic has been on tour for the past 18 years and has had 989 career wins. He can become the 5th player to record 1000 career wins and the last player to do so was his arch rival Nadal. Djokovic needs 11 more victories which he can do for sure, he is 39 matches behind Nadal and both are expected to start the 2022 tour at the same time.
Nadal reaching a final for the 19th consecutive year
Nadal has been reaching at least one singles final since 2004 and will be his 19th consecutive year if he reaches a final in the 2022 season. Nadal is only behind Federer who has reached a final for 20 consecutive years and the Spaniard leads in the title records as he has been winning a title every year since 2004. Only Djokovic and Nadal have been winning a title for more than 15 consecutive years as the Serbian has been winning a title since 2006.
21st Slam in line
This is the milestone which the three will equally focus on as they look to become the first man in history to win 20 or more Grand Slams. Although Djokovic is the one in form, his US Open final loss this year is a sign that the record might take more time. Nadal will savor his chances on Roland Garros and Federer will look for Wimbledon success as Djokovic is a threat now in all the four. The next gen will give us more surprises as they are getting stronger in each tournament.
Mackenzie McDonald and Marcus Daniell win ATP player awards
(Tennis news) Mackenzie McDonald won the ATP comeback player of the year award after a career defining performance over the last 12 months. The 26 year old suffered a hamstring injury at Roland Garros in 2019 while playing doubles as he was out for seven months, he needed surgery after which he couldn’t walk for a month and in 2020 he was ranked 270 in the first quarter of the season. He slowly made his way up as he started this year ranked 194 and now is ranked 55 to complete a fighting comeback.
Mackenzie reached the fourth round of a Grand Slam for the second time at this year’s Australian Open and lost to Daniil Medvedev in straight sets. Mackenzie had reached the fourth round in his first appearance at Wimbledon in 2018, he reached the finals at Washington defeating Benoit Paire and Kei Nishikori on the way. At the US Open, he defeated David Goffin in the 1st round but lost to Nishikori in a five setter in the second round. Mackenzie last played in november at Stockholm Open losing to Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in the opening match.
“It’s extremely rewarding. For me it’s a massive accomplishment, honestly. At the end of the year I was hoping I was going to be nominated, I got that and then actually winning it is really cool for me,” McDonald said. “It was a really big comeback and I feel like I put in all the hard work. When I was going through the rehab process I did everything I possibly could to get myself back”.
Doubles player Marcus Daniell received the Arthur Ashe Humanitarian award for his service through his organization High Impact Athletes. It is an organization which connects athletes and the general public with the most effective, evidence-based charities in the world. Daniell founded the organization in November last year and now has several fellow athletes helping him. Marcus had the idea of donating to charity for a few years and now has decided to donate 10 percent of his earnings to effective organizations for life. Stefanos Tsitsipas, Joe Salisbury, John Millman, Rajeev Ram and many more have pledged to donate certain parts of their earnings to the organization.
“When I was told I was this year’s Arthur Ashe Humanitarian Award recipient I was blown away. It is incredibly humbling to look down the list of previous recipients and see who has received this honour. Their many accomplishments both on and off the court are staggering” said Daniell.
“My journey in philanthropy began in 2015. It was the first year I focussed on doubles and it was also the first year I made money playing tennis. I was able to put some savings away in the bank at the end of the year and with that little bit of financial security came this really strong urge to give back”.
Rafael Nadal and Domnic Thiem look to start strong in 2022 season
(Tennis news) The 2022 season is only 23 days away as many stars had to take leave early this season due to injuries. Bianca Andreescu, Serena Williams and Roger Federer have already said that they won’t be playing the Australian Open next year. The calendar for next also has seen some changes in the order of events as it is tightly packed especially in the first half with the inclusion of the ATP Cup. Many top players did not play the entire 2021 season and given below are the top four players who withdrew early from the ATP tour this year.
Federer has only played 13 matches this year with Wimbledon being his last tournament. The 20 time Grand Slam winner is 40 years old and one of the oldest players on tour. He underwent a third knee surgery in August after having two of them done last year. He also won’t be playing at the 2022 Australian Open and will mostly return mid season. He is currently ranked 16 having last won a title two years ago in Basel.
Nadal played 29 matches this year and lost just five of them. He last played at Washington, losing to Lloyd Harris in the fourth round and then underwent treatment in his foot as he called off the season. The Spaniard won two titles this year and will next be seen at the Australian Open where he and Novak Djokovic will be battling for a record 21st Grand Slam title.
The 28 year old had a disappointing season having played 18 matches and missing out on the second half of the ATP calendar. Thiem last played at Mallorca Open where he suffered a wrist injury which led him to retire in the first round against Adrian Mannarino. He had won his first Grand Slam title at the US Open last year, becoming the first player born in the 90’s to do so. Thiem is expected to return at the 2022 Australian Open, he was the runner up last year losing to Djokovic.
Wawrinka has a lot to cover next year as his ranking dropped to 64 places and is currently ranked 82 in the world. He played 6 matches this year and was seen at Doha in March after undergoing a surgery on his foot. Wawrinka again had to undergo a surgery in June and his name was not on the list for Australian Open 2022. It is not sure when Wawrinka will make his comeback on tour as the three time Grand Slam champion will be waiting to set loose his backhand on court.
Also read: AITA begins process to identify venue for Davis Cup tie against Denmark
Bianca Andreescu and Serena Williams to miss 2022 Australian Open
(Tennis news) Bianca Andreescu has announced that she will not be competing in the 2022 Australian Open. The 2019 US Open champion said she wants a mental break and will take some time off the tour. She finished her 2021 season ranked No.46.
Bianca also had to miss the 2020 season due to injury, the former World No.4 played her first match after a year at the Australian Open in February. She was the runner up in WTA 1000 Miami Open in March and recorded wins against Garbine Muguruza and Maria Sakkari before retiring in the final against No.1 Ashleigh Barty. Andreescu is the second tennis player after Naomi Osaka to have announced a break in the tour citing mental health as this year the sports players have repeatedly focused on mental health.
"I want to give myself extra time to re-set, recover, and grow from this and continue to inspire by doing charity work, giving back and working on myself because I know by doing this, I will come back stronger than ever”, said Andreescu.
"I will therefore not start my season in Australia this year, but will take some additional time to reflect, train, and be ready for the upcoming 2022 tennis season."
Serena Williams also will not be seen at the Australian Open as she still needs time to recover from injury. The seven time champion also missed out the US Open this year, she last won the Australian Open in 2017 which also was her last Grand Slam title. Serena is only 1 behind Margaret Court’s record of 24 Grand Slam titles and is still a tough competitor in her 26th year on tour.
"While this is never an easy decision to make, I am not where I need to be physically to compete," Serena said.
"Melbourne is one of my favorite cities to visit and I look forward to playing at the AO every year. I will miss seeing the fans, but am excited to return and compete at my highest level."
Serena last played a match a few months ago at Wimbledon where she had to retire from the first round due to an injury. She reached the semifinals at the Australian Open and the fourth round at the French Open and totally played 17 matches this year. Bianca played 29 matches this year and her best performance in Grand Slams came at the US Open where she reached the fourth round; she last played at Indian Wells in October.
The US Open this year saw withdrawal of many top players as now the start of the next season has already seen withdrawals. The Australian Open is scheduled to start from 17th January.
Winners of the 2021 WTA Player Awards announced in five categories
(Tennis news) The WTA named winners of the five categories for the 2021 season. Barbora Krejcikova won two awards for her outstanding season as the 25 year old ended the year with Grand Slam titles in singles, doubles and mixed doubles. Carla Suárez Navarro also bid farewell to the sport as she played her 18th and final season on tour.
WTA Player of the Year: World No.1 Ashleigh Barty won the award for the second time as she had won in 2019. This season she had a tour leading five WTA titles. She reached the quarterfinals at the Australian Open, won her second Grand Slam title at Wimbledon and reached the fourth round at the US Open. Barty also won 42 matches while losing only 8 and continued her third consecutive year at the top of the rankings.
WTA Newcomer of the Year: Emma Raducanu undoubtedly won the Newcomer of the Year after making history at the US Open where she became the first qualifier to win a Grand Slam. Raducanu won all 10 of her matches without dropping a set. She played her first Grand Slam main draw at Wimbledon this season and went on to reach the fourth round as she became the youngest British woman to achieve this feat. Raducanu is currently the world number 19 after climbing over 350 places in a period of six months.
WTA Doubles Team of the Year: The pair of 25 year olds, Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova won the Award for the second time, as they took the title previously in 2018. In 2021, the Czech duo won the French Open to win their third Grand Slam together, they also won the doubles gold at the Tokyo Olympics 2020 and had a perfect end to the season by winning the Doubles Trophy at the Akron WTA Finals Guadalajara. They also finished the season as the no 1 ranked doubles team.
WTA Most Improved Player of the Year: Barbora Krejcikova won her second WTA award in 2021 as she earned the WTA Most Improved Player of the Year award. She won her first Grand Slam title in singles at the French Open while also winning the doubles title, Krejcikova also won her first mixed doubles title at the Australian Open with Rajeev Ram. She was ranked 65 at the start of 2021, in November she achieved her career best of rank 3 and is currently ranked no 5. She also became the first player since Karolina Pliskova in 2016 to qualify for the singles and doubles at the year end event.
WTA Comeback Player of the Year: Carla Suárez Navarro’s farewell season was supposed to be last year but the pandemic made her rethink her decision. She had been down with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in September 2020 but overcame cancer and decided to end her career this year. The Spaniard is a 7 time quarterfinalist at the Grand Slams. She ended her career with over 500 wins and was the world no 6 five years ago which remains her career best ranking.
FA Cup holders Leicester set to face Watford, Man Utd to host Aston Villa and Chesterfield visit Stamford Bridge in third round fixtures
(Football news) The FA Cup third round fixtures have been announced with current holders Leicester City set to face Watford in a fixture which will see former manager Claudio Ranieri return to the King Power Stadium. Manchester United will host Steven Gerrard’s Aston Villa in another all-Premier League tie while West Ham will take on Leeds United at the London Stadium.
One of the biggest mismatches on paper is non-league side Chesterfield, who are currently top of the National League facing European champions Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. League Two side Swindon will welcome the reigning Premier League champions Manchester City at the County Ground while Shrewsbury will face Liverpool at Anfield. Arsenal, who have won the FA Cup a record 14 times, will face Nottingham Forest while League One team Morecambe will face Tottenham Hotspur.
Newcastle United will face Cambridge, Wolves will face Sheffield United while Burnley will face Huddersfield in the FA Cup third round fixtures. Everton will travel to Hull City’s stadium while Southampton will face Swansea City. Bottom placed Premier League club Norwich City will play against League One outfit Charlton in a fixture where results can go either way for the two sides.
The third round matches are set to take place between January 7th and January 10th 2022.
Here is the complete draw from the FA Cup third round fixtures
Boreham Wood vs AFC Wimbledon
Yeovil Town vs AFC Bournemouth
Stoke City vs Leyton Orient
Swansea City vs Southampton
Chelsea vs Chesterfield
Liverpool vs Shrewsbury Town
Cardiff City vs Preston North End
Coventry City vs Derby County
Burnley vs Huddersfield Town
West Bromwich Albion vs Brighton & Hove Albion
Kidderminster Harriers vs Reading
Leicester City vs Watford
Mansfield Town vs Middlesbrough
Hartlepool United vs Blackpool
Hull City vs Everton
Bristol City vs Fulham
Tottenham Hotspur vs Morecambe
Millwall vs Crystal Palace
Port Vale vs Brentford
Swindon Town vs Manchester City
Wigan Athletic vs Blackburn Rovers
Luton Town vs Harrogate Town
Birmingham City vs Plymouth Argyle
Manchester United vs Aston Villa
Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Sheffield United
Newcastle United vs Cambridge United
Barnsley vs Ipswich Town or Barrow
Peterborough United vs Bristol Rovers
West Ham United vs Leeds United
Queens Park Rangers vs Rotherham United
Charlton Athletic vs Norwich City
Nottingham Forest vs Arsenal
Russian team looking stronger than ever with third Davis Cup title
(Tennis news) The Russian team completed a sweep of team title wins with the Davis Cup victory over Croatia in the finals. It had earlier won the ATP Cup in January and tasted success on the WTA tour last month when they won the Billie Jean King Cup for the fifth time. Russia proved why they are now one of the strongest teams in the field as they have four players who are in the top 30 and two in the top five. Croatia could not create tension on the singles tie as they were hoping to catch up in the doubles match but could not hold on for that long.
Andrey Rublev had the momentum from the start of the match against Borna Gojo and got his first break in the seventh game to take a 4-3 lead. The rallies were purely defensive play as there were only a few net points by both players, Borna Gojo looked to come back in the second set as he had won his last three matches and all of them were 200 places above him in rankings. However, this time Borna’s skill just didn’t click against Rublev’s power and his serve, Rublev did not want the match to go into the decider as he had played three of them in the last four matches.
The second set saw both the players holding their serves till the end which invited the tie breaker. Borna started with a double fault as the pressure was getting on his nerves, but he made it 4-4 all after coming down from 4-2 and then hit an ace to make it 5-4 as he was now points away from taking the set. Rublev then hit an outstretched forehand passing shot and then hit another huge forehand to bring matchpoint, a backhand error from Borna gave Russia its firstpoint in the final.
In the second match, Daniil Medvedev was playing Marin Cilic for the second time this year as Medvedev had defeated him in five sets in the 3rd round at Wimbledon. Prior to that they had met at Washington in the quarterfinals which also Medvedev won that too in straight sets. There were a lot of similarities between the two players, both were standing tall at 6 foot 6 inches, their first Grand Slam came at the US Open and also runner up finish at the Australian Open. Although Medvedev did them both this year, Cilic had won the US Open in 2014 and reached the final of the Australian Open in 2018.
Medvedev was the clear favourite as he had won the previous four matches while not dropping a set while Cilic was on a three match losing streak. Cilic had surprisingly lost to world number 283 Zsombor Piros in the second match of the round robin stage and now was facing a must win situation. Medvedev was put in a tense situation as Cilic played his heart out in the opening set, both players held their serve and the tiebreaker saw Cilic taking a 4-2 lead. Medvedev fought back with stupendous defense and had set point at 6-5 which Cilic dismissed by a smash which if missed by a few centimetres would have cost him the set. Medvedev had another set point at 7-6 but a double fault made it 7 all, Medvedev then won the next two points to finally win the set.
In the second set, Medvedev broke Cilic early to take a 4-1 lead as Russia was almost there even though Cilic won the next game by pushing his limits. Medvedev then increased his winners tally as Cilic began hitting continuous unforced errors as Russia took the Davis Cup after a 15 year wait.
Russia defeated Croatia 2-0
Rublev defeated Borna 6-4, 7-6 (7-5), Medvedev defeated Cilic 7-6 (9-7), 6-2.
Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic hoping for a good start to 2022 season
(Tennis news) Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic dominated the doubles season with nine titles this season. They played together for the first time from january and found success right from the start.
They played 74 matches this year while winning 61 of them and also are the current world number one. They last played at the Nitto ATP Finals and lost in the semifinals to Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury. They are currently playing at the Davis Cup for Croatia and will play a crucial factor in the semifinal as they will be up against higher ranked teams in the singles tie.
Mektic and Pavic won 56 of their first 61 matches in 2021, including titles at Wimbledon, the Tokyo Olympics and three Masters 1000 events. Mektic has won 17 ATP doubles titles with seven different partners including six Masters 1000s and last year's ATP Finals with Wesley Koolhof. Pavic won the Australian Open with Oliver Marach three years back and the United States Open with Bruno Soares last year.
“I think it would have been just a matter of time if it didn’t happen at the beginning of this year. In the future, I’m pretty sure one day we would have eventually played together,” Pavic said. “It happened at the end of last year and now we’re here.”
“We are ready for it. We are ready to lose,” Mektic said. “We just keep playing our games and try to keep our heads down and do what we do. If somebody’s better, if somebody deserves to win that day, we say ‘well done’ and we keep on going.”
Doubles requires extreme hand eye coordination, quick reflexes and volley skills as rallies are usually short. A good one necessitates regular dialogue, flexibility, awareness, and the ability to work under crisis. Magic happens when it works, Mektic and Pavic started their partnership by winning the first 12 matches before losing in the Australian Open semifinals. From June to August, they went on an 18 match winning streak.
Only Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan have won at least ten tour-level titles in a single season over the past two decades. They did it four times, with their best season coming in 2010 where they won 12 titles. Apart from Mektic and Pavic, Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic in 2009 were the only other team to win nine trophies as they had nine in 2009. Mektic and Pavic will now look to go beyond the Bryan brothers next season as there are 50 more days for the Australian Open to begin.
British tennis star Emma Raducanu wins Sunday Times Sportswoman of the Year
(Tennis news) Emma Raducanu has been named Sunday TImes Sportswoman of the Year following her US Open 2021 victory earlier this year. The 19 year old became the first qualifier to win a Grand Slam singles title and the first British woman to do so since Virginia Wade in 1977. Raducanu made her second Grand Slam appearance at the US Open, reaching the fourth round of Wimbledon and becoming the youngest British woman to reach the last 16 in the Open era.
Raducanu won the Sportswoman of the Year award ahead of the likes of Emily Campbell (weightlifting), Kate French (modern pentathlon), Laura Kenny (cycling), Lauren Price (boxing), and Sarah Storey (cycling). The Young Sportswoman of the Year was awarded to 21 year old Bethany Shriever who crowdfunded her trip to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, winning the gold medal for Great Britain in the BMX racing final.
Jonathan Licht, Managing Director of Sky Sports said: "It is more important than ever post-pandemic to celebrate the progress and phenomenal achievements in women's sport. We have seen some astonishing moments throughout the year, not just in women's sport but the contribution of these nominees to sport in general, from the success of The Hundred to the extraordinary story of Emma Raducanu that moved the nation. Sky Sports is pleased to play a part in the celebration of these incredible women."
Rebecca Myers, Sunday Times journalist and lead reporter for the Sportswomen of the Year awards, said: "Congratulations to all our winners in what has been a groundbreaking year for women's sport. Our very worthy Sportswoman of the Year for 2021, Emma Raducanu, made history at the US Open and inspired so many young girls and women back home with her success. These awards also recognise that sport and exercise is important for the physical and mental health of millions of women and we congratulate our grassroots winner Clova Court for her work in this area, as well as Dr Emma Ross, our inaugural winner in the Changemaker category, for using her platform to make sport better for everyone."
Cyclists Laura Kenny and Katie Archibald were the other award winners (Team of the Year) while jockey Rachael Blackmore, 32 was awarded the Editor's Choice award for being the first female jockey to win the first female jockey to win the Grand National on Minella Times.
Garbine Muguruza sets up final against Anett Kontaveit at Akron WTA Finals Guadalajara
(Tennis news) Garbine Muguruza brought out the best in her in the semifinals against Paula Badosa at Akron WTA Finals Guadalajara. Everything went right for Muguruza as she faced fellow countrywoman for the first time in her career and did not hesitate to give Badosa her second straight defeat at the event. Muguruza was the most experienced player in the draw after Karolina Pliskova and now has a chance to win her first WTA Finals.
Muguruza showed her experience on the tour as she did not give away any breakpoints in the whole match. Her strokes were pushing away Badosa’s chance of winning the match as there were winners all over the place and Badosa could not cover the lead. In the second set, Muguruza took the first three games to continue her domination in the match as Badosa could not recover from that point to end her season with a loss. Muguruza defeated Badosa 6-3, 6-3.
"I think it's the best match that I have played so far here in Guadalajara," said Muguruza, after her win. "It was a tough match facing another Spaniard in the semifinals. We've never faced each other before, so it was tricky.
Anett Kontaveit won the second semifinal against Maria Sakkari as she advanced to the final in her debut appearance at WTA finals. Kontaveit took the first set as her angles were absolutely brilliant, especially her cross court forehands which came every now and then. In the second set, Sakkari broke Kontaveit in the seventh game to take the lead and win the set. In the final set, Kontaveit broke Sakkari in the seventh game similar to the previous set scenario as she will play against Muguruza for the title. Kontaveit defeated Sakkari 6-1, 3-6, 6-3.
"I still can't quite believe that I'm even here and I'm playing against the best players at such a prestigious tournament," Kontaveit said. "I'm just so proud of myself that I managed to do this and so happy to be competing at this level and just trying to take it all in."
In doubles, Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova are into the finals for the second time after they beat Nicole Melichar-Martinez and Demi Schuurs in the semifinals. Barbora and Katerina will also look to chase the world number 1 ranking as they walk into the final. Barbora and Nicole defeated Nicole and Schuurs 3-6, 6-3, 10-5.
Wimbledon champions Hsieh Su-Wei and Elise Mertens made their way onto the final as they beat the Japanese pair of Ena Shibahara and Shuko Aoyama. They only lost four games in the match and have already played against Barbora and Sinikova in the group stage in which they lost. Hsieh and Elise defeated Shibahara and Aoyama 6-2, 6-2.
Jannik Sinner makes dream debut at Nitto ATP finals, Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic suffer shock defeat
(Tennis news) Jannik Sinner made his dream debut at the the Nitto ATP Finals with a straight set victory over Hubert Hurkacz. The 20 year old was expected to qualify for the event over a month ago but fell short of qualifying and was the first alternate for the event. He is the youngest player at the event since Juan Martin del Potro in 2008 who was at the same age when he played at Shanghai. Matteo Berrettini had to withdraw from the event which brought in another young Italian as Sinner lit up the court and was charged up by the spectators. Sinner has a chance of becoming the first alternate to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals semi-finals if he manages a win against Daniil Medvedev and if Alexander Zverev loses against Hurkacz.
Sinner was out of form in the last two events he played but was in his own world when he took over Hurkacz. Sinner broke him early on the first set and his retrieval skills also put on a show which Hurkacz couldn't decode. Sinner battled from the baseline as his groundstrokes were too powerful for Hurkacz to handle, the second set saw nothing change as Sinner continued his rampage to mark his first victory at the event. Sinner defeated Hurkacz 6-2, 6-2.
“At the moment I’m just happy about today's match. Tomorrow I will go on court to practise, and then we’ll see what’s coming,” Sinner said. “Of course, you want to go on to the semi-finals, you’re trying to do your best but on the other hand, these are the best eight players in the world. And with me, nine. Everyone is tough to beat here, so let’s see what’s coming.”
Daniil Medvedev booked his place in the semifinal with a fifth consecutive victory over Alexander Zverev. The match saw Medevedev meddling with Zverev’s defense as both of them did not want to slow down at any point. Medvedev looked for the winners as Zverev tried blocking them which made Medvedev come at the net to set things in order. The first set did not involve much hassle as Medvedev came strong from the opening game.
The second set was filled with breathtaking rallies and shots as Zverev also made few successful appearances at the net and even saved a break point in the seventh game with an overhead smash. The scores were level at 6 all as a tiebreak and Medvedev sarcastically clapped towards the crowd when he lost a point at 3-5 which gave Zverev the set point then went on to win the set. In the final set, both the players held their serve as Medvedev came back from 2-4 in the tie breaker and had two match points at 6-4 until it was Zverev’s turn to come back. Medvedev then got his third matchpoint at 7-6 as he won the set and will face alternate Jannik Sinner in the final round robin match for both. Medvedev defeated Zverev 6-3, 6-7(3-7), 7-6(8-6).
“Definitely one of the matches to remember,” Medvedev said. “When you win 8/6 in the tie-break in the third, it was 4/2 for him so I was like okay, he serves a few aces it’s done. I made it 6/4 and I was like okay, that’s my moment now. It’s back to 6/6, you get really tight, because I wanted to make a brave move on the 6/5 second serve and volley, but it didn't work out at all.
In doubles, the top seeded pair of Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic were beaten by Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos. The pair had lost to the top seeds in the final of Wimbledon a few months ago and have now booked their place in the semifinals. Zeballos denied the second set for Pavic and Mektic with two powerful serves as they will have to win the next match to stand a chance to qualify for the semifinals. Marcel and Horacio defeated Pavic and Mektic 6-4, 7-6(7-4).
Ivan Dodig and Filip Polasek kept their semifinal chances afloat as they beat Kevin Krawietz and Horia Tecau who have now lost both their opening matches. Dodig and Polasek combined strong serves and quick but precise returns as they will now face the top seeds Nikola and Mate for a place in the semifinals. Dodig and Polasek defeated Kevin and Horia 7-6(7-2), 7-5.
Roger Federer likely to be ruled out of the Australian Open says coach Ivan Ljubicic
(Tennis news) 20 time Grand Slam winner Roger Federer is unlikely to participate in the Australian Open as the Swiss tennis star continues to recuperate from his knee surgery. The 40 year old has not featured in any tournaments since losing in the Wimbledon quarter-finals this year.
Speaking to Stats Perform, Federer’s coach Ivan Ljubicic said “I think there are very few chances, he is still recovering and knowing him, he wants to be sure he can play to win the tournament and be at 100 percent. So I think the Australian Open is not a real possibility right now. But he will go step by step because he is 40 years old now and he needs to be patient. He cannot recover as quickly as he used to.”
The trio of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic are tied with 20 Grand Slams each and are vying to become the most successful men's singles Grand Slam champion of all time. As things stand, only Nadal is a confirmed participant at the Australian Open with Djokovic refusing to confirm or deny his attendance until Tennis Australia reveals the health protocols of the tournament.
The Australian government has revealed that they will allow unvaccinated players to compete at the Grand Slam tournament provided they undergo 14 days of quarantine and negotiations between Tennis Australia and the government are currently ongoing about the health protocols of the tournament. Djokovic has declined to disclose his vaccination status and has said it’s doubtful he will participate in the Australian Open.
British tennis player Emma Raducanu confirms Torben Beltz will be her new coach
(Tennis news) US Open champion Emma Raducanu has confirmed that 44 year old German Torben Beltz will be her new coach for the 2022 season, starting with the Australian Open that begins on January 17th. The 18 year old parted ways with Andrew Richardson following her triumph at the Flushing Meadows and has been on a hunt for a more experienced coach since.
Speaking after her defeat to China’s Wang Xinyu in Linz, Emma Raducanu said “It's obviously a great privilege to be working with such an experienced coach. I'm definitely very excited to work with him throughout the pre-season and into next year so things are looking up and it's a very, very positive feeling, very excited about all the work that is to come. He brings a lot of experience.
“He's obviously worked with Kerber who is such a great player and has done extremely well and won three Slams and I think that experience definitely helps with someone as inexperienced as me so he can help guide me through, which I feel really confident about. Also he's a really positive, cheerful guy who brings great energy to the team so I think that's also important when you're travelling on the road for quite a long time on the tour."
Having previously been a long term coach for Angelique Kerber, Torben Beltz is known for his likeable and compassionate personality rather than being a hard taskmaster. He was Kerber’s coach for a decade and helped her reach the top 10 rankings before their first split in 2013. However, the pair was reunited for the majority of the 2016 season when Kerber won the Australian Open, US Open, reached the Wimbledon finals, won the silver medal at the Rio Olympics and finished the season as World No. 1.
Their second split came in 2017 when Kerber replaced Beltz with Wim Fissette, winning the Wimbledon title that year. Meanwhile, Beltz worked with Croatian Donna Vekic, helping her reach the top 20 for the first time. Beltz was reunited with Kerber again last year, reaching the Wimbledon semi-finals and returning to the top 10 for a short time. The 33 year old confirmed this week that she had parted ways with Beltz yet again with the German teaming up with Raducanu for the 2022 season.
Aryna Sabalenka looking for first WTA finals Trophy win, Karolina Pliskova into her fifth attempt
(Tennis news) The Akron WTA Finals Guadalajara draw came out today as the top eight players of the season will battle each other for the season ending trophy. With the withdrawal of defending champion and world number one Ashleigh Barty, the field is set to host a first time winner this year. Iga Swiatek is the youngest in the field as she is 20 years old and Karolina Pliskova at 29 is the oldest in the draw. Paula Badosa, Anett Kontaveit, Barbora Krejcikova, Aryna Sabalenka, Maria Sakkari and Iga Swiatek are making their debut this year as Pliskova and Garbiñe Muguruza are the only ones who have participated earlier. The top four players to watch out for this time are given below.
Sabalenka is the top seed in the draw as she is the world number two. She started with a title victory at Abu Dhabi and also won the title at Madrid where she even bageled Barty in the final. Sabalenka also reached the semifinals at the US Open and Wimbledon while she fell at the fourth round of the Australian Open. French Open was the only slam where she made a exit before the fourth round exit, Sabalenka can finish out points in quickly and had excellent returns in the US Open.
With 45 victories and three titles, Barbora has been on top form the whole season. She is the only player this year to qualify in the doubles and singles at the WTA finals, Barbora won the French Open singles title along with the doubles title and also won the mixed doubles at the Australian Open. With her volley skills, Barbora has an attacking mode in the hardcourts and can trigger upsets in the draw.
Pliskova is the most experienced player in the draw as she makes her fifth consecutive attempt at the event. She has reached the last four since 2017 and will be eager to conclude the year with a title. Although she has not won any titles this year, Pliskova is currently leading the aces leaderboard with 364 aces this season. She reached the final at Wimbledon and reached the quarterfinals at the US Open. Pliskova will use her serve and is an efficient mover in the court who has one of the smoothest strokes on tour.
Anett had a magical run since August as she won four titles in the seven events she played and only lost two matches ever since. She has won 45 matches this year with 15 losses and became the first Estonian player to enter the top 10 in WTA. Anett is the one in form as she has won the last two titles which she entered.
Golden Slam winner Dylan Alcott announces retirement after Australian Open 2022
(Sports news) Para-athlete Dylan Alcott, one of Australia’s greatest ever tennis players has announced his intention to retire after the Australian Open 2022. The 30 year old became the first man to win the golden slam in any form of tennis by winning all four major titles and the Paralympic gold medal in Tokyo. He intends to end his career on home turf at Melbourne Park in January, making one final appearance in his hometown where he has won seven quad singles titles in as many years.
“There’s no way I could finish my career a few weeks ago because the US Open was not my home,” Alcott said. “This is my home and the Australian Open changed my life. What better way to finish than in my home in front of crowds. I’ve known this day was coming for a while,” he said. “It’s been an incredible ride and I think the time has come to move onto other things that I do. In saying that, I’m going to train my arse off for the next two months and try to go out on a high. The time has come, I feel redundant, I feel old, washed up,” he said. “It’s the next generation’s turn to dominate and get the recognition they deserve. I’m really looking forward to getting out there and doing my thing one more time. We will see what happens. I’m just enjoying the moment.”
To say that Dylan Alcott has had an illustrious career would be an understatement, the Australian has won 15 Grand Slam singles titles, eight Grand Slam doubles titles as well as four Paralympic gold and two silver medals. In September, Alcott won the US Open for the third time, adding to his two Wimbledon titles and three French Open victories. Alcott was born with a tumor on his spinal cord with a subsequent surgery resulting in never being able to walk. Despite his exploits on the tennis court, Alcott is also a supremely talented basketball player, winning the Paralympic gold and silver medals with Australia and he is also a radio DJ and television commentator.
Alcott is also an outspoken advocate for the rights of people with disability and has used his success to bring focus to a variety of issues such as mental health. The 30 year old has previously admitted to being bullied while growing up and said “I used to hate myself so much. I hated my disability. I didn't even want to be here any more. I found tennis and it changed and saved my life.” The 30 year old will undoubtedly hope to clinch his eighth Australian Open title in the final tournament of his inspiring and magnificent career.
Carlos Alcaraz and Sebastian Korda leading the young field at Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals
(Tennis news) The Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals will begin from tomorrow as the young superstars will battle with each other for the crown. The withdrawal of defending champion Jannik Sinner has made way for Holger Vitus Nodskov Rune making his debut at the event as Felix Auger Aliassime has also skipped the event since he is playing at the ongoing Stockholm Open. This year all the 8 players will be making their debut and these are the top four players to watch out for.
The Spaniard is the highest ranked player in the field and also the youngest player. The 18 year old had reached the fourth round at Paris Masters by beating world number 9 Jannik Sinner in the third round, he also reached the semifinals at Vienna by beating Mario Berrerttini on the way. One of the rising stars this year, Carlos became the youngest quarterfinal at the US Open in the open era and can make it big here this time. Carlos won his first ATP tour title at Umag this year. Carlos is an aggressive baseliner who uses his raw power in his groundstrokes.
The 21 year old is the oldest player in the draw, Korda started the year with a runner up finish at Delray Beach and reached the quarterfinals at Miami Masters 1000. Korda won his first ATP tour title at Parma without dropping a set and went on to reach the fourth round at Wimbledon. One of the most skillful players in the draw, Sebastian can play from the baseline as well as come up on the net for some neatly played volleys.
Brandon made a breakthrough this year when he reached two consecutive finals in two weeks at Los Cabos and Atlanta. He defeated John Isner in straight sets at Los Cabos and lost to him in the finals at Atlanta, he again defeated the giant server at the US Open. Brandon also defeated Fabio Fognini at San Diego and also reached the quarterfinals at Antwerp. Brandon has the ability to play well in pressure along with returning strong serves which was clearly evident in matches against Isner.
Gaston was ranked 103 in the world before his quarterfinal run at Paris Masters which pulled his ranking to 67. He was the final player to qualify for the event and with his current form is the dark horse. Gaston has incredible court coverage although he is one of the shortest players on tour as he is 5 feet 8 inches and defeated Alcaraz at Paris which involved coming back from 0-5 to take the next seven games to win the match. Gaston is the second oldest player after Sebastian and can manage more upsets when he lands in Italy.
October 31: 27th year on tour for former world number one and multiple Grand Slam winner Venus Williams
(Tennis news) Venus Williams has been on the professional tour for a very long time, she entered the tennis circuit as a 14 year old. On October 31st 1997, a 14 year old was facing the then world number 2 Arantxa Sánchez Vicario at Oakland in the round of 16 and even took the first set against Arantxa and went on to lose the match in three sets.
Venus had made an impression on tour very early as a teenager and played the world’s best without thinking twice. She is known for her record breaking serves and super fast groundstrokes and is an aggressive hard court player. She also covers the court well and can hit winners from deep behind the court as well as from the net as she is also a top class doubles player. Williams is also one of the tallest players in the WTA tour as she stands 6 feet one inch tall which explains her serve which goes upto 208 km/ hour.
Venus has won the Wimbledon singles five times, US Open twice while reaching the finals of Australian Open twice and French Open once. She has also won the doubles crown at all the Grand Slams at least twice and also has two mixed Grand Slams titles. She also has three doubles gold medals, one singles gold and one mixed doubles silver at the Olympics. The Williams sisters were one of the main reasons for the entry of power packed games into the WTA tour as they hit mean groundstrokes with fearsome serves.
Venus was diagnosed with Sjögren's syndrome in 2011 which brought a surprise end to her season but came back next year on tour but had to end the 2013 season early due to a back injury. Her longevity has been beyond understanding as she continues to play with people half her age. Venus has also openly advocated for equal prize money in Grand Slams and was a major factor in bringing equal play for men and women at Wimbledon in 2007.
Venus is currently recovering from a leg injury and was last seen at the Chicago Open where she lost in the opening round to Hsieh Su-wei in straight sets. The 41 year old has played 12 matches this year as she played only one tournament after Wimbledon. She is supposed to return on tour next year as she did not play the US Open due to an injury like her sister, Serena Williams.
Carlos Alcaraz continues his run at Vienna by entering semifinals
(Tennis news) Carlos Alcaraz Garfia beat Matteo Berrettini in a war of forehands as the teenager took out the world number seven at Vienna Open. Carlos has entered the semifinals of the Masters 500 event for the first time and will face Alexander Zverev for a place in the finals. The teenager had beaten Daniel Evans, Andy Murray in the earlier rounds and will have a big test ahead against Zverev. Carlos defeated Berrettini 6-1, 6-7(2-7), 7-6(7-5).
“This is one of my best performances on Tour so far,” Alcaraz said. “I am really happy for that and it was amazing. I just tried to play aggressively all the time. In the tough moments it was important to be able to do that.”
Frances Tiafoe was having a below average year until he played at Vienna as he reached his first semifinal of the year by beating Diego Schwartzman in the quarterfinals. Tiafoe showed skill and speed to defeat the Argentine who is known for his court coverage. Tiafoe earlier had defeated top seed Stefanos Tsitsipas and completed the match against Schwartzman under 2 hours. Tiafoe defeated Schwartzman 6-4, 7-6 (8-6).
“I was playing great tennis, I was happy where I was at. New balls came and I got a little lackadaisical that game. Then Diego just kind of started locking in,” Tiafoe said. “I started rushing, I started trying to hit everything as hard as I could. It was not fun. I don’t know what to tell you, it was not fun. There was not one part of it that was fun."
Alexander Zverev made no mistakes this time as he went past Felix Auger-Aliassime, Felix had defeated Zverev in their previous meeting at Wimbledon a few months ago. Zverev was hitting the ball well in the first set and took it in 40 minutes but in the second set he seemed a bit rusty as Felix took the second set in half an hour. Zverev regained his energy and form in the decider as he broke Felix in the sixth game with a strong backhand which was enough to take the lead and win the match. Zverev defeated Felix 6-4, 3-6, 6-3.
“I did make it difficult for myself once again, that needs to stop happening,” Zverev said. “One easy mistake and the second set went away. But I am proud of myself because at the beginning of the second set it could have gone his way easily.” Zverev will next face Alcaraz and will be meeting the young Spaniard for the second time after their third round match up in Acapulco which Zverev won in straight sets.
“Alcaraz has improved a lot," Zverev added. "He has made big steps forward and is a great player, so I am looking forward to that match.”
Jannik Sinner made a big breakthrough as he beat Casper Ruud in the quarterfinals as he increased his chances to compete at the ATP year end finals. Sinner had beaten Casper last year at Vienna in the third round on straight sets and now he has the same points as Casper in the race to the season finale. Sinner broke Casper in the 11th game of the first set with a huge down the line forehand to eventually take the set with another scintillating forehand.
Sinner’s groundstrokes were fast and furious which Casper was unable to catch up on. The first set lasted for 57 minutes and the second got over in 20 minutes as Sinner did not let time affect his form or stamina but it did get to Casper. Sinner defeated Ruud 7-5, 6-1.
“I think today there was not a lot of rhythm, not so many exchanges. I served well today, I have to say, especially on the important points," Sinner said in his post-match interview. "Obviously there was a lot of pressure on both sides. I’m happy how I controlled the match emotionally and everything together. I would say it was a good match.” Sinner will next face Tiafoe in the semifinals.
Matteo Berrettini secures ATP finals berth, Casper Ruud and Hubert Hurkacz next in line
(Tennis news) Matteo Berrettini’s sparkling season continued as he qualified for the season ending championship for the second time. The Italian reached the fourth round of the Australian Open and then went even further by reaching the quarterfinals of the French Open. His Wimbledon performance was his first breakthrough in the Grand Slams where he lost in the finals to Novak Djokovic.
This season, Berrettini has had 40 victories in 50 matches. After losing in the quarterfinals of the US Open to Djokovic in September, he climbed to a career-high No. 7 in the ATP Rankings. In April, the Italian won the Serbia Open in Belgrade, defeating Aslan Karatsev of Russia. In May, he reached his first ATP Masters 1000 final, losing to Alexander Zverev of Germany and in June, he won the Cinch Championships in London, defeating Cameron Norrie of Great Britain.
He became the first Italian male tennis player to reach the fourth round of every Grand Slam tournament at the French Open. He has been impressive on all surfaces and excels in a team setting, as he powered Italy to the ATP Cup finals in January. Berrettini, an aggressive all-court player with a booming serve that can reach speeds of 146 mph (235 km/h), blasted his way to the No. 8 ranking in 2021 across all surfaces, the highest for an Italian male in more than four decades. He won two Championships, one on grass and the other on clay.
To finish off points, he uses his attacking groundstrokes and net game, and he has been known to serve-and-volley. Many have compared him to Fernando González and Juan Martin del Potro because of his aggressive style, which is based on huge serves and forehands. His play style has earned him the moniker "The Hammer."
“My words aren’t going to describe the happiness I feel in my heart," said the world number seven. “2020 was a tough year for me on and off the court. Here I am about to play my second ATP Finals and I can’t believe it.
“I always have to remember where I started. I didn’t dream about this, because it was so big, but now it’s happening. I want to do my best."
Berrettini will compete at the ATP Finals against world number one Novak Djokovic, U.S. Open champion Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Alexander Zverev, and Andrey Rublev, with Casper Ruud and Hubert Hurkacz next in line.
Also read: Unvaccinated tennis stars will be allowed to compete at the Australian Open after fulfilling two weeks hard quarantine and regular testing
World Number 1 Ashleigh Barty withdraws from WTA Finals and concludes 2021 season
(Tennis news) Ashleigh Barty will not be defending her WTA Finals title in Guadalajara as the 25-year-old has announced her withdrawal from the tournament saying that she is “not willing to compromise my preparation for January” when the Australian Open is due to begin. The World Number 1 won her maiden Grand Slam at the Roland Garros in 2019 and won the Wimbledon title this year.
In a statement released by Barty on Saturday, she said “I wanted to let everyone know that I won't be competing in any further tournaments in 2021, including the WTA Finals in Mexico. It was a difficult decision, but I need to prioritise my body and my recovery from our 2021 season and focus on having the strongest pre-season for the Australian summer.
"With the ongoing challenges of travelling back to Queensland and quarantine requirements, I am not willing to compromise my preparation for January. I wish the WTA team and the players all the best for a successful WTA Finals and rest of the year. My focus is now on the Australian summer and doing everything I can to win the Australian Open. I can't wait to play at home again.”
In 2019, Barty pocketed the biggest check in tennis history of $6.4 million after winning the WTA Finals in Shenzhen. The World Number 1 continues to be the reigning champion as the tournament was cancelled last year and despite her withdrawal from any events for the remainder of the year, Barty will retain her number 1 ranking for the third consecutive season.
Ashleigh Barty returned to her home in Brisbane after her third-round exit at the US Open and the tennis star’s reasoning is also that the 25 year old does not want to endure another two week quarantine in Australia within the last two months as she has been on the road for the majority of the season so far.
Alexander Zverev sets his sight on a record third Masters title of the year
(Tennis news) Alexander Zverev is a powerful baseliner who relies heavily on his first serve to rack up a lot of free points. His strong topspin forehand and flat backhand, as well as his piercing groundstrokes, may put opponents under pressure.
His forehand, on the other hand, may be inconsistent when he is off-color. The German's volleying abilities are also lacking as he struggles to score at the net. While there is no doubt about his technique, Alexander Zverev's mental toughness has room for improvement, as he has lost multiple matches from winning situations. He's still only 24, so there's still time for him to make a significant career change. Another aspect is his performance on the Grand Slams, he reached his first final last year at the US Open.
Zverev has been improving since last year at the Grand Slams, this year he reached the semifinals at the French Open and the quarterfinals at the Australian Open. In Wimbledon, Zverev has failed to reach beyond the fourth round.
Zverev has 47 victories this year so far and with only Paris Masters left this year, he can hope to achieve this record but is not under pressure as he has already qualified for the year end finals. He lost in the quarterfinals at the Indian Wells to Taylor Fritz and even though he had matchpoints, he lost to Novak Djokovic in the semifinals of the US Open.
"Today was just not really my day, to be honest. I was close to winning, but the level of tennis was just not quite there for me," said Zverev after his loss to Taylor Fritz at Indian Wells.
"Today mentally is not easy for me. My next tournament is in Vienna. Hoping I can deal with it well there, but right now I just want to go home.
"It was a very long season. I have played well. But this one hurts because I knew that after Stefanos lost this morning, I was kind of the favourite to win this tournament, but my tennis wasn't there yet."
In the Masters 1000, Zverev has so far won five titles and only the big four have won more than him. This year he won two titles, he won at Cincinnati and Madrid and looks to be the 10th player to win three or more Masters 1000 titles in a year. With only four weeks to go, the German can prove himself in quick time and by next year he has high chances of holding a Grand Slam trophy.
Andy Murray defeats Frances Tiafoe in an epic three-set match at the European Open
(Tennis news) In an epic battle that lasted three hours and 45 minutes, Andy Murray defeated Frances Tiafoe at the European Open in Antwerp 7-6 (7-2) 6-7 (7-9) 7-6 (10-8). The two time Wimbledon champion had previously lost to Tiafoe last August at the Winston-Salem Open but there were no hard feelings between the two fierce competitors as Murray applauded his opponent off the court after saving two match points.
In an on-court interview, Murray said “I don't think I've played a match like that. I think it's the longest three-set match that I've ever played by quite a distance. I'm tired right now. It was an unbelievable battle. He kept coming up with brilliant serves and great shots when I was getting chances. My body is old now, I've played a lot of matches on the tour so I don't mind playing long matches but that was taking it to another level.”
The European Open was the first trophy Andy Murray won two years ago after his hip surgery and will undoubtedly hope for a similar outcome this time around. At the age of 34, it’s safe to say that Murray is not at the physical prime of his life and will need to recover quickly as he will be facing second seed Diego Schwartzman on Thursday.
The first set took 78 minutes in which Murray found himself 1-2, 5-6 and a set point down before succeeding at the tie-break. The second set took a mammoth one hour and 21 minutes which eventually went to Frances Tiafoe who took the opportunity at his sixth attempt to wrap it up with a forehand half volley. The decider was inevitably settled in a final-set tie-break in which Tiafoe failed to capitalize on two match points and Murray took advantage with a magnificent drop shot.
In other results, Jenson Brooksby defeated fifth seed Reilly Opelka 6-4, 6-4 while Brandon Nakashima won 6-4, 6-0 against sixth seed Alex de Minaur.
Paula Badosa rises to 8th in contention for WTA finals after Indian Wells victory, Iga Swatiek jumps up two places in singles race
(Tennis news) The WTA Finals is back after a year and will begin from November 10 as the top eight players will contest for the season finale. Ashleigh Barty, Aryna Sabalenka, Barbora Krejcikova and Karolina Pliskova are the players who have qualified for the event so far with four more players to go. Paula Badosa made a huge jump after winning at Indian Wells as Iga Swatiek also moved up two places as she is fifth in the singles race. There are a few players who are inches away from qualifying for the prestigious event.
Paula jumped from 27 to a new career high ranking of No.13. She is currently in 8th position for the year-end finals; the Indian Wells victory propelled her rankings which made her a serious contender for the event. Paula was ranked 70 in the start of this season and won at Belgrade before Indian Wells, she also reached the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam for the first time this year at the French Open. She has won 41 matches this year and will look to enter the event for the first time.
Swatiek is the youngest player in the top twenty WTA rankings. The twenty year old won the French Open last year and reached the fourth round at the all the slams with a quarterfinal finish at French Open this year. She has won two titles this year and has 35 victories, Swatiek is currently in fifth position to qualify for the event.
Jabeur created history at the Indian Wells as she became the first Arab player to enter the top ten singles rankings in the sport. She reached the quarterfinals at Wimbledon this year and won the title at Birmingham. Jabeur is only two victories away from reaching 50 match wins this season and entered the top ten rankings after her quarterfinal win over Anett Kontaveit at Indian Wells. Jabeur is currently in 9th position in the race for the WTA finals.
Elina has been featuring in the year-end finals for the past three years. She won in 2018 and was the runner up last time. Elina has won one title this year and won the bronze medal in singles at the Tokyo Olympics. She has won 41 matches this year and is currently in 11th position with a few more tournaments in hand.
Andy Murray downs Carlos Alcaraz at Indian Wells, Aliaksandra Sasnovich takes out Simona Halep
(Tennis news) In men’s singles, Andy Murray produced moments of magic as he took out Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz in a three set extravaganza. Murray had a fiery start as he was holding a 4-1 lead in the first set but Carlos with his hard hitting came back to level the score and take the set to surprise the veteran.
In the second set, Murray served an underarm to win the third game as the crowd went wild in celebration. In addition to that, the rallies were dominated by Carlos’s strokes as he was much faster than Murray and also had quick cour coverage. Murray held on and took the second set and in the final set Murray played smart as he volleyed and made Carlos run for every point. At the end, Murray praised the young player and praised him as they greeted each other at the net. Murray defeated Carlos 5-7, 6-3, 6-2.
Alexander Zverev set up a third round clash with Murray as he dispatched Jenson Brooksby in his opening match at Indian Wells. Zverev was at his best as he powered his way to win the first set and in the second set it was Brooksby who stole the show with winners from his forehand and backhand. In the final set, Zverev hit two booming backhands while breaking Brooksby’s serve as he took a 4-0 lead and won the match as Brooksby had to concede to the German’s all round performance. Zverev defeated Brooksby 6-4, 3-6, 6-1.
Stefanos Tsitsipas was for sure troubled by Pedro Martínez in his opening match at Indian Wells. Pedro Martínez had beautiful shots to rule the highlights but could not convert it into something big as he lost some crucial points in the second set to end the match in the Greek God’s favour. Tsitsipas will face Fabio Fognini in his next match after defeating Martinez 6-2, 6-4.
Albert Ramos-Vinolas has knocked out two future prospects of the game in his two matches at Indian Wells. In the opening round he beat Lorenzo Musetti and this time he went for the big kill when he knocked out Felix Auger Aliassime in the second round. The 33 year old is reaching the third round for the fifth time and has not gone beyond that stage and with the current form he might have a chance to have a career best performance. Albert defeated Felix 6-4, 6-2.
In women’s singles, 2016 champion Victoria Azarenka defeated fellow compatriot Petra Kvitová in the third round. Azarenka relied on her serve as she had a total of 9 aces and 25 winners in the match to outplay Kvitová, Azarenka took the last few games in both the sets to win for a fourth time against Kvitová in nine meetings. Azarenka defeated Kvitová 7-5, 6-4.
2015 champion Simona Halep was beaten by Aliaksandra Sasnovich in the third round. Sasnovich had beaten Emma Raducanu in the previous match and will face Azarenka in the next round. Sasnovich played with power and precision to mark her first victory against Halep in only their second meeting as they had earlier met at Wimbledon two years ago where Halep won in two sets. Sasnovich defeated Simona 7-5, 6-4.
Leylah Fernandez came back from a set down and a two game deficit in the second set to win against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. Fernandez will next face Shelby Rogers in the fourth round as the 19 year old is looking to be the player to beat in her debut outing at Indian Wells. Fernandez is playing for the first time after her US Open runner up finish.
In men’s doubles, Nikola Mektić and Mate Pavić conceded only four games against Mackenzie McDonald and Brandon Nakashima in their third round match up. Nikola and Pavić defeated Mackenzie and Brandon 6-2, 6-2. Aslan Karatsev and Andrey Rublev defeated Simone Bolelli and Máximo González 6-3, 5-7, 10-3 as the Russian pair had earlier defeated Reily Opelka and Alex de Minaur in their previous match.
In women’s doubles, Cori Gauff and Fernandez beat fifth seeds Demi Schuurs and Nicole Melichar-Martinez to go into the quarterfinals. Gauff and Fernandez defeated Demi and Nicole 6-3, 6-2. Simona Halep and Elena-Gabriela Ruse run came to an end as they were beaten by Lucie Hradecká and Marie Bouzková in the fourth round. Lucie and Marie defeated Simona and Ruse 6-2, 5-7, 10-5.
Also read: Emma Raducanu falls in opening match at Indian Wells, Leylah Fernandez marches on
Thirty year old Kim Clijsters a testimony of strength and determination
(Tennis news) Kim Clijsters has played over five tournaments since making a comeback on tour after seven years. Comebacks aren’t new to her as she had retired in 2007 and then made a momentous comeback two years later which saw her win three Grand Slam titles. She played in the Indian Wells but lost in the first round to Kateřina Siniaková who is thirteen years her junior.
Clijsters last won a tour match nine years ago in 2012 at the US Open where she is a three time champion. She retired for a second time in 2012 after the US Open but made a comeback on tour last year at the Dubai Duty Free Championships. Although she was one of the best players on tour two decades ago, her career was constantly affected by injuries which made her miss many tournaments and was one of the main reasons for her early retirement from the game in 2007 at the age of 23.
Clijsters comeback to tennis is a proof of her love for the game and still playing on tour after being the mother of three children is not easy. Most of her opponents now were born when she turned professional on tour. The style of play will also be a change for Clijsters as she used to compete with Justine Henin and the Williams sisters in early 2000’s.
Clijsters last played the Indian Wells in 2011 where she reached the fourth round. She was the champion in 2003, 2005 defeating Lindsay Davenport in both the finals. She first played here twenty one years ago back when her opponent this year was only four years old. It is not sure which tournament she will play next but is definitely a lesson on longevity on tour for the young players who will be watching her play.
Clijsters is also a doubles Grand Slam winner as she won the French Open and Wimbledon in 2003. She played doubles after a nine year gap this year at Chicago partnering with Kirsten Flipkens who was her partner at the US Open in 2012 as well. Clijsters has repeatedly shown that age is not a barrier at the sport and injuries can hamper your form but not your spirit. She will soon again stir up an upset on tour, on one side the youngsters are keen to make a mark whereas on the other side the veterans are fighting their own battle.
Also read: Kim Clijsters returning after a decade, Emma Raducanu keen to make a mark again at Indian Wells
Top players who can make their debut at the Next Gen ATP Finals
(Tennis news) The fourth edition of Next Gen ATP Finals is set to begin from next month as the top eight players aged 21 or under will fight for the title. Defending champion Jannik Sinner, Felix Auger-Aliassime, Carlos Alcaraz and Sebastian Korda have already qualified for the event with four spots remaining and a month left there are players who are close to qualifying for the prestigious event.
The 18 year old Spaniard secured his place in the event when he made the quarterfinals at the US Open and defeated Stefanos Tsitsipas in the third round. He also reached the semifinals at Winston Salem and Marbella Open and won his first tour level title at Umag while defeating Richard Gasquet in the final. Carlos also made his debut in all the Slams this year, he reached the second round at Wimbledon and Australian Open and the third round at French Open. He has an aggressive style of play which is well suited at hard courts and can bring out his powerful forehand.
Korda had reached the fourth round of the French Open as a qualifier last year and had defeated John Isner on the way. This year he started with a runner up finish at Delray Beach and defeated John Isner at the quarterfinals, Korda then reached the quarterfinals at Miami Masters 1000 defeating Fabio Fognini, Aslan Karatsev and Diego Schwartzman on the way.
His biggest win came at Parma Open when he won the title without dropping a set the whole tournament. He also reached the fourth round at Wimbledon losing to Karen Khachanov in a thrilling four hour battle. Korda is 6 feet five inches tall which gives him good reach and also is a defensive player with great control over the ball.
Jenson had reached the fourth round of the US Open losing to world number one Novak Djokovic in four sets while defeating Karatsev and Taylor Fritz on the way. He was the runner up at Newport and had reached the last four at Washington. Jenson has a powerful cross court forehand and pulls out a sudden backhand dropshot which looks like a typical double handed backhand.
The 19 year old Italian will be eager to prove himself in front of his home crowd. Lorenzo first came into the spotlight last year when he reached the round of 16 at Rome while defeating Stan Wawrinka and Kei Nishikori in straight sets and later won to reach the semifinals at Sardinia. This year he reached the semifinals at Acapulco Open losing to Tsitsipas while defeating Frances Tiafoe and Grigor Dimitrov on the way and then reached the semifinals at Lyon again losing to Tsitsipas. He has a classic one handed backhand which has been quite lethal and has quite a bit of trickshots up his sleeve.
1988: Steffi Graf’s Golden Slam marks 33 year anniversary
(Tennis news) Steffi Graf is one of the most complete tennis players in the world, she was only 19 years old in 1988 when she completed a historic quest, something which has never been achieved in tennis before and has been achieved by Diede de Groot and Dylan Alcott in wheelchair tennis this year.
On October 1st 1988, Graf made history as she wore the gold medal around her neck which was a symbol of pure domination that year. She was only a teenager when she won all the four slams and the Olympic gold as it was regarded as the one of the most dominating periods in the history of tennis. She had only won one slam before this year which came at the French Open, this record saw the beginning of her supremacy in women's tennis.
She began the Golden Slam run at the Australian Open where she beat Chris Evert in the final, in the French Open she brutally defeated Natasha Zvereva with a double bagel in the final and has never happened ever since. In Wimbledon, she lifted the trophy after coming back from a set deficit and a two game lead against Martina Navratilova in the final and in the final slam of the year beat Gabriela Sabatini who had two successive wins against Graff in the start of the year. She had achieved the calendar slam and became the first woman and the second player to win it all along with Rod Laver in the open era.
Nobody hoped for a Golden Slam but it seemed inevitable for the young German who kept crushing every player she met on the court. The Olympic gold was now in reach as Graff had to win five matches to win the gold medal and once again defeated Sabatini in the women’s singles final to complete the Golden Slam. She had also won the Wimbledon doubles that year along with a doubles bronze at the Seoul Olympics.
Graf had won all the slams at least four times which showed her remarkable talent. The surfaces didn't matter to her as she transformed herself into another level from that year. To be unbeaten in a particular surface and tournament is heard of but to remain unbeaten in all the four slams given their surfaces is a lot to take for. The amount of pressure she would have faced is not imaginable as the audience watched Novak Djokovic vent out his frustration at the Tokyo Olympics and how one of the toughest men in sport cried before losing the match to Daniil Medvedev at the US Open final.
It's been 33 years but the record seems to be in safe hands as players have not come close to it other than Novak Djokovic this year and looks to be even more safer in the women’s field. The level of consistency and adaptability which made the Golden Slam year possible is almost impossible to find in today’s game as players mostly perform according to the courts. Many players miss out on the Olympic gold or even a medal as top players have not won the gold medal in their career. But Graf did it in one year and was a young player who had come into the WTA tour as a thirteen year old. The age factor is still a question which puzzles the audience as many athletes over the age of 35 still get into the teams because of their performance while teenagers also play well and now like Graf there are many youngsters in the tennis court who aspire to become like her and the US Open this year was a strong signal sent to the veterans.
Mahesh Bhupathi watched 'DDLJ' with Leander Paes 'multiple times', says films were a stress buster
Mumbai, Sep 29 (Sports news) Besides tennis, what bonded Mahesh Bhupathi with Leander Paes was their shared interests in food, music and movies, which were a stress buster for them.
Bhupathi, one half of the star tennis duo nicknamed the 'Indian Express', said they spent a lot of time off court watching Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol's 1995 blockbuster "Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge" particularly.
"We like the same food, music. We watched a lot of movies together as we were travelling day in and day out for tours. Movies were just like a stress buster for us, I remember we watched 'Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge' multiple times.
"So, we'd watch English, Hindi movies, whatever we could, because we were working pretty hard so this was kind of an outlet for us. These are things that made the journey much easier," Bhupathi told PTI in a Zoom interview.
The tennis stars, who were the first doubles team from India to win at Wimbledon in 1999, have revisited their journey in the upcoming non-fiction series "Break Point".
Directed by Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari and Nitesh Tiwari, the ZEE5 non-fiction series explores the on-court partnership of Paes and Bhupathi and their off-court lives.
Bhupathi, 47, said a lot of filmmakers in the past had approached them to make a project revolving around the duo but nothing excited them till Ashwiny and Nitesh turned up.
"When I heard that Nitesh and Ashwiny were interested in talking to us, that was exciting because they're amazing storytellers. That's when I spoke to Leander and we got on a call with Nitesh and Ashwiny, in whom we found that comfort level to tell a story in the way we thought was best for people to consume it," he added.
For Bhupathi, the most special moment from his partnership with Paes is the win at Wimbledon.
"I think the pinnacle of our success was probably winning Wimbledon in 1999. That was a big dream for us and it came true. So that's definitely the highlight." He recalled meeting Paes in Colombo in 1991 and the two soon played their first tournament in 1994 in Jakarta.
"I was excited. We are very different when it comes to personalities. So dreaming is one thing, executing is another. So, for me it was very important to do the hard work and get it done, which we are very proud of," he said.
"Very quickly it became apparent that there was something special there because we were winning a lot of matches," he added.
Bhupathi described Paes (48) as "an unorthodox player", whom he admires.
"He is a great tennis player. He has the ability to kind of raise his game in big moments. He is a serve and volley specialist we don't get to see very often in tennis. Off the court, he is a very generous human being and we struck a friendship very quickly." Also called 'Lee-Hesh', the duo played together from 1994 to 2006 and reunited for their second stint from 2008 to 2011 and brought laurels to India but later they had a public fallout.
Reflecting on their split, Chennai-born Bhupathi said that time period was "tough" for them.
"It was very tough on both of us. Personally, for me I was going through a lot that year because I had surgery on my shoulder. And there were a lot of ifs and buts in my head, like will I be able to play tennis at a high level again? Will I be able to be successful? Because Leander was my first partner coming out of college and I never played with anybody else. So, it was a very tough time but we bounced back pretty well," he added.
During the difficult time, as a professional athlete, Bhupathi said he always kept himself motivated.
"We are always motivated because to achieve anything you have to set aside challenges. There will always be challenges small or big and we should always put in hard work day in and out to try and achieve what we want to." About "Break Point", the tennis player said the series will capture their 12-year journey.
"We have put it all out. We did it independently so we had the comfort level to put it all out there. We've made a big effort to keep it raw and real and hopefully it will be appreciated by everyone who watches it," he said.
The show will begin streaming on Friday.
Also Read : We created a brotherhood: Leander Paes on his successful partnership with Mahesh Bhupathi
News Source : PTI
World number 1 Novak Djokovic withdraws from the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells
(Tennis news) Five time BNP Paribas Open champion Novak Djokovic has confirmed his withdrawal from the Indian Wells, the Serbian along with the tournament organizers have confirmed.
In a twitter post, Djokovic said “I am sorry I won't get to see my fans in Indian Wells and play in the desert, my favourite place to go. I hope to see you next year!". Tommy Haas, tournament director of the BNP Paribas Open said “We are disappointed that Novak will not be able to join us at the BNP Paribas Open this fall. We hope to see him back in Tennis Paradise next March to contend for a record-setting sixth title in the desert."
The 34 year old last made an appearance at the US Open where he lost to Daniil Medvedev. The Serbian has enjoyed a successful year, winning the Australian Open, Roland Garros and Wimbledon and was attempting to become the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to win all four major honours in a single season.
Djokovic has already earned a spot at November’s ATP Finals in Turin and is on course to finish the season as World Number 1 for the seventh time, becoming the only tennis player in history to do so. His fellow greats Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have already ended their seasons while Dominic Thiem, the 2019 BNP Paribas Open champion is also out due to an injury.
Nick Kyrgios out of 2021 season due to injury, to be back next year at the Australian Open
(Tennis news) World number 96 Nick Kyrgios has become the latest player to finish his 2021 season early due to a knee injury. The Australian had featured in the Laver Cup for Team World, losing the singles against Stefanos Tsitsipas and the doubles to Tsitsipas and Andrey Rublev while partnering with John Isner.
Kyrgios had lost in the first round against Roberto Bautista Agut at the US Open and had first round exits at Toronto and Washington. His last victory came at Atlanta against Kevin Anderson in the first round. He has only played seven tournaments this year and did not play in the French Open, his best performance came in the Murray River Open where had reached the fourth round as he lost to Borna Coric.
Kyrgios lost to Dominic Thiem in the third round of the Australian Open after taking a two set lead with the match lasting for four hours and was next seen at Wimbledon where he retired mid match due to an abdominal injury against Felix Auger-Aliassime at the same stage. He has been affected by injuries this season which saw him play a total of 15 matches and had first round exits in his last three tournaments.
The 26 year old had posted in instagram saying he hadn’t been a hundred percent fit lately and in the Laver Cup said that he plans for an early retirement. Known for his temperament and skills, he is planning to return to the Australian Open next year and had reached the quarterfinals in 2015. He is regarded as one of the most talented players on tour but with a troublesome attitude and is known to be a crowd puller.
Kyrgios joins Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Dominc Thiem who have finished their season early due to injuries. Serena Williams, Venus Williams and Naomi Osaka have also ended their 2021 season as all of them hopefully will be seen on court at the first Grand Slam of the year. Last year, the pandemic had played its part on the tour as many tournaments were cancelled in the first half and this year has seen players being affected by injuries.
With only two months of tennis season left, the teenage stars will look to perform in absence of their seniors on tour. In the women’s tour, BNP Paribas Open is the next Masters 1000 tournament and the VTB Kremlin Cup starts right after Paribas Open. The year end championships will be held in November. For the men’s tour, the BNP Paribas Open will be held next month followed by the Rolex Paris Masters in November as the World Tour finals will be held from the second week of November. The fourth edition of next Gen ATP finals will start from November 9th as the youngsters will hope for a US Open scenario to happen again.
Also read: Reilly Opelka enters the top twenty rankings for the first time
Andy Murray and Kei Nishikori race against time in San Diego Open
(Tennis news) Andy Murray last won a title on tour two years ago as he is now ranked 109 in the world and will play against Kei Nishikori who is making a comeback on tour with significant victories this year. Nishikori is currently ranked 52 and last won a title two years ago same as Murray, both the players met for the first time 10 years ago this month at the Shanghai Masters 1000 semifinal as Murray triumphed in two sets and went on to win the title.
Murray showed he is still in the game against Stefanos Tsitsipas in the first round of the US Open as the former world number one fought for over five hours against the third seed. Murray is known for his defensive skills which have been affected due to two hip surgeries slowing him down but still can be a warrior on court. The three time Grand Slam champion was almost about to retire after the hip surgery but continues to play and can still cover the court like the youngsters.
Murray’s returns are his saviour as he can keep the point going and can also find angles with his forehand. His lobs are the best in the game and famously lobbed the 6 foot 11 inch Croatian Ivo Karlovic multiple times in 2015 at Wimbledon. His backhand is always dependable while it is accurate and can hit winners down the line as well as cross court.
Kei Nishikori has also been making second comeback after wrist injury in 2017 which saw his rankings drop and come back in the top ten in 2019. Since then he has had few victories on the tour and this year is back on form and looks to come back in the rankings. Nishikori lost to Novak Djokovic in the third round of the US Open even though he took the opening set but couldn’t keep up in the next three sets.
Nishikori is one of the shortest players on tour but was a top contender in Grand Slams until 2019. He is very athletic and can run down to take drop shots while his stamina can be evidently seen in five setters. He had reached the finals of the US Open in 2014, he also has an effective dropshot which can come unexpected in long rallies. Nishikori also has a strong defense similar to Murray and his backhand down the line is hard to read or touch, he had reached the semifinals at Washington and the quarterfinals at the Tokyo Olympics.
Nishikori and Murray have faced each other eleven times with Murray having nine victories and Nishikori with two. They last faced in the 2017 French Open quarterfinals where Murray secured victory as Nishikori last won against him in 2016 at the US Open quarterfinals. This will be their twelfth meeting, Nishikori looks the favourite given the current conditions and form as for Murray he will try to keep the ball in play.
Hubert Hurkacz wins singles and doubles at the Moselle Open
(Tennis news): Hubert Hurkacz kept his winning record in ATP finals intact as he beat Pablo Carreño Busta in the battle of top two seeds at the Moselle Open. Hubert has won three titles this year which includes the Miami Masters 1000 and Delray Beach Masters 250. Hubert had lost to Pablo in their only meeting at Cincinnati Open and will now look to enter the top ten of the rankings as there are two more Masters 1000 events coming up before the year end championships.
Hubert took almost an hour to take the first set as there were two exchanges of breaks with Pablo having had a chance to take the lead early on but Hubert broke back to level the scores. Pablo’s defensive play did stretch out the first set as Hubert won in the tiebreak, in the second set Hubert broke Pablo’s serve at 3-3 and that was all he needed to close out the match. Hubert defeated Pablo 7-6(2), 6-3.
In the doubles final, Hubert was again on the winning side with his partner Jan Zieliński as they defeated Arthur Rinderknech and Hugo Nys 7-5, 6-3. This is Hubert’s second title as he had won the title in Paris with Felix Auger-Aliassime last year and is proving himself as a player who can play from the baseline as well as from the net. His volleying skills were evident in the singles match against Pablo.
Hubert has become the seventh non French player to win the Moselle Open and the first one to win both the singles and doubles in a single edition, Arnaud Clement won the singles crown in the inaugural edition in 2003 and the doubles the next year. Hubert and Zieliński are the second Polish pair to win the title after Mariusz Fyrstenberg and Marcin Matkowski had won in 2014. Hubert had lost to Gregoire Barrere in 2019 in the third round at his first outing here.
Hubert did not drop a set in singles as well as doubles on the way to winning the crown and played a tiebreak in his last three matches. He recorded his second victory over Andy Murray as he defeated him in Cincinnati with the scores being identical and defeated the 2017 champion Peter Gojowczyk in the semifinals.
Hubert has had a breakthrough year by reaching his first Grand Slam semifinal in Wimbledon, defeating Daniil Medvdev and Roger Federer on the way. He also won titles after two years as his last title came in 2019 at the Winston Salem Cup and now is only hundred points from making a top ten entry. He is currently ranked 12th as this victory pushed him ahead of Denis Shapavalov and is only trailing 30 points behind Felix Auger-Aliassime.
Pablo was also looking for a third title this year and a first hardcourt title as both his titles came at clay. He won the Bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics defeating Novak Djokovic and had defeated Daniil Medvedev in the quarterfinals. He is currently the second highest ranked Spaniard behind Rafael Nadal, Pablo and Gael Monfils are the only ones in their thirties other than the big three in the top 20 rankings.
Also read: Hubert Hurkacz looking to make it two in two at the Moselle Open
Hubert Hurkacz looking to make it two in two at the Moselle Open
(Tennis News) The 18th edition of Moselle Open is now left with two former champions in the last four. There have been a total of 6 players outside France to win the Moselle Masters 250 title from its inaugural edition in 2003, the top seed Hubert Hurkacz is in the semifinals in singles and doubles.
Gael Monfils, the winner in 2009 will face Tokyo Olympics Singles Bronze Medallist Pablo Carreno Busta in the semifinals. Monfils defeated Nikoloz Basilashvili as it proved to be a one sided contest as the Frenchmen served 11 aces to edge out the eighth seed in straight sets. Monfils defeated Basilashvili 6-3, 6-3.
Pablo Carreno Busta showed his experience and skill against Holger Vitus Nodskov Rune to outclass the 18 year old in the quarterfinals. Holger had taken a set off Novak Djokovic at the US Open and did the same against Pablo when he took the second set. Pablo then broke Holger in the eighth game as Holger was visibly frustrated as he lost the last two games. Pablo defeated Holger 6-4, 3-6, 6-4.
Monfils is leading the head to head against Pablo with three victories, their last meeting came a year ago in Austria when Monfils retired mid match. This will be their sixth meeting with Pablo looking the favourite but when in form Monfils can overcome any player with no doubt.
Hubert had a physically enduring first set against Andy Murray as he displayed a bit of old Murray magic. Murray was able to chase down balls without much difficulty as he is aiming to come back into the top four rankings. The Wimbledon semi finalist this year played some great net shots against Murray to take the second set comfortably and progress into the semifinals. Hubert defeated Murray 7-6(7-4), 6-3.
Peter Gojowczyk, the champion here in 2017 hung in till the end to beat Marcos Giron in a quick three set quarterfinal match. Giron had defeated fourth seed Alex de Minaur in the previous match and was in search of a second upset of the tournament but the former champion took the next two sets to advance into the semifinals. Peter will next face Hubert in the semifinals. Peter defeated Marcos Giron 3-6, 6-1, 6-3.
Peter and Hubert will be facing each other for the second time as they had met at last year’s US Open where Hubert won in straight sets. The world number 13 is the favourite to progress into the finals against Peter who will be prepared for volleys and strong serves.
In Men’s Doubles, Arthur Rinderknech and Hugo Nys went into the finals with a shocking victory over second seeds Nikola Ćaćić and Tomislav Brkić. The second set went till tiebreak but Arthur and Hugo did not let the pressure get to them. Arthur and Hugo defeated Nikola and Tomislav 6-3, 7-6(7-3).
Top seeds Henri Kontinen and Ben McLachlan played a nail biting final set to beat Lucas Pouille and Grégoire Barrère. Lucas had won the singles title five years ago and with his partner Grégoire were halfway there when took the first set while conceding a single game but the top seeds took the next two sets to shut the door for the French pair. Henri and Ben will next face the Polish pair of Jan Zieliński and Hubert in the semifinals. Henri and Ben defeated Lucas and Grégoire 1-6, 7-5, 10-7.
Also read: US Open champion Emma Raducanu splits from coach Andrew Richardson
US Open champion Emma Raducanu splits from coach Andrew Richardson
(Tennis news) Following her historic US Open win, British tennis player Emma Raducanu has decided to part ways with coach Andrew Richardson who coached the 18 year old at Bromley Tennis Centre. However, it seems that Richardson no longer is the ‘experienced mentor’ that Raducanu requires to guide her through the next steps of her career.
At an event held by the Lawn Tennis Association at the National Tennis Center, Raducanu said "Where I was at after Wimbledon, I was ranked around 200 in the world and at the time I thought Andrew would be a great coach to trial so we went to the States but never did I even dream of winning the US Open and having the run I did and now I'm ranked 22 in the world, which is pretty crazy to me."
"I feel like at this stage in my career, and playing the top players in the world, I realised I really need someone right now that has had that WTA Tour experience at the high levels, which means that I'm looking for someone who has been at that level and knows what it takes.
"And especially right now because I'm so new to it, I really need someone to guide me who's already been through that.
“Obviously having such an experience with your team, it's tough to have that conversation with anyone, but I think for me it's just really what I need.," Raducanu concluded.
Raducanu does not expect to make a decision until the end of the season but would have noted that renowned coach Darren Cahill is available, following his split from tennis player Simona Halep. Raducanu previously parted ways with Nigel Sears after Wimbledon and seems to have no hesitation in making such crucial decisions so early in her career.
With the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells starting on October 6th, Raducanu said “I'll decide in the next few days where I'm going to go to but, wherever I play next, I'm going to make sure I'm ready. I don't want to jump into things too early."
We created a brotherhood: Leander Paes on his successful partnership with Mahesh Bhupathi
Mumbai, Sep 24 (Sports News) Many years ago, Leander Paes acted on a whim when he asked Mahesh Bhupathi, "Would you like to win Wimbledon?" and the tennis star says what followed was a partnership that brought many trophies for India.
This "brotherhood" between the two Indian tennis icons, who were the first doubles team from the country to win at Wimbledon in 1999, is what the two tennis legends have revisited through ZEE5's non-fiction series "Break Point".
Paes said the audience will get to see a faithful representation of their journey through the series, directed by filmmaker couple Nitesh Tiwari and Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari.
"We created a brotherhood. And through ‘Break Point’, you get to see the journey of two young Indian boys and how we conquered the world of tennis, won Wimbledon and became number one in the world," Paes told PTI in an interview.
Once the poster boys for the sport in the country, nicknamed the "Indian Express", Paes and Bhupathi played together from 1994 to 2006 and reunited for their second stint from 2008 to 2011.
Besides the Wimbledon championship that they won in 1999, Paes and Bhupathi also won two French Open titles in 1999 and 2001.
Through "Break Point", Paes said he re-lived all the games that he and Bhupathi played together including the several Grand Slams and the Olympics, while also taking note of the ups and downs of their relationship, among other things.
"One of my favourite memories is when I was 16-year-old playing in Sri Lanka, and Mahesh was 15, playing at the same Asian championships. So when I saw him, I had an intuition that we could win Wimbledon together and we could be number one in the world.
"So I watched him play for about 15 minutes and when he came off the court he had a big smile on his face and I shook his hand. I said, 'I am Leander.' and he said, 'I know and I have been following you'. And then I said, 'Thank you, but would you like to win Wimbledon?'" Paes said.
He recalled that Bhupathi was taken aback by what he said and started laughing.
"He said, 'You're crazy.' I said, 'I am crazy. Would you like to win Wimbledon?' And the rest is history," added Paes, who as a singles player had famously won the bronze medal in tennis at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
What Paes respects a lot about Bhupathi is that he believed in his dreams and worked hard for them.
"I think that what we've achieved together has created some world records as we are unbeaten in the Davis Cup in 24 matches, we played so many Olympics together.
"We've been number one in the world together. So I really respect the hard work that you put into believing in that dream." Their partnership, however, was marred by a public fallout in 2012 ahead of the London Olympics but Paes said they have put that past behind them and moved on in their lives.
He described the show as quite "real" and "raw".
"We are very true to telling the story of how we were pioneers at the time because there was no manual to teach us how to be the best in the world.
"And it also shows our mistakes, the downfalls that we had, the things that possibly we did wrong that we could have done better." Personally, for him, his win at Atlanta Olympics is a moment closer to his heart as it seemed like emulating his Olympian father Vece Paes.
The tennis star felt that one of the key reasons why they chose to narrate their own story through "Break Point" is that they wanted to share a true story.
"One of the reasons we didn't choose actors and told it directly from our own mouths and our own stories…and also we got our parents, siblings, friends and opponents that we played against, like the Bryan twins, the Woodies, Martina Hingis, Radek Stepanek, Mark Knowles.
"I'm really appreciative of all of them coming and taking part in ‘Break Point’," he said.
Praising Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari and Nitesh Tiwari, Paes said the directors have gone beyond the game and tapped into the human aspect.
"Through all the episodes, they take you through a journey of human emotions. They show you how champions are built, how Champions also make mistakes and that they are human also.
"They show you how winning Wimbledon on one day might make you the king of the world but the next day you are vulnerable too,” he added.
Paes is grateful to the director duo, writer Piyush Gupta and the streaming platform ZEE5 for giving them the platform to narrate their story in multiple languages.
"It's been one phenomenal journey. We proved that if you work hard and if you believe in yourself, have the courage to believe in your dreams, you can be world champions, for sure.
"With this show, we can actually reach the masses to inspire them that if these two can win Wimbledon then you can also be a champion of the world in anything you want to." "Break Point" will stream on ZEE5 on October 1.
Also Read : Tokyo Olympics gold medallist Neeraj Chopra meets Abhinav Bindra
News Source : PTI
Andy Murray reaches first ATP quarter-final since 2019 after defeating Vasek Pospisil
to progress into the quarter-finals of the Moselle Open in Metz. The former World Number 1 reached his first ATP quarter-final since 2019 and will now face either Wimbledon semi-finalist Hubert Hurkacz or Frenchman Lucas Pouille.
Murray overcame Pospisil in the seventh game of the opening set but went 2-0 down in the second set as the Canadian looked to be back in the game. Murray maintained his composure and levelled the score 3-3 soon enough by keeping pressure that resulted in some unforced errors by the Canadian. Murray is currently ranked 113th in the world and is making his second appearance at the Metz, having reached the final in 2007. The three time Grand Slam winner has undergone two surgeries on his right hip in three years and is looking to rediscover his old form by winning his first ATP tour event since the European Open in Antwerp in 2019.
In a courtside interview with Amazon Prime, Murray said "I was trying to make him work on his service games, and he has an excellent serve, then likes to dictate with the first ball after. I was trying to focus on getting lots of returns back and then when I got the opportunity I was trying to put some pressure on him, I think I did that well.
"For the most part, I served pretty well, lost my rhythm a bit at the end of the first set, start of the second, but I returned well and played a smart match.
"Even after I had a breakdown, I was still creating chances and once I got back into the second set I gained a bit of confidence and was a little bit more offensive, that was what turned the match for me.
"My body feels good and I am starting to gain just a little bit of confidence with each match, starting to see the points and how I want to play them, which is great.
"There have been times in the past year where I have been a little bit confused and not seeing how the points are developing which was always a strong part of my game.
"It made me feel quite uncomfortable on court when I was feeling that way, so I am starting to get that back and the results are coming, my tennis is getting better."
Manchester United crash out of the Carabao Cup while Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham progress to Round 4
(Football news) In a shocking upset in the Carabao Cup, West Ham knocked out Manchester United with a 1-0 at Old Trafford to progress to Round 4. Former Man Utd manager David Moyes won his first game against the Red Devils since he was sacked and West Ham have failed to defeat Manchester United on 17 occasions, with the last win coming due to a Carlos Tevez goal in May 2007.
Both the sides made a combined 21 changes to their team and West Ham scored a goal in the ninth minute when Ryan Fredericks completely blindsided left back Alex Telles for Lanzini to coolly finish in the far corner. Jon Moss made a controversial decision when Jesse Lingard was not awarded a penalty after the midfielder was pulled back by Mark Noble in the box. Despite 27 shots on goal, Manchester United failed to convert any opportunities, despite the introduction of Mason Greenwood and Bruno Fernandes in the second half. It was West Ham who looked more likely to double their lead towards the end of the match when Yarmolenko hit the post in the 86th minute and Dean Henderson denied Bowen an opportunity. West Ham will now face Manchester City in Round 4 of the Carabao Cup.
The clash between Chelsea and Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge was full of drama as the Blues prevailed 4-3 on penalties to progress into the last 16 of the competition. Goals from Timo Werner and Cameron Archer could not separate the two sides in normal time and the game progressed to penalty shootouts. Aston Villa’s Ashley Young and Marvelous Nakamba missed from the spot, giving Reece James an opportunity to win the match with a decisive goal. With this result, Chelsea will host Southampton in Round 4 of the Carabao Cup on October 26 or 27.
Meanwhile at the Emirates Stadium, Arsenal outclassed AFC Wimbledon 3-0 to progress into the fourth round of the Carabao Cup. Keeping one eye on the crucial Premier League clash against Tottenham this weekend, Mikel Arteta made ten changes to his side and it paid dividends. Alexandre Lacazette converted from the spot when Gabriel Martinelli had been brought down in the 10th minute. The hosts could not extend their lead for the majority of the game as AFC Wimbledon were defensively solid until substitute Emile Smith Rowe scored Arsenal’s second goal in the 77th minute before Eddie Nketiah made it 3-0 in the 80th minute. Arsenal will now face Leeds United in the fourth round of the Carabao Cup on October 26 or 27.
In a closely contested match at the Molineux Stadium between two Premier League sides, Spurs managed to defeat Wolves 3-2 on penalties after blowing a 2-0 lead. Harry Kane and Tanguy Ndombele gave Tottenham a comfortable two goal cushion, only for Dendoncker and Daniel Podence to bring the hosts level at normal time. As the game progressed to penalty shoot-outs, Ruben Neves, Leander Dendoncker and Conor Coady missed from the spot for last season’s runner ups to progress into the next round to face Burnley.
Boston to host the fourth edition of the Laver Cup, New generation leading the pack
(Tennis news): Laver Cup will begin from 24th of September and will be led by the next generation as the big three won’t be taking part this time. Team Europe is led by the US Open champion Daniil Medvedev and Diego Schwartzman will be leading team World, the tournament is back after a year as it was not held last year due to the pandemic.
The Laver Cup is played in honour of the living legend Rod Laver who dominated the game during the early 60’s and set records which still stands today. He is the only man to have achieved a calendar year slam and was the first player to do it when he won all the four slams in 1969. He played left handed and had strong groundstrokes along with an attacking serve and volley.
Laver also became the first Open era champion at Wimbledon in 1968, he had a total of 198 titles with 111 titles coming in the Open era. He also played doubles, winning all the slams except the US Open in the pre open era and won the Australian Open and Wimbledon in the open era. He was one of the highest paid players and had a total of 11 slams in which 5 of them came in the open era. Laver had laid the foundation for tennis, he was even present in this year’s US Open final and Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne is named after him.
The Laver Cup was created by Roger Federer’s management company TEAM8 along with former player Jorge Paulo Lemann with a partnership of Tennis Australia. It is based on the Ryders Cup in Golf and the top players from the US play against top professionals from Europe. The Laver has two teams, team Europe and team world and there six players in each team who will be captained by a legend in the sport. The current captain for team Europe is Bjorn Borg and vice captain being Thomas Enqvist as for the team world they are being captained by John Mcenroe and the vice captain being Patrick Mcenroe.
The Laver Cup does not have ATP points and is played between the top players. The players are chosen according to team ranking and the captain also chooses players, Team Europe has won the first three editions of the game and Alexander Zverev is the only one player from team Europe to feature in all the editions. John Isner and Nick Kyrgios and have also been part of all the editions in team world.
The first edition was notable as Federer and Rafael Nadal were part of the doubles team and in the second edition Federer and Novak Djokovic were part of the doubles team. There were outstanding performances from Sock in the doubles, Isner and Kyrgios in the singles. All the players watch the match on the court and also receive coaching during the match from the captain and the players.
Team Europe: Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Alexander Zverev, Andrey Rublev, Matteo Berrettini and Casper Ruud.
Team World: Félix Auger-Aliassime, Denis Shapovalov, Diego Schwartzman, Reilly Opelka, John Isner and Nick Kyrgios.
John Isner is the only player this time who is aged above 30 as the rest of the players are all in their twenties. Isner who is 36 is the oldest and Félix Auger-Aliassime who is 21 is the youngest this time. Team Europe is filled with youngsters and is the favourite to win the Cup as for Team world they will look to hold the cup for the first time.
Manchester United, Chelsea, Tottenham and Arsenal in action in Carabao Cup third round fixtures
(Football news) An eventful set of fixtures concluded yesterday in the third round of the Carabao Cup that saw Premier League side Everton crash out of the competition while Man City and Liverpool successfully progressed to the fourth round. The action continues with many Premier League heavyweights set to begin their campaign for the first silverware that’s awarded in the season.
Manchester United vs West Ham: 12:15 am IST, 23rd September 2021
Manchester United will take on West Ham, a repeat of the same fixture that happened on the weekend, except it will take place at Old Trafford. Both teams are expected to make changes with Jesse Lingard, who scored the winner against his former club last weekend, expected to start. Phil Jones is also set to be included in the squad for the first time since his 20 month injury layoff while Alex Telles is available for selection after recovering from an ankle injury. David De Gea is expected to be rested and either Dean Henderson or Tom Heaton could feature in the starting XI while Victor Lindelof, Eric Bailly, Juan Mata, Donny Van De Beek, Anthony Martial, Diogo Dalot are also expected to be in the starting XI.
Solskjaer will be hoping to give the youngsters some much needed first team experience with the likes of Anthony Elanga, Teden Mengi, Hannibal Mejbri and Shola Shoretire in contention to make it to the squad. Edinson Cavani remains a doubt after a muscle strain while Amad Diallo (thigh) and Marcus Rashford (shoulder) are expected to remain sidelined. Meanwhile, Michail Antonio is back in contention for West Ham, having missed out on the weekend’s Premier League action but may be saved for the match against Leeds while Goalkeeper Alphonse Areola and midfielder Alex Kral could make their debuts. Manuel Lanzini, Mark Noble, Arthur Masuaku and Issa Diop are expected to feature in the match.
Chelsea vs Aston Villa: 12:15 am IST, 23rd September 2021
Champions of Europe Chelsea are set to face Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge in the third round of the Carabao Cup. Edouard Mendy is expected to be sidelined, having suffered a hip injury and remains doubtful for this weekend’s match against Manchester City as well. Christian Pulisic is also a doubt as the American has not fully recovered from an ankle injury. Thomas Tuchel is expected to make wholesale changes, especially considering that the Blues will face Man City next and Juventus midweek in the Champions League. Aston Villa is expected to feature their record signing Emi Buendia who was an unused substitute in last weekend’s 3-0 win over Everton. John McGinn is expected to be sidelined, having suffered from concussion while Leon Bailey has a quad injury.
Arsenal vs AFC Wimbledon: 12:15 am IST, 23rd September 2021
After enduring a torrid start to the season, Arsenal seem to have found their momentum and got back to winning ways, having won back to back Premier League matches against Norwich City and Burnley. The Gunners will be without Granit Xhaka who is serving the last of his three game ban after receiving a red card against Manchester City. Mikel Arteta has an almost fully fit squad at his disposal except for Mohamed Elneny, who is recovering from a hamstring injury. This is the first time the two sides will face each other in any competition and Arsenal are expected to be heavy favourites to progress to the next round.
Wolves vs Tottenham: 12:15 am IST, 23rd September 2021
In a clash between two Premier League tables, both Wolves and Tottenham will be hoping to get back to winning ways, having suffered losses in the Premier League last weekend. The likes of Fabio Silva, Leander Dendoncker, Hwang Hee-chan, Yerson Mosquera and John Ruddy are expected to feature for Wolves while Pedro Neto and Jonny remain long-term absentees.
A sprained ankle for Steven Bergwijn and a knock for Lucas Moura means both the players will be unavailable for selection while Defender Japhet Tanganga is back in contention after suspension. Nuno Espírito Santo is expected to make wholesale changes to the squad, keeping one eye on the weekend’s derby against arch rivals Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium.
The 21st Slam in 2022 or the end of the big three reign, two groups on two different missions
(Tennis news) With the end of the final Grand Slam this year, the big three will start next year with 20 Grand Slams and there will be pressure on each of them when they face their younger rivals who are also on a mission. The US Open final saw youngsters all over the place as the older players just couldn’t match the energy with their juniors.
Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, the three greatest players whose rivalry has a new target. Federer and Nadal are plagued by injuries as they would not be competing this year, something which was supposed to clear the route for Djokovic but the next generation came in the way. The Australian Open next year will be a must watch as now the draw is hard to predict.
Focusing on the big three’s mission, Djokovic is the youngest as he is 34 years old with Nadal being a year older and Federer at 40 being the oldest. Djokovic is aging gracefully as he has reached the last four finals at the Grand Slam and won three of them which means that he is the clear favourite on any surface. Djokovic is the third man to win all the Grand Slams twice and the first one in over four decades, he defeated Nadal in the semifinals at the French Open this year and also saved two match points in the final at Wimbledon against Federer two years back.
Nadal has his best chances at the French Open which he has won a record 13 times. Even though he is affected by injury a comeback is never off the charts and is a fighter off court too. Nadal’s attacking style has cost him multiple times but he has the never give up spirit which even troubled Federer at his prime. Nadal has struggled in Wimbledon and also in Australian Open, French Open has been his home and the US Open also has been kind to him in recent times.
Federer was written off by critics 4 years back as he had not won a Slam since 2012. In the 2017 season he came back from an injury and made one of the most inspiring comebacks by winning two slams in the year which included a record 8th Wimbledon title. Federer is always a contender even though his last Slam was the Australian Open which he won three years ago and will hope to come back next year to further add more records in his glittering career. Maybe even a dream US Open clash facing Rafael Nadal as both of them have never played at Flushing Meadows.
The second mission is spearheaded by the newly crowned US Open champion Daniil Medvedev followed by Alexander Zverev, Dominic Thiem and Stefanos Tsitsipas. These players are most likely to take the game ahead in the coming years when the big three step out of the court. They have the potential to win slams even if the big three is on the way and even if the odds are against them as seen at the US Open.
Dominic Thiem and Daniil Medvedev are the only players to win a Slam in their pack. Zverev and Tsitsipas have reached the finals of a Slam and are expecting to open their tally next year. This year there were a lot of matches where these players made up for the absence of the veterans. Players like Matteo Berrettini who made the Wimbledon final, Andrey Rublev, Felix Auger Aliassime, Denis Shapovalov are also not far behind in troubling the big three and the emergence of even younger players like Carlos Alcaraz Garfia, Jannik Sinner, Lorenzo Musetti and Jenson Brooksby add more woes to the seniors.
Next year it might not even be about who will win the 21st Slam. It will be about who’s going to take the baton or to rephrase who’s going to grab it as the chances are high that the younger generation start their dominance and assert their presence on court. These players are ready to make history and take what is rightfully theirs, the courts are going to get messy but that's what happens in an invasion.
Also read: Daniil Medvedev’s groundbreaking run at the US Open gives hope to the next generation of stars
Daniil Medvedev’s groundbreaking run at the US Open gives hope to the next generation of stars
(Tennis news): Daniil Medvedev has pulled off one of the biggest upsets in tennis history as he defeated Novak Djokovic in the most unforeseen circumstances at the US Open. The odds were against Medvedev as he was facing arguably the most versatile tennis player on the planet but Medvedev put all that aside and did not let Djokovic in his head.
Djokovic was having the best possible year as he was unbeaten in Grand Slams and was looking to repeat the feat achieved by Rod Laver in 1969. Rod Laver was himself present in the crowd as his record was in danger but as the match started the record seemed to move further away. Medvedev played like he had nothing to lose and just broke Djokovic mentally as the pressure to win the calendar slam rocketed.
Djokovic lost the opening set as he had done previously in the last four matches and he had always come back in those matches but this time it looked like it was getting delayed as Medvedev did not falter at any point of time and kept winning points as he looked at the crowd which was witnessing a major upset.
Djokovic changed his shirt in the beginning of the last set as he tried one last time to make a comeback and there was a slight hope that the match would go another set and the crowd was suddenly chanting for Djokovic’s revival. Djokovic had the lost the first set at Wimbledon against Matteo Berrettini but even more notable was that he had the lost the first two sets against Stefanos Tsitsipas at the French Open but found ways to finish with the trophy in hand.
It was looking as if Medvedev had lost control and would choke in the end but Medvedev made sure the crowd would get the answer quick and clear. Maybe the Australian Open final against Djokovic in the year beginning played a major part in Medvedev’s victory or the pressure got to Djokovic in winning the calendar slam which does not seem likely.
The match saw both the players becoming emotional as there was a lot at stake especially for Djokovic. Djokovic was also seen smiling in the end as it reminded the crowd of the same grin which was there 10 years back when Djokovic saved one of the match points against Roger Federer in the semifinal with a powerful cross court forehand. This time Djokovic was seen in tears as he put the towel in his face before the last game and Medvedev who is known for his celebrations which involves a smile or just a thumbs up also did not hold back as he just fell on the court after winning the last point.
This victory is one of the most significant victories ever in the game, Rafael Nadal was defeated for the first time at the French Open in 2009 by Robin Soderling and it was a huge victory as Nadal had won the last four titles. Roger Federer was defeated in the same year at the US Open final by Juan Martín del Potro and Federer had won the last five titles. Nadal was defeated by the brutal strength of Soderling’s forehand and Federer was annihilated by Potro’s forehand, but the difference here is Djokovic had won all the Slams in the year, something which had not happened in the last 52 years.
Roger Federer was known for his ability to excel in all the surfaces but even he had his troubles in clay as he struggled especially against Nadal. Djokovic has proved himself to be a court player as he has continued to win no matter what the surface or opponent is but will be wondering what went wrong against Medvedev.
Medvedev stopped Djokovic from a historic calendar Slam and also from a record 21st Grand Slam title. Medvedev had already lost to Djokovic in the Australian Open final but none of that mattered to him when he played the final here at the US Open. Medvedev has now cemented his place in the list of greatest upsets and is the second man born in the 90’s to win a Grand Slam after Dominic Thiem took the title here last year.
Daniil Medvedev will celebrate his achievement now as he will lift the trophy and make sure he gets more next year. As for Djokovic it will be a painful defeat as he was only victory away but being the athlete he is there is no need to wait for him to bounce back. Djokovic will look to defend the titles next year and hope to give company to Rod Laver next time.
Also read: Paralympic stars Dylan Alcott and Diede de Groot create history by winning the Golden Slam in wheelchair tennis
Paralympic stars Dylan Alcott and Diede de Groot create history by winning the Golden Slam in wheelchair tennis
(Tennis news) History was created on Sunday when Dylan Alcott and Diede de Groot won the U.S Open to conclude the most successful tennis campaign imaginable. Nobody in the history of wheelchair tennis had won the Golden Slam until yesterday and when it finally happened, it occurred not once but twice.
Having already won the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and Paralympic gold medals, Dylan Alcott and Diede de Groot won the U.S Open in dominant fashion to cement their historic accomplishment. World number 1 from Australia Dylan Alcott defeated Niels Vink of the Netherlands 7-5, 6-2 in the quad singles division while Dutch World Number 1 Diede de Groot defeated 2nd seed Yui Kamiji of Japan 6-3, 6-2 in the Women’s Singles Final.
Only Steffi Graff in 1988 has won all four Grand Slam titles and an Olympic gold medal in the same year. The accomplishment was not possible in wheelchair tennis until 2016, when Wimbledon was added for wheelchair tennis players. Alcott, who previously won a Paralympic gold medal in basketball in 2008 became the only male tennis player to win the Golden Slam.
In his acceptance speech, Alcott said “To all the sponsors, everybody that makes it happen, thank you for putting us on stadium courts, changing my life, changing Niels's life, but hopefully changing the lives of millions of people with disability around the world, that they can see themselves on the big stage doing what they love." He continued, "I used to hate myself so much. I hated my disability. I didn't even want to be here anymore. And I found tennis, and it changed and saved my life, and now I've become the only male ever in any form of tennis, I think, to win the Golden Slam, which is pretty cool."
Both Dylan Alcott and Diede de Groot were honoured during the men’s final between Novak Djokovic and Daniil Medvedev. Alcott poured a can of beer into his trophy and chugged it, much to the crowd's delight. "I just haven't done it in front of 20,000 people and 50 million watching. There was no chance I wasn't going to skull that beer on Arthur Ashe after I just won the Golden Slam.
"I saw I got a smile from Novak and Medvedev, action which was nice. I wouldn't want to be a beer in New York tonight, because you're going to get destroyed. That's for sure.''
Also read: Daniil Medvedev does the impossible against Novak Djokovic at the US Open final, Emma Raducanu captures first Grand Slam in style
Monica Seles will always be the greatest teenager in the history of Tennis
(Tennis news): The recent arrivals of teenagers in the US Open such as Emma Raducanu, Leylah Fernandez and Carlos Alcaraz Garfia have amazed the tennis world. Many teenagers have come and gone in the past few years as only few have managed to stay on the tour. The rest succumb to pressure or lose their magic as they age. Monica Seles is undoubtedly the best when it comes to young talent.
Seles played left handed and had a double handed forehand and backhand which brought out a lot of force in her groundstrokes. She was a baseliner and a very aggressive player who grunted on the court. The significance of Seles still remains as she had beaten the top players in Grand Slams multiple times before even turning twenty as she became a professional player at only 15 years old.
In the Men’s field, the most Grand Slam titles in Singles before the age of 20 is two. The record is shared by three men in the Open era, Boris Becker, Bjorn Borg and Mats Wilander. The women’s field has seen many more younger champions in the field and the record looks astonishing. Monica Seles holds the record for most Grand Slam titles in Singles as a teenager as she won 8 Grand Slam titles before turning twenty.
Steffi Graf and Martina Hingis had won five slams before their twenties. To be able to play on the WTA or ATP at such a young age is itself a major accomplishment but to defeat the top players who have twice the experience is almost impossible. Monica Seles was projected to win more slams than Steffi Graf and even Margaret Court but had an unfortunate end to her career.
Seles won her first Grand Slam in 1990 when she was 16 years old and defeated Steffi Graf in the final to win the French Open. She had reached the semifinals in the previous year, losing to Graff but this time clinched victory in straight sets. Seles won the French Open the next two years as she defeated Arantxa Sánchez Vicario in 1991 and won an epic match against Graf in 1992 as the final set score read 10-8.
Seles also won the Australian Open and US Open in 1991 and 1992, although she won more after turning twenty. She also reached the finals of the all Slams in 1992 and only lost in Wimbledon to Graf, they have played in 10 matches at the Slams with Graf leading with 6 victories. Seles won the Australian Open in 1993 which was her last as a teenager on tour. She also won three successive WTA Tour Finals which is the season ending championship.
On April 30 1993, Seles was playing in the Quarterfinals against Magdalena Maleeva at the Citizen Cup in Hamburg. During the games break, a fan came into the court and stabbed her from behind with a knife which resulted in her taking a break from the competition for two years. After the attack Seles could never come back to her old self and only won one slam after that.
Seles came back to the tour in 1995 and even reached the finals of the US Open where she lost to Graf. She won her 9th and final slam in 1996 by defeating Anke Huber at the Australian Open and reached the finals of the US Open that year again losing to Graf. Seles reached her last Grand Slam final at the 1998 French Open where she lost to Arantxa Sánchez Vicario. She played the French Open in 2003, losing in the 1st round, which was her last official match.
It is almost possible to find a successor to Seles as it requires a lot of talent and hardwork to achieve what she did at that age. In an era where most of the players even fail to win a Grand Slam or win a handful in their whole career. Seles' form in court from 1990 to 1993 was outstanding as she won 8 titles and a runner up trophy. The level of tennis that was on display is still a sight to see and admire as she defied all odds and obstacles. Thirty years later we are witnessing a huge shift in the Men’s and Women’s tour as the young athletes are bagging the spotlight. The Women’s final will see two teenagers battling it out, maybe it's a start to a new era but Seles' record is here to stay.
Also read: Teenagers Emma Raducanu and Leylah Fernandez into the finals of the US Open
Teenagers Emma Raducanu and Leylah Fernandez into the finals of the US Open
(Tennis News): In Women’s Singles, Emma Raducanu showed no intentions of slowing down in her semifinal match against Maria Sakkari. Emma has become the first qualifier to reach the Women’s Singles final in the Open era and she has won all her matches in straight games. Maria tried her best with her powerful groundstrokes but it proved futile as Emma somehow managed to get to them and even return with more power.
Raducanu got off to a fine start as she took the first five games and Maria could only watch as the teenager took the set with ever growing confidence. In the second set again Raducanu never really lost control as Maria tried everything. There was a 17 point rally as Maria was trying to hold off a breakpoint at 2-4 and it involved two overhead smashes at the net which Raducanu defended brilliantly even though Maria won the point, it summed up the whole match. Raducanu defeated Maria 6-1, 6-4.
Leylah Annie Fernandez had to reserve her best for the end as she beat Aryna Sabalenka in her semifinal match. Leylah was down 0-3 in the first set but played like a veteran and took it till tiebreak to take the set even though Sabalenka gave her a tough time. The World number 2 was not going to go down against Leylah without a fight as she took the second set, Sabalenka had strong winners to lift up her spirit from time to time.
Leylah at times could not reach some of the groundstrokes produced by Sabalenka as it was a display of raw power. Although Sabalenka kept hitting powerful strokes it also brought many unforced errors which gave the teenager a hold of the match. Leylah defeated Sabalenka 7-6(7-3), 4-6, 6-4.
Last time the US Open saw two teenagers in a final was in 1999 when Serena Williams defeated Martina Hingis in the final.
Novak Djokovic versus Alexander Zverev
Djokovic and Zvere have played three matches this year with Djokovic leading 2-1. But in their last meeting Zverev pulled off a historic victory against the World number one. All of their matches have gone till the final set this year and Djokvic is the favourite to win the clash against young German.
In this year’s US Open Zverev has only spent 8 hours on the court and Djokovic has spent over 12 hours on the court. The time difference will play a major role even though Zverev will be getting two days and Djokovic will get one day rest. Zverev wil try breaking the Serb physically and also try getting into his head. Djokovic showed visible frustration against Pablo Carreño Busta in the Bronze medal playoff even smashing his racket in the court.
Zverev will try to repeat what he had done in the Tokyo Olympics and if he does will be one of the biggest upsets in tennis history. Djokovic has been invisible this year and stopping him in the Grand Slams is a tough task especially on hardcourts, he has had slow starts this time but once he finds his form there is no chance that he can be beaten this time.
Daniil Medvedev versus Felix Auger Aliassime
Daniil Medvedev is one of the most successful players on tour other than the big three over the past few years. He is the first man other than the big three to hold either of the top two spots in the rankings since 2005 and looks to be the next world number 1.Medvedev has won three titles this year with the latest one being the Toronto Open. He also has 40 victories this year and 10 losses, Medvedev was also the runner up in this year’s Australian Open where Novak Djokovic prevailed in straight sets. He also reached the quarterfinals of the French Open where he lost to Stefanos Tsistipas, Medvedev has so far only lost one set in the tournament.
Medvedev is a very cool and calm player on the court and he does express his emotions a lot. He has a very unorthodox forehand and backhand which enables him to change the direction of the ball quickly. Even though he is tall, Medvedev moves around the court like a gazelle and also has fast serves. He returns far away from the baseline which has been very effective in recent matches. Medvedev has spent over 10 hours on court and looks to be the favourite.
Felix Auger Aliassime is one of the latest players to have come up in the big stages, he has had a decent year but reached the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam for the first time in Wimbledon. Felix is quick around the court and has a stable backhand which comes to play during long rallies. Felix has spent over 14 hours on court and has had tough matches on his way to the semifinals.
Felix did have a great time in the grass courts but on the hard courts this year he has struggled a bit. But in the US Open he showed that he is ready for big time tennis and will look to preserve as much as stamina against Medvedev, Felix will try to finish the rallies quickly as Medvedev is a baseliner and doesn’t come to the net much. The match will be in Medvedev's favour if it goes too long as he has had a similar experience against Rafael Nadal two years back, Felix will try to create more chances early in the match and continue his record breaking run here.
In Men’s Doubles, Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares defeated the pair of Filip Polášek and John Peers 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 in the semifinals. In the second semifinals Steve Johnson and Sam Querrey’s brilliant run came to an end as they lost to Joe Salisbury and Rajeev Ram. Rajeev and Joe defeated Querrey and Johnson 7-6(7-5), 6-4.
Also read: Novak Djokovic books semifinal showdown against Alexander Zverev at the US Open, Emma Raducanu breaks into the last four
Novak Djokovic books semifinal showdown against Alexander Zverev at the US Open, Emma Raducanu breaks into the last four
(Tennis News): In Men’s Singles, Novak Djokovic is now only two wins away from winning the Calendar Grand Slam. Djokovic has now beaten Matteo Berrettini thrice this year, all of them coming in the Grand Slams. Berrettini took advantage of Djokovic’s slow start to take the first set but that was it as Djokovic delivered a masterclass to take the three sets to set up a semifinal clash against Alexander Zverev. Djokovic defeated Berrettini 5-7, 6-2, 6-2, 6-3.
Alexander Zverev put an end to Lloyd Harris’s fairytale run at the US Open. Harris had earlier beaten Reilly Opelka, Denis Shapovalov and Karen Khachanov on his way to the quarterfinals. Zverev was in no way threatened by Harris although in the first set Zverev had to bring out his top game. Zverev also came to the net and effectively used the volley to win points even at crucial stages. Zverev defeated Harris 7-6(8-6), 6-3, 6-4.
In Women’s Singles, Emma Raducanu is making sure she spends more time at the US Open as she beat Belinda Bencic in the quarterfinal. Emma has become the first Qualifier in the open era to make the semifinals at the US Open. Emma was down 1-3 in the first set as Belinda kept showering blows to take an early lead but then Emma came back with an inspiring performance as she took the next five games to take the set. Emma kept hitting better and better as the match went on and Belinda waved goodbye to the crowd. Emma defeated Belinda 6-3, 6-4
Aryna Sabalenka was on her usual attacking form when she beat Barbora Krejcikova in the Quarterfinals. Sablenka had reached the semifinals in Wimbledon this year and looks to win the Championship to reach closer to the number 1 ranking which she has been chasing for some time now. Barbora could not withstand her opponent’s shots in the first set and in the second set made a brief comeback but it was not enough as Sabalenka will play against Leylah Annie Fernandez in the semifinal. Sabalenka defeated Barbora 6-1, 6-4.
Maria Sakkari’s backhand was too powerful and accurate as it played a major role in her quarterfinal match against Karolína Plíšková. The rallies were short as tournament’s ace leader Pliskova could not match Maria’s serve and groundstrokes. Maria is the first Greek player to ever reach a US Open semifinal; she had reached the semifinal at the French Open earlier this year. Maria defeated Pliskova 6-4, 6-4.
Leylah Annie Fernandez versus Aryna Sabalenka
Leylah Annie Fernandez is the second youngest in the last four. The 19 year old produced a huge upset as she knocked out defending champion Naomi Osaka in the third round. She also defeated 2016 champion Angelique Kerber in the fourth round, her powerful strokes and athleticism has served her well in the hardcourts.
Aryna Sabalenka is the world number two and has plenty of experience by her side. She is 6ft tall and uses that for her powerful serves and groundstrokes to beat the opponent. Aryna is also very ruthless and can hit winners from any side of the court; she has dropped only one set in the tournament. She won the doubles title here in 2019 and the Australian Open doubles this year and can use the serve and volley combination to beat the teenager. Aryna will also have the mental strength over her young opponent.
Emma Raducanu versus Maria Sakkari
Emma is having the time of her life as she is into the last four in her second Grand Slam. She has not dropped a set in the tournament and even in the qualifiers did not lose a set. She has grown physically stronger and has not been challenged so far in the tournament. She is the youngest player left in this tournament and in the third round was almost close to a double bagel against Sara Sorribes Tormo. Although she has less experience she certainly looks the favourite given her form in the past few days
Maria Sakkari is a strong server and has powerful groundstrokes to accompany her all-court style of play. She will look to use her experience against the 18 year old and put her under pressure, Maria will also look to use her backhand which was particularly useful against Pliskova. This will be Maria’s second career semifinal after reaching the semifinal at the French Open.
Emma Raducanu is the youngest of the four as she is only 18 years old and Maria Sakkari is the oldest as she is 26 years old. Of the four semi finalists, none of them have ever reached a Grand Slam final and we will be looking at a first Grand Slam winner at this year’s US Open.
Also read: Canadians Felix Auger Aliassime and Leylah Fernandez into the semifinals at the US Open
Emma Raducanu the top newcomer in the WTA tour this season
(Tennis news): Emma Raducanu is playing in her second Grand Slam tournament and is into the quarterfinals of the US Open where she will face Tokyo Olympics Singles champion Belinda Bencic. Emma is only 18 years old and has been playing professional tennis since 2018 and played her first main draw tour level match at the 2021 Nottingham Open.
Emma was ranked 338 in the world when she got the wildcard for the Nottingham Open in June, she lost her first match against Harriet Dart in straight sets. Emma also earned a wild card in Wimbledon defeating Russian qualifier Vitalia Anatolyevna Diatchenko in the first round. She had a tough first set but bageled her opponent in the second one. In the second round she defeated 2019 French Open runner up Markéta Vondroušová and Emma didn’t stop there. In the third round she defeated Sorana Cîrstea to become the youngest British woman to reach the last 16 in the open era. She lost in the fourth round to Ajla Tomljanović as Emma had to retire in the second set due to breathlessness. The level of physical fitness of Emma was questioned as she seemed to struggle in the match.
Emma’s efforts were a boon to her rankings as she rose to a career best 179 in the world. She again gained a wild card to the Silicon Valley Classic tournament which was her first entry into a 500 event. She lost in the first round to Zhang Shuai in straight sets, Emma then reached the final of the WTA 125 tournament in Chicago which propelled her to a career best ranking of 150.
Emma’s Meteoric rise on the tour has been exceptional. The sport has seen many different champions in the past twenty years, in the Grand Slam stages there have been different winners as only Serena Williams, Venus Williams and Maria Sharapova have made it multiple times. Serena of course is on a different pedestal but now these young players are slowly rising. Emma played well in Wimbledon, where she reached the fourth round in just her Grand Slam debut. Players of this generation are used to huge crowds and have advanced technologies to analyse their opponents matches. They are well equipped, but the amount of dedication and hardwork will always be the same to be a top ranked player on tour.
The top players have always started out young, some have found success at a very young age like Serena, Rafael Nadal in the recent past and a handful of the players can play for a long time. This US open was a painful reminder to the fans and the audience that the older generation players cannot compete continuously like the younger ones. The youngsters gave the fans and audience a happy reminder that there are more records to come, even though it will take some time. Players like Emma who were not even in the top 300 at the start of the year but now are in the top 150 can be the future superstars of the game.
Emma came in the US Open as a qualifier, where she played three matches and did not drop a set. In the main draw she was expected to have tough challenges but so far has not been facing trouble. Emma upset Shuai Zhang, a player ranked 100 places above her in the second round and in the next round caused a bigger upset as she defeated Sara Sorribes Tormo also bageled her in the second set. Sara had defeated Ashleigh Barty in the Tokyo Olympics and is having a good tour this season, Emma took the first 11 games of the match. In the next round was the biggest upset by Emma yet as she defeated Shelby Rogers. Rogers again had defeated Barty in the earlier round and reached the quarterfinals last year.
It is interesting to see that Emma has not dropped a set yet in the US Open, she has not conceded more than four games in a set against her opponents. In her eight Grand Slam matches so far, she has lost one to Ajla Tomljanović in Wimbledon other than she has won all her matches in straight sets. Emma also recorded a bagel in her very first Grand Slam match, she seems to be very promising and will look to be at her best against Belinda Bencic.
Emma is a right hander who plays a two handed backhand, she has powerful groundstrokes which has been a nuclear weapon in the US Open. She has a total of 92 winners in four matches and so far has quickly closed out the matches. Emma’s physical fitness has improved ever since her Wimbledon retirement, she is now used to the game of the top players. Emma hopefully won’t fall prey to the heavy expectations as every upcoming young player faces this stern task of facing the audience in times of defeat. She will need every bit of strength in the coming matches and the crowd so far has been super supportive of the players. Emma looks to be the flag bearer of the latest generation.
Also read: Emma Raducanu breezes past Shelby Rogers at the US Open, Matteo Berrettini seeks Wimbeldon revenge against Novak Djokovic
Emma Raducanu breezes past Shelby Rogers at the US Open, Matteo Berrettini seeks Wimbeldon revenge against Novak Djokovic
(Tennis news): In Men’s Singles, Novak Djokovic was challenged initially in the start of the match by Jenson Brooksby. Jenson seemed not to be bothered by the World’s best player as he took the first set. The crowd went wild only to watch in despair as Djokovic took the next three as Andy Roddick, a former world number 1 and the champion here in 2003 tweeted perfectly about the match that First he takes your legs, then he takes your soul. Djokovic defeated Jenson 1-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2.
Matteo Berrettini looked strong and fast as he took on World no 144 Oscar Otte in the fourth round of the US Open. Oscar had reached the fourth round of a Grand Slam for the first time and suffered blows from Berrettini, Oscar took the second set to add some mystery in the clash but it was soon put off as Berrettini close with an ace as he faces Djokovic for third time in a Grand Slam this year after the French Open quarterfinal and the Wimbledon final. Berrettini defeated Oscar 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2.
Lloyd Harris reached his first Grand Slam Quarterfinal as he out performed Reilly Opelka in every aspect of the game. Harris even lobbed the ball over the 6 foot 11 inch American in the very first game of the match, even though Opelka took the first set Harris simply played better throughout the match. Harris even served more aces than Opelka in every set and in the final two sets Harris was seen toying with perfection as he did not commit a single unforced error and progressed to the quarterfinals. Harris defeated Opelka 6-7(6-8), 6-4, 6-1, 6-3.
In Women’s Singles, Emma Raducanu took just an hour to knock out Shelby Rogers who had beaten Asheligh Barty in the previous game. The scoreboard was supposed to be the same but not in favour of Emma as she took the first set with a blazing forehand return winner. Emma just continued her A game in the second set as she was up 5-0 and Rogers somehow got one game off her. Emma defeated Rogers 6-2, 6-1.
Maria Sakkari reached the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam for the second time after reaching the semifinals of the French Open a few months earlier. Maria had to play a marathon match against 2019 champion Bianca Andreescu in the fourth round. Biana had the chance to settle the match in the second set tiebreak as she needed two points for a win but Maria took the set and took the last three games in the final set to finally finish out in the match in three and half hours. Maria defeated Bianca 6-7(2-7), 7-6(8-6), 6-3.
Barbora Krejčíková won her first Grand Slam in Singles this year at the French Open, She was facing Garbiñe Muguruza for the third time this year and Barbora had won their last meeting in the fourth round of the Cincinnati Open. In the first twelve points of the match, Muguruza could only win two points as Barbora raced off to a 3-0 lead. Muguruza came back with 3 continuous games but Barbora took the next three to take the first set and in the next set Barbora again took the first 4 games. This time there was a much stronger Muguruza as she took the next five games and even had two set points while Barbora was serving at 4-5. Barbora took it to a tie break as it was a close contest in the second set. Barbora defeated Muguruza 6-3, 7-6(7-4).
In Men’s Doubles, Joe Salisbury and Rajeev Ram defeated Rohan Bopanna and Ivan Dodig in the fourth round as the Indian contention at the US Open came to an end. Joe and Rajeev defeated Rohan and Ivan 6-7(3-7), 6-4, 7-6(7-3). Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos did not face much trouble as they defeated Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi and Jonny O'Mara 7-5, 7-5 to go into the quarterfinals.
In Women’s Doubles, Hsieh Su-wei and Elise Mertens continued their smooth run with a hat trick of straight set victories. Hsieh Su-wei and Mertens defeated Greet Minnen and Alison Van Uytvanck 6-0, 6-2 in the fourth round. Luisa Stefani and Gabriela Dabrowski had it rough in the start but eventually defeated Dayana Yastremska and Marta Kostyuk 6-7(5-7), 6-4, 6-2.
In Mixed Doubles, Marcelo Demoliner and Ellen Perez faced tough competition as they defeated Joran Vliegen and Andreja Klepač 6-7(4-7), 6-4, 10-5 to advance into the quarterfinals. Max Purcell and Dayana Yastremska only lost five games as they defeated Fabrice Martin and Yaroslava Shvedova 6-2, 6-3 to enter the semifinals.
Also read: Novak Djokovic four victories away from making history at the US Open, Leylah Fernandez knocks out Angelique Kerber in fourth round clash
Young Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz is breaking records one step at a time
(Tennis news): Carlos Alcaraz Garfia is just 18 years old and already making heavy strides in the game. The US Open has been his major spotlight although he has been making progress since the start of the year. At the start of the 2019 season, he was ranked 490 and by the end of the year he was ranked 130. In 2020 he started the year ranked 130 and the rankings didn't change much as there were few tournaments taking place. He has made his debut in all the Grand Slams this year.
In the 2021 season, Alcaraz made his Grand Slam debut at the Australian Open where he beat Botic van de Zandschulp in the first round but lost to Mikael Ymer in the next round. His major breakthrough came in the AnyTech365 Andalucia Open, a 250 tier tournament where he made the semifinals beating Feliciano Lopez, Casper Ruud on the way. Alcaraz also faced his idol Rafael Nadal in the third round of the Madrid Masters 1000 losing in straight sets.
In the French Open, Alcaraz won his opening match against Nikoloz Basilashvili but lost his next match to Jan-Lennard Struff. In Wimbledon too he won his first match against Yasutaka Uchiyama and in the next match lost to Daniil Medvedev. His next tournament, the Croatia Open 250 will always be special to him as he beat Filip Krajinovic, Albert Ramos-Vinolas and in the final demolished Richard Gasquet for his first ATP tour title.
The Croatia Open has an interesting history behind it. Alcaraz’s coach, Juan Carlos Ferrero had won it in 2010. Novak Djokovic also made his tour level appearance in Umag back in 2003 when Alcaraz was born. The year 2003 is also when Rafael Nadal made his Grand Slam debut and Roger Federer won Wimbledon which was his first Grand Slam title. Alcaraz has a lot of players he can look upto especially his own countrymen, he considers Nadal as his idol.
Juan Carlos Ferrero, a former world number 1 and French Open winner in 2003 has been instrumental in the young Spaniard’s career. He has been coaching him since 2018 and has been bringing in changes constantly especially on his aggressive play. Stefanos Tsitsipas said that he has never seen anybody striking the ball that hard after losing to Alcaraz in the fourth round of the ongoing US Open.
Alcaraz is a right hander and plays a two handed backhand, he employs his powerful forehand to hit winners and also uses a drop shot as he can also finish off points in the net. His endurance was heavily tested against Stefanos Tsitsipas in the fourth round of the US Open, the match lasted for over four hours and Alcaraz had covered 9kms in distance during the match. Although he is young, he has the strength and grit to trouble the top players.
Alcaraz is the youngest Grand Slam quarter finalist since Michael Chang in the 1990 French Open and is the youngest to reach the US Open quarterfinals since 1963. He is the youngest man from Spain to reach the US Open fourth round since Nadal in 2006, Nadal had lost in the quarterfinals to Mikhail Youzhny that year. Alcaraz is also the youngest player to beat a top three ranked opponent since the start of the ATP rankings in 1973.
Alcaraz has a lot to look forward to since he has just started his career and has done it in the best way possible. 16 years ago, on a different surface another aggressive young Spaniard won his first Grand Slam and now will be looking for a successor. Nadal has set the bar high for the future players from Spain, Alcaraz has his targets in sight as he will try to reach the last four and maybe even face Novak Djokovic in a thrilling battle. There are a lot of expectations from the young lad as he will try to break in the next Gen which will be carrying the tour hopefully soon. Alcaraz has been a major headline of this year’s US Open and who knows might even lift a Grand Slam in a year or two.
The tour has seen a lot of youngsters making the top cut, but someone so young shining in the Grand Slams has not been seen in recent years. The pressure and facing the crowds itself is a difficult task and adding to facing top players who have had years of experience. Alcaraz doesn't seem to be distracted by all this as he is now a crowd favourite and showed his best tennis in Arthur Ashe Stadium which is the largest tennis stadium in the world. He will next face Felix Auger Aliassime who is also a rising star himself, it will be a eye dropping battle as the crafty Canadian will take on the aggressive rough Spaniard. A battle of the future stars and they have indeed added more spice in the tournament. The future of tennis is in safe hands and the ball is in the court, let's admire the show while it lasts.
Also read: Novak Djokovic four victories away from making history at the US Open, Leylah Fernandez knocks out Angelique Kerber in fourth round clash
Carlos Alcaraz and Leylah Fernandez lead with huge victories at the US Open
(Tennis news): In Men’s Singles, 18 year old Carlos Alcaraz Garfia reported a major casualty when he beat World number 3 Stefanos Tsitsipas in the third round of the US Open. Alcaraz covered over 9 kms during the four hour battle, he even came back from 2-5 in the third set as Tsitsipas simply couldn’t get the ball past him. In the fourth set, Tsitsipas came back roaring with 6 consecutive games to take the match into the decider. Alcaraz played like a true warrior against the Greek god to go into the fourth round. Alcaraz defeated Tsitsipas 6-3, 4-6, 7-6(7-2), 0-6, 7-6(7-5).
World no seven Andrey Rublev was also knocked out by Frances Tiafoe in another five setter as two top ten players have already crashed out of the US Open. Rublev started well taking the first set but Tiafoe immediately answered as he took the next one. In the third set Rublev had a set point in the tie break but Tifaoe managed to sabotage it and went on to win the set. Things were never smooth for Rublev as he could never carry the momentum in the match as Tiafoe constantly troubled his rhythm to take the match. Tifaoe defeated Rublev 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(8-6), 4-6, 6-1.
The third five setter match saw Felix Auger Aliassime continue his good run at the Grand Slams as he recorded a victory against Roberto Bautista Agut in the third round. Felix had earlier reached the quarterfinals in Wimbledon for the first time, he was on course for a straight set victory by taking the first two sets comfortably until Roberto fought back taking the next two. The match was suddenly even and both of them had equal chances. Felix showed tremendous stamina to come out firing in the final set for a well deserved win. Felix defeated Roberto 6-3, 6-4, 4-6, 3-6, 6-3.
In Women’s Singles, 18 year old Leylah Annie Fernandez caused the biggest upset of this year’s US Open so far as she ended the campaign of defending champion Naomi Osaka in the third round. Osaka took the first set and was almost close to taking the next one too until Leylah found hope at the right time. Osaka was serving for the match 6-5 in the second set when Lelyah had other ideas and won the set in the tiebreaker. The final set saw Leylah winning 18 of her 19 first serves and had enough energy left in the tank to blast winners as she grew with confidence in the last few games. Leylah defeated Osaka 5-7, 7-6(7-2), 6-4.
Garbine Muguruza, a two time Grand Slam champion was up against another two time Grand Slam champion Victoria Azarenka. Muguruza started off on a bright note as she took the first set and the duel was bound to go to the third set when Azarenka took the second set with equal ease. In the third set Azarenka lost control of her serve and groundstrokes as Muguruza won the match. Muguruza defeated Azarenka 6-4, 3-6, 6-2.
Two former US Open champions collided in another exciting contest, Angelique Kerber won here 5 years ago and Sloane Stephens had won 4 years ago. Stephens took the first as she looked more comfortable on court than Kerber, but the next two sets saw Kerber walk all over her opponent. Kerber was striking the ball so well and finished the last two sets in jiffy. Kerber defeated Stephens 5-7, 6-2, 6-3.
In Men’s Doubles, Rohan Bopanna and Ivan Dodig took the last two sets to win their opening match against the pair of James Duckworth and Jordan Thompson. Bopanna and Ivan Dodig defeated Duckworth and Thompson 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(7-1). Third seeds Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert needed three sets which involved two tie breakers to see off Marcelo Demoliner and Marcus Daniell. Mahut and Herbert defeated Demoliner and Daniell 6-3, 7-6(7-3), 7-6(7-1).
In Women’s Doubles, Desirae Krawczyk and Alexa Guarachi had an easy outing against Rebecca Peterson and Danka Kovinić, Krawczyk and Guarachi just gave four games as they are into the third round. Krawczyk and Guarachi defeated Peterson and Kovinić 6-3, 6-1. Samantha Stosur and Zhang Shuai continued their good run as they defeated Miyu Kato and Sabrina Santamaria 6-2, 6-4.
In Mixed Doubles, Rajeev Ram and Sania Mirza lost their opening match to Dayana Yastremska and Max Purcell as they couldn’t turn things around in the final set tiebreaker. Dayana and Max defeated Rajeev and Sania 6-3, 3-6, 10-7. Joe Salisbury and Desirae Krawczyk had a tough opening match as they defeated Mitchell Krueger and Jamie Loeb 5-7, 6-3, 10-8.
Also read: Jack Sock and Kei Nishikori turn back the clock at the US Open, Nikola Mektić and Mate Pavić exit in the first round in doubles
Jack Sock and Kei Nishikori turn back the clock at the US Open, Nikola Mektić and Mate Pavić exit in the first round in doubles
(Tennis news): In Men’s Singles, Jack Sock entered the third round of a Grand Slam after 4 years. Sock defeated Alexander Bublik in an entertaining contest as both the players were engaged in trickshots and super fast forehands. Sock began to win points at the net right from the start whereas Bublik was simply firing aces along with winners, in the end Sock managed to slow down his opponent for an emotional victory. Sock defeated Bublik 7-6(7-3), 6-7(2-7), 6-4, 4-6,6-3.
Kei Nishikori, also on the verge of a comeback defeated Mackenzie McDonald after spending 4 hours on the court. Nishikori was on course for a comfortable straight set victory as he took the first two sets but a sudden surge from Mackenzie forced the match to the decisive set. Nishikori charged ahead early in the final set as Mackenzie failed to outsmart him, Nishikori will face Novak Djokovic in the third round. Nishikori defeated Mackenzie McDonald 7-6(7-3), 6-3, 6-7(5-7), 6-2.
Andreas Seppi reached the third round of the US Open Singles for the fourth time in 18 years and the first since 2015 as he staged an upset over 10th seed Hubert Hurkacz. Seppi was totally beaten by Hubert in the first set but managed to come back without any trouble to take the next two sets. Seppi then showed no signs of slowing down as he won the match by taking the fourth set tiebreaker. Seppi defeated Hubert 2-6, 6-4, 6-4, 7-6( 8-6).
In Women’s Singles, Varvara Gracheva secured her 13th career win as she beat Paula Badosa. Varvara did not show any form of fear or pressure when faced the world number 26, Varvara led the fight early on as it took her only an hour and 14 minutes to send Paula packing. Varvara defeated Paula 6-4, 6-4.
Jil Teichmann continued to struggle in Grand Slams as she lost to Anett Kontaveit in straight sets. Anett played aggressively and used her serve and volley to beat the in-form Teichmann, Anett made Teichmann run all over the court as the second set saw Anett improving her serve game by game. Anett defeated Teichmann 6-4, 6-1.
Tokyo Olympics Singles Gold Medallist, Belinda Bencic dominated her match against Martina Trevisan to enter the third round. Belinda won 12 of her last 13 points to take the 1st set and took the first five games in the second set as Martina found support from the crowd when she won her fourth and last game. Belinda defeated Martina 6-3, 6-1.
In Men’s Doubles, Wimbledon champions Nikola Mektić and Mate Pavić were stunned by Nathaniel Lammons and Jackson Withrow in straight sets. The Americans beat the Croatians 6-2, 7-5. Kevin Krawietz and Horia Tecău had an easy outing against Márton Fucsovics and Stefano Travaglia as they beat them 6-3, 6-2.
In Women’s Doubles, Elise Mertens and Su-Wei Hsieh took just 43 minutes to demolish the pair of Yulia Putintseva and Anna Kalinskaya with a 6-0, 6-0 victory. The double bagel will give them the boost for the next round. Sania Mirza and CoCo Vandeweghe lost their opening match to Raluca Olaru and Nadiia Kichenok. Even though Sania and Coco started off well by winning the first set, things didn’t go their way as the pair lost the next two. Raluca and Nadiia defeated Mirza and Coco 4-6, 6-4, 6-3.
In Mixed Doubles, 8th seeded Demi Schuurs and Sander Gillé beat Bruno Kuzuhara and Elvina Kalieva as they relied on their serves to get past their opponents. Demi and Sander defeated Bruno and Elvina 6-4, 6-3. Marcelo Melo and Luisa Stefani were beaten by Gabriela Dabrowski and Marcus Daniell in a three set thriller. The final set saw the pair come heartbreakingly close as Gabriela and Marcus edged them in the finish line.
Also read: Rain takes centre stage in the US Open as matches get delayed, Cori Gauff loses to Sloane Stephens
Naomi Osaka waiting to fire her best shot, looks for a second major title this year
(Tennis News): Naomi Osaka is only 23 years old and has won one slam every year since 2018 and this year lifted her second Australian Open. Her first Grand Slam title came when she beat the most decorated tennis athlete in the past twenty years, Osaka defeated Serena Williams in straight sets to lift the trophy. She has won all the four finals she played in the Grand Slams and is predicted to be the next superstar in the Women’s tour. Osaka is the defending champion as she won her second US Open title by defeating Victoria Azarenka after losing the first set.
Osaka had a dream start in the year when she won the Australian Open defeating Jennifier Brady 6-4, 6-3. She was on the verge of losing in the fourth round against Garbine Muguruza but saved two match points to stand strong like a true champion. In the next three tournaments, her best performance was a quarterfinal finish in Miami Masters 1000, in the French Open she won her first round match against Patricia Maria Tig from Romania but issued a walkover in the 2nd round. Osaka had said that she wouldn’t attend press conferences for her mental being, this caused controversies as she received a warning and also a hefty fine from the organisers. Osaka finally decided to pull out of the French Open to ensure a healthy mental well being.
Osaka pulled out of the Wimbledon due to personal reasons but confirmed her participation in the Tokyo Olympics in front of her home crowd. She lost surprisingly in the round of 16 to Marketa Vondrousova to miss out on a medal opportunity. She returned to the Cincinnati Open and started well by defeating Cori Gauff in her first match but lost in the next to Jill Teichmann in the round of 16. Osaka has played 22 matches this year winning 17 of them and has been struggling recently but champions are never out of contention.
Osaka is a highly aggressive player on court and has a monster forehand along with a super fast serve. She is known to serve which has speeds upto 200km/h and her forehands bounce off the court with speeds up to 160km/h. This is one of the main reasons why she has found immense success in hard court as it is suited for style of play. Osaka also patiently waits in long rallies before finishing with a powerful groundstroke.
Osaka is scheduled to face Marie Bouzkova of the Czech Republic in the first round. She is predicted to win a fifth Grand Slam overall and a third US Open this time. Although in the last few tournaments she has failed to make an impact but it is a different stage and she knows the court well. Osaka can fill in for the veterans who are missing out this time, her blistering forehands can make the spectators curiously wait for the next one in line. The spectators will be allowed and they will be in for a treat as they watch the young generation leading the field.
Osaka should be having no trouble in the first two rounds and after that her path gets a little tricky but she has the potential to take out any opponent. She will be looking for a bright second half of the season, Osaka will face some tough opponents in between like Madison Keys, Aryna Sabalenka and World number one Asheligh Barty who has been the top player this season. She is not new to pressure as has already overcome them in the past. Osaka will hit hard once she steps on court and allow her forehands to orchestrate the audience cheering.
The top players and champions are never counted off in a competition, they will always pose a threat and Osaka is just that person. She is young, aggressive and brave as she will try to break more records and stamp her place in this decade. The US Open starts from 30th August, the roar of the players combined with the audience and the balls firing away in the blue courts. What more can you ask?
Also read: India's singles challenge ends in US Open qualifiers
Novak Djokovic aims to break multiple records, 21st Grand Slam on sight
(Tennis news): There are certain instances in history where the chances of a particular event happening is nearly impossible but everyone wants it to happen as that little desire, that little madness which jumps across logic and imagination takes over statistics and science. Time plays a crucial role here as Rod Laver was the last man to win all the four Grand Slams in a year and it was 52 years ago. Novak Djokovic is chasing history and is en route to become the greatest ever. In a sport that requires stamina, agility, strength and speed, abilities a young 18 year old or a 20 year old should possess but that has not been the case here for the past 17 years. The big four have shattered the stereotypes and broken all physical barriers that built the sport earlier, they have quantum leaped and have rebuilt the game.
Djokovic burst into the Tennis world in 2008 when Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer were sharing the spotlight in the court no matter what the surface they played on. It was supposed to be a predictable final but two young gentlemen decided to take matters into their own hands. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga simply broke Nadal’s defense and Djokovic made sure Federer gave him company afterwards. Both the semifinals were whitewashed in straight sets, Tsonga was the biggest surprise as Djokovic had earlier reached the US Open finals in the previous year. Djokovic prevailed in the final over the frenchmen to win his first Grand Slam title.
Djokovic’s breakthrough year was in 2011 where he won three of the four Grand Slams and looked unbeatable the whole year. Even in 2015 he again won three of the four Grand Slams and was sweeping the Masters 1000 titles. But there was one similarity in both the years, he lost in the French Open and both the defeats featured swiss players with one handed backhand. Federer defeated Djokovic in the 2011 semi final of the French Open and Stan Wawrinka defeated him in the 2015 Final. Both the Swiss players won't be playing in this year’s US Open due to an injury and this year things are different, Djokovic not only captured the French Open but defeated Nadal in the semi final. Nadal has won the French Open a record 13 times and Djokovic is the only player to defeat him twice at the French Open.
Djokovic is an aggressive player who has the current best backhand in the world as it is effective on both sides of the court. His defense is outstanding and can turn into a Rahul Dravid when needed, he is very flexible on court and oftens employs it to win some breathtaking points and not to mention his speed. Overall he can perform every possible stunt in the court but has not been impressive in the net play as his smash has been the best on tour. Djokovic is also a great returner of the serve and to serve an ace will require loads of luck and power.
Djokovic has won the US Open three times with the last one coming in 2018 when he defeated Juan Martin Del Potro in the final. Last year he was defaulted from the tournament while accidentally hitting a line official in the throat with a tennis ball during his fourth round match. Djokovic will look to change things this year and continue his exceptional season.
This year Djokovic has played 43 matches and lost only five of them. He won the Australian Open for a record 9th time as he defeated Daniil Medvedev in the title match, won the French Open defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final and won Wimbledon by beating Matteo Berrettini in the final match. Djokovic will look to be in his best shape, especially mentally as he has a lot riding on him and the pressure might get into him as seen in the Tokyo Olympics. But he has been known to have one of the strongest mental games in the sport and has played mind blowing tennis under pressure. Djokovic will face stern competition from Alexander Zverev, Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev. Djokovic has an all round game so tactics won't be much of a use and if he is on form then Rod Laver just might get company.
Djokovic is the favourite to win this time and will take some monumental tennis to shake him up from the top. He is the perfect embodiment of a tennis player and there is no reason why he won’t win his record 21st Grand Slam. Djokovic lost his last match to Zverev but in Grand Slams it is tough to uproot Djokovic and we can expect some shocks in the first few days. Djokovic will look to be calm and only let the court decide who is the winner and keep his racket intact and break the milestones.
Also read: A new chapter is beginning to unfold with the next generation of tennis stars hungrier than ever
Ashleigh Barty back in the US Open, aiming to win her 2nd Major this year
(Tennis news): Ashleigh Barty will be looking for a third Grand Slam victory at this year’s US Open. She won the French Open two years ago and this year’s Wimbledon. Next, she will try to capture a Grand Slam in the hardcourt too. Barty was at her best in Cincinnati Open as she didn’t lose a set on the way to capturing the title, defeating Victoria Azarenka, Barbora Krejcikova, Angelique Kerber. In the final she overcame Jil Teichmann who upset Naomi Osaka, Belinda Bencic and Karolina Pliskova. It was supposed to be a tight contest between Barty and Teichmann but Barty proved to be too good.
Barty is a top contender for the US Open as her style is suited for hardcourts as she has won 9 of them out of thirteen career titles in hardcourt. She will also look to improve her previous best in the US Open which is a fourth round finish in 2018 and 2019. Barty won the 2018 US Open doubles title with Coco Vandeweghe thus showing that she is an all round player capable of playing any style. She also has a strong serve and uses efficient volleys as she has also found success in doubles. Barty is leading in aces this year with 297 and has won 74.9 percent of her first serve proving that it will be tough to find a way across her. Barty also has a strong forehand which comes to use while playing cross court or creating sharp angles and her backhand slice can disturb the speed and rhythm of the rally. She has won titles on hardcourt, grass, clay this year which shows she can adapt to any surface
Barty has won five Singles titles this year, she won in Yarra Valley Classic, Miami Open, Stuttgart Open, Wimbledon and the last one coming in Cincinnati. She also won the doubles in Stuttgart partnering with Jennifier Brady. Although she was knocked out in the first round of Tokyo Olympics by Sara Sorribes Tormo from Spain, Barty found success in the mixed doubles as she won the bronze with John Peers. She has the most titles with 5 and most victories with 40 in this WTA Singles season.
Also read: Alexander Zverev waiting to halt Novak Djokovic from a historic Grand Slam victory
Barty did not participate last year due to the pandemic and would try to add the two Slams she hasn’t won yet that includes the Australian Open. She has progressed beyond the quarterfinals in all the Slams except the US Open, this year she looks to be the player to watchout for. Barty will face tough competition from two time champion Naomi Osaka, Bianca Andreescu who also won here in 2019 defeating Serena Williams in the final. Belinda Bencic will also prove to be a tough one to beat as she won the Singles Gold in the Tokyo Olympics and Karolina Pliskova who lost to Barty in the Wimbledon final.
This year’s US open will miss a lot of players due to the injuries, Barty will look to dominate from the start like she did in Cincinnati sending a warning to the other players. She has played over 19 tournaments this year and has a healthy lead over world number 2 Aryna Sabalenka. She has been the World number since 2019 and will look to end the year as number 1 for a third consecutive time. Barty suffered injuries earlier in the year that caused her to miss the French Open and the run up events to Wimbledon but she came back strong by capturing the title on grass. Barty will look to finish the year with a first US Open title and will be waiting to get back on court.
Serena Williams pulls out of US Open due to injured right hamstring
(Tennis news): Six time US Open champion Serena Williams has pulled out of the US Open as she is still recovering from a torn hamstring. Williams last played in the Wimbledon and had to withdraw because of the injury in the first round. She will turn 40 next month and was going to play in her 21st US Open. She won her first title way back in 1999 and her 6th title in 2014.
Also read: US Open to include mental health support for players
Williams did not play in the Tokyo Olympics and pulled out of the Toronto Open. She was hoping to make a comeback in the final slam of the year, with her last major coming in 2017 at the Australian Open. She reached the semifinals last year losing to Victoria Azarenka in three sets and had defeated former US Open champion Sloane Stephens in the third round. Many top players have pulled out due to injuries this year as the list keeps getting longer. The US Open will start on the 30th of August.
Nagal, Ramkumar bite dust in US Open qualifiers
New York, Aug 25 (Tennis news) Indian tennis players' struggle at the Grand Slam events continued as both Sumit Nagal and Ramkumar Ramanathan lost their respective first round singles matches to make an exit from the US Open qualifiers, here.
Nagal lost 5-7 6-4 3-6 to Argentina's Juan Pablo Ficovich in two hours and 22 minutes on Tuesday night.
Nagal had played in the Australian Open main draw early this year and had lost in the first round. He could not qualify for the French Open and missed the Wimbledon qualifiers due to an unrevealed injury.
Also read: Bopanna retains place in Indian team for Davis Cup tie against Finland in September
Ramkumar frittered away a one-set advantage to lose 6-4 6-7(1) 4-6 to Russia's Evgeny Donskoy in two hours and 35 minutes in his opening round.
It was Ramkumar's 21st attempt to qualify for the singles main draw of a Grand Slam since 2014.
Prajnesh Guneswaran is the only Indian left in the men's singles qualifiers. The left-hander is up against Canadian Brayden Schnur.
Ankita Raina has also exited after losing her first round in women's singles qualifiers to American Jamie Loeb.
News source: PTI
Alexander Zverev waiting to halt Novak Djokovic from a historic Grand Slam victory
(Tennis news): Alexander Zverev is on a roll this year, winning the last two tournaments he has entered. He has won four titles this year, including two Masters 1000 and an Olympic Gold. He is one of the players who has beaten Novak Djokovic this year. Zverev stopped him in the Tokyo Olympic semi finals, denying Djokovic a chance for an Olympic Gold and this time he will be trying to stop him from winning a calendar slam. The calendar slam was last achieved in 1969 by Rod Laver in the Men’s tour and Steffi Graf in 1988 in the Women’s tour. Zverev is the second German player after Steffi Graf to win the Olympic Gold in Singles and the first German man to do it.
Zverev last year entered the finals of the US Open and was on the course of winning his first title when he was up two sets against Dominic Thiem but fumbled in the next three sets. He will look to win his first Grand Slam and has been in exceptional form in hard courts as three of his four titles this year have come in hard courts. Zverev has faced Djokovic nine times overall, winning thrice. The pair has met thrice this year with Djokovic leading 2-1, they have met in the Grand Slam twice and Zverev is looking for a maiden win against him at the majors.
Their first meeting was back in 2017 in the Rome Masters 1000 final when a 20 year old Zverev prevailed over Djokovic in straight sets to take the title. They last met in the Tokyo Olympics where Zverev shocked the World number 1 in three sets on the way to winning the Gold medal. He is known to handle high pressure, the best one coming in 2018 in the Nitto ATP finals against Novak Djokovic and came out blazing to take the trophy in just his second attempt against the five time champion.
Also read: Serena Willams hoping for a comeback, looking to win first major since 2017
Zverev has a strong return percentage in the tour, he also has a fast first serve. He can move around the court as quick with his feet, he also has a powerful reliable backhand along with a strong forehand which will play a crucial role as he will start his preparations. His backhand is one of the best in the game and also is very agile. He also volleys from time to time and uses his height in the net. Zverev is one of the top players in the next gen and a possible future world number no 1.
In the Cincinnati Open, Zverev only lost a single set on the way to winning the tournament. He lost a set in the semifinals against Stefanos Tsitsipas and showed no signs of trouble when he defeated Andrey Rublev in the final. He is currently on a 11 match winning streak and last lost to Felix Auger Aliassime in fourth round of Wimbledon even after winning the first two sets. Zverev will need to be at his best against Djokovic as power and speed won’t guarantee victory, he will look to break Djokvic’s defense and fire aces to put the brakes on a calendar slam. Zverev will also be looking to close in the mental edge over Djokovic as he will look to remind him of Tokyo but Djokovic is on top form this year. Djokovic has won three slams in a year for a third time and won't be thinking of stopping there.
The Serbian had a similar run in 2015 and 2011 where he won three slams and both the years faced losses in French Open. Roger Federer defeated him in the semifinal of the French Open in 2011 and Stan Wawrinka defeated him in the final of the French Open in 2015. Zverev will have to produce the magic they both did. The only difference is that this time it is on a hard court. The last few tournaments have seen the young players trying to take over the reins, in the three slams this year the oldest finalist was Matteo Berrettini in Wimbledon who is 25 years old. Zverev already has some years of experience and has played Djokovic on several occasions including this year and will be ready to prevent Djokovic again from making history.
Serena Willams hoping for a comeback, looking to win first major since 2017
(Tennis news): Serena Williams has been on the Women’s tour since 1995, over her 26 year career, she has won an open era record of 23 Grand Slams, only Margaret Court tops the list with 24 Slams. She has been regarded as one of the greatest players of all time, due to her longevity and ability to excel in all surfaces and also in all categories. She is the only tennis player to complete a career Golden Slam in Singles and Doubles. She will be playing her 21st US Open and has gone beyond the Quarterfinals 11 times in the past 13 years since she did not play in 2010 and 2017.
She does have a special bond with the final year slam as her first US Open title came 23 years ago when she won the mixed doubles with Max Mirnyi. She won the Singles and Doubles title next year beating Martina Hingis in the final who was world number that time as well as defeating defending champion Lindsay Davenport in the semifinal. She paired with her sister Venus Williams to take the doubles title defeating Chanda Rubin and Sandrine Testud in the process. She last won a major in 2017 defeating her sister Venus Williams in the Australian Open and was also eight weeks pregnant with her daughter.
She has won a joint record 6 US Open along with Chris Evert, Serena has also won the doubles title twice and mixed doubles in 1998. She won three successive titles from 2012 to 2014 in Singles. She has also finished as a runner up in Singles four times. When looking at the timeline there was a 15 year gap between her first US Open Singles titles and her last. This shows how long she has stayed at the top of the game, to be a part of two different generations. A generation where serve and volley was the norm to a generation where hard hitting and trickshots have become the rule.
Also read: Alexander Zverev and Ashleigh Barty emerge as champions in Cincinnati
She is known to be a very powerful server and hard hitter from the baseline. Her forehands and backhands are one of the fastest in the tour and at the same time can mix her style with volleying given her doubles experience. She is one of the handful players currently playing who has won Grand Slams in Singles, Doubles and Mixed Doubles. Each format requires a different skill set and to be so proficient in them is truly spectacular. She is an all round player given that she has won all the Slams a minimum of three times, which shows her versatility on the court.
She is also very vocal on the court with few of her outbursts making headlines especially in the US Open over the past few years. The most recent one when she had an outburst in the 2018 US Open Singles Final against Naomi Osaka, it was reported that she received hand signals by her coach. She vehemently denied the allegations and went on to argue with the umpire which resulted in her breaking racket. She received code violations, a point penalty and also an in game penalty.
Serena Williams has been one of the flag bearers of Women’s tennis for the past two decades and nobody has been able to topple her in these years. What many people fail to notice is that even after attaining the age of 30 she has won 10 Grand Slams, there are few players who have more than 10 titles in their career but she has gone strong even at that age. She also has won the Australian Open, US Open and Wimbledon a record six times, she has won the French Open three times with the last one coming in 2015. She will be turning 40 next month but numbers won’t matter as she has shown in the past that she will always pose a threat. Naomi Osaka and Ashleigh Barty will also be strong contenders and will try to stop Serena. Serena is currently recovering from a leg injury which she suffered from in Wimbledon. She also skipped the Cincinnati Open along with her sister and will be looking to be in good shape as only a week is left for the final Grand Slam of the year.
Alexander Zverev and Ashleigh Barty emerge as champions in Cincinnati
(Tennis news): Alexander Zverev continued his winning run as he clinched his second title on the run after his Tokyo Olympics gold medal. He beat Andrey Rublev 6-2, 6-3 to take the trophy, his dominance over the past two tournaments has brought questions about the next Gen. Have they finally started their own dominance as the big three are slowly backing up or is it not time yet, only time will tell us as the final slam starts in a week. Rublev’s missiles were not strong enough to make an impact on Zverev as his defense was simply impeccable. Zverev is on a 11 match winning streak and can produce fine magic when in form.
Zverev took his fourth title this year and his second Masters 1000 title after the Madrid Masters 1000 in May where he beat Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinal. His best performance in a Grand Slam is a runner up finish last year in the US Open losing to Dominc Thiem after taking a two set lead. Zverev will be a major threat in the final slam if he continues this form and will be the favourite this year other than Novak Djokovic. It will take a tremendous amount of work to stop Djokovic especially in Grand Slams, Zverev will try to win his first Grand Slam and provide an open door to the next gen which has been struggling against the big three. Zverev can look to become the 2nd player born in the 90s to win a Grand Slam after Thiem.
Zverev has a strong return percentage in the tour, he also has a fast first serve. He can move around the court as quick with his feet, he also has a powerful reliable backhand along with a strong forehand which will play a crucial role as he will start his preparations. Zverev had skipped the Toronto Open citing he needed to rest after the Olympics. He has a week to rest and will look to prepare himself for the stern test.
Also read: Top four seeds into the last four in Cincinnati, Jil Teichmann upsets Belinda Bencic
Ashleigh Barty seemed like the perfect person to stop Jil Teichmann from making her next kill as she proved why she is the current world number one. She won her fifth title this season as Teichmann couldn’t trouble her. Barty hasn’t dropped a set in this tournament and will look to win her second grand slam this year after her Wimbledon victory. Barty leads the WTA tour this season in victories with 40. She also won the Yarra Valley Classic, Miami Open and now will head to the final slam looking to go beyond the fourth round which she hasn’t done before. She is in her best form after Cincinnati and will look to finish with a trophy beside her.
There have been 8 different winners over the past 10 years, with Serena Williams leading with three titles and Naomi Osaka coming in second with two titles. Barty had not participated last year due to the pandemic but won the mixed doubles title with Coco Vandeweghe in 2018. Barty has a strong serve along with strong gameplay at the net since she is also a well established doubles player. She will be the favourite to win given her recent form and will look to capture her third Grand Slam title overall after the French Open victory in 2019.
Defending champion Dominic Thiem out of the U.S Open due to injury
(Tennis news): 2020 U.S Open champion Dominic Thiem has pulled out of this year’s Championship due to a wrist injury. He stated he won't be available for the rest of the season and has played 18 matches so far. He also missed out on the Tokyo Olympics and Wimbledon. He has a 9-9 win/ loss record this year, with his last match coming in June at Mallorca. He lost in the 1st round of the French Open to Pablo Andujar and lost in the fourth round to Grigor Dimtrov in the Australian Open. He had won his first Grand Slam last year at the US Open defeating Alexander Zverev after losing the first two sets.
Also read: Jannik, Opelka and Murray stumble in Cincinnati, Halep withdraws due to injury
Thiem had also reached the final of the Australian Open last year where he lost to Novak Djokovic in five sets. He also reached the final of the French Open for two consecutive years in 2018 and 2019 losing to Rafael Nadal on both the occasions. He is the first Austrian to win the US Open and the first player born in the 90’s to win a Grand Slam and is one of the most successful players from the next generation. Thiem is known for his powerful groundstrokes and a strong serve, he also adds topspin into his forehand and single backhand which also has a strong slice game to slown rallies. He will be joined by Roger Federer who will be missing the US Open and also the remainder of the season. It will be interesting to see the top 8 in the World tour finals which will conclude the tennis season.
Jannik, Opelka and Murray stumble in Cincinnati, Halep withdraws due to injury
Cincinnati (Tennis news): In Men’s Singles, Reily Opelka failed to advance to the round of 16 as Casper Ruud emerged winner in a three set battle which involved two tie breaks in the Cincinnati Masters 1000. It took two hours and 25 minutes for Casper to record his 100th career win and even bageled the 6 foot 11 inch American. In the first set, there was nothing to separate the two as a tie break saw Opelka marching ahead and in the second set Casper was unstoppable as his opponent could not win a single game. With one set a piece, the decisive set was bound to test them both as Casper finally won the match with a tiebreak. Andy Murray will have to wait for a third title here as he was beaten by Hubert Hurkacz 7-6(7-4), 6-3 in the round of 32.
Jannik Sinner fell to John Isner in the round of 32, Sinner started well by taking the first set 7-5 but Isner fought back in the next set by winning the tiebreak 7-4. In the third set, Isner took off well and continued the rhythm to win the match. Gael Monfils became the 11th active player to secure 500 career wins as he sprinted past Alex de Minaur with a 6-3, 7-5 victory. He is second to Richard Gasquet in most career wins by a Frenchman in the tour and will be facing hard hitter Andrey Rublev in round of 16. Daniil Medvedev will be facing Grigor Dimitrov for a place in the quarterfinal as both the players secured straight set victories over Mackenzie McDonald and Alexander Bublik respectively. The pair has met thrice with Medvedev coming out on top on the last two occasions.
Also read: Mental health taking a toll on athletes as Osaka leaves press conference in tears in Cincinnati
In Women’s Singles, Simona Halep had to issue a walkover to Jessica Pegula as she suffered a leg injury in the previous round. She hopes to be fit for the US Open which starts in 11 days. Garbiñe Muguruza advanced to the round of 16 as she swept past Caroline Garcia while conceding just seven games. She will be up against Barbora Krejčíková for a place in the quarterfinals, Belinda Bencic beat Shelby Rogers in straight sets, the first set was settled by a tiebreak and the second was lopsided as Bencic won 6-1 to set up a match against Karolína Muchová in round of 16. Paula Badosa continued her fightback as she beat third seed Aryna Sabalenka in a two hour three set encounter. Sabalenka took the first set 7-5 but Paula came back strong in the second set by taking it 6-2. The third set finally saw Paula reaching the finishing line and setting up a clash against Elena Rybakina. Ons Jabeur defeated Iga Swiatek in an hour and eighteen minutes, she had beaten Swiatek in Wimbledon and dominated her opponent with a 6-3, 6-3 victory as she will next face Petra Kvitova.
In Men’s Doubles,Hubert Hurkacz and Jannik Sinner beat Dan Evans and Neal Skupski 6-3, 3-6, 10-3 to proceed into the round of 16. Horacio Zeballos and Marcel Granollers had to struggle a bit as they overcame Andrey Rublev and Karen Khachanov 7-6(9-7), 7-5 as they advanced into the quarterfinals. Joining them will be the pair of Fabio Fognini and Marcelo Arévalo who beat Kevin Krawietz and Horia Tecău. They had lost the first 6-3 but finished strong as they took the next two sets 7-5, 10-7.
In Women’s Doubles, Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Iga Świątek went through to the quarterfinals as they emerged victorious against Darija Jurak and Andreja Klepač in a three set encounter. The first set saw them losing 5-7, but then the two renaming sets saw them finishing on top. Zhang Shuai and Samantha Stosur recorded a win against Bernarda Pera and Magda Linette to enter the round of 16 where they will be up against Květa Peschke and Ellen Perez.
Dimtrov and Berrettini notch up victories as Giorgi gets knocked out in Cincinnati
Cincinnati (Tennis news): In Men’s Singles, John Isner had a rough start in his opening match against Cameron Norrie in Cincinnati Masters 1000. Norrie raced off to take the first set as Isner was looking at an early exit, in the second set both were players going head to head and a tiebreak was needed to separate the two. Isner took the tiebreak 7-5 as he avoided defeat and in the final set the American made no mistake as he won the match 4-6, 7-6(7-5), 6-4. Isner served his way into the record books as he became the second player to cross the 13,000 aces mark in the match. Ivo Karlovic leads the chart with 13,709 aces followed by Isner and Roger Federer. Isner will next face Jannik Sinner in the next round while another huge server Reily Opelka also needed three sets to advance against Corentin Moutet.
Opelka started strong as he took the first set 7-6(7-3), Corentin fought back to take the second set 6-4. The final set saw Opelka securing victory as he took it 6-4 and will next take on Casper Ruud. Wimbledon runner up Matteo Berrettini made a return to the tour by defeating Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6-7(5-7), 6-3, 7-5 in his first match since his incredible run on grass. Grigor Dimtrov defeated Roberto Bautista Agut in straight sets to set up an exciting contest against Alexander Bublik, this will be their third meeting and they last met in Wimbledon this year where Bublik prevailed. Benoit Paire secured his third win against Denis Shapovalov, he overcame Denis 6-3, 4-6, 7-5 as he looks in form this time around. The young Canadian had an early exit in the Toronto Open as well in the same round of 32 and will look to be his old self as he comes back for the US Open.
Also read: Paire and Shapovalov battle in round three as Murray advances in Cincinnati
In Women’s Singles, Jessica Pegula was in incredible form when she demolished Camila Giorgi when she secured victory as Camila could only win four games in total. Jessica will next face former world number Simona Halep, Halep had earlier defeated Magda Linette and had issues in the second set. Halep won the first set 6-4 and Magda came back with equal power by taking the second set 6-3 but the decisive set saw the two time grand slam winner conceding just a single to take it 6-1. Belinda Bencic also announced her return with a victory after winning the Gold in Singles at the Tokyo Olympics. She won her match against Markéta Vondroušová 6-3,7-5 to set up a round of 32 match against Shelby Rogers. Markéta Vondroušová had upset Naomi Osaka in the third of the Tokyo Olympics, Osaka who finished as runner up last year to Azarenka will start her campaign against teenager Coco Gauff who breezed past Hsieh Su-wei. Victoria Azarenka beat Ludmilla Samsonova 6-2,6-3 in her opening match, Azarenka had won here last year and back in 2013.
In Men’s Doubles, Rohan Bopanna and Ivan Dodig exited in their opening match as they lost 1-6, 6-4, 10-7 to Filip Krajinović and Fabrice Martin. It was a tough defeat as they took the first set and things looked set for a victory. They lost the second set and could not stage a dramatic run down the finish line in the final set. John Peers and Filip Polasek shook off a first set setback and took the next two sets against Luke Saville and Matwe Middelkoop to confirm a showdown with Alex de Minaur and Cameron Norrie.
In Women’s Doubles, Japanese pair of Ena Shibahara and Shuko Aoyama toppled Jeļena Ostapenko and Jil Teichman without much trouble with a 6-3, 6-3 victory. Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Iga Świątek won a marathon match against Petra Martić and Shelby Rogers when finally the scorecard read 2-6, 7-5, 10-5 and they will next face the pair of Darija Jurak and Andreja Klepač in the round of 16.
Medvedev wins fourth title as unseeded Giorgi captures her first in Toronto
Toronto (Tennis news): In Men’s Singles, Daniil Medvedev received a strong boost ahead of the US Open as he won his fourth Masters 1000 title without much struggle by capturing the National Bank Open. He defeated Reily Opelka 6-4, 6-3 as he captured his 12th tour title. The Russian had earlier defeated John Isner 6-2,6-4 for a second consecutive final in Toronto. Opelka had a tougher passage as he faced Stefanos Tsitsipas in the semi final, the American secured his first victory against a top five player on tour. It wasn't an easy victory as he fought hard for 2 and half hours for a three set over the Greek god. Toronto saw an American finalist after 10 years, the last being Mardy Fish. Opelka had 46 winners and 17 aces that proved to be strong machinery against Tsitsipas.
Also read: Isner and Opelka lead the American dream as Aryna sets up a Wimbledon rematch with Karolina in Toronto
In Women’s Singles, Camila Giorgi captured her first Masters 1000 title with a well deserved victory over fourth seed Karolina Pliskova. This is the third consecutive victory for Giorgi over Pliskova, her last victory came in the third round of the Tokyo Olympic Games. Giorgi has been in fascinating form as he dropped her first set of the tournament in the semifinals against Jessica Pegula. She advanced into her 1st Masters finals by defeating Jessica 6-3, 3-6, 6-1. While the Wimbledon semi final rematch of Karolina Pliskova and Aryna Sabalenka saw Pliskova prevailing for the second time. She beat her opponent 6-3, 6-4 to make it to the finals.
In Men’s Doubles, Joe Salisbury and Rajeev Ram defeated top seed Nikola Mektić and Mate Pavić 6-3, 4-6, 10-3. This was their first Masters 1000 title as a team and had lost their last 4 meetings with the top seed. In the semifinals Joe Salisbury and Rajeev Ram beat Sander Gillé and Joran Vliegen 6-3,7-5 to progress into the final. The top seeds had to battle hard with Kevin Krawietz and Horia Tecău to earn their place in the final. They needed two tie breaks to earn a place in the final, the scoreline read 7-6(7-3), 7-6(14-12).
In Women’s Doubles, Gabriela Dabrowski and Luisa Stefani won the title by defeating Andreja Klepač and Darija Jurak 6-4, 6-3 in the final. They had secured a comfortable victory against Elena Rybakina and Veronika Kudermetova. In the other semifinal Andreja Klepač and Darija Jura had little trouble in the first as they overcame Bernarda Pera and Magda Linette for a place in the final.
Isner and Opelka lead the American dream as Aryna sets up a Wimbledon rematch with Karolina in Toronto
Toronto (Tennis news): In Men’s Singles, Stefanos Tsitsipas dominated Casper Ruud as he beat him in straight sets to book a semifinal clash with Reilly Opelka. Opelka served his way through Roberto Bautista Agut as he swiftly took the first set but had to struggle in the second as it went till tie break but the American eventually came through. Daniil Medvedev was staring at a quarterfinal exit as he had to pull out every trick in the book against Hubert Hurkacz in a marathon three set battle. After winning the first set 6-2, Hubert was two points away from a semifinal spot in the second set tiebreak as both the players were leveled on 6 points each. The third set also saw both the players take it to the extreme as Medvedev scraped through and got himself a semifinal berth against John Isner. Isner defeated Gael Monfils 7-6(7-5), 6-4 as the first was nothing apart from magic when Monfils came back from a 1-5 deficit in the tie break but the American finished with an ace. Isner improved and took the second set with less trouble as he will face the young Russian for a place in the final.
Also read: Isner Upsets Rublev as Bautista saves three match points for a place in the quarterfinal in Toronto
In Women’s Singles, Ons Jabeur who had earlier defeated the defending champion Bianca Andreescu in the round of 16 lost to Jessica Pegula in a three set thriller quarterfinal. Jessica now has two victories against Jabeur in as many matches. Jabeur had a perfect start as she took the first 6-1, in the second set she was serving for the match at 5-4 but couldn’t finish it off as Jessica came back with a bang by taking the second set in a tiebreak 7-6(7-4). She kept improving as she bageled Jabeur to confirm her place in the semifinals. Top seed Aryna Sabalenka powered her way through to the semifinals when she defeated former world no 1 and two time Grand Slam winner Victoria Azarenka 6-2,6-4. The last time they played was last year in the Ostrava final where Sabalenka prevailed. Sabalenka had 33 winners to help her get past her opponent and will be needing those again when she faces Karolina Pliskova in the semifinals. Pliskova had earlier defeated Sorribes Tormo 6-4, 6-0 for a place in the semifinals, she was troubled by the Spaniard early on into the match as she was down 3-1 in the first set but that was the only setback she had in the whole match. She took 10 games in a row as she trounced her opponent in the second set by bageling her and stamping her place in the semifinals. Teenager Coco Gauff's run was halted by Camila Giorgi who is in terrific form this tournament as she had earlier taken out Elise Mertens and Petra Kvitova. The first set saw Camila leading early on as she took the first set 6-4, the second set saw both players go head to head as Gauff denied Camila twice when serving for the match at 5-4 and 6-5. In the tiebreak Gauff started early by securing a 2-1 lead but Camila took the next 6 points for a well fought victory.
In Men’s Doubles, Ivan Dodig and Rohan Bopanna were defeated in three sets in the quarterfinals by Joe Salisbury and Rajeev Ram. The winners will next face Sander Gillé and Joran Vliegen in the semifinals. In the second semifinal, Nikola Mektić and Mate Pavić will be facing Kevin Krawietz and HoriaTecău.
In Women’s Doubles, Sabalenka and Mertens lost to Gabriela Dabrowski and Luisa Stefani in the quarterfinals. The victors will next face Elena Rybakina and Veronika Kudermetova for a place in the final. Bernarda Pera and Magda Linette will face off Andreja Klepač and Darija Jurak in the first semifinal.
Canadians crash out in Toronto as Medvedev looks to reach second final
Toronto (Tennis news): In Men’s Singles, Daniil Medvedev defeated Alexander Bublik in three sets to reach the round of 16 in the Toronto Masters 1000. Bublik started off strong as he took the first set but could not carry on the momentum as Medvedev began to find his form and took the next two sets. He will be facing James Duckworth who caused an upset when he defeated Jannik Sinner in the round of 32. The 2018 runner up Stefanos Tsitsipas will face Karen Khachanov in round of 16, Khachanov earlier recorded a straight set victory over Aslan Karatsev to set up a match against the Greek god. Canadians Denis Shapovalov and Felix Auger Aliassime fell in round 2 as they suffered losses against Frances Tiafoe and Dušan Lajović respectively. The tournament saw its second withdrawal as Hubert Hurkacz did not need to step on court to progress to the next round when he received a walkover from Kei Nishikori who pulled out of the tournament with a shoulder injury. Frenchmen Gael Monfils looked in good form when he defeated John Millman in three sets as he will play Frances Tiafoe in the round of 16.
Also read: Shanghai Masters 1000 cancelled this year as COVID-19 cases rise in China
In the Women’s Singles, Danielle Collins staged an emphatic victory over Simona Halep in three sets as she will face Jessica Pegula in the round of 16. Elina Svitolina was also knocked out in the round of 32 as she lost to Britain’s Johanna Konta.
In Men’s Doubles Ivan Dodig and Rohan Bopanna emerged victorious over Simone Bolelli and Máximo González in the round of 16. In the Women’s doubles Ellen Perez and Květa Peschke are into the Quarterfinals and will be facing Bernarda Pera and Magda Linette.
Serena, Venus Williams and Sofia Kenin have pulled out of the Cincinnati Open as injuries are piling up before the US Open. Serena Williams is out with a leg injury and Sofia Kenin is down with a foot injury. Serena has been suffering with injury this year as she had to withdraw in the beginning of the season in Yarra Valley Classic as well as recently in Wimbledon.
Rafael Nadal looking for a Hatrick in Toronto, chases record Masters 1000 title
The Canadian Open, which is currently known as the National Bank Open will be getting underway today in Toronto. The 5th masters 1000 of the season is coming back as it was not played last year due to the pandemic. First started in 1881, the Canadian Open is the second oldest tennis tournament in the world after Wimbledon. Rafael Nadal has won the tournament five times with his first title coming in 2005 when he beat Andre Agassi in the final. The top players will be seen in action as double defending champion Rafael Nadal will be looking to make up for his early exit in the Washington Open. The Spaniard will also be looking to win a record 37th Masters 1000 title and is currently on par with Novak Djokovic with 36 titles. Daniil Medvedev will be looking to make up for his 2019 final loss to Nadal and Stefanos Tsitsipas will also be looking to win here as he was the runner up in 2018 after losing to Nadal.
Also read: Bopanna retains place in Indian team for Davis Cup tie against Finland in September
Nick Kyrgios has been given a wildcard and will be looking to improve from his last two outings here, as he failed to win a match in both. He will be seen playing his first match against big server Reilly Opelka. Jannik Sinner, fresh off from winning the Washington Open will be looking to continue his fine run here. There can be a lot of surprises as Grigor Dimitrov will be playing and will be looking to come up good as he has had a rather tough year, Gael Monfils is also in contention as he has also struggled this year and will be looking for his first title of the season. Kei Nishikori is back on tour as he reached the semifinal of the Washington Open and was beaten by Mackenzie McDonald. Lloyd Harris caused an uproar when he beat Rafael Nadal on his route to winning the title in the Washington Open.
In Tennis news, Novak Djokovic will not be playing this time as he is resting after his Olympic heartbreak due to a hectic schedule. Roger Federer who turned 40 yesterday will not be playing as he is suffering from a knee injury. Tokyo Olympics Singles Gold medalist Alexander Zverev is resting as he needs to recover for the US Open which starts on 30th. Dominic Thiem will also not be seen in action as he is still recovering from a wrist injury while other big names like Stan Wawrinka have withdrawn from the tournament because of a surgery on his left foot in July and David Goffin would not be seen on court because of an ankle injury. Lorenzo Musetti was not allowed to play as he had left his Covid bubble and it was considered as a breach of protocol.
Interesting fact: Ramanathan Krishnan won the Canadian Open in 1968, he remains the only Indian player to do so.
Indian men’s hockey team finishes with a heroic victory, wins medal after four decade drought
The Indian Men’s Hockey team winning the Bronze medal in the Tokyo Olympics has restored belief and instilled hopes as it comes after 41 years. The last time the Hockey team won a medal was in the 1980 Moscow Olympics, if we look back it was when Prakash Padukone in Badminton became the first Indian to win the All England Championship, it was when Bjorn Borg won his fifth consecutive Wimbledon title and it was when the US led the boycott in the 1980 Moscow Olympics.
The Indian Hockey team made its debut in the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics winning the gold and has participated in every Olympic Games except the 2008 Beijing as they failed to qualify for the first time. They have consecutively finished in the top three from the 1928 Olympics to the 1972 Munich Olympics. They have won Gold medals in the Olympics from 1928 to 1956, 1964 and the final one in 1980. They are the most successful Hockey team at the Olympics with a total of 8 Golds, 1 Silver and three Bronze medals.
They are the first medal winners for independent India at the Olympics, the game gave the world a sporting icon that is Major Dhyanchand known as the “Hockey Wizard” as he led India to three continuous Olympic Gold medals. In the 1936 Berlin Olympics it is said that Adolf Hitler was so awestruck by Dhyanchand that he was offered a German citizenship which he refused. His influence in the game is unmatched and is still one of the greatest sportsmen the world has seen. The game does not lack any legacy or legends as it is the sport which first gave us international fame and recognition. Players like Balbir Singh Dosanjh, Kunwar Digvijay Singh, Kishan Lal, Jaipal Singh Munda, Leslie Claudius, Udham Singh have brought us international accolades as well as Olympic trophies.
Also read: Day 15: Bajrang Punia still hunting for a medal; Golfer Aditi Ashok inches closer towards podium finish
After the 1980 Moscow Olympics, it was the downfall of Indian Hockey as for almost 15 years they failed to make it big in the Olympics as well as the World Cups. They were on top in Asia but lost International dominance. They won Bronze medals in the 1986 Asian Games and the 1982 Champions Trophy. It was not until the late 90’s that they slowly started making a comeback as they won the 1998 Asian Games, they also won the inaugural Men's Hockey Champions Challenge I by defeating South Africa in the Final.
But things started falling again as they failed to win a medal in the 2006 Asian Games for the first time, in 2007 they fell to their lowest ranking at 12 and did not qualify for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. In the 2012 London Olympic games they finished last as they lost all their matches. They got back to their winning form when they won the bronze in the 2014-2015 Hockey World League and also won the 2016-2017 Asia cup. They were still unable to make a mark in the Olympics as they finished 8th in the 2016 Rio Olympics.
They have finally secured an Olympic medal in Tokyo as they will look to create more records in Hockey. They have the most victories as they have won 83 matches out of 134 in the Olympics. They also are the only team to win the Gold without conceding a single goal as they did in the 1928 and 1956 Olympics.
In the Tokyo Olympics they were placed in pool A alongside Australia and Argentina. They only lost to Australia in the 5 pool matches played. In the quarterfinals they defeated Great Britain and in the semifinals lost to eventual champions Belgium. In the Bronze medal playoff against Germany there was enormous pressure on the team as they were in desperate need of a victory which would end a long wait for a medal and provide a much needed morale boost to the team. The players held onto their nerves and bravely fought to win the Bronze medal. Harmanpreet Singh in his second Olympics finished as the leading scorer for his team as he finished with 6 Penalty corner goals and Goalkeeper PR Sreejesh also saved in the final moments of the game to confirm the victory for India. Captain Manpreet Singh the most experienced man on the squad will be honoured to have led a young side into one of the greatest moments in Indian olympic history. The victory resulted in another milestone for sports as the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award has been renamed as Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna and is quite fitting to the man who was truly “the magician” with a hockey stick.
The 91m turf will see more records broken, but before that it's important to savour this victory and rejoice as the country will welcome back all the heroes with pride in their hearts.
It has become okay to talk about depression, it's positive: Anderson
Nottingham, Aug 3 (Cricket news) Himself moving from bubble to bubble since cricket's resumption amid the coronavirus pandemic, England seamer James Anderson feels athletes opening up on their mental health issues in recent years is a positive thing.
During the pandemic, mental health concerns have forced Naomi Osaka to pull out of the French Open and Wimbledon, US gymnast Simone Biles to withdraw from five out of six events in Tokyo, and Ben Stokes to take an indefinite break from cricket.
"Well, I think it affects people very differently. There are different pressures that come with being successful in your sport.
"Certainly from Ben's point of view, he has been through a lot in the last few years, he has played a hell lot of cricket," Anderson said during a virtual media interaction on Monday.
"What is positive from all of this is that in the last few years, it has definitely become okay or more okay to talk about it and be open with your feelings and your problems." Recently, the USA's multiple Olympic gold medallist Biles had pulled out of the team and all-round individual events at the Tokyo Olympics, citing mental health concerns.
Anderson, who made his Test debut way back in 2003, recalled that when he started out, if someone spoke about mental depression, it was seen as a sign of weakness.
"Certainly when I started, especially from a male athlete's point of view, maybe it was seen as a weakness if you came out and spoke, talked about it, (probably) with the pressure of various things.
"So, I am grateful that now it has become okay to talk about it and be open," said Anderson, who has played 162 Tests and taken 617 wickets.
Also read: After fighting depression, nervousness of first Olympics, Kamalpreet shines in Tokyo
The England seamer, who will open the attack in the Test series against India, is also hopeful of his teammate Stokes coming back stronger.
"From our point of view, with Ben, we hope that he comes back stronger, gets the rest that he needs and the help that he needs and comes back as a stronger cricketer, because he is an incredible talent that everyone in the world wants to watch," Anderson signed off.
The first Test match between England and India will be aired on Sony Six, Sony Ten 3 and Sony Ten 4 channels from August 4, starting 3.30 PM IST.
News source: PTI
Sania and Ankita lose to Ukranian Twins as World number one shocked in Singles
(Tennis sport news) Olympic 2021 Live Update: Team India in Women’s doubles lost to the
Ukraninan team of Nadiia Kichenok and Lyudmyla Kichenok in the First Round at the Tokyo Olympics. Sania Mirza and Ankita Raina got off to a flying start as they bageled their opponents in 21 mins in the first set, in the second set they had the lead 5-2 and were ready to close the match. The twins fought back, making it to the tiebreak and winning it in almost an hour.
Also read: Manu Bhaker India’s medal hopeful does not qualify for the finals
In the final set they continued their fightback by winning 8 points on the trot and looked for a comfortable victory. The Indians fought valiantly and made it 8-8 but couldn’t hold off the last two points as they lost the match in 1 and half hours.
In Women’s singles Wimbledon Champion and world number 1 Ashleigh Barty was knocked out by Spaniard Sara Sorribes Tormo in two sets in the first Round of Tennis. Pulling off a major upset, Sara is definitely looking for more in the upcoming rounds.
Indian tennis players need miracle to go deep in draws
Tokyo, Jul 23 (Tennis news) Indian tennis players need no less than a miraculous performance to get close to the medal rounds as an under-prepared team of Sania Mirza and debutant Ankita Raina faces a tough Ukrainian challenge in the opener while Sumit Nagal has got a tough draw in the singles competition starting Saturday. Mirza, who is making a record fourth Olympic appearance, and debutant Raina are going into the Olympics without playing a single competitive match together this year, which is far from ideal preparation for the biggest sporting event on earth.
The last time Mirza and Raina shared the court was in March 2020 during the Billie Jean King Cup.
They will open their campaign against Ukraine's twin sisters Nadiia and Lyudmyla Kichenok.
"Every match is going to be a challenge and we will take one match at a time. Because Of pandemic and quarantine rules we were playing different tournaments. So after Fed Cup we didn’t get a chance to play together," Raina told PTI.
However, Mirza has tons of experience and she is playing with a player who is known to punch above her weight while representing the nation.
Raina has a big heart for fight but it will all depend on the performance of Mirza, who has not been in the best of form with her serve being an issue.
During the recent Wimbledon championships, Mirza gradually upped her game from the baseline but her feeble serve was easily tackled by the rivals.
Interestingly, when Mirza returned to competitive tennis after the COVID-19 induced break in March this year, she and her Sloveinan partner Andreja Klepac had faced the same Ukrainian sister pair and had prevailed. Ranked as low as 137 post maternity break, 34-year-old Mirza has played only eight matches this season with a 4-4 win-loss record.
Also read: Deemed 'extreme risk' nation, India denied entry into ITF World Junior Finals
The 28-year-old Raina, ranked 100, has just one singles main draw victory to show since the beginning of the 2021 season.
In the doubles, she grabbed her first ever WTA title with partner Kamila Rakhimova at the Phillip Island Trophy in Melbourne in February and broke into doubles top-100 but suffered five straight first round defeats after that.
Had it not been for Mirza's Protected Ranking of nine, India would not have a women's doubles team at the Games.
In complete contrast, Nadiia, ranked 44, had played eight WTA Tour events with her sister Lyudmyla Kichenok, ranked 48, in 2020 and one this year.
Together they did not enjoy much success but Nadiia otherwise had decent results with Romania's Raluca Olaru in 2021.
They won the won St Petersburg (WTA 500) in March and reached the semifinals in Stuttgart (WTA 500) in April and ended runners-up in Bad Homburg last month.
If Mirza and Raina win their opener, they could face American eighth seeds Nicole Melichar (doubles world number 9) and Alison Riske (singles world number 36) in the next round.
In the men's singles, Nagal is extremely lucky to get an entry into the Olympics as with a rank of 144 on the cut-off date of June 14, he was far away from making the cut.
However, a spate of withdrawals pushed him inside.
Nagal's recent performances do not inspire confidence though at the start of the season he had pulled off the biggest victory of his career when he beat then world number 22 Cristian Garin.
However, after that he has managed only two quarterfinal appearances at the Challenger level, struggling badly on the Tour.
Nagal had hinted that he was struggling with some health issues and that was the reason for him not getting the desired results.
He faces Asian Games champion Denis Istomin in his first round. The Uzbekistan veteran had won the quota from the 2018 Jakarta Games by taking the men's singles title.
The grinder that Nagal is, there is a possibility of him getting past the 34-year-old Uzbek but the Indian may next face world number two and Australian Open runner-up Danill Medvedev from Russia and that could be end of the road for him.
News source: PTI
Cricketer Rishabh Pant recovers from COVID-19 infection, joins team bio-bubble
Durham, Jul 22 (Cricket news) India wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant has joined the team bio-bubble after recovering from COVID-19 ahead of the marquee Test series against England.
Pant, who had tested positive for the virus, has completed 10 days of isolation period, followed by two RT-PCR negative reports and proper cardio check-up which are mandatory before joining the team.
"Hello @RishabhPant17, great to have you back," the BCCI said in a tweet, along with Pant's photo, on Thursday.
Pant had tested positive while he was staying at Southall at an acquaintance's place. He had developed mild symptoms and was found to be COVID-19 positive when he got tested.
Also read: India in England: Cricketer Pant still in isolation as all eyes on 'opener' Mayank against County Select XI
According to sources, Pant might have picked up the Delta 3 variant while visiting a dentist for a toothache problem, contrary to earlier reports that his presence at the Euro Championships could have led to him catching the infection.
After Pant tested positive, BCCI Secretary Jay Shah had sent a cautionary letter to the Indian contingent, asking the players to avoid crowded gatherings like Wimbledon and Euro matches.
The Indian team is currently playing a warm-up match against a County XI side here, before the first Test of the five-match series begins on August 4 at Nottingham.
News source: PTI
The Golden Slam Awaits Novak Djokovic at the Tokyo Olympics
Novak Djokovic is in fine form coming into the Tokyo Olympics 2020, winning the first three Grand Slams of the season. This year he has been creating records at each Grand Slam, in the Australian Open he won a record 9th title, in the French Open he became the first man to defeat Rafael Nadal twice at the French Open, in Wimbledon he won his 100th grass court win and in the US open he will be looking to be the first man in the open era to win all four Grand Slams in a year. More records are waiting for him at the Tokyo Olympics as he will look to win a Golden Slam and become the first male player and the second tennis player after Steffi Graf to do it. He is the favourite to win the title given his form this year and the way it has dominated this season. Ten years ago he gave us a stellar season to watch, as players around the globe were mesmerized by the high quality of tennis. It took the sport to another level as he won three slams that year, defeated Rafael Nadal in six finals at three different surfaces and had a 41 match winning streak that ended in the French Open semifinals where he lost to Roger Federer. He had a phenomenal season in 2015 too where again he won three slams, won 82 matches while losing a mere 6 and won 16 titles including the Grand Slams. These show us that he has the ability to win matches all year long, even if the surfaces change and the venues change. He has the ability to defeat Nadal on clay and Federer on grass and he has done it. He has come out on top every surface, he recently became the first man to win 75 matches in all four Grand Slams.
Age doesn't seem to be slowing him down, this year seems like a sequel to 2011 and 2015. The Olympic Gold medal is something he has to hunt down as he has won every tournament the sport has to offer. His best performance came in the 2008 Beijing Olympics where the Bronze medal, in the 2012 London Olympics he lost to Juan Martin Del Potro in the Bronze medal watch and in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics lost again to Del Potro in the opening match. Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas would love to have their revenge for their loss in the Grand Slam finals. The players need to bring out their best to stop him as it will be a major upset and would be a crucial mental advantage at the US Open. In Olympic news, Alex de Minaur has withdrawn from the Olympics after testing positive, joining this year’s Wimbledon runner up Matteo Berrettini who will not be playing because of a thigh injury. Bets will be in for Djokovic but for someone to pull off an upset would rely on the young guns for sure and the experienced players like Fabio Fognini or Gael Monfils. The tennis event starts on 24th July and will end on August 1st, it will be played on Hard Courts.
Interesting fact: Jennifer Capriati is the youngest tennis player to win an Olympic gold, she was 16 when she won the title in Barcelona 1992.
Also read: Naomi Osaka is looking to triumph at home in the Tokyo Olympics
Players were on leave, wearing mask not possible all the time: Cricketer Ganguly
Muscat, Jul 16 (Cricket news) BCCI president Sourav Ganguly says that it is "physically impossible" to wear the mask all the time since health protocols in the United Kingdom have been relaxed as he backed the Indian contingent after Rishabh Pant contracted infection during team's 20-day break.
Ganguly reasoned that spectators were also allowed inside the stadium during Euro 2020 Championships and also at the Wimbledon Championships.
Also read: Rishabh Pant, throwdown expert Dayanand COVID positive; 2 more isolated as Indian team reassembles
Indian cricket team has reported two positive COVID-19 cases in wicket-keeper Pant and throwdown specialist Dayanand Garani, who have been isolated at separate London locations.
Three others -- Abhimanyu Easwaran, Wriddhiman Saha and bowling coach Bharath Arun -- are also in isolation although they have tested negative.
"We have seen Euro Championship and Wimbledon in England. Rules have changed (with crowd being allowed inside venues). They were on leave and it's physically impossible to wear mask all the time," Ganguly, who is in Muscat for overseeing the T20 World Cup preparations, told News18.
Ganguly is confident that Pant and others will recover in time.
"No worries. They will be fine," Ganguly told the website.
News source: PTI
Rishabh Pant, throwdown expert Dayanand COVID positive; 2 more isolated as Indian team reassembles
New Delhi/London, Jul 15 (Cricket news) Wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant and throwdown specialist Dayanand Garani tested positive for COVID-19, while two others were placed in precautionary isolation as the dreaded virus hit the Indian cricket team ahead of next month's Test series against hosts England.
One coaching staff member and reserve wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha were put in isolation for having come in contact with Garani.
All four are currently in London while the rest are reaching Durham this evening after reassembling from a 20-day break. London to Durham is a five-hour bus journey.
Pant and Saha will miss the practice match scheduled to start on July 20 against a combined county side.
A BCCI source confirmed that Pant has been in isolation for the past eight days. He is, according to the source, asymptomatic at this point.
"He is in quarantine at an acquaintance's place and won't be travelling with the team to Durham on Thursday," he said without divulging when the 23-year-old will join the squad.
However, he is likely to undergo a COVID-19 test in the next couple of days.
The rest of the squad, sans Pant and the injured Shubman Gill, left for Durham on Thursday from London.
Gill had sustained a leg injury earlier this month and the young batsman had left the team's bio-bubble.
Also read: Uncapped trio of Devdutt Padikkal, Chetan Sakariya and Nitish Rana eager to learn from Rahul Dravid
The development comes close on the heels of BCCI secretary Jay Shah sending an e-mail to the Indian contingent, warning it about the rising cases of COVID-19 in the United Kingdom.
The break was given to the players after the World Test Championship against New Zealand, which the team lost last month.
"Yes, one player has tested positive but he has been in isolation for the last eight days. He was not staying in any hotel with the team, so no other player has been affected," BCCI Vice President Rajiv Shukla told PTI.
"As of now no other player has tested positive. Also you must be aware our secretary Jay Shah has written a letter to all players to maintain protocols," Shukla added.
It is understood that Pant has been afflicted by the Delta variant which has led to rising number of cases in England.
He was seen attending a Euro championship match last month and had even posted pictures on his social media accounts.
He underwent a test after experiencing low grade fever.
Shah, in his letter, told the players to "avoid" crowded places as Covishield, the vaccine which has been given to the team, only provides protection, not full immunity against the virus.
In fact, Shah's letter had specifically stated that players should avoid going to the Wimbledon and Euro Championships, both of which recently concluded there.
The Indian team is due to take on England in a five-match Test series starting August 4. It will play a practice game starting July 20 as a build-up to the high-intensity series.
The India-England showdown marks the beginning of the second cycle of the World Test Championship.
Recently, the England team too was hit by the virus and was forced to field an altogether different XI in a limited-overs match against Pakistan. News source: PTI
Indian cricketer Rishabh Pant tests positive for COVID-19 in UK, BCCI secretary Jay Shah urges caution
New Delhi, Jul 15 (Cricket news) One of the 23 Indian cricketers in the ongoing tour of England has tested positive for COVID-19 during the 20-day break and will not be travelling with the team to Durham on Thursday.
The development comes close on the heels of BCCI secretary Jay Shah sending an e-mail to the Indian contingent, warning it about the rising cases of COVID-19 in the United Kingdom.
The side is to reassemble at Durham in a bio-bubble ahead of the Test series against England next month. The break was given to the players after the World Test Championship against New Zealand, which the team lost last month.
"Yes, one player has tested positive but he has been in isolation for the last eight days. He was not staying in any hotel with the team, so no other player has been affected. But I can't divulge the name of the player," BCCI Vice President Rajiv Shukla told PTI on Thursday.
"As of now no other player has tested positive. Also you must be aware our secretary Jay Shah has written a letter to all players to maintain protocols," Shukla added.
However sources in BCCI claimed that the player in question is wiketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant.
Also read: Former cricketer Wasim Jaffer named Odisha chief coach
"He is in quarantine at an acquaintance's place and won't be travelling with the team to Durham on Thursday," a BCCI source said.
It is understood that he has been afflicted by the Delta variant which has led to rising number of cases in England.
Shah, in his letter, told the players to "avoid" crowded places as Covishield, the vaccine which has been given to the team, only provides protection, not full immunity against the virus.
In fact, Shah's letter had specifically stated that players should avoid going to Wimbledon and Euro Championships, which recently concluded there.
The Indian team is due to take on England in a five-match Test series starting August 4. News source: PTI
Naomi Osaka is looking to triumph at home in the Tokyo Olympics
It is always a proud moment to represent the whole nation and compete against the top players in the world. Victory anthem in the podium and the millions of eyes watching these moments, it is indeed an event which is every athlete’s dream finish. The women’s Olympic tennis witnessed history upon its continuance in 1988 when Steffi Graff won the only ever Golden Slam. After that, it has seen the Russians taking home the top three medals in singles at the Beijing Olympics 2008. There have been a lot of records and milestones in the Olympics for women in tennis. There have been different winners on top with the most consistent being the Williams sisters.
The women's singles draw looks promising as most of the top players in the field are competing in this year’s Olympics which is being held at Tokyo. Serena Williams would not be competing this time because of her injury, as for her sister Venus Williams who has been competing since 1996 and has won five medals most likely won't compete this year. Monica Puig the defending champion will also not be competing as she has undergone shoulder surgery, she earlier became the first Puerto Rican to win a gold medal at the Olympics. US Open winner and teen sensation Bianca Andreescu will also not be competing this time due to Covid concerns.
Newly crowned Wimbledon champion Ashleigh Barty, who is also the world number 1 will be tough to deal with and world number 2 Naomi Osaka will be the favourite to win the gold medal as it also played in hardcourt, that too in her own backyard. Iga Świątek the 2020 French Open Champion will make her debut this time and she can pull a major upset in Tokyo. Heather Watson will be playing Singles and Doubles this time, she won the 2016 Wimbledon mixed doubles and will hope to do one better this time. In tennis news, the USA team will be led by one of the youngest Olympic tennis players, 17 year old Coco Gauff, who made the Quarterfinals of this year’s French Open and defeated Venus William in the Wimbledon in 2019. In the Indian team Sania Mirza and Ankita Raina will be competing in the women’s doubles, as India for the first time since 1988 won't feature a Men's doubles team. In the Rio Olympics, Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna came real close to winning a medal in the mixed doubles.
Aryna Sabalenka, Elina Svitolina, Karolina Pliskova, and Garbine Muguruza are all set to compete. Pliskova will be looking to avenge her Wimbledon final loss to Ashleigh Barty.Garbine Muguruza, the former world number 1 and two time Grand Slam champion can use her powerful flat groundstrokes which can come in handy to tackle the opponent in hard courts and with her experience can take on the new recruits. Osaka can become the first Women’s tennis player from Japan to win a medal in the Olympics as Kei Nishikori is the only other one. There won't be any spectators for the first time and it would be interesting to see how the players battle it out.
Interesting Fact: Venus Williams is the first tennis player to win a medal at four Olympic games. (2000, 2008, 2012, 2016)
Murray seeks a historic third gold medal at Tokyo Olympics against the young forces
With only 9 days to go, the race for the elusive gold medal is heating up with Roger Federer pulling out at the last moment because of the recurring knee injury. The Olympics has always been the toughest hurdle to jump through for the athletes who seek the highest honour in a century old competition. Tennis has been a regular part of the Olympics since 1988 and has been played on different surfaces since its inception. This time it's on hard courts making it fast paced and highly competitive. The matches will begin on July 24th till August 1st.
Nadal, Thiem, Shapovalov, Kyrgios, Wawrinka, Isner won't be playing this year and Djokovic, who is seeking a historic Olympic crown will be on the course of becoming the first male player to win the Golden Slam but after his victory in the Wimbledon, he may or may not play. The Gold medal has been won by Agassi, Nadal and most recently Murray. Players like Federer, Sampras, Djokovic have not stood on top of the podium and this time it will be a rare chance for the debutants to seize the crown. The next gen will see this as the perfect opportunity to take the medal home and make their country proud. In tennis news Medvedev, Zverev and Tsitsipas will be making their debut this time, players like Schwartzman, De Minaur, Auger-Aliassime, Cilic, Monfils are also there to stage an upset in the draw. Since this will be a hard court, it will be a fast paced game and will give an advantage for the heavy hitters such as Andrey Rublev and Matteo Berrettini. Andy Murray has not been in form in recent times after his early exit from Wimbledon and his recent hip surgery which has halted him from his earlier form. The favourite is Murray given his history at the Olympics, but there can be major upsets this time.
Berrettini is in form after finishing runner up in Wimbledon and he can come up strong and hit his hammer forehands across the court. Speaking of hard hitters, Rublev is also not far behind. It is time for him to shine in the big stages of the game and if it is his best day, Rublev can become the second Russian to win a gold medal at this event. Monfils and Cilic have been in the shadows of the big four, they are indeed great players and will be looking for redemption on the court. Many players have lost their prime years to the big four and this time it will be an unpredictable draw and there is a feeling that the underdogs will come out on top. Last time Djokovic lost in the first round, history at the Olympics has not been kind to tennis players who are on top of their game outside the Olympics.
Young players will have their next chances but older players might not be present at the next Olympics. It will be interesting to see who can increase their country’s medal tally. Covid has affected every subject matter in these two years so there will be no spectators around, the players will have to boost their own morale after every point, the crowd chants will be missed and we will have to see the heroics through a screen.
Interesting fact: Leander Paes is the only Indian tennis player to win an Olympic medal. He won bronze at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics in the men’s singles.
Swiss tennis star Roger Federer pulls out of Tokyo Olympics due to knee problem
Lausanne (Switzerland), Jul 13 (Tennis news) Tennis icon Roger Federer on Tuesday announced that he is pulling out of the upcoming Tokyo Olympics owing to a knee injury.
The Olympics, in which on-site spectators will not be allowed owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, are scheduled to be held in the Japanese capital from July 23 to August 8.
In a statement, he said that he had "suffered a setback" with his knee.
Federer announced the news on Twitter saying that he is "greatly disappointed" on missing out on an opportunity to represent Switzerland in the world's biggest sporting spectacle.
"During the grass court season, I unfortunately experienced a setback with my knee, and have accepted that I must withdraw from the Tokyo Olympic Games," Federer said in the statement.
"I am greatly disappointed, as it has been an honour and highlight of my career each time I have represented Switzerland," he added.
Federer won the silver medal in men's singles at the 2012 London Olympics and gold old in men's doubles at the 2008 Beijing Games.
Also read: ‘The stars aligned’: Ash Barty’s Wimbledon win is an historic moment for Indigenous people and women in sport
The 39-year-old Federer, who has won 20 Grand Slam men's singles titles, a record he shares with his great rivals Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, has begun rehabilitation and hopes to return to action later this summer.
"I have already begun rehabilitation in the hopes of returning to the tour later this summer. I wish the entire Swiss team the best of luck and I will be rooting hard from afar. As always, Hopp Schwiz!" he added.
Last week, Federer was knocked out of Wimbledon by Poland's Hubert Hurkacz in the quarter-finals.
Hurkacz beat the legend in straight sets to reach the semi-final. In the first round of the tournament, Federer survived a scare before France's Adrian Mannarino retired due to injury.
In 2020, Federer had two knee surgeries. He even had to withdraw from French Open despite winning three matches to save himself for Wimbledon.
Federer has been dealing with knee issues for a while now. He had pulled out of French Open this year to help improve his condition before the Wimbledon. News source: PTI
‘The stars aligned’: Ash Barty’s Wimbledon win is an historic moment for Indigenous people and women in sport
Queensland (Australia), Jul 13 (The Conversation) Over the weekend in London, the stars aligned in the most remarkable way. On the 50th anniversary of Evonne Goolagong Cawley’s first Wimbledon win, Ashleigh Barty claimed her first Wimbledon title.
The 25-year old becomes just the second Indigenous women to win Wimbledon and breaks a long drought for Australia at what is widely regarded as the most prestigious tennis tournament in the world.
To put it in context, Australia hasn’t won a singles title at the All England Club since 2002, when Lleyton Hewitt became the men’s champion. The last time an Australian woman took out the title was over 40 years ago, when Goolagong Cawley won her second title in 1980 (this time also becoming the first mother to win Wimbledon in 66 years).
But the win is also an historic moment for First Nations people and for Australian women in sport. It presents an opportunity to both celebrate and learn from this achievement.
Barty breaks the mould Barty’s success is a particularly significant one for First Nations Australians. She is one of only a handful of Indigenous women who are both sporting champions and household names — such as Goolagong Cawley, Cathy Freeman and fellow Olympic medallists Nova Peris and Sam Riley.
Australia has always seemed to struggle with celebrating Indigenous sporting success, particularly when it happens overseas. Achievements like Patty Mills’ magic 17 points to help secure the 2014 NBA championship for the San Antonio Spurs, Chad Reed’s legendary status in motocross and Jesse Williams’ 2014 Super Bowl ring have largely flown under the radar.
Also read: Indian-origin tennis players Samir Banerjee lifts Wimbledon boys' singles title
But Barty breaks this mould. She has long cited her Indigenous heritage and relationship with Goolagong Cawley as an inspiration. Yes, it is Barty’s tennis success that has made her famous. But it is her grace negotiating Australia’s uneasiness with its past and present relationship with our Indigenous peoples that makes her a true champion.
Her victory also followed by a significant hip injury in June. Although seeded number one for the tournament, even those in Barty’s camp were nervous about her chances.
As First Nations people would say “the Old People” — her Ancestors — had intervened.
A NAIDOC week victory Apart from the parallels with Goolagong Cawley’s win, the timing is also special as it comes at the end of NAIDOC week. This year’s theme has been “Heal Country”. As Indigenous people continue to be marginalised in so many areas of Australian life, Barty’s success is all the more a powerful testament to her strength and talent.
We know there are high barriers to Indigenous women participating in sport and exercise, at both grassroots and elite levels. These include racism and the high costs of participating. A frequently cited statistic (based on 2012 data) is about 23% of Indigenous women were physically active or played sport in the past 12 months, compared to 67% of non-Indigenous women.
Even in sports with high Indigenous participation, such as netball (where about 4% of participants are Indigenous), this still hasn’t flowed through to the professional level. There have only ever been two Indigenous players to represent the national team — and none since 2000.
Last year, Queensland Firebirds midcourter Jemma Mi Mi, a proud Wakka Wakka woman, sat on the bench during Super Netball’s Indigenous round. Netball Australia says it is working to improve the culture but change is slow.
Sexism and Australian sport Sport is a significant part of our national identity, and we have a deep love for our sporting heroes. Yet for women in sport, we know the road is harder than for men. It wasn’t that long ago that champion race horse Black Caviar was named Australian sportswoman of the year by the Daily Telegraph.
In my recent research with female AFL players, women talked of their gratitude for being included in the sport at a professional level. This is despite low pay and the high pressures and workloads. As I argued, this attitude is a double-edged sword for professional sportswomen, as it can make them vulnerable to exploitation.
Looking at professional elite athletes in Australia, the top earners are predominantly men. For example, in the 2019 AFR sports rich list, Barty ranked eight and was the only woman in the top 20. A top seven rich list compiled by Fox Sports in June 2021 only featured men.
We also know that women in sport also cop abuse, sexism and harassment — as well as discrimination in terms of how seriously their involvement is taken.
Uneven playing field So while we celebrate #YesAsh and enjoy the #BartyParty, we must also be honest about the realities for women in sport, and in particular for Indigenous women in sport.
For those of us who have enjoyed the pride and excitement of Barty’s win, let’s pledge to work harder on removing structural barriers to participation at grassroots and elite levels. It is time to acknowledge how uneven Australian sporting fields can be. (The Conversation) News source: PTI
Indian-origin tennis players Samir Banerjee lifts Wimbledon boys' singles title
London, Jul 11 (Tennis news) Indo-American tennis player Samir Banerjee lifted the Wimbledon boys' singles title on Sunday, a remarkable triumph for the youngster who was testing his skills in a Grand Slam for only the second time in his fledgling career.
All of 17, the player from New Jersey just wanted to win a match at the biggest stage in the junior circuit, but little did he know that he would be the last boy standing at the hallowed grass courts.
And that too when he did not have his coach Carlos Esteban with him since his wife had reportedly tested positive for COVID-19.
Up against compatriot Victor Lilov, the teenager won 7-5 6-3 in the summit clash that lasted one hour 22 minutes. He broke his rival thrice and dropped serve only once in the facile triumph.
"It's going to be amazing, this trophy is going to be my centrepiece, I'm going to look at this and be inspired to keep playing and hopefully come back here as a pro," he was quoted as saying by the Wimbledon website.
"I really just wanted to win a round, I didn't expect this. I had a tough French Open, lost to a good player.
"So here I just wanted to keep my expectations low so that if I passed them, then I'd be happy. But this was way beyond my wildest dreams," he said to a round of applause from the crowd.
Since the coach was unavailable, Banerjee 's uncle Kanad accompanied him.
"My uncle is here, he's not technically a tennis coach, but if these results keep happening then I should start travelling with him more," he said jokingly.
As Lilov's backhand sailed over the baseline on match-point, Banerjee dropped his racquet, put both his hands on his head in disbelief as if to say that this was not what he expected to do but still accomplished.
"Remember the name - Samir Banerjee. The American wins his first junior Grand Slam singles title by beating Victor Lilov in the boys' singles final," the official twitter handle of the Championships posted.
Legendary Indian tennis player Vijay Amritraj congratulated Banerjee.
"Wonderful win for Indian American 17 yr old Samir Bannerjee in the boys singles at Wimbledon 2021. Wish him well for a great future," the 67-year old who reached singles quarterfinals at Wimbledon and US Open tweeted.
Banerjee's father Kunal was born in Assam, and his mother Usha was brought up in Andhra Pradesh before both migrated to the USA in the mid-1980s and got married there.
The youngster, reportedly, will take a break from the tour to enroll for a degree in either economics or political science at the Columbia University in the coming months.
Also read: Mirza-Bopanna pair ousted from Wimbledon Championships
While Banerjee's victory is a testament to the system that US Tennis Association has put in place, India has been struggling to field a worthy contender at junior Grand Slams for some time now.
Due to the lack of a robust domestic circuit and not having enough competitions at home to earn world ranking points, India has been struggling to create the next crop of youngsters.
Yuki Bhambri was the last Indian to win a junior singles title when he triumphed at the Australian Open in 2009 while Sumit Nagal won the Wimbledon boys' doubles event in 2015 with Vietnam's Ly Hoang Nam.
Ramanathan Krishnan was the first Indian to win a junior major when he won the 1954 Junior Wimbledon championship.
His son Ramesh Krishnan won the 1970 junior Wimbledon and junior French Open titles while Leander Paes won the 1990 junior Wimbledon and junior US Open.
Paes was also a runner-up at the junior Australian Open.
News source: PTI
Mirza-Bopanna pair ousted from Wimbledon Championships
London, Jul 7 (Tennis news) Rohan Bopanna stayed solid with his service games and net play but Sania Mirza's serve was consistently put under pressure as the Indian team was ousted from the Wimbledon Championships following a three-set defeat in the stop-start mixed doubles third round, here on Wednesday. The contest resumed with the 14th seed pair of Jean Julien-Roger and Andreja Klepac having a one-set lead and they finished on the right side of the result with a 6-3 3-6 11-9 scoreline.
Mirza has not played much competitive tennis post her comeback and is struggling to get her serve right.
Serving to stay in the match at 5-6 in the decider, Mirza managed to hold after a few anxious moments.
It was largely Bopanna's reflexes at the net and a solid game from the baseline apart from a superb lob from Mirza that helped the Indians pull off the game after two deuce.
Mirza again served in a similar situation at 9-10. Roger hit a crushing forehand winner at 15-15 and then Bopanna's volley sailed over the baseline.
The Dutch player, on the second match point, then executed a stunning service winner, that whizzed past from Bopanna's right side.
It was Mirza's last tournament before the Tokyo Games where she will compete in the women's doubles with Ankita Raina.
With this defeat India's challenge has ended at the grass court Grand Slam.
Also read: Former tennis players Paes-Bhupathi set to reunite for a web series
News source: PTI
Former tennis players Paes-Bhupathi set to reunite for a web series
Mumbai, Jul 6 (Tennis news) Indian tennis great Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi are set to reunite for a new web series, which will narrate interesting stories and share anecdotes from the duo's journey to stardom.
Paes and Bhupathi will be seen in a unique storytelling of their journey and relationship together, created by none other than award-winning husband-wife director duo of Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari and Nitesh Tiwari.
Paes and Bhupathi were the first Indian pair to win at the Wimbledon in 1999. The speculation about their reunion started after Paes on Sunday posted a picture and wrote a note on Twitter on the 22nd anniversary of their first Wimbledon men's doubles title.
"As two young boys all we dreamt of was making our country proud! Tennis ballSeedlingTrophy @Maheshbhupathi #LeeHesh," Paes had tweeted, to which Bhpathi replied: "Hmmm ..That was special!! Do you think it's time to write another chapter? @Leander#LeeHesh." The pair, nicknamed the 'Indian Express', played together from 1994 to 2006 before re-uniting for a second stint from 2008 to 2011. They also had a public fallout but have put that behind them now.
Also read: Sajid Lodi named captain as India announce team for ITF World Junior Tennis Finals
News source: PTI
Tennis player Rethin Pranav to lead India in International Tennis Federation World Junior Tennis Finals in Czech Republic
New Delhi, Jul 3 (Tennis news) Country's top-ranked Under-14 player Rethin Pranav RS will lead the Indian team at the upcoming ITF World Junior Tennis Finals 2021 as the AITA junior selection committee picked a three-member squad for the tournament.
Kriish Ajay Tyagi and Tejas Ahuja, ranked number two and three respectively, are the other playing members in the squad.
Manas Manoj Dhamne is the reserve member of the side for the competition, set to be held from August 2 to 7 at Prostejov, Czech Republic.
Madhya Pradesh Tennis Association (MPTA) head coach Sajid Lodi will travel with team as captain. "We wanted to have a round-robin contest among the top-8 players in Under-14 category for the selection purpose but due to the COVID-19 related restriction that could not be held, so we have gone by the latest rankings," AITA junior selection committee chairman Suman Kapur said.
Asked why Manas was picked as a reserve player when he is slotted above Tejas as per the rankings available on the AITA website, Kapur said there was a change in the latest rankings which have not been uploaded as yet on the federation's website.
Read also: Bopanna-Mirza pair wins historic all-Indian Wimbledon match
News source: PTI
Bopanna-Mirza pair wins historic all-Indian Wimbledon match
London, Jul 2 (Sports news) The experienced pair of Rohan Bopanna and Sania Mirza defeated the brand new combination of Ramkaumar Ramanathan and Ankita Raina 6-2 7-6 (5) in the historic all-Indian mixed doubles first round match at the Wimbledon here on Friday.
It was the first time in open era that two Indian teams competed against each other at a Grand Slam tournament.
The contest finally brought a Grand Slam debut for Ramkumar, who has made 21 attempts to qualify for the singles main draw of a tennis major.
While the first set ended quickly in favour of the veterans, Ramkumar and Raina presented a good fight in the second set, which even they led for a brief period with a break of serve.
Also read: India at Wimbledon: Ankita Raina and partner bow out in first round of women's doubles
Bopanna was clearly the best player on the court with his powerful serve and solid ground strokes from the baseline as well as the ability to execute a superior net game.
On expected lines, Ramkumar served big while Raina gave her all after growing in confidence.
Mirza's serve is still not at its best and would improve as she plays more matches.
Mirza has moved has also moved to women's doubles second round with Bethanie Mattek-Sands while Raina and her American partner Lauren Davis lost in straight sets to the US pair of Asia Muhammad and Jessica Pegula on Thursday night.
The 14th seeds disposed off the challenge from the Raina-Davis pair 6-3 6-2 in 70 minutes.
Bopanna and Divij Sharan are already out, having lost their men's doubles opening round match.
News sourece: PTI
India at Wimbledon: Ankita Raina and partner bow out in first round of women's doubles
London, Jul 2 (Sports news) Ankita Raina's maiden appearance in Wimbledon's main draw ended in disappointment as the Indian and her American partner Lauren Davis lost in straight sets to the US pair of Asia Muhammad and Jessica Pegula.
The 14th seeds disposed off the challenge from the Raina-Davis pair beating them 6-3 6-2 in 70 minutes during a late evening match on Court No 11.
Ankita, however, will be pairing with compatriot Ramkumar Ramanathan in the mixed doubles event where they would meet their country's seasoned pair of Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna.
Also read: Rohan Bopanna, Divij Sharan miss cut for tennis men's doubles event at Tokyo Games
Sania and her American partner Bethanie Mattek-Sands are through to the second round of women's doubles while Bopanna and Divij Sharan are already out, having lost their men's doubles opening round encounter.
News source: PTI
AITA nominates Ankita, Prajnesh for Arjuna; Balram, Piperno for Dhyanchand
In Sports news, New Delhi, Jun 29 Asian Games bronze medallists Ankita Raina and Prajnesh Gunneswaran have been nominated for the prestigious Arjuna award by the national tennis federation, which has also sent names of Balram Singh and Enrico Piperno for the Dhyanchand honour.
Ankita and Prajnesh both won singles bronze medals at the 2018 Asian Games held in Jakarta and Palembang.
Ankita is now country's best-ranked singles (182) and doubles (95) player and is set to make his Olympic debut at the Tokyo Games next month.
"This year we have nominated Ankita and Prajnesh for Arjuna while the names of very respected Balram sir and Enrico Piperno have been sent for life time achievement honour, Dhyanchand," an All Indian Tennis Association (AITA) official told PTI.
The 28-year-old Ankita has been India's key player in the Billie Jean King Cup team for the last three years.
She was nominated for the 'Arjuna' last year also but Asian Games gold medallist Divij Sharan succeeded in bagging the award.
Prajnesh is one of the most mature players in the current Indian generation. Had he not lost five crucial years to knee stress fractures, his career would have been an altogether different story.
The 31-year-old left-hander from Chennai, ranked 148 on the ATP charts, has played five Davis Cup ties for the country.
In the Lifetime achievement category, Balram Singh, who has a 50 year-long association with the Indian tennis, will vie for the honour along with Piperno, who coached the Davis Cup team between 1991-2001 for 27 consecutive ties.
The 73-year-old Balram, one of those extremely shy and non-controversial figures in Indian tennis, coached the Davis Cup teams in 1989 (South Korea) and 1990 (Japan).
He himself reached the junior Wimbledon and junior US Open quarterfinals in 1966.
That he has always preferred to stay away from the limelight and work in the background is evident from the fact that he has applied for an award for the first time.
He also established Balram Singh Trust to support talented junior players. Balram is a member of the senior selection committee and also headed it in the past.
His children -- Ashutosh Singh and Shalini Thakur -- have also played tennis at a good level. While Ashutosh won the Fenesta Nationals and was also a reserve player in the Davis Cup side, Shalini has played the Fed Cup.
The 59-year-old Piperno also has an impressive CV as he himself is an 1982 Asian Games silver medallist was coach of India's first Grand Slam winner Mahesh Bhupathi from 1997 to 2003 and also travelled for with legendary Leander Paes.
He was also coach of Indian Fed Cup team between 2000 and 2012 and the national women team at the Asian Games in in Busan (2002), Doha (2006) and Guangzhou (2010).
Last year former Davis Cup coach Nandan bal had won the Dhyanchand award. News Source: PTI
Indian tennis player Sania Mirza and Mattek-Sands crash out of Viking International Eastbourne
Eastbourne (UK), Jun 24 Indian tennis star Sania Mirza and her doubles partner Bethanie Mattek-Sands lost their first round match in straight sets at the Viking International Eastbourne here.
The unseeded Indo-American pair lost 3-6 4-6 to the Christina Mchale and Sabrina Santamaria of USA in a match that lasted one hour 18 minutes late on Wednesday night.
The 34-year-old winner of six Grand Slams in doubles will pair up with Mattek-Sands in the women's doubles event of Wimbledon, starting on June 28. News source PTI
Indian tennis player Ankita Raina bows out of Wimbledon Qualifiers
London, Jun 23 Indian tennis player Ankita Raina's attempt to qualify for the women's singles main draw of Wimbledon failed after she went down in the first round of the Qualifiers here.
The 28-year-old Indian, lost 3-6 6-7 to a higher-ranked American Varvara Lepchenko in one hour 22 minutes late Tuesday night.
Unable to hold her serve in the opening set, the Indian came back strong in the second before being completely outplayed (1-7) in the tiebreak.
Ankita, ranked 182, had only one break point in the match, which she failed to convert.
In the men's qualifiers, India's Ramkumar Ramanathan advanced to the second round but Prajnesh Gunneswaran was ousted on Tuesday. News source: PTI
India's tennis player Prajnesh Gunneswaran crashes out of Wimbledon Qualifiers after surprise defeat
London, Jun 22 In a forgettable outing, India's Prajnesh Gunneswaran bowed out of Wimbledon Qualifiers on Tuesday after losing in straight sets to British wild card Arthur Fery, who is not ranked even inside top-1000.
The left-handed Indian, ranked 148, lost 1-6 6-7(5) to his 18-year-old rival, who is ranked as low as 1038.
Prjanesh made a comeback after the first-set drubbing but the Briton did not allow the Indian to stretch the contest to a third set.
Ramkumar Ramanathan and Ankita Raina are also in action on Tuesday. News source: PTI
Rafael Nadal withdraws from Wimbledon and Tokyo Olympics
In the latest tennis news, Rafael Nadal has announced his withdrawal from Wimbledon and Tokyo Olympics after making the decision in consultation with his team due to an inadequate recuperation period after a physically and mentally demanding Roland Garros.
The 35 year old Spaniard announced his decision on Twitter to not participate in two of the biggest and most anticipated tennis events of the year. He said, “Hi all, I have decided not to participate at this year’s Championships at Wimbledon and the Olympic Games in Tokyo. It’s never an easy decision to make but after listening to my body and discussing it with my team I understand that it is the right decision.”
“The goal is to prolong my career and continue to do what makes me happy, that is to compete at the highest level and keep fighting for those professional and personal goals at the maximum level of competition.”
“The fact that there has only been 2 weeks between RG (Roland Garros) and Wimbledon, didn’t make it easier on my body to recuperate after the always demanding clay court season. They have been two months of great effort and the decision I take is focused on looking at the mid and long term,” said Rafa.
“Sport prevention of any kind of excess in my body is a very important factor at this stage of my career in order to try to keep fighting for the highest level of competition and titles. I want to send a special message to my fans around the world, to those in the United Kingdom and Japan in particular.The Olympic Games always meant a lot and they were always a priority as a Sports person, I found the spirit that every sports person in the world wants to live. I personally had the chance to live 3 of them and had the honor to be the flag bearer for my country,” he concluded.
The world number 3 has won 20 Grand Slams in his career so far and will have to wait a little longer to increase that tally. Last week, Novak Djokovic defeated Rafael Nadal 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (4), 6-2 and stopped the Spaniard from winning his 14th French Open title.
Indian tennis player Sumit Nagal also fails to make French Open main draw cut
Paris, May 27 India's top player Sumit Nagal could not make a hat-trick of Grand Slam main draw appearances following a straight-set defeat in the second round of the French Open Qualifying event here.
The Haryana youngster crashed out of the Clay Court major with a 3-6 3-6 loss to Alejandro Tabilo from Chile, last night.
In the engrossing contest that lasted one-and-a-half-hours, Nagal could break the serve of his rival, ranked 23 places below him at 146, only twice while he himself dropped his serve five times.
With the defeat of the 23-year-old from Jhajjar, India's challenge has ended in the Qualifiers.
Ramkumar Ramanathan, Prajnesh Guneswaran and Ankita Raina have already exited from the tournament.
Now India will be represented through Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan in the men's doubles main draw.
It is crucial for both of them to earn ranking points by going deep in the draw since the official rankings of June 10 will decide which players make the cut for the Tokyo Olympics.
Sania Mirza has decided not to compete in this tournament as she wanted to use her 'special ranking' to enter the Wimbledon Championships. New source PTI
Why should boys have all the fun?
'I love sports and no I'm not a boy!'
We're sure every fangirl at some point would have raised a few eyebrows and been a cause for a confused smirk on people's faces when they talk about their love and enthusiasm for sports. This isn't funny and could be very annoying. So, if you are one of those who fall for the popular belief that girls know nothing about sports or follow it only to swoon over the good looks of their favourite players then hold on! You're about to meet some of our special guests who can not only make you question your passion or fan boying skills but also school you about the very technicalities of the game!
Our first guest, Ashwathy Santhosh, a UPSC aspirant from Kerala talks about her craze for football and especially the ISL premier team Kerala Blasters FC. "I do watch every single game and never miss a chance to attend home matches" she says. Aswathy who is also a blogger loves writing fan blogs and makes it a point to regularly contribute fan blogs for official Kerala Blasters site and app despite being overburdened with studies to prepare for UPSC. "It's exhausting but I love to do it!" she further adds with a smile.
When asked about her favorite player from the team, Aswathy didn't take a second to think and replied with sheer excitement ''Facundo Pereya! I think he's just fab!" Other than Kerala Blasters FC she's been a diehard Real Madrid fan since the last ten years. "I really like Zidane, Kaka and Sergio Ramos," she says.
For her Football is a 'healthy addiction and a lifestyle'
Our Second guest, Marisha Bhatt, an engineer from Gujarat says her life revolves around the tennis court and especially Roger Federer - The Titan from Switzerland with 20 Grand Slam Titles. When asked about what she loves the most about tennis, she said "The absolute thrill and unpredictability of the game! You could be a Serena or a Djokovic and still get knocked out from your turf in the very first or second rounds by some underdog! Few misses or hits, some bad or good minutes and boom! You're either home or you're biting the dust! Talking about her love for Federer she gladly shares that she's been following him ardently since her childhood and that she is still not over Federer's loss in the 2019 Mens Wimbledon Finals against Djokovic. "My Heart still aches thinking about that" she laughs. "While everyone at my home was watching the ICC World cup final between New Zealand and England, I was in my room alone watching the Wimbledon finals. It was like an emotional roller coaster ride for me. Those five hours of the game, I experienced my worst sporting heartbreak that day." She concluded.
Our third guest , Satveer Kaur, a Physics teacher from Punjab passionately talks about her love for cricket and the Australian legend Brett Lee. "My friends call me 'Cricket ki encyclopedia' as I have a very sharp memory and remember every game, record and stat I see" she laughs. When asked about her admiration for Brett Lee she said "mostly people think I like him for his killer looks but it's not true, let's not forget he is one of the greats of the game and had a fantastic career with 718 international wickets and 2,728 runs despite enduring so many career threatening injuries over the years."
Not just this, Satveer was also lucky enough to have a video chat with Lee recently. "It was a particular quiz competition on Lee that I participated in on Instagram. I didn't really think I stood a chance to win among thousands of correct answers but as they say, miracles do happen and I got selected for a live chat with my childhood hero! That was indeed the best day of my life!” she says.
We also asked her about her most memorable game and she instantly replied "The Edgbaston Test from 2005 Ashes series was my favourite. Though Australia lost it but the fight Lee pulled up until the very end was an inspiration to draw. One of the finest games in test cricket, in my opinion!” she finishes.
So these were our guests who wholeheartedly shared their fandom stories. We would like to extend our sincere thanks to them for taking out time and speaking to us and proving our point "Mhari Chhoriya Chhoro se kam hai ke!?"
Written by Karina Michwal, Sports Enthusiast.
The opinions and views expressed in the blog are strictly personal opinion of the author.
ECB urges government in an open letter for COVID certificates to ensure "great sporting summer" with full grounds
According to a press release by the England and Wales Cricket Board, they have urged the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to introduce Covid certificates to facilitate the grounds to bring back 100 percent capacity this summer.
ECB, along with nine other major Governing Bodies as well as venues have written an open letter to prime minister Boris Johnson to appeal for action in the wake of all restrictions being uplifted from June 21.
As per the government roadmap, all restrictions will be uplifted in the UK from June 21 which theoretically means that venues could be full.
Presently, matches in England are held behind closed doors. However from May 17, attendances will be allowed upto 25 per cent until a full lifting of restrictions in the month of june with social distancing measures remaining in place.
In an open letter addressed to Mr Johnson, Labour leader Keir Starmer, the Labour leader Ian Blackford from the Scottish National Party', the Liberal Democrat Ed Davey and Liz Saville-Roberts of Plaid Cymru, from 10 of the premiere sports governing organizations and venues insist only a certification process can guarantee the safe return of audiences when the regulations allow.
The ECB along with the Premier League, Wimbledon, Rugby, The Football Association, Lawn Tennis Association, Football Union, Rugby Football League, English Football League, Scottish Professional Football League and Silverstone Circuit, have put their names in the open letter that calls for immediate action.
The letter asks the government to take quick action towards developing the system, which would have fans produce a negative Corona test or an antibody test alongside a certification of vaccination inorder to gain entry to an event, "to deliver the great sporting summer the whole nation craves".
The Governing bodies are demanding for clarity as soon as possible so that they can effectively plan a busy period of elite sport ahead.
As part of the Events Research Programme (ERP), a series of upcoming events will be used as a trial for the return of fans to venues. It will include the World Snooker Championships at Sheffield's Crucible Theatre, the Carabao Cup and FA Cup finals scheduled at the Wembley Stadium along with three mass participation runs to be held at Hatfield House.
The UK Prime Minister has ruled out Covid certificates being part of the third step of reopening from May 17, however the plans thereafter are yet to be confirmed.
"It is important that we have certainty as soon as possible on the form this guidance will take so we can plan efficiently and effectively with many big sporting events scheduled for late June and onwards," the letter stated.
"The return of fans will give a huge boost to millions who enjoy a day out at a sporting event with their friends and families and be of great benefit to the economy.
"It is right that every possible action is considered to secure this outcome as soon as possible, but only for as long as an unrestricted return is considered unsafe to fans, matchday staff and the wider public.
"This includes investigating how a Covid certification arrangement could reduce and then safely remove the requirement for social distancing.
"There are many issues to be addressed including how the technology would work and its ease of use at major events, for both the attendees and the organisers.
"All of our sports can see the benefit that a Covid certification process offers in getting more fans safely back to their sport as quickly as possible. We know that our stadium can only be fully filled with an assurance process.
The letter further read: "Based on these principles, we support the review of the use of covid certification for major events. Any final decision on their application should follow an assessment of the evidence gathered in the forthcoming ERP trials.
"We look forward to working with the government and all interested parties, including our stakeholders and fans, to deliver the great sporting summer the whole nation craves."
In the new domestic cricket season in the UK which began on Thursday, counties have been instructed to make economic forecasts based on 50 per cent crowds being possible during the course of the 2021 season.
Fans again gave the beginning of the campaign a miss having been locked out of all international, Bob Willis Trophy and T20 Blast games last year. According to ECB's projection an estimated £200 million has been lost from the game owing to the absence of spectators.